NC Family promoted a conference last month in High Point called Stand Courageous, a ministry of Family Research Council (FRC) that “seeks to help men develop a strong biblical character, cultivate positive habits, build and rebuild relationships, and make commitments that will move men closer to God’s good purpose and design.”
The primary speaker and teacher on this was Retired Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin, who now serves as FRC’s Executive Vice President. Lt. Gen. Boykin joins host Traci DeVette Griggs on this week’s episode of Family Policy Matters to discuss the Stand Courageous ministry.
General Boykin explains that FRC started the Stand Courageous ministry in response to “how society has tried to denigrate masculinity” and teach men that “that they’re no different than [women].” But God created men and women differently; “God created them for different purposes and with different skills.”
“We believe that if we can get the men back on track to where they understand their masculinity and they understand that it’s okay to be a masculine man,” continues General Boykin, “so long as it comports with the teachings of the Bible, we believe that will help the country as a whole.”
The Stand Courageous conferences, which take place across the country, are based on five things that, according to General Boykin, men are supposed to be: defenders, providers, battle buddies, instructors, and chaplains.
To learn more about the Stand Courageous ministry, find conferences near you, and take advantage of their numerous resources, visit the Stand Courageous website.
Tune in to Family Policy Matters this week to hear Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin share more about his work with the Stand Courageous ministry.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Thanks for joining us this week for Family Policy Matters. In a bizarre time when even calling someone a man or woman can be politically incorrect, we need more than ever strong men who understand and embrace their unique calling as leaders and defenders. Stand Courageous is a ministry of Family Research Council aimed at helping men become better leaders, husbands, fathers, church members, and citizens as they strive toward biblical manhood.
Retired Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin serves as Family Research Council’s Executive Vice President and a key player in the Stand Courageous ministry. He was one of the original members of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, later commanded the Green Berets, and served as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence before retiring from military service.
General Boykin, welcome to Family Policy Matters.
LT. GEN. JERRY BOYKIN: Well, thank you very much. I’m glad to be on, and I’m certainly glad to be on in my home state.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Alright, welcome back to the Tar Heel state! Tell us why it was so important to start the Stand Courageous ministry.
LT. GEN. JERRY BOYKIN: We here at the Family Research Council, and I individually, have been watching what’s happening to men in America. We’ve watched how society has tried to denigrate masculinity, has tried to give them at best a secondary role in the family and in the society, and how they are being told that they’re no different than a woman. Well, God created them different, and it’s more than just their genitalia. God created them for different purposes and created them with different skills. So, we believe that if we can get the men back on track to where they understand their masculinity and they understand that it’s okay to be a masculine man, so long as it comports with the teachings of the Bible, we believe that will help the country as a whole. If the men get it right, we think the country, as a whole, will get it right.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: You mentioned a shift in our culture’s understanding or view of masculinity. Talk about that a little bit more. What are the shifts that you’ve seen?
LT. GEN. JERRY BOYKIN: The shifts that we’ve seen here are the big lie, and the big lie is that it doesn’t matter what gender you’re born as. You can change that if you choose to do so—that’s a big lie. I mean, that’s probably the biggest lie that we’ve ever promulgated as a nation. So, we also see that the assault on masculinity has become even an academic thing now, where you have colleges and universities teaching “overcoming toxic masculinity.” When you combine the term toxic with masculinity, you are setting America up for failure because masculinity, when practiced according to God’s word, is very important to the health of our society. And it is not being done that way. Right now, there’s an all-out assault on that masculinity, and men are told, essentially, that they are no different than a woman. I think that this is a part of the big lie, and I think that it’s hurting America. It’s hurting our society; it’s hurting our families. It’s causing our families to disintegrate in many ways. I think this is what we are trying to go after and get it back on track.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Well, we mentioned a lot of roles that men play: leaders, husbands, fathers, church members, citizens. Are there certain parts of these roles or certain roles that are most affected by this, what you call the “assault on masculinity”?
LT. GEN. JERRY BOYKIN: Yeah. Our Stand Courageous conferences are based on a book that I wrote called Man to Man, and it outlines five things that a man is supposed to be. A man is supposed to be a defender. He defends what he holds dear. A man is supposed to be a provider. He provides not only the fiscal needs of his family, but he provides an identity; he provides the direction; he provides training. Third thing is a man is a battle buddy: a man needs to be a battle buddy. You know, God says it is not good for man to be alone. You look at some of the greatest stories in the Bible and it was about people like Joshua and Caleb, or David and Jonathan, or Timothy and Paul. So, we know that a man needs another man that he can rely on. So, a man is called to be a battle buddy. Man is called to be an instructor. He is supposed to teach. He’s supposed to understand the world that he lives in like the sons of Issachar. He understands the times, and he’s got to be able to share that. So, a man is an instructor. Finally, a man is a chaplain, and the man has to be a chaplain, not only in his home but also in his community and his circle of friends.
A man has to be ready day in and day out, ready all the time—not just part of the time, but be ready in season and out of season as the Bible says. So, those are the things that we focus on. We are seeing couple of things here. Number one, men are distracted. Men are distracted by things like pornography, gambling, sports, and that type of thing. Those things are taking so much of a man’s time that he’s not spending his time doing what he needs to do as a father and a husband, as a contributing community member.
Then, the other thing that we are seeing is that men are not reading the Bible. Men are not in a routine prayer life. They’ve read the Bible a little here and there. They read it when the pastor reads it on Sunday morning, but they don’t have a routine reading program. That is one of the things that we believe that we need to try and get them excited about is reading the Bible, which is why we put out a two-year read through the Bible program. It’s not overwhelming and it gives them time to contemplate and ponder what they read. If you look at Ephesians 6, the two themes in Ephesians 6—putting on the whole armor of God—are all about reading the word and having a good prayer life. So, those are the sort of the things that we think men are supposed to be and some of the stuff that we’re encountering.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Why do you think it’s important that men recognize that they have a biblical mandate? That there’s a biblical definition of manhood?
LT. GEN. JERRY BOYKIN: Well, because society often gets off on the wrong track. The Bible does not. God’s word never returns void, and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that makes that very clear. So, if a man gets into the word, there comes a point where he’s going to be challenged by different things. But, if he has tucked away the word of God in his heart, he’s going to make the right decisions. He’s going to do the right things because he knows the Word. It’s when you move from how you feel—your heart—to what you know—your head. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get these men set up to where no matter how much they’re feelings might hurt them or fail them, they will ultimately go back to what they know, because they’ve read the word of God.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Talk a little bit more about this concept of being a battle buddy, because I know in our churches we hear a lot about being a good husband and being a good father, but sometimes we don’t hear a lot about being a good friend or an accountability partner.
LT. GEN. JERRY BOYKIN: Yeah, you’ve nailed it. You need a man in your life, and you need to be the man in somebody else’s life. Your battle buddy can come to you or you can go to him. You could say, “I am struggling. I have some fears. I have some apprehensions. I’m dealing with a very difficult situation and I need you to counsel me. I need you to pray for me.” Now, once you tell him that, he is not going to compromise you. That’s a battle buddy. A battle buddy is the one that’ll say, “I’ll pray for you,” and he will. He’ll pray for you. He’ll pray with you right then, and he’ll pray for you. He’ll keep you on his prayer list, and he’s not going to compromise you. He’s not going to go around and tell other people what you’re struggling with. A battle buddy is the one that you can call and say, “Brother, I failed. I have failed, and I don’t know what to do.” The battle buddy’s the one that says, “Confess it.” He’s the one that takes him back to 1 John 1:9, which says: “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all our unrighteousness.” That’s your battle buddy. He’ll be the one that’ll remind you of that. He may be a golf buddy, but just a golfing buddy is not a battle buddy. You need someone that you can be intimate with in terms of your sharing with him your inner thoughts, your hopes and fears and struggles. And he can do the same with you.
A battle buddy is a concept that goes back to the military. When you got a battle buddy in the military, that guy knows where you are. Every minute he’s watching your six. He’s always conscious and aware of where you are. By the way, if you get into a bad situation, your battle buddy is going to be there, and I have seen men do that. I’ve seen men go to rescue their battle buddies and die in the process of doing so, but they never hesitated, never hesitated. I’ve written them up for the Medals of Honor and seen them receive the Medal of Honor because their battle buddies were in jeopardy and they went after them, and it cost them their lives.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: So much of what you’re saying is countercultural these days, isn’t it? What kind of response have you had to this new ministry?
LT. GEN. JERRY BOYKIN: From the men that are part of our ministry that come to our events, it’s been overwhelmingly positive. I mean, I don’t even know of anything negative that’s been said. It has been very, very positive. I think the rest of the world’s not paying attention to us, anyhow. We’ve had at least one comment on a report on Amazon. Somebody wrote a report—they read the book and then wrote a thing about it—and they said, “Don’t let your children get near this. This is toxic masculinity.” Well, that’s exactly what I want to hear from them because it is obviously hitting them right where it hurts. And it is not about toxic masculinity. This is about loving your family, loving your wife, loving your God, and loving the community that you serve in, and the nation that you live in. But we’ve had good, good feedback.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: General Boykin, I hate to say that I am pleasantly surprised to hear you talk about your faith and to hear that you know the Bible the way that you do, having known you more from your work in the army. But, how did that work for you? How did your faith work for you there? I mean, was that something that you were able to just express freely? What was that like for you?
LT. GEN. JERRY BOYKIN: Well, when I came up to the army, there was never any issue with regards to that. I was never in your face, but it was never a problem, but that has all changed now. Since I got out of the army—I’ve been out of the army for almost 15 years—and I will tell you in that 15 years, I’ve watched and the army is changing now because there’s this woke society that is doing everything it can to beat down any notion of a superior being or any notion of the freedom to practice your faith in the military. It’s being beaten down. So, it’s not the same army I was in. The army I was in, I could pray; I could say, “Guys, let me pray for you before you go.” And I think that you’ll find pictures of me doing that. If you read my autobiography, Never Surrender, you’ll find pictures of me standing up praying before we launched operations. So, things are different now.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: So, you mentioned the great conferences that you guys have, the resources. Where can our listeners go to find out more about the Stand Courageous ministry?
LT. GEN. JERRY BOYKIN: Go to “Stand Courageous.” Just look up “Stand Courageous” and you’ll find a website for it. It’s the FRC—Family Research Council—website. Or you can just go to frc.org and you can find Stand Courageous, and it tells you where we’re going to be, and it’s got a lot of stuff in there. What we try to do is, once we’ve had a conference, we try to hold the attention of those men in a variety of ways, not the least of which is weekly devotionals, a monthly phone call with somebody—we’ve had Franklin Graham and Ricky Skaggs—and we’ve had a variety of people that are well known talk to them. Then, we put out coaching videos. We put out all kinds of things to keep their interest up that we believe will help them in their walk with Christ and then in executing their role as a man.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Well, thank you so much, Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin. Thanks for being with us today on Family Policy Matters.
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