Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Tender Warrior: God's Intention For a Man (1993) by Stu Weber: Book Review

Tender Warrior: God's Intention For a Man (1993) by Stu Weber

To be honest, it's tough being a man especially in a culture that isn't sure what manhood means. In 2013, a research* have been published by BioMed Central Ltd. about the perception of masculinity in Malaysia by interviewing 34 young Malaysian university men (aged 20–30 years) shows that their ideas of manhood are: "having a good body shape"; "being respected"; "having success with women"; "being a family man"; and "having financial independence." Read those concepts or meanings that they gave again, is that true manhood? No doubt, the meanings (or perceptions of) manhood are subjective but by biblical standard, these ideas are far from the truth. "Manliness – real, God-made, down-in-the-bedrock masculinity – is something men in our culture are scrambling to understand. Tough? Tender? Strong? Sensitive? Fierce? Friendly? Which is it? We're frustrated. Often confused. Sometimes irritable…"

This book asks: What is God's intention for a man? Not society, not religious, not culture. Here Stu introduced the four (4) pillars of masculinity based on the Scriptures (and secular history of man). The Bible is filled with references – both explicit and implicit – to all of these pillars. Stu explains, "All four are both divine and human. In man, they are sometimes unbalanced and abusive. In Christ, they majestically merge in the ultimate Man." The four pillars are King, Warrior, Mentor, and Friend:

#1 King

The king function is clearly central to Scripture's themes. Our God is the King of Kings. His Son, the second Adam, is destined to rule "with all power and authority." Adam, the prototype man, is instructed in the Genesis to "have dominion." The heart of the King is A PROVISIONARY HEART. The king looks ahead, watches over, and provides order, mercy, and justice. He is the authority. He is a leader. The king in a man is "under orders" from higher Authority. "The measure of a man is the spiritual and emotional health of his family. A real provider has a vision for a marriage that bonds deeply, for sons with a character as strong as trees, and for daughters with confidence and deep inner beauty. Without that vision and leadership, a family struggles grope, and may lose its way."

#2 Warrior

The warrior function is equally unmistakable in Scripture. Our God is the Warrior of both Testaments. Gentle Jesus, meek and mild? No! He closes the Bible history on a white war horse, in a blood-spattered robe, with a sword in His mouth and a rod in His hand. In the Book of Narnia, Aslan the King is portrait as "kind but not safe." Roar, not a whimper! The heart of the warrior is A PROTECTIVE HEART. The warrior shields defend, stands between, and guards. "By warrior, I do not mean one who loves war or draws sadistic pleasure from fighting or bloodshed... A warrior is one who possesses high moral standards and holds to high principles. He is willing to live by them, stand for them, spend himself in them, and if necessary die for them. No warrior ever made that more obvious than Jesus of Nazareth." Just look at little boys, will they choose Barbie doll or a toy gun? Even if they only have Barbie doll, they will transform it into a female-fighter!

#3 Mentor

The mentor function is not only modelled through the pages of the Bible, it is explicitly commanded in the form of "teaching them to observe" and "discipling." Our God is the Teacher in whose instruction we "delight." The only Perfect Man was the Discipler of all nations. And men who follow Him are to "teach others also." The heart of the mentor is A TEACHING HEART. The mentor knows. He wants others to know. He models, explains, and trains. He disciple – first his wife and kids, then others. He has a spiritual heart. "Men are supposed to be able to teach life."

#4 Friend

The friend (or "lover") is the function most endearing said Stu. We are drawn to God who defines Himself by it: "God IS love." He insists that the ultimate point of all Scripture centers on loving Him and one another. It is one and the same time the most basic instruction of Scripture and the "new commandment" given to every man. The heart of the friend is A LOVING HEART. It is a care-giving heart. Passionate, yes. But more. Compassionate ("I will be with you"). The friend in a man is a commitment-maker. And a promise-keeper. "Real men stand together. We need to start thinking that way. Real men need one another. Real soldiers love each other."

With these four pillars (King, Warrior, Mentor, and Friend) as foundations to godly manhood, Stu writes how we – men – can become Tender Warriors. He examined Biblical characters, share his own (and those close to him) stories of successes and failures, give examples from historical individuals, making full use of contemporary books and works of literature, and quotes the studies of researchers. My favorite chapters are Chapter 4: Staying Power, Chapter 8: Does Anyone Here Speak ‘Woman'?, Chapter 12: Real Men Stand Together, and Chapter 14: The Ultimate Tender Warrior. I agree wholeheartedly with Ron Mehl when he praises this book: "In the midst of the culture where men desperately grope to understand what it means to be a man, Tender Warrior presents a clearly defined model of Christian manhood, teaching us how to be tender, yet tough – sensitive, yet strong." I closed this book by looking at Jesus Christ, the King, Ultimate Warrior, Perfect Mentor, and Faithful Friend, as my role model of Tender Warrior. Surely, I will read this book once per year! [P.s: This book is very suitable for husbands and fathers. Actually, it was written especially for them. For singles, it's a good preparation and readiness]


Chapter #1 Wake-Up Call: A Man Faces Himself
Chapter #2 The Return of Flint McCullugh: A Man and His Pro-vision
Chapter #3 The Four Pillars of Manhood: A Man and His Roots
Chapter #4 Staying Power: A Man's Greatest Strength
Chapter #5 Beneath the Breastplate: A Man's Tender Side
Chapter #6 Under Orders: A Man and His Leadership
Chapter #7 The Rest of the Story: A Man and His Lady — Part I
Chapter #8 Does Anyone Here Speak "WOMAN"?: A Man and His Lady — Part II
Chapter #9 The Incredible Power of Fathering: A Man and His Children — Part I
Chapter #10 Spanning the Generations: A Man and His Children — Part II
Chapter #11 Arrows in the Hand of a Warrior: A Man and His Children — Part III
Chapter #12 Real Men Stand Together: A Man and His Friends — Part I
Chapter #13 Locking Arms: A Man and His Friends — Part II
Chapter #14 The Ultimate Tender Warrior: A Man and His Lord


Here are few Book Reviews on Manhood, CLICK LINKS to read:

4) The Hidden Value of a Man by Gary Smalley and John Trent (https://richardangelus.blogspot.com/2017/12/book-review-hidden-value-of-man-1992-by.html)

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