Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 (NKJ)
And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 (NKJ)
“The (Catechism) as the head of the family should teach it to His household.”
Martin Luther “Introduction to Each Chief Part.”
Why are the pews in the Divine Services of Western Christendom so devoid of men? That question has haunted people who research such things in the last years. I have nothing to add to this discussion except some passing observations based on the Word of God.
Perhaps fathers, and in some cases mothers, have allowed others to raise their children. Now to a certain extent all parents delegate their God-Given parenting roles to others such as child sitters, nannies, school teachers and the like. The reason that these God-given chores are delegated is of major importance for Christian parents.
The husband is the spiritual head of the family. It is his responsibility to guide his family in Christ-like humility, love and service. He is to lead the family in worship, to see to it that he, his wife, and children know the Bible and the catechism, that the children are taught how to pray, and that all attend Divine Services regularly. The Christian wife also has profound responsibility of spiritual care for her husband. This means encouraging and assisting him in his vocation of “Christian Father”.
The central teaching of the Bible, one that fathers should constantly teach, is the gospel of God’s love for sinners, the forgiveness of sins. This is the great treasure which has been won by the life and death of Christ and bestowed upon the Church through the means of Grace.
Each family is a microcosm of the Church of Jesus Christ in the locality in which they reside. Each Local “Church” is a microcosm of the entire Church of Jesus Christ which is His bride.
A household of faith should therefore be a place where family members treat one another with kindness, love, and respect as members do in the “Church”. It is a place where each one bears another’s burdens, tolerates their weaknesses, confesses their sins to one another, and forgives one another’s sins again and again, just as Christ does in His Church. Fathers can do this only by the grace of God, knowing that at the cross, Christ has forgiven their fatherly failures, and all failures. Such knowledge will sustain you in your vocation as God’s representative in your family.
Christian fathers, may God continue to give you strength for your vocation and may you be strengthened by His means of Grace to fulfill your vocation through His forgiveness.
In His Glorious Name,