What does it take to be a “real” man?
You don’t have to be perfect to be a man of God. As Dr. Charles Stanley writes, a man of God is a maturing man, a striving man, a knowledgeable man. And the first step in real manhood is spiritual rebirth.
In Man of God, Dr. Stanley asks and answers questions such as these: What can we learn about manhood from Jesus’s example? How does a true leader allow God to lead him? Why is a godly man “both velvet and steel”? What does it look like to be a provider? What does it mean to lead with sensitivity?
Man of God will challenge and equip you to become a better leader, teacher, father, and husband. What makes a man? The answer starts here.
- Solid Advice To Produce Great Men
Man of God by Charles F. Stanley is a solid yet uninspiring book of advice about being a “real” Man of God and exactly what that means as well as how to become one. There are many chapters of solid, Godly advice that would be very helpful to men of all ages and life situations but it is just lacking that real heart to the material.
I have no previous experience with Charles Stanley , I have listened to his son Andy a few times though, so I didn't know about his personal struggles but I have to agree that this book would have been a lot more powerful and helpful if he did share more from his personal struggles. It is still a good book without the strong personal testimony elements but it is not as good as it could have been.
The narration was good as the fatherly tone of the book was reproduced in the audio and I found it quite easy listening.
This book would be great for men who want sound Christian advice on what it is required of them to become a man of God and truly lead their household or church the way God wants.
This audio book was gifted as a part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. More information can be found about this and other Christian audio books at christianaudio.com.
- Good, but impersonal
There was a rain cloud over my head while I read Man of God by Charles F. Stanley, famous megachurch pastor and former president of the Southern Baptist Conference. Not a literal rain cloud, but an emotional one. The content of the book—a biblical exhortation on being a godly man, husband, and father—is good. It’s nothing new or revolutionary, but it’s good stuff nonetheless. However, the whole book feels forced to me. It feels fake; with none of the pointed challenges, or “gut check” questions you would expect from a book on this subject.
Conversely, there is no familial warmth or joy to found either. There are a few personal stories of Stanley’s interactions with his children when they were young. He has some great advice for fathers, especially the chapters near the end about being open-hearted with your kids and following the leading of Jesus.
However, when he discusses the topics of marital strife and divorce his tone becomes clinical and he shares no personal stories. Stanley’s highly publicized marital strife, with his wife filing for divorce in 1993, again in 1995, and for the final time in 2000, involved years of separation and scandal. To this day, the Stanleys don’t discuss the reasons behind it all, and it’s really none of our business anyway. But how powerful would it be for the famous Charles Stanley to drop the “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” ethos of his generation for just a moment and speak personally to those who are struggling with separation and divorce? An opportunity for powerful ministry via the written word is lost. And, to anyone who is even remotely aware of Stanley’s divorce, he runs the very real risk of coming across like a hypocrite.
Along the same lines, Stanley could also speak personally on the subject of navigating conflict and unmet expectations with your adult children. His son is the equally-famous Andy Stanley, a man I respect greatly. But, sadly, Charles Stanley leaves this stone unturned also. I understand these are probably painful things for him to write about, but how can he write on this subject, advising husbands and fathers, and not share his own struggles?
In all, this is a very well-written book full of great advice. The narration of the audiobook version by Maurice England is also very well done. But because of the perceived lack of vulnerability and honesty on the part of the author, I can’t recommend it. This just isn’t a subject you can write about while keeping your personal life at arm’s length.
Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the Christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.
- Are you a real man?
This book is about the real man. Stanley recounts his experiences in the ministry with women looking for the ideal man. The problem is this: every ideal man is different in interpretation, but scores well with listening, feelings, and being a super-spiritual leader at home. Stanley feels that this is distorted. He believes a real man is beyond that: a man of maturity, responsibility, and of G-d. His description of understanding, acceptance, development, and demonstration shows that every man is falling short in some fashion, regardless of what expectations society places. A real man is a process, a journey.
England provides a voice that jives with the text. His narration is deep and authoritative, matching what I would reasonably expect Stanley to sound like as a result of listening to the text. He aligns himself well, and is easy and clear to understand. Despite all this, England’s approach is so strong that long-term listening is difficult, making this audiobook best broken into small segments. Overall, I would give this three stars. It’s good, not the worst, but also not the best. A softer approach would be more welcomed with the message the author is intending to share.
Disclosure: I was contracted to write an honest review in exchange for a reviewer copy of the product. The opinions stated in this review are solely my own.
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- ...if it wasn't for us, some men would starve...
I am constantly amazed with how many men/guys don’t have a clue. As I get older though I realize that because of depravity and the degradation of our society (2 Timothy 3), I really should not be surprised when a guy says to me, “I am helpless at home, work gives me purpose and meaning…I don’t know how to lead except at work (actual recent conversation).” We live in a wake of misguided men a recent author stated. We are also in a culture the reminds men how far we fall short on a regular basis. To the rescue, Charles Stanley takes this tender topic with much wisdom and experience, fills it with heavy application on how to lead your family and what it means to allow God to lead you.
I have been a Charles Stanley listener for many years (and to his son, Andy, as well). There is definitely an evidence of God’s grace upon the men of that family! Both have differing gifts and both passionate for Christ! The narrator especially brought out the material versus being distracted by the audio. This topic is very interesting to me as I realize how far I have to go in my daily worship and missional work. It challenged me to learn about manhood from Christ’s example. I was inspired be both velvet and steel and I was enlightened about being more sensitive and compassionate to others in the circles of my life. Although I did have to listen 2x in its entirety, I was challenge to re-think through the material with the excellent questions sprinkled throughout the material.
Charles Stanley does hold my attention, but I did giggle a few times about the dichotomous difference between what Andy is talking about and the ‘many lists’ and ‘10 steps to…’ or ‘5 ways to…’ that is one of the differences between their styles, of which one could say was presented in a cohesive and yet appealing manner. I just remember my days of countless hours of Charles Stanley sermon audios in the late nights over 10yrs ago. I have also watched him a few times on Christian TV channels, and of course watching him from afar through his public divorce and seeing how his life DID reflect repentance, this is an apt fruit of that work. I was pleased to listen more to the what the bible had to say versus psychobabble which is so prevalent in much church teaching today. Other reviewers said they thought that scripture was sparse, but I would ‘push back’ on that as I hear it saturated with creation-fall-redemption-restoration narratives and references. Sometimes there is a temptation when reading/listening to Christian works (done it myself) to skim/skip over the scripture while our heart says arrogantly, ‘yeah I already know that’ and dismiss it as basic and preliminary. If you really need chunks of scripture in a book other than the Bible (which your probably not reading either), then I don’t know how to answer that about this work, because there was much scripture to meditate on which is also missing in so much of today’s ‘How-To’ works. I would recommend this to ANY man at any stage of life even non-believer's (because hark… Charles says that none of this …the book… is possible without the gospel and there is a clear presentation of such) would benefit from this audio. I am also glad this is not another ‘beating up on men’ work, which is the other extreme to avoid as well.
- Something Missing...
I found Man of God by Charles Stanley to be a little lacking...
Ok. I know that all of those Charles Stanley fans out there are probably trying to figure out my address so they can go throw eggs at my house. Please don't misunderstand me. I love Charles Stanley as well. I first began to understand many of the things to do with God while listening to his voice on cassette while I was working third shift janitorial at a mall. I got a glimpse at what a good television preacher could be like while watching him wave that giant, floppy, heavily used Bible. I could tell there was a passion for this Great God that we serve when I heard his voice. This isn't an anti-Charles Stanley sort of review. All I am saying is that I found it a bit lacking.
Now, it was full, chock-full of excellent, godly advice. Bits of wisdom from years in the ministry. Every bit of it was definitely valuable, and I wouldn't have a problem recommending it to any young father or young husband. I especially enjoyed the second chapter where he broke down the elements of a "man of steel" and a "man of velvet". A true man of God is a combination of these two, pictured in the man Jesus.
But I still found it lacking.
Scripture felt a bit sparse... Definitely not absent, just sparse. It might be because I have grown accustomed to books that break down passages of scripture and tie these daily realities and applications back into the grander reality of the great narrative of God and the gospel. I kept waiting for that, but it never came.
He highlighted all of the important realities to being God's man. Most importantly the need for true salvation as the basis for true manhood was driven home near the conclusion of the book. But much of the book was a bit more like listening to a godly grandfather give advice. (Which definitely not a bad thing. Good godly advice from grandfathers is invaluable.) The voice talent on this book added to the grandfatherly feel. He sounded like a wise-old-guru of a gentleman.
Was it a good book? Yes. Did it leave me wanting more? Yes, but not more of the book, more of what wasn't in the book.
- A good book for a struggling father or husband
This review, by Dr. Nicholson, has been provided courtesy of Desert Bible Institute www.desertbibleinstitute.com.
There are a number of positive qualities to Charles Stanley's new book Man of God: Leading Your Family by Allowing God to Lead You. Perhaps one of the most notable traits is how he is able to pick a topic, or metaphor, and carry it through an entire chapter. This gives his book a continuity that is attractive to most men. For example, in his chapter "Man of Steel and Velvet" Stanley explores how a man should be like steel in the first half of the chapter and like velvet in the second half. Additionally, Stanley offers a great deal of scriptural support and incorporates it into what he is saying smoothly and with practiced ease. This provides the Christian reader with a constant confirmation that what is being said is biblical and not simply rehashed secular thought presented by a well-known pastor.
Another striking element of Stanley's writing is that he asks the reader questions. This not only improves the tone of the writing, making it sound more like a discussion than a lecture, but helps men think introspectively about the various issues Stanley is addressing. This is paralleled by Stanley's simple point-by-point breakdown followed by a list of suggestions and/or examples for the reader to think about. This highly organized, interactive style will prove attractive to most male readers. Finally, Stanley presents himself as a fallible father and husband. This honest, realistic approach should engender trust and defuse resistance in his readers.
There are a few elements however that could be points of frustration in this book. First, the narrator seems to announce, or perform, more than he shares with the reader. This seems to run contrary to the natural, conversational tone that Stanley was going for. Furthermore, while the structure is advantageous to the novice reader, it can come off as a little formulaic to the more experienced reader. By the end of the book, I was becoming nostalgic for the days of Confronting Casual Christianity and other books by Stanley that were hard hitting and provocative but every bit as helpful and biblical as this book.
In the end, this is a good book for struggling husbands and fathers. There are also the occasional points of thought for the more successful father. Moreover, I would suggest this book to those people in the church who are counseling men and families but lack a formal education. This is an excellent starting point and could prove a good resource for men before their first counseling session. This is a good book even if it doesn't live up to Stanley's work from the 80s and the 90s.
Trent Nicholson, Ph.D., D.Min.
Desert Bible Institute, President
Dr. Nicholson is a member of the christianaudio review program. To learn more, visit their website at: www.christianaudio.com.