In the last few weeks, many parents have been introduced to Andrew Tate, a figure most high school and college men with a social media account have known for quite some time. Videos with Tate’s fast cars and fitness advice have been viewed 12 billion times. An August study found Tate’s content is “repeatedly recommended to teen boys within minutes of opening a TikTok account” and more than two hundred thousand young men have enrolled in his Hustler’s University course. Tate regularly posts videos with cars, guns, and squat racks. His videos drip with bravado and confidence, but he’s peddling a twisted version of masculinity that runs counter to the biblical picture.
Andrew Tate’s videos drip with bravado and confidence, but he’s peddling a twisted version of masculinity that runs counter to the biblical picture.
Tate became famous through misogynistic rants. He advocates for violence against women, and says he only dates women aged 18 or 19 so that he can “make an imprint” on them. On December 29, 2022, Andrew Tate, his brother, and two other suspects were detained as part of a human trafficking and rape investigation in Romania. How do we respond when an alleged sex trafficker has aggressively and successfully influenced the next generation with his worldview? This is a moment for all Christians to call out a counterfeit, and for men in particular to live out the courageous, Christlike picture of manhood commended in the Bible.
Biblical Vision vs. Tate’s Counterfeit
Paul writes to the Ephesians, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Eph. 5:11). When talking to young people who are drawn to Tate, we need to call a spade a spade. Andrew Tate, by his own admission, amassed a fortune by recruiting and manipulating women into working for his webcam business, running a sort of online brothel. We must tell it like it is when talking to young men in Tate’s orbit. This isn’t “hustling.” This is sex trafficking. Tate isn’t an “alpha.” He’s a deceiver and manipulator.
The best answer to Tate’s counterfeit is showing the real thing to anyone who is falling for the fake. The Bible doesn’t offer strategies and social theories for masculinity; it teaches us that we are embodied creatures, created male and female as part of God’s good design. Too often, our theology of manhood has been reactive, culturally bound, and narrow. I like smoking brisket and watching football, but I don’t see them at the center of a biblical vision of manhood.
I like smoking brisket and watching football, but I don’t see them at the center of a biblical vision of manhood.
Western culture, on the other hand, does men and women few favors with its categories of “toxic” and “healthy masculinity,” with the latter defined merely by balance, tolerance, and niceness.
Instead, we must give the next generation the Bible’s redemption story. Since Adam’s fall, all men are sinful to the core and spiritually dead. But in Christ, men are redeemed. The Bible encourages men to submit all they have—their strength, intellect, sexuality, and roles in the family—to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
Model Christian Masculinity
A Christian man like 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy models how to use physical strength and skill to glorify God. A Christian writer and preacher like Ray Ortlund Jr. models glorifying God with his intellect. A Christian man in college may model for younger men what means to glorify God with his sexuality by pursuing purity in a dating relationship. By God’s grace, I will model Christian masculinity in my role as a father through changing endless diapers and singing hymns to my kids at night.
Christian manhood isn’t defined by healthy balance, or BBQ. And it’s certainly not marked by getting cars, women, and likes. Christian manhood is about men treasuring and imitating the perfect man, Jesus Christ.
Hope in the Greater Man
Social media influencers don’t have much staying power. In a few months or years, Tate’s name will no longer dominate headlines. His platform will erode. His online empire will crumble. As Christians, we look to an infinitely more powerful man, the man who is “before all things, and in [whom] all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). Jesus Christ reigns and redeems. And because of the risen Jesus, John wrote these words:
I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:14b–17)
John’s three marks of worldliness—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—are the epitome of Andrew Tate’s empire. John tells us that such evil has a shelf life, but anyone who is in Christ will abide with him forever.
John tells us that such evil has a shelf life, but anyone who is in Christ will abide with him forever.
For better or worse, young men are attracted to confidence and conviction. They eagerly look for male role models. So we can’t passively respond to Andrew Tate and his influence. Dads, pastors, and men of the church must be bold, clear, and persuasive.
Don’t let the young men in your family, church, or neighborhood be discipled by their social media feeds. Step into the fray and disciple young men with confidence and conviction. Show up. Draw near. Speak boldly. Open the Bible. Ask good questions. Initiate hard conversations. Speak with grace and truth, and model what young men most need to see—a Christian man who daily trusts in and relies on the gospel—God’s love for sinners through the finished work of Christ and the endless power of the Holy Spirit.
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