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?”
- I use the words “manhood” – “a true man” – and “maturity” as equivalent. A mature man will exhibit the character of Jesus Christ residing in him. The same truth is applicable to all people – male or female – a mature individual will stand for truth at all costs “until we … become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » On Campus
Your comments are welcome!
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?
Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!
“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l
Running Time: 40 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
$12.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“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!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)