Chesapeake, VA - The Masters Plan for Fatherhood
This intensive fatherhood weekend seeks to examine Scripture in detail on the doctrine and practice of fatherhood. This in depth, exegetical examination of fatherhood, will give a father a timeless biblical roadmap he can use to calibrate his life as a father. Further, it will give pastors an arsenal of expository ammunition for teaching biblical fatherhood in their churches.
The kind of father that the Bible describes is hardly seen anymore. We need a new kind of father. But, it turns out, the new kind of father we need, is the fatherhood of old that originated in God the Father. He has revealed in His word what His kind of father looks like. On this weekend, we will be describing him directly from Scripture.
The Fatherhood Academy is designed to help fathers and pastors to understand fatherhood from a biblical perspective. We will show how some of the great characters in the Bible explained and lived fatherhood. We will consider the admonitions and examples of Abraham, Job, Moses, Joshua, Asaph, David, Solomon and Malachi. These men provide the commands, and statues and judgments of fatherhood. They are exactly what we need today. But there is more. I will show how these fatherhood examples, admonitions and principles of the Old Testament are types that are fulfilled in the New Testament.
Men have always needed a fixed external, extremely sharp, “two edged sword” - a Word from heaven - to help them know how to be fathers. This is why I will be taking sections of Old and New Testament Scripture which teach about fatherhood. I will explain these texts by means of biblical exposition. There is no better place to go for help than the texts of Scripture. For the Word of God provides timeless wisdom for all fathers.
The practices and principles of fatherhood have nearly disappeared in our society and I want to recruit men to take on a completely different fatherhood paradigm because the Word of God speaks clearly and practically for the details of fatherhood.
It is time for a new generation of fathers who are able to throw off the past. The old paradigms – the paradigms of our fathers, the paradigms tolerated in our churches, the paradigms promoted in our culture are so massively contrary to Scripture.
Something of enormous significance has been lost. I want men to understand the pivotal role of faithful fatherhood and that they can recover it, but not without cost.
Fathers are confused
But, for a variety of reasons, most fathers simply do not know what God has called them to do. As a result, their fatherhood practices are a mix of their own creative thinking, of what their fathers did, and of what their friends are doing. This is why there is so much confusion about fatherhood today, even in the church. It is also the reason why most men have a powerful hunger to know how to fulfill their roles as fathers.
Fathers need a roadmap
For several reasons, a man’s personal understanding of fatherhood has never been enough to help him be the father God intends him to be. First, we men are by nature sinners with a darkened understanding of how life should be lived. Second, all of our own fathers fell short, and most of them did not supply role models that adequately reflected the fatherhood of God. Third, contemporary culture is at war with fatherhood and seeks to disfigure and negate it.These reasons show why it has been a struggle for men in every generation to understand how they should live as fathers.
I have never met a man who did not want to be a great father. But all the desire and emotion in this world is not enough to make him one. A man needs a good roadmap. And the only roadmap that is reliable comes from Holy Scripture.
Where are the role models?
I am convinced that what some people call “father hunger” is one of the most common ailments among men. At some point a man wakes up and says,
“My dad didn’t train me right; how am I supposed to be a father?” Most men I know are rowing that boat. The sad reality is that very few men had exemplary role models of fatherhood. Men know that something is wrong. Men know they need help, and they know they need reliable role models. And so we not only cry out in desperation, but we can also give thanks and, confidently say along with Asaph, “O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock… Restore us, O God; Cause Your face to shine (Psalm 80:1,3).
Over a decade ago, I was speaking at a conference once and asked the group of around 700 men if their fathers had ever read the Bible to them. It did not surprise me that only two or three percent of the hands went up. The rest could not remember their dad EVER reading Scripture to them. It was also clear that they longed for a relationship with their fathers. These were like most men – able to provide for their families, run companies, buck the system, hang glide and water ski, but when asked about the relationship they had with their fathers their eyes get watery, their knees knock and their voices crack because they know that deep inside they wanted a deep relationship with their fathers but it was stolen from them for some reason. It was evident that the men at the conference desperately wanted to be better fathers.
Thankfully, fathers do not have to figure it out on their own, for God is of the nature to say, “I will provide.” Therefore, men do not need to create their own program because in Scripture God has spoken clearly on the subject of fatherhood. No man needs to go through years of trial and error to find the roadmap for the practices of biblical fatherhood.
Scripture is “a lamp unto our feet”(Psalm 119:105). to lead us out of the mire of our own thinking. It protects us from following our unreliable roadmaps, and helps us get down to the business of fatherhood – the way God planned it.
Scripture alone is sufficient
Scripture alone is sufficient to help men understand and fulfill God’s desires for them so that they will be the fathers that God intends for them to be. We don’t need new ideas, we need the old paths that Scripture identifies. This is the very best way to help fathers make their way in the world of fatherhood.
Neglecting this is disasterous
The fallout from neglecting God’s pattern for fatherhood is enormous. The impact on families, churches and the society as a whole is beyond imagnaition. Richard Baxter said it this way,
“If we suffer the neglect of this, we shall undo all. What are we like to do ourselves to the reforming of a congregation, if all the work be cast on us alone; and masters of families neglect that necessary duty of their own, by which they are bound to help us? If any good be begun by the ministry in any soul, a careless, prayerless, worldly family is like to stifle it, or very much hinder it; whereas, if you could but get the rulers of families to do their duty, to take up the work where you left it, and help it on, what abundance of good might be done!”1
1. [The Reformed Pastor, Richard Baxter, The oversight of the flock, Introductory note, 100]↩
The mentor you never had
There’s nothing more counter-culture than the kind of father the Bible describes. This is why I want to show the testimony of faithful fatherhood across the Scriptures. During these sessions, I will demonstrate that there are fathers in Scripture who can mentor us; there are principles to guide us and there are commands to correct us. Fatherhood is well defined in Scripture through types, through didactic instruction and through narratives that bring forth both good and bad examples.
God is able to take an existing broken fatherhood and make it new. Come and see a vision of a new kind of father that is as strong and enduring and rooted in God Himself. He makes all things new, including fatherhood. We need a new kind of father.