Father Hunger

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I have been listening to an outstanding talk on fatherhood by Tim Bayly. His message is defending a particular reading of Ephesians 3:14-15. Paul thanks the Father (Pater) from whom all fatherhood (patria) derives its name. The debate has to do with whether patria should be rendered as “family” or as “fatherhood.” Bayly argues, rightly in my view, that it needs to be taken as fatherhood.

And if so, a right understanding of this is the need of the hour. The pervasive “father hunger” that permeates our culture is causing all sorts of dislocations, and more than dislocations, chaos.

While listening to the talk, my mind went off in an odd direction, but one fully consistent with what Bayly was arguing. Not only does father hunger cause all kinds of problems for pastors in areas like a confused sexual identity, but it also has caused a revolution in theology.

This is why the gross error of openness theology is operating in a seller’s market. Because Christian fathers (particularly Calvinist Christian fathers) have slandered the character of God through their distance, austerity, emotional clumsiness, harshness, anger, selfishness, and/or self-righteous priggishness, many of their sons have turned to a father that they (falsely) think will satisfy their father hunger. The god of openness theology might actually want to take his sons to the ball game. Might actually care, and so on.

Of course the austerity slanders of ostensibly trinitarian fathers have caused many to turn away from the glorious concept of fatherhood found in orthodoxy. May Malachi’s prophecy come to pass, and may the hearts of orthodox fathers be turned to their sons. And many the orthodox soon stop slandering orthodoxy.

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