Darrin Patrick has said that there is a “man crisis” in today’s church. One could argue that this is a consistent theme among God’s people, and humanity in general, beginning with Adam. Mark Driscoll has said that in becoming a Christian, particularly for men, we must put forth an effort to be like Jesus and not like our earthly father Adam. While both of these statements ring true, it has left me with a question of how men are to step up and do what we can to resolve this “man crisis” by being more like Jesus and less like Adam. This is why I am incredibly grateful for Pastor Voddie Baucham’s latest book, Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead Their Homes, which Crossway books was kind enough to send me as part of their book review program.
In this book, Baucham rightly points out several key components that will enable men to step up and fill the gap we are leaving in today’s church. The first point, and this is crucial, men must step up and lead in their homes first (1 Tim. 3:4-5). He must lead his family in the study of Scripture and teach them about the Christian faith. Baucham spends the first few chapters examining why men are to lead their homes and churches, and how he believes that should look in the home and in church.
True, many men aren’t pastors or home group leaders. Many men have no formal Biblical training, and feel inept at the idea of teaching Theology. This may be due to laziness (because today we really have no excuse to not immerse ourselves in the wealth of solid Biblical teaching available online) or it may be due to simply being a new Christian. Yet, they are still commanded to lead their families in spiritual matters and in the teaching of doctrine. So, what do these men have to offer their children when they are just learning themselves? I love Baucham’s answer: Catechism.
Those who have only heard the word “catechism” in a snide reference to the Catholic church may be apprehensive at the mere mention of the word. However, catechism is merely a way of methodically teaching Christian doctrine. This will serve both fathers and children well because as the father teaches his children (and I would add his wife, if she is a new believer), he also teaches himself. Catechism can range from simple questions with simple answers, to questions with more complex answers, and also includes Scripture references supporting the answers to help one gain both Biblical and Theological literacy.
The biggest thing I love about Baucham’s book is that he pulls frequently from Scripture, but he also pulls from the wisdom of the Puritans and the Theologians of the past. This did make the book somewhat hard to read in certain places, but it is well worth the effort. Baucham does a fantastic job of presenting a gospel-centered, Christ-exalting view of what a family shepherd looks like, and how men can better lead their homes and churches.