THE MASCULINE MANDATE – Richard Phillips (2010)
Richard Phillips raises the bar of biblical expectation for men in his latest work, The Masculine Mandate. He is not intimidated by the deceptive roar of the egalitarian lioness. Nor is he distracted by worldly models of masculinity.
Of particular importance is Phillips’ rightly placed critique of John Eldredge’s book, Wild at Heart. The sum of is argument is simple: “The basic approach to masculinity presented in Wild at Heart is almost precisely opposite from what is really taught in the Bible.” So with biblical precision, the author not only warns readers of faulty approaches to masculinity – he prepares them to receive God’s mandate that emerges in the pages of Scripture.
The author wastes no time in setting forth the agenda of the book, namely, the Masculine Mandate: “To be spiritual men placed in real-world, God-defined relationships, as lords and servants under God, to bear God’s fruit by serving and leading.”
Phillips develops the thesis in part one. The theological framework is developed by pointing readers to God’s intent in the garden of Eden. Man who is made in God’s image has a special mandate. He must obey God by “working” and “keeping” (Gen. 2:7-8). He adds, “Here is the how of biblical masculinity, the mandate of Scripture for males.” To work is to serve and to keep is to exert leadership.
Part two summarizes the practical application that flows from the theological foundations. The author explores God’s design for marriage. Strong exegetical arguments are set forth from the book of Genesis. The original thesis is applied not only to marriage – but also informs how a God-centered man approaches work and parenting.
The Masculine Mandate is a breath of fresh air. The biblical “oxygen” that the Richard Phillips offers is the cure to the polluted air of egalitarianism that is plaguing the church. It offers strong encouragement for Christian men who are serious about obeying God, loving their families, serving their churches and making a difference in their world.