A Call to the Christian Manosphere: be More Christian

The Manosphere criticizes Christendom, and it partly deserves it. But there are Christian and non-Christian ways to criticize.

The Manosphere’s basic critique of Western Christendom is that it panders to feminism. Enamored of the world, the church often propagates the worldly, feminist idea that the man is to blame and the woman is justified in rebellion. Instead of affirming biblical and historical Christian teaching that the man is to be the head of the family and that the wife is to submit to her husband’s leadership, many Evangelical churches, while giving an occasional nod to biblical teaching, present a de facto doctrine that gives the woman veto power. Without acknowledging it, they often pander to the wife’s right to feel offended, and sometimes even to divorce, if she feels that her man is mistreating her or not meeting her needs.

Broadly speaking, I agree with the Manosphere’s critique. When they err, it is usually an exaggeration of a valid point rather than a fundamental untruth. But something important is missing.

To understand what’s missing, consider the notion of law versus gospel:

*

When we say “law and gospel,” the “law” is everything that God has said, in the pages of Scripture, that we must or must not do. The Ten Commandments would be the quintessential example of law, but throughout the Bible, God calls on man to obey.  Law, then, is everything that man must do for God.

Gospel, in contrast, is everything God has done for man and that man cannot do for himself. The paradigm case of gospel is the sinless life, the atoning death, and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Man cannot atone for his sins, and therefore avoid Hell, on his own. Gospel is the message that man need not do what God has already done for him.

One more important point follows. If man cannot save himself, what’s the use of the law? If God does not expect us to obey the law well enough to earn Heaven on our own, why then did he give us the law?

Scripture itself answers the question. Romans 3:20 reads “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”  The primary use of the law is to tell us that we are sinners needing a Savior.

[Scripture identifies two other uses of biblical law, but they are not relevant for the present discussion. See my essay Law and Gospel.]

Therefore God’s law, despite being valid, does not give man the power to obey. It only condemns, and the condemnation is intended to drive us to our Savior, and to trust him alone for the forgiveness of our sins. It was never intended, by itself, to make people make themselves better.

*

[There is a non-Christian Manosphere, and a Christian one. My remarks from now on are addressed to the Christian Manosphere (CM.)]

Now, what has law and gospel to do with the CM? Just this: When the CM scolds Evangelicalism, or calls on it to clean up its act, it’s preaching law. But law preaching, by itself, has no power to induce repentance or make us obey God’s law. The law only accuses. To be truly Christian in its counsel, the CM needs to remind wayward Evangelicals of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the gospel, the good news of salvation in Christ, which has the power to lift sinners to a new life of better obedience. Nobody stops sinning in this life, but the believer in Jesus Christ has a new nature (II Corinthians 5:17) that is more eager to obey God’s law.

Most parents and teachers know that scolding has little power to induce reform. Scolding only causes the subject to try harder not to be caught. To induce real reform you must give your subject hope of a better life. The gospel is the hope of the Christian, and only the hearing of the good news can induce change in the Christian.

*

If I were a Christian Manospherean, I would speak to Evangelicalism like this:

Western Christianity has largely been captured by the seeker-sensitive approach in which Christianity is portrayed as a means of personal happiness. In this approach, those who feel emotional distress are to be given psychotherapy rather than the gospel.

But is this the Christian response to psychological suffering?  Compare two hypothetical people: John and Mary, both of whom suffer from deep psychological pain caused by traumatic events of their past. Both think that their greatest need is relief from psychological suffering.

John visits a church where he hears that his greatest need is forgiveness of his sins through repentance and faith in Christ. At first he finds the gospel message irrelevant but he continues attending church and continues hearing God’s word and the message of the gospel. Eventually, he comes to repent of his sins and to trust in Jesus. He learns that despite the psychological pain he still feels, he is forgiven, has a new nature in Christ, and is now free to serve God with a clean conscience.

Mary visits a church where Jesus is mentioned in passing but the emphasis is on tips for successful living. She learns that Christian counseling can help alleviate her pain. Although the counseling helps take away most of her psychological pain (partly by giving her permission to become more selfish and demanding towards her man) she never learns the truth about her sin and need for a Savior. She never repents of her sins and never comes to faith in Christ.

Which one of these people has truly been saved by Christ? According to the Bible, only John.

If, like the second church above, you place an emphasis on meeting people’s practical needs and desires, you will naturally emphasize psychotherapy and this-worldly wisdom as the solutions to the problem of psychological pain. When you address male-female difficulties you will tend naturally to affirm the feminism that currently dominates in the Western world, because you want to use concepts that non-Christians find familiar. You will naturally tend to see things as liberalism does: That females, along with nonwhites, homosexuals and non-Christians, are victims of males, along with whites, heterosexuals, and Christians.

And since you tend to see females as victims of males (even if you don’t openly affirm this), you will naturally tend to place blame for male-female strife more on men than on women. You will mirror the thinking of the world instead of the thinking of God recorded in the Bible.

As a Christian, you understand that man’s greatest need, whether he knows it or not, is forgiveness of his sins. And if an emphasis on psychotherapy distracts from the gospel, then psychotherapy must be put aside in the church. People don’t need to be told to follow worldly wisdom, they need to hear the message of the gospel, and the full counsel of God.

[Psychotherapy can have value. But if it is based on non-Christian premises, or if it displaces the gospel, it is to be rejected.]

As a Christian, you have been washed by the Blood of Christ. You have been given a new nature. You don’t need to pander to liberalism and feminism when you speak to men and women about their lives. You have been given the privilege of being an ambassador for Christ, imploring people to be reconciled to God through repentance and faith in Christ. (II Corinthians 5:20.) For the Christian God’s law, including his laws of how husbands and wives are to relate, is good. You don’t need to shy away from it for fear of offending people.

47 thoughts on “A Call to the Christian Manosphere: be More Christian

  1. Pingback: A Call to the Christian Manosphere: be More Christian | Neoreactive

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    • The new nature comes from several passages you will find if you simply Google you have been given a new life in Christ. It is not by Baptism with water, because Baptisms by water (to Alan and me) are outward acts signifying and testifying to inward events. It is by Baptism with Spirit that we are given a New Nature.

      • Vishmehr:

        (1) Is that an honest question or thinly veiled sarcasm?;

        (2) If the former, do you mean baptism of the Holy Spirit, or water baptism?

        I think I can safely speak for both Earl and Alan when I say that water baptism is, in and of itself, no visible sign that the person has actually been reborn internally; that many are baptized who are not saved.

      • “baptism of the Holy Spirit”
        And how and where do I get to be baptized in the Holy Spirit?
        Would Catholic Church do?
        Or any generic Protestant church?
        Or a particular Protestant Church?

      • @ vishmehr:

        You ask all these questions, but I see no evidence that you are sincerely interested in answers. When someone offers an answer, you never acknowledge it, but proceed to ask more questions.

        Why should I answer you, when it apparently does no good?

        Or, to put it another way: What’s really bothering you, vishmehr? The specific questions you ask here are side issues, I think. That’s why answering them does no good. It does not get to the heart of the matter.

        Is there a question you could ask that, if answered satisfactorily, would truly satisfy you and give your soul rest?

      • In Catholicism Baptism in the Holy Spirit is through the sacraments which Jesus established at a date later than John’s Baptism of repentance.

        I am curious about the Reformed view of laying on of hands. The NT talks about it again and again and Hebrews lists it as one of the basic doctrines when summarizing Christianity. Is there a form of laying on of hands in Reformed Christianity?

      • Although it’s not clear in John 3, being “born of the spirit” occurs as a result of repentance and faith in Christ. It’s part of the “package deal” of salvation. It’s not something you do for yourself (nobody gets themselves born in the literal sense; it happens to them).

      • Earl, thank you for the link.

        Earl, Alan,

        It seems to me that laying on of hands is a fundamental doctrine described in Hebrews 6:1-2 as grouped with other doctrines that all Christians still believe are relevant.

      • It certainly appears that way in the passage you cite. But a single, ambiguous verse cannot rule a doctrine. The Bible generally describes the laying on of hands as a transmission of authority, so the Reformed generally restrict it to the ordination of clergy or elders. But the laying on of hands is not said to possess any power by itself. It is a sign of something that occurs by other means.

      • Earl, Alan, do Cessationists include the authority to retain or forgive sins (in persona Christi) as granted to the Apostles in John 20:23? It seems to me this power wouldn’t be useful for the cessationists argument since forgiveness wouldn’t really be a visible sign that would be useful for authenticating the Apostles message.

      • Only God can forgive sins, but clergy can declare sins forgiven on account of the subject’s repentance and faith in Christ. Again, one verse cannot overrule the clear testimony of the rest of Scripture. At most, this verse proves that the Apostles had the authority to forgive sins.

        You’re right that since forgiveness is not visible, the granting of forgiveness couldn’t be a sign gift even in principle.

      • Alan, it seems important to me that all of the other beliefs & practices listed in Hebrews 6:1-2 are both very basic and still in practice or considered basic & foundational. Laying on of hands, if an exception, would be the only exception.

    • I think Acts 8:17 shows its general use not just for elders & clergy.
      If it is for setting establishing clerical authority, what is the other means that laying on of hands symbolizes? Simply selection? Selection by apostles? Selection by other clergy?
      Just trying to understand.

      • In Acts 8:17 it was Apostles who laid hands on them for the reception of the Holy Spirit. This power was not transmitted to the next generation of pastors. The Apostle had the power to give people the Holy Spirit in this way, but not just to anybody, for the Holy Spirit does not indwell unbelievers.

        I don’t have a full theory of the laying on of hands. I’m just making some general observations of its biblical limits.

      • I don’t believe that your understanding of scripture and the sacraments is indefensible. But I think Mark 16:16 and Acts 8:17 indicate effects that follow and result from the action/sacrament described not merely from the initial repentence & belief.

        Acts 8 describes people who believed and were baptized. The reception of the Holy Spirit came later following the sacrament.

        “This power was not transmitted to the next generation of pastors.”

        Is there a scriptual citation?

      • There is controversy over just what is happening in Acts 8:17. Some make the distinction between an individual being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, something which happens to all believers, and being “filled” with the Spirit, meaning an additional anointing which gives the individual power for special service or to endure special circumstances. We know that no Scriptural passage says that Christians (whether ordinary or leaders) will posses the ability to confer the Holy Spirit, it only reports that some of the Apostles has this power on some occasions.

        In retrospect, I don’t think I should have phrased it “This power was not transmitted to the next generation of pastors.” It would be better to say that this sort of imparting of the Spirit occurred rarely even in New Testament times, and is not a part of the system of Christianity described in the NT.

      • “We know that no Scriptural passage says that Christians (whether ordinary or leaders) will posses the ability to confer the Holy Spirit,”
        Alan I think your response highlights an obvious Catholic-Protestant difference – that everything definitive is explicitly described in the NT.
        “It would be better to say that this sort of imparting of the Spirit occurred rarely even in New Testament times”
        Certainly the instances described in the NT are but a tiny fraction of all things that happened in NT times. We don’t know how often it happened- whether it was rare or the norm – we just know it was described among the instances described in the NT.

    • Christ says only God can forgives sins and then forgives sins, thus indicating that He is God (since scripture is without error). He then says that His Apostles have the authority to forgive sins thus indicating that they are acting in persona Christi since scripture is without error and only God can forgive sins.
      If the verse is ambiguous then I can see how your belief in recourse to other, clearer verses would make sense and still be consistent with the idea of scripture as the inerrant word of God. But John 20:23 doesn’t seem ambiguous to me. Note that the verse also indicates that they have the authority to retain sins. What would be the purpose of setting up this authority for one generation when it isn’t a sign gift to establish authenticity?
      Sitting in a boring meeting right now. This is so much more interesting 

      • This is why one must understand Christianity as a system, not as a collection of sayings. Forgiveness has a biblically-described mechanism, and a notion that violates this mechanism cannot be true. In the case of forgiveness of sins, it is done because God transfers our sins to Christ, who atones for them on the cross, which means that we no longer are “credited” with being sinful.

        This is something that only God can do. A priest can declare that it has been done, and his words may carry more force that someone else’s, but he cannot do it. Only God can forgive sins. Therefore John 20:23 must mean something other than what a literal reading would convey.

      • Sorry to belabor this Alan. It also seems important to me that immediately preceding John 20:23 Jesus gives the Apostles the Holy Spirit and there seems to be continuity between the two verses.

  3. [Psychotherapy can have value. But if it is based on non-Christian premises, or if it displaces the gospel, it is to be rejected.]

    I went to a counselor with my wife during a tough time in our military days. The government-provided counselor was so easy to manipulate since I have some background in psychology and philosophy. I had both women right where I wanted them, blaming everyone but me for everything! My wife got nothing out of the meeting, except that men have a natural urge to be womanizers and that she needs to just accept that and live her own life apart from me sometimes.

    Then we went to a Christian counselor, a protestant Naval Chaplain. Even though I was not a believer (I was an atheist) he was able to help way more, and I was not able to do anything manipulative. Although he had very little criticism for me because he applied Biblical counseling principles to the only other Christian in the room: my wife. I was however impressed by the principles and improvements my wife was able to make and her maturing faith and developing character bore witness to the power of Christ in her life. Eventually I saw it in her and so many others that I prayed to God that I could have something like that for myself.

  4. As you say, the Christian Manosphere is primarily about ‘men’ and only secondarily about Christianity – my impression is that their analysis would be that the problems of men need to be sorted-out *before* Christianity can be sorted-out: that the problems of sexual relationships are primary, and are blocking any realistic possibility of Christian revival: that society must sort out sex first.

    This is analogous to those Religious Reactionaries (primarily political, secondarily Christian) who regard sorting-out the problem of mass immigration as the primary priority, which needs the most urgent solution – and that only after that has been done, and borders are secure, can Christianity be sorted-out.

    There are several other flavours of Christianized socio-political grouping – for all of whom the priority is secular.

    My own view goes in the opposite direction – I believe that it is lack of Christianity which is preventing us from ‘solving’ what are in fact trivial-non-problems. Our anti-Christian, secular, hedonistic society is so profoundly disorientated and demotivated that it has become incapable of basic common sense.

    Therefore, whatever the major socio-political problem, the answer is Christianity; and Christianity must come first.

    The fact, and I think it is a fact, that Christian revival of any flavour seems extremely improbable in The West does not alter its being a fact.

    Putting any secular priority first leads to more secularism, and worse problems.

    • I agree. It’s the basic question of whether internal leads to external, or the other way around. The world constantly tells us it is “the other way around”; that if you improve a man’s circumstances – make life easier and more comfortable for him, basically – that the condition of heart will follow suit (there are innumerable ways of saying this, but they all boil down to the same thing). Whereas we see it quite differently.

    • It would be helpful to list specific manosphere writers. I’ve not read many of them – the few of have seem to be filling a real need – explaining the proper relationship of the sexes as taught by Christianity. There’s nothing wrong with being a specialized writer. Of course, they give lots of examples of how poor contemporary Christianity is at this. Maybe we’re thinking of different writers.

    • “I believe that it is lack of Christianity which is preventing us from ‘solving’ what are in fact trivial-non-problems. Our anti-Christian, secular, hedonistic society is so profoundly disorientated and demotivated that it has become incapable of basic common sense.”

      Bruce, Jim Kalb has been making this same point for a long time. I don’t disagree – hedonistic nihilists can’t be made to care for much. I think the demographic issue gains special and disproportionate attention because it involves imminent and irreversible destruction. It’s interesting that the 1st American politician that seems to want to do something about it probably isn’t a Christian.

  5. @BB “I think the demographic issue gains special and disproportionate attention because it involves imminent and irreversible destruction.”

    Yes, but for those with power in our secular Leftist world of inverted values, imminent and irreversible destruction of The West is seen as a feature not a bug – a desirable outcome, not a problem. So the problem will not be solved – but perpetuated and exacerbated/

    “It’s interesting that the 1st American politician that seems to want to do something about it probably isn’t a Christian.”

    Seeming to want to do something about it means nothing at all (the British Prime Minister has said as much) – this is not a problem you ‘do something about’. If a society is sane, serious and motivated then it will simply *solve* the problem.

    It is because our society is insane, unserious and demotivated – because we lack religion – that we keep making things worse.

    • Don’t forget that the remaining “sane” parts of the society have made efforts to do something about it, but keep getting struck down by the federal government and its Supreme and lower courts. It is true that “the whole is exactly equal to the sum of its parts,” but that just tells us how utterly insane the society can, and ultumately will be. We haven’t reached the peak of our (collective) insanity just yet.

  6. I think it’s important for Reactionaries to reach out to the entire Manosphere and try to move it in a constructive direction. There are some really intelligent people in this web whose potential may be being wasted on topics of leisure. Hence, why I penned an article at Return of Kings to give a broad Reactionary view on manhood and the problems it is facing today.

    http://www.returnofkings.com/69347/why-modern-men-must-become-aristocrats-of-the-soul

    • I’ve never had an interest in the Manosphere before, but your post prompted me to do some reading. I do hope your attempts at conversion are successful. The only thing I got out of reading the Manosphere is that it is merely a recruiting tool for the armies of the dark lord. Other than prodding men into defiling unmarried women,thus rendering these women unmarriageable, and giving tips for the idolatrous worship of the fallen self, I couldn’t find any unifying themes.

      • I see in the Manosphere an expression of men realizing something is wrong, missing, or broken. Everyone is told to accept the end of old patriarchal norms, but these men are the ones who are uneasy about that. While I find no value in the pick-up artistry and sex tips, there is a contingent within the sphere who have an interest in something… more. I humbly want to present the Reactionary political worldview as the real final ‘red pill’ for these men who have what it takes to go the distance.

      • I agree with you, Mark. The Manosphere is a result of men realizing something is wrong. These men need direction, most of all Christianity.

      • Mark, do you know what is the average age within the Manosphere? I take it the movement appeals mainly to men under 30?

      • I never read the manosphere much. I used to read Dennis Mangan but I think he left blogging. Recently I started reading Dalrock. His posts seem reasonable – he seems to be a Christian blogger whose writing is specialized – his focus is relationship between the sexes. I guess that’s why I asked that someone name specific manosphere bloggers – I’m not even sure if I’m thinking of the same manosphere.

      • The average age of the Manosphere and the Reactosphere are likely similar, surprisingly young, 20-35 average in my admittedly anecdotal assessment. This is a good indicator of movement health.

  7. Deuteronomy 30:11-20 contradicts this Christian insanity. Christianity wasn’t always nuts, the Puritans were pretty good. But today’s Christians are a hopeless bunch, and will be replaced by some other religion.

      • A religion won’t fail when it is perfect, which is never going to happen. All we can do is the best we can. What I am saying is that I know that Christians can do better because they have done better. So combine the best of Puritanism with your favorite branch of Christianity and try to make it work.

        The modern Christian view, as expressed by this blog post, will never work. It is hopeless. Read John Calvin and you will see a very different Christian viewpoint, namely that those with true faith do a reasonable job abiding by the law, so the law serves the function of verifying faith for Christians. This viewpoint works and gives the law meaning.

      • I don’t know what you mean by “The modern Christian view, as expressed by this blog post, will never work.” The three uses of the law are in Scripture, and Calvin did endorse the concept of law versus gospel. The third use of the law is to serve as the basis for civil law, which the Christian is to respect.

  8. @Franklin – “today’s Christians are a hopeless bunch, and will be replaced by some other religion.”

    Since there have not been any major new world religions for more than a millennium, by ‘some other religion’ I presume you must mean Islam – and on current trends that is indeed the most probable alternative.

    Indeed, since secularism is not viable; the future boils down to that old and simple choice of Christianity or Islam, with Islam as the current default and most likely outcome (barring a Christian revival from out of left field).

  9. Pingback: Father Knows Best: End of August Linkfest | Patriactionary

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