As dads and husbands we cannot retrieve lost time, but if we are willing to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and repent of any complacency (or outright laziness) we have had, He is faithful and just to cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 Peter 5:6, 1 John 1:9). His mercies are new every morning, and we can make a change starting right now. Let’s encourage men to open their Bibles, read, think, pray, rejoice, worship, and share what they’ve learned with their families.
We live in a very complicated and busy modern world. Between church, work, home life, social media, vacations, keeping up with long-distance relationships with friends and family, extracurricular activities for our children, possible ministry, home and car maintenance (am I forgetting anything?), we also have the immense task of actually raising our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. As husbands and fathers, we also have the task of shepherding our families, including our wives.
Unfortunately, it seems that more men place those responsibilities down on the list next to home and car maintenance (a reminder that you still haven’t fixed that thing yet). We say to ourselves, “It’s not a dire issue right now, so I will get around to it eventually”. Life becomes busy, day in and day out, week by week, 6 months come and go, and the next thing you know, years have passed – you still haven’t fixed your back porch steps, and you never taught your college-bound son or daughter the Word of God.
During that time questions have gone unanswered, and they have looked to secular, or even heretical, resources for answers. Even your wife is now questioning what you once believed. Sin has slipped in through the back door and ravaged your home. How could this happen? You go to church, attend Sunday school, your children went to children’s church, but it was never brought home. I am willing to say that this situation is far more common than we believe and the solution, I believe, is a return of the Dad theologian.
First, what is theology? Theology is merely the study of God. It is not reserved only for academics or pastors, but for every Christian, and that includes you and me. You cannot love and serve someone you do not know. So in some sense, even with a basic knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has done, you are a theologian. As the late Dr. R.C. Sproul said, “The issue for Christians is not whether we are going to be theologians, but whether we are going to be good theologians or bad ones.”
Romans 12:1-3 exhorts us to not be conformed to the ways of the world, but transformed by the renewal of our minds, thus giving us sound thinking. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.
Christianity is often described as a “heart religion,” but make no mistake about it, it’s a thinking religion too. We seem to separate the mind from the heart when they are linked together. The mind is to control the heart, which by nature is deceitful and wicked (Jer. 17:9). What we know and think about God will affect the way we live. So before we attempt to save the sinking ship of the family, we must begin with sound thinking. We must renew our minds with the only source of unadulterated and pure truth, the Word of God.
Return of the Dad Theologian
So what do I mean by, “Dad Theologian”? To me, the name “father” feels too formal and detached from the family. I realize this is part of my upbringing, but each culture has its own endearments for the male head of house. So my point in using the word “Dad” is to show that this is not a detached male figure in the house or church, but a man who is involved, intentional, engaged, and loving. He is a man who both plays and works with his children. He is actively teaching and disciplining his children, and he is proactively loving and shepherding his wife.
The “theologian” part of the phrase refers to a dad who spends much time in prayer and the word of God.