You hear a lot of theories tossed about in the media to explain why our culture has suffered such a steep moral decline – things like economic pressures, a lack of educational opportunities, etc., etc.
I’m sure each, in their own way, plays a role. But there’s one factor that I believe is consistently overlooked: the poor state of manhood.
The impact on our society is undeniable. Children from fatherless homes perform more poorly in reading, spelling, and math. They’re also more likely to have to repeat a grade, to drop out of high school, or to never finish their college education. The percentage of children from fatherless homes who end up in prison is quite high as well. And that’s just a snapshot from the data.
Virtually every sociological measurement points to the fact that a wide swath of the adult male population is missing in action. Forty percent of children born today in the United States are born without a father in the home. In the African-American community, that number is 72 percent.
Men – true men – are disappearing. As Dr. Tony Evans describes it, “Manhood has become like the Abominable Snowman: there are footprints everywhere, but the men are nowhere to be found.”
Dr. Evans says the problem lies in the “hoods.” A significant portion of those in malehood are stuck in boyhood and are failing to reach manhood.
Malehood simply describes all those of the male gender. Every male enters life via boyhood. By definition, boyhood is a state of immaturity and irresponsibility. It’s a time of growth. Or it should be. By the time a boy reaches manhood he ought to be able to take care of himself and provide for others.
But all too often that isn’t happening. Why?
First of all, manhood is poorly defined. Our secular society typically defines it in terms of a man’s occupation, the prestige of his career, or the amount of his wealth. But once you redefine God’s design for manhood, the dominoes of negative consequences quickly start to fall.
Millions of boys now grow up without a man in their lives who lives out true masculinity in front of them and teaches them how to be a man who pursues God. They’re not growing into men who, by their example, influence the important people around them to a better way of life.
What would a society whose men are pursuing God with all of their hearts and minds look like?
Dr. Evans answers that question by describing how God has divided His creation into four categories – the individual, the family, the church, and society – and explaining how each impacts the others.
It works like this: A man striving to live out biblical manhood makes God the foundation for how he conducts himself toward others and how he makes his decisions.
That behavior positively influences his family. First Corinthians 11:3 describes the chain of authority in the home: the woman is the beneficiary of the man’s leadership, but the man, in turn, is accountable to Christ. In other words, it should be visible to the woman that the same submission her husband is asking of her, he’s giving to God. That’s why a wife living with a man under God’s authority will be much more willing to respond to her husband’s leadership because he’s responding to God’s rule over him.
Together, a husband and wife’s mutual submission positively influences their children. When children are led by their father with the full support of their mother, it can change the atmosphere of the home.
Then there’s church. Men are called to be in accountable relationships through the church for the advancement of God’s kingdom. Men are meant to submit themselves to a community of other men to answer for their manhood. If they don’t, they’re allowed to define manhood any way they want to, rather than submitting to how God has defined it. A key role of the church is to disciple men.
Finally, there’s the culture. Boys (and, really, girls, too) need the positive influence of biblical manhood. Men are to influence their own children, but their impact should be strong enough to impact other young people as well, like their kids’ friends, children within their church, or even kids in the neighborhood.
Our culture needs true men, and on yesterday’s and today’s radio program, Understanding Biblical Manhood, Dr. Tony Evans helps us understand the biblical path for growing boys into true manhood. You’ll hear a full discussion about what biblical manhood is, how our culture has stripped our homes of men, the impact on our daughters, the benefit to wives of real men, and more.
Dr. Evans is the founder and senior pastor at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas. They started in 1976 with 10 people in their living room. Now their weekly attendance is over 10,000… in a different location, of course. Dr. Evans has been a great friend of Focus on the Family for many years, and I believe you’ll be inspired by what he has to say.