This article is part 1 of 7 in the series Reclaiming Fatherhood and Restoring Fathers

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Restoring Fathers

“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And he will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.” (Mal. 4:5-6)

The state of affairs in the world today wherein corruption and criminality is ubiquitous makes it evident that the land has been smitten with a curse as the prophecy of the prophet Malachi predicts. Indeed, we see revealed in these two verses culminating the Old Testament, the fundamental root-cause of all that corruption and criminality — a dearth of fatherhood.

History and sociological statistics tell us that wherever and whenever there is an absence of fatherhood there is an increase in sin and rebellion in the affected society, accompanied by a long list of resultant crimes and corruption that sin and rebellion inevitably engender.

The produce of a dearth of fatherhood in individual lives and collective society is disorder and disobedience of all sorts and kinds, both to God’s authority and God’s delegated authority — i.e., human authority — on earth.

Lack of fatherhood produces rebellion and lawlessness of every kind, which always strongly impacts every society and nation in which it transpires, not merely in a negative way, but a destructive way. The ultimate end of lawlessness is always destruction of the underpinnings that hold any society together.

Thus, the pattern is that fatherlessness begats lawlessness, and lawlessness begats destruction. “If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” (Psa 11:3), the Spirit laments through the Psalmist.

Moreover, it is this destruction of the foundations of human society that has a profound part in causing the entire world to reel and “everything that can be shaken” to be shaken in this last hour.

The profound and far-reaching negative impact of fatherlessness is manifest in every segment of societies around the world today as well as in the church realm. Desperate beyond comprehension and expression is the need for Godly fathers to emerge in both realms to manifest the many positive and desirable effects that result only from the proper spiritual function of fatherhood!

It simply cannot be an accident or coincidence that the Old Testament concludes in the last two verses in the last chapter of the last book, Malachi, with this prophecy:

“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And he will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.” (Mal. 4:5-6)

I believe the primary purpose of the prophetic, or at least the Elijah-type of prophetic ministry, those who operate in the “spirit and power of Elijah” (Lk. 1:17), is to restore fatherhood and reclaim fathers, both in the spiritual and natural realms (more on this in Part 2).

The state of affairs in the world today makes it evident that the land has been smitten with a curse as the Malachi prophecy predicts. Corruption and criminality is ubiquitous; so much so that in some regions of America governments cannot build and maintain the number of prisons needed to incarcerate all the lawbreaking criminals. We see revealed in this one passage of Scripture culminating the Old Testament, the fundamental root-cause of all that corruption and criminality — a dearth of fatherhood.

History and sociological statistics tell us that wherever and whenever there is an absence of fatherhood there is an increase in sin and rebellion, along with the resultant crime and corruption sin and rebellion engender societally. The produce of a dearth of fatherhood, in individual lives and collective society, is disobedience of all sorts and kinds, both to God’s authority (Rev. 12:10) and God’s delegated authority — i.e., human authority (cf., Rom. 13:1-7).

Indeed, fatherhood is the expression or manifestation on earth of God’s authority. God is a Father — the ultimate Father. He created the human race out of His need for fellowship with someone other than Himself — i.e., the Godhead.

Fatherhood is comprised of unique properties and characteristics, and produces unique results that cannot be produced through any other office or function, regardless of the amount of earnestness, diligence, or sincerity that is applied. There is no substitute for fatherhood; when it is absent there simply is a void. When there is a void of fatherhood, there is the absence of the things that fatherhood provides.

The void of fatherhood can be filled by nothing or no one else. Motherhood, though needed and necessary, is no substitute for fatherhood. Mothering, even by the most competent of mothers, cannot replace or substitute for fathering. When and where there is motherhood but no fatherhood, there is a stark lack of what fatherhood provides, along with the inevitable and unavoidable fruits and consequences of that lack.

One of the most significant and impactful of those voids resulting from a lack of fatherhood is that authentic manhood and all God intended it to entail is not modeled. In that vacuum, a male child cannot see what godly manhood looks like, and he has nothing to emulate, and so the vacuum is often filled, in some respects, instead with traits and thought patterns modeled by the women who are the authority figures in his life. In other words, in varying degrees and ways, emasculation transpires, despite being unintended and undesired.

Fatherhood is a manifestation and expression of the God-Kind of Love. God is Love (1 Jn. 4:8). Moreover, God is “THE” Father — the original and preeminent Father. Thus, Fatherhood is synonymous with Agape-Love, i.e., the God-kind of Love. Fathering is the ultimate expression of love (God, who is a Father, is love). Godly Fatherhood Love — Love of the Spirit — is the purest love.

Love, that is to say, Fatherhood, never fails (1 Cor. 13:8) — for, God never fails (Deu. 4:31; 31:6,8). Albeit, it is obvious that human fathers do fail. Nevertheless, though human fathers fail, fatherhood never fails, for God, from whom fatherhood of the Spirit emanates, never fails. God is a Father and He cannot fail. The failings or failure of fathers is not a failure of the office or function of genuine fatherhood.

To give an analogy, a particular president of the United States might fail to carry out his duties properly, competently, or productively, but that does not mean that that person’s failure is a failure of the office of the presidency. Because one person occupying the office of the presidency fails, that does not mean what constitutes the office needs to be modified, because the failing was the product of the person occupying the office not carrying out his duties properly or effectually. So also it is with the office or function of fatherhood.

Fatherhood is Spiritual. God is Spirit (Jn. 4:24). Fatherhood, then, is of the Spirit, i.e., it is a spiritual matter and its essence is spiritual. It is not merely an abstract concept or ethereal matter, meaning not of this world or non-substantial; nor merely a set of philosophical principles. Fatherhood is a manifestation of the Spirit of the Heavenly Father.

Authentic fatherhood is a spiritual and therefore a supernatural thing, not a human, natural thing. Yet, fatherhood cannot be merely “spiritualized,” that is, be manifest separate from the natural. While it is intrinsically spiritual, of the unseen realm, it is manifest in the natural, the seen realm.

Fatherhood is intrinsically an internal as opposed to an external matter, even though it is manifested externally. It emanates from within, or manifests from the inside out. Thus, fatherhood is not something that can be worn externally like a shirt. Buying a T-shirt with “Super Dad” printed on it, does not make you a Super-Dad or a Godly father, at all. If you are a father, the ultimate judge of whether or not you were a “Super-Dad” will not be yourself or even your children, but God the Father, and one day every human father will stand before God to give account for his fathering.

Fathering is not comprised of mere sentiment, or emotion, or even affection, but rather actions — actions of servitude. In the Lord, a father is simultaneously the ultimate servant, laying down his life for his family, and the ultimate source or gateway of Agape-love, which also entails genuine Godly authority to his family. Proper, that is, scriptural authority that a father exercises in his family toward his children is a manifestation of fatherly love that emanates from the Spirit (Pro. 13:24; et al.).

Fatherhood is the reflection of the Father. Jesus said to the disciples — Philip specifically, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9), demonstrating that God the Son was/is a reflection and embodiment of God the Father.

The foundation of the Kingdom of God is fatherhood. In essence, all Kingdom principles are fathering principles, rooted in fatherhood, because the Person of highest rank and sovereignty in the Kingdom of God IS God the Father.

Therefore, it only follows that there is no higher office or function than fatherhood. Our relationship with God is a relationship between a Father and His spiritual children, or offspring.

Fatherlessness produces dysfunction. Fathering failure, or the dearth of the functions of fatherhood, produces dysfunctional and self-destructive familial relationships, both in natural families as well as spiritual families, i.e., churches. The profile of dysfunctional families is fraught with rivalry, competition, jealousy, contentions, strife, and such things, oftentimes without resolution in this life. Psychologists and mental health practitioners can not only confirm that reality but also the lifelong damage such consequences of dysfunction inflicts upon those experiencing it.

But just as importantly, beyond the pews and behind the platforms, churches, because they are spiritual families consisting of multiple natural families, are invariably likewise fraught with such consequences of dysfunction. Churches are intrinsically a macrocosm of the families comprising them.

So it is also within the ranks of Fivefold Ministers — more today than previous times. The primary cause of the lack of substantial collegiality and collaboration, or co-labor, that God intended to transpire among Fivefold Ministers is the lack of godly and effectual spiritual fathering in the Body of Christ, which, of course, encompasses Fivefold Ministers as well. Indeed, the blame for dysfunctional spiritual relationships and families in the ecclesia must be laid squarely at the feet of Fivefold Ministers and their failure to be spiritual fathers, generally speaking. The dysfunction of the Body of Christ at-large is an indictment against Fivefold Ministers! And, the root cause of that prevalent dysfunction is the dearth of fathering by Fivefold Ministers, most of whom have used their giftings to produce institutional slaves and spiritual subjects for self-aggrandizing purposes, when what those functions are supposed to produce is SONS of God (cf., Gal. 4:1-9; Rom. 8:14; Heb. 2:10; Eph. 4:11-16).

Dysfunctional leadership produces dysfunctional progeny (offspring). The unfortunate result of the dysfunctional leadership in the Body of Christ is the spiritual immaturity, impotence, and poor productivity now generally manifest in the Body of Christ as a whole (cf., Eph. 4:7-16).

While I’m talking about Fivefold Ministers and leadership, I’m compelled to say something that’s bound to elicit the ire or at least the disagreement of some. Ministers who’ve spent their entire ministerial capital and career exclusively on extending their own ministerial exploits and fiefdoms for their own aggrandizement without investing into the next generation by rearing a spiritual progeny, when the books are closed and all the accounts reconciled, I fear could well be declared an insolvent or bankrupt enterprise. The proverb saying that “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children” (Pro. 13:22) has a spiritual application as well, and even underscores the fact that when a father sows into the next generation, intrinsically, he is sowing into the generation after that one as well. Part of the role of Fivefold Ministers is to reproduce after their kind. Apostles should be reproducing and rearing apostles, prophets, prophets, and so on. The Apostle Paul was a sterling biblical example of an apostle who did just that, rearing and raising up spiritual sons who he poured himself into and thereby empowering them to follow in his steps after his course was finished.

Fatherhood is an exclusively male office or function. Only SONS can be fathers. Even illegitimate sons can become legitimate fathers by eschewing the failures of their own fathers — spiritual and natural — and walking and operating in the Spirit.

Females cannot father, regardless of how “spiritual” they are. The most spiritual female cannot father. In fact, though the greatest respect and empathy should be afforded many of the myriad of “single moms” in the world today, many of whom are not so as a result of choice, mothers trying to take the place of fathers or trying to fulfill the role and function of fatherhood, has severely impacted many societies around the world today. Again, the void of fatherhood — that is to say, what fathers are created to provide for and to their children — cannot be successfully filled by motherhood.

The awful legacy of the Garden of Eden was a fathering failure. Adam was created by God in the Image of God the Father. God intended for Adam to reflect Him even in his relationship with his helpmate suitable, Eve. Yes, Adam was to be a “father,” spiritually speaking, to his wife; that is, God desired that he reflect the Heavenly Father on earth to his wife and family. Ultimately, Adam’s failure was not in his following of deceived Eve, but in the spiritual FATHERING or shepherding of his helpmate (wife).

In fact, it can be rightly said that the ultimate cause of what theologians refer to as human “original sin” was a failure in reflecting the Image of the Father. When God created Adam in His own Image, He created a human father, because God is a Father. The Creational Order is predicated on the principle that everything produces after its kind. As a Father, God reproduced a father — Adam.

So, Adam failed as the first human father of the first family. The first result of that failure was Adam and Eve’s precipitous fall into perdition, and the second result of his sin and rebellion against God was the rivalry mentioned before between his children, what we now call, “sibling rivalry.” In this case the contention was murderous, in that Adam’s first offspring, Cain, was a murderer, who slew his brother, Abel.

Right from the beginning of the human race we see demonstrated the irrefutable fact that when fathers fail, families fail. When the effectual function of fatherhood is absent, whether through abrogation or ignorance, the result is dysfunctional families, both in intra-family relationships and extra-family relationships, to one degree or another. In other words, absence of Godly fathering in a family produces dysfunction in the individuals of that family.

Where that dysfunction is the most manifest, generally speaking, is in the members capacity to properly, productively relate with others within or without of the family. Extreme cases of that dysfunction is elemental to various psychological disorders involving relational dysfunction.

Husbandhood is synonymous with fatherhood. Now, not in the natural or fleshly realm, but again I say, in the Spirit realm. What I mean is that the characteristics of Godly fatherhood are the characteristics of Godly husbandhood.

After Adam and Eve’s fall into perdition, God placed in the woman (the female gender), an innate desire for her husband’s headship or authority over her (Gen. 3:16), as a covering or protection against demons, the fallen angels (1 Cor. 11:10), by whom (the serpent, Satan) she was deceived in the Garden of Eden. Though modern feminism-based psychology paints it as a bane and something to be avoided, women are “wired” by God, in looking for a husband to look for a FATHER, because subconsciously she is searching for a man who will be to her what her biological father had been to her (if he was a righteous man and father) and she is also looking for the man who will be the father of their children, sons (fathers) and daughters (helpmates), who will as a product of their love and affection for one another continue the cycle of human reproduction.

Whether they know it or not, and though those steeped in modern feminism will bristle and gnash their teeth at such a statement, what women are subconsciously looking for in their life-mate is a man who will be to them what their father was to them. Though, it must be understood that when a woman is operating exclusively or predominantly in the flesh, rather than “walk(ing) in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16-25) and therefore being led by the Spirit, she will not be guided by those internal, God-placed desires in her “search” for a husband.

Jesus said one of the primary reasons for His coming in the flesh was to show us the Father, and He said that he who has seen Him, has seen the Father (Jn. 14:9). He was the Father come in the flesh. Jesus was the exact representation of the Father (Heb. 1:3). He was not The Father, but He was the pure and exact reflection or replica of the Father. And, whatever He saw and heard the Father doing, Jesus did, and He did or said nothing from His own initiative (Jn. 5:30; 12:49; 14:10). That was the model He came to present to us. He was the prototype (Gr., prototokos, firstborn) of the Sons of God, the Holy Race, the People of God, who were born of the Spirit, and whose ultimate quest and goal is to emulate, or reflect, the Father in their living as well as their innermost-being (Rom. 8:29; Heb. 12:23).

Though He had no human wife and lain with no woman (and certainly no man, per the blasphemous allegations of homosexual reprobates of recent note), meaning He had no sexual relationship with any human while here in the flesh on Earth, He was the incorruptible Seed of the Father, who died and was buried in the earth, in order to undergo the miraculous metamorphosis of life, and thereby become the Progenitor (Father) of the Holy Race, the people who once were not a people, but now are the People of God, the Holy Remnant, the Chosen Few, the Betrothed Unto Christ (1 Pet. 2:9). It was not only an immaculate conception but also immaculate reproduction, of the Spiritual, not the natural, realm. Thus, Jesus, while He is the Son of God and God the Son, was the Spiritual Progenitor and Patriarch of the Holy Race—i.e., Redeemed Humanity.

In conclusion, here’s some Good News about fatherhood, fathers, and fathering:

  • Human fathers are imperfect, but fatherhood is not imperfect, especially that of the Heavenly Father.
  • Human fathers have faults, but the faults of human fathers is not a fault of fatherhood.
  • Fatherhood can be delayed and/or suspended, but it can be reclaimed and restored.
  • Fathers who were not themselves truly and properly fathered as sons can truly and properly father, because God said, “And all your sons will be taught of the Lord (God), And the well-being of your sons will be great” (Is. 54:13; Jn. 6:45), and God is the ultimate Father.

There’s a lot more about fatherhood that will bring abundant blessings into your life if you will simply receive it, believe it, comply with it, and decree it — in other words, if you will GET INTO AGREEMENT WITH GOD! It has the power to revolutionize your life, and as a result, the lives of others with whom you are related, either in the natural, or in the Spirit, or both!

In the Light of the Revelation of the Spirit regarding the fundamental function of Godly fatherhood, the prayer of every believer should be that God the Father would bring about a massive restoration and new regard for fatherhood in both the natural and spiritual realms all over the world, thereby mitigating to whatever degree possible the ill-effects that the lack of effectual fathering produces wherever it occurs.###

Be sure to read Part 2 of this article and Traumatic Traits of Fatherless Men.

Dr. Steven Lambert was ordained in 1977 and holds several earned graduate/post-graduate degrees. Over more than four decades in ministry, he has served as a pastor, radio/TV host, adjunct-professor, Board Certified Doctoral Diplomate Christian Therapist/Counselor, and a speaker/commentator on a range of social, political, and theological issues, particularly as a recognized authority on the matter of ecclesiastical authoritarian abuse. He is the founder/Overseer of Ephesians Four Network (ephesiansfour.net) and its subsidiary, Ephesians Four Network of Deliverance Counselors (efndc.ephesiansfour.net). Dr. Lambert authored several books (catalog at realtruthpublications.com), many published articles, and is the founder/editor of Spirit Life Magazine (spiritlifemag.com). His bio, extensive blog, and scheduling information are available on his ministry website at: http://www.slm.org. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • […] Where are the leaders? Where are the spiritual fathers, fulfilling their spiritual duty to “raise up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord,” who know and are motivated by the Biblical principle that if a father does not DISCIPLINE (teach) his children, he HATES them? Where are they? I’ll tell you where they are: they’re off carousing around like peacocks in poultry yards, fanning their feathers, and trying to impress everyone with their spiritual superiority, authoritarian ascendancy, the expansiveness of their personal fiefdoms, and extensiveness of their personal wealth they have accumulated as “gain from the gospel.” That’s where they are! These people are not genuine spiritual fathers; they know nothing about fathering! It wasn’t modeled to them and they know nothing about it! What they are is “spiritual studs” (especially in their own minds), who prance about through the paddocks mating with every filly who will yield to their displays of dominance and verility, totally void of any sense of spiritual responsibility for the fathering of the offspring they sire. Any non-impotent male can sire offspring, but it takes a SON to be able to FATHER! Fathering is a verb, not a noun! It’s time for the true spiritual fathers to MAN UP! Take their proper place, and begin to FATHER! (Read related article: Reclaiming Fatherhood and Restoring Fathers) […]