My agonizing journey through the wilderness of addiction in years past prompted me to read numerous books on masculinity. What a hodgepodge of ideas and speculations! Some proved more helpful than others. Never have I felt comfortable turning to one as the resource for our Oxford Club for men, until now.
Upon reading Richard Phillips’ The Masculine Mandate: God’s Calling to Men (Reformation Trust, 2009, 175 pages) just a couple of months ago, I felt immediately impressed that this book definitely warranted our attention as men at Orlando Grace.
Among other reasons, the book’s biblical and theological integrity struck me as remarkably unique compared to a good bit of what comes off evangelical publishing presses in our day and age. One reviewer, commenting for Discerning Reader, commented that it contains enough Scripture nearly to pass for a commentary!
The reviewer further notes:
What is the masculine mandate? Phillips says that, “Rather than following the American stereotype of cold, macho masculinity, Christian men should seek to grow in their ability genuinely to bless others.” He points to this mandate in Genesis chapter 2, which “shows that God created man for a purpose. God ordained that Adam would bear His image both in his person and in his work, and God put Adam in the world to work it and keep it—to be a cultivator and a protector.”
Men today, like Adam in Genesis chapter 2, are called to “work” and “keep.” “God put Adam in the garden ‘to work it and keep it’ and the only difference between Adam’s calling and ours lies in the details of how we seek to fulfill it.” What are some of the areas where men are called to be workers and keepers? The author concentrates on five: employment, marriage, children, friends, and the church.
Men have the responsibility to work hard to glorify God through employment. They are to be good husbands, loving their wife “as Christ loved the church.” They are to be godly fathers who both disciple and discipline their children. They are to be friends to the men whom God has put in their lives. And they are to serve and lead in the church.
Oxford Club resumes on January 8, 2011 at 7 AM at the church office. Newcomers to our band of brothers are most certainly welcome. We bring our own breakfast. We end promptly at 9.
You can secure a copy of our new book from the resource table any Sunday this month for a mere $7.50 or whatever you can afford.
Let me know you plan to come and I will send you a copy of a self-study guide to help prepare you for our discussion.
Pray with me that God works in the men of OGC to shape us according to a God-honoring masculine mandate that causes us to heed His calling as men in every sphere of our lives!