Points to Ponder: Fatherless Churches
by Pastor Dennis Whitmore
In Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth he wrote:
“... as my beloved children I warn you. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me.”
(I Corinthians 4:14b-16)
When the Apostle Paul refers to himself as their “father”, he is reminding them that he personally introduced them to the gospel and led them to salvation in Jesus Christ.
In churches today, there are thousands of people who teach and lead various classes. There are preachers and pastors who proclaim the message from the pulpit, but how many of them are “FATHERS”? How many have personally taken an interest in the soul of another individual and led him/her to Jesus Christ? How many, for all their Bible study and knowledge have not even tried to share their faith with another? It’s a thought that convicts me as well. I enjoy teaching, but I need to be a better “father.”
Among the letters to the seven churches (Revelation 2:1 - 3:22), the Lord chastises the church in Ephesus for losing her “first love.” He commends their hard work and diligence, and that they have done well at hating evil by identifying it and purging it from their midst. But, they left their first love - Jesus Christ. Today, many Christians are known more for what they’re against and seldom for the One whom they represent. There is a lot of teaching and some excellent materials out there. There is value in debate and disagreement. But where are the “fathers” of the Church?
Sunday schools in some churches are little more than social gatherings, with little substantive study going on. If a new believer, or perhaps a curious nonbeliever (as I once had been), is present, would anyone notice? Would anyone take the initiative to “parent” that person? Of course there are some Fathers, and Mothers, in the churches. (That’s how I came to the Lord.) But we need more.
Outside the church are those who put a lot of time and effort critiquing and criticizing those on the inside. Like the Ephesian Christians they are experts on who’s wrong and what’s wrong with them, but the love of Jesus is hard to find in their manner or in their words. Again, you can find ten thousand instructors, but not many “fathers.” Being right is good; being righteous is better.
I am thankful for the several fathers and mothers I have had in the church. I am in church today largely because they came out of the church and dared to adopt me, lead me - and most of all - love me into it. And through them I know Him and am still growing in the knowledge of the One who continues to be my first love.
Please, dear Christian friends, “adopt” someone. Don’t just be a spectator. Don’t just be an instructor. Be a Father. Be a Mother. By your love and example, introduce someone to the One who longs to be their new “First Love.”
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Dennis Whitmore