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Book Review: What He Must Be… If He Wants to Marry My Daughter by Voddie Baucham Jr.

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Within the church a family reformation is taking place. Parents are turning away from the norms of our Western culture and seeking God’s will in His word; turning away from cultural norms as standards for family structure and patterns and towards His ways. Voddie Baucham is amongst the leading teachers at the forefront of this revival. An excellent, literal exegete, he digs into scripture to uncover principles relating to the standards for Christian husbands and the methods we utilize to enter into the covenant of marriage in What He Must Be …If He Wants to Marry My Daughter.

With three daughters under the age of six, many would find our family’s passion for careful attention to the courtship process in our daughter’s lives bizarre. However, we’ve been given a passion for guarding the hearts of our children, and doing our utmost to ensure that they marry qualified Christian young men. With growing numbers of families like ours in the church, Baucham has heeded the call and put pen to page to create far more than a simple checklist of “what he must be”. Far more than a simplistic check-list that potential suitors must go through to achieve paternal approval, Baucham has written a mini-apologetic for marriage, biblical manhood, and yes – courtship, within one accessible volume.

The stage is set in the initial chapters that lay out the multi-generational vision for Christian families who serve the Lord, the vital importance of covenant marriages, and the necessity for fathers to become involved in the courtships of their daughters. In this foundation Baucham rightly rejects outright the current practices of serial monogamy (dating), in order to protect and maintain purity of body and heart in our children. It is only then that he begins to illustrate the bare bones requirements that he, and any father, should ensure are met before giving away their daughter’s hand in marriage.

While the standards he presents are rarely found in young men today, Baucham’s list is not pulled from personal preference or flights of fancy. Each of his listed qualifications is pulled directly from the pages of scripture, as the Word of God explains what husbands should, and must be if they are to follow the call of God on their lives. Readers who have not had the benefit of Godly counsel in the selection of a mate will most certainly wish they’d had these criteria and the sound biblical support available to them before marriage.

Working through the importance of marriage between believers, male leadership, sacrificial love, welcoming children, and a young man’s potential to serve as priest, prophet, and provider to his wife, Baucham carefully builds an image of what these latent traits may look like in a single young man, drawing from scripture, biographies of notable Christian men, and the words of church fathers. He both debunks false requirements for potential mates (most notably ethnicity and heritage) and encourages fathers to undertake disciplining potential suitors in the required skills new husbands will need if they are found lacking.

I can’t recommend What He Must Be more highly. Written primarily to fathers I can easily see families with children approaching marriageable age digging into this together and catching a collective vision for the future. Every parent with a daughter, those raising sons who will one day be husbands, every young woman approaching marriageable age, every father, every mother, every Christian family will find food for thought and sound encouragement and equipping to answer the call back to a biblical model of courtship.

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About Jennifer Bogart