(I’d like to begin with 2 small warnings: 1. this post will have content that 100% will create disagreement, and that’s ok. 2. This is a response to something i was told that i felt needed to be addresses in public form as a discussion. Remember if you reply to be grace-driven and speak with love. thank you. -Adam)
I was told the other day in a conversation about my current role as leader of a boys ministry that the ideas of biblical manhood and masculinity are no longer real, and that it is toxic to promote them as if they were. That all I’m doing is hurting women. What follows is my explanation of Biblical masculinity, almost verbatim, from that conversation.
Biblical masculinity from a reformed, complementarian perspective is based on the belief that God has created men and women as unique and complementary beings, with different but equally valuable roles and responsibilities in both the home and church. This perspective is rooted in several key biblical passages, including Genesis 1:26-28, which states that God created man and woman in his image and gave them specific tasks to care for the earth, and 1 Corinthians 11:3, which states that the head of the woman is the man.
According to complementarianism as I understand it, the message of biblical masculinity involves being a servant leader who sacrificially loves and protects his wife, children, and other members of his family (which includes the Church). This also involves taking responsibility for providing for their physical and spiritual needs, being a spiritual leader and role model, and standing up for what is right and just.
In addition, biblical masculinity also involves being a man of integrity, who is faithful to God, his family, and his community. This includes being honest, trustworthy, and virtuous, and avoiding behaviors that compromise one’s integrity, such as lying, cheating, or engaging in immorality.
In the church, complementarianism views biblical masculinity as involving being a faithful and active member, using one’s spiritual gifts to serve and build up the body of Christ, and leading and serving in leadership positions as qualified.
Complementarianism emphasizes the importance of balancing the qualities of strength and gentleness in biblical masculinity, as exemplified in the life and character of Jesus Christ. Men are called to be strong in standing up for what is right and in leading and protecting their families, but also to be gentle and compassionate in their relationships with others.
In conclusion, biblical masculinity from a reformed, complementarian perspective is a holistic view of manhood that encompasses both the unique roles and responsibilities of men in the home and church, and the character qualities that reflect the image of God in man and woman. It seeks to balance strength and gentleness, and to encourage men to fulfill their calling as servants and leaders, guided by the example of Jesus Christ.
Additionally, something I did not say but in reflection feel I should have, is that the image of God is present in both men and women and that we are of equal value and worth and so where we get bogged down in the debate is not in the value of a person, but of the rights of a person. The opposing perspective would say that women and men have equal rights and responsibilities because we have equal worth, but that is not reflected anywhere in the biblical narrative. Different parts of the body for different roles, each of equal value but of different function; the eyes and the ears for example, or the hands and the feet. It is also worth noting that toxic masculinity is not an outworking of biblical masculinity but is rather a tendency towards narcissism and seeks to inflate the ego and level of control of a man over a woman for self-gain and is also not reflected anywhere in the bible, but instead is detested by and spoken against in God’s Word.
Sinner | Saint | Servant
ps. this is not meant as a hit piece against egalitarianism nor is it meant to say my way is right and yours isn’t, only as a treatise on the topic of biblical masculinity and to make the case that if we are truly following the way of Christ, we would not be arguing with each other with angst and anger in this arena, but rather have loving, nurturing discussions that build up the body of Christ, not inflict harm and create division. I’ll end with a statement that I think we should all be willing to agree to, but that at the very least I will profess here: this is what I believe. I’m willing to be convinced and open to the idea that I am wrong.