The American Psychological Association released new “guidelines” for psychology practice that determined “traditional masculinity” to be “harmful.” There have been several well-written pushbacks against this absurd declaration, but what is being lost in the discussion is the difference between “traditional masculinity” and biblical masculinity.
In Genesis 1:27, the Bible says that God created us male and female, and that this difference is good. Regardless of what the progressive left is trying to impose on society by deconstructing gender distinctions, there are empirical biological and chemical differences between men and women. We can observe this not just physically but also on a molecular level. There’s a reason that transgender hormone therapy is a billion-dollar pharmaceutical industry. It is a biological fact that testosterone has a different effect than estrogen and progesterone in the body.
But these biological differences are just the beginning. The progressive left would tell you that gender roles are a social construct, and that “traditional masculine traits” are toxic. Now, the APA is engaging in over-generalizing and stereotyping when it suggests that “traditional masculinity is “harmful.” Every culture throughout world history has recognized the essential differences between men and women.
While some men may be overly competitive, aggressive, or domineering this can also be true of some women. These are not properly defining traits of “masculinity.”
Bible-believing Christians hold that not only are the biological differences observable between male and female obvious, but these differences extend to soul and spirit. The differences between men and women in all these areas are part of God’s intended complementarity of design in creating us “male and female.” Because God intended us to be male and female, these differences are designed to be good.
Masculinity and femininity are not simply a matter of tradition and social construct, but are matters of biblical morality. Biblical masculinity has characteristics of protectiveness (1 Peter 3:7), servant-leadership (Matthew 23:11; Eph. 5:25-29), sacrificial love (Eph. 5:25), strength, the male husband of a female wife (marriage; Genesis 2:24), fatherhood (Eph. 6:4), strength and headship (Eph. 5:21-23; 1 Peter 5:3), which are not in any sense toxic or harmful. Masculinity also includes kindness, compassion, humility, gentleness, and patience (Col. 3:12).
Biblical masculinity is one of the greatest blessings to women and compliments to femininity. The APA and progressive left isn’t really trying to get rid of biblical masculinity — they’re over-correcting a flawed cultural bravado of so-called “masculinity” that is not based on God’s design.
We should not allow politically-motivated transformationalists to obfuscate these facts. When God created us male and female, He (yes — the Bible refers to God as masculine and a He) gave men and women specific, different, and complementary attributes, roles, and responsibilities. What defines good masculinity is this objective standard for men clearly laid out in scripture — not just what a particular culture may view as “traditional” for men.
Cultures that allow men to be harmful to women can be called out as morally wrong because we have an objective moral standard. The problem is when laws and customs do not conform to biblical truth. The problem is not with masculinity. Biblical truth is timeless and pre-political and pre-cultural. Men should desire to be biblically masculine and demonstrate those traits that make them men. Women should cherish femininity and the innate characteristics and outward design given by God, and women should also stand up firmly to defend biblical masculinity in men.
We need more real men. Real men embrace and exhibit biblical masculinity. And it isn’t toxic. It is essential.