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Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting Paperback – September 1, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Gospel-Powered Parenting is a wise, enduring prescription for parenting because it is joyously biblical and comes from a pastor-theologian who has done it as his family wonderfully attests." --R. Kent Hughes, Pastor, College Church, Wheaton, Illinois

"Rock solid—profoundly grounded upon the all-sufficiency of the Word of God and the Gospel of grace. Farley is not going to give you theoretical platitudes; he is honest about his own deficiencies and his great need of gospel wisdom in parenting. This is, ultimately, a parenting book full of hope, hope grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ." --Douglas Bond, Author of Fathers & Sons: Stand Fast in the Way of Truth and Hold Fast in a Broken World

"Family literature purporting to be Christian is almost universally distinguished by well-meaning but impotent moralizing that effectively neglects the gospel by virtue of assuming it. Bill Farley pushes us beyond this, setting forth a parenting approach that is decidedly Christian precisely because it is informed and motivated by the transforming power of the gospel." --Art Azurdia, Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and Director of Pastoral Mentoring, Western Seminary, Portland

About the Author

Bill Farley is pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship in Spokane, Washington. He has published articles in Discipleship Journal, Enrichment Journal, Focus on the Family Magazine and The Journal of Biblical Counseling.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: P & R Publishing; First edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596381353
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596381353
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Farley (Bill) is the Pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship, a church he planted in 2002 in Spokane, Washington. He has been married to his best friend, Judy, since 1971. He has five children and twenty-one grandchildren.

Bill spent 25 years in the business world before turning to full time pastoral ministry and writing. He has been heavily influenced by Jonathan Edwards, the seventeenth century Puritans and many contemporary authors, such as John Piper, Ian Murray, Jerry Bridges, Rodney Stark, Mark Noll, RC Sproul and others. Bill's writing has appeared in a number of publications including Reformation 21, The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Enrichment Journal, Discipleship Journal and Focus on the Family. His first love is preaching God's Word and pastoring. He also enjoys traveling around the US lecturing on topics discussed in his books. For recreation he likes bicycling, spending time with his family and reading history and related subjects. Charles Murray, Paul Johnson, William Manchester, and Barbara Tuckman are some of his favorite historians. You can contact Bill at bill@gcfonline.org

You can also view his blog at www.williamfarley.blogspot.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
According to George Barna, there have been approximately 75,000 books on parenting published in the past decade. I sometimes feel like I have read all of them. It strikes me, though, that publishers must feel the same way and that, hopefully, they think hard before releasing yet another book into such a crowded marketplace. I at least wanted to give the benefit of the doubt to P&R with the release of William Farley's Gospel-Powered Parenting. And I'm very glad that I did.

The purpose of the book, as you might gather from the title, is to focus on the gospel as the most important power in parenting. It is not the parents--their efforts, prayers, hopes, dreams--that ultimately ought to shape parenting. Instead, it is the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the power that needs to be at the center of all we are, all we do, as parents. And this is exactly what Farley teaches through the 230 pages of Gospel-Powered Parenting--he shows how to apply the gospel to every aspect of parenting and, further, how the gospel is really foundational in all that we do as parents. We cannot effectively teach or discipline or care for our children if we ignore the gospel. This is the message of the book and it is one we, as Christian parents, do well to ponder and to heed.

Along the way there are a few things that Farley does particularly well and I'd like to draw attention to a few of these unique emphases. First, he focuses on the vitality of marriage as an absolute key to good parenting. One of the best things we can do as parents is to love one another and build a strong, healthy marriage. Where many marriages suffer as mom and dad increasingly give themselves over to the needs (or perceived needs) of their children, Christian parents must remain first and foremost committed to one another.
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Bill Farley has done the church a great service by writing "Gospel-Powered Parenting." He comes at the topic of parenting with a very solid biblical foundation and the wisdom of a thoughtful parent who has raised 5 children. For example, Farley asks the question--have you ever noticed that there are very few instructions in the NT regarding parenting? The reason for this, as he convincingly explains, is that although we as parents want techniques and tips, the reality is that the truths and promises of the gospel are what we really need in parenting our children. He writes about the necessity of new birth, the fear of God, discipline and the great need for parents to understand the character of God in His holiness and grace--and he does this in a fresh and interesting way.

I also appreciate and am extremely challenged by his emphasis on fathers. Think about children who grow up in Christian homes. Many of them live sort of nominal church lives, not too hot or cold, mostly lukewarm. Others leave the faith entirely and spend the rest of their days in rebellion against the Lord. Still other children raised in Christian homes grow into strong believers who are passionate about Jesus and live out their lives in godliness and wisdom. Understanding that God is absolutely sovereign, it's still necessary that we as parents ask: why is this? Farley's observation, and mine as well, is that the deciding factor is not education--public, private, or home-school. Instead, Farley writes, "The common denominator between success and failure seems to be the spiritual depth and sincerity of the parents, especially the spiritual depth and sincerity of the father." Parents, especially fathers, I strongly encourage you to read this book and think deeply about the gospel truths therein.
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Parenting is hard. It is a mixture of joy, laughter, tears, sadness, disappointment (with self and with your children), struggles, rewards, satisfaction, fear, worry, contentment, thanksgiving and a hundred other adjectives.

Parenting books and especially Christian parenting books are plentiful - all with advice, plans, schedules and more advice on how to parent `successfully'.

This is an interesting addition to the `Parenting' library.

Farley's main point is that there is little direct biblical instruction on parenting. And the reason for this is that the Gospel is (or at least should be) the tutorial that informs our parenting.

Farley begins with five assumptions which parents must hold - and then he unpacks these five assumptions throughout the book. The five are:

1. effective Christian parents assume that parenting will not be easy but that rewards will ultimately make it worth while
2. effective Christian parents are willing to hold God's sovereignty and their responsibility in tension
3. effective Christian parents assume an offensive mindset. They pursue their child's heart - they do everything possible to make the gospel attractive. The gospel is the focus and goal for the parent NOT protecting their children from worldly influence
4. effective Christian parents are shrewd about new birth. They do not assume it. They understand the nature of new birth and they carefully look for its symptoms.
5. Effective Christian parents labor to focus their families on God not their children.

There is much in this book which is not politically correct in our society today. For example he advocates the use of corporal discipline (spanking). And, he says, a spanking SHOULD hurt the child.
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