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There Is Hope for Every Man in Christ

Today, there is a war on men. And many men are losing it.

As I write in my brand-new book The War on Men, men are struggling in most every metric imaginable. The rate of employed men–in their prime working years—is at the lowest level since the Great Depression. For every one woman who drops out of college today, seven men drop out. Six out of ten churchgoers are women. Men are marrying later and later, in part because many—anywhere from half of all men to 99% of men—surf pornography. You could say it this way: men would rather have a virtual “wife” than a real one.

“Above all else, men need Jesus. Men need to be saved. Men need eternal life. When God saves a man, the need for help does not stop, though. Men need discipling. Men need training.”

In fact, many men are living a plastic life. Their world is quite literally imaginary. Their “wife” is imaginary; their job is imaginary; their spiritual pursuit of God is nonexistent. They have few social ties, few commitments, and little hope. Men have been told that they are toxic, and that they do not fit in. So many just disappear, never to be found again. Suicide rates reflect this dystopian picture.

What Do Men Need?

In such tough circumstances, there may be no more radical act than this: believing in men. Encouraging men. Helping men. Of course, the best way to help men is to proclaim Christ to them. Above all else, men need Jesus. Men need to be saved. Men need eternal life. When God saves a man, the need for help does not stop, though. Men need discipling. Men need training. To repeat myself, men need encouraging.

“Strength is a summary word for manhood in the Bible; the two terms are unbreakably connected. Men are not born wanting to be soft as tissue-paper. Men are born wanting to be brave, heroic, and strong.”

Men also very much need to hear that, in Christ, they can become strong. This is a desire that God has wired into men. The leaders of Scripture frequently speak this language: “Be strong, and show yourself a man,” king David said to his son Solomon as David lay dying (1 Kings 2:2). “Be strong and courageous,” said Yahweh to Joshua as Joshua prepared to take the promised land (Joshua 1:9). “Act like men,” said Paul to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 16:13). Strength is a summary word for manhood in the Bible; the two terms are unbreakably connected. Men are not born wanting to be soft as tissue-paper. Men are born wanting to be brave, heroic, and strong.

Our culture tells men that such desires are bad. Men are charged to be like women today, and many respond in kind. Our culture has rejected God as Creator, and thus rejected male and female as made in God’s image. As a result, men no longer even try to be men (so too with many women). But God speaks a better word. God wants men to grow up. God wants men to be distinctively men (1 Cor. 11:3-17). God wants men to be leaders, protectors, and providers (see Genesis 2-3). This is what the gospel frees men to be. Even stronger, this is what the gospel makes men to be.

“Our culture has rejected God as Creator, and thus rejected male and female as made in God’s image. As a result, men no longer even try to be men (so too with many women). But God speaks a better word. God wants men to grow up. God wants men to be distinctively men (1 Cor. 11:3-17).”

There Is Hope for Men

Today, we dare to believe in men. Not in a self-empowered way; in a God-redeemed way. Men may be living in the wreckage of their sin and their bad decisions and their deep discouragement. Men may be on the brink. Men may have lost the plot and forgotten the script. If so, our culture only encourages these evil trends. But not so in the church. We dare to believe in men. We pray for men. We seek their good. We proclaim Christ to them, and we reach out to them to disciple them in the Word and gospel.

Here is some amazing news: God is working in men. He has not abandoned men, though many around us have. He will change men, grow men, renew men, and forgive men. You can find some practical advice online from manhood experts about health, body optimization, style, fitness, and more. But what you can’t find in the secular outlets is what men most need: the gospel of grace. In the gospel, hope springs eternal. No man is a cast-off; no man is irredeemable; no man is used up and worn out. Husbands can change; marriages can improve; children can be won back; churches can be served and strengthened; vocations can be reinvigorated; communities can be helped.

The porch-light in the Father’s house is always on, even on the darkest nights. Prodigal children can always come home.

“Is there a war on men in our time? Yes, there definitely is. But the grace of God is stronger still—stronger than our culture, stronger than the spiritual foes and forces we battle, and stronger than our sin.”

Conclusion

The Bible speaks clearly: in very hard days, there is hope for men. Even though the statistics are dire and many men lack a father (or even a father figure), God has not abandoned men to despair. Many strong biblical churches exist, and they are where men can find brotherhood, truth, mentoring, and redeeming love. Are men struggling today? They surely are. Do men sin, and need a Savior? Yes, very much so. But is there hope for men—every man included? You better believe it.

One last question along these lines. Ending where we began, is there a war on men in our time? Yes, there definitely is. But the grace of God is stronger still—stronger than our culture, stronger than the spiritual foes and forces we battle, and stronger than our sin.

Owen Strachan

Dr. Owen Strachan is Provost and a professor of theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He is the author of The War on Men, Christianity and Wokeness, and Reenchanting Humanity.

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