on March 16, 2012
Just finished reading Kingdom Man (kindle version) by Tony Evans. It was a book that I pulled a few ideas from for my sermon this past weekend at Revolution Church on "Marriage & Men."
One of the driving forces of Revolution Church from day one has been to challenge men to step up to the plate and be the men God has called and created them to be. Dr. Evans gets it right, you can trace many of the problems and issues in our culture back to the home and absence of men.
Here are a few stats:
-70% of all prisoners come from fatherless homes.
-80% of all rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes.
-71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
-63% of all teen suicides occur in homes where the father was either abusive or absent.
-Virtually every adult social pathology has been linked to either fatherless homes or homes with a father and/or husband who was absent, abusive, or neglectful.
In this book, Dr. Evans looks at this problem, but unlike many authors he doesn't stay at the problem He quickly moves to the solution, and that's what the book is about. He traces the biblical story, how men are created to lead, have dominion under God's authority. The reality that we see in Genesis 3 and then in Romans 5 is that men are primarily responsible for what happens on their watch. They are given primary responsibility for their families, to lead them well. As Dr. Evans says, "As a man, you are ultimately responsible for those within your domain." The concept of domain or dominion is important and easy to misunderstand. The biblical concept of dominion, or rule, is neither a dictatorship nor a posture of domination, but rather it entails exercising legitimate authority under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Legitimate authority entails all that God provides for and permits a man to do, but not all that a man wishes to do. Dr. Evans is calling men to fulfill their biblical calling, step up to the plate and lead and oversee as God has called them to do.
Here are a few things that jumped out from the book:
-A kingdom man is the kind of man that when his feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, "Oh crap, he's up!"
-When a kingdom man steps out his door each day, heaven, earth, and hell take notice. When he protects the woman under his care, she can do little to resist him. His children look to him with confidence. Other men look to him as someone to emulate. His church calls on him for strength and leadership. He is a preserver of culture and a champion of society to keep out evil and usher in good. -A kingdom man understands that God never said a godly life would be easy, He just said it would be worth it.
-If you are man, like it or not, you are a leader by position. It could be that you are a horrible one by practice, but by position, you have been called to lead.
-Every area of life should feel the impact of a kingdom man's presence.
-Any man who blames his wife for the chaos in his home without simultaneously accepting responsibility for addressing it is publicly declaring his lack of biblical manhood.
-Pornography use is one of the greatest indicators that a man has lost touch with his own manhood since he has to piggyback on the intimacy of others.
-When a kingdom man rules his realm well, everyone benefits.
-As a man, when you have demonstrated to a woman, children, or people within your sphere of influence that you are dependable, responsible, and that you take ownership to fix, solve, or simply carry the burden of that which cannot be solved, you have freed them to rest. You have freed them to relax because they know that they can trust the man who has proven to them through past actions that he's got it.
-If a man is out of alignment with God's prescription for kingdom manhood, it not only messes him up, but it can also mess up anyone or everyone else who comes into contact with him, especially if they fall under his authority.
-Being a kingdom man involves exercising authority and responsibility along with wisdom and compassion. A kingdom man intentionally aligns his life, choices, thoughts, and actions under the lordship of Jesus Christ.
-While it is the rare woman who will admit her age, it has become the rare man who will act his age.
-What woman wants to be intimate with someone whom she has to clean up after, wake up for church, and babysit. Her rationale is that if he can be a man in bed, then why can't he be a man in the living room, at the office, with the finances, as a father, or in the marital relationship?
-Headship isn't about essence or being; it is about function.
-Headship and covering work both ways. A man covers a woman because Christ covers a man. To hold a woman accountable to something that you yourself are not willing to do is a double standard, and it is one of the major reasons that cause the breakdown of the family. If a man is expecting a woman to be answerable to him, she should see him modeling that same principle by being answerable to God's headship as well.
-A husband is to be his wife's savior in the sense that he sacrifices his life for her well-being.
-Along with being your wife's savior, a husband is to sanctify his wife.
-To sanctify something means to set it apart as special and unique. A man sanctifies his wife over time through discipling her and providing a place where she is safe to grow and develop into the creation God made her to be.
-A kingdom husband satisfies his wife.
-The first step to learning how to satisfy your wife is in understanding her. Study her. Get to know her. Find out what makes her tick, what motivates her, and what inspires her. Discover what her dreams are and how they connect with your own.
-The time you spend with your family as a man should never be a second thought. It should always be your first thought.
While there are more and more books on what biblical manhood is, this one hits it on the mark. Definitely worth picking up if as a man you are struggling to figure out how to lead your family well.
on April 4, 2012
We Do Need Kingdom Men
We need a focus on charging men to take their Biblical responsibility as such seriously. Tony Evans takes this seriously and for that I'm glad. He begins by setting the stage,
The impact of lowered standards leaves its scars no matter what race, income bracket, or community a person is in. The outcomes may be different depending on the location, but they are just as devastating. Promiscuity, emptiness, depression, chronic irresponsibility, family breakup, misuse of finances, divorce, violence, chemical addiction. overeating, indulgence, bankruptcy, low self-esteem, and general aimlessness plague our society as a direct result of the abuse or neglect of biblical manhood. (p. 2)
I've never read any of his other books but it seems we share the same foundation of a complementarian understanding of men/women relationships. However, I fear in Kingdom Man that masculinity is confused with athletic prowess. I love sports but many men don't and for those men may find relating to Tony's message difficult because his favorite metaphor is athletics. Even for a guy like me who loves sports, the analogies wore me out by the end of the book. We have to do a better job communicating what true manhood is without falling back on sports as our primary analogy. Often I would argue that professional athletics have contributed heavily to the abuse that Tony is arguing against.
Kingdom Man is broken up into three parts which each build upon each other. In Part 1 ("The Formation of a Kingdom Man"), Tony begins by establishing the basis for his kingdom theology. He argues for the need of kingdom men to focus and glorify God (an emphasis throughout the book which I found refreshing see p. 6). There's also a strong emphasis on being great and fulfilling our destinies of being great for God.
In Part 2 ("The Foundation of a Kingdom Man"), Tony delves into how we exercise our rule and authority. He rightly reminds men we rule under God and often delegate responsibility and the need for an ezer (help-meet). The final chapters in the this section to are dedicated to examining the dominion covenant (name it and claim it).
In Part 3 ("The Function of a Kingdom Man"), Tony structures these final four chapters around Psalm 128. He applies the theology he has developed in the previous chapters to a kingdom man's personal life, family life, church life, and community life.
A Call to Greatness or Self-Help?
In Part 1 ("The Formation of a Kingdom Man"), a lot the practical advise ended up veering too much into the self-help category. In my estimation, this confusion could have been resolved with a more robust connection to the gospel and the person of Jesus. For instance, Tony says
Whether we are comfortable enough to admit it in spiritual circles, men want to be great.
I'll admit it; I don"t mind--I want to be great.
And if you were brutally honest, I would be bet that you also want to be great.
But what may surprise you, and what I would suggest, is that far from what we often hear in the biblical teaching on servanthood and humility is that God wants you to be great as well.
Not only does God want you to be great in His Kingdom, but He has destined you for it. (p. 38)
This concept is supported with some squishy exegesis (pp. 40-44 especially the discussion of John 14:12 and Matthew 20:25-26). I was glad when Tony cautioned "Men, what you never want to do in your desires to be great is to try to steal or usurp God's glory (p. 40).
My number one disappointment with Kingdom Man was the lack of direct connection with the gospel. When Paul talks about biblical manhood, headship, and submission, he always connects it back to the created order (which Tony does) and then to the gospel in Jesus (which Tony doesn't at least not explicitly).
The Dominion Covenant: Naming For God's Kingdom
At the root in developing the dominion covenant or what Tony calls naming (p. 108) is bad exegesis. He begins by examining the story of Adam naming the animals and then looks at the significance of names given to people in the Old Testament (pp. 109-10). He then recommends "to think in terms of your divinely given authority and responsibility. Take hold of creation; grab the piece of creation that God has for you to name" (p. 113). There's a logical leap made--because God had Adam name animals at creation that we should name things within the spiritual realm of our authority. Tony shares this anecdote,
I remember driving by this property one day and deciding to to pull my car right up in front of the vacant and now run-down building. Years passed since God had put it on my heart that this building was going to be used for His glory. So while looking at the building, I said, "God, I name that. I name this entire place for the good of others and your glory. We don't have the money for it right now, but God, hold it for us. Because I name it in Jesus' name." (p. 114)
He then goes on to explain that the Spirit laid the story of Joshua treading around Jericho and so he tread over the entire property naming it for Jesus. I was glad when he guarded against using this theology for personal gain:
It's important, though, to realize that naming does not mean claiming anything and everything you want. Neither is naming something solely for your personal benefit. Naming--like everything man is supposed to do--is always toed to God's glory and the expansion of His kingdom. (p. 115)
I was very grateful for his focus on the glory of God as the end. However, this much needed warning doesn't discount the fact the foundation for the practice of naming is on shaky exegetical ground. We dare not presumptuously claiming anything except the promises of God. We must be faithful in claiming these and only these.
For the reasons stated above, I can't give Kingdom Man a full-throttled endorsement. There was too much poor exegesis/theology mixed in with a right message (men need to step up). Biblical manhood is important and I'm glad Dr. Tony Evans understands this but I wish there a clearer connection with the gospel and also less of a mixed bag theology.
on April 20, 2012
Some of the thoughts in Kingdom Man are hard to face. I had to look at my own life, and instead of blaming the state of our country on others ... the dreaded "THEM" .. I have to accept responsibility for MY poor decisions and MY less than admirable actions as well, I'm part of the problem ... imagine that!!
My thoughts are: Dr. Evans approaches some touchy topics we as Men have ... with the compassion needed, but also the Manly force needed to pry open my eyes and make me see what I sometimes would prefer to pretend is not there ... in ME.
If you read this book as a Man, and it does not change you in some way .. for the better .. I would be surprised.
For any Women, who might be frightened, or put off in any way, by the thought of a Man acting like a Man ... please understand that a "Kingdom Man" as Dr. Evans describes is a Woman's greatest ally in this world ...
I'm not done growing into a Kingdom Man .. but at least I'm trying more now.
on March 6, 2012
Bought this book to see if it would make a good men's bible study book. It's excellent! Good encouragement for men. We will defiantly be using it in a men's small group study. I highly recommend it.
on March 26, 2012
What a strong desire God has given Tony Evans for the hearts of men! Men who function under the submission of Jesus Christ. Men who desire for what God desires. Trusting Christ alone for salvation. Mediating on God's strength and love. Tony takes theology and talks like a coach. He puts God's Word in a context in which men can relate and spiritually digest.
As a reviewer, this book echoed themes from other recently published books: The Circle Maker, The 21-Day Dad Challenge, The Book of Man, and Why Men Hate Church. Also, the movie Courageous. This book encourages God to be the source men draw from in spiritual battles. The race set before us is not for wimps. And as Christ intended, men are spiritual warriors and a covering for their families. Knowing about God is crucially important for conducting our lives. Men can not disregard God's plan.
I found Mr. Evan's testimony about his father (through out the book) encouraging. God does not want us to do life alone. This book also calls out mentors to shepherd the next generation. Jesus calls men to learn from him.
This book is for our home libraries to refer to often and for our sons as they become men.
I received this book free for an honest review from Tyndale publishing.
on September 14, 2015
i bought this book as i am going through a family crisis in my life. i've made mistakes, i was not the best husband, father, son, brother, Christian man i could be. I ordered this book in July when my wife of 5yrs love of 8 years walked out the door with our 3 beautiful children. i didnt know what to do. i didnt know how to get her back. Most importantly i didnt know where to start in correcting my mistakes. I do not have the awesome success story that movies are made of. But this book is a sincere wake up call to all Men of Faith out there. This book is a gift from GOD to set me up on solid ground as i walk in faith in with him. I am working on rebuilding my life one day at a time and I now have the strong burning desire to be nothing more than a True Kingdom Man of GOD. I dont know where my future lies with my family but i trust that GOD is always on time. At the young age of 31 i've seen my share of pain. This book will help to ensure that with GOD on my side i will not see more pain in the future. Whatever you are going through or if you are simply to improve yourself as a man. This book is a must read!
on April 17, 2012
Title: Kingdom Man
Author: Tony Evans
Publisher: Focus on the Family
Note: I received a complimentary copy for review from Tyndale Publishers Blogger Network.
Some might wonder why a book written for men by a man is being read and reviewed by a woman. Others might think there is no problem, and I am sure some just want to know about the book regardless of who read and wrote the review. I have one son who wants to read books written by men for men; he isn't particularly wild for any serious books written by women for men. While I may not understand why he is like that, I accept him as he is and know it is important for men to speak to men, especially about topics that we as women frankly know little about. We might have head knowledge to share, but the make-up of a man is so different than that of a woman.
I have heard of Pastor Evans, especially about his speaking, many times from my husband who enjoys listening to his teaching. For me, I have other teachers I prefer to listen to. However, I wanted to read this book to see what the pastor was encouraging men to do as well as exhorting them to live out. Plus sometimes reading a book such as this gives me new ideas for how to pray specifically for my husband and sons.
Contrary to other books I have read, this is a fresh as well as much needed exhortation for men. However, Pastor Evans goes on to show why he places these challenges before men. Pastor Evans then takes it a step further by showing how decisions made by men affect themselves, families, churches, communities, even nations as a whole. While most of us can't see how a man not being a prayer warrior affects the prior list, we can certainly see the cumulative result in our society today. How about the challenge of leading the family in alignment with the Word of God instead of society's ideas? We can't see how one individual's choice may change the big picture. We see how society is lacking today for want of strong male leaders.
Recently we saw what I consider an excellent example of a strong male leader, Rick Santorum. Though he was running for the Republican ticket to be a candidate for the presidency, he laid that down for the good of his family due to the severe illness of his daughter. Rick put his family before all of his aspirations for presidency. He is a witness we can pray for, thank, and remember. Tony Evans challenges the church to become more involved in disciplining men within congregations. Tony shows how this apparent lack of discipleship affects every area of life. Woven throughout the pages of this book, Tony shares how his father's actions impacted him as well as his brother to become the men they are today. Tony brings to the pages of this book clear memories that helped him make wiser decisions as a man, husband, father, friend, pastor, etc...
I pray that men don't just read this book, but The Book, the Bible. Tony challenges men to read and put feet to what they learn from the Bible as well. I hope women read this book too so that we can pray more effectively for the men we love be they husbands, boyfriends, brothers, siblings, whatever. The rating of this book is 4-½ stars out of 5. Read and enjoy!
on March 25, 2012
Too many men, including myself, believe they are a good man however that is not according to God. When does a man stop comparing himself to other men and start comparing to the standards of God? Kingdom Man sets the bar high for all men according to God's standards. It puts every man in check and shows them biblically how to be a better man, a Kingdom Man. Tony Evans gives great examples on how to be a Kingdom Man in your house as a husband and father, in your church and in your community. My advice is to take it seriously and take notes along the way. Use the book as a reference in the area you want to focus on to begin with. A Kingdom Man is a man that the devil says oh no when he awakes and starts his day. A Kingdom Man is a man who gets respect because his presence and trust in God demands it. A Kingdom Man knows God and how to pray to God. A Kingdom Man is man that God uses to fulfill His purpose through. Are you a Kingdom Man? Read Kingdom Man and find out if you are and if you aren't immediately apply the principles of the Bible and in the book to your life to become one. This is not an easy task but it is worth it.
on May 6, 2012
This is one of the best books, other than the Holy Bible, to help a man to be the man God has called him to be. I have purchased a copy of this book for each of my adult children. I want my sons and sons-in-law to know how to be Godly men, and I want my daughters to recognize a Godly man when they see one. Thank you Dr. Evans for writing this book!
on June 1, 2012
In this approachable book weighing in just over 200 pages, author Dr. Tony Evans seeks to help men step up out of apathy and into their God-given role as leaders and, well, men. Written in the same vein as Wild at Heart by John Eldridge, Evans takes issue with who men tend to be these days--staid, meek, and devoid of passion for either God, their families, and their world. He envisions a world in which men lead courageously and boldly towards a Kingdom vision of life. He fleshes out what he means by that in 15 chapters divided into three parts: The Formation of a Kingdom Man, The Foundation of a Kingdom Man, and The Function of a Kingdom Man (Psalm 128). Evans seeks to set down a challenge and call to men to man up, as well as a feasible path with which to get there. I found that Evans struck a nice balance between the conceptual framework for "Kingdom" manhood and the concrete path that one must follow to get there. Unfortunately, other than that I really didn't have much to rave about in this book.
Before I get any further, I should probably make it clear that I don't have any prior experience with Tony Evans. I've never listened to his sermons or read any of his previous books. I received this one as a gift and while I know that I shouldn't judge a book by its cover, I was immediately turned off by the picture of a big, burly man lifting his arm in a "I'm throwing an imaginary football" pose while near-angelic light glows around his shoulders. I suppose I'm not really the type of man that Tony Evans was really writing to, which became even more evident as I began to read the beginning. After reading the first few pages, I kept asking myself, okay, he's doing a good job of pumping guys up, but can we please get past the endless football analogies and begin to talk about something substantive?
I was disappointed to find that he doesn't really move past them until the third section of the book where in chapter 10 he discusses the implications of kingdom manhood on personal, family, church, and community life.
I know that who I am as a person affects how I read a book, and so it's important for you to know that I'm a quiet academic thinker. I'm a vegetarian who was born and raised in a liberal county, and now I'm a college pastor at a conservative Baptist church. I don't enjoy watching sports (seriously, not even a little bit), and I don't even know the rules of football. I recognize that this puts me in a rather unique (one might say odd) niche in society, and that most people do enjoy sports and get them enough that a sports analogy in a book like this would be a helpful illustration of a more abstract concept. However, I must say that personally it was at best very difficult for me to make it through. As a confession, I skimmed the first parts until I finally got past the quarterbacks and first downs to the theology. Therefore, the remainder of this review will focus exclusively on the last part where he lays down the critical elements of his thesis.
In discussing his own path towards manhood and the role of his father in his life, Evans does great work in illuminating what he believes a kingdom man is. He strives to draw men into a biblical understanding of who they are and who they were meant to be and what they were meant to do. Reading like an impassioned sermon, Evans clearly is writing to inspire men to new levels of greatness. Using Psalm 128 as a structure and a guide for the remaining chapters, he paints a picture of what it would mean to be a kingdom man in personal life, a godly husband and father in family life, an active, loving member of a local church, and salt and light in the surrounding community. For the most part, he does a pretty good job of showing his readers what a kingdom man looks like and why his arguments bare biblical weight.
I was disappointed to find, however, that Evans seems ultimately to be preaching more about a specific Christian/'Merican cultural manifestation of biblical manhood and not something that was more broadly applicable. I can say with near 100% certainty that men similar to myself would never buy this book, because we just don't fit into that culture. I'm not implying that it's bad to write a book to a specific demographic, but the danger is when that specific demographic becomes "the way" to be a man. My understanding of biblical manhood has nothing to do with football, hunting, or republicanism. I'm not condemning any of those things, I just think there's a difference between personal persuasions and cogent masculinity. Sorry, Old Spice man. I disagree with you.
I know that this review is pretty negative, but I want to clarify that I don't think it's all bad. Despite my un-enjoyment of it and my concern at some points, I think that it could be helpful to some men in certain situations. I can't think of anyone I'd recommend it to, but that's not saying I wouldn't but that I'd be very careful and cautious in doing so. Evans gives some great encouragement and motivation to be a better man, but his idea of what that means is a little narrower than what I read from Scripture.
For what I consider to be a more scripturally sound overview of biblical manhood, check out the core beliefs of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Their description is, I think, much more culturally abstracted.