A Guide to Biblical Manhood

b004u7njdo-01-lBook #26: A Guide to Biblical Manhood, Randy Stinson & Dan Dumas

As our culture has blurred the distinction between manhood and womanhood, and now between the very difference between men and women, it is important for the church to define and defend the concept of biblical manhood and womanhood.  But what exactly is biblical manhood?  Is it some combination of the Bible with macho burliness.  Or does it consist of bible study, prayer and sharing feelings?  Our churches are suffering from a crisis of manhood.  Too often what is presented as ministry caters to and is appreciated more by women than by men.  In a recent article series on the Art of Manliness blog, Brett McKay described the feminization of Christianity?  Why is it that men are checking out in droves?  Why is it that men are bailing on the church? Bailing on ministry?  Bailing on their families?  Perhaps it is that we don’t present Biblical manhood as something that is manly.  This is a topic that I have wrestled with.  There seems to be a disconnect between what other resources have described as manliness and what resonates as manliness.  Which begs the question, is my concept of manliness defined more by the Bible or by culture?  This is perhaps one of the best books that I have read about Biblical Manhood to date.  The authors define manhood as an embodiment of leadership, provision and protection.  They show through biblical examples that these principles are an embodiment of muscular strength and resilient character.

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4 Comments

  1. The authors define manhood as an embodiment of leadership, provision and protection. They show through biblical examples that these principles are an embodiment of muscular strength and resilient character.
    ***
    The proverbs 31 woman is the provider, she leads her household, and she protects her family. Deborah lead Israel, provided spiritual insight and decided legal matters, and also protected the Israelites for decades in her capacity as a Judge. Remember the mother who threw herself over her kids to protect them from the tornado bearing down on them? Think about all those single mothers who are all three – the leader, protector, and provider for their families – think about all those single fathers who are also the nurturer, cleaner, and cook for their families. Our roles – what we do – change in each stage of life. We’re not workers forever – as we retire. We’re not mothers and fathers always – as the nest eventually empties. We’re not spouses forever – as our partners eventually die. Both husband and wife need to know how to do more than just their gender role for when they’re on their own. Or else they’ll end up being the widower who eats t.v. dinners as he can’t cook. Or the widow whose unable to fix her car or balance her checkbook because that’s what her husband always did.

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    1. I am not entirely sure what you are getting at. I absolutely agree with your comments regarding the need for a husband and wife to be able to perform different tasks in the home. I definitely don’t want my wife to be completely lost should something happen to me. So, even though I do the finances and take care of the cars, I want my wife to know how to change a flat and what’s going on with the books. And conversely, there are things that she does that are important for me to know as well for the same reason. So you raise a very important point.

      That being said, the point that the book makes is that within the context of the home, there are different but equally important roles that God has set up for men and women. This doesn’t make men better than women – both are co-equal in God’s eyes. The authors of the book rightly point out that men are called to be leaders, protectors and providers for their families. This doesn’t mean that women don’t or can’t function in this capacity. My wife every day leads, protects and provides for my son while I am at work. But ultimately, before God, I am called be the leader, protector and provider of my family. This is in part why Adam was called to account in the Garden. Yes, Adam and Eve ate the fruit. But Adam failed in his role to lead and protect her.

      Also, the authors of this book are not really writing a book comparing the roles of men vs women. They are speaking to men; calling them from complacency to courageous, manly living. Our culture has sold men the lie that they aren’t important and despite best efforts, they are little better than Raymond, a dim-witted, bumbling, always failing guy as depicted in Everybody Loves Raymond. I am hugely into empowering women to reach their God-given potential and I definitely support treating women as co-equals in Christ. However, the net effect of our culture’s devaluation of the importance of men and fathers is that we now have a generation of men who actually believe what they have been told; who as a result are checking out on their responsibilities. And sadly all too often I see the results at work, in the community and even in church.

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      1. I’ve never watched Everybody Loves Raymond. I can see how God might have suggested that male headship was a practical and necessary component of living in a slave-holding, first-century society that viewed men as superior and women as inferior – that it was a cultural concession to that day and age. But we’re an egalitarian society and we can’t play by rules created for a whole other culture from millennia ago. Were Jesus and Paul to come to us today, he’d talk a whole lot less about idol feasts, meat sacrificed to idols, and more about things that he considers our problem. One such thing could very well be the tendency to privilege men at the expense of women because that’s how some interpret scripture. We can’t make our men anything like first-century men, and we certainly shouldn’t try.

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  2. I appreciate your comments and interest in this topic. And ultimately I don’t think we are going to agree on this one. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the times have changed and the Bible needs to be interpreted in that context. You have to be careful when you make that argument, because what you are saying is that the Bible is not sufficient for all matters of life and godliness. But we know from 2 Timothy that all scripture is inspired by God and profitable. Second, I would ask about your argument, what is your ultimate authority? Is it scripture? Is it culture? We know culture to be something that evolves over time. The culture we have today is vastly different from the one even 50-100 years ago. So to use the whims of culture as a moral authority is little more the post-modern relativism. Either the Bible is an authority or it is not. You cannot say it was authoritative then and not now. Finally, you raise an interesting point about the idea of meat sacrificed to idols and slave holding. Yes we are not a society that kills cows and sacrifices that to some statue and we have abolished slavery. But that doesn’t mean that the principles discussed are not still relevant. Paul was talking about issues of conscience and submission as it applied to that generation. While the specific examples may be different today the principles of living with others in a Christ-like manner are the same. And as it applies to gender rolls. Paul does not make the argument because of a particular, uniquely 1st century need. He makes the argument for gender roles based on a precedent from Creation (1 Cor 11). His argument (while directed to a particular people in this letter) supersedes specific generational and cultural mores.

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