To be honest, I steer clear of Christian books about masculinity. They tend to fall into one of two extremes: Either the believe that masculinity per se is toxic, or they teach “biblical manhood” is tantamount to rigid gender roles. I don’t see myself—or what the Bible teaches about being a man—in either extreme.
I let Chase Replogle The 5 Masculine Instincts sit at the bottom of my to-read pile precisely because of bias against book’s like his. I finally tolle-et-lege’d it when I needed to interview someone for a Father’s Day podcast. I am glad I did.
Replogle defines instinct as “a way of perceiving who you are, the world you are in, and how you act in the midst of it.” No one has the time to deliberate about each choice we face every day, so we act instinctively: “Behaviour as if from knowledge,” in the words of C. S. Lewis.
The five masculine instincts Replogle writes about are sarcasm, adventure, ambition, reputation, and apathy. In and of themselves, they are neither good nor bad. What matters is how we use them.
“In a world of individualized truth and hyperdefensiveness, we lost the ability to decide what to do with our instincts,” Replogle writes. “We have failed to become their master. Instead, they rule us.”
To help men get hold of their instincts, Replogle examines the five instincts through the lives of six Biblical characters: Cain (sarcasm), Samson (adventure), Moses (ambition), Saul and David (reputation), and Abraham (apathy). You’ll need to read his treatment of these biblical men to see why he connected their stories with those instincts.
As a longtime Bible reader, I thought his pairings were exegetically responsible and spiritually insightful. At numerous points throughout the book, I found myself looking at myself in the mirror of Scripture and realizing that I need to examine my instincts in order to become more like Christ.
And that is the ultimate point of the book. Replogle closes The 5 Masculine Instincts with a great quote from Eugene Peterson: “One way to define spiritual life is getting so tired and fed up with yourself you go on to something better, which is following Jesus.” That’s real masculinity.
Chase Replogle, The 5 Masculine Instincts: A Guide to Becoming a Better Man (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2022).
P.S. If you liked my recommendation, please click “Helpful” on my Amazon review page.