It’s Time to Man Up
On February 23, AD 155, the elderly bishop of Smyrna was taken to the city’s arena to be executed. Charged with the crime of being a Christian, he was allowed one more chance to renounce Christ. When he declined to deny his faith, the crowd shouted for his death. Polycarp died the way he lived, exhibiting strength, bravery, and faithfulness to his King. According to the story handed down to subsequent generations, during his martyrdom a voice from the heavens overwhelmed the crowd’s shouts, saying, “Be strong, Polycarp. Play the man.”
In his new book, Play the Man (Baker Books, $19.99), Mark Batterson challenges today’s Christian men to cultivate virtues and practices which befit their calling as men of God. Moral toughness and resolve, intellectual intensity, will power and self-discipline, a passion for life, and courageous faith are only a few of the virtues Batterson covers as he urges the reader to live as men with whom God is pleased.
Every generation needs Christian men and women who are strong and brave, disciples who will not only speak truth to the powerful but also to their own churches. We need pastors and writers who aren’t afraid to ask tough questions and speak up, even when their message isn’t appreciated. Calling out sin in high places and defying injustice cloaked in laws can be dangerous. Speaking for the voiceless and advocating for the poor and marginalized can be unpopular. We need leaders who are willing, like Polycarp, to pay the price. In days such as these, Batterson’s call to “play the man” is timely indeed. It’s time to man up.
–Darrel Holcombe, Owner
Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts
Colonial Promenade, Alabaster