The Gospel-Centered Family: Becoming the Parents God Wants You to Be by Ed Moll and Tim Chester is another in a series put together by Tim Chester. I started reading this volume over 2 years ago, but when I packed up my office during the remodeling and expansion it sat in a box for over a year. When I unpacked in the new office it sat on a shelf until last week. I realized that I only had a few (short) chapters to read.
“Families offer security, acceptance, safety, love. But they also can be places of conflict, defiance, suspicion.”
It fits the layout of the other volumes in the series: 1 page intro based on a story, some Scripture to read, about 4 pages of material and a page of questions for reflection and ideas for action.
It is a very easy book to read, and the focus is on applying the material. Their goal is to help parents see themselves as under the rule of God through the gospel. He has made His enemies into His friends, His own children through the work of Christ.
“Parents are to model God’s good, liberating, just rule in the way they bring up their children. We’re to show that it is good to live under authority.”
While we want to see our children confess Christ, we can’t make them convert since regeneration is a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. This provides us with responsibility and realistic hopes and expectations for our kids. The address the fact that grace and discipline are not opposed to one another since the Father disciplines us because He loves us. We discipline our kids because we love them. Often discipline is short-circuited by our selfish and sinful hearts. As a result parents need to live by grace too.
“The source of all actions- both good and bad- is the heart. And that means changing hearts matters more than controlling behavior.”
They remind us that children are a gift, something we forget when they won’t let us sleep in (or sleep period), won’t pick up anything, need new clothes etc. They provide some of the ways in which we can help our kids enjoy being in our families.
They move to a section about being a Word-centered family. We learn about grace from the Word. This also means we teach children to sort out the other voices they hear- friends, media etc. We also teach them to pray the Word.
“A family that’s turned inwards is not a gospel-centered family.”
The major contribution and what may be a big rebuke to many families is being a mission-centered family. Too many families are essentially ingrown (like churches). They idolize family instead of seeing family w/in the context of Genesis 1-2 and the creation mandate a.k.a mission. Instead of protecting your family through isolation, invite people into your family events, serve as a family, reach out as a family.
All in all this is a helpful little volume that many will find helpful.