Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Masculine Mandate Ch 12-13

In the last two chapters of the book Phillips looks at men in the church and men in as servants of the Lord. Both chapters are soldily grounded in the bible and draw out helpful principles for practical application.

Phillips is very strong on encouraging men to lead in the church, and while I would not agree with his contention that the deaconate is masculine, though this is not the place to side track onto such issues. The overall tone and call of the chapter for men to aspire to the 1 Timothy 3 model of living is much needed, as is his contention that men must work hard at understanding and teaching the word of God to their families, as well as in their churches.

Helpful he also points out that men are called to guard, or keep, the church. In the face of creeping secular trends which will destroy the church and individual believers if they permeate God's people, men must stand up and fight to preserve the church, doctrine and practice. Phillips also addresses another concern that is often raised by those overly anxious about giving too much emphasis to male headship and leadership. He contends that a strong masculine church will also be a strong church for the display and fruitfulness of godly femininity. In other words what women want is men on fire for God, and those men will lovingly guard and cultivate a church culture where women are free to use their gifts and display feminine godliness in all its glory liberated from trying to fill gaps where men have abdicated.

The final chapter is in many ways the most pertinent as it focuses on the call to humble service of Christ where he has called us ans gifted us to serve. Phillips is not afraid to poke at and expose the masculine heart for the nest of envy and pride it is, seen often in our desire for fruitful ministry, or success in worldly terms that gains us status. Having exposed that hornets nest he lovingly examines examples such as John the Baptist, calling men to serve Christ in humility with eyes fixed on Christ's glory and hearing that great 'Well done!' from him on the final day. The masculine mandate is fulfilled when men said to their Lord and Saviour here I am, your servant, help me be faithful to your call by your grace.

The final section of the book provides a couple of questions for reflection for each chapter, some are good some are less helpful. What I feel the book is crying out for is a companion study guide which examine in greater detail the passages each chapter examines to mine its principles from. It would make this book so much more useful with men in our churches. As it is the big question is how do I get this book into the hands of men in our churches, and how do we get them together to discuss it, examine what it says about scripture and apply it to our lives?

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