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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gospel Powered Parenting by William P. Farley

This is the best parenting book I've read yet. I know that sounds extreme, and I'm only through chapter four, but I love the approach to this book and everything about it so far. I feel like I can never say that about a book or writer! There's always a clause, a caveat, some kind of disclaimer. Maybe it's coming. But the title alone speaks accurately as to what this book is all about.
It's about the gospel.
The subtitle is "How the gospel shapes and transforms parenting."
Discerning Reader gave it this rave review.
But let me tell you why I like it...this book proposes that all we need for our parenting instruction is in the gospel. The heart of the gospel, if it drives us, if it informs our theology, if it shapes how we think, respond, instruct, correct, and live life as parents, is our complete parenting manual.
I feel like I could take a deep breath when I read this. I don't need a new method, I don't need to adopt someone else's style, and if our home is gospel-centered, I haven't missed the boat because I was caught unaware of the elusive methods of Godly parenting. It's all there, in the gospel.
However, what we need is to dive deep into the cavernous depths of what the gospel is and means. If you grew up in the church, you may remember the gospel message, when delivered in a sermon or somewhere else, tuning out, thinking "Yeah, yeah, I know this." I knew it was life-changing, but I hadn't done enough "gospel realizing" as Tim Keller puts it, to let it begin to soak in. I love how Farley says we don't need parenting books on technique because we act out of our theology, what we think about God and ourselves, and that is how we parent. What we need is right theology, an accurate view of ourselves before a holy God, and an ever-deepening grasp on what He did for us in putting all of our sin and thus His wrath on His Son Jesus in our place...His infinite love and astounding grace.This parenting book is covering the fear of God (and what that really means), God's holiness, His grace...and I'll have to keep reading to see how he extrapolates these things to parenting further.
He also continually shifts our focus of parenting as eternal. He says "Christian parenting is the process of preparing our children for the day of judgment." Our greatest goal for them is regeneration, where God and God alone gives them a new heart that loves Him and fills them with the Holy Spirit, giving them the power and desire to do what pleases Him. There is nothing, NOTHING, we can do to regenerate our children. But He points out that God chooses to use parents as the primary medium to evangelize our children.
There's so much good in this book, I can't write it all here. But I do highly recommend it, and would love to hear your thoughts on it also.
I'm discussing it with a small group of Godly women, and our discussion was as fruitful for me as the reading. God is using this book and other things to continually bring us back to the truth: Our lives need to be totally Gospel-centered and gospel-powered. There is such peace and joy in this!

1 comment:

Mark said...

Excellent review, Jennifer. Bill is a friend and he would be gratified by your gracious and well-written take on his book.

Soli deo gloria.