A Jagged Contention: Fatherhood


“Absolution then is not something that overlooks all the sins and faults of the sinner. Rather, absolution provides forgiveness for those sins. A father who absolves creates reliance in his children precisely because they need to be forgiven. He knows their sins. He knows their faults. He is intimately aware of every sinful shortcoming they are trying to hide. Yet he absolves, washes away, forgives, and makes new on account of Christ. This need for forgiveness will always create reliance between father and child. Some fathers will forgive, and some will not. Those forgiving fathers, I think, will discover that their children will be able to find their way home, much like in the parable [of the Prodigal Son].”

– Dr. Scott Keith, On Being Dad: Father’s as a Picture of God’s Grace. Pgs. 86-87


This week’s Jagged Contention is taken from the cantankerous Dr. Scott Keith’s new book on fatherhood in which he argues that the primary position of a father towards his household is one of grace. As such, fathers are a picture of a gracious God to their family. 

Discuss the role a father plays in the faith formed in the household. How does his vision differ from our contemporary culture’s definition of fathers specifically and men in general? Do you think that there is a correlation between the rise in non-committal religious attitudes and the poor practice of fatherhood? How could Keith’s vision of a merciful household father give hope and confidence to men striving to be good dads?