Fatherhood: One Reason the Holy Trinity Matters

Kempele Old Church

Kempele Old Church Trinity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Holy Trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, operating in complete unity of will and purpose (though 3 distinct, divine persons)–is unique to Christian theology. The Trinity belongs to no other religion, and, thus, no other religion can explain the complexities of the universe.  The universe is filled with individual, particular realities which must also exist as parts of collective, universal realities at the same time. This systemic design in the universe is present because the God who designed the universe exists in Trinitarian unity.


Talk of the Trinity is notoriously complex and can be abstract. So, many Christians avoid paying attention to such theological diatribe. But the Trinity is very important in everyday affairs–such as how a family ought to function.  This past year, I published a lengthy article in the Journal of Family Ministry on the practical way the Trinity should shape the functioning of our families–particularly fatherhood. Here is a quote from the article so you can see what I mean:


We have a great deal of instruction from the Lord concerning fatherhood, but, frankly, we need more than instruction. After all, even instruction manuals are illustrated. While we are indeed thankful for any directions we receive concerning child rearing, we could use more help. We need a model of fatherhood. We need to see fatherhood in action.

Reading instructions is always made easier by seeing a living example. How much better would it be to have a living example of fatherhood? Thanks be to God, we have such an example! We have the perfect example to learn from now that we have become children of God. Now that the Siprit has helped us, we can cry out, “Abba, Father,” to the only perfect father knowable on the earth…

The thought of calling God “Father” is almost unthinkable to many people, including Muslims. Born into the upper class of the Muslim society in Pakistan, Bilquis Sheikh later converted to Christ. In her testimony concerning her conversion, Bilquis Sheikh remembers how shocking it was when a certain Dr. Santiago first suggested that she address God as Father:

“Talk to him as if he were my Father! The thought shook my soul in the peculiar way truth has of being at once startling and comforting” (1). You can read the remainder of Bilquis’s testimony in the book I Dared to Call him Father.


You can read the rest of this article here, at the Family Ministry Today website.



Fatherhood and Football

I am just finishing up an article on fatherhood which will be featured in the newly released Journal of Family Ministry.  Obviously, the subject of fatherhood is on my mind. So, it is no coincidence that I picked up on the importance of fatherhood from this ESPN story about Jadeveon Clowney, the nation’s #1 high school football recruit.

In the story, Jadeveon speaks about the incredible pressure which comes from an instant entourage of admiring fans hoping to lure you to their schools.  What struck me in the article, however, is not how quickly he rose from a senior in high school to a demigod, rather, what struck me is what Jadeveon had to say about his dad.

Jadeveon’s dad spent 12 years in prison for armed robbery.  Much of the time which Jadeveon has spent been growing up on the gridiron and learning to play high caliber football, his dad has spent behind iron bars in a penitentiary.  Yet, amidst all the accolades, amidst all the fanfare, the hoopla, the adoration, and the famous offers of big-time football—Jadeveon has one fixed goal on his mind.  He wants to please his dad.

As he says of his father,

“He keeps telling me, “Just stay out of trouble.” That’s motivated me a lot. I wanna make him proud.”

Wow!  The kid lets Nick Saban’s calls go to voicemail, while he desperately seeks the approval of his dad.  Fathers, don’t underestimate your sons.  Even when you have been less than perfect as a father, you are still in the role God has assigned as the most significant earthly role in the life of your son.  You are his father.  He gets his identity from you, and he wants you to be proud.

I suspect that Jadeveon’s dad is already exploding with pride, regardless of whether or not his son calls Nick Saban back.