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REVIEW OF "FOR THE LOVE OF DISCIPLINE"(When the Gospel Meets Tantrums and Time-outs)

11/03/2018

FOR THE LOVE OF DISCIPLINE
(WHEN THE GOSPEL MEETS TANTRUMS
AND TIME OUTS)
BY SARA WALLACE; P & R PUBLISHING

I grew up in a loving home with discipline. I was converted just before reaching 21 and legal independence. I married a wonderful Christian woman and we began a family in a couple of years. Having children caused me to study God’s Word more closely on raising children—to the glory of God and to be happy, productive adults. I could recognize the Bible’s teaching that I had no power to give the supernatural “new birth” to my children—God alone must do that by His Holy Spirit. But I (and my wife) needed to be faithful in nurturing our children in the reverence
and instruction of the Lord. Knowing that we were to love and discipline (train) our children was not rocket science; it was clear and obvious to us from our upbringings and the Scriptures. But the devil is in the details Different stages of childhood meant different challenges. Prayer for wisdom was (or should have been) a daily practice.

Knowing that the home I grew up in was nominally Christian and moral, I also knew that my parents had not sought wisdom in God’s Word but replicated what they knew from growing up and living in middle class America. I realized that I needed to work at studying God’s Word and praying for wisdom as we went along in marriage and parenting. I studied marriage and being a husband and father and learned a ton. But child-rearing was like shooting at a moving target—it is always moving and changing. Just when you think you understand what to do, your children are at a new phase in life. The first generation of evangelical books on marriage and parenting were consulted with some real profit (James Dobson comes to mind). But then more theologically and biblically careful writers (I think of Tedd Tripp here) came along after my children were adults. I still read these authors with great profit and as a pastor recommended their books to everyone.

Now Sara Wallace has written a most helpful book showing parents (and grandparents who will humble themselves to still learn) how to do a better job of raising our children for their good and God’s glory. In 14 chapters she takes the reader through two major emphases: (1) how the gospel provides lasting motivation in times of discipline; and (2) the application of practical tools—how proper discipline really works itself out.

Mrs. Wallace has clear guidelines, great illustrations and is very practical. She has embraced the gospel or rather has been embraced by the gospel. Good biblical theology is never out of sight. I called her “Mrs. Wallace” because she does not write this out of her experience as a Christian woman and mother in isolation. Some of her best illustrations of putting the truth into
practice has her husband doing what fathers ought to do. Child rearing is a couples’ affair. Both husband and wife need to be faithfully and fully engaged if the job is to be done right.

I highly recommend this most helpful book on raising children to the glory of God and their good.

Steve Martin
31 years a pastor in Atlanta
Father of two children; now grown adults raising their own children
DEAN OF STUDENTS; IRBS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY IN TEXAS



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