The Masculine Mandate by Richard E. Phillips (ebook)
When a ministry offered this free e-book, I took it up on its offer and found a good read. Phillips is a minister of Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, South Carolina. He is concerned, not only that men in our culture no longer know how to behave as men but also that in attempts to call men back to manliness many have over-reacted and propagated false ideas. In particular, and correctly, Phillips calls John Eldrich and his “Wild at Heart” ministry to task (loc. 105-130). Eldrich draws his understanding of masculinity from our culture; Phillips wants to draw his from Scripture.
The stated purpose of The Masculine Mandate is “to provide straight, clear, and pointed teaching on what the Bible says to men as men” (loc. 61). Based on Genesis 2:15, the so-called Cultural Mandate, Phillips believes masculine living is wrapped around two verbs: work and keep (loc. 141). The outworking of these verbs leads to men bearing the image of God in practical righteousness (loc. 414), embracing a shepherd-leadership lifestyle (loc. 562), leading especially their wives (loc. 911) and disciplining their children by reading, praying, working and playing with them (loc. 1082-1251). A true Christian man should be married—it is not good for him to be alone (loc. 579) and his first concern for his wife is to be her spiritual well-being (loc. 935-999).
While I disagree with Phillip’s view that the Cultural Mandate is still in effect today, this distracts little from the book. The author takes a traditional and biblical position concerning what a real man is and does. This work serves as a good reminder of how God identifies masculinity rather than how the world defines it. God’s standards do not change while the culture’s is constantly in flux.
Review by Gary E. Gilley, Senior Pastor, Southern View Chapel