The Hard Corps: Combat Training for the Man of God
Epsom, Surrey: The Good Book Company, 2012. Pp. 124. Paper. $12.99.
With thanks to The Good Book Company for this review copy!
The Hard Corps: Combat Training for the Man of God is a rallying cry for men in the church to ready themselves for battle in service of King Jesus. Dai Hankey goes about accomplishing his task through several preparatory “combat training sessions” (which consist of a summary point, a Scripture passage to read, and some questions for reflection) that set the stage for a creative exposition of 2 Samuel 23:8-39, which focuses upon a cast of characters who were all great warriors serving under King David.
Hankey’s keen observations about the bravery, obedience, and faith of these warriors are enough to stir anyone into combat so long as they have a heart to serve. But his equally keen observations about their troubled pasts, their many failures, or their lack of recognition are enough to inspire confidence in those of us who might not feel quite up to the task. All every point Hankey rightly recognizes that spiritual warfare is real and he believes that the man of God needs to be equipped.
When it’s all said and done, this is a book about God’s calling, empowering, and most importantly, his loving-kindness and grace. Hankey’s call to arms is really a call to loving the LORD with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, which manifests itself in our love for others and our obedience to what God asks of us. Being a soldier in the LORD’s army isn’t about physical strength or one’s ability to fight; it’s about recognizing our own weakness and depending on God to get us through every battle.
The creative exposition is supplemented with plenty of personal anecdotes about being a dad, a husband, a DJ, and probably most relatable to most readers, a sinner, which helps to make this book relevant for a wide range of men. Whether you struggle with fear, pride, pornography, apathy, or something else, I’m confident that Hankey has a prophetic word for you. The intended audience seems to be late teen to early 30s given Hankey’s vernacular, which btw, is not affected much by his Welsh accent, but there’s plenty that will be useful to older men as well.
The call to step up and be better sons/brothers/husbands/fathers is timely and welcome. His language can be a little colorful at times (e.g., when he refers to getting kicked in the nuts ), but it’s really no big deal. Still though, parents presenting this to their young boys might want to take this into consideration before doing so. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and would recommend it to the men in my church without hesitation.
Here are a few takeaway quotations:
“…we need to be more than just inspired to live for Jesus. We need to be empowered!” (16)
“Men who don’t look to Jesus will always face defeat, whereas men who are fixated by Jesus fight like they’re unbeatable—because they are!” (19)
“No soldier in the heat of battle ever complained that he had received too much combat training. You can never be too prepared for war. Effective training requires considerable discipline and sacrifice.” (33)
“Do you really want your obituary to read: ‘I got 5,000,000 points while escaping from demon monkeys in Temple Run. Beat that!’?
That’s not a legacy.
That’s a tragedy.” (113)