This generation of evangelicals really is fatherless and adrift. They know that, they ache over it, they cannot pretend not to know it, but they have no intention of turning back to their fathers. And that means repentance has not yet been given.
— Douglas Wilson, reviewing The Shack.
Evangelicals have lost fatherhood, because they lost husband-hood, because they denied gender. You can have “parents” all day without gender, but not “fathers” and “mothers”. The fact is that evangelicals are EMBARRASSED by Paul’s clear assumption that men and women have different functions, within marriage, in parenting, and in general. Evangelicals are MORTIFIED by Paul on gender.
You can’t have fathers when the two spouses cannot be differentiated in their gifts. And we can’t have such differentiation because it leads inexorably to functional hierarchy, which we cannot have, because we know it is not true (it does not match our EXPERIENCE). So, evangelical exegetes routinely tell us that any NT text which seems to reflect marital hierarchy actually means… the opposite.
We actually still have motherhood, but fatherhood has been re-defined…as the same thing as motherhood. So fathers are nothing more in the life of the child than stand-in and second-rate mothers.
Evangelical women have been relieved to hear their secular sisters have been right — and previous generations of believers wrong — about the misogyny of the New Testament. They get the salvation part but none of those pesky careless moments where the writers lose touch with God and lapse into telling us how to live — er, “law” and / or “cultural prejudice”.
So when men and women live together as married people they submit to each other, which is harmless, because there is no female or male role — just a common vague practicum, at which we can regularly confess our mutual and equal failure.
Female parents and male parents are different. They have different strengths and weaknesses. There are heroic single parents, whom God blesses. But the totality of a parenting effort is weak if it includes no distinctively MALE parenting. Fathers who leave are bad men. And passive fathers were first weak men, who’ve often thrown away biblical authority, just because it said some practical things we thought insulted our dignity, even as it challenged us to be more fully ourselves.
see also this.