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Toxic Masculinity vs Biblical Masculinity: The Rise of Andrew Tate

Trigger warning: sexual assault

*deep breath*

Andrew Tate, the man who rose to fame after being kicked off Big Brother for a video surfacing of him hitting a woman with a belt, has recently been arrested for human trafficking and rape allegations. He is this generation’s golden calf, with more than 11.6 billion views on TikTok alone.

Tate is a self-proclaimed misogynist, saying women are ‘barely sentient’. He also tweets that women should ‘bear responsibility’ for being sexually assaulted. Yet these comments have not stopped him growing in popularity.

Tate flips the narrative that our society is becoming more equal, as he exploits the fears and insecurities of a generation of men. The idea that men are the protectors and providers, whilst women are the subservient caretakers, may not seem that radical, but when you see that this belief system is founded on aggrieved entitlement, it becomes an entirely different beast.

Tate preaches to his followers – known as ‘The War Room’ – that men need to fight back to orient the world around themselves again, reclaiming a state of primal and traditional masculinity. All because women aren’t financially or emotionally reliant on them anymore.

I find myself asking why he has so much traction, why young boys and men are so attracted to his antagonistic thoughts. So, with open misogyny and violence against women somehow becoming the norm, and toxic masculinity being repackaged and idealised for the next generation of men, I think we should restate a biblical vision of womanhood and masculinity, which we as Christians are called to embody.

Biblical masculinity is counter-cultural to Tate’s ideology of proving manhood with strength and violence. The example of Jesus Christ shows that masculinity is expressed through kindness, patience, self-control, and vulnerability. Christ consistently remained gentle, humble, and resilient in honouring his neighbours and enemies. And significantly, he included women within his ministry and discipleship, despite the social practices of his time. He befriended Mary Madelene, engaged with the woman at the well, and cared for his mother, even whilst on the cross.

Ultimately, biblical masculinity treats women with respect, honouring them as sisters who equally bear God’s image. This is the version of masculinity that we, the scattered church, need to demonstrate on our frontlines. How might we model and encourage this in our workplaces and relationships with those around us?

And, Andrew Tate, as a woman I don’t want protection. I want respect.

Annabelle Adams
Team Operations Coordinator


  1. Annabelle thanks for your short statement. While I agree with the overall sentiment of what you say there is a slightly accusatory feeling that it conveys that somehow Andrew Tate represents all boys and men when you state “I find myself asking why he has so much traction, why young boys and men are so attracted to his antagonistic thoughts.” Let me be clear, many men and boys are repelled by what Andrew Tate stands for. It is shocking… and please note also, that like women, men want respect! In this we are no different.

    By Martin Klopper  -  3 Feb 2023
    • Thanks for your comment, Martin – I appreciate you highlighting our common humanity, and shared desire for respect. You’re right, many (I hope, *most*) men don’t identify with Mr. Tate in his aggrieved entitlement, despite how his click-bait has garnered attention. Keep speaking up for healthier, reciprocally respective, relationships between men and women, boys and girls, on your frontline. Blessings, Dave (LICC Director of Culture and Discipleship)

      By Dave Benson  -  6 Feb 2023
  2. I’m struck by the use of the word ‘biblical’. Certainly we can quote Jesus as an example of ’good’ manhood but I always think of him as an exception; if not the exception. Isn’t the unhappy lot of women in a patriarchal society completely ‘biblical’?
    So when we use the adjective, ‘biblical’ are we mean that something
    – can be found in the Bible;
    – is explicitly supported in the Bible;
    – is favoured in theology derived from the Bible?

    Better adjectives for those three might be biblical, Jewish, and Christian?

    I’m open to correction as always:-)

    By Steve E Weeks  -  3 Feb 2023
    • Thanks Steve, that’s a helpful comment. We did have a bit of back-and-forth as a team on whether something described in the Bible is prescriptive. Jesus was truly a man – but he was also truly ‘the new humanity’, embracing in his being the best of humanity whatever gender we are. And he also had a particular (even peculiar) calling, which required a particular (arguably unique) way of engaging the world to achieve his mission, of bearing the sins of all humanity in his body, thereby doing away with the curse. This required both vulnerability, sensitivity, and care, as well as courage, confidence, and ‘chutzpah’ as one person emailed in. Granted, we are to image Christ, where men also image particular attributes of Jesus. But it’s arguably most helpful to see this as being ‘fully alive as a human’ rather than the definitive take on ‘biblical masculinity’ if such a thing exists beyond its particular cultural form.

      By Dave Benson  -  6 Feb 2023
  3. Jesus and the Bible present the mentioned qualities (kindness, patience, self-control, gentleness, etc) as what it is to be a good human being, not specifically a good male.
    We are created male and female (Gen 1.27) – so that is not something we need to work at. There are no instructions about what a Christ-following man should do in order to be masculine or what a Christ-following woman should do in order to be feminine.
    ‘Love your neighbour’, ‘love your enemies’, ‘love one another’ are not gendered commands.
    The ethical challenge is not to be masculine or feminine but to be like Jesus Christ.

    By Andrew Bartlett  -  3 Feb 2023
    • Thanks, Andrew – I entirely concur, even as I think the line Annie took is helpful: challenging Andrew Tate’s misogyny with a fuller picture of Jesus’s character as an ideal for every person, including men.

      It’s somewhat controversial in popular Christian conversation, though not at all controversial among orthodox theologians, to register that there is no clear ‘biblical’ masculinity distinct from being fully human … i.e., while, yes, we should build upon and naturally align with what we’ve inherited biologically, I’m not convinced there is a singular or essential masculinity or femininity that followers of Jesus should aspire to. It’s enculturated through and through.

      So we’re on the same page.

      In this, I’ve found especially helpful a book by LICC’s former CEO and internationally respected theologian, Elaine Storkey: ‘Origins of Difference: The Gender Debate Revisited’ (

      Again, many thanks for sharing – most helpful.

      By Dave Benson  -  6 Feb 2023
  4. Dear Annabelle,
    I think one of the things you need to have addressed is what people like Andrew Tate have identified and are exploiting and why the need they can exploit exists. Will you be writing an article on the Biblical standards of womanhood (your term) too? How do you suggest that might be modelled in our frontlines? Rather than simply telling us what you want, will you invite comment and welcome feedback on what men want?
    Yours in Christ

    By Brian Smith  -  3 Feb 2023
    • Thanks for adding to the conversation, Brian. It’s a fair point to encourage reciprocity, rather there being what one commentator Matt Breunig calls ID, Identitarian Deference: ‘the idea that privileged individuals should defer to the opinions and views of oppressed individuals, especially on topics relevant to those individuals’ oppression.’ Everyone should have a voice in an equally ‘respectful’ conversation, whatever their gender. Everyone is welcome, even on this thread, to say what *they* – as a particular person – want.

      Of course, a 400-word blog can only do so much! And responding to what is a cultural phenomenon presently, being Andrew Tate’s rise and fall, is worthy of comment, whether or not Annie or anyone else writes an accompanying piece on ‘what men want’.

      You may (or may not!) find of interest my comments elsewhere, on why I’m not convinced there is an essential ‘biblical’ masculinity, or femininity/womanhood. Calling us all up as the new humanity to image Christ is key. But, who knows where culture will turn next. Watch this space!

      Again, thanks for joining the conversation, and prompting us to think better, and seek reciprocity in what we write and how we advocate.

      In Christ, Dave.

      By Dave Benson  -  6 Feb 2023
  5. Thank you for your post Annabelle and to LICC for continuing to tackle the big issues of the day. I agree with your interpretation of biblical masculinity Annabelle, but I fear that it is not universally accepted and that many committed Christians will continue to follow the many instances of the bible suggesting that women must submit, obey etc. to their man. I am sad that the Tate’s feel as they do, and even sadder than millions of other men feel the same. We must address that the fact that in the struggle for equality and respect for some, we have inadvertently diminished others. I hang on to the belief that God loves us all and wants us all to flourish and be respected – regardless of who we are, how we identify and despite how we’ve been damaged by and in this world of sin.

    By Ruth Murray-Webster  -  3 Feb 2023
    • Well said, Ruth. With you in prayer over this.

      Out of interest, in the common proof-text of Ephesians 5 (esp. verses 21-22), the verb ‘submit’ is actually only in verse 21 (Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ), applied to *all* people mutually to one another. Verse 22 then borrows this verb (i.e., it’s not in the Greek: ‘wives, to your own husbands as you do to the Lord’), not as a separate section from the preceding as some translations suggest, but as a particular instantiation of submission. It’s explaining that when women do this (submit) to their husbands (as their husbands should to them, out of love for their spouse and as under Christ as head), they do so ‘as unto the Lord’ … i.e., even if they’re a wretch, when you serve them, they may not deserve it, but do so as part of your worship of Christ. … It’s an acknowledgement in their highly patriarchal context a spiritual practice that subverts the empire, with mutual submission gradually workings its way out in the family and social codes of the day (much like Paul’s subversion of the master-slave relationship with Phileman and Onesimus). See for more.

      Nothing in this ‘submission’ (hypotassō) supports women being a doormat for abuse, as the *purpose* of the submission is shalom, life, upbuilding, love … so whatever works against these good ends is to be resisted, not absorbed. Thus, I think it’s helpful to explicitly state, as does Robin Mullins, ‘a wife must *not submit* to physical, sexual or emotional abuse, no matter how many scripture verses he quotes at you.’

      By Dave Benson  -  6 Feb 2023
  6. An important topic and one we must address within our own Christian communities. Two thoughts:
    1 – are we challenging our own misogyny? I was speaking to a single woman just yesterday who had discovered she was being paid half the salary of men doing the same job in this well-known Christian organization. The CEO was ambivalent when challenged and is known to constantly undermine women. She also spoke of the poor and hurtful way single men behaved towards single women in church.
    2 – women still greatly outnumber men in churches and yet leadership is still overwhelmingly male. Men hold the power and often use theology to justify this.
    Andrew Tate’s view of the world is, for me, repulsive, but maybe our starting point as Christians is to look at the log in our own eye.

    By MARK WITHERS  -  3 Feb 2023
    • Yes Mark! As an ex-pastor and woman I couldn’t agree more – there are enormous issues with sexism and misogyny in the church ultimately leading people like myself to leave. Unfortunately, Tate represents such a huge issue in terms of radicalizing young boys into sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and violence against women and girls, I feel like this is the biggest way churches/Christians could use their resources and insight to work against this e.g. youth clubs running discussions or workshops with young people to counter rape culture. In addressing the issues within the church we must also not neglect to speak into and act to uphold justice and love outside the institution of the church too – our calling is bigger than just ourselves.

      By Charlie Thorpe  -  4 Feb 2023
    • Rightly provocative, Mark. With you in this, and soul searching – as well as scanning our institutional practices at licc – in response. Thanks for the reminder that judgment begins in the house of the Lord.

      By Dave Benson  -  6 Feb 2023
  7. As a (Christian) man I completely, totally and unquestioningly agree, support and appreciate all the writer has said here.

    By Brian  -  3 Feb 2023
    • Thanks Brian – shall pass this onto Annie. Most encouraging.

      By Dave Benson  -  6 Feb 2023
  8. Thought provoking piece Annie! I think biblical masculinity says that women are worth dying for!!

    I also wonder if the church, para organisations – particularly ones aimed at men – are reinforcing the kind of masculinity that Andrew Tate preaches! As a man I can’t stand all these men’s gatherings where its axe throwing and bare knuckle fighting as though somehow this is biblical masculinity at its finest!

    I also wonder if one of the reasons so many young men get behind Tate is because of rampant pornography on the internet and it’s availability! Boys view of women is being shaped by the great discipler of our generation – the phone!

    We’ve got a lot to learn – I’ve got a lot to learn!

    By Steve Rouse  -  3 Feb 2023
    • If only you weren’t so naturally good at axe throwing and bare knuckle fighting, Steve!

      Great points – especially re: the church culture which often essentialises ‘biblical masculinity’ as about force (rarely seen as complementary with Christlike compassion/vulnerability) … and the challenge of pornography in our digital world, reducing our sisters to objects for consumption.

      Let’s keep the conversation going, especially in our churches, as to what it means for men and women together in partnership to model the fullness of life in Christ, for the flourishing of all as equally bearing God’s image.

      By Dave Benson  -  6 Feb 2023
  9. Absolutely to all you say Annabelle.

    Also, I’m wondering if (sadly) we have to be careful about how we use the phrase ‘biblical masculinity’? I’m influenced here by Beth Allison Barr and Kristin Kobes Du Mez who (if I interpret them right) would suggest that something that’s labelled ‘Biblical Masculinity’ has actually facilitated misogyny rather than constrained it. That in some quarters ‘Biblical Masculinity’ has become twisted into something that does prove itself through strength, and may justify violence. I find the evidence they present pretty convincing.

    They’re writing primarily about the USA, but I feel we’d be naive if we thought attitudes and behaviours didn’t cross the pond.

    Thanks for your post

    By Nick Smith  -  3 Feb 2023
  10. Annabelle, thank you for reminding us that Biblical masculinity is the antithesis of toxic masculinity and misogyny. Jesus is the perfect example of authentic masculinity: as you say expressed through kindness, patience, self-control and vulnerability. However Jesus also expressed perfect masculinity through the protection of women e.g. John 8:1-11 when He saved a woman caught in adultery from stoning by a violent croud and through the appropriate use of physical strength e.g. Matthew 21:12-17 and John 2:13-22 when He cleanses the Temple. True Biblical womanhood and masculinity recognises the fundamental biological differences between the sexes (Genesis 1:27 5:2 Mark 10:6) and encourages both men and women (equal in the sight of God) to play to their own strengths expressed through the masculine and feminine attributes of the Godhead. The fundamental reason why young boys and men are attracted to Tate’s antagonistic thoughts is that their Testosterone is peaking and they lack the training and modelling of authentic masculinity in the world and sadly often in the Church too . As C.S. Lewis pointed out in the Abolition of Man: [society] castrate and bid the the geldings be fruitful”. The biological effects of Testosterone on the male body and receptors in the brain are a wonderful servant but tyrannical master. As Christian men we are presented with an unprescendented opportunity to model powerful, courageous and compassionate masculinity to the glory of God.

    By Peter Riley  -  3 Feb 2023
    • Thanks for this, Peter. Yes, our triune God is non-gendered, or supra-gendered we may say … the fount from which every truly human attribute flows, rarely in an essentialist direction such that men are always and only strong and women are always and only to be nurturing. When we become fully human, imaging Christ, in partnership, everything flourishes. (Which includes women, like the prophetess Deborah, being fierce and fighting for what matters, and men, like King David, pouring out his heart vulnerably in song and tenderly loving his best friend, Jonathan.)

      I’m intrigued by Jesus’s own use of feminine imagery for his desire to cover over Jerusalem and its inhabitants from the mighty firestorm to come, offering bodily protection to bear the brunt rather than they suffering the flames.

      ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.’ (Matthew 23:37)

      By Dave Benson  -  6 Feb 2023
  11. I feel shocked that Annabelle Adams considers Andrew Tate representative of the norm, or representative of the majority of man and boys. He isn’t. But it is possible he appeals to certain people who feel that in some way Annabelle’s definition of masculinity – “expressed through kindness, patience, self-control, and vulnerability” is sadly lacking something. Quite a lot actually.

    By Andy Smith  -  3 Feb 2023
    • Hi Andy, thanks for sharing. You’re right, Andrew Tate isn’t the norm. But Annie rightly points out that his almost incomparable following, especially among young men, is very disturbing, reflecting a rising trend of misogyny.

      We need a whole and balanced vision of Jesus, and a challenge to any essentialist ‘biblical’ masculinity or femininity. In seeking to imitate Christ, we mustn’t excise his courage, boldness, and prophetic challenge to injustice, which speaks powerfully to many men who don’t know what to do with their physical strength and testosterone surges, instead looking to deformed masculinites such as offered and performed by the likes of Mr Tate.

      So may we become fully alive to the glory of God, men and women working together as the shared image of God for the life of the world.

      By Dave Benson  -  6 Feb 2023
  12. Most intelligent Christians will agree with the points Annabelle makes in this blog. However many of us, of both genders, perhaps without due awareness, have ignored the sexualising of our society over the past 50 years. For instance is anyone complaining that virtually every TV drama now includes a homosexual relationship, despite the fact that they are still very much in a minority within society.
    We may not have endorsed the strategy adopted by Mary Whitehouse in her 1960 – 80’s campaigns but the focus of what she was predicting has sadly become a reality.
    It is time for ‘influencers’, whether they are Christian or not, to challenge these developments, especially as we become concerned about the effects of these trends on young children under the age of 10 years.

    By William Nixon  -  3 Feb 2023
  13. One of the challenges that we have as men is that our culture is one of misandry – it’s so much harder to be a young man today facing the anti-patriarchial culture in our Universities and schools. As Christian men we need to model leadership on Jesus Christ, who was not only kind but also wielded his leadership and power for good. He was not afraid to be ruthless in his exposure of hypocrisy amongst the religious leaders, and to physically overturn the tables of the moneychangers in the temple courts. We need Christian men to show not only humility and servanthood but also strength and courage to lead and rule, in the style of Daniel and Joseph. We need to reclaim a biblical masculinity that young men can relate to and understand and model themselves on, and to demonstrate this by our actions.

    By Will Treasure  -  4 Feb 2023
  14. Although I haven’t followed his career closely it seems clear that Andrew Tate is indeed a proponent of toxic masculinity. However, open misogyny and violence against women are not the norm.
    The description you give of Christ’s characteristics is correct but grossly deficient. He was also defiant of authority where appropriate, physically outstandingly courageous and most essentially gave up his life for his bride; the Church. He is the lion as well as the lamb.
    Your depiction of biblical masculinity makes no distinction between that and biblical femininity, but regrettably it is more of the norm in the Church than Andrew Tate’s vision.
    It’s when young men are presented with this effete model of manhood that they are at risk of succumbing to Tate’s dangerous ideas. Promotion of this feminist vision of manhood will do more harm than good.
    Finally, I think your final couple of sentences in defiance of Tate, are also sadly in defiance of Christ and the biblical model of manhood.

    By ROGER DUNLOP  -  4 Feb 2023
    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Roger. I’ve addressed most of these points above, in part agreeing with your call for a more complete vision of Christ, better framed as the true/new humanity rather than a narrower model for how to be a man (even as Jesus is that, too). Both/and, to be sure.

      By Dave Benson  -  6 Feb 2023

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