Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Book Review - A Man of God: Essential Priorities for Every Man’s Life

Published by Crossway, 2005.

I have not read many books endorsed by Pat Summerall, Roger Staubach, Gary Carter and Chuck Norris (yes, that Chuck Norris). So, I was a little hesitant picking up Jack Graham’s manifesto to men. What exactly was this book about?

Graham is the pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, “one of America’s largest congregations” and recently the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. He writes in a very warm and engaging style and keeps his book focused on one topic: men. The early chapters begin with an overview of what it means for a man to be a Christian then he moves on to discuss integrity of character, family life and ministry.

His writing style is very simple and would appeal especially to men that do not read a lot. There are ample chapter divisions and the book is well-organized. I suppose some might consider it as study group material and this might work based on the size and extent of the writing.

There is no question that Graham writes as an American to fellow Americans. It is hard to fault him for this, but much of what he writes is culturally tied to the United States of America of 2005. That points to one criticism I have of this work that seems to be present in so many “demographically-targeted” books: the line between Biblical principle and suggested application gets very fuzzy. Categorical statements like this abound: “Now it’s true that women are far better equipped than men for the difficult work of interpersonal relationships” (120). While that might appear true to the average white American male, I am not so sure this is what the Bible teaches.

One also needs to watch out for some errant theological statements such as when Graham lands on the wrong side of the Lordship-salvation issue. He writes: “Jesus Himself seemed to distinguish between salvation and discipleship in Luke 14” (34). A careful study of that passage, however, will reveal that Jesus is drawing a distinction between true belief and false profession – not a “disciple Christian” and a “just in Christian.”

Nevertheless, the book was not a waste of time to read. I mean, it was certainly not deep, but some of the practical advice was good. Besides that, Graham can tell a fine story and I looked forward to his illustrations.

There are certainly more effective books for dealing with men’s issues that a man may want to read first. And there is certainly nothing wrong with men searching the Scriptures together without another book and seeking to apply the Truth they read there to their lives.