Those of you who are familiar with The Exemplary Husband, by Stuart Scott and The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace will be interested to know that Scott and Peace have teamed up to come out with a third volume. The Faithful Parent: A Guide to Raising a Biblical Family is the title of this new volume. As helpful as the previous two titles have been for marriage and family issues/counseling, this latest book is just as helpful.
The purpose of the book, as the title indicates, is to provide a guide for raising a biblical family. If this was the goal, then Scott and Peace accomplished the goal. This book is filled with biblical principles as well as practical examples of how those principles are played out in everyday life. This is a book that, as a parent, I benefitted from. And it is a book that, as a pastor, I will recommend to parents.
Scott and Peace set the tone for the book by providing the biblical basis for faithful parenting. maybe the most important point made in this section of the book is that “The goal for the Christian parent is to be faithful to God’s Word by his grace and for his glory. You see, in Christ we have the great hope that we can be faithful whether our children are faithful or not.” (4) They also point out that “faithfulness, not perfection, is rewarded by the Lord.” (5) This is a helpful reminder for parent, myself included. Theologically we would frown upon pragmatism, however we often become pragmatist looking for results in the realm of parenting. The authors do a good job of helping the reader to focus on faithfulness to God, and then to trust God with the results.
After providing the biblical basis for faithful parenting the authors spend the bulk of the book focusing on “the everyday life.” (chapters 3-8) In this section the authors dedicate a chapter to each stage of development in a child’s life, and provide very reasonable advice for each stage. For example, speaking about disciplining an infant, the authors point out that
Just because babies cannot talk does not mean they cannot learn to listen and obey. They are always able to comprehend more than they can express verbally. Because of this, parents need to teach their babies “no” from the beginning. (44)
This is just one example of the age appropriate advice that is found throughout the book.
There were not a lot of weakness in this book. However, two small items did stand out to me. First, the authors gave some excellent advice on the specifics of spanking, however they did not speak much on the issue of spanking (i.e. why you should do it). Not a big deal, but I thought it might have been helpful for those families trying to work through the issue. Second, and this is really “nitpicky”, at times the two author dynamic made the writing style a little clunky.
The strength of this book lies in its ability to deal with biblical principles and how those principles play out in everyday life. Some book are really good at bringing out the principles of Scripture, but they don’t provide much in the area of how those principles should change our lives. Other books are really good a providing lots of helpful tips, but don’t do a good job of using Scripture (these are more dangerous). However, this book did both, and did it well.