Lou Whitworth summarizes the key points of Stu Weber’s book on this subject. He explalins that biblical masculinity is lived out in four aspects of a man’s life, king, warrior, mentor, and friend. Understanding these aspects can aid us in living a Christian life that fully emulates the life of Christ sharing Him with the world around us.
This article is also available in Spanish.
Stu Weber, in his book, Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart: Bringing Strength into Balance,(1) states that biblical masculinity rests on four pillars. The four pillars represent the four major facets of a man’s life; these aspects of masculinity are: king, warrior, mentor, and friend. Weber believes that when all four “pillars” are balanced, peace and tranquility will prevail in our marriages, our families, our churches, and in the community and the nation. These institutions rest on the balanced pillars of biblical manhood, and they all collapse when the pillars lean out of balance. The major problems our society faces, for example, are the result of many men having one or more of their personal pillars out of balance–leaning one way or the other. For some men, the pillars have fallen down.
As we look at our society, it is clear that we are in trouble. Some of the pillars are leaning, and others have fallen down. It takes four sturdy, balanced pillars to hold up a building. “It takes four pillars to make a man. . . . who will bear the weight, stand against the elements, and hold one small civilization [a home] intact in a world that would like nothing better than to tear it down.”(2)
Why is our civilization falling down around us? Because there is a war going on. The war of political correctness is part of it; sexual politics is part of it too, but it is larger than these. It is a war against the image of God. Listen as Weber draws a bead on the issue:
Gender is primarily an issue of theology. And theology is the most foundational of all the sciences. Gender is at the heart of creation. Gender is tied to the image of God. Gender is central to the glory of God. And that is precisely why the armies of hell are throwing themselves into this particular battle with such concentrated frenzy.(3)
Remember that God created mankind as male and female to be His image in the world. Thus, there is no better way to attack God and His creation or to destroy His relationship with mankind than to deface the image of God.(4) “Satan’s effectiveness in destroying God’s image through male-female alienation, by whatever means, has been incalculably costly to the human race.”(5) This is where the current battle rages.
The first pillars started to wobble a long time ago. In the Garden of Eden, Adam began as a four-pillared man. But he disobeyed God and blamed Eve. Then the first pillar fell, and the remaining ones were weakened or compromised. For the first time enmity and tension came into his relationship with Eve. Since then there has always been the potential of strife between the sexes. In recent years there has been a concerted effort to blur gender distinctives. But blurring gender differences results in disintegration, disorientation, destruction, and death. No society that persists at it will survive. The answer is to return to the instruction book, the Bible.
The purpose of Weber’s book is to point the way for men to become all they should be biblically so that they and their wives and children can flourish in an often hostile world. Weber writes:
What kind of man builds a civilization, a small civilization that outlives him? What kind of man has shoulders broad enough to build upon? A four-pillared man:
A man of vision and character . . . a King.
A man of strength and power . . . a Warrior.
A man of faith and wisdom . . . a Mentor.
A man of heart and love . . . a Friend.(6)
Man as Shepherd-King
In Stu Weber’s new book, Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart, the “first pillar” represents the kingly aspect of man’s nature.
The king, as pictured by Weber, is a Shepherd-king. This figure is modeled after Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings, who sometimes spoke of himself as the Good Shepherd. The first pillar in Weber’s book, therefore, is the pillar of the Shepherd-King who combines the position of a king with the heart of a shepherd.
Weber’s key thought about the king or shepherd-king is that he is a provider, though it is a very broad conception of provision. If we say, “He is a good provider,” we mean, “He makes a good living,” or meets the physical needs of the family. The meaning here, however, is that the shepherd-king looks out for all the needs of his flock–emotional, physical, social, spiritual. The kingly man is looking ahead and planning for ways to meet tomorrow’s needs as well as today’s. His has a vision to provide the resources for the needs of his family.
Among the minimum requirements of the Shepherd-king is work to do that provides for the family. He works hard at whatever it is and stays with it. The work may not be exciting or glamorous, but he shoulders the load and provides for the little flock God has entrusted to him. His wife may work for paycheck; she may even make more than he does, but no matter what she does, the obligation and the burden of provision is his, to see that it is done.
Another major duty of the shepherd-king is to provide direction for the family. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”(7) A shepherd-king points the way for his flock, followers, and his family. To lead or set the pace, one doesn’t need to be a master of every skill or field of knowledge. For example, Lee Iacocca doesn’t need to be a great mechanic; he can hire the best. What he does best is set the policies, give the company direction, and make sure the infrastructure is in place to make the automobiles. In the same way, the man with a king’s heart doesn’t have to know everything, but he is expected to set the tone, the boundaries, and point the way for the flock.
The king in a man cares deeply about every aspect of his family. He models by actions and words biblical standards of behavior. He is gracious and just. He shows justice, mercy, and honor to everyone he meets.
A shepherd-king never abandons his flock. To do so is to violate the most basic ingredient of his calling to—protect. To abandon one’s flock is cowardice, the equivalent of desertion in time of war.
The shepherd-king figure could also be called the servant-king. This is based on Christ’s service to his disciples.
If the king pillar is not in balance, it leans to one extreme or another. He becomes either a tyrant who uses his strength to force people to do his bidding, or an abdicator who is weak, passive, or absent (whether in fact or in effect). Such a man’s kingdom is filled with disorder, chaos, family dysfunction, or oppression. When the king pillar is in balance in a man’s life, harmony and tranquility are possible in the home and the community.
Next, we will discuss the second pillar which represents the warrior aspect of man’s makeup.
Man as Warrior
The primary duty of the warrior is to defend and guard his flock. Though he is primarily a protector of his family, he is also the protector of his church, the wider community or nation, and the weak and powerless.
The author’s models for the warrior are Christ and David. Weber reminds us of the passage in Revelation 19 in which Christ, as a knight riding a white horse, leads the armies of heaven into battle. David was a bold and courageous fighter, but was also a man after God’s own heart.
The warrior in a godly man doesn’t love war. But, because he is a man of high moral standards and principles, he is willing to live by those principles and moral standards, spend himself for them, and, if necessary, die for them.
The warrior is not a popular figure in today’s society. This attitude is understandable, particularly from those who have experienced life around men whose warrior pillar has leaned toward the brute. Women and children need to be protected from such men by faithful warriors whose lives are in balance.
Though the concern many have about the strong side of man’s nature (king, warrior) is understandable to a degree, it can’t be wished away. Someone once remarked that when most men are soft, a few hard men will rule. The reality is that the warrior is here to stay. So, the answer is not to deny the fact, but to channel the warrior energy to constructive ends.
The warrior in a man can be a great asset, but if the pillar of the warrior is out of balance, the situation can become disastrous. Consequently, the warrior must be under the authority of God because his energy needs to be focused, and the Holy Spirit must be allowed full control over his mind, soul, and body.
There is no such thing as a soldier or warrior without a line of authority. Even if no specific orders are in effect, every soldier is under the authority of what is called “general orders,” such as: “walk your post,” “be alert,” “remain on station until relieved,” etc. In a similar manner all Christian men are under general orders from the Lord of Hosts. We are “to spend time with the Lord,” “to love our wives at all costs,” “to bring up our children to know and honor God,” and “to be involved in the local church.” God’s warrior is not a mercenary; he is under God’s authority. God’s warrior remains on call. Oh, sure, he takes some needed rest and recreation, but at the first sign of need or danger, he reports for duty. He never becomes passive or careless during on his watch. On or off duty, he is alert for any threat to his flock.
A warrior’s life is full of sacrifice; he is called to sacrifice himself for his wife, his children, his church, the spiritually lost, and the weak and helpless. He sometimes finds it necessary to sacrifice his popularity by saying and doing the hard things that others won’t say. On the other hand, the godly warrior has a heart of mercy for the weak and the helpless. The price of being a warrior is high, but the rewards are great.
The third pillar represents the mentoring role inherent in a balanced man’s nature.
Man as Mentor
The primary function of the mentor is to teach. Weber’s key concept is that the mentor has something valuable (i.e., life wisdom) that is important to pass on to others. That process can be as formal and conscious as a Bible scholar instructing a seminary class of eager young men. Or, it can be as informal and unconscious as the ongoing presence of an older, more experienced man working beside a boy or a younger man. Said another way, mentoring can take the form of modeling over time (even a lifetime), instinctive coaching (at appropriate times), or systematic teaching (at scheduled times). Jesus, for example, used all three methods of mentoring.
The mentor’s core characteristic is the fact that he communicates transparently with the person he is mentoring. He imparts himself and his knowledge without undue self-consciousness. In other words, he is transparent enough to share his successes, and even his failures, if these experiences will edify his students. If a mentor fails to pass on the baton of knowledge or wisdom, then he has not succeeded in his role.
Weber emphatically believes that there is a mentor in every man’s heart; that is, the potential for mentoring is inherent within us. Many men, however, are nervous about this and feel unqualified. But, in reality, we are all involved in mentoring already in one way or another, whether we realize it or not.
Mentoring is basically passing on the secrets of life: lessons from our life experiences. The purpose of mentoring is straightforward: mentoring builds men who understand life and pass their knowledge on to others. The attitude and posture of a good mentor is quite transferable to others because mentoring has its own built in process of duplication. In other words, when it is done well it is very duplicatable because it has already been modeled by the mentor. The expression, “It’s easier caught than taught,” can apply here. The goal of mentoring is to advance an ever increasing network of mentored mentors who will keep passing on their life wisdom to others. It helps us understand why Jesus spent so much time with 12 men, doesn’t it? He apparently thought that mentoring a group of men was the most productive way of leaving a lasting and ongoing legacy. The fact that His message has spread to most areas of the globe and has persisted for 2000 years illustrates that He was correct.
It should be an encouragement to comprehend that God can use both the good and the bad experiences from our lives to help others. And, we all have a measure of wisdom and experience to share. However, just because we are capable of mentoring at some level just as we are, we should not conclude that we can’t or shouldn’t try to improve as mentors. One of the primary ways for us to improve as mentors is to grow in our knowledge of the Bible. When our life experiences are filtered through a deep knowledge of the Bible and a life lived for Christ, then our mentoring potential is greatly enhanced. The consequence of vast networks of men mentoring others who will in turn mentor others can change the world.
Finally, we will look at man’s role as friend to other men. This is the fourth pillar.
Man as Friend
The primary function of a friend is “to connect,” that is, to link hearts. Someone is a true friend if that person loves to connect, or to link one heart, with another. A true friend is one who, in spite of his own needs at the time, connects deliberately with another who has a need or a burden. He doesn’t just connect when it’s convenient and he feels like it. If a man is unable or unwilling to connect, he has failed in his primary duty as a friend.
To truly connect in deep friendship or to minister to hurting people, we must be not be afraid of a rich variety of emotions—whether they be the emotions of others or our own. It is just here that many men have difficulty. We can usually express anger, but other emotions are tougher. Weber believes that allowing (notice the word) himself to weep (in appropriate situations) was a milestone in his life. He suggests that many men need to be able to weep and to express other emotions as well. In fact, it appears that for many men, allowing themselves to weep breaks up the emotional logjam in their lives and gives them a new sense of freedom. Follow the author’s thoughts as he explains how he felt after witnessing the birth of his youngest son:
For the first time in my memory, I wept uncontrollably. . . . Me? Crying in front of people? Stu Weber, the football captain. The Airborne Ranger. The Green Beret trooper. The man. Bawling like a kid? Oh, I had cried before somewhere along the line. . . . But this was different. New. There was no shame, and there was lots of connection.(8)
He goes on to add:
And I have to admit something else. . . . Emotions are such a great gift from God. And after a lifetime of stuffing them for athletic, military, and “manly” purposes, I love them.(9)
He sides against what he calls emotionalism, but calls for men to learn to express and enjoy real emotions. As an older soldier, with nothing left to prove, he could finally face his humanity and embrace the honest, clean emotions that earlier he had always stifled. If we do so, our ability to connect as a true friend will be greatly enhanced.
Man’s Best Friend
Men need friends, but many American men have only acquaintances and no close friends. Thankfully, there is already a Friend out there looking for us, the Ultimate Friend, Jesus Christ. No discussion of friendship, then, would be complete without referring to Him. Our Ultimate Friend has been trying to connect with us, because He wants a relationship with us. Even the best human friend will disappoint us and let us down, but once connected with us, the Lord will never leave us or forsake us.
If our relationship with the Lord were dependent on our own steadfastness, then we’d have a reason to fear. Fortunately, the Lord who sought us can keep us safe because nothing can steal us from the Lord’s hand (John 10:29).
There is, my friend, somewhere down inside you, the power to connect. There is in every man’s chest a friend, and emotionally connecting friend. Find yours. Unchain him. And find life on a richer level than you’d ever dreamed possible.(10)
1. Stu Weber, Four Pillars of A Man’s Heart: Bringing Strength into Balance (Sisters, Ore.:Multnomah, 1997), 13.
2. Ibid., 13.
3. Ibid., 39.
4. Ibid., (Halverson, cited in Four Pillars, p. 39)
5. Ibid, Halverson, 40.
6. Weber, 13.
7. Joshua 24:15
8. Weber, 229.
10. Ibid., 237.
©1998 Probe Ministries.