The irrepressible influence of ungodly and godly fathers...

Happy Father's Day!

Anglican vicar Robbie Low has an article in the latest Touchstone riffing off one of the many studies showing the radical disparity between the influence of fathers and mothers in the churchgoing and religious faith of their adult children.

A simple summary of all these studies is that mothers who attend church do not produce churchgoing children whereas fathers who attend church do. Put slightly differently, if the mother attends church regularly and the father infrequently or not at all, when they reach adulthood their children are unlikely to attend church. On the other hand, if the father attends church regularly and the mother infrequently or not at all, when they reach adulthood their children are almost certain to attend church...

Which is to say God has ordered His creation, not as a matriarchy or anarchy, but a patriarchy. Like it or not, fathers lead.

Pastor Low gives many specifics about a Swiss census and its findings on the impact of fathers and mothers on the religious faith of their children. He ends his summary with quite a bit of common sense about our society's hell-bent pursuit of women's leadership in the church. It's well worth reading.

Low ends his article:

A church that is conspiring against the blessings of patriarchy not only disfigures ...the First Person of the Trinity, effects disobedience to the example and teaching of the Second Person of the Trinity, and rejects the Pentecostal action of the Third Person of the Trinity but, more significantly for our society, flies in the face of the sociological evidence!

No father—no family—no faith. Winning and keeping men is essential to the community of faith and vital to the work of all mothers and the future salvation of our children.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.


The father is the head of his home. He will either be a good head or a bad head, present or absent, leading or wandering, but you can't change the fact that he is the head.

Fathers are the heads of the church. They will either abdicate or lead, and the church will either falter or triumph as a result.

Fathers are the heads of society. They will either do their work or leave it or abdicate and society will either flourish or decay as a result.


Have you ever published a review of Goldberg's "Why Men Rule"?

You seem to look for every opportunity to say "I am more important than a woman." That hardly seems the behavior of a leader, or someone secure in their leadership, I am sorry to say.

Surely you are not trying to say that mothers don't need to attend church?

Surely he isn't.  Church isn't a factory, and the primary aim of going to church is not to produce offspring that go to church, it is to worship God.  Parents show their children the truth by worshipping God.  Obviously, mothers need to go to church for this reason, and for the same reason all of us need to--to worship God and to sit under the ministry of His word.  The study (which was not done by some fundamentalist group in Colorado Springs, Grand Rapids, Greenville, or any other evangelical ghetto but in a highly secularized nation) concludes that an observant father is far more likely to produce an observant child, hopefully in partnership with an observant mother, than an observant mother alone.  In fact, HE is not saying anything much really.  He's sharing with us the results of a demographic survey done by a government census bureau.  He's also not saying, vis a vis your earlier comment, that "he is more important than a woman."  He's saying that God has ordained men to lead their families, and when they don't, bad things happen.  

And pre-emptively, let us not get into the minefield of sacrificing the normal  on the altar of the abnormal here.  Yes, there are circumstances of abandonment, or widowhood, or paternal incapacity (a colleague of mine a few years back suffered a traumatic brain injury and was no longer able, obviously, to lead his family in worship) where God will raise up women to do remarkable feats of leadership in a family and elsewhere.  But acknowledging those exceptions for what they are, the truth is, God's word has provided for a father and husband to be the head of his household.  There's a variety of ways to practice this, yes, and the context is different culture to culture, sure, but I hardly think that repeating scriptural truth is a mark of "insecurity in leadership," brother.

Another reminder for missionaries that no matter hard it is (e.gOnion cultures like Japan or Taiwan, men who are missionaries should focus a large amount of time on reaching men.

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