4.5 out of 5 Stars
Author: Eric Mason
Publisher: B&H Publishing
Buy Manhood Restored
Reading Level: Easy
Eric Mason writes a much needed corrective for our current fatherless epidemic. We live in an age where you have a 50/50 chance of having or not having a father. Eric addresses this from within his context and with the gospel.
What I loved. First, Mason says, “We need fathers, and we’re only going to be fathers to our children when we see that true fatherhood is rooted and defined in God the Father” (p. 3 see pp. 9-10). Understanding this is crucial for rooting out our current fatherhood epidemic. We cannot know what a true father is without knowing who God is. God is the reality that all fathers strive for. Imperfectly, but within the gospel, our fathering is pleasing to God.
Second, one lesson I’ve learned over the last year is that you have to listen to diverse voices to learn from them. Sounds easy enough but often we don’t invest. Mason writes from an urban perspective. The analogies, word pictures, and examples are mostly urban. We need more diversity in our theological canon. Diversity heard creates solidarity as brothers in Christ. Different contexts but united together in Christ.
Third, I love the balance within the book. Maybe balance isn’t the right word. It’s a root to branch approach. Everything Mason writes is rooted in the Trinitarian gospel and it’s fleshed out in practical application. He takes the truth of the gospel which soars but grounds the truth of manhood in that gospel story. Just a few examples,
- “In the gospel, Jesus is restoring our vision of manhood” (p. 187).
- “If a father relates to his children only based on the chores they are supposed to do, that child would grow up with a warped sense of love, accomplishment and self-worth. Similarly, our relationship with God was intended to be much more than a stale deistic relationship where He creates and leaves things on Earth to us” (p. 10).
- “Restoration, then, is about God’s people experiencing the fullness of His promises by His grace” (p. 43).
- “ Sanctification, then, is God’s work, through the Holy Spirit, to chisel us into the image He sees in us. This isn’t so much a physical conformity (although we will be ‘like’ Jesus in our new glorified bodies); rather, this is soul work” (p. 47).
- “Now through the resurrected life of Jesus, we are able to see the world based on God’s redemption intentions . . . . The Word of God is the means by which the new mind grows and fights to dominate the thinking and, therefore, day-to-day living of the disciple” (p. 80).
- “Instead of making empty promises, real repentance recognizes that without God, we won’t even want God. We must have this sense of desperation when it comes to being found as bound to sexual sin” (p. 97).
The Only Hitch. My only hitch lies in the section “Adding Masculinity to Worship Gathering.” I agree we need men standing infront of the church singing. But I’m concerned with this,
Effeminate musicians might be the most visible means by which men are turned off to the church . . . . It is a pink elephant many times that the church won’t deal with. I am not in any way homophobic and pressing us to treat people who have and do struggle with the sin of immorality in the form of homosexuality by denying them the blessings that come with forgiveness through Jesus. However, it is important we recognize who and what we are placing before God’s people in leadership of the worship gathering. In that recognition, we must consider whether we are encouraging or distracting those present. When men like this are present in dominant and public form, it could send the wrong message to men about the church [1 Corinthians 11:4 used]. (p. 170)
I’m concerned that Mason equates men who don’t fit the typical masculine mold with homosexuality. There seems to be a subtle suggestion that “men like this” don’t belong in the church leadership or infront of the church worship. I’m concerned that this kind of statement will discourage men who don’t fit the masculine mold--whether homosexual or heterosexual. He’s clear it’s not a forgiveness thing but it seems to relegate men who don’t fit the macho American man to secondary service (anything out of the church’s eye). We should bring men infront of the church who are masculine, but that doesn’t mean that other men shouldn’t also serve. We don’t need to swing the pendulum to machoism or celebrate homosexuality as the culture does.
I highly recommend this book. It’s a much need correction in our fatherless age. We need men who have withstood the test--that have families, that are leading their families, and that love God--to stand in the gap. We need to hear this call from diverse perspectives. We need to listen. We need to apply the gospel to our families as men. We must fulfill our call as men--a call originating in the garden, a gospel call.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Manhood Restored free from B&H Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”