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Answers to “toxic masculinity” | with Professor Nancy Pearcey | Part 1

The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes

Season 11, episode 214
38 min / Published

Toxic masculinity. You have heard the term. Where does it come from? What does it mean? What is the Biblical framework we need today as Christian men and women to tackle this hot button in our culture wars? Stephanie welcomes Professor Nancy Pearcey to discuss the history, context, and biblical solutions for our generation. One of Stephanie’s favorite quotes from Professor Pearcey is found in the book they are discussing today: “Christians should read with their worldview antennae poised to pick up underlying messages.”

On this episode of Gospel Spice, host Stephanie Rousselle interviews best-selling author and speaker Nancy Pearcey about her upcoming book, "The Toxic War on Masculinity." Pearcey shares her personal journey from questioning her faith in high school to becoming a Christian through Schaefer's cultural apologetics approach. They explore the impact of Darwinism on our concepts of masculinity, the importance of understanding the worldview expressed in literature, and the value of a biblical approach to apologetics. Pearcey's writing focuses on cultural apologetics to address questions and provide answers for young people today, and her upcoming book provides insightful theological answers to the issue of toxic behavior in men. This episode is full of thought-provoking insights that will challenge listeners to think deeply about their faith and the culture around them.

It has become socially acceptable to express open hostility against men even in respected media outlets. "Why Can't We Hate Men?" asks the Washington Post. Almost half of American men agree with the statement, “These days society seems to punish men just for acting like men.” In her new book, the bestselling author of LOVE THY BODY Nancy R. Pearcey explains how secularism has villainized the concept of masculinity.

Stephanie welcomes Professor Pearcey in a two-part interview and, together they discuss topics that Stephanie chose from the book, and from Nancy’s whole message throughout her many books:

1.       How have the roles of men and women have fluctuated throughout human history? How is this essential context to understand where we are today?

2.       Scientific Darwinism is mostly discredited today. How about social Darwinism? How is this generation equipped to handle it?

3.       How is the history of fatherhood relevant to the ruse of toxic versions of masculinity?

4.       What did men lose through the industrial revolution that they have not yet regained? What about women?

5.       How much do you think that your analysis applies to cultures outside the framework of Western thought?

6.       Tell us about the role of the workplace in making men more present fathers.

7.       How did culture occasionally take men “off the hook” and demand of women to “tame” them? How is this influential today?

8.       What about the response of the church in centuries past, and today?


Purchase the book here: The Toxic War on Masculinity

In three parts, “The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes” reveals the surprising answers to questions such as:

• Where did the idea come from that masculinity is “toxic”?
• What impact did secularism have on the script for masculinity?
• How do Christian men shatter the negative stereotypes?

Let’s face it: When people complain that masculinity is toxic, they often point to evangelical men as their prime example. But findings from the social sciences debunk those charges. Research shows that committed Christian men who attend church regularly test out as the most loving and engaged husbands and fathers.

These facts show that Christianity has the power to overcome toxic behavior in men and reconcile the sexes—an unexpected finding that has stood up to rigorous empirical testing. We should be bold in bringing it into the public square.

“Masculine traits are not intrinsically toxic. They are good when directed to virtuous ends,” Pearcey writes. “The Bible calls men to be both tough and tender, both courageous and caring. Men who know they are made in God’s image can be full persons, reflecting all the rich dimensions of God’s own character.”


Nancy Pearcey is the author of the upcoming book The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes. Her most recently published book is Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality. Her earlier books include The Soul of ScienceSaving LeonardoFinding Truth, and two ECPA Gold Medallion Award Winners: How Now Shall We Live (coauthored with Harold Fickett and Chuck Colson) and Total Truth. Her books have been translated into 19 languages. She is professor and scholar in residence at Houston Christian University. A former agnostic, Pearcey has spoken at universities such as Princeton, Stanford, USC, and Dartmouth. She has been quoted in The New Yorker and Newsweek, highlighted as one of the five top women apologists by Christianity Today, and hailed in The Economist as "America's pre-eminent evangelical Protestant female intellectual."

More at www.nancypearcey.com/

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Show notes

The Toxic War on Masculinity cover.jpeg

Key topics:

- Nancy Pearcey's upbringing and search for truth about Christianity

- Influence of secular ideas on Christian ministers and gender roles before and after the Industrial Revolution

- Toxic masculinity and the importance of fatherhood in Christian-based relationships between men and women

- Impact of Darwinism on concepts of masculinity and the popularity of getting in touch with our inner animal

- Introduction to cultural apologetics and Nancy Pearcey's teachings on the subject

- Overview of Nancy Pearcey's book, Saving Leonardo

- Understanding the philosophy behind art movements and using timelines to teach history

- Discussion of Pearcey's book, The Toxic War on Masculinity, which provides theological answers to the issue of toxic behavior in men

- Overview of Pearcey's book, Love Thy Body, which defends the Christian view of human value and dignity

- Literary naturalism and its worldview expressed in literature, including Jack London's influence by Darwinism

- The importance of being taken out of one's culture to expose assumptions and indoctrination

- Connection between toxic masculinity and Darwinism, and how even nominal Christian men can be influenced by secular ideas

- Overview of Pearcey's book, Finding Truth, which provides an apologetic approach based on Scripture that can be used for any religious or secular ideology.

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