Unlike in physics and chemistry, very few of the findings in the social sciences can be characterized as incontrovertible.
But there’s one major exception: the impact of fatherlessness on American children.
To name but a few grim examples, 63 percent of teen suicides are from fatherless homes; 90 percent of homeless children and runaways are from fatherless homes; and 71 percent of all high school dropouts are from fatherless homes.
And there’s a lot more depressing data where these numbers came from.
That’s why Prison Fellowship Ministries and the Colson Center are happy to assist in the efforts of an important new initiative called “Epic Fatherhood.”
Epic Fatherhood is the brainchild of the Fatherhood CoMission, a “group of ministry and business leaders working together to champion fatherhood both inside and outside the Church through clear, compelling evidence of God's design for dads as noble difference makers in their families and the world.”
If anything was ever easier said than done, it’s championing fatherhood in today’s culture. Not because there’s any lack of “compelling evidence” that committed fathers can be “noble difference makers” -- the depressing social science data I cited earlier makes it clear what their absence can lead to.
The problem is that fatherhood has been valued almost entirely in economic terms. People think that if kids in single-parent homes suffer, it’s because they miss their dad’s paycheck, not his role as a moral and spiritual authority and exemplar.
And that was before the current movement to redefine marriage! We’ve almost lost the biblical idea of human fatherhood as an icon of God’s fatherhood and that this image-bearing lies at the heart of what it means to be a man.
By way of correction and restoration, Epic Fatherhood is sponsoring a Father’s Day initiative which includes sermons, apps, and even a church movie night, featuring a choice of three movies about fatherhood.
The goal is for churches to stand beside and honor the godly fathers in their congregations, not just on Father’s Day but throughout the year.
Prison Fellowship Ministries’ partnerhood in Epic Fatherhood is motivated, in large measure, by the well-documented connection between family structure and crime. This connection was summed up by the late James Q. Wilson in Commentary magazine twenty years ago.
After noting that “six percent of the boys of a given age will commit half or more of all the serious crime produced by boys of that age,” he told us about the family life of those boys: “they tend to have criminal parents, [and] to live in cold or discordant families (or pseudo-families).”
When he read Wilson’s piece, Chuck Colson realized that Wilson was, without knowing it, describing the children ministered to through our Angel Tree program. Chuck also realized that, arguably, the most important thing about Angel Tree wasn’t the delivering of Christmas presents, as important as that is, but maintaining the ties between offenders and their families.
It’s why at Prison Fellowship Ministries, restoring an offender means restoring him to his family and equipping him to take an active role in breaking the cycle of crime in his family and community. It is never too late for a man to assume the role God intended him to play.
Come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary to learn about how you and your church can participate in Epic Fatherhood.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
Publication date: June 3, 2014