A Study for Father's Day
Consider what the Bible says about the Persons of the God head. Imagine a planning meeting among the Three Persons before creation took place. First, nothing would be added to the fullness and completeness that is inherent in the Three Persons by them bringing into existence a created, separate universe. Should they create us and our universe in the first place?
But the self-giving love already existing between the Three ought (perhaps) to be enjoyed by creatures made very much like God?
Suppose the crated people God wished to share with were enemies, opposed to everything their Creator said or did?
Can a broken universe be fixed? Is it worth fixing? Surely, the Three Persons may have conjectured, "We will be creating a host of problems, especially if man is created to be very much like God?" Thinking seriously about these roots questions ought to shake us up to the core, We don't own the universe! We are house guests here! The Creator/Owner is following His own plan and schedule as if we didn't exist.
Fast Forward: We are here, we were created--not as a race of puppets, not as nest of clones, not avatars. We must have been created with freedom to chose God or "Other?" The other choice for created beings is of course to choose "not God." Sooner or later those created beings (us) will choose to act in independence on the only true Source.
Here the Second Person volunteers to step in and restore! Revelation 13:8 says Jesus is "The Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world."
The Self Emptying of God the Son when He became a Man
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love,
In the world it is referred to as "father hunger," an empty place in the hearts of many men who never experienced effective fathering. For them there was no man to pour into them those things that a boy needs; no father to guide them in manliness, no man to model manhood for them, to teach them how to relate to women, to affirm their own manhood. At the least such men are left with an uncertainty as to how they should live their lives as men. At worst, they lead their lives in destructive ways.
In ex-gay ministry, the absence of a father relationship has been seen for years as a central factor in the development of male homosexuality. This is at the heart of Elizabeth Moberly's teaching (Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic). A boy fails to connect wit his father and therefore doesn't take into himself those things that are an integral part of manhood: a focus on the physical world, a desire to compete and prevail, wanting to feel strong, and a propensity to lead.
Not having received a kernel of these manly qualities from his father, he goes out into the world of boys and finds he is lacking. He doesn't measure up. Feeling rejected and uncomfortable, he withdraws from the world of boys and men, the arena in which manhood is developed.
With women who deal with homosexuality, the dynamics are quite different, but the negative impact of fatherlessness is still there. Many of them were hurt by men, sometimes their fathers, often not, but defensively they cut themselves off from men-including their fathers.
Cut off from their fathers, they were unable to see men as offering security. More likely, they saw them as a threat. Also, where the father relationship was broken, the woman never felt affirmed in her womanhood by her father. She missed out on an essential part of growing to joyfully accept her femininity. Unable to see the beautiful complementarity between men and women, she grew up with a distorted view of both.
So we have vast numbers of men and women, some with same-sex attractions, some not, seriously impaired by a lack of a father relationship. Many today are seeking a father. We find this especially among same-sex-attracted men, a craving for a father, a man from whom they can receive the love, affirmation and direction that they didn't receive from their natural fathers.
One of the common theories guiding therapy for same-sex attracted men has been that they need to be re-fathered. Many men, feeling this father hunger, have leapt at this solution. Although this makes sense in theory, few men ever seem to find such a "father." I see a couple of reasons for this.
To be a "father" to another person is an enormous task. Few men have the time or the inclination for this kind of involvement in the life of another person who is not a part of their family. The needy one, like a little boy, often demands a father who will be his all-in-all. This dad must offer security, guidance, comfort, authority, direction, all of the things a small child needs. It is a rare man who can fill such a role. Furthermore, as adults, to look to a man to be all of this is to risk drifting into idolatry. Men who seek such a relationship are likely setting themselves up for disappointment.
In our ministry I have had a number of men and women seek to put me in such a father role. Almost always, I failed them. I could not be to them what a father is to a little child. Their emotional needs placed me in one position, and their rational minds saw me in another. Typically, they could not stand to see my flaws and weaknesses. Their little child wanted a dad who was perfect; their adult saw how imperfect I was. Often this led to anger on their part. Another man, just like their father, had let them down.
In any discussion of this subject, surely the thought of God the Father is going to come to mind. Isn't He the one to fulfill this role in our lives, even as adults? It is certainly true that He has revealed Himself as Father, and Scripture often refers to us as His sons and daughters. But there seems to be one problem here. God's normal way of bringing us to know Him as Father, was through our first experiencing an earthly father. The metaphor of "Father" doesn't work if we don't really know what a father is. Sometimes God works around this, but many times He does not. Although we may know Jesus in a deep personal way, not having fully experienced a father, we find ourselves unable to see God as Father.
I propose that a remedy to this problem of fatherlessness can be found in an "older brother." In this context, an older brother is a Christian man - who might be older or younger - who can fill us in some of those places left by our lack of fathers. Before I describe how this can work, let me share with you how several "older brothers" played an important role in my life.
When I was very young I was clearly on the road to effeminacy. I can remember at about age 6 or 7 wanting to be a ballerina. My idols were glamorous women. But I had one friend, Bill, who presented another world to me. Bill was a neighbor two years older than I. He was extremely strong and quite daring, willing to do any of the wild and crazy things that young boys admire. And Bill liked me; he was my friend. Bill showed me what manhood was and I admired what I saw, and through his acceptance of me, I gained a faint hope for my own manhood. The relationship wasn't enough to keep me from homosexuality, but I believe it got me off the track into extreme effeminacy.
Until I was in my early 20s, Bill was the older brother whose friendship, affirmation and role modeling had an important positive impact on my life. When we were in our forties, after Bill had spent years as an alcoholic, many of them on skid row, our roles changed. I had the privilege of leading him to the Lord and his life was radically changed. Until his death early this year I was an older brother to Bill.
Bob was an older brother who came along much later. In my early years of running Regeneration - as a very insecure ministry leader - Bob came alongside of me as a great friend and booster. He became President of the Regeneration Board and was my accountability partner for a number of years. Bob had confidence in me and knew how to encourage. He has an outgoing, robust, confident kind of manhood that was a model for me. And he was my friend. Bob's older brother role in my life was to help me grow in self-confidence and in my acceptance of my own manhood.
Today, my homosexuality is a thing of the distant past, and I am comfortable with my manhood. However, I find that I can still be helped and blessed by an older brother. Whether this comes from a residual father hunger that has never fully left me, or it is a part of all men, I really don't know. But I know that I still grow from my relationships with older brothers. I recently had a wonderful experience that illustrated this.
It was my first Sunday in church after my diagnosis of having prostate cancer. At the end of the service I went forward for healing prayer. As an elder was praying a beautiful prayer for me, my friend David came up and put his arm around me. As he did, I broke down. I am quite certain that it was not my fear of the cancer that brought the tears; it was the love of my brother. "Older brother" David is actually some years younger than I. He is another strong man, one who is competitive in the world and zealous in the things of the Lord. David and I have had a relationship of being older brothers to each other as the circumstances required. For me, David has been an older brother in offering encouragement and counsel and in offering open expressions of brotherly love.
As I look at these men and many others I have known, I see two primary elements that qualify a man to be an older brother.
First, he must be manly. He must have in him a solid core of manhood that makes his actions--and his words of encouragement, acceptance and affirmation ring with masculine authority. This is a difficult thing to describe - I took a couple of chapters to do it in my book - but it is his unquestioned manhood that makes us glad to receive what he has to offer, even if it is words of admonition or correction.
Second, he must like us. We can't be his "project." There needs to be a genuine friendship between you and him. You like him and he likes you. His liking to be with you and his manliness will combine to provide strong affirmation even when no words of affirmation are spoken.
Contrast this with the search that many strugglers have sought to find a "daddy." Their desire is for someone who will be there for them all the time. For men, pursuing a daddy has a tendency to cast them perpetually in a little-boy role. So many of our men talk of feeling like little boys in the company of men, not what they want or need.
In a brother relationship, on the other hand, there is mutuality. He is there for us in some circumstances and we are there for him in others, but he has his own life apart from us. Recognizing this and allowing for it, we avoid the possessiveness that can easily shipwreck a friendship.
There can be no sexual tension in the relationship. Although the older brother is almost always going to be attractive in some way - or he isn't someone we would want to be friends with - that attraction must not be sexualized. Fortunately, we find that most of our men discover that when they get to know a man well, sexual attraction usually fades from the picture.
Thus far, I have addressed older brothers only for men. I don't have the personal experience to back it up, but I believe that an older brother can play an important role in the life of a woman from a lesbian background. When men have been a threat or a source of pain in a woman's past, a first step in moving towards an openness to and appreciation for manhood can come from a relationship with an older brother. Taking place in the Christian community, with both parties openly acknowledging the nature of the relationship, and certainly with the wife's consent if there is one, this could provide a safe and healing experience for the woman. Where do we find older brothers? An active life in the church and in the world is most apt to uncover them. There is a good chance, however, that there already are men in your life who can play this role. Sometimes it only requires that you open your eyes to relationships that you already have with men. Just as someone can be starving because he doesn't recognize that the "brick" lying nearby is really a loaf of bread, often we are in relationships that can bless us in ways that we never imagined. I am not saying, take a friend and make him into an older brother. I am saying that he may already be in that role, but you need to be conscious of it, to savor it, and to ask God to let that relationship fill in some the empty places in you. Then, as you expect it, it may happen. (December, 2000)
Regeneration News is published monthly by Regeneration, Inc., a nonprofit tax exempt Christian ministry associated with Exodus International - North America. We seek to bring God's healing to homosexuals and to help the Body of Christ in reaching out to those caught in homosexuality. Permission is granted for churches and ministries to photocopy or reprint for noncommercial purposes any article from this newsletter. Abridgments or modifications of articles do require prior approval by Regeneration. Regeneration News is sent without charge to those who request it. Our continued operation is entirely dependent on contributions, and we appreciate any financial help from our subscribers. For further information write: Regeneration, P.O. Box 9830, Baltimore, MD 21284-9830.
From their web site:
"Christ came to redeem our desires, not to extinguish them. In union with Him, we can experience freedom from sin and freedom to love. Our aim is to become people who want what God wants.
Regeneration helps those seeking wholeness in the areas of intimacy, identity, and desire by inviting them into community marked by the truth and grace of Jesus. Very often, relational, sexual, and emotional struggles become more difficult to work through because of experiences that have subtly shaped our sense of identity and hinder healthy intimacy with God and others.
God created relationships, sex and sexuality to be good and powerful parts of our lives. But just as these can bring life and love, used wrongly they can also bring great pain, confusion, and destruction. People participating in Regeneration are able to rely on Jesus as, together, we grow closer to Him who brings deep restoration and emotional and spiritual belonging.
The staff and leaders of Regeneration understand the pain and confusion of struggling with sexual sin, relational brokenness, and emotional unhealthiness. We provide an environment of support and encouragement for those who want to change.
We believe growth occurs as we deepen our intimacy with God, experience healing of past wounds, cultivate healthy relationships, and learn to walk in our true identity in Christ."
Regeneration works alongside the local church to provide a Christ-centered ministry that is compassionate and consistent with Scripture and historic Christian teaching." --Added March 2, 2019.
To the leader. Of David. A Psalm. A Song.
1 Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
let those who hate him flee before him.
2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
as wax melts before the fire,
let the wicked perish before God.
3 But let the righteous be joyful;
let them exult before God;
let them be jubilant with joy.
4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds—
his name is the Lord—
be exultant before him.
5 Father of orphans and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
6 God gives the desolate a home to live in;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious live in a parched land.
7 O God, when you went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness,
8 the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain
at the presence of God, the God of Sinai,
at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
9 Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad;
you restored your heritage when it languished;
10 your flock found a dwelling in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.
11 The Lord gives the command;
great is the company of those who bore the tidings:
12 ‘The kings of the armies, they flee, they flee!’
The women at home divide the spoil,
13 though they stay among the sheepfolds—
the wings of a dove covered with silver,
its pinions with green gold.
14 When the Almighty scattered kings there,
snow fell on Zalmon.
15 O mighty mountain, mountain of Bashan;
O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan!
16 Why do you look with envy, O many-peaked mountain,
at the mount that God desired for his abode,
where the Lord will reside for ever?
17 With mighty chariotry, twice ten thousand,
thousands upon thousands,
the Lord came from Sinai into the holy place.
18 You ascended the high mount,
leading captives in your train
and receiving gifts from people,
even from those who rebel against the Lord God’s abiding there.
19 Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation.
20 Our God is a God of salvation,
and to God, the Lord, belongs escape from death.
21 But God will shatter the heads of his enemies,
the hairy crown of those who walk in their guilty ways.
22 The Lord said,
‘I will bring them back from Bashan,
I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,
23 so that you may bathe your feet in blood,
so that the tongues of your dogs may have their share from the foe.’
24 Your solemn processions are seen, O God,
the processions of my God, my King, into the sanctuary—
25 the singers in front, the musicians last,
between them girls playing tambourines:
26 ‘Bless God in the great congregation,
the Lord, O you who are of Israel’s fountain!’
27 There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead,
the princes of Judah in a body,
the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.
28 Summon your might, O God;
show your strength, O God, as you have done for us before.
29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem
kings bear gifts to you.
30 Rebuke the wild animals that live among the reeds,
the herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples.
Trample under foot those who lust after tribute;
scatter the peoples who delight in war.
31 Let bronze be brought from Egypt;
let Ethiopia hasten to stretch out its hands to God.
32 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth;
sing praises to the Lord,
33 O rider in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
listen, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
34 Ascribe power to God,
whose majesty is over Israel;
and whose power is in the skies.
35 Awesome is God in his sanctuary,
the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people.
Everyone who has given himself to Jesus as Lord has been taken out of Adam and put into Christ --both by Adoption and by Rebirth.
Everything Jesus did while here with us on the planet was done by His total dependence on the Father. Never once did He exercise His inherent Deity. He said so.
We, in turn, are asked not to do anything in the self-energy we inherited from Adam but to invite Jesus to take over and live His endless life through us. We gain our unique individual identity in this process! Paradoxically, by losing ourselves in following Jesus subject to His authority, and accountable to our fellow travelers. "There is no limit to what God will do through the man, woman, boy or girl, who does not care who gets the credit." (Ray Stedman).
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. ask anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:7-12)
He who was born in a sheep stall and grew up as a very ordinary man among men was well aware of who He was, where He came from, and where He'd return to after His monumental work down here was finished. His great high priestly prayer hints at the splendor of the Father's house and His goal to take us there. God, the eternal Father can be glimpsed at several places in the Bible. Daniel caught a glimpse.
Jesus is now building a new human family to replace the old. (Ephesians 3:15). God is also calling out a Bride for His Son and has the healing of the whole planet in His master plan.
Considering the ethnic diversity and variety of the 100 plus nations now living on the planet, creating a new human family is a tall order! As far as God, it's a done deal. This will make no sense if you are Bible illiterate.
Our unbelief does not hinder God at all, we merely run the risk of being left out or left behind! That's a fate worse than death.
While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)
God hates hypocrisy. If Jesus is not the center of your lives, fix that now. Sorry No Sex if you aren't married.
Note that the New Testament asks us to come home to God the Father through Jesus the Son.
The Fathers Papers
My Father's House
No Dads These Days
Behold the Messiah
Arrested Emotional Development
God our Father
The First Begotten
The Central Glory
The Eightfold Way to Knowing God
God is Way More Personal than you Think
A Realistic Approach to Attractions (Alan Medinger)
Gordon Dalbey: The Journey of Manhood
The Exchanged Life
Christ in You
Circumcision | Purity of Heart | Circumcision III
Jesus: Our Great High Priest
The Pattern Prayer (Ray Stedman)
Notes by Lambert Dolphin
Email is Welcome: Lambert
Lambert Dolphin's Place (Home Page)
Original Web Site (1995)
Come Ye Thankful People, Come (Charles Wesley)
Come Thou Almighty King
O Come, O Come Immanuel
A Glorious Church
I Sing the Mighty Power of God
Jesus, The Light of the World
April 7, 2022. May 10, 2022. June 18, 2022.