This coming Father’s Day, as you take time to reflect on the blessings of God’s gracious design for fatherhood, take a moment to consider the call of the church and parents to raise the next generation of fathers. What will we need to do in order to sufficiently prepare these young boys and men to mature toward a proper understanding of biblical manhood?
Several years ago, Dr. Albert Mohler did a two-part series asking the question: When does a boy become a man? Here is one of his answers regarding preparing our sons to have a personal maturity sufficient to be a responsible husband and father:
Christians often speak of raising boys to be men. In the face of today’s cultural onslaught, this is an important goal. However, it is just not enough. Biblical manhood is always defined in terms of functions, roles, and responsibilities. True masculinity is not a matter of exhibiting supposedly masculine characteristics devoid of the context of responsibility. In the Bible, a man is called to fulfill his role as husband and father. Unless granted the gift of celibacy for gospel service, the Christian boy is to aim for marriage and fatherhood. This is assuredly a counter-cultural assertion, but the role of husband and father is central to manhood. Boys must be raised to see themselves as future husbands and fathers. They must be taught what to look for in a godly wife and how to fulfill all of the responsibilities that Scripture invests in a husband and father. Marriage is unparalleled in its effect on men, as it channels their energies and directs their responsibilities to the devoted covenant of marriage and the grace-filled civilization of the family. Boys must be taught what it means to be a husband, how to respect and honor marriage, and how to earn the respect and confidence of a wife. Similarly, boys must be taught about the responsibilities of fatherhood. Christians must reverse generations of inattention by speaking directly and clearly to boys about their future responsibilities, including the care, training, education, protection, and discipline of children. They must aspire to be the kind of man a Christian woman would gladly marry and children will trust, respect, and obey.
Here is a summary of his 10 marks of manhood that we should strive toward in raising our sons:
- Spiritual maturity sufficient to lead a wife and children.
- Personal maturity sufficient to be a responsible husband and father.
- Economic maturity sufficient to hold an adult job and handle money.
- Physical maturity sufficient to work and protect a family.
- Sexual maturity sufficient to marry and fulfill God’s purposes.
- Moral maturity sufficient to lead as an example of righteousness.
- Ethical maturity sufficient to make responsible decisions.
- Worldview maturity sufficient to understand what is really important.
- Relational maturity sufficient to understand and respect others.
- Social maturity sufficient to make a contribution to society.
- Verbal maturity sufficient to communicate and articulate as a man.
- Character maturity sufficient to demonstrate courage under fire.
- Biblical maturity sufficient to lead at some level in the church.
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