Author and Pastor Voddie Baucham Jr. has come out with a new book entitled,“What He Must Be…if He Wants to Marry My Daughter” published this year by Crossway. It is a provocative and effective vantage point from which to view biblical manhood.
Baucham begins with a call for a multi-generational understanding of the task of raising godly men. He wisely acknowledges the role our ancestry can have on our moral character – for good or for ill. With heart-wrenching statistics such as “fatherlessness is the number one cause of poverty in America” (p. 22) and with abundant personal and painful revelation from his own extended family, Baucham makes a compelling case for seeing our families as bends in a long river, rather than secluded little ponds.
His second chapter dives into the meat of his message. Here he aims to persuade his reader, against many cultural and sinful forces, that marriage is indeed ‘the preferred state.’ First, because it serves as the very best preparation for the next generation. The human condition: all nations, peoples and tribes in all places and times, is well-served by the institution of marriage. Singleness can be unduly romanticized and over-spiritualized in our day and even in our churches.
Moreover, marriage is preferable because it forges the character of young men who will lead the church. Here Baucham draws upon 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 in which church leaders are called “manage their household well.” He reasons that if a man’s ability to lead the church is informed by his ability to lead his home, the norm is for him to have a home to lead!
Marriage is to be preferred, thirdly, because it becomes a means by which young men can best emulate our Lord Jesus Christ. Even though a surface reading of Christ’s life notes his singleness, Baucham points to Christ’s eternal marriage to his Bride, the Church (Revelation 19:7-8). Indeed, Christ is our heavenly husband and thereby becomes the supreme exemplar for husbands everywhere (Ephesians 5:25).
Baucham summarizes this substantive chapter with this thought:
“Marriage is thus a great and honorable estate through which we have an incredible opportunity to grow in grace and godliness. Marriage is a ministry. It is an institution ordained by God through which he intends to gain glory. It is this attitude we must instill in coming generations” (p. 46).
Acknowledging the daunting nature of the task, Baucham boldly calls fathers to this kind of protective gospel patriarchy. He rightly warns against a meritorious motive, but urges deep reliance upon God who “works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
These first three chapters are really the scaffolding of the vision for raising godly young men who are worthy of marrying a daughter such as his. The specifics of what characteristics a marriage-worthy young man should posses will be laid out tomorrow. With characteristic clarity and insight, Baucham challenges his readers to think biblically about ordering their home-life in a marriage-friendly fashion.
[In Ephesians 5], the apostle Paul paints a picture of headship that erases any doubt as to whether gospel headship relegates women to second-class status. In fact, the type of headship outlined in this critical passage makes it clear that God is intent on women being held in the highest esteem. Unfortunately, for many men the concept of headship is a complete mystery. They either fold under the pressure of the feminist ideology that dominates the culture, or they overreact to it and validate the criticism levied against complementarians. Somewhere in the middle is a beautiful symbiotic balance where men and women fulfill their God-ordained roles and simultaneously give to one another that which each desires most.
You can order the book here from Amazon.