Book review for Nancy Pearcey’s: “The Toxic War on Masculinity”

I’ve loved reading Nancy Pearcey’s books. She is incredibly smart and articulate. I’ve heard several of her interviews and talks on various podcasts. She seems to be compelling, engaging, and just so spot on. So obviously I wanted to read her latest book, “The Toxic War on Masculinity.” I was actually thankful that someone was brave enough to write this book, and I wasn’t too surprised it was Pearcey.

I find it fascinating who God chooses to do different things in this world. In His Providence, He chose Nancy Pearcey, a woman who was physically and emotionally abused as a child by her father (Introduction), to write a book about Biblical masculinity. It’s amazing to see that the LORD can use even the painful parts of our past for His glory, and our good.

This book is full of statistics and references bolstering Pearcey’s arguments for Biblical masculinity. As we all know, masculinity unchecked can be harmful and violent (pages 17 – 18). However, masculinity squelched can leave families without proper leadership and protection (pages 197 – 199). What we need right now is Biblical masculinity that serves and protects, and is truly only possible through Christ.

Supporting men is what’s best for women

It’s funny how the more men are supported and encouraged to be biblically masculine, it’s found that women are more fully liberated (page 46). For those Cars (the movie) fans out there, it’s sort of like when Doc tells Lightening you need to turn left to go right. It doesn’t make any sense at first glance. But when you think about it and study God’s Word, it most definitely comes together. According to a study done by sociologist Bernice Martin of the University of London, “Martin argues that Biblical Christianity has done far more than Western feminism to improve the lives of poor women around the globe,” (page 45). That’s pretty incredible.


Pearcey also discusses Christian Marriage. In the current cultural moment we’re living in, submission is quite the bad word. Submission infers weakness and essentially a “less-than” status. However, this is not at all what the Word of God teaches. Committed husbands and fathers who love their wives as they love their own bodies, and submissive, respectful wives work the best because that’s how we were designed (Ephesians 5:22 – 33). And funny enough: “in practice these men fit the close, relational model favored by progressives,” (page 59, emphasis mine). Again, not intuitive, but it makes sense when you think about it and incidentally, when you study the data. Again, committed husbands and submissive, respectful wives make for a happy, fruitful marriage!

How’d we get here?

Pearcey later explains how our culture has meandered its way here, to where masculinity is perceived as toxic by many. 200 years ago, most families lived on a farm. Everyone pitched into the family business, whatever that may be. However, after the Industrial Revolution, generally, fathers left the home and mothers stayed behind to care for their families. This separation has done untold damage to families, as well as men.

I was fascinated how Pearcey explained in a very logical way how fathers went from the Spiritual Leaders, who were the respected Heads of Home, to the passive dad who needed to be led by their spiritual betters, the moms of the home. Beyond that, men were encouraged to follow their sense of adventure and “inner Barbarian” (Chapter 9), only to be tamed by yet again, women.

Finally, towards the end of the book, Pearcey focuses on how men have enormous amounts of power (Chapter 13), which can be wielded for good or for ill. I was surprised to learn that “The health of a marriage depends primarily on the husband” (page 231). Usually “divorces are initiated by the woman” (page 234). But the cause of divorce lies primarily on the shoulders of husbands.

Have hope for our men

Unfortunately good, Christian men can be easily influenced by the culture and their own sin and not as much by the Word of God (clearly, the same can be said for women too!). They don’t see that their action, or lack there of, damages the marriage relationship. Husbands can be clueless as to how they’re treating their wives, while also taking on negative thinking into a marriage. This includes ignoring, disrespecting, or intimidating their wives. But I love that Pearcey points out: “In Genesis 2:18, God says, “it is not good for the man to be alone.”….Scripture teaches that respecting women is good for men” (pages 233 – 234).

We live in a broken world with broken people. But I am encouraged by Pearcey’s words that refer back to an incredible movie, I can only imagine. Although the main character, Bart Millard (lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe) had a difficult relationship with his abusive father, through a series of events, that father came to know Christ. “”My dad went from a monster to the guy I wanted to be like when I grew up,” Bart says.” What a beautiful and encouraging example of God’s grace in difficult circumstances.

I highly recommend this book! Nancy Pearcey is great and incredibly on point. And besides the awesome book, there is a wonderful little study guide in the back for group discussions! How great is that?

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?