I read a book recently called Gospel-Powered Parenting by William P. Farley. I liked a lot of things about the book and disliked several things about it as well. There were some deeply profound truths in it and quite a few noteworthy quotes that I thought I'd share with you today. He does a really good job of laying out the gospel and it's centrality to our parenting and I thought I'd share some questions I've often wondered about and some helpful thoughts from his book on them:
Question 1: Ever wonder why there are so few passages on parenting in Scripture? I mean, really, when you look at how many pages there are in the Bible as a whole and how few texts directly speak to parenting, do you scratch your head? I have.
There are so few Scriptures because the gospel is the classroom that teaches us everything we need to know to become effective Christian parents. If we really understand the gospel and know how to apply it to our marriages and parenting, we have all the tools we need to pass the baton to our children. (p. 46)
And I love this analogy and have found it to be absolutely true...
I just watched the DVD series Planet Earth. One of the segments is devoted to caves. It opens with a man diving into the entrance of a vertical cave. The cave doesn't look deep until the man disappears with his parachute still unopened. (He didn't die. He eventually opened the chute.)
The gospel is like this cave. From the surface, it might appear shallow. But the more we understand it, the further we fall without opening our chute. It's depths swallow us up as we continue to fall. (p. 71)
Question 2: Is making sin a big deal and a frequent discussion in the home unnecessary or unhealthy? It seems a little "beat the Bible over the head"-ish to me...
Without the black backdrop of our sinful nature and its consequences (God's wrath), the gospel is a big yawn. Yet we are indeed in trouble, and the gospel is the solution. To those who believe the bad news, the gospel is the most wonderful news that anyone could hear. God so loved the world that he sent his Son to save us from the bad news... Christ came to save us from his own wrath. (p. 49)
God is gracious to enemies, not friends (Rom. 5:8). If we were friends, the "favor" would be "merited," and it wouldn't be grace. As we have already said, the more we understand our enmity toward God, and God's enmity toward us, the more amazing grace becomes. (p. 93)
Question 3: How about this one? Have you ever asked something like, "How can God be loving and wrathful at the same time?" It seems like a profound question until you think of it this way...
How could God be good--infinitely good in the way the Bible describes him--and not feel intense anger at sin and evil? Sin destroys everything it touches... Infinite goodness must aggressively hate everything that destroys happiness. (p. 79)
Question 4: How do I get my kids to behave well? Isn't my main goal as a parent of young kids to get them to "be good"?
"Virtue keeps more people out of heaven than all their sins combined."
In fact, reliance on our virtues is not a neutral issue. It is deep sin. It makes God angry. Why? Attempts to be "good enough" reject Christ, his cross, and his atoning work... If you believe all the basic Christian truths, but you persist in trying to get right with God by being good, you inadvertently reject the gospel. (p. 96-97)
Question 5: What does the perfect parent look like? What do I need to do and be to be the godliest parent possible for my children?
How should the grace of God affect parents?
It should convince us that our pretensions to parental perfection are futile. It reminds us every day that we cannot be perfect. We can't discipline consistently. We can't teach sufficiently. We don't love adequately. But it also emboldens us. It reminds us that God's grace is perfected in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9-10). (p. 101)
So our attempts to live the gospel expose our failings, which in turn amplifies our humility, which in turn makes us attractive to our children. The gospel is the good news that our children do not need perfect examples. They need humble examples. (p. 119)
In all of this, run to the gospel. Like your children, you are a sinner. For this reason Jesus died. You need a Savior. Run to him for motivation. When you fail, run to him for forgiveness. The Lord is "merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" (Ex. 34:6).
Through your failures, show your children what it looks like to live in the shadow of the cross. (p. 193)Have you read Gospel-Powered Parenting? Did you find it to be helpful?
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