Entailing as it does such a magnitude of responsibility from God, it is amazing to me looking back over membership in churches since 1977 that so little instructional importance was attached to parenting and fathering in particular. New member orientations if any, instead, focused on introducing church leaders, beliefs, responsibilities, programs, activities and service opportunities. Intensive training and equipping if any, offered in depth Bible study topics and in a few churches, deep theological education. All of this was done in the quickest possible time frame lest the relative few participants became even fewer!1 This has been devastating to Christian men and their families.
Fathering like God is not natural to sinful mortal men as I have painfully discovered in my own journey during these latter days. Sadly today, it is not widely seen enough either to be emulated or purposely taught among professed Christians and their churches as I opened this post lamenting. Being a father with all it involves as God the Father exemplifies in His Word and intends for human fathers to imitate is a life skill that is supposed to be intentionally passed on by them to their sons through precept and example as I write in The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics.2 However, with so many sons without their fathers doing this on purpose, fallen human models of fathering prevail.
Fallen human models of fathering run the gambit of sin driven conduct. These models are learned from having watched one’s own father (with the family or not) or someone else’s; taking in as well, those portrayed in all forms of media and the streets.3 The fallen human models include, but are not limited to the absent, willfully neglectful, verbally and physically abusive, self-centered, grumpy, harsh, stern, intimidating, controlling, overly disciplinary (which is where I was as I write about in my book), not disciplinary enough or at all, spoiler, pushover, briber, pleaser etc. Though no fallen father is nor can be perfect before God, those that do better father more like Him.
Such fathers may have had not only good instruction, but examples from their own fathers. As maturing Christians, they may have also come to appreciate that childrearing is a sacred and fearful responsibility from God one needs His help with and why in His infinite wisdom He confined procreation to a man and woman committed to each other in holy marriage as the best arrangement for it. However they came to it, these men consider the business of fathering an important and serious undertaking. They understand initiating the existence of a new human being is only the beginning of an incredible experience that must be purposely planned for, embraced and carried out.
Indeed, this is the example of God the Father in the Bible. From eternity He purposely planned and prepared for the creation of man (Genesis 1:1-26, 2:4-6). Then, He embraced and carried out initiating man’s existence from the dust (Genesis 2:7). After this, He led, taught His will, provided for and gave environmental protection first to Adam and then, his wife taken out of him (Genesis 2:8-25). At the end of God the Father’s creative work, Scripture summarizes it, His marching orders and instruction to the first man and woman as well as presents His appraisal of the momentous occasion (Genesis 1:27-31). Nothing about the foregoing is done haphazardly or at a distance.
Furthermore, when the first couple sinned, God the Father brought His promised consequence and then some, while also clearly demonstrating His continuing love for them (Genesis 3). He purposely displays and teaches His model of Fathering throughout all of the rest of Scripture so that certainly, we that profess to know Him are without excuse for our ignorance. Yet, four years into being a Christian and church attendance, I entered into marriage and a blended family ignorant. For nearly another ten years I struggled to walk out God's Fathering learned from the Bible with no church instruction until finally, my then, pastor, began a purposeful teaching on the family out of Scripture.4
At the same time, my pastor introduced us men to the Promise Keepers men’s movement. Heightened in interest by my need, as a Christian radio announcer and avid listener, I also started paying attention to the instructive counsel about what a father is and does coming from national programs such as Focus On The Family and those produced locally out of Dallas, TX. Slowly, with my own intentional Bible study on the issues of manhood, marriage and family, the veil of ignorance began to lift; change and growth in my fathering through the help and power of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin and sinful flesh fed character flaws, attitudes and behavior that continues to this day!5
Even so, though well intended and better than no man and fatherhood church instruction at all in the early 1990s, the growing popular teaching clearly was not fully biblical as I was learning since for example, while God’s order of mankind electing men as leaders was acknowledged, it was not being practiced in the many of churches of American Christianity.6 Biblically conservative churches of every hue that will be true to “the whole counsel of God” must repent as I did from departure from it in any teaching of man and fatherhood and their example; dereliction to intentionally present it as the apostle Paul modeled (Acts 20:25-27; Ephesians 6:4, NKJV).7 Worse off than I was in ignorance, 21st century males coming to Christ absolutely need this instruction in a confused culture now, hostile to it!
1 Though I write here primarily of churches I did not also serve as pastor, in full transparency I acknowledge coming up short of and not doing more to reach the instructional
mark I write about when I was a pastor.
2 The book is published by Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. and available in print or digital formats at major internet booksellers. You can also purchase a print
copy along with its companion, The Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study for in-person or virtual use in the Strong Man Store.
3 Physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually present or absent, biological fathers teach our sons and daughters whether we purposely intend to or not. Writing in my book
and other places, it is the standing and force of authority God has given to and designed men with that is the source and cause of this. Read especially my June 21, 2015
part one post, Mama’s boys, under the category, Black History.
4 Very importantly, with church instruction also came a sense of accountability, empathy and group support.
5 Without making excuses for myself or any professed Christian not an active rebel (writing the following only to clarify the biblically taught reality of the marathon journey we
are on), Christians are not fully formed at new spiritual birth anymore than a physically newborn human being. Christian fathers as redeemed sinners develop and grow over
time (some slower than others) into this role as all of our other roles through the often painful process of uncovering and being convicted by God about sinful thinking, atti-
tudes and conduct in putting “off the old” and putting “on the new man,” (Ephesians 4:17-32, NKJV). We struggle with sin aroused by the Law within and righteousness and
must have our minds renewed putting on the new man as a conscious and deliberate decision every moment to walk in the Spirit our Helper (John 14:15-18; Romans 7:12-
8:13; Galatians 5:16-25).
6 See the three-part post beginning January 8, 2017, In God’s Revival Men Are Restored, under the category, The Cause.
7 Read the September 20, 2020 post, What Will It Profit A Man?, under the category, The Cause.
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