Virtual Voices

Review: Father Hunger

Books

"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," God the Father declares in Matthew 3. And this declaration, says Doug Wilson, is the most perfect father-and-son moment in history.

Wilson has been writing excellent books about fatherhood and manliness for decades. His Father Hunger (Thomas Nelson, 2012), released just in time for Father's Day, presents more of the good stuff.

Fathers are supposed to provide and protect. They are to nourish and cultivate. Their activities give their children their first image of God, and the children of an absent earthly father easily grow into atheists, homosexuals, and feminists. But Wilson's work is far more than a culture war rant. It is a well-developed theology of fatherhood, with extended explanations and refutations of the faulty theology behind abortion, foul language, and the rest of the sins evangelicals rightly condemn. Plus, Wilson's range of reference and punchy one-liners make his teaching highly memorable.

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So how can we feed our kids and alleviate their father hunger? Start with gratitude, says Wilson. Rejoice in what God has given you. And then, take responsibility. The mere assertion of authority is doomed to fail. But authority will flow to those fathers who take responsibility before God for their families.

The book ends with comfort for those who have already failed, for those who are failing, and for those who are doing well. We don't earn salvation for ourselves or our children by being good fathers. Just as in the rest of the Christian life, being a father is not about merit. Wilson reminds readers that "God gives our children to us"-graciously. The reward for being a good father is not necessarily good children. But we can be sure that God will reward-and those who are working for His reward are content with whatever He chooses to give, for in us, our Father is well-pleased.

Caleb Nelson
Caleb Nelson

Caleb, a graduate of Patrick Henry College, is a Presbyterian rancher from Northern Colorado who loves the quirky, the eccentric, and the true.

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