Michael Foster & Dominic Bonn Tennant, It’s Good to Be a Man (Moscow: Canon Press, 2022), 227 pp.
Books about masculinity are a dime a dozen. A few books that address the topic of masculinity break this pitiful mold. These books direct men to the Bible as our highest authority. These books challenge men to be men of the Book. They challenge men to see their unique role in the framework of the Christian worldview; one that follows the trajectory of redemptive history. The most recent book that breaks the mold and stands out in a decisive way is It’s Good To Be a Man by Michael Foster and Dominic Bnonn Tennant.
The goal of the authors is “to help modern Christian men understand what God made them for, and how to start doing it intentionally.” Foster and Tennant state their goal upfront and don’t waste any time in achieving it. The book begins on what some would consider being controversial as the topic of patriarchy is discussed. Readers committed to the authority of God’s Word know better, though.
“Patriarchy is inevitable,” writes Foster and Tennant. “God has built it into the fabric of the cosmos. It is part of the divine created order … Redemptive history is therefore patriarchal history.” Critics who charge the authors with male chauvinism should tread carefully since the case for biblical patriarchy is carefully developed:
Men were made to rule. They always have and always will. Nothing can change that. Nothing will. It is not a question of whether men will be pulling, but which ones and how.
The reason patriarchy is so controversial is that sin has distorted it and twisted it. We even find patriarchy distorted in the church, a sin that will pay a high price in the final analysis. Foster and Tennant explain, “Although our culture treats all patriarchy as evil, God’s father-rule is good. Evil patriarchy is that which does not reflect God’s loving authority.” The heartbeat of the authors, then, is to expose evil patriarchy and extinguish it wherever they can. But positively, they aim to explore the beauty and richness of patriarchy and how it fits into God’s redemptive program. The remainder of the book reveals the purpose of God in creating men and practical steps to fall in step with his revealed will.
God’s purpose in creating man is “for productive, representative rulership. This is what it means to exercise dominion: to fruitfully order the world in God’s stead.” This purpose sounds strange and even offensive to the unregenerate mind, yet God’s purpose stands. Tragically, God’s purpose is being modified and marginalized by people who are professing Christians.
After carefully dismantling the arguments of anyone who militates against God’s purpose in creating men, the authors provide practical steps for fulfilling God’s revealed will. The argument is as follows:
A mission is your best effort at wisely integrating your interests, skills, and circumstances into a personal vision for exercising dominion over what God has given you.
Practical help is offered so men can move forward in achieving their mission, which propels them forward in carrying out God’s purpose in creation. It’s Good To Be a Man is not for the faint at heart. It will provoke. It may even offend at times. But in the end, it will lead men on a path that glorifies the Creator of the cosmos.
I’ll never forget when my Uncle Dwight challenged me to read The Christian Mind by Harry Blamires. He said, “If you’re a real man, you’ll read this book.” I offer the same challenge to readers of my blog: “If you are a real man, you’ll devour It’s Good To Be a Man!”
Now is the time for Christian men to step up and obey God (1 Cor. 16:13-14). Now is the time for mature manhood (Eph. 4:13). It’s time to love our wives as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25-33) and bring our children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). Kill sin by the power of the Spirit (Rom. 8:13). Walk according to the Spirit (Gal. 5:16). Pursue holiness (Heb. 12:14). Work with our hearts as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23-24; 1 Cor. 10:31). It’s good to be a man!