David Burrowes, a British member of parliament who has gone through a lot in standing for truth, reviews a new book on biblical parenting in the postmodern age.
There are many books on parenting by ‘experts’ who give us a bucketful of sugar to help the medicine go down. Ann Benton’s parenting book is different. It is full, not just of home truths but of biblical truths.
Ann does not pull her punches. She puts the spotlight on an age which seeks pleasure first; on parenting which dances to the tune of the recent hit song Happy with the catchy lyrics ‘clap along if you think happiness is the truth’.
The author is deliberately and faithfully going against the tide of a world-view about parenting. Some will find it uncomfortable and hard hitting but most will recognise the loving desire to reveal God’s truth about parenting.
The book is designed to be hands-on and it ends each chapter with ‘practical inferences and applications’ and further reading. It is a serious book which will probably not leave you entertained but will leave you challenged and encouraged. Ann reminds us that the Bible has all the answers and the model for parenting. She describes the Bible’s view of a child as worthy of the utmost respect – not a product of chance but made in the image of God; a child born into a system of care built around the Commandment to ‘Honour your father and mother so that you may live long in the land’.
The central message of Ann’s book and indeed the Bible to parents is that it is in the best interests of a child to be under his or her parents’ authority, obedient to them. The book does not take parents on a guilt trip, nor does it smother them with false comfort. Amidst a plethora of advice and tips from the great and often not so good, biblical parenting gives in Ann’s words ‘simplicity, liberty and joy to raising children’. It provides parents who believe the Bible with the confidence to be parents as God intended and as he modelled.
Ann has done a service for us all by putting firmly down on paper the standard of God’s infallible word against the secularist tide which washes into our family life. It is a gritty, real, honest and above all truthful book which points us to the best parent of all – our Father God.
This review originally appeared in the August 2014 edition of Evangelicals Now.
Parenting Against the Tide: A handbook for 21st-century parenting by Ann Benton is available from our friends at IVP and Ann Benton’s parenting course is available from our friends the Good Book Company.
See the double page interview with Ann Benton in Issue 3 of Conversation Magazine where she discusses issues including self-esteem, smacking, stay-at-home mums and schooling.