Book Review: What He Must Be by Voddie Baucham Jr.

I had read Voddie Baucham Jr.’s book, What He Must Be, 2 times prior to this most recent time. I am encouraged and challenged each time I read it.

While I might not agree with everything that Baucham speaks upon or some of the ways he “forces his presuppositions” in his book, I surely value his personal opinions and desire to be a responsible- man and father. What He Must Be should be a must read for every young man who ever wants to date or be married. Again, I will say that Voddie Baucham Jr. has some very strong Southern Baptist presuppositions about virginity, masculinity, and understandings of Scripture therefore a critical read is encouraged. Allow me to provide some examples of some things that stood out to me as I read through this book, this most recent time.

Voddie Baucham Jr. challenges ‘men of God’ to develop what he calls “multigenerational vision” which sets it focus on not only living a great example to those around us, but also to our children, and to their children. He says it like this, “Kids, you must become the kind of people who plant shade trees for others to sit under”. He goes on to say, “We must train a generation to follow hard after God in spite of what their forefathers have done”. This surely was not a foreign concept to the ancient Israelites. For example, in Dueteronomy 6:6-7 we read:

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise”.

I too have the faith that Voddie expressed when he said, “I believe we can bring about a change in the way we view manhood, womanhood, and marriage”. I totally agree with his charge that we must stop preparing the next generation for lives of “selfishness, immediate gratification, and perpetual adolescence if we ever expect to turn the tide”. We must come to a point of realizing that the gospel message “is much more than how we get saved and go to heaven. The gospel is about the work of Christ saturating every aspect of our lives..”.

A common trend that Mr. Baucham spoke against was the phrase “follow your heart”. As common as this is, it runs contrary to the truth of Scripture, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it (Jeremiah 17:9)”. We must find a new way to help others find prospective boyfriends/girlfriends without using the common cliché. This is where Voddie Baucham puts importane on ‘Biblical Patriarchy’. Biblical Patriarchy is “the walk of the Biblical patriarchal fathers, where Elohim’s (God’s) ways were made known in these fathers in Kingdom-principled obedience, commitment, covenant, leadership, relationships and all other aspects of life”. It is the job of the the fathers to responsibly teach their daughters (and their sons) ways that we can seek Kingdom-principles. STOP FOLLOWING YOUR HEART! SEEK THE WISDOM OF GOD!

You’re just going to have to carve out some time and study. Unfortunately, that’s the last thing people want to hear. It seems most people have an aversion to heavy intellectual lifting. What’s worse, this same phenomenon seems to have infected most people’s approach to studying God’s Word. As a result, one cannot assume that a person who calls himself a Christian is actually a man of the Word. However, one cannot lead in the Word unless he is plumbing the depths on a regular basis”.  

Voddie makes directly calls out many who profess to be Christians by saying this, “Common is the man who will profess Christianity with his lips but deny it with his life. Rare, however, is the man who can articulate the gospel in Biblical terms or engage in meaningful discussion on the issue of Biblical conversion. Instead we are inundated with phrases like “I asked Jesus into my heart”, “I’ve been a Christian all of my life”, or “I responded to the alter call”. Unfortunately, these ideas are foreign to the Biblical text”. Voddie goes on to mention, “In this age of watered-down doctrine, it is important to note that many consider themselves Christians based on a lack of understanding’. Entertaining discussion about Kingdom values and Biblical topics is necessary in order for the progress kingdom advancement.

It is in the details that I find myself disagreeing with some of Mr. Baucham’s presuppositions. For example, Voddie is involved in what some might refer to as the “Patriarchy Movement” which runs in direct contrast to “egalitarianism”. Egalitarianism is the focus on equality between the sexes which I am inclined to agree with. Voddie mentioned the common use of Galatians 3:28 which speaks to no Jew, nor Gentile, male, nor female in regards to how God views us (basically, no partiality). To me that Scripture makes a shut case, however Voddie continues to cling to his presuppositions.

I”ll tell you what. It blew my mind to read that Mr. Baucham sought to say that the Genesis chapter 3 curses have not been reversed, and he used the fact that women still bear children in pain as his source (Genesis 3:16). This shows a failure in Mr. Baucham’s understanding of the “covenant context” that is evident in Genesis 3. Bearing children in pain had nothing to do with the physical pain that women experience, instead pointed to bearing children born in sin, under the Law, doomed to misfortune as is used in Isaiah chapter 65. I surely can illustrate though proper understanding and application of Scripture where the curse has indeed been reversed.

Also, Voddie’s ‘Southern Baptist tendencies’ are evident through his views on dating and courtship. While I appeciate the high value that Voddie places on his daughter’s “purity” however I believe he is pushing the use of Old Testament purity laws a bit. I surely do not advise a “loose morality” or ‘sleeping around”, however me must examine our modern culture and not force Bible forces but derive proper application. Something that is seriously lacking in Western Christianity.

Another very controversial topic that I must bring up is again Voddie’s constant focus on the “patriachal system”. Throughout his book he seeks to demonstrate that we must not ask a woman to do a man’s job and he preaches about the devistating effects that has, can, and will have on our society. I know the barrage of Bible verses many people will bring up when discussing “homosexuality”, however a couple years ago I watched a video on Youtube of a 19 year old man eloquently explaining how he was raised by 2 women, and to be quite honest- they surely did a fine job! Here is a link to that video:

Two challenges that were provided to me through Mr. Voddie Baucham’s book were first the requirement that the man who will marry his daughter must committed to welcoming children. Voddie cites Psalm 127:5 as a verse that shows the importance of children, which I will say I believe deals more within the cultural context and view of children in times past yet can have application. For example, I currently have no desire to have biological children, for many reasons, however I view many whom I disciple as those whom I am responsible to as I would be to children. Is there room for that view, or does Voddie demand this means biological children? That comes with a host of other issues.

The goal of Mr. Baucham’s book is to challenge young men to seek Biblical standards, something I surely agee with. Also, Voddie wants to hold ‘men of God’ responsible to teaching our daughters and sons proper Biblical standards. To sum up the requirements of “what he must be”

“…he must be a Christian (2 Corinthians 6:14); he must be committed to Biblical headship (Ephesians 5:23); he must welcome children (Psalm 127:3-5); he must be a suitable priest (Joshua 24:15); prophet (Ephesians 6:4); protector (Nehemiah 4:13-14), and provider (1 Timothy 5:8; Titus 2:5)”.

I have been personally challenged by Voddie Baucham to develop a plan for growth in my Spiritual life. A great question a man must ask himself before getting married ‘how do you intend to call your wife to a righteous life (See, Ephesians 5:25-26). Another area is in regards to “family religion”. George Whitfield would refer to this as “The Great Duty of Family Religion”. To sum it up, the home of a Believer should be a training ground for church leaders, “We should every opportunity we have to use our homes as evangelistic outposts. We must also use them as places to refresh the brethren”. I am glad to say that my home is always open as a place of fellowship and “refreshment”. Also, any guest of mine has come to know and understand how we use ‘common prayer’. I firmly believe opening our homes as sort of “seminaries” can bring revitalization to Christianity.

I recommend Voddie Baucham’s book to anyone seeking a challenge in regards to Biblical standards. As you read, use discernment and be honest with yourself. Surely this is a book I will put into the hands of any man seeking to get married. Let us continue to walk worthy of our calling- demonstrating Biblical values to the world around us.


1 Comment

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One response to “Book Review: What He Must Be by Voddie Baucham Jr.

  1. Theresa OBrien-Rivera

    Hi Pastor….I just read your review… I agree with much of what you said…. I might disagree with one or two of them… but overall I agree.

    As always… thank you for taking the time to send this information out to ask us!

    We are very blessed to have such a “hands-on” pastor.

    God bless you!


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