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Fathers: God’s Great Idea for Society

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Phrases like “Founding Fathers” and “Church Fathers” are commonplace in many languages. Even ancient pagan civilizations recognized fatherhood by immortalizing their gods as male. They understood the significance of men in society. I think they understood what current social trends ignore: Societies that devalue fathers risk their demise. Fathers are essential to a stable, enduring, morally sound and economically resilient society.

A correlative collection of 44 studies on fathers and fatherhood using 30 years of data concluded that positive father involvement is crucial to children’s social, emotional and cognitive developmental outcomes at all stages. The studies showed that fatherhood is important to the child and the father. How does that affect a nation where 40% of children grow up in a household without consistent, affirmative, involved fathers? Not well, but that can change.

We could quote endless statistics on fatherless homes and absent dads. If we did, you would see declines in grades, a higher likelihood of children in jail, and higher rates of drug use, violence and obesity. You would also notice another thing: you would not be surprised.

God had a plan from the beginning of time. Any attitude about sexism aside, there is no denying the Fatherly symbolism of God throughout the Bible. God was making a point — fatherhood is necessary, and it works. The word “father” appears nearly 2,000 times in the Bible. The directive to honor our fathers and mothers is one of the Ten Commandments, right there with Don’t murder or lie (Exodus 20:12).

It’s old news that fatherhood is challenged today. Male leadership is depicted as “toxic” and outdated. We’re told it should be fluid, allowing any gender to fill the role. That doesn’t work as well as a mother and father together. Any person who has had both can attest that two dads don’t equal one mom, and two moms don’t make one dad.

While unpopular to say, the best family unit for society is one God designed, with a mother and father. History and psychological studies show it is more stable, reliable, productive, financially secure, and emotionally wholesome for all involved. I agree with Dr. Ryan Anderson: “There is no such thing as ‘parenting.’ There is mothering and fathering — children do best with both.”

We live in a sin-cursed world where divorce and single parenting are a reality. I applaud the amazing men and women who do it alone. We owe them compassion, help, and an enormous debt for doing the impossible. However, the church holds the responsibility of supporting these men and women, not the government.

I never diminish single moms. While I would never argue that women cannot do many things traditionally seen as male roles, I contend they shouldn’t have to. God ordained, and the world is crying out for men to be manly, masculine, strong, leaders and fatherly role models. If you are a father, I challenge you as Paul did, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like a man” (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Let me offer this heartfelt prayer for our fathers. I encourage you to pray it with me:

Lord, thank you that You are not only God but our Heavenly Father. Thank You for my father. Thank You for the millions of fathers on this planet. Forgive our nation, Lord, for ignoring their importance. We commit anew to honor Your design for the family, build up the fathers in our communities, and equip them to bring up their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” In Your Son’s name, Amen.

Happy Father’s Day. I’m Alex McFarland, and I believe in fathers because I believe in God the Father and His Son, Jesus.

Want more? Listen to our podcast on how honoring your commitment as a father should be taken very seriously, and Alex McFarland encourages and equips fathers with the scriptures and tools they need to succeed.

Alex McFarland

Alex has preached in over 2,200 churches throughout North America and numerous more internationally. He also speaks at Christian events, conferences, debates, and other venues to teach biblical truths and preach the gospel.

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