I was recently sent a review copy of Israel Wayne's book 'Full Time Parenting'. I told him it was foolish to let me review his book, but he insisted :)
The book is obviously of interest to us here on True Love Doesn't Wait, since we are so wrapped up in the various aspects of family life, including parenting. We do hold that all couples should be open to having children, but that doesn't mean we don't also believe they should raise those children in Godliness. So a book on that is, obviously, very relevant.
Let me start my review by saying that I think the overwhelming majority of modern parents will have their parenting improve several fold if they were to read and follow the guidance in this book. When I say I am disappointed in it I am saying nothing against that. Most of the criticisms I level are of the form, "... but it would have been better if..."
This made a lot of sense to me
Proverbs 2:1-6 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
One of the problems when a lifelong Christian starts speaking is that they take their Christian upbringing for granted. Thus they will say things like, "This makes a lot of sense to me". (Proper Nutrition) This is a problem not because what they say isn't true, or doesn't make sense to me, but because it is a weak reed to rely on. The reader will read this book and then another book with a completely opposite message, and find both of them talking about what 'makes a lot of sense' to the author.
Missing in Action
Missing in Action
But a Christian should bring a lot more to the table than any mere author. The Christian should bring not just his wisdom to the table, but the wisdom of God. And I believe that Mr. Wayne does... but he does not do so overtly. Many of his ideas, passages, and chapters are derived from the wisdom of God, but he does not make that clear. He does not do the necessary linking and even exegesis to show his readers how he is speaking, or at least explaining, God's words not his own.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
Mr. Wayne suggests that families 'ease in' to the idea of, say, daily family worship. I cannot agree, either practically or Scripturally. First of all, it is never right to do the wrong thing. So if daily worship is a Biblical concept (and it is) then failing to do it is wrong, and no 'easing in' is proper.
But secondly, and this is what we see in Scripture even in such stories as Nineveh, true repentance and change is truly done when it is done truly. The father who has failed to insitutute daily family worship will be better off spending the first couple of sessions, full long sessions, fully explaining what he has done wrong and what they will be doing in the future than just kind of quietly 'easing in' his family to longer and longer unexplained times.
Like Nineveh there are times when we need to sit around in sackcloth and ashes. All of us.
Finding a Virtuous Wife
A particular nitpick of mine, which leapt out at me because I write on this subject: Mr. Wayne says that Proverbs 31 is about a 'Mother teaching her son how to find a virtuous wife'. This is false on several levels.
It is a mother, that is true. But there is nothing about 'how to find'. In fact the text specifically denies this. It literally says 'who can find?'. It literally denies that such a wife is 'find-able'. And we read elsewhere in Proverbs why: it is only God who can provide such a wife.
And there is nothing to indicate that the mother is telling the son to do the finding! There is nothing to indicate any 'who' in the finding.
What the text is about is what that wife will end up looking like after years of marriage. What the 'end result' of marriage to a virtuous wife will be.
Why children leave the faith
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
One chapter in this book seems literally contradictory. In the chapter on why children leave the faith Mr. Wayne speaks of families who 'seemed to do everything right'. He then proceeds through the chapter and lists things that they did wrong. If they visibly did these things wrong, and their children left as a result, then they don't seem to be the families he promised to talk about. But if they did these things wrong, and he didn't see it, then how does he know these things happened and were the cause of the loss of these children?
Successful handoff into adulthood
Jeremiah 35:18-19 And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.
Here is one area where I believe Mr. Wayne departs dramatically from what Scripture teaches. The 'baton' analogy is simply not at all Scripural, the 'pass off' is simply not what Scripture teaches. There is no such thing, in Scripture, as an 'adulthood' where the 'baton has been passed'. There is, instead, a vision of multi-generational patriarchy: of arrows that, even as they leave the quiver and the bow, take aim on the enemies of the father, and do his will. Of sons, sent out into the world so that they can bring that world under the authority of their father.
The missing chapter
This book is dramatically missing a chapter. The chapter on finding your son a wife, of giving your daughter to a husband, of seeing your children's children, the crown of your old age. And of teaching that.
Readers of our site should find plenty to read about that here, though.
The final chapter
The final chapter in this book is almost excellent. Indeed I think everything that is needed is there, I just miss the tying together.
The final chapter is all about 'Grace'. Of how, even when everything is done wrong, God is still capable of bring blessing. And that is very, very true. But it is only half the truth.
We need to remember Paul's curse on those who would sin 'that grace might abound'. That we are called to obedience, even when saved by grace. It think that ties together both of this threads, and indeed his whole book.
We as father's are called to do most (albeit not all) of the things in Mr. Wayne's excellent book. And, indeed, we are called to more. And God promises blessings on those who raise their children 'in the nurture and admonition of the Lord', which includes so much of what Mr. Wayne teaches in this book.
And God speaks of His Grace, which can take even those lost in sin, dead in trespasses, having been raised to serve the evil in the world... and save them. And bring them out from darkness into light.
I end where I started: this is a good book. It is not the great book I think Mr. Wayne capable of, but it is a good book. A good book with some flaws. I would encourage the father who buys this book to read it with Bible and notebook in hand. (If you don't have three hands, feel free to use a table.) And then, as he reads each line, to ask himself how that accords with Scripture? What Scripture adds to or subtracts from what was said. What examples Scripture gives of this... or what counter examples?But I do recommend the book..