I am reading a book right now on parenting. I usually do not read books like this, not because I dislike learning about parenting, but because most of the books I have seen are flesh-driven, rule-driven books that fall short of sharing how to parent with a gospel-centered approach. My interest was captured recently when I learned about a book from Timmy Brister on how to parent with grace and the gospel driving your philosophy and approach. The name of the book is Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids With the Love of Jesus. It is a fast and easy read. This is a book that goes beyond giving parenting tips, it teaches you the gospel. Not only does it teach you the gospel, it shows you how to contextualize the gospel in different parenting situations.
Check out a few quotes from the book to get an idea:
In talking about the need for God to do a work in and through our children, instead of trusting that our "good parenting" can fix/change/save our kids: "There are no promises in the Bible that even our best parenting will produce good children. None." (59)
"We have far too high a view of our ability to shape our children and far too low a view of God's love and trustworthiness." (57)
"Raising good kids is utterly impossible unless they are drawn by the Holy Spirit to put their faith in the goodness of another. You cannot raise good kids, because you're not a good parent." (50)
On the encouragement and accolades we give our kids for "obeying the rules" or "being nice" they say, "Our encouragement should aways stimulate praise for God's grace rather than our goodness." (43)
"If a Mormon can parent the same way you do, then your parenting isn't Christian." (37)
On the issue of teaching our kids to flesh and fear-driven obedience, "Every way we try to make our kids good that isn't rooted in the good news of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ is damnable, crushing, despair-breeding, Pharisee-producing law." (36)
"Instead of the gospel of grace, we've given them daily baths in a "sea of narcissistic moralism."" (20)
You can tell from these quotes the tone and nature of the book. It gives lots of practice helps and examples to accompany the biblically-centered truths. At the end of the day, I want to be a parent that teaches my kids the gospel, through my parenting. I do not want to preach the gospel to them, only to then teach moralism and flesh-driven obedience. This book has sparked in me a desire for other parents to evaluate their parenting through the lenses of the gospel. This fall, I am considering doing a parenting seminar around this book. Let me know if this would interest you.
I would love to hear from you: Is your parenting grace-centered or law-centered? Are you teaching your children the gospel through your parenting or are you encouraging and celebrating the idea of their own efforts to "obey rules" and act like "good little boys and girls."
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