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Hausvater: /HAUS-fah-ter/
noun (German)
1. Housefather.
2. Spiritually responsible head of household, including the housefather as assisted by the housemother.
>> Example: "As the Hausvater should teach it [Christian doctrine] to the entire family ..."
(Martin Luther, Small Catechism, 1529)

  • A Guide to Our Order of Worship

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For Father’s Day and Beyond ...

We present some resources posted in prior years.

Honoring Fatherhood and Motherhood: Insights from Luther's Large Catechism

To teach children to honor their parents, therefore, teaches them also to honor God. For it is God who gave them their parents. And it is God who gave them Christ, His Son, to forgive the sins of the children and of their parents. It is, finally, God’s Holy Spirit who sanctifies the vocations of fatherhood and motherhood, making these offices most worthy of our reverent contemplation. ...

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Five Forgotten Facts about Fatherhood

Father’s Day teeters precariously between becoming an obsolete tradition of some bygone era and a minority holiday that has the potential to revive the positive roles men play in our lives. Why the sense of obsolescence? We have forgotten five important facts about fatherhood. Here they are. Share them with others and perhaps this Father’s Day we can re-learn to appreciate, and to live out, the wonderful vocation of fatherhood.

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Wanted: A Model Father (Radio Interview)

Wanted: A Model Father

Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson talks on His Time (KFUO radio, with Randy Asburry) about the article “Wanted: A Model Father” that appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of Life Date (Lutherans for Life). Addressing the spiritual responsibilities of fatherhood, Dr. MacPherson gleans insight from the Book of Proverbs and from Ephesians 6:4 to encourage fathers to nurture their families in the Word of God.

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Fathers: God as Our Father

Fathers: God as Our Father

Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson talks on Faith 'n' Family (KFUO radio, with Rodney Zwonitzer) about God's design for fatherhood. Addressing the spiritual responsibilities of fatherhood, Dr. MacPherson gleans insight from the Deuteronomy 6:6-9, Ephesians 6:4, and the Book of Proverbs to encourage fathers to nurture their families in the Word of God.

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O Father All Creating (Wedding Hymn)

J. Ellerton, 1876

The Lutheran Hymnary (1913), #534

O Father all creating,
Whose wisdom, love, and power
First bound two lives together
in Eden’s primal hour,
Today to these Thy children
Thine earliest gifts renew,—
A home by Thee made happy,
A love by Thee kept true.

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A Father's Tribute: In Memory of Torian Bolstad (2014-2015)

What can I say about my son Torian?

He was born on June 4, 2014. He died on September 19, 2015.


He was born with a very serious health condition. He had countless seizures throughout his life, sometimes as many as three hundred or more in a single day. More often than not, with each seizure he would stop breathing and turn blue. He did this from the day he was born till the day he died, fifteen months later.

Along with this, he was almost completely motionless. He rarely moved his arms or legs, and when he did move them it was usually because he was having another seizure. His eyes did not track and usually it seemed that he was looking right through you. The doctors were unsure if he could see at all. They also told us that he was almost completely deaf in both ears, due to a condition known as auditory neuropathy, and only able to hear things when his brain allowed.

He did not communicate as healthy babies do, not even with facial expressions. He almost never cried, but when he did we were thrilled just to hear him make noise. He did not reach out for things, he never learned to crawl, he couldn't even lift his head from his pillow. He had extreme difficulty swallowing his own saliva and needed to be suctioned with a suction machine on a regular basis, especially when he got sick (which happened fairly frequently).

He could not eat by mouth, but was instead fed through a tube that was inserted through his nose going down into his stomach; when he was first born he did breastfeed semi-successfully for a short time, but that joy was short lived.

What else can I say about my son Torian?

I could tell you that he was loved.

He was loved by me and my wife and each of our children.bolstad children

Early on, my wife and I were concerned that eventually our other children would grow resentful of Torian for the time and attention that he would inevitably receive from us; that they would be upset with us and him for the numerous week-long hospitalizations that he received throughout his life. We thought that they would be upset for all the fun things that they missed out on because they were just too difficult to do, or too difficult to go to with all the machines that we would have to bring with us.

But they never did this.

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The Father as Mentor to His Sons: 10 Topics for Man-to-Man Discussion

How can today’s Christian fathers prepare their boys to be Christian men, when many of the cultural supports from former days have been removed and when the person most well-suited for the task of passing on the arts and skills of manliness and fatherhood—the boy’s father—is absent a majority of the time? If today’s fathers cannot mentor their sons, where will tomorrow’s fathers receive the training they need?

Fathers have had their difficulties in all periods of time, but today’s fathers face challenges that are somewhat new to the past few generations. The Industrial Revolution separated laboring fathers from their families, just as the Feminist Revolution more recently has separated mothers from their families. Schools now absorb the majority children’s time during their most creative and productive years and train them to become employees for multi-national corporations, not entrepreneurs within their local communities. In the classroom and beyond, boyhood and masculinity are denigrated, and Christianity is openly attacked. From where, then, will the next generation of Christian men arise, capable to lead, provide for, and protect their families?

The time has come for men to rally together, recognize the challenges facing them, and turn to God’s Word to re-discover the way forward. The following ten topics provide a framework for opening this important discussion.

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Father’s Day: The Team Captain

Father’s Day is June 18. Expect a media blitz featuring BBQ, grills, fishing rods, and power tools. The clear advertising ploy is: “These things make men manly. The man in your life needs them.” There’s no denying men and fathers are often found with these items in their hands—what man doesn’t like burning meat and revving power tools—but it’s worth asking whether a smoking grill and a power tool make men manly. What is it that makes men manly? How is authentic manhood defined? Our culture is haunted by these questions. What does the Bible say about what makes a man manly?Father's Day

We begin in the beginning: Genesis 1, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” These verses convey at least two essentials. 1) God created a unified team to celebrate and share His blessings and 2) This team worked together as God’s special agents to defend and protect His creation.

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A Faithful Father

I am your faithful Father above,
You are My children, lavished with love.
I have redeemed you, called you by name.
Jesus, My Son, bore all of your shame.


Click here to download all six verses, including a musical score.

Composition Notes

Each line in this hymn has been derived from one or more Scripture verses.

  • Verse 1: Psalm 145; 1 John 3:1; Isaiah 43:1; Hebrews 12:2–3; Psalm 34:5
  • Verse 2: 1 John 3:1; 1 John 4:16; 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9–12
  • Verse 3: Deuteronomy 6:7; Luke 17:2
  • Verse 4: Psalm 127:3; Psalm 103:13; 2 Timothy 4:2; Ephesians 6:18
  • Verse 5: Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 12:23
  • Verse 6: Luke 18:13,14, the Kyrie ("Lord, Have Mercy"), and Revelation 22:12
  • See also: Luke 1:17; Psalm 103; Malachi 4:5,6

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What Fathers Do

The five most important things a father does are these:

  1. Catechize his children in the Word of God, by praying with them, teaching them Bible stories and the Catechism, and taking them to Church to be baptized, to hear the preaching of the Gospel, and to receive the body and blood of Christ.
  2. Provide for his family and household, by working an honorable profession and using what the Lord provides with wisdom and discretion.
  3. Love his wife; faithfully serving her, sacrificing himself on her behalf; caring for her in body, mind and spirit; spending time with her, not only in mutual activities, but listening and speaking to her; and supporting her vocation as the mother of his children.
  4. Teach his sons to become men, by example and instruction, by correction and encouragement, by discipline, mercy and forgiveness.
  5. Give his daughters in marriage, by demonstrating the way a Christ-like gentleman honors a woman; by gently guiding and directing their relationships with boys and men; by protecting them from predators, saying yes or no to potential suitors; by serving and supporting them in the face of hurts and fears and failures, especially through the forgiveness of their sins; and by placing the hand of each daughter in the hand of the man who will become her husband and head.

It is through fathers, in particular, that God the Father in heaven teaches and cares for His children on earth. It is by Him that all fatherhood on earth is named; therefore, fathers are to serve their children in the fear of the Lord, by the wisdom of His Word and Spirit. Under His Word, a father speaks and acts with the voice and authority of God Himself, so that his children know through him what is the good and acceptable will of God for their lives. That is why it is of first importance that a father catechize his children (or see to it and supervise it), and why all else that he does is to be undertaken in the fear, love and trust of God; that he might always be turning himself and his children away from idolatry to serve the true and living God by faith in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Return to Wittenberg (Sept. 10-12, 2021)

You are invited to join Dr. Ryan MacPherson of the Hausvater Project ...

Return to Wittenberg Conference: “Here I Stand”

St. Paul Lutheran Church, Tomah, Wisconsin

September 10–12, 2021



  • Dr. Ryan MacPherson—How Gospel-Cherishing People Lawfully Resist Unlawful Authority: A Workshop for Christian Perseverance
  • Rev. Jay Webber—Adiophora: Why We Should Not be Indifferent to “Indifferent Things”

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