The good father: fight the good fight (2)...

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Chesterton is right. Marriage is the melding together of two incompatible forces, man and woman. So there's no avoiding quarrels. The point is to keep them lovers' quarrels.

It's been several weeks since I asked the question, "why do Christian pastors and childrearing experts never talk about battles between husbands and wives over the discipline of their children?" One reason I write about fatherhood is that Christian fathers need help having faith for these fights.

So let me gently say you really must fight with your dear wife for the faithful discipline of your children...

Have you noticed that no one has faith for fights anymore? How stupid is that? The Bible says fights are necessary to show who has God's approval (1Corinthians 11:19). Often a good fight is the only way to restore peace.

Where would the church be without the Reformation? Think of all the hopeless souls today if Luther, Calvin, and Knox had not put their lives on the line fighting for the restoration of the Gospel to the church. Where would you and I be if they had not called Rome the Whore of Babylon, helping the sheep to understand their peril and flee.

There would be no hope of salvation today if Martin Luther had never nailed his 95 fighting points on the front door of the Castle church of Wittenberg 499 years ago. We'd still be lost in the mercantile maze of Rome's moneychangers selling salvation through manipulations of the treasury of merit accrued through supposed works of supererogation motivated by beatific visions reserved for those super-religious men and women who eschewed marriage and childrearing for fornication, sodomy, and hawking indulgences.

Yes, it's hard to muster the faith to fight when no one will give you love for it. You won't get likes and smiley faces on FB. But you know, life is short and fighting isn't superfluous today when men gauge each other's morality by how fulsomely they show their approval of the most wicked deeds known to man. The first Christians lived in days like these during the Roman Empire and they fought and got persecuted and martyred. So what's our thing? Would we rather be the friend of woman than the friend of God?

Pastors and childrearing experts don't encourage couples to fight through their disagreements over the discipline of their children because pastors and childrearing experts don't believe it's ever wise to oppose woman. Plus pastors don't believe in discipline themselves. Listen to their sermons. Look at their children. Watch their children cast off the church and Her Master, returning to the vomit of icons and sacramentalism.

It's the rare mother who sees the need for the discipline of her sons and daughters as clearly as their father. Dad, listen to me: God gave you to the mother of your children to compensate for her weakness, so go ahead and compensate already! Not insensitively; there's no need for you to be a stupid brute with her. Be gentle and smart and Scriptural and faithful and all that, but whatever else, fight! As if your children's souls depend upon it, because they do.

Remember the means God appointed to fulfill His covenant promises to Abraham?

For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him. (Genesis 18:19)

Christian father, God didn't call you to passivity or acquiescence in the face of your wife's superior knowledge of the Word, her superior understanding of truth, beauty, and goodness, and her superior grasp of the inward motivations and emotional needs of each of your children. God called you to command your children. Or let me put it this way: God called YOU to command your children. And your household. Must I point out that "household" includes your wife?

Does it make you tremble? Don't worry, it makes all of us tremble. We're not up to it and neither was Abraham. Remember him getting his wife to say she was his sister? Twice? Can't you just imagine the sort of moral authority he had with his wife with those sins being thrown in his face all the time?

Nevertheless, he commanded his wife and children to keep the way of the Lord because, had he not done so, God would not have brought on Abraham and his descendants all He had promised.

True, Abraham didn't live in an age of mockery of the Fatherhood of God and man. Abraham didn't face a wife who was perfect in her discernment, motivations, aesthetics, judgments, passions, and all-round godliness.

So why did God call you to Himself, anyhow; and why did he give you to your wife? To be a silent partner? To abdicate the authority He delegated to you?

You know, after many years of pastoral care, I'll tell you a secret. Children know whether their father uses the command authority God gave him for the wellbeing of his wife and children. Children know whether their father or mother is the center of gravity in their home. Your wife may be able to intimidate your children into lying about how things really are at home when they are at church or homeschool co-op, but children know whether the command authority in their home is exercised by their father or mother.

It's always exercised by one.

If it's their mother, your sons and daughters will carry that sickness into everything they are and do the rest of their lives. Sadly, there's no way to go back and have a do-over if you've allowed the little lady to be the commander of your household. The toxin of your faithlessness will work its corruption throughout your children's lives, and its foundation will be their incapacity to fear God.

But it's not too late. God loves repentance and today is the day to turn back to Him in this matter. He will receive you and give you all you need to command your children and your household to keep the way of the Lord.

Tim Bayly

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

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!