“I am convinced that the gospel is sufficient to answer all our parenting questions.”
I found this quote on the first page of the introduction of William P. Farley’s Gospel Powered Parenting and was immediately captivated.
Really? All of them? A colicky newborn, a defiant preschooler, and a prodigal teenager? The gospel has the answers I need as a parent to deal with all these situations and more?
Farley submits that it does, and he does not disappoint unpacking how in this fantastic book. Honestly, this is the book I’ve been waiting for as a kid’s pastor. A book that never leaves the foot of the cross, and sees there in the gospel the wisdom and power we need to parent our children.
If you’re looking for a how-to manual, an index of sorts of how to handle specific and unique situations, this is not your book.
In Farley’s own words, “The emphasis of this book differs from that of many other Christian books on parenting. Most emphasize techniques. By contrast, Gospel-Powered Parenting will emphasize the parents’ relationship with God, with each other, and with their children, in that order. The emphasis of this book is that parenting is not primarily about doing the right things. It is about having a right relationship with God – a relationship informed by the Gospel.” –p. 51
He adds to that same idea later, “Have you ever noticed most books on parenting – Christian and secular – emphasize technique? … This book will take another approach. I want to change your thinking, especially how you think about God and yourself. If I’m successful, the techniques will take care of themselves. That is because what we do is a by-product of how we think. People change their behavior as their understanding of God and man change.” –p.69
4 things I love about this book
#1 Gospel, Gospel, Gospel.
It’s in the title, it’s on every page.
For example, Farley says that the fight against the world’s influence on our children will be won or lost based on parents understanding of the Gospel.
He says, “We change their hearts by teaching the gospel, modeling the gospel, and centering our homes on the gospel. The Gospel, rightly understood and modeled, makes Christianity attractive. Effective parents make the gospel so attractive that the world cannot get a foothold on their children’s hearts.” –p. 24
#2 Mom and Dad, it’s on us.
“God is sovereign, but parents are responsible. –p.22
And Farley really focuses in on dads, their presence, and their love of the Gospel. “When men abdicate, their children suffer. When men assume their proper role, parenting thrives.” –p.126
He continues “God holds fathers accountable for parenting because he has given them inordinate influence over their children. The Bible presumes, in the language of the Puritans, that fathers are a mirror in which their children look to out on their spiritual dress.” –p.129