Monday, July 27, 2015

The Ingredients of Family Discipleship

Tad Thompson, Intentional Parenting: Family Discipleship by Design (Cruciform Press, 2011). 108 pp. Paperback. $8.00.

Reviewed by Dr. Ryan McGraw

It is good for parents to read books on biblical parenting periodically. We need our minds exercised and our hearts stirred in the task of discipling our children. Intentional Parenting fulfills these purposes by its positive and encouraging tone and its challenge to make parenting a consuming lifestyle rather than a list of tasks.

The book consists of six chapters and includes study questions. The first three chapters teach parents the need for intentional parenting, love, and for seven ingredients of family discipleship. The most valuable point of these chapters is that parenting relates to who parents are and how they live their lives before God. The seven ingredients for parenting described in Chapter 3 include studying the gospel, biblical theology, systematic theology, the great commission, Christian living, and Christian worldview. His point is that without at least some knowledge of these areas, Christian parents will not be equipped to grow in Christ themselves and if they are deficient in this area, then they will not be able to disciple their children effectively. While counsel such as, “you must immediately commit to read the Bible from cover to cover in ninety days” (49) is overstated, the fact is that most parents are not adequately educating themselves in the truths of Scripture. If we do not know and practice the truth, then we cannot train our children in the truth.

Chapters 5 and 6 provide wonderful counsel on how to disciple our children through every area of life and to aim at their hearts. Thompson’s counsel is specific enough to be helpful and Christ-centered enough to prevent Pharisaism.

Above all else, Intentional Parenting will show you that you cannot be a godly parent without first being a godly Christian. This is exactly the kind of challenge that we need as parents. The author completes his task with winsome encouragement without diminishing our responsibility to get to work.

This review previously appeared in The Banner of Truth.