God has appointed and continues to appoint “fathers” throughout Scripture and history for varying reasons. Abraham is the “Father of many nations”, Adam is the “Father of the human race”, Jacob is the “Father of Israel”, Paul is the “Father to the Gentiles” and the Bible says he became a “Father to us all”.
God uses certain called and anointed men and individuals for the role of fathering. Apostles are also spiritual fathers in the Body of Christ because they are needed for the role of father, and through this Christ wants to bless and strengthen the Church.
When a child has no parents, there are certain things that child will never receive, even from other adults. A father imparts to a child identity, courage, security, discipline and blessing. When fathers (think apostles) are missing from the Body of Christ the Body is also missing identity, blessing, and many of the things which Christ intends it to have. Even Christ, despite His perfection, received words of encouragement and identity from His Father in Heaven, And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matt 3:17) We need fathers in the Body of Christ to strengthen, give identity, and be a source of blessing and covering that helps the Church become what it needs to become. This is true even for mature believers.
In Ephesians 4:11-13, the role of apostles is to mature the Church, something fathers are able to do. The following Biblical description of the apostolic ministry comes alive for us when we are more informed of the importance of the father’s role. “As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children… For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God…” – 1 Thessalonians 2:6-7, 11-12
The last words of the Old Testament provided warning, saying that that the Prophet Elijah was coming to “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers” or else there would be a curse. Fathering in the Body of Christ removes a curse of some description on the land. As we see apostles restored to the Body of Christ, we are seeing the return of fathering and the nature of relational Christianity. We will find that as the heart comes back into these relationships there will be great victory for the Kingdom. We were always meant to have fathers, and they are apostles.