Book Review: The Mark of a Man

Book CoverElisabeth Elliot, The Mark of a Man (Grand Rapids: Revell, 1981), 190 pp.

Reviewed by Joel Thiessen (Springdale, AR)

In this book, the author presents a Christian view of masculinity. Written as advice for her nephew, Pete, the book is mainly directed at young unmarried men, but the truths she writes about are timeless and necessary for Christians of all ages. Looking at the ultimate example of masculinity – the Lord Himself – she details the qualities of manliness, including responsibility, sacrifice, courage, obedience, initiative, forgiveness and endurance.

As she approaches the subject of masculinity, she contrasts it with femininity. After citing ways that males and females are equal, she goes into detail about the fundamental differences that God has created between them. We are made to see how these differences are a mystery and “too wonderful for us” (Pro 30:18). They are designed by God and used to display beautiful variety in His creation. He has also defined roles in accordance with these distinctions. These are crucial truths that we need to be reminded of when we are surrounded by a humanistic world view that confuses equality with interchangeability, tries to minimize or hide the distinctions that God created, and regards roles as antiquated. Elisabeth Elliot skillfully brings out how equality does not mean interchangeability and that distinction in roles does not indicate a difference in value. Instead, roles are part of the divine order to which we should submit. What a mess we make when we do not follow the order God has given.