WATCH: What is Masculinity?

In this video, Dr. Alastair Roberts reflects with Brad Belschner on how misguided many modern Christian approaches to masculinity are, urging us to put on or perform manliness in a way that encourages stereotypes. Rather, we discover what it means to be manly (or womanly) in the course of fulfilling the duties God has called us to. Watch it below:


00:28 – What is Masculinity?

00:50 – Commonly Attributed to Manliness.

01:15 – God creates us as either male or female. He doesn’t simply call us to be those things well.

01:40 – Because of insecurities we seek to be men by portraying manliness and pursuing it directly.

02:10 – When we pursue merely the appearance of men, we will push against a mere stereotype.

02:30 – But don’t we need to perform manliness at least in avoiding things like effeminacy?

02:43 – There is certainly a duty to be men well, but it’s not grounded in something that we whip up for ourselves, but in the fact that we simply are men.

03:00 – Helpful tip: think of the godly examples in our communities, men who are fathers, brothers, sons &c. in ways that are glorifying to God and in ways that fulfill their calling as men.

03:42 – You say gender is an inherent part of our being, but how is this different from when a Liberal says he is a wimp and obsessed with interior design, but that he’s a man.

04:12 – Such people often manifest disregard for being men more generally, and that is where the concern lies. Not in an interest in something like interior design.

04:30 – We need to be concerned to be the men God has created it to be. Doesn’t mean living up to stereotypes and it allows more latitude than we often think.

04:40 – For example, the great heroes of the Bible. David had a deep emotional life, he made music, he was passionate, engaged in the world in a way we may not consider as stereotypically masculine. But he is clearly a man, responsible in his duties, yet has intimate firendships, is artistic, etc.

05:16 – These are things that we often put off-limits because we are more concerned with the appearance of manliness rather than the substance.

05:26 – Though isn’t it more helpful to have a more concrete list of attributes, like assertiveness, confidence, be a good leader &c.? How do I use what you’re saying to “be a man”?

05:48 – Instead of the list that creates a stereotype, we need a more concrete list. E.g. for the duties of a father, of a son, of a good worker. THESE are the contexts where you will find manliness. It is in your relationship as a father, as a son, in how you relate to your wife and your children.

06:24 – So this list is more concrete than stereotypes. More helpful for each man, because it has to do with real roles and duties that a man has.