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The Forerunner

What Is A Real Man?

By Editorial Staff
Published September 1, 1992

Answering Misconceptions about Maleness

By Tom Sirotnak

WHAT IS A REAL MAN? I frequently pose this question to campus audiences as I travel around the country. The standard responses fall into three categories:

1. Physical – Who’s the “Biggest” or “Toughest.”
2. Drinking – Measured by who can chug down a six-pack of beer the fastest.
3. Sexual – Who can “score” the most.

Others add that a real man is someone who does whatever he wants to do, or, a guy who has mastered financial independence. Answers such as these remind me of the proverbial couch potato who has overdosed on too many Rambo movies. None of the above qualities even remotely resembles the image of a true man.

The real standard of manhood is someone who will stand for the truth at all costs.*

I learned the truth of this by first doing the opposite. Striving to find acceptance through the world’s ways, I sought to fulfill the image of the rough, tough macho man.

A chubby, slow, uncoordinated youngster growing up, all I wanted was other kid’s approval. Though often jeered for my slow-footed ways, size worked to my advantage when I started putting my efforts into sports, particularly football. But my red-letter day during elementary school came when I took on the toughest kid in our class.

On the playground, I made this bully mad and he came running full speed in my direction. I didn’t stand up to him; he scared me to death.

When he swung at me, I ducked. His momentum sent him flying over me and as I stood up in the same motion, I caught him with my shoulder. The impact tossed him several feet in the air and he landed flat on his back. Getting up, he shuffled home crying.

Suddenly, I was the new school hero. Though my success was a fluke, I thought, “Hey, look at the acceptance I got through fighting this guy.”

Thus began a violent lifestyle, as I avidly pursued building up my body to become ultra-tough. I thought a man meant someone so physically intimidating that no one would mess with him.

Years later, when I arrived at the University of Southern California, I boasted a 20-inch neck, 20-inch arms and a 54-inch chest. Onlookers gaped when I bench pressed 470 pounds.

I used my physique to land a job as a bouncer in a bar, where I frequently got into brawls. When I got really mean, I rubbed men’s faces up against stucco walls or chain link fences.

I amazed people with my physical stunts. Three times I wrestled bears standing as tall as 7 feet, 4 inches, weighing 650 pounds. When I got drunk, I would knock over wooden stop signs by running into them head first.

I thought I was the ultimate man. One of the few “walk-ons” ever to play defensive tackle for USC, I eventually became team captain. I belonged to a great fraternity and was on my way to earning a marketing degree from one of the nation’s top business schools. Well-liked by my peers, they constantly invited me to parties. Once I won the beer-chugging contest by downing a 16-ounce can in 1.9 seconds.

But I felt empty inside. I did these things to win friends and gain attention. The truth? I felt very unfulfilled. My life was a cover-up for the deep insecurities, fear and failures that haunted me. I wanted to be a man, but I didn’t know how. Despite all my great exploits and campus status, inside I was bankrupt. There was a vacuum inside, one that only God could fill.

As time passed, the void grew wider trough a steady diet of lust, pornography and immoral relationships. I didn’t realize the nature of this sin strips a man of purpose and responsibility. This made me feel even more emasculated.

Ironically, while I was partying away my college years, I called myself a Christian and even belonged to a campus ministry. Finally, when USC made it to the Fiesta Bowl my Senior year in 1982, things began to change.

Upset over the hypocrisy and inconsistencies that plagued me, I wandered the streets of Phoenix and wound up in a Christian gathering. The speaker was former LA Ram and Hall of Fame member Rosey Grier. Seeing through my counterfeit faith, he challenged me to get the sin out of my life.

Rosey preached the next week at USC and introduced me to my current pastor, Phil Bonasso, and Rice Broocks, an evangelist who also spoke that night. Phil and Rice team-preached to me until I saw that I had never understood what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I saw that Jesus was not 100% in control over every area of my life. From studies to athletics, work, social life and family, He must be “Lord of all or not at all.” That’s when I repented and God’s power changed me. The void in my life vanished. For the very first time, I felt like a whole person, a man.

So many people equate being a Christian with a weakling, a wimp. One night while I was peaching on a campus, a student yelled, “Jesus is a crutch!”

I replied, “You’re right. What’s yours? Alcohol? Women? Fame? We are all trusting in something. But will it support your lifestyle or lead you straight to hell? If Christianity is a crutch, then give me two. I desperately need Jesus to guide my life. Without Him, it was headed straight down the tubes. Where is your life headed?”



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Go Stand Speak (DVD)

With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?

Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.

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Massacre of Innocence (DVD)

Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion

This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.

Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.

“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan

Running time: 85 minutes

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

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(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

Just what is Calvinism?

Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?

This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.

Running Time: 257 minutes

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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

Welcome to the Second American Revolution!

This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

$14.95 — ORDER NOW!

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