Category Archives: Pastor’s family
Transcribed from Douglas Wilson’s second address at the Desiring God pastors conference:
We have to recover a proper understanding of the role of fatherhood in the church, and I don’t just mean your familial fathers, the fathers of the families that come to church. I’m talking about fathers for the church.
First Corinthians 4:15–16 says this: “For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me.”
Notice what Paul says, I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. So the father here that Paul is being, the role he is playing here, does not interfere with the gospel, it is the instrument by which God brought the gospel to them.
One of the fundamental qualifications given for church leadership in the New Testament is that we must have men who know what it means to be a father (1 Timothy 3:4–5). If we continue to ignore the obvious it gets pretty complicated pretty quickly because we don’t understand how imitation governs the world. We have neglected one of the fundamental realities: we are supposed to imitate. As a result everything downstream from that goes to pieces. …
Churches need fathers to govern them, but unfortunately today’s church appears to show all the signs of being managed by the ecclesiastical equivalent of single moms. Paul requires that the church be governed by road-tested fathers. …
Now this also explains why the controversy over women’s ordination is not going to go away anytime soon. The issue is not exegesis, the issue is not what the text says. For several centuries we’ve exalted some very feminine virtues to the highest place in the church, and we have demanded that men conform to those standards. … Unfortunately, if those are the standards — if we don’t know what masculine piety looks like anymore, and we have enshrined feminine virtues in the church — then we are stuck. If those are the standards, women would do a better job at being women-pastors than men would do as women-pastors. If we must have women-pastors, then women will be better at it, it would seem to me.
I believe honestly we’re scared by masculine piety. It’s not very easy to control. It’s unsettling. So we’d rather have sweet virtues, we’d rather have feminine virtues in place, and then ask the men to conform. …
It’s not a coincidence that the requirement that bishops be road-tested family men, fathers who rule their families well, is a requirement that immediately follows the prohibition of women in ministry (1 Timothy 2:12). Because we have neglected the qualification that you must be a reliable father, we have patched together some other characteristics that we think would be “nice.” Thus we have come to demand essentially feminine virtues of our ministers, but we are stuck with this arbitrary line from the Bible that keeps the most qualified members of the church, as far as being sweet goes, out.
“Worship God in your family. – If you do not worship God in your family, you are living in positive sin; you may be quite sure you do not care for the souls of your family. If you neglect to spread a meal for your children to eat, would it not be said that you did not care for their bodies? And if you do not lead your children and servants to the green pastures of God’s Word, and to seek the living water, how plain is it that you do not care for their souls! Do it regularly, morning and evening. It is more needful than your daily food, more needful than your work. How vain and silly all your excuses will appear, when you look back from Hell! Do it fully. Some clip off the psalm, and some the reading of the Word; and so the worship of God is reduced to a mockery. Do it in a spiritual, lively manner, go to it as to a well of salvation.”
- Robert Murray M’Cheyne
When we set out to sell our house in the hopes of moving to Minneapolis to pursue pastoral training I promised the family that once our house sold we would spend a family day together. It did, and so today we will.
But it’s also a great day to be reminded of the importance of my wife in this transition. By God’s grace she is simply incredible. She has been focused and works with great diligence, making sure (with everything in our world now in motion) that the spiritual priorities remain at the front. Like the Proverbs 31 woman she is competent in the real estate market, searching out properties that would suit our family well and researching neighborhoods in Minneapolis (v. 16). Her busy day is often interrupted by two small children. She is loving, caring and able to stop everything to minister to the friends and family who call frequently.
This family day is a good reminder of the blessing it is to pursue pastoral ministry with a godly partner. I simply couldn’t be blessed any further than I am. If your wife is like mine, let her praise resound at the city gate!