The foundations of Christian masculinity

masculine-godliness-pyramid[1]vs. Revised Game Pyramid

Images from Further Ruminations on Game by Donal Graeme

So there’s a lot that has been going on in the Christian manosphere over the past couple of days at Free Northerner’s, Donal Graeme’s, SeriouslyPleaseDropit’s, Cane Caldo’s and Zippy’s blogs about game.

There is definitely progress being made, but the progress is incomplete.

As I discussed in Christian masculinity and confidence, the foundation of confidence comes from a fruitful walk with God as an outcropping of inner peace, faith, and boldness expression that comes from Eph 2:8-10.

Sophroneo is a good estimate of the counterpart between confidence, but because a soundness of mind in the Scriptures is related to self control and faith it is blended with them as the fruits of the Spirit. Neither is a toolkit needed. The approximation of godly masculinity directly to adoration and idolatry of self (dark triad traits) directly to temptation are straight forward aside from actions.

The blindness of men is often not in the actions that we take, but it is in either the hardness of heart or deception of the heart because out of the heart flow our actions.

In particular, the foundations of godly masculinity are found straight from the Bible.

2 Peter 1 (NASB)

3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us [d]by His own glory and [e]excellence. 4 [f]For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral [g]excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

Therefore, we know how we are to grow as Christians walking in godly masculinity.

Faith -> Moral excellence -> Knowledge -> Self Control -> Perseverence -> Godliness -> Brotherly Kindness -> Love

The Greek words are particularly illuminating:

  • Faith – Pistis – Persuasion, moral conviction, reliance on God
  • Virtue / Moral excellence – arete – From G730 (of male), properly manliness, valor, excellence, praise, virtue
  • Knowledge – gnosis – knowledge / science
  • Self control – egkrateia – temperance
  • Patience – hupomone – endurance, long suffering
  • Godliness – eusebeia – godliness, piety, holiness
  • Brotherly kindness – Philadelphia – brotherly love/affection
  • Love / Charity – agape – unconditional love

There are a couple important points to note here.

First, each of these qualities build on each other. Out of faith comes moral excellence to progress in God-likeness. And by now knowing what is good (and the one that is good is God) we gain the knowledge of the difference between the flesh and the Spirit. From that we exercise self control which is our free will to choose the Spirit or the flesh, and battling with the flesh over a long period of time we have endurance and patience in the faith. This is what godly masculinity is. Out of faith comes the knowledge and ability to be Christ-like and the application of Christ-likeness.

Second, it is only after godliness of self builds truly into brotherly love and charity. The fruit of serving others in the church is useless, if not built from a foundation of character within a man that is striving to be godly.

Third, how many Christian “nice guys” are actually progressing in their walks with God? I hate to sound defeatist but most Christians in today’s churches are there because it’s more of a social club or they think it is the right thing to do. Christians are to be continually growing and changing not just serving. If there is no change, then there is no growth.

Therefore, a pyramid would look like this:

foundationofgodlymasculinity

Note: I like the recodified Donal’s LAMPS to PSALM.

Obviously, it can be broken down further into components of the fruits (of the Spirit or flesh) that are attractive to women when you are doing them. However, I am not going to do that at this present juncture.

edit: revision after discussing with Donal

foundationofgodlymasculinity2

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24 Responses to The foundations of Christian masculinity

  1. Pingback: Christian masculinity, the nice guy, and neediness | Reflections on Christianity and the manosphere

  2. donalgraeme says:

    Interesting ideas in your revised pyramids. I disagree about your elimination of the idea of “toolkit”, however. I admit the word itself is problematic and inaccurate, but I couldn’t think of something better. But there does need to be an understanding of the nature of men and women in there, which is what the toolkit mostly is (plus how to apply that knowledge.)

  3. @ Donal

    Ah, I see what you are saying. If so, then I would revise it as:

    Heart for God -> Command of Scripture and Biblical descriptions of human nature -> fruits of the Spirit (actions, words, posture, etc) -> attraction (adoration)

    And for the other one then it would be:

    Heart of Idolatry of Self (dark triad) -> knowledge of human nature and the lusts of the flesh -> fruits of the flesh (actions, words, posture), attraction (temptation).

    I think that is more accurate. Agree or disagree?

  4. donalgraeme says:

    Immediate thought is agree.

    Although we can learn about human nature from things other than just the Bible. The bible teaches us most of it, but usually at a base level. Other sources can help fill things in. An example would be fitness tests, which aren’t found in Scriptures (and trust me, I have looked-I have also been pouring through Scripture lately, not just Game).

  5. Depends on what you’re terming a fitness test. The Bible is rife with husband who were led astray by listening to advice from their wife. Ain’t nothing new under the sun.

    That said, I don’t see anything wrong with knowing what NOT to do from a culture context perspective as cultures tend to have ingrained in them a lot of wordly advice.

    I hestitate to say there is anyhing good apart from God, because only God is good. If you get my point.

    I’d probably say: Command of Scripture, knowledge of God’s goodness, human nature, and lusts of the flesh.

    I’m remaking the image right now.

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  11. Yep, a lot of Christians have a misguided understanding of what Charity is. Probably a topic for another post.

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  16. Great work here DS! This is very helpful. It seems to me that there is currently a void in Christian theology on the issues you discuss here. It’s great to see someone moving towards filling that void.

    However, there is something about it that makes me uneasy. I’m not completely sure how to express it. It might be that the top of the pyramid is “what women are attracted to that results form the mission.” PSALM seems like a list of things that almost all women are attracted to.

    Is it true that almost all women will be attracted to a Christian man who is exemplifying Godly masculinity?

    Also, should it be a concern whether or not they are?

    Shouldn’t the top of the pyramid for Godly masculinity be the things that women exemplifying Godly femininity would be attracted to?

    I’m not trying to be holier than thou or act like men shouldn’t care at all about what women are attracted to. But something about the structure and/or the implied underlying motivation here bothers me.

  17. @ michaeldresden1703

    Is it true that almost all women will be attracted to a Christian man who is exemplifying Godly masculinity?

    Yes and no.

    Will women feel attracted or rather respect a man who walks in those ways? Yes.

    Does it mean she’ll want to have a relationship with him or marry him? Not necessarily. All of us have some other descriptors other than godly masculinity or godly femininity that we look for in a potential spouse. For example, I may prefer that my wife has a high preference for working out and nutrition. That’s obviously not going to be every Christian man… and I may pass up Christian women who would make good spouses because of this criteria. Likewise, a Christian woman could want a man who is a better musician than herself. That may select me out of the pool if she plays music professionally, but it also cuts down on her potential pool.

    I look at it more in terms of “increasing your probability” more than anything else. Being attractive makes it more likely that more women will take a look at you as a potential mate.

    Also, should it be a concern whether or not they are?

    Yes, if you desire a wife building the characteristics of masculinity will help prepare you for taking on the role of husband and father and will attract women. It’s something that all men must go through to some extent or another.

    Shouldn’t the top of the pyramid for Godly masculinity be the things that women exemplifying Godly femininity would be attracted to?

    Somewhat already encompassed in PSALM. Status and Athleticism/talent or whatever such as being able to play music for the worship team. This is where you can use your God given talents to serve the body and will generally make you more attractive to women.

    I’m not trying to be holier than thou or act like men shouldn’t care at all about what women are attracted to. But something about the structure and/or the implied underlying motivation here bothers me.

    Motivation other than God isn’t wrong.

    Remember, when asked the greatest commandment Jesus says Love God AND your neighbor. Likewise, in Matthew 5 if you’re presenting a gift to God and remember that your brother has something against you should go and reconcile with him then come back and present your gift.

    God created us to live with other humans in harmony in the garden. Hence, the motivation that we have for relationships, especially marriage, is a GOOD thing. I want to please God by becoming the best head I can in preparation for marriage, but that doesn’t make it wrong that my motivation is also that I want to be attractive to my wife.

    The “other than God motivation” is false humility masquerading as godliness.

    Any motivation that capitalizes on growing in unity and fruits of the Spirit is godly, even if concerns women or other relationships or whatever. Now, doing things FOR women themselves can lead you do the road to troubles (because it’s based in performance) but that’s another topic altogether.

  18. Pedat Ebediyah says:

    @DS:

    Will women feel attracted or rather respect a man who walks in those ways? Yes.

    Does it mean she’ll want to have a relationship with him or marry him? Not necessarily. All of us have some other descriptors other than godly masculinity or godly femininity that we look for in a potential spouse. For example, I may prefer that my wife has a high preference for working out and nutrition. That’s obviously not going to be every Christian man… and I may pass up Christian women who would make good spouses because of this criteria. Likewise, a Christian woman could want a man who is a better musician than herself. That may select me out of the pool if she plays music professionally, but it also cuts down on her potential pool.

    I think they find a godly masculine Christian man attractive more-so in a way that is “noble” or “admirable”.

    From what I’ve largely observed (and minimally experienced), while women might be in awe of such a man, their programming only allows the man to secure mostly a superficial level of attraction, because now she has to step up her game.

    Either she’s going to fake it till she makes it (I had a woman put up a very well thought and executed “persona’ that it took over a year to shatter), or she’s going to shit test the hell out of you to see if you’re really “so good and godly”, or she’s going to friend zone you.

    I’m not confident in a woman wanting a devout man just for it’s own sake. Something has to be in it for her.

    Of course this may sound cynical, but if say, you, DS, won a Nobel prize for the study of Christian Masculinity, I’d venture to say that most women (other than your family members or close friends) will hardly be impressed, unless the fact that you won the prize is going to result in something that will be to her benefit.

    What’s in it for them?

    Even during the times when I was firing on all cylinders, holding frame, walking in the fruits of the Spirit, and exercising healthy-as-all-get-out boundaries, I still had women looking at me sideways.

  19. I think I understand where my concern was coming from now. I was thinking of the things at the top of the pyramid as the sole purpose of the things at the bottom of the pyramid. The idea that the purpose of having a heart of God and Godly masculinity is to attract women seems wrong (especially if it includes non-christian women).

    However, I think you didn’t mean the pyramid to be used that way. Are you thinking of the things at the top as simply some things that happen to result from the things at the bottom?

  20. @ Pedat

    What’s in it for them?

    A husband of course.

    Let’s not be ignorant of motives. I’m sure that most of us want a wife as it benefits us as well and we likely burn.

    Even during the times when I was firing on all cylinders, holding frame, walking in the fruits of the Spirit, and exercising healthy-as-all-get-out boundaries, I still had women looking at me sideways.

    The problem is that you care what they think. Our value (“time”) is derived in Christ. I don’t care if women look at me like that. Also, your post gave me an idea for another post.

  21. @ michaeldresden1703

    I think I understand where my concern was coming from now. I was thinking of the things at the top of the pyramid as the sole purpose of the things at the bottom of the pyramid. The idea that the purpose of having a heart of God and Godly masculinity is to attract women seems wrong (especially if it includes non-christian women).
    However, I think you didn’t mean the pyramid to be used that way. Are you thinking of the things at the top as simply some things that happen to result from the things at the bottom?

    You are correct. The pyramid only explains “attraction” specifically.

    It is not a catch all pyramid for everything in the Christian walk.

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