I was honored to have the opportunity through FlyBy Promotions to review “PARENTING 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family”. As promised, here is my review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul David Tripp is well known in Sunday school circles for his curriculum, including DVDs, that help people understand how the gospel of Jesus Christ is apparent in the life of the believer, even in a world that generally does not know Christ. To date he has also written 17 books on Christian living as well.
Paul was born in Toledo, Ohio and his life with his family growing up included a great commitment to daily family worship and regular church attendance. As with all families, they were not protected from the influences of the things in the world. His experiences made him eager to learn and teach true life application of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Currently Paul lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Luella and they have four grown children.
Paul is a pastor and a world renowned conference speaker. His credentials also include:
- Undergraduate work at Columbia International University where he majored in Bible and Christian Education
- Graduate work at Reformed Episcopal Seminary (M.Div)
- Graduate work at Westminster Theological Seminary (D.Min Biblical Counseling)
- Planted a church
- Founded a Christian school
- Wrote worship songs and toured with a Christian band
- Faculty member at Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF)
- Lecturer in Biblical Counseling at Westminster Theological Seminary
- Visiting Professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
- Executive Director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care
As you would expect from any of Paul Tripp’s books “PARENTING” is well written and constructed. This is not a “How To” book per se. Rather it is an eye-opening look at God’s plan for parenting.
The audience for this book is Bible-believing Christians and at the foundation of “PARENTING”, Paul presents 14 principles that can only be found in a Biblical world-view, relying solely on the grace of God to help parents to understand their calling. Paul teaches throughout the book that the key to parenting God’s way is understanding the blindness of sinners — both children and parents. He truly gets to the root of the problem which parents mistakenly label as “behavior”. When you read the book you will come to understand the real cause of children’s rebellion and misbehavior and that the behavior itself is simply a symptom of a larger problem.
Being a parent himself (all of his children are grown), Paul is not afraid to admit that he did not always get it right and his transparency is refreshing (pg. 15). Having grown children of my own I could really relate to some of the things that he pointed out as his own shortcomings. I am thankful for such honesty and was pricked in the heart often as I read this book.
Paul gets it! He has been there, he has done that. He even admits that this is not his first parenting book and was not at all excited at first to write another parenting book. But because of his experience and extensive counseling of parents throughout the years he found it necessary to share the clear gospel of grace and how it is the only thing that gets to the root of the problem and offers lasting results. He says: “Many of you are exhausted, discouraged, and frustrated, How about considering a new and better way: the way of grace?” (pg. 20)
If you have been parenting for a while and you find yourself as Paul describes, you need to read this book. It is full of experience, mistakes, examples and life application. The reason why parents are so exhausted, discouraged and frustrated is because we are so bent on doing it our way rather than God’s way. We forget that God is able and we are not. The fact of the matter is that “God meets people who humbly admit their weakness and run to Him for help”. (pg. 36) I have heard it said that God does not call the equipped, but He always equips the called. Paul says it this way “God never calls us to a task without giving us what we need to do it”. (pg. 37) And he points out that this is the story of the whole Bible and that there is only One hero in the Bible (of course that is Jesus).
Do not neglect to read the introduction “Ambassadors”, it is key and foundational to everything else written in this book. Understanding the difference between being an “Owner” and an “Ambassador” of our children is “radical and humbling” (pg. 14).
I was encouraged over and over again as I was reminded about the abundance of grace that our Father has bestowed upon us. As parents and sinners, saved by that grace, you have everything that you need to parent to God’s glory. This book simply wraps it all up in a way that is easy to read and understand.
Use Your Bible – I liked how throughout the book Paul prompts you to get your Bible and look up Scripture. Then he gives great commentary on what you just read and how it applies to the principle at hand.
Real Life Examples – Paul’s use of his own experience is refreshing and very appropriate. I especially loved the cinnamon roll story. I shall say no more, you will just need to read the book to appreciate it as much as I did!
Humor – As you would expect from such a great author, Paul uses just enough humor to lighten up what could be a very dry and/or painful area. He actually made me laugh out loud more than once because I truly believed he was reading my mind and my memories.
Advice & Life Application – Paul included advice and application at the end of nearly every chapter in this book. These are nuggets of gold!
Proper Discipline – Paul continually encourages parents to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ and Biblical instruction into discipline. This is the heart of ambassadorship and without it your children will not know how to make right choices outside of the protection in your home. I learned and have employed it as teaching “the moral reason why” — don’t just correct, instruct too.
Favorite Quotes – I wrote down so many of these that as I began writing this review I found the need to whittle it down some. Here are my top 3 favorite quotes:
“We can embrace our inability and not worry our way through our parenting years. Why? Because as parents we serve a gloriously loving and powerful Redeemer. He loves our children infinitely more than we do and as evidence of that love, he has placed them in a family of faith where the story of his love will be heard again and again.” (pg. 69)
“Your belief system or your worldview is always being exposed by how you parent those who have been entrusted to your care … It is important for all parents to examine the system of belief that shapes their moment-by-moment interactions with their children.” (pg. 75)
“Parents, if your eyes ever see or your ears ever hear the sin and weakness of your children, it’s never an accident, it’s never a hassle, it’s never an interruption; it’s always grace.” (pgs. 118-119)
NOT SO FAVORITE PARTS
I find it difficult to find some “not so favorite parts” other than to say that I regret that this book was not available when I had littles in the home. Now that my children are raising their own children I have every intention of sharing this book with them and encouraging them to read it — not because I said so — because I love them and want them to understand how to “radically change [their] family” God’s way.
I highly recommend this book as a refreshing new way to look at parenting. The book is available in several formats on Amazon. Click on the photo below to view and purchase your choice.
Giveaway begins 10/27/16 at 12:00AM and ends 11/03/16 at 12:00AM Mountain Time. This contest is no longer accepting entries.