Book in Review: "Manhood Restored"

I have been quiet on the blog for the month of March due to a variety of factors (new job/engaged life). Hopefully a book review can get me back on track! Feel free to contact me if you have any ideas for future posts, or would like to write a "guest post" yourself.

Manhood has a problem in our world. It has a problem in our churches. Everywhere we look fatherlessness, sexual infidelity, apathy, selfishness run rampant among men, and things are not getting better either. Eric Mason's book Manhood Restored seeks to provide an answer to this problem: the gospel of Jesus Christ.


Mason begins by describing man's original purpose and function. "Man was made to function like a mirror--something to reflect the image of God into creation. Humanity, made in the image of God, was created to be an earthy representation of who God is." Man was originally was made to represent the glory of the Father. Something went wrong though. The mirror was shattered and we are left picking up the pieces ever since.

But...we were not left there. Mason describes Jesus, the Savior of the world, as the "quintessential man" who conquered death and "has restored all things." He is not only the example of how men should live, but gives us the ability to follow in that example. Though mankind has not yet arrived, men must continue to chase His example with the expectation that one day we will be made like Him.


One thing I thought that Mason hit on very well was the idea that "church" or "Christianity" is soft and feminine. He frequently mourns the disparity between men and women in church attendance. Though this could be due to many different factors Mason responds by saying, "Knowing that (Jesus) got up from the grace after such a savage and brutal martyrdom should make us as men pump our fists in the air in worship. Here before us is a man who was man enough to drink in death and spit out victory." Still think Jesus was feminine? Mason also (in maybe my favorite chapter: Restored Church) urges the church to appeal to men by embracing risk, challenges, and radical objectives--just like our Biblical examples!


As a young man recently engaged myself, I found this book timely and very encouraging. While convicting at parts, grace permeates the pages, emboldening the reader to chase hard after Christ. Mason reminded me that "God never asks us to walk in anything that He hasn't empowered us to do." This is an encouragement that we can cling to in all areas and especially in: sexual purity, leadership, boldness, and risk taking--things that would be impossible in our own power. I also found his points on leading a family most helpful for this time in my life. My main complaint was that his writing seemed a little over structured and lacked a natural flow when going from point to point to sub-point. All in all good book!

Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. (Disclaimer, I have not read the book I am proceeding according to your review) I have always found the argument of a "feminine" church as being a negative trait hard to fully understand. In fact I would argue it needs to become more "feminine". For at least the last 1000 years, if not longer, the church has been one of the most male dominated institutions in the world; and in the history of the United States it has been, almost exclusively a male dominated institution. It is still the same today in many, not all, denominations. The fact that we can still have denominations, and non denominational churches, not allow women to be pastors, elders, or deacons etc. shows we have a ways yet to travel. I was at a church once where all of the pastors, all male, were gone on a particular Sunday leaving no one to preach. One of the church employees, a women, was given the opportunity. But instead of coming out and saying she was going to be preaching/teaching/giving a sermon, she said she "had some thoughts to share with the church". Of course these "thoughts" couldn't be drawn from the Bible directly, heaven forbid a women be teaching; she had to teach on a subject important to the church such as "connecting". When the church gets to the point where this kind of sh** happens we are in a depressing situation.

      P.S. Congrats on the wedding! :)
      -Ben Sauers

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  2. Hi Ben. I believe what the author meant was that church today is often portrayed as: safe, family friendly, and devoid of risk. Are these characteristics feminine? I am not sure, but the book of Acts/underground church around the world seem to give a different narrative of what church should be about. As far as your negative comments regarding male dominance in churches--this seems due to a disagreement with the interpretation of 1 Timothy 2. My youngest sister feels very strongly about this topic--and it is not on the side you would think. lol.

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  3. I know he is using the term as a euphemism, I just think it is ironic and to some degree degrading.

    As far as 1 Timothy, I am not pretending to be a theological scholar but if that is how some interpret the passage maybe we should not listen to Paul. A little provocative.

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    1. A little? I am no theological scholar either, but to be willing to disassociate the teachings of Paul from the rest of Scripture would be a far more serious matter than what was discussed above. I hope that is not what you meant.

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    2. I guess my ideas of what the Bible is and what it is supposed to be have morphed over the last 2 years. The problems, that to me, seem to be ever present in the Bible are the real reason for that change(the Timothy passage is one of many). It is a longer conversation then can be had using this medium. But because of these thoughts and ideas I have a hard time when I hear Christians lament about how the church has become too feminine or soft etc.

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  4. Thank You for that insightful review of "Manhood Restored". I base book purchases primarily on reviews and the review of this book helps. Comments in this section have strayed a bit from the review of the book so I will take the liberty to provide another input on the role of women in the church and home.

    I have been married for 52 years to a wonderful women who from the onset understood and cherished her role within the context of the local church and home. She has sensed complete fulfillment (and says so) in her role and absolutely loves for her husband (me) to take spiritual leadership. Most women who follow this biblical pattern will unequivocally state that they want their husbands to be the spiritual leader in most all aspects of a marriage and including leadership in the local church.

    Having said that here is the biblical pattern. Yes, women played a significant part in the early Christian church (Acts 1:12–14; 9:36–42; 16:13–15; 17:1–4, 10–12; 18:1–2, 18, 24–28; Rom. 16; 1 Cor. 16:19; 2 Tim. 1:5; 4:19), but not one of leadership. The apostles were all men; the chief missionary activity was done by men; the writing of the New Testament was the work of men; and leadership in the churches was entrusted to men.

    The Apostle Paul respected women and worked side by side with them for the furtherance of the gospel (Rom. 16; Phil. 4:3), yet,he appointed no female elders or pastors. In his letters, he urged that men were to be the leaders in the church and that women were not to teach or exercise authority over men (1 Tim. 2:12). Therefore, although women are spiritual equals with men and the ministry of women is essential to the body of Christ, women are excluded from leadership over men in the church.

    Men and women stand as equals before God, both bearing the image of God Himself. However, without making one inferior to the other, God calls upon both men and women to fulfill the roles and responsibilities specifically designed for them, a pattern that can be seen even in the Godhead (1 Cor. 11:3). In fulfilling the divinely given roles taught in the New Testament, women are able to realize their full potential because they are following the plan of their own Creator and Designer. Only in obedience to Him and His design will women truly be able, in the fullest sense, to give glory to God.

    While Christian marriage is to involve mutual love and submission between two believers (Eph. 5:21), four passages in the New Testament expressly give to wives the responsibility to submit to their husbands (Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:1). This voluntary submission of one equal to another is an expression of love for God and a desire to follow His design as revealed in His Word. It is never pictured as demeaning or in any way diminishing the wife’s equality. Rather the husband is called to love his wife sacrificially as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25) and to serve as the leader in a relationship of two equals.

    While husbands and fathers have been given the primary responsibility for the leadership of their children (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21; 1 Tim. 3:4–5), wives and mothers are urged to be “workers at home” (Titus 2:5), meaning managers of the household. Their home and their children are to be their priority, in contrast to the world’s emphasis today on careers and fulltime jobs for women outside the home. May sound a bit old fashioned. But..........I can say that following this biblical pattern has been a tremendous source of blessing in these past 52 years for my wife and I. We look forward to many more.

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  5. Dick, I think you make some good points. All of which I know and I am sure any person who has been involved in a conservative church will know as well. They are well circulated. A women's role in marriage is to be at home, managing the house. A man's role is to lead. The problem with this is it is so entangled within an American cultural framework that it makes it very difficult, more so then many people will admit, to proceed. I can't help but think if we are talking about the same Paul. The Paul that said it is better NOT to marry, but if you must go ahead. American Christians have built the ethos of Christianity almost inseparably around the household/family. The reality is this is a very new idea within the larger context of Christianity. In fact for at least the first 1500 years of Christianity the family, or marriage, did not play a central role for a theological understanding of Christianity. If we really take Paul seriously it is only natural to come to the same conclusion as the multitude that came before us did.

    In saying that I am in no way saying family is not important. I think it is extremely important and is necessary, especially in our time, to a strong culture and world. I simply think Paul was not addressing what we think he was addressing.

    As far as Paul not allowing women, who may or may not be married, to lead in church; I think it is a natural outworking of their culture, just as a number of other areas in the Bible conservatives are okay with giving such the same label.

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