The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick
This book’s origin is found in the Christian movie Courageous. For those inspired by the movie to be men of God, or even for those having never seen the film, The Resolution of Men provides a helpful tool to place into practice certain resolves that characterize the man who follows Christ.
The opening words set the pace:
This book is an unapologetic call for men to live courageously for the faith and their families. It is designed to strategically challenge you to become the man God created you to be (p. 1).
The means to accomplish this goal, according to the authors, is to declare and endeavor to keep, “The Resolution” which consists of 12 promises loosely based on Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (p. 5). Part one of the book is a challenge to commit to the resolution while part two fleshes out how to do so by devoting a chapter to each of the 12 individual promises.
Most of the content within the book is biblically sound and helpful. The resolves address key issues with which men struggle such as marriage, children, love, and integrity. And there are nine appendices dealing with vital concerns such as how to find peace with God, how to guard against sexual sins and how to protect your children. There is a smattering of psychobabble scattered throughout, and the section on finding the will of God promises too much (pp. 209-212). Readers will not agree with some of the material but overall it is challenging and rooted in Scripture.
I have some concern, however with the methodology itself. While there is nothing wrong with any of the individual resolutions, nor in the idea of such commitments, I was troubled on several levels. First, it smacks too much of self and not enough of Christ. Each promise begins with “I will” (“I do” once), and mentions Christ only in passing one time. Yet the Christian life is Christ-centered, not me-centered. Second, it reminds me a bit too much of the twelve-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. AA is also based on twelve resolutions powered by personal resolve. Third, as the ten commandments demonstrated, allegiance to resolutions show us our inabilities and sin (Romans 3:19-20), but it does not enable us to become mature believers, something only the Holy Spirit can do (Romans 8:4). The Resolution and programs such as this are too law-based. And, finally, the whole “Courageous” industry is troubling. Watch the movie, read the novel, read the book under review, get involved with courageous Bible studies, have a formal resolution ceremony, get a certificate, mount it in a frame and place it on a wall. Of course there will be another movie, book and Bible study. All of this seems to draw attention to a program rather than to Christ and His program, the local church.
Having voiced this concern, The Resolution for Men, can have a useful purpose. It covers well many issues Christian men need to address. It could be an excellent discipleship tool – but one of many – to aid men growing in maturity.
(Nashville: B8H Publishing Group, 2011), 257pp., paper $14.99
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor/teacher Southern View Chapel