The Patriarchal Father as Idol god
Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
(1 John 5:21)
I have known the family members — wives and children — of patriarchal men. Men who parade as eminent Christians. Men who have been taught and who believe that they are the “priests” of their home. And I have experienced the frustration and grief of being rejected by these wives and children “because daddy said….”. These kinds of men have set themselves up as idols. They are much like Nebuchadnezzar:
And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.” (Daniel 3:4-6)
Bow down, or else.
The little verse quoted above from 1 John is profound truth. It is the very last line in John’s first epistle, put where it is intentionally for emphasis. Keep yourselves from idols. Watch out. Be on guard. Don’t end up worshiping a false god. I find it interesting that John once more addresses us in this warning as “little children.”
Patrarichalism sets up the husband/father of the home as an idol. A false god. He is the one who distributes “God’s Word” to the family. It is his prayers that really count. He is the one to be served and praised. His word is the word that is infallible. A little papacy is established. And whoever does not fall down and worship him. . .
As children grow up in such deception, and particularly as long as the wife/mother still embraces that deception herself, all of the Bible, all input regarding just about any subject including the very nature of God himself, is going to be perceived through the idolatrous grid entrenched in their minds. That is to say, through the idol called husband/father. Daddy says. . .
When such a man perceives that anyone — whether it be the pastor, an author, a church member, a friend of his wife — that anyone is starting to see through his idolatrous false kingdom, he goes on the offensive to squelch any and all opposition. He will slander that person speaking truth. He will accuse them. And if all else fails, he will isolate his family from them.
And his family believes him. Try to reason with them. Try to warn them. It will be to no avail. Daddy says…. Translated? God says….
And THAT, little children, is idolatry.
I saw a news documentary once on North Korea and the cruel dictatorship that reigns there. The reporters found that certain questions would be met with blank stares on the faces of the people. “Have you ever thought that perhaps your leader could be wrong sometimes?” It wasn’t that the people got angry at this question. No. Worse than that, they lacked the ability to even process the possibility, so thoroughly had they been brainwashed. “Our glorious and beloved Leader, wrong? What does that mean?” They had no mental paradigm or apparatus to take in such words. You may as well have said something like “How do you like the taste of yellow?”
And so it is with the children of the kind of idol father I am speaking of here. “Daddy, wrong?” Show them hard, concrete evidence to the contrary of what their father said, it will not get through. He has become their surrogate Christ. Really, an anti-christ. And such a god can do whatever he wants.
Little children, little children, please…keep yourselves from idols.