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Review: 7 Men by Eric Metaxas

The Author
I have never met Eric Metaxas. My first encounter with the writing of Eric Metaxas was the result of a conversation with a friend who informed me someone had written a biography of my favorite theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Reading Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas was an incredible experience for me. It reads well like a story should yet somehow does not compromise fact for fictional enrichment. What an impressive writer! Within a day of finishing it, someone told me Metaxas had spoken at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier in the year. In this speech he embodied a new image for me of what a christian in the public square could look like. His story further reinforced my hope that there is a guy out there trying to follow Christ and influence others by doing so. Look no further than his Socrates in the City to see the fruit of his efforts. Talk about a ‘must attend’ evening I hope to be a part of someday. This latest book, 7 Men, shows a new angle in his work that I am grateful for. He leverages his storytelling to influence a generation of men who desperately need a change of direction. He moves from writer to minister in these pages and I couldn’t be more grateful for his work here in this regard. In the next couple of paragraphs you’ll see why i like the book. but I wanted you to at least encounter the man behind them whose work is serving as an inspiration to me.

The Book
Metaxas could continue on his skyrocketing authorial career without writing this book. The introduction to this book alone puts himself out on the ledge with those he is trying to influence. At first glance it appears to be a series of short biographies of influential people, which would be worth the read knowing the author’s savvy with a story. But this is one of those books where you really must read the introduction. Here he lays out his concern about the plight of manhood and his belief in the need for heroes and role models for young men. We cannot simply be told how to be a man, Metaxas says, we must see manhood in action. So, we get the stories of seven men whose greatness is marked by how they embodied a manhood we can emulate. This manhood is the God-honoring, others first, humble and courageous posture every man should aspire to. This manhood, he says, is ultimately embodied in Jesus Christ. Metaxas makes a point not to paint romanticized portraits of these men acknowledging their imperfections and struggles along their journeys. Yet these men saw frost’s two paths and each time took the one they believed was in obedience to God himself. And the rest…is history.

I believe this is something missing in christian ‘manhood’ material today. I agree with Metaxas that our young men need role models to follow. A 12 year old son of a fellow pastor here is reading  7 Men for exactly that reason. If my sons were older than 5, I’d be doing the same with them. Perhaps the best thing to do with this book after reading it and giving it to another man to read, is to do for others what he is trying to do for us. Let us give younger men role models and heroes they can aspire to follow. Let us choose obedience to Christ, let us choose courage, let us choose others over ourselves and let us do it all with the joy of one who has found meaning and hope in Christ. Let us point younger men to the Christ we follow.

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