Recovering Biblical Manhood

(Following are notes from a keynote address given by Dr. Robert Lewis (founder, Men’s Fraternity, Little Rock, AR) to the 2004 National Coalition of Men’s Ministry Annual Conference, November 11, 2004 hosted by the Washington Area Coalition of Men's Ministries (WACMM) at McLean Bible Church, McLean VA)

We live in a day where masculinity is being devalued. Yet, there is a deep hunger among men for their unique identity. The church should be leading men to biblical manhood.

The resounding question is, “What is a Man.” Men are torn between continuing to follow in the footsteps of the first Adam or pursue the model set our by the second Adam
(1 Cor 15:45).

These are the two destinies we face as men. We can choose the emptiness of the first model or the freedom contained in the second model. Comparison of the two models reveals four distinct characteristics: passivity versus activism, acceptance or rejection of our God-given responsibilities, choosing to lead courageously or not, and striving for a reward or expecting the greater reward. The choices we make in these four areas determine whether we follow in the empty footsteps of the first Adam or enjoy the empowered living of the second Adam.

What is a Biblical Man?

  • Our society is stripping manhood away from men.
  • Men have had the stuffing beat out of them. They have been bullied.
  • 75 percent of men feel they can not share their feelings with anyone.
  • The heart and soul of men is being sucked out by the marketplace.
  • Men on TV are seen as juvenile.
  • There is no high image of masculinity.

11th Commandment: Thou shalt raise up healthy men!

  • There is a hunger out there, but not being satisfied.
  • The church is not providing a place for masculine discovery.
  • Men must have a place to get together to talk about it – that place is the church.

What is a Man?

  • Is he strong and tall?
  • Is he someone who is talented and plays ball?
  • Is he someone who is hardened and tough?
  • Is he someone who smokes and drinks and swears enough?
  • Is he someone who chases women hared with a quest to conquer without dropping his guard?
  • Is he someone with a good business mind,
  • Who gets ahead of others with his nose to the grind?
  • What is a man?
  • Does anyone know?
  • Who is the prototype?
  • To whom shall I go?
(author not identified)

We find the definition of masculinity in 1 Corinthians 15:45.

Men gravitate toward the soul of the first Adam or the Spirit of the Second Adam. These are the two supreme models: death and life. The question is to which side do we lean?

There are two distinct masculine destinies (the first Adam and the second Adam) and four distinct defining elements:

        1. The biblical man rejects spiritual passivity and pursues spiritual activism.

        2. The biblical man accepts responsibility.

               o The biblical man has three God given responsibilities (Genesis 2): work to
     do, will to obey, woman to love.

               o Genesis 3 – Eve in the garden is unprotected. Where is Adam? He does
not make his presence known. He was with her, but silent and passive.
His influence and effect are invisible.

               o Christ was just the opposite (Philippians 2). He humbled himself and took
on the role of a man, storming onto the scene to battle the enemy.

               o The first Adam disregarded his responsibilities. Jesus accepted
responsibilities. Jesus is the second Adam; in the garden (Garden of
Gethsemane) he committed himself to the will. On the Cross he
accomplished his work. He established the Church to love (the woman).

               o How do we embrace our God given responsibilities?
                    1. Not through occasional rallies.

                    2. Not through an occasional sermon on our responsibilities.

               o How do we get to be biblical men?

                    1. In bite-sized bits over a long period of time.

                    2. In a community that celebrates manhood.

                    3. When a dad teaches his son from an early age with accountability to
the son and with a church that helps all along the way by
encouraging them.

                    4. The number one ministry of the church is to the men.

                    5. As the men go, so goes the church.

               o Nothing improves the health of the church more than ministry to

   * The first Adam abandoned the post of leadership. The second
Adam chose to lead courageously.

        o To lead courageously a man must master his feelings (Pr 28:25).

        o There must be a triumph of principle over feelings. Adam through
away truth and caved into feelings in a controlled environment.
He had no interference. He chose feelings over principle. Jesus
went through the same challenge in the desert, a wild,
uncontrolled environment. He was confronted by major
interference. The challenge of overcoming feelings is the
ultimate passage to manhood.

         o “It is written, ‘you shall worship the Lord your God only’”. Jesus
put his whole life into truth over feelings and that is why he
could lead courageously. With great feeling often time comes
great tragedy. But with principle guiding feeling a man is able to
lead courageously.

   * First Adam sought a greater reward. The second Adam just
expected that God would give him a greater reward.

         o The biggest lie we face is that the greater reward lies outside of
the will of God. We seek our reward with urgency. We want it
now. We want the better life and we have to get it ourselves.
There is bitter fruit in that path.

         o Jesus simply believed that the greater reward would be there for

              + I would have despaired had I not believed in the goodness of
the Lord in the land of the living. (Ps 28:7)

               + Moses chose ill treatment from men – looking for the greater
reward (Heb 11:6 and 24-26).