Biblical Masculinity*

I had planned to write a Father’s Day piece about the patriarchs of the Bible but God gave me this from *Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk to share instead.

Dear Friends,

In August 2018, the American Psychological Association (APA) published an outrageous and widely read report, entitled, “APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men.” It echoed not only feminist hatred of traditional men, but identified itself entirely with the LGBT agenda. The APA writers were asserting that traditional fathers pose grave danger to their boys and must be stopped. You, Dad, are in their crosshairs.

Psychologist Jordan Peterson wrote this about the APA: “The ‘Boys and Men’ document is propagandistic to a degree that is almost incomprehensible.” He continued, “The authors are claiming that men who socialize their boys in a traditional manner [that is, teaching them to be strong, competitive, self-reliant, and God fearing] destroy their mental health.”1

It is nonsense masquerading as science.

John Stonestreet, author and president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, was also outraged by the APA report. He said, “LGBT ideology is taken by the authors of the report as gospel. ‘It’s no longer just (a) male-female binary,’ says one. The report criticizes individuals with religious affiliations and conservative social and political views, who may equate masculinity with heterosexuality.’ These folks, hints the APA, need to be cured of their errant views.”2

There it is in black and white. The report and the majority of today’s secular writers are 180 degrees off the mark. The Bible is clear about God’s intention when He created man and woman. We see His plan revealed in Genesis 1:27 where it is recorded, “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” And in verse 31 of that chapter, “God saw everything that He had made, and pronounced it ‘very good.'” Today’s activists have the temerity to contradict the Creator of the universe.

Indeed, the nation is running away from biblical truth at warp speed. Even some Christian seminaries are blurring gender distinctions and teaching that and other heresies to their ministerial students. Some of those institutions and churches are embracing the entire LGBT ideology. May I remind my readers that the “B” in LGBT represents bisexuality, meaning many sexual experiences with both sexes. It is shocking that any Bible-believing teacher or pastor would endorse that movement. We know from Scripture that God sees such behavior as debauchery and has promised to punish blatant sin. My heart is grieved even thinking about it.

I wrote the following comment in my book, Straight Talk to Men, in 1980. It is as relevant today as it was 40 years ago.

My purpose in writing is to redefine the meaning of manhood in a world gone crazy. Traditional concepts of masculinity and femininity have been battered and ridiculed incessantly for 20 years (now it is more than 60), creating chaos in marriages.

We are, after all, sexual beings. Everything we do is influenced by our gender assignment. The first element of self-awareness as toddlers comes from our identification as boys and girls. Any confusion at that point . . . or in the relationship between the sexes . . . must be seen as threatening to the stability of the family and society itself. History reveals that to be true.

Dr. Charles Winick at City University of New York studied more than 2,000 cultures that have existed in world history. He found only 55 where masculinity and femininity were blurred. Not one of those unisexual societies survived for more than a few decades. Why not? Because a society can be no stronger than the vitality of its families, and its families are a function of the way the sexes relate to each other. Maleness and femaleness are not merely social niceties that have evolved through time. While customs vary from one culture to another, the linkage between the sexes is a function of powerful forces deep within the human spirit. That attraction must not be tampered with by social engineers with an agenda of their own.3I won’t burden you with more social commentary except to offer this additional comment. My greatest concern is for your children and what they are being taught in many public schools. In worst cases, kids are being indoctrinated by a radical social agenda that can have horrendous consequences. For example, policies in some states mandate that kindergarteners and those in the primary grades be taught what social engineers call “gender neutrality.” According to this curriculum, wide-eyed kids just a few years out of babyhood are being hammered with the idea that they are neither a boy or a girl. Furthermore, they are led to believe that they can change their gender by surgery and medicine. It sounds easy, doesn’t it?

It is a lie. Physicians can make anatomical alterations and load up an individual with sex hormones, but gender assignment is immutable. Inside our bodies are multiple billions of cells, and every one of them contains a chromosome designating either male or female. This can never be changed. It is unethical to entice children to change their gender. Kids are easily influenced, especially by authoritarian teachers, to do something that is categorically wrong.

In some schools, children are also taught homosexual propaganda. sexual liberation, and other unbiblical and revolutionary concepts. While parents think early public education is about reading, writing, math, and social studies, many boys and girls are being taught concepts that would have horrified earlier generations.

Of the many dimensions of our culture that alarm me, this is the most troublesome. It is twisting and warping millions of present-day children. In addition to what they are being taught at school, their parents are also being indoctrinated with the BIG LIE. It is a multigenerational effort. In some states, such as Colorado and California, moms and dads are not even permitted to opt their children out of the disturbing curriculum. Not all public schools have taken this leftward swing, but those that have will soon “own” the minds and souls of vulnerable boys and girls. Does that disturb anyone but me? It keeps me awake at night.

Adolf Hitler revealed his intentions when he said in 1939, “Your child belongs to us already . . . what are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time, they will know nothing but this new community.”4

Well, let’s look at the driving force behind these initiatives. In short it seeks to destroy the family, to brainwash an entire generation, and to obliterate the Judeo-Christian ethic. It is also designed to feminize dads and neutralize their influence. The most disturbing truth is that the perpetrators of this revolution are already well on their way to accomplishing these goals.

I saw all this coming 30 years ago and began earnestly trying to alert parents. Many of them have thanked me since for that early warning. Gary Bauer and I co-authored a book about this danger in 1990, entitled Children at Risk. Neither Gary nor I claim to be prophets, but we were dead-right on this one.

Let me return to the theme of this letter, which is to honor and encourage fathers. I’ll end by sharing some advice to dads from my book, Bringing Up Boys. What I wrote on that subject is antithetical to everything the APA, radical feminists, and the far left believe. They will hate me for saying it, but who cares? Maybe some of my readers will help stem the tide.

I want to share something with you related to fatherhood about one of my heroes, General Douglas MacArthur. He was instrumental in leading our allied armed forces to victory over the Imperial Japanese army in World War II, and then, MacArthur commanded our United Nations forces in Korea. His surprise landing at Inchon was a brilliant maneuver. These accomplishments on the battlefield explain why MacArthur is revered today, many decades after his death.

But there is another reason for my admiration of this man. It can be traced to a speech he gave in 1942, after he had been given an award for being a good father. This is what he said on that day:

“Nothing has touched me more deeply than [this honor given to me] by the National Father’s Day Committee. By profession, I am a soldier and take great pride in that fact. But I am prouder, infinitely prouder, to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build. The father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentialities of death, the other embodies creation and life. And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle, but in the home.”5That is precisely the way I feel about my own son and daughter.

Going back to the APA report which foolishly warned that traditional fathers are harmful to boys, let’s talk about how dads can contribute to their sons’ masculine development. It begins with modeling. If character training is a primary goal of child rearing (and I believe it is), then perhaps the best way to build it is through the demeanor and behavior of a father. Identification with him is a far more efficient teacher than lecturing, scolding, punishing, bribing, and cajoling.

Boys (and girls) watch their dads intently day by day, noting every minor detail of behavior and values. It is probably true in your home, too. Your sons will imitate much of what you do. If you blow up regularly and scream at your wife, your boys will be likely to treat their mothers and other females disrespectfully. If you drink to excess, your kids will be at risk for alcohol and chemical substance abuse. If you curse or smoke or fight with your coworkers, your boys will probably follow suit. If you are selfish or mean or angry, you’ll see those characteristics displayed in the next generation.

Fortunately, the converse is also true. If you are honest, trustworthy, caring, loving, self-disciplined, and God-fearing, your boys will be influenced by those traits as they age. If you are deeply committed to Jesus Christ and live by biblical teaching, your children will probably follow in your footsteps. So much depends on what they observe in you, for better or worse.

Someone said, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one.” There is truth to this statement. Children may not remember what you say, but they are usually impacted for life by what you do. Consider the task of teaching your boys to be honest, for example. Yes, you should teach what Scripture says about truthfulness, but you should also look for opportunities to live according to that standard of righteousness.

I’m reminded of something that happened some years ago in the state of Georgia, when the Bulldogs of Rockdale County High School overcame a big deficit to win the state basketball championship. Coach Cleveland Stroud couldn’t have been more proud of his team. But then a few days later, while watching the game films of the playoffs, he noticed that there was an ineligible player on the court for 45 seconds during one of the games. He called the Georgia High School Association and reported the violation, costing the school the title and the trophy. When asked about it at a press conference, Coach Stroud said, “Some people have said that we should have kept quiet about it. That it was just 45 seconds, and that the player wasn’t really an impact player. But you gotta do what’s honest and right. I told my team that people forget the scores of basketball games. They don’t ever forget what you’re made out of.”6

You can be certain that every member of the Bulldogs’ team remembers the character of Coach Stroud. A letter to the editor of the local newspaper summed it up well. “We have scandals in Washington and cheating on Wall Street. Thank goodness, we live in Rockdale County, where honor and integrity are alive and being practiced.”7

Your boys and girls need to see you doing what is right, even when it is inconvenient to do so. This raises a question about the other characteristics you are trying to model for your sons. Have you thought about that? Do you know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish at home? If you’re not sure who you are as a man or what you are trying to say with the “message of your life,” your boys (and girls) will have no consistent example to follow. Such a plan should begin with a personal commitment to Jesus Christ, who will guide your steps in the days ahead. Unless you know Him, your efforts to model righteousness will be inadequate.

I’ve run out of time and space. Let me say directly to dads, “Happy Father’s Day!” Don’t let any high-minded social scientist or some know-it-all deter you from your commitment to your family. Never forget that you are a man! Be strong and courageous. God intends for you to lead at home. Your kids will thank you some day for your love and for raising them according to Christian principles. You wife will be your cheerleader too.

Your friend in Christ,

Dr. James Dobson

P.S. Before closing, I want to express our deep concern for those of you who are struggling during this pandemic. Our prayers are with you, whatever your hardships are. I also want to thank those of you who are helping to keep this ministry afloat during the crisis. With God, we will get through this.

3. Dobson, James C., Ph.D. Straight Talk to Men and Their Wives pp. 22-23.
4. Michael Burleigh. The Third Reich: A New History (New York: Hill & Wang, 2001), 235.
5. Dale Turner, “‘Dagwood’ Image Hides the True Value of Fatherhood: It’s No Minor Task to Mold Young Lives,” Seattle Times, 19 June 1993, 8(C).
7. Ibid.

This letter may be reproduced without change and in its entirety for non-commercial and non-political purposes without prior permission from Family Talk. Copyright, 2020 Family Talk. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Printed in the U.S. Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk is not affiliated with Focus on the Family.


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