Recently, I just finished reading a very helpful and inciteful book on parenting entitled, Save Them From Secularism: Pre-Evangelism for your Children by David de Bruyn. This is perhaps the best book on parenting I have read. It is not necessarily a methodology for parenting. It is a philosophical treatment of parenting.
De Bruyn seeks to target how a parent can prepare his/her child for the gospel. “It’s a book about shaping their attitude towards the gospel” (p5). The secularism that is so prevalent in today’s culture must be recognized and addressed by Christian parents today. We cannot mindlessly and blindly imbibe what the ungodly world around us is putting forth. There must be serious discernment on the part of the parent with regards to what is allowed into the home and what philosophy he/she follows in parenting.
“The first and greatest commandment is followed by a commandment to teach children to do the same (Deut 6:4-9). Our goal as Christian parents should be nothing less than to help shape our children so that they will, by grace, become ardent lovers of God” (p15). So begins the second chapter entitled “Parental Piety” in which the author challenges parents to live out the truths of the gospel and this first commandment, as it will teach their young children what love is, who God is, and what the gospel is. This helps shape our children’s imaginations about spiritual things, even before they will understand the facts of the gospel. The third chapter, “Family Roles” continues that line of thinking as well.
In family life, there is the seemingly never-ending cycle of life, full of routine and the “mundane” aspects of daily living. Yet even our routines help to shape the minds and hearts of our young children, and can prepare the soil of their hearts to receive the truth of the gospel. These routines and rituals are all shaping influences. These, coupled with other things like teaching our children manners trains them to think outside of themselves, and respect other people, while living with a sense of decorum and self-control in the sight of God. Those are the subjects of chapters 4-6.
Other shaping influences should be considered in the home as well. The author deals with things such as “Art” (chapter 7), “The Christian Tradition” (chapter 8), and “Language, Thinking and Christian Education” (chapter 9) before drawing some final conclusions (chapter 10). While nothing is discussed to the lengths they could be, every subject is broached in such a manner as to raise the issues in the reader’s minds. Parents must not blindly accept the secular mindset of our culture, but must purposefully live a distinct Christian life. This is not mere externalism, but allowing the gospel itself to shape everything in our home, from our affections to our activities.
Of particular interest to me is his treatment of our view of the Lord’s Day.
In small and great ways, Sunday worship is shaping the religious imaginations of our children. What we do before and after corporate worship, how we worship, how we approach it, how we sit, how we sing, how we talk in the car on the way there and on the way home – all of this tells a child how we should imagine God (p37).
He addresses our preparation for worship, our dress in worship, our activity in worship, and our response to worship. How a Christian parent deals with each of these things will help or hinder a child’s view of God and ultimately their view of the gospel, and can be a contributing factor to whether or not that child will leave the church or continue in its teaching when he/she grows up.
While more could be said, I commend this book to any parent. However, for those parents of young children, I highly commend this book. If you have older children, the book is still helpful and can help you rethink issues of life and to adjust your thinking to perhaps lead your family in a better way than has been done in the past. No parent is guaranteed godly children who love God supremely. However, all Christian parents are responsible to strive to lead their children into the proper view of the gospel. The child must still submit to and obey the gospel himself, but the parents must be faithful in their responsibility to do what they can to save their child from swallowing the secular mindset. May God give us grace to re-evaluate our thinking and our actions in these regards, for the glory of God.