Having my first child in April of 2008 has given me an interest in parenting books. I don’t remember how I discovered Voddie Baucham Jr., but I’m glad I did. I think he may be slightly extreme on a few things, but for the most part he’s right on with his book, Family Driven Faith.
Much of the impetus behind the book is Baucham’s desire to move parents from apathy to activism where their children’s education, especially their religious education, is concerned. Humanist secularism is being taught in our schools and, sadly, has also infiltrated our churches in many ways. Parents need to turn off the TV, get up off the couch, and take an interest in their children’s lives.
Since reading the book, I’ve been quoting Baucham quite a bit to the teens at church. One of favorite lines is this one.
Modern American dating is no more than glorified divorce practice. ¹
I don’t think the youth believe me, but I keep trying to make the point. There is another way to live your life as a young person who belongs to Jesus. We don’t have to buy into the world’s way of doing things.
I’ve also tried to make clear to them that there is a difference between virginity and purity. Staying “technically” virgin, is not what God desires. What he desires is purity, a much stricter standard.
Another line I like to quote is Baucham’s definition of Love.
[Love is] an act of the will accompanied by emotion that leads to action on behalf of its object. ²
Too many people in our culture, especially young people, have a complete misunderstanding of what love is. It’s no wonder, they’ve been taught a non-biblical worldview. They’ve been taught by movies, pop culture, MTV, and their peers at school. At one point Baucham says parents who send their children to government schools should not be surprised when they come home acting like Romans. He makes an impassioned plea for parents to take an active roll in the education of their children. He frames it in terms of the responsibility God has given to parents to oversee the upbringing of the children God has entrusted to our care. Most of the book is built on the commands of Deuteronomy 6 concerning the instruction of children in the home.
Much attention is given to the idea of home schooling. I know some people run the other way screaming as if their hair were on fire when home schooling is mentioned. They met someone at a church they attended who home schooled and the entire family was just a little odd. They don’t want to be that family. As someone who was home schooled myself, I think I can safely say that should you choose to take seriously God’s instructions concerning how we should live the Christian life, you will seem a little odd to the world. There is no escaping it. Most people are only sold out for things of this world, food, sports, tv, pornography, etc. If they encounter someone who is sold out for Jesus, that’s going to be different. If they encounter someone who is raising their children that way, it’s going to seem radical.
Baucham certainly pushes hard toward home schooling. I have no problem with that. I tend to agree with him that those parents who really want to raise their children to have a biblical worldview and not to be Romans, should run as fast as they can away from the government run schools. That being said, my own experience teaches me that home schooling is hard work. My dad often says that it’s not for every family. I tend to think that it should be, but it’s not because the parents aren’t fully committed to God themselves. If they were, I don’t see how they could send their children to public school.
Other aspects of child rearing are covered in the book. Family worship time is one such topic. This would be called family devotions by many people, but Baucham includes the singing of hymns alongside the reading of the Word. Catechism training is another topic he discusses. Most protestant Christians in America have abandoned the catechisms. Baucham makes a case for bringing them back, especially in the home.
While we did have a sort of family devotion when I was a child, it involved getting up very early to read one Proverb and five Psalms together as a family each morning. The idea of incorporating hymns into the plan is one that appeals to me. Many of the old hymns have great theology embedded in the lyrics and are memorable because of the melodies. What a great way to teach biblical truth to children!
Catechism was a word I never even heard growing up in a Baptist home. Having joined a Presbyterian (PCA) church in recent years, I have learned about the catechisms, but even here they have been largely pushed to the side as part of the past. I have discovered the great benefit of the catechisms for myself and plan to use them with my family when my children are old enough to know what we’re talking about.
Right now my daughter is only 8 months old, so we just sing a hymn, read a few verses from Psalms, and pray for her before putting her down for the night.
Discipline is another topic Baucham addresses in the book. I grew up in a family where discipline was part of life. My two brothers and I had a lot of freedom, but we also had a lot of discipline in our lives. One scenario he describes in the book though, brought back childhood memories for me. The child is disobeying and the parent is counting to three, or using the child’s full name to address them. The concept Baucham introduces here is the idea of first-time, or instant, obedience.
Our Heavenly Father doesn’t count to three when He gives a command. It is not a sin to disobey God when He counts to three; it is simply a sin not to obey God. And delayed obedience is disobedience. ³
This idea has completely overhauled my thoughts on discipline, both for myself in relation to God, and my children in relation to me. Haddie isn’t quite old enough to understand “No” just yet, but once she is, she’ll learn that first-time obedience is expected.
Baucham gave me much to think about in this book. Not only for the home, but also for the church. The idea of integrated worship, not segregating the children and youth from the adults, is one that intrigues me. I don’t think I agree with him completely concerning this topic. I do agree that the way we have traditionally done “youth ministry” in this country isn’t working. I am interested in integrating the children and youth into situations with the adults at church, especially during the main service, and even during the mid-week service. Sunday School I’m still open to age segregation. I think there is some benefit to teaching people different truths from God’s Word at different life stages.
I would highly recommend Family Driven Faith to all parents who still have children in the home. Obviously, the sooner you begin implementing these concepts, the easier it will be.
- p. 21
- p. 63
- p. 110-111