Father to Father with Pastor Andrew Dionne

Screenshot_2013-07-03-18-11-20-1Father to Father is a weekly Q&A column with a godly Christian father.  This week Reforming Fatherhood is interviewing Pastor Andrew Dionne (check out his blog).  If you like John Frame (as I do), you should love Pastor Dionne. He is the man behind the unusually helpful Frame-Poythress website.  

Introduce yourself to my readers.

I’m the pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I was an associate pastor at Christ the Word Church in Toledo, OH for just over seven years and, before that, a pastoral intern at the church formerly known as Church of the Good Shepherd in Bloomington, IN.

How long have you been married?

Sarah and I have been married for 14 years.

What is a breakdown on your children (ages & sex)?

Anna, 10, female

Ezekiel, 8, male

Thomas, 6, male

Esther, 4, female

Magdalene, 2, female

What is your vocation?

Pastor, Trinity Presbyterian Church.

Anything else you want to say?

Ephesians 3:14-15. The first Father has imprinted fatherhood everywhere on His creation. Remember that.

I was sad to hear that you lost a child to miscarriage last November. As you know, I had a stillborn daughter last year. The experience really opened my eyes to the prevalence of miscarriages and stillbirths. Overall miscarriage rates are estimated to be somewhere around 17-22%. That being said, there is very little written to help guide and instruct the fathers of miscarried babies. What counsel do you have for a man who finds himself in a situation similar to yours?

Sometimes bad examples teach better than good examples. So, perhaps I can be some help here. My counsel would be to be a better husband to your wife than I was. The miscarriage occurred right after we came through some extreme difficulties in the church that had me wondering how much longer God would have me pastoring in my current position. So, when the miscarriage came, I was more focused on it being another blow to me rather than a deep sadness to my wife, who had carried the baby in her womb (she miscarried about six weeks into the pregnancy). My wife is generally very “low maintenance,” being hardy stock from Wisconsin, but I have banked on that too many times. If we could go back to that time, I would have spent more time with Sarah helping her through her grief. Also, what we discovered was what a wonderful balm our five children were to us during this time.  Continue reading

Fatherhood as a Pathway to Revival

The Apostle reminds us that at a time of apostasy, at a time of gross godlessness and irreligion, when the very foundations are shaking, one of the most striking manifestations of the lawlessness is “disobedient to parents” (2Tim 3:2)…When will the civil authorities learn and realize that there is an indissoluble connection between godlessness and a lack of morality and decent behavior?…The tragedy is that the civil authorities—irrespective of which political party is in power—all seem to be governed by modern psychology rather than by the Scriptures. They all are convinced that they can deal with unrighteousness directly, in and by itself. But that is impossible. Unrighteousness is always the result of ungodliness, and the only hope of getting back any measure of righteousness into life is to have a revival of godliness. That is precisely what the Apostle is saying to the Ephesians and to ourselves (Eph 6:1-4). The best and the most moral periods in the history of this country, and every other country, have always been those periods that have followed mighty religious awakenings. This problem of lawlessness and lack of discipline, the problem of children and of youth, was just not present fifty years ago as it is today. Why? Because the great tradition of the Evangelical Awakening of the 18th century was still operating. But as that has gone, these terrible moral and social problems are coming back, as the Apostle teaches us, and as they have always come back throughout the running centuries.

Present conditions therefore demand that we should look at the Apostle’s statement. I believe that Christian parents and children, Christian families, have a unique opportunity of witnessing to the world at this present time by just being different. We can be true evangelists by showing this discipline, this law and order, this true relationship between parents and children. We may be the means under God’s hand of bringing many to a knowledge of the Truth. Let us therefore think of it in that way.

From Life in the Spirit in Marriage, Home & Work by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981). You can learn more about him here.

Father to Father with Pastor David Baker


559062_371620882951354_209289871_nFather to Father is a weekly Q&A column with a godly Christian father.  This week Reforming Fatherhood is interviewing missionary, church planter, ex-S.W.A.T. team member, artist, pastor, and all around unique guy, David Baker. He is great brother in the Lord, so please give him your ears! 

Introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is David Baker and I am happy you have found the Reforming Fatherhood blog. Please read it with open hearts and strive to be Godly fathers before God.

How long have you been married?

I’ve been married to Marta for 23 years.

What is a breakdown on your children (ages & sex)?

My son Jonathan is 21, my daughter Rachel is 19, my daughter Sarah is 16 and my son Joseph is 13.

What is your vocation?

I am the pastor of Christ the King Church in Indianapolis, IN.

Anything else you want to say…

We are a church plant of Clearnote Fellowship on the southeast side of Indianapolis. If you or anyone you know is looking for a church please contact me.

You’ve worked as a member on a S.W.A.T. team. What counsel do you have for fathers that work in dangerous vocations?

Prior to being called to the ministry I was a police officer. This was also a calling, in a sense. It was a helpful experience that prepared me for the ministry in several ways. Some of the things it exposed me to were death and suffering. As for the danger, we are all a heartbeat away from eternity whether we are at a desk job or on a S.W.A.T. team. We just don’t know which heartbeat will be our last and how the end will come. The important thing is to be ready. Not in a macho way, but in a God fearing way… Continue reading

Future Men: Sons Like Jesus

I often skip over the introductions of books. Maybe I’m alone in this habit but, if I’m not, be sure you don’t skip over the introduction to Future Men. I found it to be real helpful.

I think there are two ditches that dads tend to find themselves in while attempting to stay on the road of biblical fatherhood. To the left, there is a ditch of faithless fathering. To the right, there is a ditch of directionless fathering. Neither are entirely distinct from each other. Both are deadly. Wilson addresses both of these ditches in his introduction.

A lot of Christian fathers have a system and a set goals for their children. They are the man with the plan. And that is a good thing. A man should have a plan. Fathering can’t be directionless but more on that in a second.

A plan isn’t enough. Executing a plan isn’t even enough. And it doesn’t ultimately matter if it is biblical or not. Why? Because, as Wilson says, boys take a lot faith. Wilson writes, “Faith conquers kingdoms, faith stops the mouth of lions, faith turns armies to flight, and faith brings boys up to a mature and godly masculinity.” So many dads have a plan but no faith. They are fathering in unbelief… Continue reading

Future Men: A Crash Course in Archery

Our boys are under attack. Young males are in the crosshairs of our godless society. Way back in 2000, Christina Hoff Summers wrote an article in The Atlantic entitled, “The War Against Boys.” In a key section, Summers wrote:

Oblivious of all the factual evidence that paternal separation causes aberrant behavior in boys, Carol Gilligan calls for a fundamental change in child rearing that would keep boys in a more sensitive relationship with their feminine side. We need to free young men from a destructive culture of manhood that “impedes their capacity to feel their own and other people’s hurt, to know their own and other’s sadness,” she writes. Since the pathology, as she has diagnosed it, is presumably universal, the cure must be radical. We must change the very nature of childhood: we must find ways to keep boys bonded to their mothers. We must undercut the system of socialization that is so “essential to the perpetuation of patriarchal societies.

Pretty crazy stuff, right? Gilligan doesn’t want our boys to be men. She doesn’t want them to be like their fathers unless their fathers are effeminate. She wants boys to be girls or, worse yet, to be androgynous.

Now, what we must remember about Gilligan is that she is flesh and blood. And what we must remember about flesh and blood is that it isn’t where the real battle rages. Our battle is with spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). In short, the devil is the one gunning for our boys. Gilligan is just one of his many stooges. Continue reading

When a Child Dies

“Independent of everything else, of all other factors, the fatal sickness or accident of a child is simply the occasion for God to do a certain work in him. That work is to take the child home to heaven.

My mother put it this way: “If Jesus were here on earth and told you, ‘I’d like Danny to be with Me; I want to take over his teaching and his training,’ you’d gladly give him up. And He’s done that, by taking Danny to heaven.”

We don’t own our children: we hold them in trust for God, who gave them to us. The eighteen or twenty years of provision and oversight and training that we normally have represent our fulfillment of that trust.

But God may relieve us of that trust at any time, and take our child home to His home.”

The Last Thing We Talk About: Help and Hope for Those Who Grieve, Joseph Bayly p. 65-66

The Proverbial Paddle

“The primitive rigour of the Book of Proverbs is repudiated by modern manners. Not only in domestic training, but even in criminal law, people reject the old harsh methods, and endeavor to substitute milder means of correction. No doubt there was much that was more than rough, even brutal, in the discipline of our forefathers. The relation between father and child was too often lacking in sympathy through the undue exercise of parental authority, and society generally was hardened rather than purged by pitiless forms of punishment. But now the question is whether we are not erring towards the opposite extreme in showing more tenderness to the criminal than to his victim, and failing to let our children feel the need of some painful discipline. We idolize comfort, and we are in danger of thinking pain to be worse than sin. It may be well, therefore, to consider some of the disadvantages of neglecting the old-fashioned methods of chastisement.”  - W.F. Adeney

How to Ruin Your Sons

“If you want to ruin your son, never let him know a hardship. When he is a child carry him in your arms, when he becomes a youth still dandle him, and when he becomes a man still dry-nurse him, and you will succeed in producing an arrant fool. If you want to prevent his being made useful in the world, guard him from every kind of toil. Do not suffer him to struggle. Wipe the sweat from his dainty brow and say, “Dear child, thou shalt never have another task so arduous.” Pity him when he ought to be punished; supply all his wishes, avert all disappointments, prevent all troubles, and you will surely tutor him to be a reprobate and to break your heart. But put him where he must work, expose him to difficulties, purposely throw him into peril, and in this way you shall make him a man, and when he comes to do man’s work and to bear man’s trial, he shall be fit for either.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

Blood Offerings for the Cause

MolechAbortion stops a beating heart. You’ve seen the bumper stickers. And you know that it’s true. But then, so do pro-choice feminists (both of the female and male variety). Because, as we know from Romans 1, the unbeliever suppresses the truth, no matter how evident, in his pursuit of unrighteousness. But some unbelievers are more honest than others. Take a fairly recent article by a woman named Antonia Senior’s in The Times [London] entitled, “Yes, Abortion is Killing. But It’s the Lesser Evil.”

Senior admits that a fetus at any stage is a child and, “any other conclusion is a convenient lie that we on the pro-choice side of the debate tell ourselves to make us feel better about the action of taking a life.” But does this confession make her repudiate the murder of children? No. She insists that “reproduction rights” (i.e. abortion) are central to the feminist cause and “if you are willing to die for a cause, you must be prepared to kill for it, too.” In other words, sure, abortion is murder. But somebody has to die in the glorious name of feminism.

Don’t be shocked by this. . To be a feminist, you must despise fatherhood (patriarchy) and if you’re going to despise fathers, you must despise the family. And if you’re going to despise the family, you must despise childbearing. For example, in The Dialectic of Sex, radical feminist Shulamith Firestone tells us how we can free ourselves from the patriarchy.

The freeing of women from tyranny of their reproductive biology by every means available, and the diffusion of the childbearing and childrearing role to the society as a whole, men as well as women.

That is feminism in all its cruelty. Forget the liberation of women. Feminism is about rejecting the fatherhood of God. And while belivers in the true gospel cry out, “Abba, Father” (Rom 8:15), believers in this false gospel climb to a summit of their own success, upon a mountaintop of their own murdered children.

Fathers who Coach

I’m new to Steve Farrar’s ministry and writings. I stumbled across one of his books while researching fatherhood in Puritan New England. The few chapters I read were mostly good.

One chapter that I found particularly helpful was entitled, “Plymouth Rock Coaching Clinic.” Farrar argues, “The Puritans were great coaches. They knew how to teach. And they knew how to motivate.”  Now, I hate his use of the word “coach” here. I’d prefer instruct, train, or father. Fathering defines coaching, not the other way around. Nonetheless, I agree with the underlying point of what he is saying.

Farrar then goes on to state what too many us already know to be true:

“It’s tough to be a good father if you didn’t have a good father. Your ability to father is greatly affected by how you were fathered. If biblical fatherhood was modeled for you, you’ve got a tremendous head start.”

Ain’t that the truth? Continue reading