Second Reformed Church

Monday, March 02, 2015

Review: "Father Hunger"

Do fathers really matter?  Douglas Wilson points his readers to the baptism of Jesus and the proclamation of God the Father loving His Son as being the archetypal portrait of the need for fathers (1) – both for families to have fathers and for men to responsibly be father to their families.

Wilson, in his, Father Hunger:  Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead Their Families, takes his readers on a thought-provoking look at the call of being a father – beginning – as noted, with the archetypal Father being God.

In the second chapter, Wilson argues that men and women are different, and he takes a complementarian position about men and women – not denying their equality as bearers of the Image of God, but denying egalitarianism, which denies the necessary and good differences between men and women – denying that a man and a women can only come together to be a while and take on the responsibilities of father and mother.

In chapter three, he turns to Jonathan Edwards to show the connection between rightly worshipping God the Father and having a right view of the authority of the human father.

In the fourth, he makes the point that the Scripture’s calling God a masculine being has nothing to do with genitalia, but with the role, authority, and responsibility of a father – which is different from that of a mother (38).  He defines masculinity as “the glad assumption of sacrificial responsibility” (41).

He argues that the analogy and knowledge of God comes through seeing that Image portrayed in the human father, and it is the lack of human fathers which has bolstered the growth of atheism (53).

In chapter six, he looks at education being the desire to be like someone else.  And he ties the Lordship of Christ to the father’s educating of the children.

In the seventh chapter, he argues that statism is set-up to sponsor absentee fatherism, and Christians must put the will of the state under the will of God.

He turns to economics in the eighth chapter, turning the reader away from what he calls “crapitalism” (92) to the biblical view that all forms of work are given as calls by God – “church” work is not a higher or better call than the milk-maid – and the father rightly shows how work is done by working heartily and in pursuit of excellence, not merely to please the boss, but the glorify God and to thank Him.

In the ninth, he looks at marriage, sexual sin, and joining gangs in search of a father.

In the tenth, he shows that those who hold church office must be men – fathers (normally) – who meet the standards of the Scriptural call.  These are the “fathers of the church” who bear the Image of God the Father to the flock.

In the eleventh chapter, he looks at the doctrine of creation and shows that believing the biblical account of Creation is necessary to understand value.  He bears this up by examining the Eucharistic connection between the elements and the staid provision of a father.

In chapter twelve, he argues for the normalcy of men being fruitful in – and only in marriage.  And he discusses the failure of pornography and adultery on the basis of incapacitating fruitfulness.

In the thirteenth chapter, he stresses the father requiring obedience of the children and the necessity of the father being an exemplar of obedience to his children for them to respond rightly.  He draws in themes of accountability and the real portrayal of what it means to be content in Christ.

The fourteenth chapter examines the evangelical (in particular) problem of forgetting God the Father – evangelicals stress salvation in Jesus Alone and sanctification by the Spirit, but the Father is relegated to the corner.  He argues the Father must be brought forward in the Trinity, showing that the Fathers chief purpose – as with the Son and the Spirit – is to be glorified (191).  In this, the Father is known – and Wilson spends several pages going over Scripture about the Father.

In the final chapter, Wilson warns that fathers must not abandon their responsibilities, nor cling to them as a legal document, but live them out in relation to the worship of God the Father as exemplifying this to his children (200-1).

Each chapter ends with a brief series of question to continue reflection on the main issues of the chapter.

The book has an appendix which statistically looks at the economic loss caused by delinquent fathers.

The book ends with a bibliography and a recommended reading list.

I have read a number of Wilson’s books, and I was very impressed with his tying the responsibility and role of the father in the family to that of the knowledge and worship of God the Father.  I highly recommend this book and will likely give it to newly married men and new fathers to help them being the fathers God has called them to be.

[I received this book free for an honest review from Tyndale Publishing.  This review appears on my blog and]  #FatherHunger

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