Joel R. Beeke
Reviewed by: Charles R. Biggs
Parenting by God’s Promises: How to Raise Children in the Covenant of Grace, by Joel R. Beeke. Published by Reformation Trust Publishing, 2011. Hardback, 350 pages, list price $19.00. Reviewed by OP pastor Charles R. Biggs.
Joel Beeke, who serves as president and professor at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and is a pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has written a book full of biblical truth and godly, parental wisdom. It presents an overview of God's covenant promises and how they apply to our parenting as heirs of the covenant in Christ.
Beeke reminds parents that they must rely upon God's grace, not only for their own salvation and sanctification, but also on behalf of their children. Parents can have daily hope in using God's means for training up our children and for resting in his promises.
Beeke explains how parents are prophets, priests, and kings. As prophets, we teach God's Word; as priests, we mediate God's love and mercy; and as kings, we rule as servants over our home. This special emphasis on the threefold office of parents, drawing from our Lord's threefold office as our Savior, is the best part of the book. Parents should model Jesus in both their teaching and their lives.
This book is laid out very well. The chapters can be read in segments of 30–45 minutes. This might be a good book for devotions. It could be read as a study on covenant theology and its application to child rearing, or used as a compendium on biblical parenting.
The helpful topics include how to get family worship started and maintained, how to help our families prepare to worship and hear sermons, how to assist our families in sermon review, and devoting one's heart to Jesus. Wonderful attention is given to teens and how to assist them with wisdom.
This book is full of theological and practical wisdom. Beeke constantly reminds us of Christ and the grace that we as parents need. I will leave you with an important quotation that encouraged me:
Children are not looking for perfect parents.… They need to see in us an unwavering commitment to Jesus Christ, and unconditional love for them, and a strong bond of love for each other as husband and wife. They need to see a mom and dad … of whom the children can say: "My mom and dad hate sin, they love God, and their only hope is in Christ Jesus. They want with all that is within them to live holy and godly lives. I can see it, I can feel it; I know it is true and it is real, and I want to be like them. I want the God of my father and mother to be my God."
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