An excellent magazine about patriarchy is Patriarch. (Patriarch, PO Box 50, Willis, VA 24380). They ask a donation of $25 and have a website at www.patriarch.com. They write:

The Vision of Patriarch

The Opportunity: Turning Hearts

“...to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous — to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” — Luke 1:17

God is doing something very special in our day. He is turning “the hearts of the fathers to their children.” This is nowhere more evident than in the home education movement which has challenged thousands of fathers to take a new look at their family calling. Many of these men have come to realize that they have a mandate from God to be the leader of their households. They have a deepening hunger to discover all the dimensions of that role. According to God’s own Word (Malachi 4:6; Luke 1:17) this turning toward the family is a sign that the Lord is renewing his people and preparing them for a special role in the advancement of Christ’s kingdom.

An essential element of this renewal is another “turning”: a return to God’s Word as the sole standard for what to believe and how to live. A key sign that God is at work during any historical moment is that his people return “to the wisdom of the righteous.” There is evidence that such a spirit of repentance is spreading in the land. More and more men are looking to the Bible alone to shape their faith and guide their life decisions. They are not content with the merely traditional approaches to family, work, finances, church, citizenship, etc. They want to know what God’s Word says about every sphere of life so that they can put it into practice.

The Response: Equipping Men to Lead

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 —Timothy 3:16,17

The purpose of Patriarch is to support the rising renewal among God’s people by equipping men, through sound Bible-based teaching and application, to obey God’s call to leadership in family, church, and society. Patriarch believes that the living person of the Lord Jesus Christ and his inerrant Word, the Bible, provide the only foundation upon which to raise up the godly leaders who are so needed today.

Patriarch aims specifically 1) to develop Christ-like character and behavior in men; 2) to equip men to direct, protect, and provide for their families; 3) to enable men to lead the church back to its New Testament, family-based patterns; 4) to help men rebuild our nation on its biblical and constitutional foundations “under God”; and 5) to provide men with a biblical view of God and his world.

In short, the goal is to help raise up a generation of patriarchs, godly family leaders. God calls every man to be a leader, to give shape to the people and things around him. Leadership begins in the home, but it extends to every sphere of life. Patriarch seeks to equip men to shape this world for Jesus Christ.

The Outcome: Reclaiming Ground

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” —2 Corinthians 10:4,5

We are at a pivotal moment in history. Even as the enemies of God seem to be gaining ground on every front, God is raising up a growing army of men whose hearts are turning to the Lord, his Word, and his priorities. These men are being prepared as soldiers under the command of Christ to reclaim lost ground and to see his will done on earth as it is in heaven.

Renewal has begun with men turning back to their children. It will continue as men return to Scripture for the wisdom they need to be leaders in family, church, and society.

Welcome to the adventure! Welcome to the growing ranks of men who want to obey God’s call to leadership, to take a stand for Christ and his Word in our day! Welcome to Patriarch !

“Stand up, stand up for Jesus, You soldiers of the cross; Lift high his royal banner, It must not suffer loss; From vict’ry unto vict’ry His army he shall lead, Till every foe is vanquished, And Christ is Lord indeed.”

Why the title “Patriarch”? “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.” — Psalm 112:1,2

The greatest need in our land today is for men to take up the mantle of strong, godly leadership once again. Most of the problems that bewilder politicians, vex pastors, and plague parents have their roots in the failure of men to be the kind of leaders God has ordained them to be in our families, in our churches, and in our nation.

Recent generations of men have retreated from their calling to provide the spiritual direction for our society. Although men in early America commonly accepted this responsibility, in more recent times the male leadership role has been relegated to politics and business. Men have left the home, the schools, and most of the work of the church to women and have neglected to infuse the political and commercial arenas with a biblically-defined moral direction.

Reinforcing the effects of their own abdication of responsibility, men have also had to contend with emasculation at the hands of destructive cultural forces. Feminism hates men, and it especially hates men who act like men, men who take charge. Government undermines the male role of provider by taking on the care of children, the elderly, and the needy. Boys are feminized as they are shaped mostly by females in the home, the schools, and the churches. The masculine inclinations to direct, to protect, and to provide are thwarted by efforts to create the new “sensitive” man.

Men must look back to the past so that they can look to the future with hope. They need to repent of generations of failed leadership and reject the feminizing pressures of today. They need to learn to do what great men of the past did: to fear the Lord and delight in his commands. They need to again accept the burden of godly leadership. Only then will the prospects for the future of our nation brighten.

“Patriarch” is a word that captures what it is that men must again become if our society is to be redeemed. Here is what Weldon Hardenbrook has to say about this seldom-used term in his excellent book Missing from Action: Vanishing Manhood in America (first edition, pp. 139-140):

Where did the role of fatherhood come from? The essence of fatherhood is best understood in one word that Americans, even Christian Americans, have totally lost the meaning of, a word against which all the enemies of God have warred in an attempt to secure its annihilation. A word that has been abused, trampled on, ignored, or vehemently spit upon and mocked by raging hyperfeminists and discarded by irresponsible, self-centered, hedonistic males. A word so powerfully significant and loaded that the feminized, peace-at-any-price boys religiously relegate it to ancient days of antiquity. A word that has become unmentionable among its owners and exiled to the company of obscene four-letter words in the minds of most male and female Americans.

But whether we use this word or not, without its recovery, without its function being made known and its reality working in society, there is absolutely no clear, positive way to redeem the male identity. This word can never be neutral. It was worn by the men of old, from Abraham to David, and it needs to belong to American men today.

What is this awesome word that must be understood? This role that must be reclaimed? The word is patriarchy. It is awesome because it is in the meaning of this word that fatherhood exists and the foundation of the male identity is supplied.

The biblical term patriarchy is derived from two words in the Greek language—patria (taken from the word pater, “father”), which means “family”; and arche, which means “beginning,” “first in origin,” and “to rule.” A patriarch is a family ruler. He is the man in charge.

What is needed today is nothing less that a return to patriarchy, a society led by strong, godly men. We need family leaders who will also become leaders in the churches and throughout every institution in the nation.

Such men must also learn to see beyond today, to see themselves as just the beginning of what will be many generations who will be “mighty in the land.” Each man should aim to be the founder of a dynasty for God.

God’s chosen nation Israel was founded by patriarchs. America was set on its blessed course by patriarchs. By God’s grace, we can be patriarchs so that ours too will be blessed generations.

Patriarchy: A Good Word for a Hopeful Trend The news media recently reported that the 1997 National Spelling Bee was won by a homeschooler, a thirteen-year-old girl from New York. The word with which she clinched the victory was "euonym," which means literally "a good name," or an appropriate name for something.

Another story that flows from the counter-culture is not being reported by the national media, namely, the way in which thousands of fathers are turning their hearts toward their homes and pursuing a patriarchal lifestyle. It is true that reporters have noticed the "Christian men’s movement" that fills stadiums with emotionally charged speakers and a revivalistic atmosphere. (Whether or not the men involved are being brought to a radical obedience — expressed, say, in getting their children out of the soul-destroying government schools — is another matter.) But it is the quieter men’s movement, one that is aptly described as getting back to patriarchy, that holds a real hope for national transformation. In times of spiritual decline God’s work prospers not among the masses but within a remnant.

A good name

Patriarchy. Patriarchal. These are jarring terms to ears attuned to the contemporary social context, fashioned as it is by the ideology and agenda of feminism. To be described as "patriarchal" is among the worst indictments that can be brought upon a group of people or a period of history, conjuring as it does vague images of domineering men and downtrodden women.

However, far from being a term to avoid as we approach the turn of the millennium, this word is one we should embrace. It is, in fact, a euonym, a good name, because it suitably identifies the movement to which it refers. Not that we favor the cultural stereotype that enters the collective mind today at the sound of the word, but because we embrace a true and wholesome patriarchy, one vindicated by the Word of God and by history.

"Patriarch" was the first name your editor considered for this publication, though I confess I initially set it aside in favor of less strident names. Both of the alternatives, however, had to be discarded because I discovered they were in use by other ministries and publications. So I came back to "Patriarch," gulped hard, and placed it on the masthead of the first issue. I have never been sorry for the decision, convinced that it was the providential choice.

Over the past year or so I have participated in conferences we call "Back to Patriarchy." In these meetings we present an expansive vision of spiritual renewal rooted in the choice of men to reclaim their God-given leadership role in the family. A patriarch is a man who reflects God the Father by embracing the biblical role of fatherhood. This domestic spiritual leadership overflows into the reformation of church and larger society under the leadership of godly men. A patriarchal society is God’s ideal society, one shaped according to the principles and patterns of his Word.

Some might think that we should use less emotive terms to call men back to their manly duties. I must disagree. Let me suggest seven reasons why the term "patriarchy" is a good name to identify the movement of men back to their manly calling and the resulting reformation of family, church, and society.

1. The term "patriarchy" points men to God the Father as the archetype for their renewal. All fatherhood in heaven and on earth derives from God the Father (Eph. 3:15). He is the original pattern, the perfect example of fatherhood. If men are to rediscover their identity they will need to become reacquainted with the one who made them to be uniquely like himself.

My generation has witnessed the Jesus Movement back in the late Sixties and early Seventies, followed by a kaleidoscope of movements that have focused on the Holy Spirit and his work. It seems that God is now moving men to take a longer look at the Father and thus get back to the source of their identity and calling as men. Men need to go beyond the feminized emotionalism and sloppy doctrine of recent movements. Patriarchy accentuates not subjective religious experience but a manly pursuit of truth and a gutsy appeal to duty.

We need to study the Father so we learn how to be leaders. We need to explore how he cares for his own so that we learn what it means to be providers. We need to meditate on how he defends the weak so that we learn how to protect those under our care. Fathers need to spend time with the original Patriarch.

2. The term "patriarchy" suggests a call to personal holiness. The biblical patriarchs were men like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David (Acts 2:29; 7:8,9; Heb. 7:4). Though each of these men was a sinner, they were all approved of God and blessed by him because they each had a heart for God.

To get back to patriarchy suggests a return to the faith of father Abraham (Rom. 4; Heb. 11:8ff.). It suggests that a man be like Jacob, desperate for God’s blessing above all else (Gen. 32:26). It suggests that a man aim to be called what David was called by God himself: "a man after my own heart" who "will do everything I want him to do" (Acts 13:22).

To get back to patriarchy is to get serious about God again. A patriarch doesn’t fritter away his life in front of the TV or on the golf links; he has more important things to do. He wants to walk with God and thus to change the world for good, just like the patriarchs of old.

3. The term "patriarchy" communicates the biblical pattern of male leadership. Although both men and women are made in God’s image, the male reflects God the Father in a special way (1 Cor. 11:7) since he shares (in a delegated sense) the position of headship (cf. v. 3). It is not accidental that God is revealed to us in male terms, nor that men are called by the same name that God uses for himself: Father. Patriarchy is God’s idea.

The order of human social arrangements is not up for grabs. God made mankind to mirror his character and attributes, and he made human relationships to reflect the order that exists eternally in the godhead. Patriarchy is good because it reflects the very relationships that exist among the Father, Son, and Spirit and thus brings glory to God.

Our culture may think it has outgrown the practice of male leadership, but this only proves the foolishness of the current wisdom. We should not be apologetic about patriarchy. To abandon God’s plan is rebellion against God. Patriarchy is submission to God.

4. The term "patriarchy" implies the foundational significance of family government. The biblical patriarchs were family leaders. To call men back to patriarchy is, first of all, to call them to be family leaders once again. The nation is a reflection of its communities and churches; a community or a church is a reflection of its families; a family is a reflection of its father. What men do in their homes will shape, for better or worse, every other institution in society.

This principle is stated explicitly in 1 Timothy 3:5 where, in the context of spelling out standards for church elders, it says that men must manage their own families well because "if anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?" Family leadership is the training ground for leadership in the church, in business, in civil government, in every other sphere of life.

If men are serious about making an impact in the world they will start by being good fathers. Too many men neglect the home because they believe that their work (or even their ministry) is so important that they don’t have time for family. However, if a man fails at home he is a failure. Period. No matter how successful he may be elsewhere. The health of the nation percolates up from the home. Patriarchy recognizes this truth.

5. The term "patriarchy" recalls historical periods characterized by divine blessing. Ancient Israel was, of course, the quintessential patriarchal society. The Law of God provided for the rule of men in their homes, in the religious life of the community, and in civil matters carried on at the city gates. Under this system God’s people prospered and were blessed by him tremendously. Far from being oppressive of women patriarchy offered them protection, provided for their needs, and gave them freedom to blossom in their unique calling as women.

In our own more immediate past we find God’s blessing upon the frankly patriarchal society of colonial America. Never has God’s smile been more evident on our nation than in those days when men ruled both at home and in business, cultural, and religious affairs. Like Israel of old, the colonies prospered greatly by both material and spiritual measures. And women were better off than in our day when in their striving to be like men they have lost security, contentment, and the pleasure of being who God made them to be.

Pointing men back to patriarchy is one way to stand at the crossroads and urge men to those ancient paths that God has blessed (Jer. 6:16). We don’t aim to turn the clock back out of some sentimental longing for the past, but we do want to learn from those who have gone before. Patriarchy aims to build the future on the solid foundation of what has worked in the past. God blesses biblically-structured patriarchal societies.

6. The term "patriarchy" constitutes a direct challenge to feminism. We have failed to stand for truth if we stand up for truth at every point except that which is under attack in our day (to paraphrase someone). Christians are too busy trying to accommodate feminism. They do this by allowing women leaders in the church, by supporting the practice of women working outside the home, by encouraging unmarried daughters to leave home for college or career (thus promoting a spirit of independence), by teaching an egalitarian model of marriage, by sporting hyphenated last names, by importing "gender-inclusive language" into hymns and even Bible translations, and in many other ways. Feminism is winning the ideological battle for our civilization, and Christians are among its casualties.

The way to win the battle against an advancing enemy is to expose his position, attack him with force, and reverse the advances he has made. We need to expose feminism for the devil’s lie that it is, attack it with the force of biblical truth, and seek to reverse the progress it has made in our culture.

The term "patriarchy" is an effective weapon in our arsenal. It’s use instantly crystallizes the issues in the conflict. By defining the battle it forces men (and women) to take sides. It allows no neutral ground of accommodation and thus reveals those who are willing to compromise truth for social acceptability. The word will make many uncomfortable, others furious, but for that very reason it serves well the cause of God and truth. "Patriarchy" is a call to action for men who want to cure Western civilization of the festering lesion of feminism.

7. The term "patriarchy" stimulates a multi-generational vision in men. Those who in Scripture were called "patriarchs" were so named by those who stood many generations downstream from them. You don’t normally call your dad "Patriarch." A man earns that title through the honor accorded him by accumulating generations. The very term means "the first in a family" and thus "the family ruler." A patriarch is the head of a family dynasty.

Thus the use of the term encourages a long-range vision of a man’s calling. I am not just Dad to a few children; I am patriarch to hundreds, thousands who will come after me. The preparation of my immediate children (the foundation) will affect the quality of many generations to follow (the building).

Contemporary men don’t look very far down the road ahead. They might think about next month, next vacation, maybe even retirement, but it is a very rare man who is thinking about his children’s grandchildren. We need to help men extend their time horizons generations into the future. Calling them back to patriarchy does just that.

The key to extending the kingdom of God is to disciple our children, who will disciple theirs, who will disciple theirs, and so on. In this way the gospel will keep pace with the geometrical increase of people on the globe. The current win-a-few lose-a-few approach of the church is a model of defeat. Patriarchy is a model of victory. It is the way to actually fulfill the Great Commission that Jesus gave his church (Matt. 28:18-20). Multiplying Christian families through the generations is the means to the evangelization of the world. Patriarchy is thus central to the cause of Christ in this age.

A patriarchy cult?

Some might object that we are getting carried away here, that we are out of balance by placing so much emphasis on patriarchy. After all, Scripture hardly uses the word. Isn’t there something suspect about finding in patriarchy the key to fixing the world?

Let’s be clear. We don’t believe patriarchy is the central theme of the Bible. We are not trying to start some new cult. The sovereign purpose of God in the cross of Jesus Christ is the truly central issue of life and the power of individual and social transformation. Our passion is simply to see the gospel and kingdom of Jesus prosper in this world. A man’s response to the claims of Jesus is the paramount concern.

Yet when a man is saved he is saved from sin and to a new life of obedience to everything Jesus has commanded (Matt. 28:20). He is obligated to believe the doctrines of the Bible and to practice the lifestyle commanded in the Bible. It is here that we confront patriarchy because the Bible is clear about the duty of men. But, again, the role of men is just one of many teachings of Scripture, so why do we make it so central in our teaching?

The reason we dwell on patriarchy is because it is, we believe, a keystone issue of our day. A keystone, of course, is the wedge-shaped piece at the crown of an arch that locks the other pieces in place. The effectiveness of every other stone in the arch depends on the presence of the keystone. The reason our culture is in decline, our churches are impotent, and our families are failing is the absence of patriarchal leadership by godly men. All other efforts at reform and restoration are failing and will fail unless men take up the full scope of their God-given duties, beginning at home.

Patriarchy is not the most important issue in life, nor even in itself a very remarkable thing. In times past it was simply taken for granted as the underlying framework that holds a civilization together, the pattern of relationships that allowed the truly important concerns to be addressed: evangelism, truth, justice, mercy, statesmanship, discipleship, discovery, dominion, and so forth. What is remarkable is the wholesale abandonment of patriarchy in recent generations and the utter devastation this has brought to every aspect of our culture. We look forward to the day when we can stop dwelling on patriarchy and move on to other, less elementary, things.

Our problem today is that the very foundations are being destroyed. We don’t have the strong, godly men, the healthy families, and the sound churches that have held Western civilization together and made God-honoring progress possible on many fronts. We need to get back to patriarchy so that we can rebuild all that is fallen in our times and then build anew. Without the groundwork of patriarchy, no other efforts at renewal and progress will succeed. They will fall flat. No efforts of governments, churches, agencies, or organizations can compensate for the failure of men to lead their families.

Imagine what our nation would be like if in every home the father loved his wife sacrificially, trained his children in God’s truth and disciplined them in love, took responsibility for the education of his sons and daughters, protected his family from evil relationships and influences, led his family in worship and prayer. The land would be a veritable Eden.

There is nothing very remarkable about a nail, but when you are trying to build a house and you don’t have any, they suddenly become very important! Getting nails becomes your top priority. The lack of patriarchy is like the lack of nails: you can’t build anything without it. If men are not men, if they are not family leaders, then nothing else works. Each godly man is like a well-driven spike that contributes to the stability of the whole cultural house. You don’t think much about his contribution until he is no longer there.

So … should we use the term "patriarchy" and seek its restoration in our day? Absolutely. The hatred of this term is an evidence of the degeneracy of our culture. But it is, indeed, a euonym, a good name, an appropriate designation for a very hopeful movement of God’s Spirit. Because the path to future blessing is the path back to patriarchy.

The Crisis of Male Leadership The following is the beginning of a speech delivered by the editor of Patriarch, Philip Lancaster, to the first "Back to Patriarchy" conference in May, 1996 in Springfield, Virginia, near Washington, D. C.

Our declining civilization

We are gathered a mere 15 miles or so from the symbolic center of the greatest nation the world has ever known. A few minutes drive to the northeast would take us to the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court building, and the Pentagon, those outward manifestations of unprecedented political and military power. We would also encounter majestic monuments and museums, temple-like testimonies to unmatched achievements in the spheres of law and government, the sciences, and the arts. Truly, America is the greatest nation that God in his providence has ever placed upon the earth.

However, a trip today to these exhibitions of greatness should bring tears to the eyes of any man with even a remnant of Christian conscience and a faint recollection of America’s roots. For, of course, it was not human might and ingenuity that produced this nation; it was the hand of Almighty God working through men who feared the Lord and conformed their private lives and public institutions to his holy Word. America’s greatness must now be spoken of in the past tense: America was great, because America was good. She has ceased to be good, and so is no longer great. Her people no longer fear God nor conform their lives and institutions to his revealed will.

Francis Schaeffer spoke of our generation as living in "post-Christian America". This is certainly an accurate description. Better still is the description of Steven Wilkins in America, the First 350 Years. He suggests that we are in "post-America"! The nation we now inhabit does not even deserve the same designation as the one founded and given form in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.

The church in decline

We could expand our view beyond the capital city and visit the churches of America today. Here, too, our hearts should cry out in grief. In the mainline denominations the virile faith and righteous life born of the Reformation has been replaced by frank unbelief and an actual promotion of wickedness. Even the evangelical churches, while paying lip service to Christ and his Word, have abandoned biblical doctrine and practice, accepting in its place a man-centered theology, a sentimentalized faith, a moralistic shadow of true righteousness, and a general spirit of conformity to the world. Surely Jesus must weep over his church in America.

I have drawn your attention to the decline of our nation and our churches not to suggest that in this declension lies the source of our problems. Nor would I suggest that working for the renewal of these institutions is the most important endeavor of those who would see God honored in our land once again. I present these things rather as symptoms of our deeper sickness. The root of our degradation and the hope of our restoration lies in another institution altogether: the family.

The home rules the nation

It is the home in which are determined the issues of the rise and fall of churches, nations, and civilizations. It is the decline of the family, and specifically the Christian family, which underlies the general decline we witness about us today. And it is only the restoration of the Christian home which holds any hope for the larger restoration of church and society. In this connection, hear the insight of Theodore Cuyler:

For one, I care little for the government which presides at Washington, in comparison with the government which rules the millions of American homes. No administration can seriously harm us if our home life is pure, frugal, and godly. No statesmanship or legislation can save us, if once our homes become the abode of profligacy.

The home rules the nation. If the home is demoralized, it will ruin it. The real seed corn whence our Republic sprang was the Christian households represented in the Mayflower, or the family altar of the Hollander and the Huguenot.

All the best characters, best legislation, best institutions, and best church life were cradled in those early homes. They were the taproot of the Republic, and of the American churches.

"The home rules the nation." Our national crisis is a consequence of the crisis of the home, and the crisis of the home is a crisis of male leadership. Men have abandoned their calling to be the spiritual leaders of their families, to be the builders of Christian character, the teachers of Christian doctrine, the models of Christ-like faith and virtue. They have abdicated their responsibility to be the guardians of that wellspring of Christian civilization: the Christian home. Because men have forsaken their families, we are losing a civilization.

"The home rules the nation." In light of this truth it can be said that we are gathered here to consider the most important work in America today: the restoration of the Christian family. Now listen closely and consider. I truly believe that there is in this room this morning more potential to renew our nation than in the combined work of the executives, legislators, judges, and generals who inhabit the marbled halls by the Potomac. If it is true that the home rules the nation—that the welfare of church, state, and larger society are determined by the welfare of the family—then national renewal can only begin with family renewal. And family renewal must begin with a restoration of family government, the recovery of the role of spiritual leadership by men in their homes.

You men represent, in God’s economy, more potential for the healing of our nation than the President, the Congress, and all the other public figures who grab headlines every day.

If you could see with eyes of faith, you would see that the angelic armies of the Almighty are not poised today to act in response to the deeds of our predominately godless lawmakers, nor of faithless and tradition-bound church leaders. No, I believe rather that the hosts of God hover near this room, armed with power from on high to change the course of history in response to the humble prayers and simple obedience of fathers like you. The future of America lies squarely on the shoulders of you men and others like you all around this land. What higher calling, what nobler mission than this?! Your task is nothing less than the restoration of our civilization, our nation, our churches—and it all rests on your actions in restoring your own homes.

Does the task seem too great? Think how Zerubbabel must have felt. A remnant of the people of God had returned to their land after 70 years of exile. They were trying to rebuild the temple that had been destroyed by the Babylonians. The work was hard, the hands few, the opposition great. What was the Lord’s message to the man in charge? "‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty" (Zech. 4:6). God’s work never depends on mere human power, fortitude, or numbers. It depends on the presence and power of his own Spirit. His Spirit working through a few obedient men will accomplish more than all the vaunted expressions of merely human power.

It may be that the decline of America has gone too far, that God will not now allow a restoration to our former greatness. That is up to him. Our mission is the same in any case: to restore our homes so that they become Bethels, houses of God. However depraved and mournful and anxious the peoples around us may yet become, our homes can be sanctuaries of righteousness and joy and peace. But the fact that you are here, the fact that the Lord has preserved a sizable remnant of men who are ready to take responsibility and reclaim spiritual leadership suggests to me that it may not be too late for America. Let’s do our part and see what God will do.

The solution: returning to patriarchy

The need of the hour is expressed in the title of this conference: Back to Patriarchy. Weldon Hardenbrook in Missing From Action: Vanishing Manhood in America explains the root meaning of the word:

The biblical term patriarchy is derived from two words in the Greek language--patria (taken from the word pater, "father"), which means "family"; and arche, which means "beginning," "first in origin," and "to rule." A patriarch is a family ruler. He is the man in charge.

What is needed today is nothing less that a return to patriarchy, a society led by strong, godly men. We need family leaders who will also become leaders in the churches and throughout every institution in the nation.

During the Colonial period America was a frankly patriarchal society. Men were the unquestioned leaders of their homes. Edmund S. Morgan in Virginians at Home writes:

In 1708 Ann Walker, an Anglican married to a Quaker, objected in court to having her children educated as Quakers, but the Court, while acknowledging her own freedom to worship as she chose, instructed her not to interfere in any way with the instruction of her children, even forbidding her to expound any part of the scriptures to the children without her husband's consent. Such complete support for the husband's authority is all the more remarkable in view of the fact that the Anglican Church was the established church of Virginia, to which all the members of the court doubtless belonged.

This total control of the home spilled over into male leadership in the church, the community, and in business and civil institutions. As Mary Ryan writes in Womanhood in America, "Only the patriarch of the family . . . could rise to leadership in political, cultural, and religious affairs."

Recent generations of men have retreated from their calling to be patriarchs, to provide the spiritual direction for home and society. In more recent times the male leadership role has been relegated merely to the spheres of politics and business. Men abandoned the truly formative institutions of civilization. They left the home, the education of children, and most of the work of the church to women, and they have neglected to infuse the political and commercial arenas with a biblically-defined moral direction.

Reinforcing the effects of their own abdication of responsibility, men have also had to contend with emasculation at the hands of destructive cultural forces.

Feminism hates men, and it especially hates men who act like men, men who take charge. Government undermines the male role of provider by taking on the care of children, the elderly, and the needy. Boys are feminized as they are shaped mostly by females in the home, the schools, and the churches. The masculine inclinations to lead, to protect, and to provide are thwarted by efforts to create the new "sensitive" (and sad to say, "feminized") man.

It is time for men to look back to the past so that they can look to the future with hope. They need to repent of generations of failed leadership and reject the feminizing pressures of today. They need to again accept the burden of godly leadership.

Patriarchs are men who walk with God, who fear the Lord and accept responsibility for leadership. God's chosen nation Israel was founded by the patriarchs. America was set on its blessed course by patriarchs. By God's grace we, too, can become patriarchs so that succeeding generations may live under a blessing instead of a curse.

IfIron John we are to return to the blessedness of patriarchy, how do we go about it? Where do we begin? We must not create some man-made system that exalts men, as if they have an inherent right to rule. We certainly must not mimic the silly antics recommended by Robert Bly in his book Iron John. He calls for men to rediscover the "mythopoetic" roots of masculinity through reenacting primitive male group rituals as they gather around campfires, beat drums, wear animal skins, and carry spears. We must also go beyond the Christian men’s movement which has men promise to stay married and stay home at night. To be fully Christian men, to be true patriarchs, we must begin with the original Patriarch, God the Father.

We return to patriarchy (1) by returning to God and submitting to our Lord Jesus. We return to patriarchy (2) by learning our roles from God the Father. We return to patriarchy (3) by accepting responsibility for our God-given duties. We return to patriarchy (4) by developing a multi-generational vision. Let’s explore these ideas in more depth.

(The content of the rest of the speech appears in the form of articles elsewhere on this Web site. See: "The Submissive Man," "What Every Family Needs From a Father," It's Your Homeschool," and "A Multi-generational Vision.")

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