Toxic sexuality exists for both sexes. In both cases, it takes the form of a spiritual subversion of God’s design. So just as there really is toxic masculinity—wicked patriarchy— there is also toxic femininity. The creation mandate was for both sexes; thus, as it is subverted by men in the fall, so it is subverted by women. In both cases the subversion is along sexual lines. There are sins common to men, and there are sins common to women.
Talking about toxic femininity is verboten in evangelicalism. This is why so many men are unprepared for it, and why it has become such a potent accelerant of chaos in the modern day. Satan is only too pleased to use the power of female sexuality to magnify the disorder he can cause in the world. But this, too, is nothing new. Apostasy through marriage was the catalyst for the Flood—and for the calamitous fracture of the kingdom of Israel: “For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been… So the LORD said to Solomon, ‘Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant.” (1 Kings 11:4, 11)
In Proverbs 6:26, Solomon describes an adulteress as a sexual predator, hunting for a precious life. In 7:26, he warns, “all her slain are a mighty throng” (ESV). Whereas admonishments about immoral women are these days shouted down as the babble of bitter men, Scripture contains the words of the Holy Spirit. We do well to heed His warnings, because without wisdom to guide us, the powerful engine of our sexuality can easily drive us off a cliff. The danger of immoral women to God’s sons is laboriously repeated throughout the history of Israel. When men reject the faith and make shipwrecks of their lives, it is often because they followed women who worship other gods…
In Proverbs, we find both a wise father and mother warning their son the king about the dangers of immoral women. In chapters 5 and 7, the father gives two very detailed warnings about the ruin that comes from being caught in the web of a “strange woman.” In chapter 31, the mother warns of the strength-depleting nature of promiscuous women (v. 3). These are the daughters whose father is the devil."
—Excerpted from pp. 75–77 of It’s Good To Be A Man: A Handbook for Godly Masculinity. Btw, this book looks amazing “in the flesh;” it’s a lot like The Dangerous Book For Boys, which if you have a copy, you know that photos don’t do it justice. This in turn, providentially, illustrates another key principle we articulate in our book: embodiment matters…
We are aware that the supply chain problems in the US are affecting delivery of the book. We wish we could do something about this, but unfortunately it’s entirely out of our hands. If you want to avoid these problems, or if you’re in a place like New Zealand where it costs more to ship the book than buy it, you can also get it on Kindle:
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We tend to interpret other people’s behavior based on our own motivations and feelings. This is why wrongdoers are often paranoid: they assume that people are as covetous/lustful/dishonest etc as they are, and will therefore easily pick up on their sin. It’s called projection.
This is why androgynous (or androgynist) women tend to find masculine competence threatening.
Such a woman feels compelled to publicly proclaim her greater competence—then interprets any non-affirming response from men, whether competitive or disgusted, as insecurity in their masculinity.
As with other wrongdoers, this tells us less about normal men and more about the androgynist woman. Because she is trying to act the man, she is terribly insecure in her sexuality.
She is insecure in her femininity because she knows she has ruined it. The clamoring adulation of white knights can’t drown this nagging hurt, because white knights disgust her hypergamous instincts. In fact, the only sexually meaningful validation would be from men who find her grotesque.
She is doubly insecure about her “masculinity,” because she knows it’s all fake. Unlike men, who are content with being bested because they are made to work in hierarchy, she is bitter and discontent about any man who is better than she is, because he exposes her as a fraud.
So she is working with a handicap, against nature, trying to be something she isn’t in a competitive environment of domination that defies the cooperative instinct of submission that she was made for.
In the process, this corrodes, rather than develops, her feminine beauty.
So of course she is insecure. She has made bad choices. She has believed false doctrine and wicked people. And this has wrecked the best of her femininity—replacing it with what amounts to a fake identity that she resents and feels trapped in.
As with all sin, she believes she should feel powerful and happy and free…but in her soul she feels impotent and miserable and enslaved. So naturally this is a sore spot. Naturally she is sensitive and easily provoked. And naturally she projects her insecurity onto men.
One form of genuinely toxic masculinity is hyper-patriarchy.
This is a theological error, where a father makes himself the sole mediator between his church or state, and his wife or children.
Essentially, this type of man sees his authority over his family as absolute, so the church and state must go through him to gain access to his family in any and every way.
Now, as head of his household, he is its chief representative, and a mediator between it and the outside world.
Moreover, as we cover in our article, Who do we think we are? the default attitude that social media has fostered in men toward other men’s wives (and toward other men themselves), is a haughty and presumptuous one that cuts against the grain of God’s creational authority patterns.
This is something that will require much repentance to untangle, and hyper-patriarchalists may be responding to an accurate and true intuition on this point.
But they go too far.
Biblical patriarchy stresses the legitimate authority of all institutions ordained by God—and certain inherent freedoms given by God to all individuals.
No human authority is absolute, and we all simultaneously exist as subjects of multiple institutions.
It is wise and appropriate for a church’s elders to approach a father about his child’s sins, rather than going directly to the child. But it is still their responsibility to exercise church discipline with that child, and to bar him from the table if necessary.
It is wise and appropriate for the magistrates to approach a husband if they have evidence that his wife is a thief. But it is still their responsibility to arrest her, try her, and sentence her if she is guilty. Her husband does not do these things for them; nor does he answer for her crime.
So here is a helpful principle:
Authority and responsibility should always be at a relative parity. This is because authority is given specifically to fulfill particular responsibilities with regard to ordering the world in accordance with God’s will. Responsibilities cannot be fulfilled unless they’re accompanied by the authority to do so. But trying to take authority without responsibility is at best larping—and at worst to make yourself a tyrant.
One way to describe mature and virtuous manhood is with the following “equation”:
Mature Manhood = Authority + Ability + Virtue
- Authority: he embraces his God-given masculine leadership (e.g. 1 Tim 2:11–15; Isa 3:12; 1 Cor 11:3–15).
- Ability: he acquires the skills to lead effectively (e.g. Proverbs 8:29; 1 Tim. 5:8).
- Virtue: he develops a holy character to lead for the glory of God and the good of others (e.g. Exodus 18:21; 1 Tim 3:1–13).
This formula can be helpful for better understanding what constitutes toxic masculinity. Hyper-patriarchy isn’t the only kind you will encounter.
Here are four others:
- Effeminate non-Christians. These are men who entirely reject both their natural authority and God’s law. They have neither gravitas nor virtue, and this in turn results in significant deficiencies of masculine ability. Such men are some of the most worthless you’ll meet. One anthropologist referred to them as “women without wombs.”
- Manly non-Christians. These are men who embrace their natural authority, and thus also tend to develop masculine abilities. However, they are deficient in masculine virtue because they reject God’s law. This is how you can be good at being a man, without being a good man.
- Egalitarian Christians. These are men who explicitly reject their natural authority, even though they embrace other parts of God’s law. Authority carries with it responsibility, and that responsibility is a major driver in the development of a man’s maturity. Consequently, they are usually deficient in both masculine ability and virtue. They are abdicators; self-made slaves.
- Complementarian Christians. These men implicitly reject their natural authority. They operate on the premise that it is derived only from the quality of their masculine ability and virtue. Moreover, they tend to regard that authority as arbitrarily dependent on spheres explicitly named in Scripture—church and family—rather than being a natural quality that inheres in them by merit of being men. As a result, they are prone to abdicate, and are easily shamed. These are your typical servant-leaders. They often have the potential for great ability and virtue, but can never quite get there. (If you think of yourself as a complementarian, see our A primer on patriarchalism versus complementarianism.)
There are two ditches that men fall into (or are pushed into by bad teaching) when it comes to headship in marriage:
Reducing headship to the crown of thorns. This is the servant-leader mentality, where no actual rulership takes place—because doing so would be seen as failing to exercise humility through service.
Reducing headship to the crown of glory. This is the hyper-patriarchal mentality, where no actual service takes place—because doing so would be seen as failing to exercise authority through rulership.
The biblical model is to follow in the steps of our Savior and Lord, who emptied himself to receive the crown of thorns, in faithful anticipation of receiving the crown of glory—of being filled again with all glory and power and majesty.
It was because he humbled himself that he was exalted. It is because he served that he was counted worthy to rule. This pattern is repeatedly, continually taught in Scripture.
This is why we always disciple men who are having difficulty ruling their wives to start with ruling themselves. Authority flows to the one who crucifies his own flesh for those he loves. A man who cannot rule himself cannot rule anyone else. A man who only serves his own flesh cannot serve others by exercising authority over them. A man who cannot order himself according to God’s word cannot order his family according to God’s word.
Remember that all rulership is on behalf of God, who delegates it. We are his representatives. He is the Father from whom all fatherhood receives its name. Do not grasp for this authority, but humble yourself before him, and in the right season he will exalt you. If you focus on ruling yourself, you will tend to receive the ability to rule your wife. If you focus on ruling her, you will tend to receive neither.
As [Wendell Berry] writes in the splendid essay, “Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community”: “Sex was never safe, and it is less safe now than it has been.” Community customs, arrangements, and controls had existed “in part, to reduce the volatility and the danger of sex.” These controls would preserve its energy, its beauty, and its pleasure” so that the sexual act would in turn bond husbands to wives, “parents to children, families to community, [and] the community to nature.” Whenever sex becomes “autonomous,” freed from communal restraints, and valued solely for its own sake, it also becomes “frivolous” and “destructive–even of itself.”
“Rather than freedom the disintegration of the household through “sexual liberation” has produced a novel form of bondage. The new overlords, Mr. Berry says, are the sexual specialists–sex clinicians and pornographers–”[b]oth of whom subsist on the increasing possibility of sex between people who neither know or care about each other" and who also "subsist on our failure to see any purpose or virtue in sexual discipline.
—Allan Carlson. “Not Safe, Nor Private, Nor Free: Wendell Berry on Sexual Love and Procreation.” The Family in America. Sept–Oct 2007.
New content this week: #
Michael appeared on Breitbart’s daily podcast (from 33:00): Breitbart News Daily Podcast Ep. 31: It’s Good to Be a Man, Even if You’re a Woman; Facebook’s Opinion Now Fact; Guest: Pastor Michael Foster
- “Unfortunately, the plea to remove national symbols from religious spaces (and vice versa) is often a gnostic attempt to make Christianity a merely spiritual practice shorn of its outworkings in civil society.” The History of National Flags in Churches | Miles Smith | First Things
- Bnonn and his wife joined up with a group of believers in New Zealand’s capital, to protest with over 10,000 other people their government’s continued roll-out of their medical apartheid and social credit system (center back with the red signs):
From Tyrannus Hall: #
One of the men in Tyrannus Hall (our members group) made the following observation recently:
Now that it has been ~6 months since I found IGTBAM, I want to say that the best thing that happened for me as a result is a switch from trying to “discern God’s will” (i.e. seeking to divine the future, if you will) to simply striving to live by scriptural principles of wisdom, prudence, temperance, diligence, patience, etc. So much more peace to life this way. Grateful for this.
Tyrannus Hall is a casual setup, and you can put in as much or as little as you want. But it really does help men, and we are proud of it.
Learn more about Tyrannus Hall
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Talk again next week,
Bnonn & Michael