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The Masculine Mandate: God's Calling to Men Paperback – Import, 31 May 2016
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Egalitarian and chauvinistic thinking have corrupted our ideas about godly manhood. With boldness of heart and pastoral wisdom, Rick Phillips leads us back toward biblical manhood- masculinity grounded in the cultural mandate, the cross, an the ordinary means of grace. May men of the church answer the call of this mandate to stand up and be counted, and to live out their faith courageously as workers, protectors, nurturers, and leaders for Christ.--Eric C. Redmond: Senior Pastor, Reformation Alive Baptist Church, Temple Hills, Md. Author, Where Are All the Brothers? Straight Answers to Men's Questions about the Church
In the face of the widespread confusion in our culture, Rick Phillips lays out the biblical mandate for men to work and keep the world around us. This book carefully avoids stereotypes and legalistic rules, while unfolding with clarity and practical simplicity the biblical vision of men as individuals and in relationships to other men, to our wives and children, and to the church of Jesus Christ. I learned much from this book and look forward to sharing it with my sons.--Iain M. Duguid: Professor of religion Grove City College, Grove City, PA.
About the Author
Richard D. Phillips (M. Div., Westminster Theological Seminary; D. Div., Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary) is senior minister of the Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, S.C., a member of the board and the council of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, a member of the council of the Gospel Coalition, and a member of the board of trustees of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
He is the author of more than twenty-five books, including Jesus the Evangelist, What's So Great about the Doctrines of Grace? and Hebrews in the Reformed Expository Commentary series, for which he serves as coeditor.
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In the first section Phillips starts in Genesis 2 and identifies four essential aspects of a man. First, who man is - he is created by God from the dust of the ground and in His image. Second, where man is - God placed man in the garden. Third, what man is - as mandated by God, man is a lord over creation and God's servant. Fourth, how man obeys God - man obeys God by working and keeping the garden. It is the fourth aspect of man, obedience through work, which Phillips concentrates on during the first section of the book. With Genesis 2:15 as the foundation Phillips says, "We are to devote ourselves to working/building and keeping/protecting everything placed into our charge (pg., 12)." The two concepts of working and keeping are the basis around which God gives man his calling and purpose. Similarly foundational to these concepts is the fact that man was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-17). From this Phillips states the purpose of man,
"Revealing the glory of God to a sin-darkened world so that He will be praised and that lost sinners will be saved by coming to know the Lord. The great purpose of our lives is to reveal the glory and grace of God both by what we do and who we are (pg., 34)."
In the second part Phillips explores how the Masculine Mandate is applied to a man's life. First, there is his marriage as an institution created by God. While discussing the purpose for God's creation of and Eve for Adam, Phillips rightly points out that God did not create her as a "companion" or "mate" but rather a "helper":
"God said Adam needed a "helper" because it places the primary emphasis on the shared mandate to work and keep God's creation under the man's leadership (pg., 58)."
As a helper women are equal as persons and yet God created them with complimentary differences to help in the fulfillment of God's mandate. Phillips emphasizes that men need to pursue women and not just a career. Second, there is his marriage as cured by sin. Phillips aptly notes that when Eve presented the fruit to Adam to eat "he thought he must choose between the woman and God, between the gift (the woman) and the Giver (pg., 68)." The curse has put a strain on marriage but has not diminished its inherent created goodness. Phillips explains that the curse has affected the marriage relationship by God drawing the man "unwholesomely away from the woman, even as God's curse on the woman draws her unwholesomely toward the man (pg., 73)." Third, there is his ministry in his marriage. Drawn from Ephesians 5:26, Phillips challenges men to have a "nurturing ministry of love toward his wife (pg., 83)."
Moving from a man's marriage to his children, Phillips applies the Masculine Mandate to men as nurturers of their hearts towards Christ and keepers of their hearts from sin (pg., 94). A father is to both discipline and disciple his children. Phillips expands these two principles and gives many insightful points of application.
Phillips moves from the family to a man's friendships. He draws from the Biblical friendship of David and Jonathan from I Samuel. To be a manly friend one must be willing to initiate friendship, ask how he can help the other and seek to encourage other men in the faith. Not only is a man to be a friend but he is to be a church-men. Once again applying the creational mandate to "work" Phillips contends that men are to be about the work of the ministry of the church (pg., 131). He is to be a proclaimer and protector of the truth.
Finally, the Masculine Mandate is summed up in his service to the Lord in all areas of his life. While he may retire from his job, he is never to retire in his service to the Lord (pg., 144). He is to be a disciple and disciple-maker as long as he can until the day he dies. He is to see his calling as a gift from God and is to serve the Lord with joy and humility. A man "works" for the Lord so that he can hear Jesus say to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master (Matt. 25:21)."
I strongly recommend this book to all married and to-be married men! It should be read both personally and would give its greatest benefit if it were used as a small group study for men. Read it! Apply it! Share it!
The book neatly takes the reader through a very organized, progression of logic, but always based on Biblical truth. The heart of the book, appropriately, is the three chapters in the middle on marriage. Phillips successfully utilizes sound Biblical logic to demonstrate what logic cannot entirely capture: the astonishing beauty of God's design for marriage.
The reader will also appreciate Phillip's highly accessible, easy-to-read style. I recommend to both men (who hope to grow in obedience to God's plan for men) and women (who hope to find a Godly man as a husband).