Parenting by God’s Promises

Two books by Joel Beeke came out this month. The first, Getting Back in the Race – the Cure for Backsliding, is a little Cruciform Press volume, with very helpful, searching words for those who feel or know that they are sliding backwards in their spiritual development.

The second is a substantial, Reformation Trust hard cover: Parenting by God’s Promises: How to Raise Children in the Covenant of Grace. Originally notes from Sunday school classes taught on family living, the book begins not with dealing with children, nor preparing your heart as a parent, but with the covenant – God’s promises to His people. This beginning, echoing through the volume, gives discouraged parents hope, fosters humility, and gives much encouragement to weary parents: “He is able to bless our human efforts to bring our children to Him, using His Word and Holy Spirit to Himself”.

The second section examines parenting “in dependence on our covenanting Savior”; parenting as prophets, priests, and kings. To anyone familiar with the children’s catechism, this makes wonderful sense: we teach our children God’s Word because they are ignorant, we pray for them because they are guilty, and we rule over and defend them because they are weak and helpless. We parent to minister Christ to them – chapters 6-14 explain how to do this.

The last two sections offer specific ways to teach our children: teaching them piety, teaching them to listen, training their wills and tongues, dealing with sibling relationships, and a goldmine on helping teenagers. Typical of Beeke’s writing, the advice is fresh, kind, and peppered with quotes from the Puritans.

Including Cotton Mather’s parenting resolutions, study questions for each chapter, Scripture and subject indexes, and more glowing recommendations than you can read between changing diapers, Parenting by God’s Promises is something I’m planning on returning to frequently.