I have asked our JDFI president, Joe Waresak, to write our monthly letter to our constituency. He has chosen to address a topic of great concern to me, the attack against biblical manhood and the resulting societal fallout. We share the same passion on this subject, and I commend his letter to you.
James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
As I write this letter, I stand on the shoulders of the generations of godly men who went before me. I do so with gratitude and respect. These men of conviction built our country's greatness on a foundation of the love for God and family. Yet, in recent decades, the righteous values of our national ancestry have waned, and many men have forsaken their sacred honor. The consequences have been devastating. If there was ever a time in history when good men must regain their spiritual footing, the time is now.
Dr. Dobson heralded a stern and prophetic warning in his book, Bringing Up Boys, as it relates to the crisis that faces the institution of the family, this nation, and the next generation of men.
Historically, when the family begins to unravel in a given culture, everything from the effectiveness of government to the general welfare of the people is adversely impacted. This is precisely what is happening to us today. The family is being buffeted and undermined by the forces operating around it. Alcoholism, pornography, gambling, infidelity, and other virulent infections have seeped into its bloodstream. "No-fault divorce" is still the law of the land in most states, resulting in thousands of unnecessary family breakups. Clearly, there is trouble on the home front. And as we all know, it is the children who are suffering most from it. In cultures where divorce becomes commonplace or large numbers of men and women choose to live together or copulate without bothering to marry, untold millions of kids are caught in the chaos.
If I may be permitted to offer what will sound like a hyperbole, I believe the future of Western civilization depends on how we handle this present crisis. Why? Because we as parents are raising the next generation of men who will either lead with honor and integrity or abandon every good thing they have inherited. They are the bridges to the future. Nations that are populated largely by immature, immoral, weak-willed, cowardly, and self-indulgent men cannot and will not long endure. These types of men include those who sire and abandon their children; who cheat on their wives; who lie, steal, and covet; who hate their countrymen; and who serve no god but money. That is the direction culture is taking today's boys. We must make the necessary investment to counter these influences and to build within our boys lasting qualities of character, self-discipline, respect for authority, commitment to the truth, a belief in the work ethic, and an unshakable love for Jesus Christ.
What Dr. Dobson is stating is that as goes the man, so goes the family and nation. Yet, in no way, does this lessen the role of a woman. Rather, it speaks to the splendor of God's design for men and women. The sexes, male and female, created in God's image, were made unique in both form and function to complete and complement one another. Men were fashioned by God to be providers and protectors. Tragically, the ideal of biblical manhood has come under an unrelenting attack and things have only exponentially worsened since our founder chairman wrote these weighty words some twenty-two years ago. The liberal institutions of our society and the entertainment world have spoon-fed most of these boys who are presently the younger men of our country with consistent meals of self-indulgence and lies that godly masculinity equates to toxicity. So why are we surprised that many of them have walked away from the love of God and family?
As C.S. Lewis rightfully expressed many decades ago, "We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst."1 Lewis had it right. We are raising a generation of wimpy men who would rather play video games than conquer the glorious challenges and adventures that God has in mind. Playing games cannot be the sum of what constitutes a man. We were created for so much more.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines a wimp as "a weak and cowardly or unadventurous person." When I was growing up, to be called a wimp was a direct slam against one's manliness, and it was not merely a matter of one's strength. Regardless of size or one's physical aptitude, no boy or man alive wants this term to be associated with them, and there's a good reason. There is something God-entrenched deep within the very fiber of our manhood that shouts against the mere idea of mediocrity and yearns for something more. I believe that "more" is God's grand calling for men to reflect His greater glory in who we are and how we live.
Foundational within this God-given quest is the antithesis of being a winsome milquetoast. As men, we are called to be resolved and courageous, and to embrace an undertaking where God directs and wills it. Foremost, as husbands and fathers, we are called to lay our lives down for our families. Men: Our wives and children need to know that we will go to battle for them—regardless of the cost or sacrifice.
Such were the men, dubbed "The Greatest Generation," who lived through The Great Depression and fought in World War II, one of America's most grueling eras. While not perfect, they embodied a moral spirit and a resolve reminiscent of the heroic men and women who sacrificed their very lives to found and build this country; we've all been building our lives upon their blood, sweat, and tears ever since. Sadly, many children today are not taught these historical lessons or the enduring values that made this country what it is today.
I recently came across a speech by President Theodore Roosevelt, titled "The Strenuous Life." Here is an excerpt from that timeless address that is targeted directly at men and is a message, I believe, we desperately need at this time.
"Thank God for the iron in the blood of our fathers, the men who upheld the wisdom of Lincoln, and bore sword or rifle in the armies of Grant! Let us, the children of the men who proved themselves equal to the mighty days, let us, the children of the men who carried the great Civil War to a triumphant conclusion, praise the God of our fathers that the ignoble counsels of peace were rejected; that the suffering and loss, the blackness of sorrow and despair, were unflinchingly faced, and the years of strife endured; for in the end the slave was freed, the Union restored, and the mighty American republic placed once more as a helmeted queen among nations...We of this generation do not have to face a task such as that our fathers faced, but we have our tasks, and woe to us if we fail to perform them!... The work must be done; we cannot escape our responsibility; and if we are worth our salt, we shall be glad of the chance to do the work—glad of the chance to show ourselves equal to one of the great tasks set modern civilization. But let us not deceive ourselves as to the importance of the task. Let us not be misled by vain-glory into underestimating the strain it will put on our powers. Above all, let us, as we value our own self-respect, face the responsibilities with proper seriousness, courage, and high resolve."2
What inspiring words! I pray that we can once again be men with iron in our blood who pursue our duties of manhood with such vigor and resolution.
I've been called radical by some regarding my faith and my work. Yet, when I look at such men as the Apostle Paul, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, my father, and Dr. James Dobson—my life, in comparison, has been a mundane cake walk. I have too often, like others, allowed the world to lull me into a state of slumber and have failed to engage the battle that raged around me. This is true for many men of faith. Instead of courageously leading our families and impacting the culture for Christ, we've become entangled by the world's trite affairs and have stepped off the battlefront. Ashamedly, like King David, some men have deserted our grand calling for a rooftop of self-pleasure.
When it comes right down to it, God has given us a blueprint of manhood through His Word and the life of Jesus Christ. He came on a mission and He calls us to follow His example. His life is the supreme picture of what true manhood looks like. We must emulate Christ as we willingly embrace sacrifice, hardship, diligence, discipline, devotion, honor, duty, valor, and, above all else, a heart that loves what God loves and hates what He hates. It is an uncompromising life that incessantly labors after God-driven results where they matter most.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, martyred for his willingness to fight the evil of Hitler and Nazism head-on, expressed it like this: "When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die."3 At the core of our Christian manhood, is this simple yet profound truth of our faith: our lives are not our own. Men, we're here to serve God, our families and our fellow man. Without this iron-laced truth as a bedrock for the foundation of our lives, our families and this nation will falter.
That's exactly one of the reasons why JDFI exists. We're unwilling to let the godless culture of our day dictate who we are and how we live. That mandate is God's alone. The same applies to what it means to be a man and a woman of God and parenting the next generation for Christ. It also relates to protecting our most vulnerable unborn children and sharing Jesus Christ with as many as we can. For decades, Dr. Dobson has led this battle cry, and we're not about to abandon this God-defined calling. Will you stand with us?
In this great hour of need for our country, especially as it relates to restoring biblical manhood and the Judeo-Christian values that underpin everything in life, JDFI is blessed to have two leading voices in the key areas of culture and policy—The Honorable Michele Bachmann, and Gary Bauer, our Senior Vice President of Public Policy. I am pleased to share that you will be hearing more from them in the coming months.
As we anticipate likely one of the most embattled election years our country has ever faced, JDFI will be undertaking several timely initiatives to expand our policy center and to engage the many cultural issues impacting families today.
I'd like to do something we rarely do as a ministry, and that is to ask for your financial support. The urgency of what's in front of us in 2024 compels me to share with you that JDFI could use your help. We've mentioned in past letters that our financial reserves tied to our budget have dropped considerably this summer. If the Lord has positioned you to give toward our ministry efforts, we will steward your gifts wisely. We have much work to do, and, by God's grace, we will see lives transformed and ignite a revival across our nation. Please join me in praying to this end.
May God bless you and your family as you serve Him.
1 Lewis, C.S., “The Abolition of Man” (New York: Touchstone, 1996), pp. 35–37. Web.
2 Roosevelt, Theodore, “The Strenuous Life,” Speech Before The Hamilton Club, Chicago (April 10, 1899)
3 Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, “The Cost of Discipleship” (Revised Edition), (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1979) pg. 7
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