by Logan Gentry
In the opening endorsement to Eric Mason’s masterful book on manhood, Dr. Tony Evans exclaims, “He does not write this book in abstract esoteric terms so that the reader is left in a theological jog wondering where to go and what to do next. Manhood Restored will inspire, challenge, encourage, and educate you on God’s gift of manhood.”
Dr. Evans is absolutely right. Mason’s new book is the best book I’ve read on masculinity. I make this bold claim because most books on manhood either stay in the theological realm or only focus on the practical world of manhood, both of which fall short of God’s design that manhood be both theologically rooted and practiced in everyday life. Mason’s book deals with the theological framework for manhood, but provides the practical wisdom needed for it to be lived out well in today’s society.
Mason begins by highlighting the destructive nature of broken manhood in our society seen so easily in fatherlessness, incarceration, and destructive leadership around the world. The problem is easy to see with the brokenness all around us, but we miss the best solution. Manhood Restored helpfully unpacks the way to restore the brokenness of masculinity all around us. It’s not by diminishing gender roles, but it’s by calling men to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, which will form them into the vision of manhood that the world needs – and would even embrace – if they saw it.
After unpacking the brokenness caused by fatherlessness (or as he quotes Blake Wilson, “daddy deprivation”), he describes how God himself has sought to restore manhood through the gospel. He presents the needed reminder that Jesus is the ultimate man: a perfect leader and yet a servant, tough and tender, God-glorifying and self-sacrificing. The implications of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection transform the theological outlook on manhood, which should lead to application in everyday life.
While books have been written correcting the theological view of manhood (not many better than Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) and others have dealt with the practical realities of manhood in singleness, sex, marriage, and family, Manhood Restored brings a pastor’s practical wisdom alongside the theology. Eric Mason founded and has been the primary teaching pastor at Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia. His reflections on the culture, his church, and his life provide the humble, practical advice men need to make theological concepts a reality.
Many of the questions Christian men are asking is how to put the implications of the gospel into everyday action. The turning point from theology to practice happens in his chapter “Restored Worldview.” Here, he addresses how our mindset towards the world typically dictates how we live, and further concludes that the gospel of Jesus Christ restores us to view the world accurately. He says this about growing into a new worldview:
“As men, we must grow in this skill (execution of a new biblical mindset). That growth process will come with mistakes and victories, but the important aspect is progression. It is learning. It is growing. Because we have a restored worldview, we can begin to examine more specific areas of our life that can now be view accurately and then lived out. “ (p. 82)
I particularly appreciate his emphasis on the need for progress and learning, because too many men give up when they feel like a failure. From that point on, Manhood Restored proceeds to lay out for men the necessary and practical steps for allowing a biblical worldview to inform sexuality, the aim of our lives, our role in our marriage and families, and God’s desire for men to serve and lead in the church. This is an important book for the church today. The church must be willing to call men to step up in leadership by following Jesus Christ’s example of sacrificial love and visionary leadership.
The strength of Manhood Restored is in Mason’s ability to address the relational brokenness in many spheres of a man’s life, but the book is not without weakness. While it is mentioned a few times, restored work through restored manhood is left for the reader to flesh out themselves. While work depends much on man’s restored relationship with God and others, this book lacks in not providing a framework for faith applied to the workplace. Many men find their identity in their work, but God provides them the opportunity to display his renewing work in the gospel in their workplace and industry. That said, the average reader may miss this omission because of how well the book addresses brokenness in so many relationships that can be healed by the gospel.
Mason writes that manhood “continues to be steeped in a crisis of identity” that is the cause of much of the destructive patterns we see in our culture. I’m thankful for Eric Mason’s faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and his allowing of God’s work in his life and his church to inform how we approach and develop men for leadership. It’s the best book for a clear theological vision and direct steps for practically living the gospel out in manhood. This will be a blessing to the church as it pursues the restoration of manhood in their context.
Check out the promo video below and buy it today on Amazon.
Logan Gentry is the Pastor of Community and Equipping at Apostles Church in New York City. He blogs at Gentrified and has contributed to The Gospel Coalition. He is married to Amber and they have three children.
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