Applied Masculinity, Part 1January 6, 2014
God intends men to provide, teach, connect, and protect. Author and pastor Stu Weber exposes the misunderstanding the culture has about manhood and points us to Christ in order to define a man's true value.
God intends men to provide, teach, connect, and protect. Author and pastor Stu Weber exposes the misunderstanding the culture has about manhood and points us to Christ in order to define a man's true value.
Applied Masculinity, Part 1
Bob: What are the essential elements that make up godly masculinity? Here’s author and pastor, Stu Weber.
Stu: I believe God has given us some implications here from the very get-go of what He intended when He made a man a man. There’s something of a king in his heart to provide, something of a warrior in his heart to protect, something of a mentor in his heart to teach, and something of a friend in his heart to connect.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, January 6th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to talk today about what the Bible has to say about authentic masculinity. So stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. I had somebody who follows me on Twitter®, the other day, send me a message.
And she said, “I read in your book, The Christian Husband, where you were talking about the dangers of unredeemed masculinity.” She said, “Can you explain more about what you meant by that phrase, ‘unredeemed masculinity’?”
Dennis: One word.
Dennis: One word—go ahead and explain it; and then, I’ll give you my one word. [Laughter]
Bob: Well, here’s what I told her—I said: “If you want to better understand what unredeemed masculinity looks like, get a copy of Stu Weber’s book, The Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart, because he talks, in that book, about men being out of balance in their lives and the dangers that can come with that lack of balance. That’s what the unredeemed masculinity looks like.”
I’m guessing your word is “savage.” Would that be the word?
Dennis: Well, that’s close. “Selfish” was what I was thinking about because what does Christ come to do but redeem us from ourselves? It takes Christ to really make a man a real man.
Bob: The book that I recommended actually goes back to a message that we heard, here at FamilyLife, a few years ago when the author of the book, Stu Weber, came and spoke to our staff.
It was an instant classic message. We sat and heard him speak. I think every man and every woman in the audience was riveted.
Dennis: Stu is a good guy. He and his wife Lindy are just—they’re great human beings.
Bob: Yes. Stu is a retired military—he was a green beret. He’s one of the guys who we included in the Stepping Up™ video series that we filmed recently. He’s one of our featured speakers because, when Stu speaks to men, men listen.
Stu: This is a day when it’s not easy to be a man. Lindy, a couple of years ago, saw me staring out the window and looking across the open spaces or something. She said: "What's the matter with you? Where are you?" I said: "You know, Hon, I'm not sure ‘What's the matter with me?’ but I've just been thinking, “This is a strange world in which I live.
“I was a soldier when it wasn't cool to be a soldier. I'm a pastor about 150 years late, in terms of community respect; and I'm a man in a day when it's politically incorrect to be masculine. It's no wonder I'm a little distant and confused.”
It's not easy to be a man today; is it? Garrison Keillor said, "Manhood, once an opportunity for achievement, now seems more like an obstacle to be overcome." It does in our world.
Some years ago, Barry Arnold, the pastor of men's ministry, and I, at our church, were working on a little Bible study lesson for our guys on Tuesday mornings. He had run it through the spell check; and then, he ran it through the grammar check. The alarms in the computer went off when it came to the word "masculine." The computer said: "Too gender-specific. Try to use without reference to gender," and suggested alternative words like "bravery," or "courage" or whatever—but don't use words like "manly" or "masculine"—they are out of vogue.
That's the world in which we live, and it's reaping its fruit; isn't it? For what's happening in our country—which is not good—is the fruit of masculinity gone awry. Since 1965, all kinds of ugly things have happened in our country. Teenage suicides have multiplied numerically—all kinds of things are happening.
I think it's because men don't know what a man is. We don't know how to act, as men. Fatherlessness is the scourge that's killing our country. Fatherlessness is just really applied masculinity. It has nothing to do with biology—it has everything to do with being masculine.
Two or three years ago, in Oxford, we were walking down Broad Street. I noticed these little stones out in the middle of the street there—24 white stones in the middle of all these cobblestones paving the street. The traffic was flowing over the top of it as though it didn't exist. As I worked through some things, I discovered what had happened there on an October morning in 1555.
Two men, by the names of Ridley and Latimer, actually were burned at the stake on that spot—a couple of men that had come to faith, personally, in Jesus Christ and determined they were not going to leave that faith. They were not going to recant. Consequently, it would cost them their lives.
We don't know all that they were thinking as the morning arrived when they were let out of Bocardo Prison into the sunlight of Broad Street and faced the stake, but we do know some of the elements that they exchanged because one of their conversations is recorded. As they walked toward their deaths, Latimer turned to Ridley—apparently, noticed something going on in his face, or his countenance, or something in his friend. He said, "Ridley, be of good cheer and play the man for, by God's grace, you and I shall, this day, light a candle that all England shall see."
"Play the man"—when was the last time you heard that in a positive, encouraging, meaningful, motivational way?—
probably a long time ago. "Play the man"—do you think Ridley had any idea what he meant when he said, "play the man"? I think Ridley did. I don't think they were as confused, in their day, as we are about gender issues. I think Latimer was sending a message, and I think Ridley got it.
I think it was probably somewhat similar to the passage that David had in mind when Solomon came to his bedside. He was dying; and he said: "I am going the way of all the earth, my son. You, therefore, my son, show yourself strong and be a man and keep the charge of the Lord your God and live according to His ways and His statutes."
I want to work a little bit with you this morning on what it is to be a man because there are some things happening in our culture that are destroying some things. I want to begin by reading to you, at length, from an article by Chuck Colson. This is an article that appeared, as I recall, in Christianity Today some years ago about the time of the Clarence Thomas hearings. He describes those hearings on national television.
It was a national real-life soap opera—200 million Americans, pasted to their television sets, mesmerized by lurid accusations of sexual harassment in high office. Center stage in the Senate Caucus Room was Professor Anita Hill, doggedly asserting her claims. Judge Clarence Thomas issued angry denials. Members of the all-male, all-white Senate Judiciary Committee, trying their best to look judicious, postured for the television cameras with self-serving and meandering questions.
Mercifully, it's over. Justice Thomas sits on the Supreme Court. Anita Hill is back in Oklahoma. Both will be shadowed by a cloud of suspicion for the rest of their lives.
I reflected on all this in an unlikely place on the Saturday of the Thomas hearings. I was in a California men's prison. Under California law, there must be no sexual discrimination in hiring guards. Female correctional officers walk the cellblocks freely.
As I walked through the institution, I came upon an embarrassing scene—a young female officer strode into an exposed bathroom area, stood before an inmate seated on the toilet, and ordered him to report to the cellblock.
The prison already strips a person of privacy. Now, because of anti-discrimination laws, inmates suffer the added shame of having the most intimate details of their daily lives invaded by members of the opposite sex.
Just then, across the cellblock, I saw a TV screen showing a sweating Judge Thomas being questioned for allegedly breaking the law by stripping an employee of her dignity through the use of indecent language. Yet here, a female guard, by operation of that law, was stripping a naked man of his dignity, or what little there was of it left. Something was wrong with this picture—one law protects human honor in the workplace—another denigrates it. Both laws, I realized, are the result of militant feminism—a movement that might have begun with worthy intentions—but soon ran amok.
Today, I believe we are reaping the fruit of 25 years of militant feminism. In the Thomas hearings, we saw the same women's groups, who once proclaimed a woman's freedom to use explicit sexual language, now righteously indignant in their claims that Clarence Thomas had allegedly talked that way to a woman. The very people who deliberately tore down older codes of chivalry and deference to women now wanted the protection they offer.
Now, it's this last paragraph I want you to hear—this is the prophetic statement:
The fundamental pillar of our society, the family, has been under assault for years; and its crumbling has long been of vital concern to Christians. But do not miss the progression. The artillery salvos are escalating against something even more fundamental—the very notion of what it means to be a man—the very notion of what it means to be a woman. Even more fundamental in the image and glory of God than the family are the very notions of what it is to be a man and a woman.
That's where we're doing battle today. That's where the evil one is attacking. That's where it's so obviously strong. We need to understand that these gender issues are not primarily political issues; though, they obviously affect the political world. They're not primarily sociological issues; though, they affect society profoundly.
They are not primarily economic issues; though, they have financial ramifications. But, at their root, these gender concerns are spiritual and theological issues. Gender is there from the get-go in the Bible. Gender is there, at the very foundations of civilization. Gender is there, at the very foundations of the glory of God. Gender is there, at the very core of the image of God.
All of the physical world and all of the material creation, including human beings and their physical bodies, were intended to glorify God. The image of God, in male and female, as He created us, is at the root of what we're experiencing in terms of battle today. Isn't it ironic, in a culture that prides itself on diversity, we are seeking to destroy it in its most obvious and most beautiful form. That's what's happening in our culture. That's because the evil one is hard at it.
Some years ago, Dr. Halverson, who is now with the Lord and was, at the time, the chaplain of the United States Senate—he hit the nail on the head when he said it this way:
Where can the enemy attack God most strategically? How can he most effectively destroy God's relationship with mankind? The devil's masterpiece is to deface the image of God.
Image is indispensable in our Madison Avenue Hollywood culture. It's the stock-in-trade of the public relations firm. Selling image is big business—billions of dollars worth. Bad image in our day is extremely costly, which is precisely, therefore, the point at which Satan makes his most strategic attack.
God created man male/female as His image in history. Anything the devil can do to destroy the male/female union will mar God's image. Anything that will alienate man from woman contributes to the destruction of a high view of God.
The enemy has a multitude of tactics—premarital sex, extramarital sex, sexual deviation, divorce, male chauvinism, feminism as an end in itself, and on, and on. Satan's effectiveness in destroying God's image through male/female alienation, by whatever means, has been incalculably costly to the human race.
That is so true. Don't miss the progression. It's moved from the family to the very notion of what it is to be a man and a woman. That's why you and I, as Christian people, need to be real alert to the Scriptures as it tells us: “What is a man?” and, “What is a woman?” and, “How do they act? How are they? What am I and why are there those differences?”
If you and I don't understand it—then, we have tossed in the towel—at the very center of the battle—haven't we? If you and I don't speak it, then we have walked away from the battle, right where it's raging. Martin Luther said it this way, years ago: "If I profess with the loudest and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that point in which the world and the devil are, at that moment, attacking, then I'm not confessing Christ.
Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady in all the battlefield elsewhere is mere flight and disgrace if the soldier flinches at that point.”
So, you and I need to be alert to gender issues. We need to go right to the word of God. Fortunately, we don't get caught up in all the other stuff—you know, we don't have to be trapped by myth, and legend, and tribal lore. We don't have to find the truth in anthropological studies or relief carvings on cave walls. We can go right to the beginning.
That's what I'd like to do with you. I'm not going to work on all the differences between males and females. You work on that already here, and you understand how different we are. The reason we're different is because we represent, together, the full-orbed image and glory of God. That's why we're different. We complement one another so magnificently—when we will just recognize the differences, when we will celebrate the differences, when we will capitalize upon the differences—rather than try to denigrate them.
But somehow, equality has come to mean sameness. We have, in the process, attacked the very image of God. We are different, as men and women—our brains are made differently in their function and their structure. The presence of testosterone in the male does some things to the brain structure that makes us think and experience life differently. It's beyond debate. Even our culture is recognizing that—technologically and scientifically. But what we don't recognize is the way that reflects upon our relationships with each other, as men and women, and therefore glorifies God, ultimately, and displays His image.
So, I'd like to turn with you, if you would, in your Bibles, to the early chapters of the book of Genesis, and see if we can't go right back to the Genesis spring and find out a little bit about what God intended when He made a man.
Chapter 1, you know, of Genesis is the big picture—God created.
And Chapter 2 is kind of the zoom lens—He zooms right in on the creation of man, in His image, as male and female. So, in Chapter 2, let's start reading at verse 7 a little bit. The Bible says: "Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed"—definite article, specific—"the man".
Look down at verse 15: "Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it." I think we have something of a clue there as to one of the intentions that God had for man as part of His image. He said, in effect: "Adam, here is a realm—here is a garden, here is a sphere of influence, here is an environment, whatever—I want you to cultivate it and keep it. I want you to develop it. I want you to shape it. I want you to influence it. I want you to keep it—to oversee it."
I think there is something of a king in every man's chest—as an overseer, as a developer, as one who has a charge—a responsibility for a realm, or a sphere, or a home, or an environment, or a garden, or a people. There is something of a king in every man's chest. We'll come back to that because we're not talking King Tut here, you know—we're talking a different kind of king.
"And the Lord God commanded the man,"—verse 16—"saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge and good and evil you shall not eat’”.
“Adam, let's you and I go for a walk. Let's wander about in this realm a little bit. Let Me put my hand on your shoulder, so to speak. Let Me point out some things about life to you. There is some information here I want you to have.” The implication is: “You are to be a steward of this information. You are to be responsible to this information. You are to be responsible for it. You are to know it, and relate to it, and understand it, and communicate it.
“You need to know about these things.” I think there is something of a mentor in every man's chest to teach.
There is something of a king in every man's chest to provide. There is something of a mentor in every man's chest to teach. And then, at the end of verse 17, the Lord says to Adam, "For in the day that you eat from that tree, you shall surely die.” “Adam, you need to know this about life on this planet. You could get killed here. For all of the paradise that we see—for all of the beauty and magnificence that there is here—there is also a threat. There is vulnerability in this realm.” Implication: “Be alert to it.”
I believe there is something of a warrior in every man's chest to protect. A king to provide, a warrior to protect, a mentor to teach—and then, verse 18: "Then"—that's a very time/space word—"Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make”—a helpmate or—“helper suitable for him.”
“Adam, you need to know this about yourself. You're not good by yourself. You're incomplete. There is a complementary picture that I want to produce here. You need to understand that you belong together. There must be connection between you and another." I believe there is something of a friend in every man's chest to connect. Obviously, the ultimate friendship is the zenith of all friendships inside marriage.
But I believe God has given us some implications here, from the very get-go, of what He intended when He made a man a man. There is something of a king in his heart to provide, something of a warrior in his heart to protect, something of a mentor in his heart to teach, and something of a friend in his heart to connect.
Bob: Well, we have been listening today to Part One of a message from our friend, Stu Weber—a message on authentic biblical manhood. As I was listening, I was thinking, “You and Stu are cut from the same piece of cloth.” I mean, what he was talking about—I watched you as you were listening—and you were saying, kind of: “Let me in here! I’ve got a few things I want to say!” [Laughter]
Dennis: You know—there is one difference. He has the voice of Gabriel. [Laughter] If I had that voice, that would be dangerous. What a magnificent voice!
Bob, I am passionate about coming alongside men and giving them courage—encouraging them in their responsibility of being that protector, that provider, that friend. I just think the battle for our nation today—one of the most important battles, if not the most important—really falls upon men to be men who step up. That’s why I wrote the book, Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood.
I just think men—whether they’re young men in their early teen years, or early twenties, or thirties, or forties, or beyond—need an older man to come alongside them and to cheer them on as they attempt to live out what Stu was talking about here.
Bob: They need to see the picture of what God’s called them to be. They need to see how that picture can get marred—how it can get off-center—and how they can correct it. That’s what Stu tries to present in his book; and you’re really talking about that in your book, Stepping Up.
Dennis: And, Bob, one of the things that has surprised me is the number of women who are reading Stepping Up. I think they are reading it to know how to help their sons step up—how to help their husbands step up. This book really targets men of all ages. So, it would be great for a teenage young man all the way to the very finish line for a man; but I think women are going to benefit from this, as well.
Bob: Yes, they need to see some clear pictures of authentic masculinity—what Stu’s been talking about today.
When we sat down to create the video version of your book, Stepping Up, we created both a one-day event for guys—that’s four sessions that you can do on a Saturday. Then, we created a ten-week study for guys to go through—there’s a video component—there’s a workbook. We tried to include guys like Stu Weber, and Robert Lewis, and Crawford Lorritts, and Voddie Baucham, and Matt Chandler, and Josh Harris, and guys who understand what the Scriptures have to say about biblical masculinity, and guys who embody it in how they have chosen to live their lives.
It’s been interesting to see a lot of fathers and sons going through this material together. And the dads are benefitting—but so are the 18-year-olds, and the 23-year-olds, and the young guys who are going through this, either on their own or with their dad.
We’ve had several hundred guys, who have stepped up, and have said, in the last couple of months, “We will host a one-day event on the day before the Super Bowl®, February 1st.” They’re going to host a Super Saturday event in their church or in a local community. In fact, you can go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click on the link you find there for Stepping Up. You can find out where these events are being hosted in cities all across the country. You could join their event. I’m sure they’d be happy to have you be a part of their Stepping Up event on the day before the Super Bowl.
We are also making the Stepping Up video series available that weekend for guys who would like to do Stepping Up at home. If you want to do it on your own—you want to get your small group together, you want to do this with your sons—all you have to do is get in touch with us and order the manuals. We will give you access to the Stepping Up video series, online, that weekend.
You can go through these four sessions—on your timetable / your schedule—over the course of that weekend. All you have to do is order the manuals / get your access code and you—and your sons, or you and your small group, or just you—can go through the Stepping Up material and have your own at-home event.
Find out more about Stepping Up at home by going to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link you see there for Stepping Up,and all the information you need is available there. Whether you join a group, whether you host a group, or whether you just have some guys over to your house, or do this with your sons—there’s a way for you to be a part of Super Saturday and join with men, all across the country, in Stepping Up.
Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click on the link for Stepping Up, or call us if you have any questions: 1-800-FL-TODAY is our toll-free number. We have a team of coaches available—to help walk you through your event, to help with any questions you have, to make your event as successful as it can be.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear more from Stu Weber about God’s design for biblical masculinity. He’s going to talk about how God has designed it for men to embrace the responsibilities of being a king in their community and in their home. There’s some confusion about what he means by that—so he’ll clarify that on tomorrow’s program. Hope you can tune in.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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