We need a focus on charging men to take their Biblical responsibility as such seriously. Tony Evans takes this seriously and for that I'm glad. He begins by setting the stage,
The impact of lowered standards leaves its scars no matter what race, income bracket, or community a person is in. The outcomes may be different depending on the location, but they are just as devastating. Promiscuity, emptiness, depression, chronic irresponsibility, family breakup, misuse of finances, divorce, violence, chemical addiction. overeating, indulgence, bankruptcy, low self-esteem, and general aimlessness plague our society as a direct result of the abuse or neglect of biblical manhood. (p. 2)
I've never read any of his other books but it seems we share the same foundation of a complementarian understanding of men/women relationships. However, I fear in Kingdom Man that masculinity is confused with athletic prowess. I love sports but many men don't and for those men may find relating to Tony's message difficult because his favorite metaphor is athletics. Even for a guy like me who loves sports, the analogies wore me out by the end of the book. We have to do a better job communicating what true manhood is without falling back on sports as our primary analogy. Often I would argue that professional athletics have contributed heavily to the abuse that Tony is arguing against.
Kingdom Man is broken up into three parts which each build upon each other. In Part 1 ("The Formation of a Kingdom Man"), Tony begins by establishing the basis for his kingdom theology. He argues for the need of kingdom men to focus and glorify God (an emphasis throughout the book which I found refreshing see p. 6). There's also a strong emphasis on being great and fulfilling our destinies of being great for God.
In Part 2 ("The Foundation of a Kingdom Man"), Tony delves into how we exercise our rule and authority. He rightly reminds men we rule under God and often delegate responsibility and the need for an ezer (help-meet). The final chapters in the this section to are dedicated to examining the dominion covenant (name it and claim it).
In Part 3 ("The Function of a Kingdom Man"), Tony structures these final four chapters around Psalm 128. He applies the theology he has developed in the previous chapters to a kingdom man's personal life, family life, church life, and community life.
A Call to Greatness or Self-Help?
In Part 1 ("The Formation of a Kingdom Man"), a lot the practical advise ended up veering too much into the self-help category. In my estimation, this confusion could have been resolved with a more robust connection to the gospel and the person of Jesus. For instance, Tony says
Whether we are comfortable enough to admit it in spiritual circles, men want to be great.
I'll admit it; I don"t mind--I want to be great.
And if you were brutally honest, I would be bet that you also want to be great.
But what may surprise you, and what I would suggest, is that far from what we often hear in the biblical teaching on servanthood and humility is that God wants you to be great as well.
Not only does God want you to be great in His Kingdom, but He has destined you for it. (p. 38)
This concept is supported with some squishy exegesis (pp. 40-44 especially the discussion of John 14:12 and Matthew 20:25-26). I was glad when Tony cautioned "Men, what you never want to do in your desires to be great is to try to steal or usurp God's glory (p. 40).
My number one disappointment with Kingdom Man was the lack of direct connection with the gospel. When Paul talks about biblical manhood, headship, and submission, he always connects it back to the created order (which Tony does) and then to the gospel in Jesus (which Tony doesn't at least not explicitly).
The Dominion Covenant: Naming For God's Kingdom
At the root in developing the dominion covenant or what Tony calls naming (p. 108) is bad exegesis. He begins by examining the story of Adam naming the animals and then looks at the significance of names given to people in the Old Testament (pp. 109-10). He then recommends "to think in terms of your divinely given authority and responsibility. Take hold of creation; grab the piece of creation that God has for you to name" (p. 113). There's a logical leap made--because God had Adam name animals at creation that we should name things within the spiritual realm of our authority. Tony shares this anecdote,
I remember driving by this property one day and deciding to to pull my car right up in front of the vacant and now run-down building. Years passed since God had put it on my heart that this building was going to be used for His glory. So while looking at the building, I said, "God, I name that. I name this entire place for the good of others and your glory. We don't have the money for it right now, but God, hold it for us. Because I name it in Jesus' name." (p. 114)
He then goes on to explain that the Spirit laid the story of Joshua treading around Jericho and so he tread over the entire property naming it for Jesus. I was glad when he guarded against using this theology for personal gain:
It's important, though, to realize that naming does not mean claiming anything and everything you want. Neither is naming something solely for your personal benefit. Naming--like everything man is supposed to do--is always toed to God's glory and the expansion of His kingdom. (p. 115)
I was very grateful for his focus on the glory of God as the end. However, this much needed warning doesn't discount the fact the foundation for the practice of naming is on shaky exegetical ground. We dare not presumptuously claiming anything except the promises of God. We must be faithful in claiming these and only these.
For the reasons stated above, I can't give Kingdom Man a full-throttled endorsement. There was too much poor exegesis/theology mixed in with a right message (men need to step up). Biblical manhood is important and I'm glad Dr. Tony Evans understands this but I wish there a clearer connection with the gospel and also less of a mixed bag theology.
Kingdom Man, written by Dr. Tony Evans, is filled with helpful information for any man wanting to be a spiritual leader at home, at church, or even at his workplace.
The Lord has a purpose for each person. Men can be equipped to be leaders by following the Lord's guidelines found in the Bible. The Lord wants men to be leaders who are wise and compassionate. They also have to model what they are asking of others. Meaning if you think your wife should be spending more time helping the children with schoolwork, you need to help out more too.
I liked his analogy of a football game. You will have to read the book to see how he compares Christian leaders to the officials in the game. Although the primary audience is men, any woman can read this book. Women will find what makes a good leader and what they should be praying for when looking for a man in their life. If a woman is already married she can still learn from this book, especially the principles taught about the marriage relationship. Understanding what the Lord wants for a marriage will help both the husband and the wife keep their marriage strong.
Scripture supported all the principles discussed in the book and all the principles are easy to follow and explained well. The author is excellent at simplifying the Lord's guidelines for Christian men. This book is written in a straightforward manner and is well organized. I highly recommend this book for every Christian man to read!
I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.