For decades researchers, statisticians and pollsters have been charting the decline of men within the church and Christianity. Many suggest that Christianity is not drawing in men or keeping the ones who grow up in it. For others, there is the charge that Christianity is too masculine. Just read books like Wild At Heart by John Eldredge and The Masculine Mandate by Richard Phillips and you will get quite a different take on what masculinity looks like from a Christian perspective.
Recent on the scene of books helping men see themselves as God desires them to be is The Hard Corps: Combat Training for the Man of God by Dai Hankey. Dai is a man who was saved from a life of sin and is now a church planter and a married man with four kids. Dai has a desire to reach the men of this generation with the love of Christ and show them that God has a plan for their lives. The Hard Corps came out of a sermon series he preached through 2 Samuel 23 on the mighty men of David with the desire to show men what Christian masculinity looks like.
This book has some great things going for it. The graphics are eye catching with various military paraphernalia like knives, can-tines and gross looking military food splattered throughout the chapters. Dai has a way with words which probably comes from his rapping abilities and he sprinkles a bit of guy-only talk in there making the book a guy only read for sure. He does a good job trying to tie the various warriors mention in 2 Samuel 23 with Jesus. from this he also ties in the various OT characters and the lessons learned into the NT as well. The discussion questions at the end of each chapter are solid and thought provoking and make the book useful for a small group to use (GUYS ONLY!). You can tell Dai has a heart for men and making Scripture real to them.
As much as there are some great qualities about the book there is one aspect I found to be unconvincing. In Dai’s effort to bring the text to bear on men he seems to make some exegetical and hermeneutical jumps to do so. In several places I felt great liberties were taken to draw out meaning and application from the little detail that was given in the text. I realize some of these OT passages are hard to get practical meaning from but sometimes there just isn’t any – and that’s ok. Some passages are just there to record certain things whose meaning fits into the broader narrative of redemptive history. It’s not that the application was unbiblical but I just didn’t see some of it having a basis in the passage discussed.
All in all, The Hard Corps is a fine book to be used with a biblical message. God wants and needs men to advance His kingdom and Jesus is the supreme example to follow. Dai has a gift that he is using to reach men for Christ and that is to be commended. Check out this book trailer:
NOTE: I received this book for free from The Good Book Company through Cross Focused Reviews in return for an honest review. I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review and the views expressed are my own.