Austere Fathers

Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from the Scriptures


I’m not a big Doug Wilson fan, but when something is said right, its said right, and credit is due.

While he did not preface his remarks in this entry yesterday on his Blog & Mablog with the following text, it is appropriate nonetheless.

You can read the original  HERE

From: Col 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

As we come to worship the Lord this morning, I want to deliver a particular exhortation to a particular part of our congregation. I want to speak to fathers about the dangers of austerity.

Austere fathers are often attracted to certain elements of the Reformed faith, and by emphasizing that faith partially, they often stumble their children, not to mention others who see what is happening. An austere father is quick to criticize and find fault. He is slow to praise, slow to affirm, slow to encourage. He is quick to see the systematic coherence of the great doctrines of the Reformed faith, but through his treatment of his own children, he brings the faith he loves to a place where it is easy for outsiders to misrepresent and slander it.

Our Father in heaven knows our frame; He knows that we are but dust. And behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God. And so how is it that fathers who delight in the doctrines of our particular redemption fail to exhibit that same kind of particular love, tenderness, kindness, and compassion upon their own children? What is this but a functional denial of those glorious truths?

Fathers, your temper is a doctrine of God. Is it true doctrine for your children? Your critical fault-finding is a doctrine of God. Is it true doctrine? Your reluctance to praise, and your miserly spirit with regard to encouragement is a doctrine of God. Is it a true doctrine? Your coldness and distance is a doctrine of God. Is it the truth?

You may think that your austerity is really a love for godly discipline. But test that conviction by this means: How are you receiving the discipline of these words? Do you love discipline as much when it comes to you as when you bring it to your children? If not, then prepare your hearts for worship now by confessing that sin. God will receive and forgive you completely–precisely because He is not like your portraits of Him. You may therefore receive His kindness with a glad heart.

Do not despair, just come.


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