1.14.2006

Family



I just finished this great, quick-read book. I highly recommend it to anyone reading this! It's readable by anyone - short, each chapter is only 4-5 pages, and it's quality stuff by many of my favorite authors: RC Sproul, RC Sproul, Jr., Edna Gerstner, Elisabeth Elliot, Judy Rogers, Doug and Nancy Wilson, Jim Jordan, Gary Ezzo, etc.

Here are some highlights:

Sproul, Jr.: "Christians have manned the barricades in defense of the nuclear family.... we joined the battle too late. If we in the church can keep husband and wife together, and give them a child or two, we think we're doing well. Only a few generations ago, such was not a family at all, but a poor and lonely band of an almost family. We looked at families in terms of several branches.... Now we are rootless." pg 3.

Sproul, Jr.: "The covenants of God, even what some call the covenant of works with Adam, are filled with grace. But... we must remember that He has every right to impose this covenant on us." pg 9.

Sproul, Jr.: "John Knox was persecuted and had to flee to Geneva. When he returned to Scotland, the first man he ordained was my direct ancestor, Robert C. Sproul." pg 11.

Sproul, Jr.: "The family exists to fulfill the dominion mandate first given to our Father Adam and Mother Eve [Gen 1:26-28].... Did God create Eve to alleviate Adam's loneliness? Did God create Eve as a sort of playmate for Adam? God created Eve to help Adam exercise dominion over creation.... Marriage is not first for the romance, passion, and intimacy, though it can serve all these. Marriage is about dominion." pg 15.

Beates: "I am haunted by the comments of James Alexander, who, nearly 150 years ago, wrote: 'Our church cannot compare [regarding domestic worship] with that of the seventeenth century. Along with the Sabbath observance, and the catechizing of children, Family-Worship has lost ground. There are many heads of families, communicants in our churches, and... some ruling elders and deacons, who maintain no stated daily service of God in their dwelling.'... Do you know any heads of families who faithfully conduct daily worship in the home?" pg 31-32.

Beates: "J.I. Packer (in A Quest for Godliness) wrote, 'The Puritan pastor, unlike his modern counterpart, did not scheme to reach the men through the women and children, but vice versa.' For the Puritans, he said, the husband was the family pastor." pg 33-34.

Elliot: "When speaking to a group of pastors' wives, I learned that 80% of them worked full time outside the home. I was shocked.... If we look carefully at the scriptural lists of womanly responsibilities (1 Tim 5:9-10 and Titus 2:3-5), we may ask wheter there is time to do those things that are clearly the will of God when we have set for ourselves so ambitious an agenda." pg 59.

Sproul Jr.: "Our current problem is certainly not overbearing parents who refuse to recognize a change in their authority after the leaving and cleaving. Our problem is parents who refuse to counsel and advise, not meddlesome curmudgeons who demand their own way. Our problem is not tyranny, but abdication.... We need young men who are not ashamed to ask for help... We need patriarchs, men who will at once recognize the sovereignty of households, yet be quick with wise counsel to those of us still learning." pg 85.

Wilson: "A visitor to our church commented on something that struck him as uncommon, or at least more rare than it should be. 'The men pray...' he said. Too often the picture of men at church is that of the hapless drone, maneuvered through the doors by a pious wife. He is not exactly spiritual, but he is docile, and that is reckoned to be close enough." pg 87.



Sorry to go on so long, you can tell I liked it, AND that it's not exactly mainstream stuff. I think it's on the mark though, to restore Biblical living in families, as men, women and children of God.

7 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:24 PM

    Having known Pastor Beates and met both the Sprouls, we were delighted to find that book. Then I read it and it was terrific! I am glad that you found it too!
    Margaret in VA

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  2. The book sounds interesting--I'll have to check it out. One of the quotes brings up a question I had for you. Do you know any resources on ideas for Family-Worship?

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  3. This one looks good, especially the 5 elements:

    http://www.tobiasdesign.com/milieu/worship.html

    Here's an observation: we just started reading the Little House books with Grace and Owen, 4 and 3 yrs old. If they are interested they will sit for an hour or so as I read 60+ pages to them. There are some tedious parts - making food details that they don't understand - that they get restless for. But interest level skyrockets if I read dramatically and explain the things that won't interrupt from the flow of the story much.

    I think there's a carry over to family worship. There's a lot of sitting and listening that kids need to learn to do - hard for 4 year olds! But if they don't learn it at home, they won't get much out of church.

    There are times to make a tactical retreat and say, "Well, that didn't work." But we must get patterns of behavior ingrained in them that are against their nature.

    We've done best lately with Scripture memory. Grace and Owen both know short verses that start with each letter, A through L! You say the first half "Hate what is evil" then have one say it. Say it again, then have the other say it. Say the second half "cling to what is good" and have one say it. Say it again and then have the other say it. Do it all again. Then put the two halves together and repeat the cycle. If the verse structure is right it can almost turn into a chant, which the kids enjoy.

    Prayer has to be simple and short, but with varied content. (I find myself slipping into the same phrases often).

    Memorizing the Lord's Prayer, Apostles' Creed, Catechism questions are all feasible for little kids. Ours love the Q&A format: "Who made all things?" "God made all things!"

    An excellent Children's Catechism is here:
    http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/child_cat.html

    Bible reading: pick story passages that the kids already know from children's storybooks. This will keep them interested at first, and get them used to reading from the "big Bible" as our kids call it. Then branch out to other stories, parables, Psalms, etc.

    You have to start a bit slow; give the kids room to learn one thing at a time. But they can learn something new every 30 minutes, it seems, and it doesn't overload them. So load up their little minds with Scripture, songs, catechism, etc. This is Deut 6:6-7.

    Hope this helps!

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  4. Anonymous8:12 PM

    Corey, If you have little ones, like Steve does, and you would like a guide...Children's Ministry International http://www.childministry.com/
    Has great coloring books and lessons on the Children's Catechism. They also have family devotional guides based on the Shorter Catechism. I think they are a great resource!
    Margaret in VA

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  5. Sara, like you we've been fans of RC Sr and RC Jr for years. But what with RC Jr's defrocking by the RPCGA it's real unlikely we'll buy any more of his books or attend any more of his conferences. If we did otherwise it would just set a bad example for our children.

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  6. Rita, I'm saddened to see your comment. I wish I knew who you were. If you're connected to the website you linked to, I'm even more sad. They obviously have an axe to grind against RC Jr. I don't know the details, but this website certainly slanders him in public, with taking matters to the appropriate judicatory. Even if RC Jr. has personally hurt YOU, God calls us to not take vengeance by spreading this kind of stuff (Rom 12:17-21).

    http://dougwils.com/index.asp?Action=ArchivesByTopic&TopicID=44

    This link has been a good resource for an outsider like me, hearing bits and pieces about this debacle. And I still find things RC Jr. has written in the past to be of great benefit. I, for one, will not blackball a good teacher, even if there is guilt on his side. Lower respect in my estimation, perhaps, but not shunned.

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  7. I'm not sure what you mean Steve when you say that the hushmoney.org web site slanders RC Sproul Jr in public. First of all I think you should look up the definition of "slander" because your understanding seems flawed. Secondly the documents are public documents. So doesn't it make sense for them to be publicly released, especially since the RPCGA authorized them to be released? Thirdly as you've already admitted you "don't know the details," but then you say "They obviously have an axe to grind against RC Jr." If it's obvious then it's not real obvious to me. In fact it looks to me like they're just reporting the facts in a reasonable way. I've lived through a real similar spiritual abuse situation myself, so I know how tough it is to keep your cool about it. Given the situation it looks like Kershaw has done a pretty fair job of reporting the facts. The tendency far too often in these situations is to sweep it under the carpet because we're embarrassed when a Reformed minister misbehaves. But if we do that how are we any different from the Catholic Church when they just move a pedophile priest from one side of the country to the other, rather than exposing his sins so that others can be warned and not be similarly abused?

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