Into the manosphere

Not indignant. It’s not a matter of my personal dignity, but simple truthfulness. And not “hard on women.” Failing to rebuke women is what is hard and unloving and insensitive and callous and cynical and cruel. Rebuking them is soft and tender. It is affection and honor and love, just as Hebrews 12 declares.

I don’t condemn unborn children being ripped apart. Rather, I condemn women for ripping their unborn children apart. Words matter.

Like I wrote above, this is a longstanding choice. Yet I made an exception above and you still accuse me of not answering his arguments. Please. Just did so, but you want me to keep going down this dead end? We can tell it’s a dead end because, having just done so, I’m accused of it once more. Oh well.

A pastor suffers just as much, or even more, for not being ashamed of Jesus and His words. That some don’t know this is understandable, but embarrassing. I could expand on it at great length, but it would be unseemly. There are times I’ve posted pieces by men under a pen name to save them from certain known dangers. There are times this should be done, as you would agree. Mr. Anonymous though is not a one or two-off contributor. Thus I fulsomely disapprove. The people of God “rejoiced” they were counted worthy to suffer for His Name. So says Scripture.

You seriously just wrote this to me? I have no reputation. God is my judge and, as I have said often enough, I will tremble standing before Him knowing my many sins.

The message of woman’s moral agency doesn’t need Mr. Anonymous to preach it. Many of us have done so for many years, and continue to do so.



He is completely disingenuous in the views he ascribes to people, such as my pastor. Or even Matt Chandler. He regularly mischaracterizes his opponents. We talk about this at length in the podcast.


As Nathan said, the transcript itself wouldn’t indicate disingenuousness. He postures himself as being completely sincere and links to his sources, encourages peope to read them, etc. But he counts on no one doing the work of actually looking at his sources and reading them honestly, because his readers are there for validation, not as sincere seekers of truth. You have to follow through and do the work to see the dishonesty. And that makes him untrustworthy beyond his pseudonymnity, a point we make and demonstrate clearly in the episode. And something that certain commenters would do well to learn when it comes to Dalrock and to us–aka, listen to what we actually say instead of simply assuming that we are the dishonest characterization he makes of us.


Mr. “Nereus,” we demonstrate in the podcast that Dalrock and those who follow him—but let’s just take you for example, since you provide a useful one—that you and men like you ignore the actual content of the report on women in the military that Pr. Bayly wrote. You ignore the condemnation of women who serve in the military that the document contains. Then you ask, “Where does Pr. Bayly ever condemn this sin publicly?” But let’s not get stuck on this example, because the point is that…

…your willful ignorance of the words in the article and the words in our podcast and the arguments we’re making shows that you can’t be trusted on the issues you pretend to address so sincerely and carefully.

You are indeed the proper target of our episode.


A great example of this is this tidbit from the very post linked above:

…when blogger David Gudeman at Brain Legions saw Pastor Bayly’s arguments on marital sex and romantic love he originally thought I had created a straw man. This was an understandable first take, as Bayly’s argument is so bad it it hard to imagine that he would make it. After I wrote a post proving that I had correctly stated Bayly’s argument, Gudeman replied:

Thank you for the reply, Dalrock. I will have to read it more carefully to see if I can improve my logic on the issue.

Now, let’s just ask the question, what does Dalrock communicate here? He communicates that he changed David Gudeman’s mind. Perhaps he did, perhaps he didn’t. One thing that is perfectly clear is that Dalrock has no reason to make that claim. In fact, it’s just as likely that Gudeman decided he didn’t want to get embroiled in controversy with a man that is so obviously incapable of representing anybody else’s position honestly.


The podcast nailed the central problem with Dalrock: his uncharitable readings and mischaracterizations.

It only became obvious to me when he started “critiquing” Wilson’s Reforming Marriage, something I’ve read and am familiar with. It was obvious he hadn’t read the whole thing and created a caricature of Wilson’s arguments that Wilson himself could not recognize.

Whenever Dalrock quotes from and critiques an external source, you simply can’t take his framing or response at face value. He can’t be trusted in that regard.



Let’s give another example. Dalrock says:

Bayly’s PCA resolution blamed men for non existent sins and didn’t confront women’s real sins. The same is true for the examples I provided by John Piper, [etc]… In all of these cases the sin of women demanding to crossdress and usurp the roles of men was not addressed. Making up sins for men absolutely is being used to avoid holding women responsible. If I’m wrong, it should be trivially easy for you to prove it to me since the links are all there. I urge you, please show me where any of these examples state that a woman wanting to go into combat is sinning… I just went through these myself to make sure I hadn’t missed anything the first time around… I reviewed all of them and they are 10 for 10 in blaming men, and 10 for 10 in avoiding the issue of women’s rebellion.

Now let’s look at just the first one, since that’s the only one I’ve actually looked at recently:

In his exposition of the Seventh Commandment, John Calvin speaks of the immodesty of women who clothe themselves as warriors:

This decree also commends modesty in general, and in it God anticipates the danger, lest women should harden themselves into forgetfulness of modesty, or men should degenerate into effeminacy unworthy of their nature. Garments are not in themselves of so much importance; but as it is disgraceful for men to become effeminate, and also for women to affect manliness in their dress and gestures, propriety and modesty are prescribed, not only for decency’s sake, but lest one kind of liberty should at length lead to something worse. The words of the heathen poet (Juvenal) are very true:

“What shame can she, who wears a helmet, show,
Her sex deserting?” [86]

Perhaps you don’t get it. Let’s review it again and intensify it.


"What shame can she, who wears a helmet, show, Her sex deserting?”

Deuteronomy 22:5 declares that God abhors woman camouflaging herself as a man (and vice versa).

If men and women exchanging clothing is condemned because such actions explicitly deny one’s sexuality, is it any surprise that womanly armies are loathsome and pathetic?

The contemporary push to normalize women serving in offensive combat positions is part of a larger ideological movement aggressively seeking to redefine the meaning and purpose of sexuality. Patriarchy is the enemy and any steps taken to vanquish that enemy, even to the point of turning men into women and women into men, is seen to be justified because of the justice of the larger cause. We oppose that movement, not because we are politically conservative, but because the movement is contrary to the express will of God revealed in His Word. This movement is diametrically opposed to the creation order God ordained, but those seeking this deform will continue to pursue it with the greatest fervor, without blushing in the face of its consequences.

Dalrock about Bayly: “the sin of women demanding to crossdress and usurp the roles of men was not addressed.”

He’s counting on the fact that people won’t go and read the things he is interacting with, or that their poisonous bitterness will prohibit them from reading with any modicum of objectivity.


Dalrock quotes me as saying “To be perfectly clear, however: Dalrock is bad news and we recommend you stay away from him. We seriously considered canning this episode because it might inspire a greater interest in Dalrockian writing and philosophy. If it does, frankly I’ll be sorry we did it.”

And then he responds:

I can think of no more thorough concession that they have no logical response to my arguments.

This after he says he hasn’t yet listened to the podcast. So just to reiterate Dalrock’s reasoning:

  1. Premise 1: Nathan has a strong opinion against Dalrock.
  2. Premise 2: ???
  3. Conclusion: Nathan has no logical response to Dalrock’s arguments.

Thank you Nereus for the thoughtful post. I did not see your two questions addressed.

“Have you ever publicly made the biblical case that it is always immoral and sinful for women to serve in the military? Does your church take this position? I would be quite interested to read it.”

“Have you ever spoken to the question of appropriate punishment by the State to women who kill their own children?”

Thank you Joseph Bayly for a detailed example. Would Dalrock’s statement be more accurate to say 9/10 points? The response from a Dalrock poster:

I looked at the resolution (assuming it was the “what about women in combat” blog post), and the result seems to be somewhere in the middle. The resolution does quote some pretty solid statements from others, but seems unable to state anything of the kind in its own voice. It condemns women joining the military by implication, but is very softly stated in its own words. The whole tone of it is very strong in its implication that it’s all men’s fault that women are being forced into this situation, which was Dalrock’s issue with it.

For example, immediately before the passage Bayly quoted, we get this:

“The problem is not that women become pregnant or bear children; this is the very essence of femininity, as indicated by the name Adam gave his wife: ‘Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.’ Rather, the problem is that we have placed our daughters and sisters in the untenable position of seeking to be killers even as they naturally, and even at the same time, seek to bring forth life .”

This is a lie. “We” in the sense of “men” or even “the United States” have in no way forced women into military service. Indeed, they were not allowed in at all until they demanded they be allowed in. Those who wrote this resolution knew this, but could not accept it.

The section quoted by Bayly does address the issue to some extent, and to that extent I think Dalrock was incorrect to state that the issue of female rebellion was not addressed. However he is correct that the issue being raised as a consequence of women demanding to be let into the military was not addressed. The section ends with this quote, indicated to be a good summary of the section, which again blames men:

“Woman was not made for this, O man, to be prostituted as common. O ye subverters of all decency, who use men, as if they were women, and lead out women to war, as if they were men! This is the work of the devil, to subvert and confound all things, to overleap the boundaries that have been appointed from the beginning, and remove those which God has set to nature. For God assigned to woman the care of the house only, to man the conduct of public affairs. But you reduce the head to the feet, and raise the feet to the head. You suffer women to bear arms, and are not ashamed.”

Bookending the section with condemnation of men forcing women into the military, which is not and was not happening, makes it clear that the resolution’s writers do not take the issue of women rebelling and forcing their way into the military seriously, and clearly do not see women being in the military as the fault of women, despite it being completely the fault of women’s envy and demands.

He says the day after a judge ruled the draft must apply to women.

The thing that has apparently never occurred to Dalrock and his readers is that the Bible is patriarchal.


Nothing less than “Everything in the world that is wrong is the fault of women” will suffice to silence criticism of such men. Of course, there is a long history of such rejection of biblical doctrine. It is the essence of feminism to deny that in Adam’s fall we sinned all and make the claim that Eve is ultimately responsible.

If the demand was made by women, the decision was made by men. You can insist all you want that it’s women’s fall, but in the end the military was led by men just as the church is led by men. Every place where women go into combat, men are guilty. To deny that fact is to deny the moral agency of the men whose responsibility it is to protect women and to keep them out of combat.

Dalrock and his henchmen insist that we switch from denying that women have moral agency to denying that men have moral agency. Why bother?

The moving of the goalposts demonstrated by AnonS above is typical of the sort of lack of good faith present among these men.


Can universal democracy be patriarchal?

They remind me of the painters who used to put Eve’s face on the serpent’s body, with poor, poor victimized Adam standing nearby. “The woman You gave me…!”


And Dalrock is saying that the failure of men is the lack of saying “no”.

The military turns men away because too many men are trying to join. So in what exact way are men forcing women into military service? One judge’s view on the draft isn’t going to go anywhere and the report was written long before. So in what way?

Ben, you mean this PCA report, right?

The format is easier to read here:

You ignore the condemnation of women who serve in the military that the document contains.

You need to re-read the document, Ben. While it notes that Calvin and Luther forbade women wearing warrior’s garb, the document itself does not anywhere condemn “women who serve in the military”, and the longer document on the PCA website actually devotes a considerable section to stating why they couldn’t do that because it would have the effect of placing all the women in the PCA currently serving in the military under censure.

Here is what the final conclusion actually says:


  1. Acknowledging that the child in the womb is “a person covered by Divine protection” (Statement on Abortion, Sixth General Assembly); and that women of childbearing age often carry unborn children while remaining unaware of their child’s existence; and that principles of just war require the minimization of the loss of life-particularly innocent civilians; the PCA declares that any policy which intentionally places in harms way as military combatants women who are, or might be, carrying a child in their womb, is a violation of God’s Moral Law. Adopted

  2. This Assembly declares it to be the biblical duty of man to defend woman and therefore condemns the use of women as military combatants, as well as any conscription of women into the Armed Services of the United States. Adopted

  3. Therefore be it resolved that the Thirtieth General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America adopts the above as pastoral counsel for the good of the members, the officers, and especially the military chaplains of the Presbyterian Church in America. Adopted

  4. Be it further resolved that the Presbyterian Church in America supports the decision of any of its members to object to, as a matter of conscience, the conscription of women or the use of women as military combatants. Adopted

TE Steve Leonard
RE Bentley Rayburn
TE Tim Bayly RE Keith Stoeber
TE Peter Lillback
RE Don Weyburn

The principle of avoiding “evil surmising” is that we do not presume evil intent in the actions of others if another possibility exists. We presume good faith until proven otherwise. Yes, the document discussed Calvin and Luther’s opinion that women should not even wear the clothes of a warrior. But that did not make it into the conclusion, which is the actual resolution.

So, no Ben, the PCA resolution does not condemn women in the military. It uses very carefully chosen passive language so as not to blame women for the choice of joining the military. Here are a few examples:

The dearth of men ready to serve their country in defense of their wives and children is a concern shared by our entire committee.

Sorry, there has been no such dearth of male volunteers ever in American history, though Vietnam is a little more complicated…

Rather, the problem is that we have placed our daughters and sisters in the untenable position of seeking to be killers even as they naturally, and even at the same time, seek to bring forth life.

…in a nation which has decided to use its women as warriors, what is to stop our civil leaders from asking the infirm, the aged, and children also to pick up arms?

Dalrock’s point was that feminists have forced their way into the military with lawsuits for the past 40 years. They steadily filed lawsuits to force their way into the military academies (1980s), VMI and the Citidel (1990s), Air Force combat aircraft (2000s) and now the infantry (2010s). This had nothing to do with any shortage of male volunteers. And, the court rulings are always in response to feminists suing to demand absolute equality in the military, not men suing to force women to carry an equal burden.

The PCA resolution condemns men for “the use of women as military combatants” and for “any conscription of women”.

But, although the report quotes Calvin and Luther who condemned women even wearing a uniform, the resolution never touches the third rail of holding women in the PCA responsible for making the voluntary decision to enlist in the military.

Dalrock’s point was that after noting all of those things, the report concludes by condemning men for making women serve in combat. The conclusion, which is the binding part of the resolution, completely ignores the moral agency of a woman making the decision to voluntarily join the military.

As it turns out, Dalrock’s summary of the document’s conclusion was reasonably good, not a sneaky lie as you asserted on the podcast.

Now, Pastor Bayly has made it clear in his post above that he personally believes that it is sinful for women to choose to enlist in the military. But, the document he signed makes no such binding conclusion. I understand that had the document included that conclusion it never would have been adopted in the increasingly-liberal tending PCA.

So we can gather that political friction in the PCA prevented the final report from going as far as Pastor Bayly would have preferred. But I’m not sure how Dalrock could have known that without Pastor Bayly stating it as he has here in this forum. After all, Pastor Bayly, did sign his name to it.

But that is Dalrock’s point. The church has become so politicized that holding women responsible for their moral choices has become the untouchable third rail. Whether it is abortion, or joining the military, we blame men over and over, but precious few words are spent exhorting the women to repent.

Pastor Bayly asserts:

Nothing less than “Everything in the world that is wrong is the fault of women” will suffice to silence criticism of such men.

Dalrock has rejected that. I reject that. I’m not sure what “such men” are, but Dalrocks point is not that women are the source of all evil. It is that the church in the past two generations has steadfastly refused to hold women responsible for their own sins. The church is incapable of telling women, no, it is sinful for you to join the military and dress and fight like a man. It is incapable of saying women should be prosecuted for killing their own children, along with any man that pressures, helps or pays for it.

Do you have any other lies you wish to expose by “men like me”, Ben? The tone of this discussion, where you presume evil intent in Dalrock, and now me, is highly uncharitable. I would not presume such evil intent from you, but you guys already admitted in the podcast that you had already drawn your conclusions before the conversation even began. So perhaps I should take you guys at your word, that you did not actually have any interest in a real conversation. Your stated goal was to paint Dalrock and those “men like me” as a “caricature”. Indeed you have.

Pastor Bayly can complain about it, but Dalrock didn’t come to Warhorn asking for an interview. You guys asked for the interview. He responded in good faith. Then you admitted bad faith up front in the actual podcast, and then call us a bunch of nasty names. That does not reflect well on any of the Warhorn team.

This accusation against us is so utterly disgusting. Tell that to one woman in the churches we serve and they’ll laugh and laugh and laugh. Tell that to my wife. To any of my daughers. To my granddaughters. I have fifteen years of posting on woman’s moral agency, and there you and your fave Mr. Anonymous are endlessly harping on one string which, as I said, was a document that needed to get a majority in the committee and assembly floor. You say Mr. Anonymous couldn’t have known this, which is an ignorance of basic polity hard to fathom.

I have no hope of winning you or any other of Mr. Anonymous’s anonymous acolytes. But for readers seeking the truth, two things:

First, anyone who reads us knows we have spent a good portion of the past few years confronting and counselling churches, their sessions, well-known sex abuse “experts,” and perpetrators of abuse in many churches across the country. Central to those confrontations is the wives and mothers who have known of the abuse and allowed it to continue. We confront them and some of those we have confronted and called to repentance have come to our church and joined, afterwards.

Second, Mr. Anonymous Two (Nereus) and Mr. Anonymous One both mislead their readers by reporting me as speaking of men “making women serve in combat.” Never said any such thing, but then, accuracy of language is the very thing you men (not “guys”) seem to be incapable of. What I actually wrote was “we have placed our daughters and sisters in the untenable position of seeking to be killers…”. Is it really possible this man Anonymous Two as well as Anonymous One don’t understand man’s authority?

When a daughter enlists in the military for a combat position, the father has placed his daughter there by virtue of allowing her to do so. Same with a wife. Can it really be these men are so oblivious to the way the authority of a father and husband works? We are responsible for our women. Scripture commands it. What we don’t speak against we answer for, even down to their vows. Have these men really never read Numbers 30?

Finally, to men of goodwill who are listening, the perpetual refrain of the wicked feminists who almost made up the majority of the committee I served on was “you men want to discipline women in the military!” It was a scare tactic trying to sway the broad middle of the committee. Is it really so hard to understand why the paper didn’t explicitly call for the discipline of women combatants?

Tone deaf and brain dead to the actual practice of leadership these men are. Mr. Anonymous Two, please do me the kindness of going back to Mr. Anonymous One and talking among yourselves. It wearies me having to respond to your kludginess and deceptions.

I could multiply examples, but to any objective man, this will be sufficient. From a decade ago:

From 2009:

"Yes, yes, our churches are filled with hot-tempered men with the besetting sin of pornography. No question here, nor with much of what was said above. But.

At some point, we must ask ourselves whether in this post-patriarchal world, there’s any room for the moral agency of woman?

Scripture doesn’t blush to present the sin of woman, and to exhort them to holiness. But today, we consistently blame the men for woman’s sin, implying (or directly stating) that when men become godly, they’ll find their daughters and wives there on the top of the holy mountain waiting for their arrival, greeting them with a gentle and quiet spirit, submission, obedience, and all those things their men had forfeited their right to until they became holy.

So what? Eve wasn’t to blame? It was the silence of Adam that left her vulnerable to Satan’s deception?

Note that Eve was cursed, too. Note that Adam was rebuked for listening to his wife. Note that all the household commands in the Epistles contain exhortations to women–not just to men.

Nowhere does Scripture promise men their wives will submit if just for once they’re finally given a husband who loves as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.

It’s time we recover the moral agency of women. It’s time we stop falling all over one another trying to show how good women are, and how frustrated they are waiting for men to catch up to them.

After 25 years of pre and post-marital counseling and preaching and visiting and praying with, and speaking to singles and married and college and graduate students, as well as fathering and husbanding–here’s the truth: for every evil man, there’s an evil woman. The evil is different in its manifestation, but evil it is, and equal in its wickedness.

Scripture teaches us that man is depraved. Depend upon it. And Scripture’s “man” is the entire race, both man and woman. Love,

Now, can we please be done with this sniping? This was written a decade ago and is typical of my writing. I agree with the criticisms of complementarians, as anyone who has read me knows. I left them. Must I be tarred for their unfaithfulness as if I were like them? Love,


@Zak_Carter wrote the following after this forum was shut down for the night. I thought it was worth posting sooner rather than latter:

I’ve heard of Dalrock in passing, but I don’t know that I’ve ever read anything he’s written. I enjoyed the episode, but I have a few quibbles/clarifying points:

  1. The episode is titled “Into the manosphere,” but it quickly became all about whether Dalrock is trustworthy/legitimate. It kinda came across to me as a search-and-destroy mission. There’s nothing wrong with a public rebuttal of someone’s public writings, but I’m left just a little confused. Is Dalrock the loudest voice in the “manosphere”? Does he typify the movement? If he wrote under his real name, what concerns would still remain? This may be a quibble, but it seemed to be all about the man and not about the movement, which the title seemed to imply. I also didn’t feel like the “devil’s” point about framing the argument around the worst examples of the “manosphere” before addressing Dalrock was adequately addressed.
  2. His mischaracterization of Chandler/Wilson/Bayly/etc. seems to be the most important point in discerning his teachings, yet that point came across as secondary to his pseudonymity.
  3. Speaking of pseudonymity, there was a lot of discussion around that in the episode, but I didn’t feel like the point ever really landed or that you guys really settled what the issue was. To me, the issue with pseudonymity is when there’s a double-standard of calling out others when they can’t do the same to you. I don’t see pseudonymity as a problem as long as the anonymous person sticks strictly to the issues and doesn’t call others out as “compromisers” when no one can hold them to the same scrutiny.
  4. The point you guys made about ad hominem is really important, and I would liked to have seen that fleshed out more. Unfortunately, I think it will be very easy for that to be taken out of context.

I’m really impressed by the content you guys put out, and especially with how well you do the “devil’s advocate” section (not just in this episode, but all the ones I’ve heard). I really think you guys are doing something unique and important. But I’m left after this episode feeling like I’m missing most of the context I need to really understand what it is I just listened to.


And here was my reply to Zak:

Hi Zak,

I appreciate your concerns 100% and agree with some of them. Yes the episode title could have been clearer. And yes, Dalrock’s mischaracterizations of those good men’s arguments is much of the problem with him.

I do see inherent problems with pseudonymity, and the lack of authority and accountability that it generally entails. We had pseudonymous writers on Baylyblog back in the day, but Tim and Clearnote Church were never pseudonymous, so there was always a person and an organization lending their weight to the pseudonymous individual.

I wouldn’t say that Dalrock’s pseudonymity (and subsequent lack of authority or accountability for his writing) is necessarily a “sin”, per se. But it is a recipe for disaster. Dalrock’s hunger for validation, his lack of ability to fight fairly, his playing to the worst instincts of his crowd––these are all things that would likely be avoided or (at least) minimized, if he had to put his real name to what he wrote, and let it be tempered one way or another by real people in his life.

Maybe another way of saying it is this: I’m not saying there’s never been a need in any society for Batman or Robin Hood. But generally speaking, I am very suspicious of masked vigilantes without accountability or authority over them. Know what I mean?

And yes, I agree that we could have presented the context for what we were talking about with Dalrock more clearly. This is a failure of the episode. I don’t have enough perspective on it right now to judge how much of a failure it is. I hope not too much of one. But it is something of one.

I won’t make excuses for it, but I will give you two reasons why it wasn’t as strong as it could be:

  1. It was hard to get right. We didn’t want to get too far into the weeds of Dalrock’s philosophy. To do that was to risk validating a dishonest and uncharitable man.

  2. We ran out of time and energy. Wish it wasn’t true, but it is. :slight_smile:

Hope that helps!



Since Tim’s disapproval of this episode has been used by Dalrock to paint Warhorn Media and Clearnote Church as chaotic, undisciplined, and lacking in authority and accountability, let me just say, Tim doesn’t always agree with everything I do anymore than I always agree with everything he does. We had a very cordial conversation the day this episode went up, partially about the fact that he didn’t particularly approve.

But if Dalrock thinks that authority means micro-management, if he thinks it means Tim Bayly and Clearnote Church don’t invest the directors of their ministries with real authority, to make real decisions, to even make mistakes … I can only say that Dalrock has a very rigid, shallow, dichotomous view of what authority and accountability look like.

This is in line with the rigid, shallow, dichotomous, and thoroughly uncharitable view he has of most everything.