Tolle Lege: Reforming Marriage

Reforming MarriageReadability: 1

Length: 144 pp

Author: Douglas Wilson

There are few authors I enjoy more than Douglas Wilson. There is no subject I enjoy reading Douglas on more than family. Here is a smattering of why that I hope will intrigue.

God is the one who called our first parents by the collective name Adam. Now Adam is also a generic term for man or mankind. This shows clearly the biblical practice of including women under such a description. Our English use of the generic man and mankind follows this biblical example exactly. Far from being insulting to women, as feminists want to maintain, it reflects a biblical pattern of thought. The feminist reaction to this, and their rejection of taking a new last name (in order to keep their father’s name!), is not just a small bit of modern silliness. It is a fundamental rebellion against God. So when our Susan Miller becomes Mrs. Robert Carter it is not just “something we do.” It is covenant security.

[Commenting on Ephesians 5:23 where Paul says, “the husband is the head of the wife.”] Because the husband is the head of the wife, he finds himself in a position of inescapable leadership. He cannot successfully refuse to lead. If he attempts to abdicate in some way, he may, through his rebellion, lead poorly. But no matter what he does, or where he goes, he does so as the head of his wife. This is how God designed marriage. He has created us as male and female in such a way as to ensure that men will always be dominant in marriage. If the husband is godly, then that dominance will not be harsh; it will be characterized by the same self-sacrificial love demonstrated by our Lord—Dominus—at the cross. If a husband tries to run away from his headship, that abdication will dominate the home. If he catches a plane to the other side of the country, and stays there, he will dominate in and by his absence. How many children have grown up in a home dominated by the empty chair at the table? If the marriage is one in which the wife ‘wears the pants,’ the wimpiness of the husband is the most obvious thing about the marriage, creating a miserable marriage and home. His abdication dominates.

[A] husband can never stop talking about Christ and church. If he is obedient to God, he is preaching the truth; if he does not love his wife, he is speaking apostasy and lies—but he is always talking.

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Tolle Lege: Father Hunger

Readability: 2

Length: 207 pp

Author: Douglas Wilson 

Father famine is upon us. The hunger many suffer from is beyond the need for an after-school snack. If there were a camera that could capture the souls, a moving commercial could be made picturing gaunt souls.

Better to starve of food than of fathers. When famine strikes a land its peoples can relocate. Father famine though not only also causes a loss of food, with the loss following you wherever you go, but is also the scourge of a host of societal evils. Even if you are father fed, you cannot ignore this famine around you, it will impact you indirectly.

Father Hunger was my favorite book read in 2012. It was satisfying not simply because the need for such thinking is urgent, but because it is so well prepared. This isn’t a case of going to the grocery store hungry. This is a richly nutritious and exquisite feast.

All this is to say that fatherhood has a point, and that the point goes far beyond the services provided by a stud farm or a fertilization clinic. Fatherhood has a point that extends far beyond the moment of begetting. That point extends into everything, and if we are baffled by what the point might be, wisdom might dictate that we should read the manual—the Scriptures God gave to us. But modernists want to keep that intricate device we call fathers and, when stumped, consult a different manual entirely. This is akin to troubleshooting problems with your Apple laptop by consulting the Chilton manual for a ’72 Ford pickup truck.

Trying to fix society without addressing the central issues of worship is futile in the extreme. A comparable exercise would be somebody who tried to establish a new hive of bees without organizing the new colony around a queen bee. It is not possible to go out into a fresh meadow and organize the bees there by waving your arms. The queen is essential. In the same way, worship is an essential principle in establishing any human culture. Everything else is just waving your arms in a meadow.

Feminism is therefore, at its root, a Trinitarian heresy. God the Son is subordinate to God the Father, but subordination is not inequality of essence. Jesus Christ, the one who submitted and obeyed, was fully and completely God.

Christian men who are taught the ways of Christian masculinity are being taught to imitate Jesus Christ. But when Jesus taught us masculinity, He did this by submitting Himself to the point of death. Biblical authority knows how to bleed for others. So masculinity is the glad assumption of sacrificial responsibility, and this is what Jesus established for us.