Why Do We Have So Many Teachers And So Few Fathers?

Why Do We Have So Many Teachers And So Few Fathers? August 7, 2009

So asked TallSkinnyKiwi in a twitter post yesterday. My conclusion? Its that God designed it that way. It seems that the scarcity of true fathers in the church was described by Paul, rather than complained about by him. He writes

I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 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. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent [2] you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, [3] as I teach them everywhere in every church. (1 Corinthians 4:14-16)

True fathers in the church are like precious gold-dust. We need them. But notice in this passage we also benefit from their sons or disciples spreading the message of the gospel and demonstrating their way of life to others.

I think that sometimes in the Church today we aim too much for independence. Out of fear of becoming those who follow men inappropriately, we shy away from the call to find a true father we can imitate. As Paul said “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Even most church leaders still need a father figure they can look up to. Most congregations will be more secure knowing that their pastor is also a follower. It is not a merely modern phenomena that God is raising up a few godly men as leaders of his global church. It has always been that way. For those who rail against the idea of us following these great modern day leaders, I simply say, look back at Church history. What about Spurgeon, Wesley, Whitefield, Luther, Calvin, Lloyd-Jones and the many others who in their day towered over their contemporaries who were then inspired by them to great exploits?

The truth is that the Church has always developed and grown directly as a result of a few unlikely leaders that God raises up who then inspire an army of followers who themselves then plant churches, preach the gospel and take their derivative message throughout the world.

We are not meant to be originals. And in fact, even the fathers that we are all meant to copy, are themselves merely reinterpreting the old old message for a new generation. When a man of God makes the message sound fresh and new, you better hope that in reality he is merely retranslating it for a new generation.

Who is your father in the Lord? Or do you think you can make it all on your own?

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