The War on Men - Part 2 (Transcript)

Dr. James Dobson: Well, hello everyone. I'm James Dobson and you're listening to Family Talk, a listener supported ministry. In fact, thank you so much for being part of that support for James Dobson Family Institute.

Roger Marsh: Welcome back to Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh. And as we look around at the world today, we see that men are struggling more in today's culture than ever before. They are definitely under attack. And on today's program, we're going to hear the conclusion of a powerful conversation that will help us to take a look at what men have been up against and what God's design for masculinity truly is. Joining us again on the program is our co-host Gary Bauer and his special guest Dr. Owen Strachan.

Dr. Owen Strachan is provost and research professor of theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He's also a senior fellow with the Family Research Council as well. Dr. Strachan earned his Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is the author of several books. You may recall a couple of years ago he joined Dr. Dobson for a conversation on his book Christianity and Wokeness. Well, his newly released book is entitled, The War on Men: Why Society Hates Them and Why We Need Them. Dr. Strachan and his wife, Bethany, have three children they are raising together and what a blessing that is for both of them.

Our co-host, Gary Bauer, is the senior vice president of public policy here at the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute. He's also the host of the Defending Faith, Family and Freedom Podcast here at the JDFI. So without further ado, let's join co-host Gary Bauer and his guest Dr. Owen Strachan right here, right now on Family Talk.

Gary Bauer: You've mentioned in the book, and I've heard you talk about it in some of the interviews, one of these horrible shootings, I believe it was the one in Texas where we saw two examples of manhood. One unfortunately among the law enforcement officers that were called to the school and what they did, and then another example of one single man who acted completely different. Could you share that with us? I thought that was a powerful explanation of the two models.

Dr. Owen Strachan: Yes, that's very well framed. There's two models of manhood today that are very much active in the public square, and the first is the one we've been mapping in terms of ideology that trains men to think that they're God-given natural wiring and instincts toward aggression, toward action, toward stepping in when there's a crisis, all of that is bad and all of that is penalized. And we saw that literally a year ago in Uvalde, Texas where there was a young man, a disaffected young man. Have we not heard this story tragically so many times in the last 20 years? Is anybody paying attention to this? This is an epidemic.

When these shootings happen, by the way, our media says, "See, this is what happens when young men are strong, when they're told to be traditional." The exact opposite is true because the second form of manhood we saw in Uvalde was this strong man, Jacob Albarado, who heard about the public shooting at the school, grabbed a shotgun while getting a haircut and ran into the school, defying numerous orders along the way. And so you have soft manhood on the one hand, where these men strapped up with deadly force in their hands, waited for almost an hour outside the school doing nothing and risking nothing. And then you had strong manhood on the other side where this one guy who isn't even supposed to be at the scene runs into the school, saves many lives.

And I think that is a perfect picture of gender ideology today, and its absolutely horrific effects if men have the masculinity extracted from their neck, if men are medicated, as you talked about some minutes ago, such that their God-given aggressiveness in an appropriate form that has to be shepherded and trained is taken from them, we are not in a safer place. Everyone is in a far more dangerous place.

Gary Bauer: So you referred to this in the book as the heroes test, which worldview produces heroes and it seems pretty clear there was the incident on this subway in New York sometime in the last year where unfortunately there was somebody that appeared very threatening. There were older people in the subway, there were women on the subway, and one man in particular, I believe he was a former military guy, physically confronted the threatening individual. Unfortunately, the threatening individual ended up dying. But the message of that whole terrible incident was it wasn't a terrible thing to be a man threatening people on the subway. It was a terrible thing being a man that subdued him because look what you ended up doing. And yet I think most older people, most women, most children, if they saw somebody like that on a subway or on the streets, would find comfort if they saw nearby a normal man.

Dr. Owen Strachan: Absolutely they would. And this is one of those lines in the sand where people are either going to wake up to the reality that this new ideology is diabolical or they are not. It is yet another common grace opportunity given by God to this society to see that this ideology is no wisdom, is no truth whatsoever. Because if there are deadly men threatening citizens, strong men need to step up. Of course, there are real risks involved. Of course, things can go badly, but we need men fundamentally who understand that we're actually not strong in ourselves. We need God. But then by God's grace, as God works in our heart, as we are born again and saved, we are sent back into the world to be strong. And none of that means that we push women aside or something. We recognize that women have real gifts and abilities and strengths of their own, and we welcome that.

The woman is called the helper of the man in Genesis 2 because she brings real strengths to the table. But fundamentally, this is exactly the playbook of our woke leftist feminist society that problematizes manhood. It is worse today to take a risk in helping people than it is to sit back and do nothing. And Gary, I don't mean to put this too strongly, but that is a lie of the devil and men should reject it. And this is a line in the sand like men entering little girls' restrooms. It's just another opportunity where there's a ringing bell all around us and you can either wake up to that and say, "Okay, this is too far." As a Christian, you can either say, "All right, I've got to join up with people doing good work against this. I've got to stand against this in love for my neighbor. I've got to oppose this." Or you can just stay silent.

Gary Bauer: You give the example in Texas of how that instinctive courage a man wants to show, that protective concept of protecting the weak, protecting children. On 9/11, the horror of that day, the flight or the event that I'm always astonished by is the flight that takes off from Newark and it's filled with just normal people, a lot of them businessmen, husbands going off to a business trip. There were a number of different kinds of individuals, but they're the first plane where all the passengers understand that America's under attack. And so we've got a big record of what happens on the plane, but what we know is the men on the plane decided they had to stop the hijackers. So these men from all walks of life run down the aisle into the teeth of men armed with box cutters and they bring that plane down. They all perish, but by doing that, they saved the country even more horror, even more evil that our enemies planned for us that day, but didn't happen because those men did a very manly thing.

Dr. Owen Strachan: Absolutely. The mind boggles to think about what those men would think now, 22 years later. How would the public, how would the media receive those men today? But you are completely right. Todd Beamer and others, the Wheaton graduate, they acted in a fundamentally self-sacrificial and courageous way. And that is what calls to a man.

Men do not actually want a quiet, soft, tame, easy life. I mean, we all enjoy comfort to a degree. Don't get me wrong. And that's not necessarily bad. God has given us lots of gifts and blessings in this life. He's filled it with goodness. But fundamentally, men watch adventure movies and war movies to relax. That's what they watch to relax, at least some of the time. You're not watching fairytales. And the reason for that, at least some of the time, is that there is a God-given instinct in a man to want to be ultimately like the ultimate hero, Jesus Christ, who did not choose ease and passivity and comfort, but embrace the call of the wild, embrace the call of the cross and died for sinners and face down the enemy of God's church, the devil. The reason the Son of God appeared, 1 John 3:8, was to destroy the works of the devil. So there is a little common grace whisper in our hearts as men to not go quietly into the darkness, but to strike up a candle and do what we can for the glory of God.

Roger Marsh: You're listening to Family Talk and I'm Roger Marsh. Just jumping in for a brief moment here. From all of us here at the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, we thank you for listening today and for making us a part of your day each and every day. Of course, we are a listener supported Christian radio program and it's because of you and your prayers and your faithful financial support that we're able to bring quality content to you and your family each and every day. Now, to find out more about how you can support the JDFI, visit And we all have a prayer in our heart, so if you have yours you'd like to share, we would love to connect with you and pray with and for you if that's what you need. If you'd like to reach out, simply give us a call at 877-732-6825. That's -877-732-6825. And now, let's return to the program right here on Family Talk.

Gary Bauer: Oh, one of the things we like to do at the James Dobson Family Institute is not only lay out the problem and try to help our listeners and the families that follow Dr. Dobson and have for decades, help them understand what they can do. Now, obviously we all need to be praying for America. We need to be praying for the American family that men and women will rediscover how God meant us to live. But in your own family life, what are you and your wife doing to try to protect your children from the call of the culture, which in so many ways in this area and other areas is so distorted and quite frankly sick.

Dr. Owen Strachan: Yeah, the family is everything. The family is the haven, it's the harbor that God has made. It's the place where children are called to be trained and shaped and it doesn't happen. We need to say this in a week. It happens, it's supposed to through two decades of discipleship and formation and training and forgiveness and a whole heaping helping of love and fun and joy, time in the word together. So my wife and I are right in the thick of that with three kids ages 15, 12, and 9. Girl, boy, girl. Yeah, it's not dull. I'm going to tell you that Gary and I went on this speaking trip that I'm on to the West Coast and I pulled my boy aside for the purposes of our discussion and I said, "Now, I want you to just make sure the doors are locked at night because you got to protect the girls."

Now, my son is technically not a full-fledged, robust adult man in terms of strength, and yet what I'm trying to do is help him understand who he is. Because one thing our culture is right about is that if you get your children to believe this form of identity, all the rest just falls into place. So if our kids embrace a secular pagan form of identity, all the rest falls into place. If on the other hand, God works in my son's heart and my girls' hearts and they understand their identity in biblical terms, in Christian terms, in gospel driven terms, in Christ-centered terms, well then as God works, the rest will fall into place. So with my son, I'm trying to train him to understand, yeah, he's 12, but he's being raised into manhood.

In fact, I'm coaching. I'll say one more little anecdote here. I'm coaching the homeschool basketball team in my community as assistant coach. You may have seen us in the sports center recently. That's a joke. So I'm the 12 under assistant coach. So we really are climbing the ranks here of power, and I said to the boys doing a devotional with them before our practice the other day in Central Arkansas, I said, "Just so you know, you're not boys, you're young men." Now, I'm not saying you can never say boy to them, I don't mean that, but I do mean I want these boys to think of themselves already as becoming a man. And I think if we can do those kind of basic realities, this is no genius program on my part, we start to help our boys and our girls. Same thing with our girls in a significant way.

Gary Bauer: Wow, that's a great story and exactly the kind of thing that parents need to be reminded of, that there are these little things we can do. Telling your son that you're counting on him to protect the home and his mother in your absence, that is a big deal. He'll tell that story someday to maybe his own children. That's a wonderful story, Owen.

The last chapter in the book, I don't know how else to describe it other than that it's almost a call to battle. And I have to admit, I was emotionally moved by it. I didn't cry, Owen, so we're okay on that. But I was emotionally moved by it because you point out that it is a war and that some men will disappear in front of this. They'll go off in one of those bad models that you summarize. But the thing that was so inspiring, and I'll just quote it a little bit here, but I'd like you to say it again in your own words, "There is another group of men who will not go soft. They will not disappear. They will not puff out their chest and live by the flesh. These men will listen to a higher call, the call of Christ to all sinners, men and women alike. These men will become the fifth type of man. They will become against all the odds, strong men."

So why don't you elaborate on that a little bit as we sort of wrap up. It is a war. I think there's a war for America and we're seeing it in so many ways, and the winner of this war gets our kids and gets to teach them what to believe about life and death, love and sex freedom and slavery, a whole bunch of important things. So give us a word to inspire those men that might want to take what now is the counter cultural approach to life and actually be a strong virtuous man.

Dr. Owen Strachan: Yeah, what I'm saying in that last chapter is that honestly, every man fails the test, fails the standard at some level. We're not the strong man. Ultimately, it's only Jesus Christ who can win this battle, and it's only Jesus Christ, just to be very clear, who is going to win this battle. So let everyone be on notice about that out there in the broader world. But while Christ tarries, we are called to be his witnesses as men and women alike. And men are called to lead in this mission and men are called to lead in self-sacrifice. Men are called absolutely the culture is wrong to take risks. Men are called to build things. And a lot of the time we need to understand that we're going to have moments where God rings our bell and we're not getting this all right. And people listening to this, they may hear the call to strength, but they may be not in an ideal situation.

Some men may have marriages that really are in peril. Those marriages may even be crumbling. They may be hanging by a thread. Relationships with children between fathers and sons and daughters may not be in a good place. Men may be struggling economically. Men may want to think about taking their life. This is a show that has a huge reach and a ministry that has a huge reach and I just want us to know that these are not just statistics, these stats you and I have discussed that show that men are struggling greatly, but this is what I want to conclude with in both the book and our conversation. There is hope for men.

Men are not toxic. Men are sinners just like women. And men need Christ, and men need God's grace and men need God's truth. And there is no man too far gone for God. And so that's what I pray men out there and the wreckage of 2023 being told they're toxic, being opposed when they're strong, not knowing what to do in life, in some difficult positions relationally. I want those men to hear that they are not ruined, they are not abandoned, that we are on a search and rescue mission and Jesus is at the head of it. And we are in the business not of hating men or women, but of trying to reach out to fellow sinners and see them remade and reclaimed for the glory of God. That's the mission.

Gary Bauer: That's beautiful, Owen. Well, now, how do we make this book a bestseller list? Where can people find it? And also how can folks connect with you if they might want you to come and speak at their church or at a men's club or whatever it might be.

Dr. Owen Strachan: That's very kind. Thank you, Gary. Thank you for the great questions and discussion. My book is at Amazon, and that's still a great place to go, provided your scruples allow you to do that with some of the mischief Amazon does, so it helps drive things. So the book, The War on Men is at Amazon. It's at Barnes & Noble. Somebody sent me a screenshot of finding it at Barnes & Noble, so that's a wonderful place to buy any good Christian book or conservative book because it shows the bookstore, "Hey, people do buy those books, we should probably stock them even though we don't want to," in some cases. And then I have a podcast now on the Salem Network called Grace and Truth with Owen Strachan, Grace and Truth. So folks can find that. I'm on Twitter lastly, or I guess now it's called X and my handle is @ostrachan.

Gary Bauer: Well, Owen, this was fantastic. I'll be honest with you, I had a packed day today. I'm sure you did too. And I'm thinking, "Boy, I got to make some room for this." In retrospect, I'm sure I'm going to look at the day, and this was probably the most important thing I did today to have this opportunity to talk with you, but more importantly for you to get this message out to young men in America who are desperately searching for meaning and purpose in a country that increasingly seems to be in some ways unwinding. So God bless you for your courage and for your work. Thanks for being with us on Family Talk. And again, Dr. Dobson sends his best and looks forward to the next time that the two of you can get together to talk some of these great issues facing us on Faith, Family and Freedom.

Dr. Owen Strachan: Well, thank you so much. I so appreciate Dr. Dobson. Just a pale little reflection of some of the heroes of days past, the warriors of days past here, and I really appreciate you and the conversation, so thank you very much.

Gary Bauer: Thank you, Owen.

Roger Marsh: Well, I hope you found this conversation between Gary Bauer and his guest, Dr. Owen Strachan, to be encouraging. Please keep the boys and men, young and old in your life in your prayers as they navigate the challenges to be strong, God-led leaders. And men in the world today, remember, you often receive more pressure than praise. So much is being asked of you these days. You're asked to maintain the home, manage the finances, and make every possible effort to raise your family according to Godly values and principles. It definitely is not easy, and you were not meant to do this alone. So here at the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, we have a couple of resources to share with you as we conclude today's program. One of them is our 10-day Straight Talk To Men email series. It's based on Dr. Dobson's best-selling book, Straight Talk To Men, and it'll help you sharpen the tools that God has given you to live your life amidst today's confusing and sometimes broken culture.

Now, to sign up for this 10-day email series, all you have to do is go to That's And by the way, if you're interested in ordering a copy of Dr. Dobson's book, Straight Talk To Men, you'll find that on our website as well at

Well, thanks so much for listening today and all throughout the week and before we part ways for the weekend, I pray that God would continue to richly bless you and your family as you grow deeper in your relationship with him. I'm Roger Marsh, and I pray that God continues to richly bless you and your family all throughout the weekend. Be sure to join us again next time right here for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.

Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.

Dr. James Dobson: How does a father teach character to his sons and daughters?

Roger Marsh: Here's Dr. James Dobson for Family Talk.

Dr. James Dobson: One of the best ways that dad's influence is transmitted is through consistent modeling. Character training is instilled through his demeanor and behavior. Identification with him is a far more efficient teacher than lecturing and scolding and punishing and bribing and cajoling. Children watch their dads intently, noting every minor detail of his behavior and values.

It's probably true in your home too. Your kids will imitate much of what you do. If you blow up regularly and insult your wife, your boys will tend to treat their mother and other females disrespectfully. If you curse or smoke or fight with your coworkers, your children will probably follow suit. If you're selfish or mean or angry, you'll see those characteristics displayed in the next generation. Fortunately, the converse is also true. If you are honest and trustworthy, caring, loving, self-discipline, and God-fearing, your boys will be influenced by those traits as they age. So much depends on what they observe in you for better or worse. Someone said, "I'd rather see a sermon than hear one." There's truth in that statement. Children may not remember what you say at home, but they're usually impacted for life by what you do there.

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