The Rev. Voddie Baucham is becoming more and more well-known. He has several videos on Youtube, one of which has to do with Sarah Palin and family values, and another one is a discussion about theodicy. He is becoming the African-American John Piper. Now he has written a book (not his first book) about young men and marriage. This is certainly an issue that cries out for our attention, for how many real men are there out there? How can we raise godly young men? How can we find godly young men for our daughters to marry? Voddie has some excellent ideas on this.
I think what I appreciate most about this book is its balance. On the one hand, there are very high ideals. On the other hand, there is grace. There isn’t just a list of things he must be if he is to marry my daughter, and then no thoughts on how to achieve that. It is not just a checklist that makes it all but impossible for any men to fit the bill. The last chapter is indicative of this concern: “Can’t Find One…Build One.” There is a very healthy recognition that no man is going to have all these things down pat before marriage. And yet, this does not diminish anything from the high standards that should be set.
Another balance that Voddie achieves well is on the issue of method. There are lots of conservatives out there who think that the bride can be obtained if the method is all in place. Voddie sees the problems with, say, dating, but does not go over to the other extreme of arranged marriages. He argues that the parents should be involved in helping the daughter to find an appropriate mate. There are very good reasons for this, the most important being that a young woman seldom has the ability to see red flags to the same extent that the parents can. It is hard for her to evaluate objectively.
Yet another fine balance he achieves is that of the criteria for evaluation. We’re not looking merely for a good leader, or a good Christian, or something else, but a conglomerate. Fathers should therefore be very concerned about the doctrine that a potential son-in-law holds.
I have only one very small criticism of the book. In the last part of the book, Voddie has an admirable discussion about racism, about which I completely agree. However, I think it might also have been helpful to point out that inter-racial marriages will have some extra cultural issues to work out that an intra-racial marriage would not have. It is certainly no bar to inter-racial marriage, but it is a concern. There are cultural differences between black people and white people (and also among all other cultural groups). And while those differences are no bar to marriage, they should be addressed so that potential mates are on the same page.
I intend to have my daughter(s) read this book as well as my sons. I think it is a very helpful book that addresses a very real need in the church today. And, unlike many books, we are not merely shown the problem, but also how to fix it. Voddie is an extremely clear communicator with lots of helpful to-the-point illustrations. It is an easy book, but by no means a shallow book. May it have a wide audience.