Sons of the Father: A Book Review

This morning, nearly a dozen years after purchasing the book, I finished reading Gordon Dalbey’s Sons of the Father: Healing the Father-Wound in Men Today. As I prepared to write this review, I noticed on Amazon that Dalbey released an updated edition one month after I bought the 1991 edition that I read. I included the cover art for both in the rating image for this review. Perhaps the updated copy (while now itself is a dozen years dated) is an improvement.

Dalbey somewhat wanders through his teaching and narrative to arrive at two key points. First, the impact our earthly father(s) have on men’s development as a man and as a spiritual man. Second that it is in the recognition of God as our Father, who doesn’t have the failures and weakness of human fathers, who – if we surrender ourselves to Him – can and will guide us into authentic and needed Christian masculinity.

“The longing to be one with the father is intrinsic to masculinity. No universalistic sympathy or legalistic command can erase or fulfill it. If the father-son longing is not recognized, confessed, and submitted to Father God through Jesus, a man’s soul remains wounded unto death. He either surrenders to it and idolizes his father as a god or curses it and condemns him as a demon. Caught in such extremes, he’s denied genuine relationship with the father and with himself as a man.” (p. 27)

“Is your job an extension of the real you, or a diversion from it?” (p. 131)

“Father God calls us to work in the vineyard of this broken world…” (p.153)

“Preaching ‘biblical principals’ to men today is like pouring water on a drowning man.” (p.198)

“A man begins to receive the Father’s heart and act life him precisely insofar as he takes his honest human feelings –– no matter how frightening they may be –– to Jesus.” (p22)

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In the late 1980’s I relocated to Arizona to plant a Church in Phoenix. At that same period, I was challenged by God to heal and grow as a “man of Christ” and to lead other men to do the same. Gordon Dalbey’s seminal work Healing the Masculine Soul deeply influenced my understanding. More than 20 years later I encountered John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart and I determined to reinvigorate my response to a calling to serve American men in becoming Christian men. I bought copies of Dalbey’s books printed after Healing the Masculine Soul and then got caught up in Eldredge’s books and didn’t read Dalbey’s. Frankly, Eldredge is – at least for me – a more readable writer; an assessment reinforced as I read Dalbey’s Sons of the Father.

I think Dalbey has vast meaningful insights that American men needed in the 1990’s and still need today. I suggest that need is more relevant today than when the works were written. I highly recommend this book, Sons of the Father (in its newest edition) – and Dalbey’s other books – for men who seek to lead other men into meaningful relationship with Father God. The book is probably less of a good fit for the average guy who needs healing of the “father–wound” but needs clarity to diagnose his malady and seek the Father for healing it.

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Sons of the Father: Healing the Father-Wound in Men Today, by Gordon Dalbey, Civitas Press, 2011, , $15.99

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Tim Morris is the Director of Ecclesiolae Ministries Foundation, cofounded with Julie Morris. Ecclesiolae seeks to support Christians in their Spiritual Formation, Strengthening Ministry Marriages, and expanding the growth of MicroChurches within MegaChurches. Tim earned a BS in Business Management and completes an MA in Theology, from Wesley Biblical Seminary in the Spring of 2024.

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