The Masculine Mandate: God’s Calling to Men by Richard D. Phillips
- Kindle: 174 pages
- Publisher: Reformation Trust
- Date Published: 2010
Point: God has called all men, from the Garden of Eden to suburbs of Minneapolis, to work and keep. This refers not only to the land, but also to the hearts and lives of individuals.
Path: Part one begins by explaining Genes 2:15. Phillips outlines the mission given by God to man – to work and keep. This is possible and necessary because of man’s position as God’s image bearer and representative over creation. The second section (roughly two-thirds of the book) is comprised of the practical outworking of this mandate in marriage, work, parenting, friendship, and the church.
Sources: John Calvin, Diedrich Bonhoeffer, and Eric Alexander are referenced along side of Ted Tripp and Kent Hughes.
Agreement: This is a helpful, quasi-topical look at manhood. His principles are biblical. His examples are helpful. His rebukes are fair (I appreciated the fact that he explains the error of “Wild at Heart”).
Disagreement: Some disagree with the translation, “work and keep” thinking that it should be “worship and obey” (see Sailhammer). I don’t follow this interpretation, but there is a group out there who does.
I disagree with various comments he makes concerning singleness. Though God’s plan for humanity includes marriage, something which is very good, it is not his plan for every human. A single person can be godly, growing, and useful in the work of the ministry by the grace of God – just as a married person can be godly, growing, and useful. The end goal is not marriage, it is Christ-conformity.
Personal App: Am I actively working and keeping? Can this be seen in my marriage, family, church, friendships, and workplace? Where I am I resisting the Spirit and the Word?
Favorite Quote: “Indeed, this is what modern and postmodern masculinity has been all about – men behaving like little boys forever, serving themselves in the name of self-discovery” (9).
Stars: 4 out of 5
It would be worth another read and I would recommend it.
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