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ARTICLES

Subject: Spiritual Fathers in the Body of Christ

            It doesn’t require that one has the keenest of observation skills in order for them to detect change.  In our fast paced, innovation seeking, never satisfied with the current trend, always lunging forward, contemporary culture, change happens at an alarming rate.  One only has to consider the field of technology to know what I am talking about.   We wait months for the release of the newest advancement in computer software, cell phones, or entertainment stations, only to find that after we have finally obtained the long anticipated innovation, it has already been tagged with the description of obsolete by those who are promoting the next, soon to be released, competitors rival technology.

            Change is happening all around us.  It is evident in the cars we drive, the homes we live in, the way we shop, the clothes we wear, and the way we fix our hair.  Many of these changes are good, and we wonder how we ever lived without them.  After all, who would ever want to live without some of the modern conveniences that we take for granted today?

            Modern advancements in technology, innovations that have drastically reduced the time we spend working on any given project, and the remote control age, would be a hard thing for most of us to give up.  The convenience of fast food, 24 hour ATM machines, online shopping, and online banking, are changes that have many of us spoiled.  Taking any of these conveniences away from our modern culture, in an attempt to reverse the changes, would likely result in riot.  For most of today’s youth, it is questionable whether or not they could even survive in such a society where these modern changes were not present.

            While most of us have welcomed these improvements that have made our world more  user friendly, other changes have crept into our social structure that have not been so good.  For example, the core values of our society seem to have changed to the point where we no longer recognize the structure that was in place fifty years ago.  Watching television is no longer safe for our children.  What happened to the days when the networks produced programming such as “Leave it to Beaver,” “Father Knows Best,” or “The Beverly Hillbillies?”  These were at a time when families were still strong.  Mothers stayed at home with the children, fathers and mothers stayed married, and there were no single parent families.

            Those days are vanishing faster than the Arctic ice that is allegedly melting due to global warming.  What happened to families being raised with a father at home?  By some estimates, more than half of the children in our society grow up in homes without a father;  and in a large percentage of those homes where a father is present, the children have no real quality relationship with him.  Very little time is spent in nurturing the father - son relationships of ages past.

            The area of discipline has also undergone quite a change in our society.   Discipline is scarce in the home setting and is almost entirely forbidden in the public schools.  It appears that our twenty-first century culture is moving full speed ahead toward a society in which the only discipline that is allowed is at the hands of the State Department of Corrections, Criminal Justice Division.  Almost everyone is content with the program.  No one wants to take on the role of disciplinarian.  As a result, each successive generation moves farther away from the Utopia that was once desired.  The concept of good, that was once embraced, has been replaced with tolerance, and there is no tolerance for those who are viewed as intolerant. This is quite a change from the core values that were present a century ago.

                While we are quick to view this as a social issue or a secular issue, the truth is that the same problems are evident in the church.  Moral absolutes are rapidly fading, even among those who are considered spiritual.  The days of holiness as a lifestyle among church people are dwindling fast.  The labor of the modern Evangelical church is producing fruit that is bitter or, in many cases, just plain rotten.  Each successive generation seems to produce fruit that is further away from the design that was intended from the onset of the church age.

            It is hard to look at the changes in both social arenas as well as spiritual arenas and not learn a parallel lesson.  In the same way that the breakup of the family in our American society has produced undisciplined, unruly, fatherless children, the absence of true Fathers in the faith within our post modern churches has produced an anemic church, with no discipline, no absolutes, and far from the original design of God.  Unless there is a return of the Fathers, there will be no return to the design that God used to strengthen the early Church in the days that followed Pentecost.

            Something is definitely missing, and it is imperative that it is regained, even if only by the few.  When the Lord Jesus Christ returns, He is not coming for a bride that is undisciplined, unruly, and self-governed.  He is coming for a spotless bride, in full submission, and eagerly awaiting His return.  Yes, change is evident all around us, but one thing never changes, if children are left fatherless, without anyone to discipline them, they will do pretty much what they want to do, rather than what is required of them.  We see this truth in the broken families of our nation, and sadly, we see it in the church.

            It is my prayer that there will be a return of Fathers, both to the family unit, and to the church.

   
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