Thursday, January 5, 2023

The Eclipsed Father

As you know, I'm all about balance. I LOVE to push myself to my limits but I also love to be well-rounded in the exercises I do. More than anything, I want to get old(er) being limber and strong. The Greeks had a saying -- mÄ“den agan, "nothing in excess." It's essentially the same thing as saying we should live balanced lives. 

I think this applies to theology as much as it applies to other areas of our lives. It's so easy to get out of kilter in this regard. One example occurred to me this morning while I was reading and studying Gal. 4, where Paul reminds us of the Spirit's cry in our hearts -- "Abba, Father!" or "Father, Dear Father!" (Phillips). Now, it seems obvious to me that the Fatherhood of God has been largely eclipsed nowadays by a focus on the Son and the Spirit. He's perhaps the least popular of the three persons of the Godhead. You see this when you open any textbook on theology. There you will almost certainly find a chapter on the Son (Christology) and a chapter on the Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), but where is the chapter on the Father? It's simply not there. Instead, the subject is treated under the heading "Theology Proper." There seems to be a preoccupation with the Second and Third Persons of the Trinity at the expense of the First. In the 1960s, I myself belonged to a segment of Christianity called the "Jesus Movement." We wore Jesus shirts, we sang Jesus songs, we shouted Jesus shouts, and we wore long hair and sandals like Jesus did. Some people called us "Jesus Freaks." I fear we had forgotten that when the Lord Jesus called people to himself, he did so in order to introduce them to the Father. Others are equally obsessed with the Holy Spirit, forgetting that the Spirit is a very shy Spirit and that when he occupies the heart of a believer he bears witness not to himself but to the Fatherhood of God (Gal. 4:6) and to the Lordship of Christ (1 Cor. 12:3). This truth is wonderful summed up for us by Paul in Eph. 2:18, where he says that it is through Christ and by one Spirit that we have access to the Father. 

I would love to see every major theology textbook make amends and add a chapter on the Fatherhood of God. It could be called "Patrology," if you like, but I do not see how our theology can be balanced without recovering a focus on the Father. There is such a crying out in my soul for everyone to know God as Father. I will never be able to thank him enough or praise him enough for sending his Son and his Spirit so that he might accomplish his work of salvation and sanctification in my life!

Thank you, Dear Father. I give you the glory and honor and praise. I thank you for the patience and love you've had for me all these years. Thank you that I'm a part of the Royal Family of God. And thank you that you will keep right on helping me until your task within me is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns. HalleluYah! Amen, amen, and amen!