- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: B&H Books (May 1, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1433679949
- WTS Books
At a training event here in St. Louis last month, I received a free copy of Eric Mason’s Manhood Restored: How The Gospel Makes Men Whole. And since Eric Mason himself was the featured speaker, at the end of the first session, I went up to him, greeted him, and had my free copy of his book signed.
In the Preface Eric Mason writes, “I have written this book because men need to know that only through the gospel of Jesus Christ can they be what God intends.” This eight-chapter book may be divided into two sections (though not formally divided), with the first four chapters functioning as a foundation and the last four as application.
The Introduction begins with the question Another book on manhood? Mason answers, yes, “I would, in fact, say that we don’t have enough material written on manhood.” But more than another book on manhood, Mason quickly adds, “We need the gospel. We need it more than books. More than studies. More than groups. We need the life-giving, identity-establishing, purpose-defining gospel of Jesus Christ.” It is this “purpose-defining gospel of Jesus Christ” that will be the dominant theme throughout the book, as Mason continues, “The goal of this book is not to motivate men with guilt of their failures but to facilitate an undeniable encounter with the ultimate God-man. The hero of manhood for this work will be the incarnate Jesus Christ. The eternal contribution of Jesus has changed the course of manhood forever.” Does Mason succeed in achieving this goal?
In Chapter 1: The Life and Death of Manhood, Mason begins with the beginning and man as the image-bearer of God and consequently, God’s vice-regent, along with the woman, his partner and co-image-bearer. But then manhood was killed and the fall ensued a snowball effect, which may be traced through the OT Scriptures until the Seed of the woman, Jesus, the restorer of manhood. Chapter 2: The Impact of Daddy Deprivation sees fatherlessness as no respector of persons. “We initially thought that fatherlessness would be primarily concentrated in the poor ethnic minorities. To our dismay, though, daddy issues have been a cross-ethnic, cross-socioeconomic, cross-generational problem that doesn’t discriminate.” After exploring humanity’s attempts at “Daddy Replacements,” Mason returns to “God’s Intention for Fatherhood.” In Chapter 3: The Restorer of Manhood, Jesus is seen as not only the restorer of all things but of manhood in particular. Around different titles of descriptors, Mason explorers the manhood of Jesus over against the myths and caricatures of manhood in our culture. In Chapter 4: Restored Worldview, restored men need to develop a worldview that aligns to biblical values and principles.
Chapter 5: Restored Sexuality. Sex, which was a God-given gift for reproduction and pleasure, because of the fall, took on new meanings: “men look at women as potential conquests; women use their sexuality as a form of control and power.” Mason addresses “The Challenge of Porn and Sexual Selfishness” before turning to “Jesus and Sex” and a few guidelines on what restored sexuality looks like. In Chapter 6: Restored Vision, Mason begins with Jesus and his prayer life and what it meant in his ministry and what it means for manhood restored. Men are challenged to be wise decision maker and to order their lives in the right direction. Chapter 7: Restored Family. With the help of Ephesians 5, Mason explores what it means to love our wives and be the spiritual leaders in our homes and communities. He then appeals to “Pastors [to] Set the Tone for Restored Manhood” in their local ministries, before concluding the chapter with “The Blessing of Children,” which is a brief commentary on Psalm 127 and 128. Chapter 8: Restored Church. After quote a line from the urban classic Boyz in the Hood, Masons writes, “The ratio of women to men is not merely a general population issue; it’s an engagement issue. The church of God must focus in on manhood as an essential to discipleship. The church must take on an active role in restoring the image of men through Jesus.” After guidelines of “defeminizing” the church, Mason argues for “Adding Masculinity to Worship Gatherings,” as a means of connecting with men. He concludes the chapter with “Spiritually Fathering Our Men and Boys,” as seen in the ministries of Jesus and the Apostle Paul.
Above I quoted Eric Mason’s stated goal in writing the book and asked if he achieved it. After reading the book, I answer in the affirmative. The book is well-written. It has a lively and vivid flow to it (I read it in two days). Eric Mason skillfully weaves stories from his own upbringing, mentorship under noted pastor and author Tony Evans, his current pastorate at Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, and even the hip-hop culture–to illustrate many of his points. The book is biblical, God-centered, and especially Christ-focused, since Mason presents Jesus as manhood restored–and rightfully so.
Eric Mason did not write this book for a particular ethnic group. He wrote it for the church. He wrote it for the discipleship of men, no matter their walk or station in life. The reader can’t help noticing this fact. With the above in mind, and Father’s Day, just days away, I highly commend Manhood Restored: How The Gospel Makes Men Whole, believing it to be a much needed book in the fight against fatherlessness, which continues to destroy our communities and consequently, derail the future of those who depend on manhood being restored.