real encouragement for real homeschool moms


I have been wanting to get a book review of Shepherding a Child’s Heart up for a while now and when I saw what a great job Anne Sokol did of capturing my own thoughts, I asked her permission to post her review here.


One Mom’s Look at Tedd Tripp’s Book: Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Anne Sokol

For brevity, I focus here on my disagreements with Shepherding a Child’s Heart—its application of some Scriptures and its overall emphasis. My main concerns are these:

1. The book’s focus on requiring obedience as the primary component of the parent/child relationship and emphasis on parental authority as the right to require obedience.

2. Tripp’s teaching that spanking is the means the parent must use in order to bring a child back into “the circle of blessing.”

3. Tripp’s interpretation that the “rod” in Proverbs equals spanking, that spanking is even for young children, that spanking is the God-ordained means of discipline (which parents must obey) and that use of the rod saves a child’s soul from death.

4. His portrayal of any other style or method of parenting in a derogatory manner and training parents’ consciences that failure to discipline as his book teaches is disobedience to God.

These points are the heart of Tripp’s teaching, and while his book contains many truths, it does not communicate the full truth of gospel-oriented parenting, as he claims it does.

1. Is obedience the primary component of the parent-child relationship, and is it right for parents to mainly exercise their authority as the right to require obedience?


For several reasons, I see the obedience emphasis as a frustrating, and even false, paradigm for the parent/child relationship. The truth of the gospel is that my child will never obey me or God perfectly while on the earth. I, an adult, will never obey God perfectly on this earth. The essence of the gospel is that perfect obedience to God’s standards is only achieved by Christ—and in Him, we are free from this exacting burden.

So emphasizing obedience as the primary component of the family relationship, as Tripp does, distorts the gospel and puts our focus on ourselves and our sinfulness—not only because we will always fail, but also because our works are not praiseworthy; they are only acceptable insomuch as they are the Spirit’s work. The gospel focuses us on Christ’s obedience and His complete sufficiency for us. And the deeper we understand and accept that truth, the more we are transformed into His image (i.e., the more we obey). Obedience is the fruit, not the object. Obedience is our joyful freedom, not our punishable law.

Martin Luther wrote:

Therefore the first care of every Christian ought to be to lay aside all reliance on works, and strengthen his faith alone more and more, and by it grow in the knowledge, not of works, but of Christ Jesus, who has suffered and risen again for him, as Peter teaches (1 Peter v.) when he makes no other work to be a Christian one….

Then comes in that other part of Scripture, the promises of God, which declare the glory of God, and say, “If you wish to fulfil [sic] the law, and, as the law requires, not to covet, lo! believe in Christ, in whom are promised to you grace, justification, peace, and liberty.” All these things you shall have, if you believe, and shall be without them if you do not believe. For what is impossible for you by all the works of the law, which are many and yet useless, you shall fulfil [sic] in an easy and summary way through faith, because God the Father has made everything to depend on faith….

Now, since these promises of God are words of holiness, truth, righteousness, liberty, and peace, and are full of universal goodness, the soul, which cleaves to them with a firm faith, is so united to them, nay, thoroughly absorbed by them, that it not only partakes in, but is penetrated and saturated by, all their virtues.1

A better rubric for parenting is developing a loving relationship (which does entail teaching obedience) which prayerfully prepares a child’s heart so that it is favorable to receive the good seed of the gospel. Again, teaching obedience is one part of this. Tripp’s emphasis is wrong and his methods are limited—he claims that communication and the rod are the only “biblical” methods of discipline.

Second, on the subject of authority as the right to require obedience, Tripp writes:

Authority best describes the parent’s relationship to the child. (p. xix)

When your child is old enough to resist your directives, he is old enough to be disciplined. When he is resisting you, he is disobeying…. Rebellion can be something as simple as an infant struggling against a diaper change or stiffening out his body when you want him to sit in your lap. (p. 154)

Yes, loving parenting authority does require obedience, but the extent to which Tripp emphasizes this is mistaken. Though he mentions other aspects of servanthood in authority, his main thrust is authority as requiring obedience, and he goes to great lengths to teach parents exactly how to exercise authority in this manner. Tripp’s book makes this the main factor in the parent/child relationship in a manner that is not consistent with Scripture.

For example, God’s relationship with us as His children is characterized by many things other than His right to demand obedience from us. He emphasizes lovingkindness, rejoicing, longsuffering, compassion, and sacrifice. He meets our true needs, helps us to will and to do His good pleasure, has compassion on us, blesses us—and much more. Tripp gives little attention to how these apply to parenting.

We want to model the entire nature of God—not mainly God’s exercise of authority over us to command obedience. Communicating to my child that God can be trusted because He always is acting in wisdom, righteousness and truth toward us is the more godly path to obedience.

Again, Martin Luther understands:

This also is an office of faith: that it honours with the utmost veneration and the highest reputation Him in whom it believes, inasmuch as it holds Him to be truthful and worthy of belief…. What higher credit can we attribute to any one than truth and righteousness, and absolute goodness?

Thus the soul, in firmly believing the promises of God, holds Him to be true and righteous…. In doing this the soul shows itself prepared to do His whole will; in doing this it hallows His name, and gives itself up to be dealt with as it may please God. For it cleaves to His promises, and never doubts that He is true, just, and wise, and will do, dispose, and provide for all things in the best way. Is not such a soul, in this its faith, most obedient to God in all things?

In His dealings with us as His children, God does nothing like reaching down and spanking us each time we disobey. Sin has natural consequences, but God bears them with us, redeems them, and works in the secret places of our hearts transforming our beliefs and understanding about Him. Greater obedience results. His graciousness is not permissive, but it is very patient—training yet not demanding.

2. Does spanking bring a child back into the “circle of blessing”?


Shepherding a Child’s Heart
connects spanking with blessing:

The rod returns the child to the place of blessing…. The rod of correction returns him to the place of submission to parents in which God has promised blessing. (p. 115)

The disobedient child has moved outside the place of covenant blessing. The parent must quickly restore the child to the proper relationship with God and the parent. As the child returns to the circle of blessing, things go well for him. He enjoys long life. (p. 135-136)

The Bible does not support Tripp’s teaching that spanking brings a child back into the “circle of blessing.” Spanking is not endued by God with such spiritual power, nor, in fact, is a parent endued with the power to restore the child. Biblically, confession and repentance restore our fellowship with God and others. Let’s cling to this promise: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (NASB, 1 John 1:9). Tripp’s made-up “circle of blessing” teaching goes beyond what God says.

Also, the command to obey was given to the child. Just as husbands are not told to make their wives submit and wives are not told to make their husbands love them, parents are not told to make their children obey.
I taught my daughters to obey—starting when they were small—because I wanted their hearts to be sensitive and trained in the things of God. But teaching obedience is only one facet of my parenting.

3. Has Tedd Tripp correctly interpreted the “rod” passages?

Tripp teaches that the “rod” in Proverbs equals spanking, that spanking is even for young children, that spanking is the God-ordained means of discipline (which parents must obey) and that use of the rod saves a child’s soul from death.

God has commanded the use of the rod in discipline and correction of children. It is not the only thing you do, but it must be used. He has told you that there are needs within your children that require use of the rod. If you are going to rescue your children from death, if you are going to root out the folly that is bound up in their hearts, if you are going to impart wisdom, you must use the rod. (p. SACH, 108)

The rod … is the parent, as God’s representative, undertaking on God’s behalf what God has called him to do. He is not on his own errand, but fulfilling God’s. (p. SACH, 109)

Tripp’s use of Proverbs 23:14 (NIV: “Punish him [a child] with the rod and save his soul from death”) is faulty. Only the grace of God saves us from death and from our sinfulness. It is unbiblical to assert that spanking is God’s “means of grace” for saving children in any way. We diligently teach our children to obey, but spanking them is not salvific in nature. In fact, it is usually unnecessary. There are many godly ways we can teach our children to obey: by our example, by physically helping them fulfill our instructions, by meeting their internal and external needs, by teaching that choices have consequences, etc. God does these things for us as His children.2

The book refers several times to this conversation:

Father: “I must spank you. If I don’t, then I would be disobeying God.” (p. 31)

And again, “Dear, you know what Mommy said and you did not obey Mommy. And now I’ll have to spank you.” (p. 103)

In reference to the mother’s actions, Tripp explains that “the issues of correction transcend the present. All earthly punishment presupposes the great day when destinies are eternally fixed” (p. 103).
The conversation Tripp describes suggests parents who are controlled by a parenting formula rather than by the Holy Spirit: “I must spank you.” And linking earthly punishment to the day of judgment is a distortion of God’s relationship to us. As His child, my eternal destiny was decided already, because He punished His Son, not me.

As His children, He does not consistently punish us when we sin. He trains and disciplines us consistently but He is not obligated to punish us. By teaching parents that they are required to spank, Tripp teaches children (and their parents) that—contrary to the gospel—God does punish us consistently for our sins. Because Christ was punished for us, God is free to use whatever methods of discipline He wishes in order to train us and bring us closer to Himself.
Luther’s words are helpful once again:

When I say, such a Person [Christ], by the wedding-ring of faith, takes a share in the sins, death, and hell of His wife, nay, makes them His own, and deals with them no otherwise than as if they were His, and as if He Himself had sinned…. Thus the believing soul, by the pledge of its faith in Christ, becomes free from all sin, fearless of death, safe from hell, and endowed with the eternal righteousness, life, and salvation of its Husband Christ.
Tripp errs gravely in asserting that spanking is God-ordained, that God’s methods of discipline are limited to communication and spanking, and that parents must spank or they are sinning.

The book also lacks adequate attention to age differences and stages of development—a great aid in child-rearing. On this point, Sally Clarkson writes:

The unfortunate thing is that many parents, in the name of faithful discipline, do not understand the differences between babies or toddlers or young children or even teens with all of their hormones, and they exhibit anger and harshness toward their children, act in a demeaning way, while neglecting the cues of the child at each stage. These parents have no perspective for the children themselves–they use a rule and formula no matter what–and often wonder why their children do not respond to them.3

4. Is Tripp correct that any other methods of parenting are ineffective and disobedient?

Finally, Tripp consistently describes other methods or styles of parenting or discipline as ineffective and undesirable. This is a weakness in his argument because other godly methods of biblical training do exist and have been used effectively for many years.

For example, a daughter of Puritan parents, Mary Fish (1736-1818) writes: “They were very watchful over us in all our ways, and they had such a happy mode of governing that they would even govern us with an eye, and they never used severity with us at all.”4

These summarize several of the major errors in teaching and emphases that I have found in Shepherding a Child’s Heart. The book includes several good teachings, but the overarching errors concern me to the point that I do not recommend the book to parents. Those considering promoting this book and its teachings seriously should give these topics a lot of thought.

Notes
1 All Luther excerpts here are from Concerning Christian Liberty, Part 2.
2 According to Clay Clarkson, Heartfelt Discipline, Prov. 23:14 is probably referring to the use of an actual rod on the back of a young man (p. 56).
3 http://www.itakejoy.com/first-time-obedience-really/
4 Joy Day Buel and Richard J. Buel, Jr. The Way of Duty: A Woman and Her Family in Revolutionary America, p. 7
________________________________________
Vitaliy and Anne Sokol are missionaries in Kiev, Ukraine. Anne is a graduate of Bob Jones University. She is a doula, childbirth educator, and midwifery student. She blogs at www.birthinukraine.wordpress.com. They have two daughters, Skyla & Victoria. This article was reprinted by permission from the author and Sharper Iron where it was first published.

59 Responses to One Mom’s Look at Tedd Tripp’s Book: Shepherding a Child’s Heart

  • susan t says:

    Excellent review! Thanks for sharing. I tried to read it when it first came out; it was big in homeschool circles circa ’95, when we were just starting. I couldn’t get past the focus on spanking only. Spanking hadn’t been my emphasis for the first 6 yrs of parenting or for the 10 yrs in my girlhood that I had successfully cared for other families’ children. The book’s claims just don’t wash.

  • anne sokol says:

    another thing that really, really bothers me is how he defines obedience–without challenge, delay, excuse, etc.

    it is almost against the thinking way we have been made in God’s image. it’s like behaviorially training to obey without thinking.

    And in the extreme case, even Christ, in the garden, . . He didn’t struggle with obeying, perhaps, but with the hardness of the act.

    it’s a very spiritual-sounding, but not quite right definition.

  • Cara Coffey says:

    I have not read “Shepherding a Child’s Heart”. I am going to come from a rather broad perspective to share my heart on a book like this. I have certainly read some like it. “To Train Up a Child” and “Raising Godly Tomatoes” are the two I have been exposed to.

    I want to state up front that all of these authors are godly people. I do not condemn them. But what I do is take exception to how they are ministering. Obviously, they need to be ministering because the youth in this country is walking away from Christianity. Parents who desire the love of Christ in their homes are fighting a serious and very real war in this country.

    Quite simply….any of these books are not encouraging Christian people in the confidence they should have in personal ability to read the Bible, hear the Holy Spirit, and apply this relationship to everyday life with children, husbands, and wives. We get a formula in these books. But what is not understood is that the formula is based in the personal relationship these authors have with Jesus Christ. There is some sin in the grassroots Christians, too, but I will not go into that here. The sin of these books is the imbalance. And it is actively devastating families far and wide. If you would like to read my testimony and heartfelt plea for the United States, then please check out my new book, “Uncovered No More.” Let us pray for our country. I am not talking about the U.S. I am talking about our Christian country. We need it.

    Your sister in Christ,
    ~Cara

  • Elin says:

    About spanking babies, such young children do not understand the relation between actions and consequences so even if you believe in spanking it is completely useless. To a baby it is just ‘mom is hurting me’ not ‘mom is hurting me because I tipped over that glass of water’…

    I do not believe in spanking of a child any age but doing it to someone who does not even understand what happens is even more cruel.

  • Keri says:

    I loved this review. I reposted it on my website too! Anne said what I was wanting to stand up and protest when I was a younger mom and read this book. At the time I thought “This doesn’t make sense”, but figured they were the experts and must know better. Tedd Tripp takes parenting and makes it completely formulaic. Parenting takes time and effort for each individual child. there is no formula for perfect kids.

  • TealRose says:

    I love the review and I loathe books and people like the Tripps of this world. I am 56, and a grandmother, and I do NOT believe in hitting a child period. I do not believe either that Christ would hit a child.

    Spanking me as a child, my parents lost me – as I didn’t trust, love or respect them again. They never got that back. Even at a very young age, I knew that hitting another person was wrong. I never hit my children and they are fine adults.

    How anyone ever buys these books, or worse believes and implements anything in them is beyond me.

    Hitting is wrong. End of discussion !!!

  • Wendy says:

    Ms TealRose, you are wrong! God commands to use the rod. The issue is what is the wise way to do it. Sometimes we want the bible to say what we want it to say. I do disagree on spanking babies, that is abuse.

  • Jennifer Haltom says:

    Christians should quit defending people like Tedd Tripp and Michael Pearl. Just because these men claim to be Christians, doesn’t mean its true. Whipping infants is pure evil. Yes, I will openly condemn and freely judge these men for instructing parents to harshly abuse their children. Who knows how many thousands of children have suffered because of their wicked teachings. And yet, so many Christians wonder why they are “persecuted” for their faith.

    Yes, the Bible talks about the “rod” – in the OLD Testament. Christians are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament. If you disagree with that, then I can only conclude you follow all the Old Testament laws, which would mean you also beat your servants.

  • Elizabeth says:

    YES!!! Finally Christian homeschoolers who don’t twist and corrupt the Word of God to fit their own struggles and challenges in parenting. I’ve raised my children without the need for spanking. Now there have been days I wanted to spank but that has nothing to do with my children (they are just kiddos after all) it had more to do with my impatience and arrogance (sin). Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Laura says:

    I CANNOT fathom the huge emphasis in all these parenting books on consistency. If God were always consistent with us, we would be in BIG trouble.If the parent and child have a real heart to heart relationship, I think an occasional, unexpected dose of inconsistency-in the form of “O.K.,we all make mistakes and I know you will try not to repeat that one!” is a much better model of grace than the “I have to spank you because God is requiring me to”, or some such. If you ask me, we would all be better off without these books. Most of them-both on children and even on marriage- seem to take one or two verses and build a whole new theology around them, rather than taking the gospel message as a whole, and trying to apply grace as best we can, in these situations.

  • Debbie says:

    Being a parent of 23 years and of six children, some who are adopted out of the foster care system and working in the system as a social worker I have seen abuse and neglect. I seen the effects abuse and neglect has on the child, family and society. Some were due to substance abuse but some were due to the parent out of desperation to try to get their children to behave took the steps too far. What might have caused the child and parent to get that point takes some serious consideration in our current parenting skills. A young parent is told that she must nurture a child, being careful not to harm the child’s feelings and allow him/her to grow in ‘bath’ of love, acceptance and praise. While that sounds wonderful, a young parent soon finds out that the child they are showering their love and praise doesn’t know how to love or give back. They learn to take what they want and begin to feel entitled to their ‘needs’. While in frustration a parent may resort to spanking, something they never thought they would do and end up with regrets. If that same young parent was told it is ok to mold and nurture you child and teach them right from wrong and perhaps that may mean a spanking. A spanking if done correctly will not harm the child, will not cause bitterness or any of the awful things mentioned by the other posts.
    Let’s be honest to our children, they are wonderful, they need love and nurturing but you have to balance that with firm discipline. We have to teach our children the world does not revolve around them, we have to teach them to love, we have to love them enough to tell them no, many times. A young child will respond quicker to a quick pop on a diaper than any words of reason. At a young age, the child NEEDS to know his parents are in charge to feel safe. I do not advocate spanking a infant! but a toddler who is about to touch a hot stove and won’t stop at no, needs a quick pop on the diaper or hand before worse things can happen! I love my children enough to do that. I understand there are other methods, but I want my children to know his parents are in charge and as he learns to live within the limits of safety then he will grow up RESPECTING others, and know how to truly LOVE.
    I will agree there are some children who are not as strong willed and a simple NO! will suffice and I have to wonder if these are the parents of such a child who oppose spanking.
    I abhor abuse, I saw too much of it. But those who think a quick pop on the bottom is abuse should see the other side and not be so quick to judge. When we go to far on the other side then we have committed abuse as well.

  • AmyG says:

    I’m glad to know there are some sane Christians out there. In asking WWJD, it is difficult to imagine Christ spanking a baby for resisting to be held.

  • I have felt this way for a long time regarding this book. In “normal” evangelical circles, the book is recommended over and over again (once in a grade school parenting class and another in a class for preschool moms) . Do these people actually read these books-…we are such sheep-It makes me think that maybe another book needs to be written that can get on lists like this- Maybe I will write it!

    Cornelia Seigneur
    Author, Writer Mom Tales: Corralling the Commotion While Savoring the Chaos, Spilled Cheerios and Prayers of Real-Life Motherhood

  • JD says:

    I am a Father and I have been reading this book I am not done wit it yet but as for the spanking part You women are exaggerating it. I look at it this way Spankings are biblical but some kids behave quite well without ever having to use it. I too often see parents who are anti spankings who have little brats. Mostly from women who sound like most of you. Women I ask you to stop attacking biblical manhood. Far too often I see christian Women who are far more Feminist then biblical mothers and wives. You are destroying our boys. Because of your constant attack on biblical manhood they later seek non biblical “manliness” such as porn. Learn to let your husbands lead, They want to but every time ou nag and smack them down you push them away from biblical manhood. Your boys should be Fishing hunting hiking wrestling all at an early age. It is scary that most of you women would gasp if they saw their child shoot a gun at a range before the age of ten. Most of you would deter your 8 year old from skinning a rabbit after the hunt. When your at a couples bible study allow the men to speak and take the lead allow the Men to pray if no one is wanting to pray hold back unless it is something more appropriate for a women to pray about such as healing after a miscarriage. Never insult or chastise your husband in front of your children or anyone for that matter.

  • thatmom says:

    Wow, JD, so many thoughts, so little time. I am barefoot and in the kitchen fixing supper for my three men right now (Sadly, I am past my childbearing years) but will respond soon.

  • Micah Martin says:

    Wow, JD, as I man, I just shake my head.

    Before I respond, I want to know if your are actually willing to engage in Biblical exegesis and a civil dialogue or if you are going to be a coward like most patriarchs I know and run away after throwing a tantrum?

    Micah

  • JD says:

    That Mom You miss understand me I am frustrated by the blatant missrepesentation of what the book is saying and not having any context also the Secular views and trends that have infiltrated The Church. I found this site on accident by doing some extra research on this book. I do not agree with everything that the author states but as for Spankings he is biblically correct. As for your comment about being barefooted in the kitchen. I am not implying a chovinistic attitude or disrespect of women. After GOD a man must secoundly Love his wife then children before himself. That means he needs to be kind hearted tender but also a leader. I feel Men are more responsible for the decline in the family than women. They under GOD are to be the head of the family a role that is higher and more meaningful then a lot of christian women will give up but not what some power hungry Chauvinists say. Being the head of the house hold is about being responsible and loving for what GOD has given you and delegating your authority when needed just like in proverbs 31. Now I do not know the Women on this site but after reading some of those comments and knowing they did not reflect what the book says and the DVD cource work which I think does an excelent job at describing everything in detail. I reccomend you read and watch the DVD and make up your mind THATMOM instead of giving a free pass to what these posters said. I appologies to you if what I said came across as disrespectful. I am upset like most of you on here with the trend that the Christian family is goining. I am a passionate person and sometimes I come off strong. As for Christian men when talking to them I am far harder on them and am appaled by the Weak nature they expouse. I Think modern men find their man hood in trivial things and never stop being boys. Honor Chivilary and virtue mean nothing to them any more.

  • Darcy says:

    JD, you have a lot to learn about God, men, women, marriage, and parenting. A lot. Not to mention respect for your fellow men and women.

    I have a Egalitarian marriage. There is no one over another in our relationship. It isn’t necessary. We submit one to another in fear of the Lord and our relationship is a huge testimony that mutual submission, respect, and love is the way a Godly marriage is supposed to look. My husband is a trucker, a man’s man, a cowboy who loves to hunt and fish and build with his hands. He says a real man is one that isn’t afraid of or intimidated by strong women. He sees me as his equal in every way and encourages me to follow wherever God takes me. I am a born leader, a musician, a writer, a stay-at-home mom who is passionate about many things. I love my skirts and I love my boot-cut jeans. I fish and hunt and love camping in the middle of nowhere. I sell beauty products and love making women feel beautiful. We both lead our children and train them in the way they should go. Our kids are happy, healthy, wonderful kids. My girls are being raised with the belief that they should never let anyone tell them they cannot do something just because they are female. My son as well. They fish and hunt and shoot guns and ride their horses and they love it. My kids…boys AND girls…are being raised to be strong leaders in their generation, regardless of gender.

    You sir have a very narrow-minded view of life and gender roles. I don’t believe in role-playing. We’ve been given a life to live, not a role to act out. It’s going to look different for every person, every couple, every family. I would suggest you take God out of the very small box you have placed Him in. And don’t you dare put me or any of us in your neat little box entitled “biblical wife and mother”. You have no idea what that’s supposed to look like for me. For Karen. For any of the women here who have wonderful families, husbands who love them, and children who are the fruits of their hard work. Every time I read a post like your first one, I get down on my knees and thank God for my husband….who is a real man and doesn’t see the need to put others down to make himself feel better. Who doesn’t think his manhood is dependent on who is “under” him. Who is teaching his daughters to be strong women of God and his sons to be real men. Perhaps you need to meet a few men like him so your vision of godly manhood can be broadened to include more than hunting, fishing, telling people what to do, and skinning rabbits.

  • thatmom says:

    Darcy, I was getting ready to respond and you left me with nothing to add to your wonderful comment! After I read JD’s comments to Clay last night, he said “Ah, yes, one more comment to add to the husband appreciation program!”
    ;)

    I am curious, however, JD…do you believe that spanking is a biblical command and to not do so is to sin? If so, could you explain how you came to that conclusion?

  • Micah Martin says:

    Darcy,

    AWESOME post. Yes, not much left for me to say…

    JD,

    I would reiterate my question to you. Are you willing to actually engage in dialogue and prove your assertions from Scripture? I would happily engage you on this topic, and since I am a man, you no longer have the excuse that you can’t talk about theological things with a lowly woman! (Although, I would love to hear what your wife thinks of Darcy’s post, with your permission for her to actually think her own thoughts, of course!)

    Anger grows out of unfulfilled expectations. Is there is a reason why the majority of Patriarchs are just angry men?

    Ponder that for a while.

  • JD says:

    First off I would like to apologies I went to prayer after reading your comments and re read what I wrote. I allowed my own annoyance with what I still feel to be a miss representation of the book to get to me and I typed and sent before reviewing what I had written. Several comments I made at the start made it impossible for any good points to come out. After rereading I saw I came across very condescending and antagonistic. I apologies to GOD, You and your spouse for my brashness. You are Sisters in Christ and I do not want to insult you. What I was trying to relate was lost and came out a whole different way than I was intending.

    Darcy When I speak about a husband being the leader in the house I see it as a role not a level of superiority. It seems our culture equates a leadership role over another as unbalance equality. Husbands and Wives are equal under GOD but Men are still called to lead.
    This passage speaks of the oneness of a married couple: I Corinthians 7:3-4 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does
    As for leadership and The husband being at the head I know no better verse than : Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
    Titus 2:4-5 That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
    When I speak about Submitting this is not a card blanch for whatever, If it is immoral and wrong in GOD’s eyes Women are not called to submit to such things. As For our both men and women’s most important role that is to worship GOD and to evangelize. It seems that you and others miss understood what I was saying which was due to how I first presented it.

  • JD says:

    As for verses on the original topic.
    Proverbs 29:15 A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.
    Proverbs 13:24, “Those who spare the rod, hate their children.
    The Word used for Rod is Shebet Which was a Stick used for Punishing and correcting.
    Shebet is the same word used in Proverbs 10:13 On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks.
    Using a controlled level of physical punishment for disobedience of a child is in the bible and not sinful if done with control and without ungodly anger. James Dobson, Billy Graham and many other respectable Christian scholars see Spankings as biblical. There is a difference between physical abuse which is evil and spankings

  • JD says:

    Micah As I already posted after prayer and rereading I saw how I did not effectively communicate and that it was apparent without review I came across condescending which was not my intent. As for a Civil dialogue which you proposed in your first comment but then followed it with Suggesting I am a coward and then followed it up in your 2nd post making a false assertion and insulting my character by saying I view women as lowly I doubt you truly seek to have a “civil discourse”. If that was your intent I do not see it in the words you wrote.

  • JD says:

    Also Micah,
    My wife did read Darcy’s post and disagreed with her assertion that there is no need for the husband to be the head and lead. She Has also read the book and was also very annoyed with many of the misrepresentations of the book. As for your “cute” comment about her thinking for herself she laughed that off even though your comment was quite offensive and an attack on her even if you did not see it that way. My wife knows me and knows what I was trying to iterate to all you in my original post but also saw I did a lousy job at it in my first post. She does an excellent job tempering me. I am a very lucky man to have a wife that understands me and knows my heart. She truly is my better half.

  • Micah Martin says:

    JD,

    Here are some quick thoughts. You said:

    “As for verses on the original topic.
    Proverbs 29:15 A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.
    Proverbs 13:24, “Those who spare the rod, hate their children.
    The Word used for Rod is Shebet Which was a Stick used for Punishing and correcting.
    Shebet is the same word used in Proverbs 10:13 On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks.
    Using a controlled level of physical punishment for disobedience of a child is in the bible and not sinful if done with control and without ungodly anger. James Dobson, Billy Graham and many other respectable Christian scholars see Spankings as biblical. There is a difference between physical abuse which is evil and spankings”

    First of all “shebet” is used for all sorts of stuff in the OT. The one instance where we have an exact example of the “rod being spared, leading to death” is in the story of Esther. Yeap, same word… Shebet. There are some great studies on this. Instead of imposing our 21 century culture on it we need to get into the mind of the original ancient near eastern audience.

    Do you hit your kids on their back? If you don’t you are not following Proverbs 10:13 correctly. The word for back is back, not buttocks.

    There are plenty of other things that I could point out that put you in direct disobedience to your interpretation. For instance, the word for child is not a small child. It is the word used for pre-teens, teenagers or young adults. Dobson and company say that you shouldn’t spank after 6 or 7 years old.

    You talk about spanking in anger as sin. Again you are in direct disobedience to your interpretation of these passages. The Bible is repleate with passages of God punishing IN ANGER. Isaiah 10:5 records that Assyria (the nation he used to destroy the 10 northern tribes) was God’s “rod of anger” and the “staff” of God’s indignation towards Israel.

    So your entire last thought is in complete disobedience to your interpretation of the Bible.

    You also said:

    “Micah As I already posted after prayer and rereading I saw how I did not effectively communicate and that it was apparent without review I came across condescending which was not my intent. As for a Civil dialogue which you proposed in your first comment but then followed it with Suggesting I am a coward and then followed it up in your 2nd post making a false assertion and insulting my character by saying I view women as lowly I doubt you truly seek to have a “civil discourse”. If that was your intent I do not see it in the words you wrote.”

    Forgive me for insinuating that you were a coward. That was not my intention. Obviously you are not a coward because you responded on here. However, that does not change the fact that many in the Patriarchy movement are cowardly and do not allow dialogue. I would be happy to give you specific examples. I only asked if you were going to BE a coward. You presence here proves that you aren’t.

    You also said:

    “When your at a couples bible study allow the men to speak and take the lead allow the Men to pray if no one is wanting to pray hold back unless it is something more appropriate for a women to pray about such as healing after a miscarriage. Never insult or chastise your husband in front of your children or anyone for that matter.”

    and

    “You are destroying our boys. Because of your constant attack on biblical manhood they later seek non biblical “manliness” such as porn. ”

    I am sorry, but I consider that a “lowly view of women.” You are free to disagree but my opinion is not a automatic insult to your character. You should lighten up.

    You also said:

    “My wife knows me and knows what I was trying to iterate to all you in my original post but also saw I did a lousy job at it in my first post. She does an excellent job tempering me. I am a very lucky man to have a wife that understands me and knows my heart. She truly is my better half.”

    Ok, you just proved Darcy’s point. You just admitted that your wife “LEADS” you in certain areas. She tempers you! When she does that, that is none other than you submitting to her wise counsel.

    See, it’s not all that scary to allow our wives to contribute on an equal footing in our marriages.

    If you are really interested in reading some good books on this topic I would highly recommend “Families Where Grace is in Place” by Jeff Van-Vonderen and if you want a good book on spanking I would recommend William Webb’s “Corporal Punishment…. Redemptive Hermeneutic.” They are both easy to find, inexpensive and quick reads.

    There are plenty of other resources out there for further study.

    Here is a list of shows I did on parenting from a graced based or Garden perspective.
    http://ad70.net/pages/biblical-parenting
    (You might be interested in the rod show or the reversing the curse show.)

    I hope that opens the door for you a bit or at least get’s you thinking. I am very happy to see you stick around.

    Blessings,
    Micah

  • Eliza says:

    JD – Sorry I have to comment here…. I usually don’t post anything but I think my comments are important.

    I am raising three young sons and two daughters and I have found over the last several years of reading thatmom’s website that it is an uplifting and balanced read for young christian mothers especially those in the home school movement. You have thrown us all under the bus including many women who post here regularly as well as thatmom who have stated openly about their lives and it is not what you have described. You have made many false assumptions.

    Even though you say later that your words were spoken too quickly.. perhaps what you first said is what you really think — You insult us all quickly by asserting that we in our efforts, though of course never perfect, are failures – and it is the MOTHERS fault that our boys are destroyed..

    You say in your comments.. “You (meaning the woman who read this post) are destroying our boys. Because of your constant attack on biblical manhood they later seek non biblical “manliness” such as porn. Learn to let your husbands lead, They want to but every time ou nag and smack them down you push them away from biblical manhood. ”
    “When your at a couples bible study allow the men to speak and take the lead allow the Men to pray if no one is wanting to pray hold back unless it is something more appropriate for a women to pray about such as healing after a miscarriage. Never insult or chastise your husband in front of your children or anyone for that matter.”

    So our selfless acts of mothering leads to our older son’s sexual sin – really.. that is a big leap of faith there in the logic world. And Porn is sin– not manly behavior even from a secular standpoint. And you assume that we disrespect our husbands because you predict that we nag them and chastise them in public. These comments indicate that you do not have a very high view or respect of Christian Mothers, your sisters in christ.

    Also you think as a man you can tell me and other mothers across the globe WHAT IS APPROPRIATE FOR WOMEN TO PRAY FOR… you have got to be kidding. Show me in the bible where women/mothers are to pray for only appropriate topics.. what are you talking about…??

    You clearly have never been a mother. Mothers pray every moment of every day. They pray out loud, they pray with others, they pray alone. They pray for their husbands, their children and for strength to carry on day by day as they do one of the most important jobs in the world, a job that was given to them by God.

    “Your boys should be Fishing hunting hiking wrestling all at an early age. It is scary that most of you women would gasp if they saw their child shoot a gun at a range before the age of ten. Most of you would deter your 8 year old from skinning a rabbit after the hunt.”

    My response to your comment here is that If we as mothers didn’t gasp at a young child with a gun we wouldn’t be typical mothers. Mothers are wired to protect their young and keep them safe. However, the real error in your statement is that you have implanted your preferences of what you define as manly to the rest of the world. Hunting and Fishing is NOT BIBLICAL MANHOOD. These comments are your preference and they have no place in this discussion- THEY ARE NOT BIBLICAL. If my boys want to hunt, that’s fine – but it is not a passage to become a man of God. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds through the grace of God. There are millions of boys, men who have been raised by mothers (and fathers), godly mothers across the GLOBE who never skinned anything or ever saw a gun — they live in cities or in suburban places where that is not the culture. Let’s not think our cultural view of a “manly man” is God’s view of his child.

    I think that you have stumbled across this website for a very purposed reason – for you. Perhaps it will broaden your terms of definition – what is biblical manhood? How does one show love and respect in marriage? Perhaps it is for you to gain a deeper understanding of all God’s children and to meet some beautiful women who do their best to love God and their spouses and their children, boys and girls alike. I hope you continue to read the other articles on this website, they are fair and balanced and very thoughtful.

    May this conversation spur on new thinking in your mind and a deeper respect for the many mothers over the ages and even now who have tirelessly raised young people into the men and women they were to become, by the grace of God.

  • Laura says:

    Well, the mistaking of cultural custom and personal preference for “Godliness” is what gets us into sooo much trouble!

    Anyway, we all know you can’t be a REAL Christian unless you like to bond over iced mochas and go to garage sales…haha

  • thatmom says:

    Eliza, I so appreciated your thoughts. I am glad you brought up the insinuation that women are only to be concerned about and pray for “women’s issues.” I recently read Barna research that talked about women leaving the traditional organized church in droves because of this very attitude. And not a week goes by that I don’t either read a blog entry written by a woman or get an e-mail from a woman who is extremely frustrated that they cannot use their gifts within the body of Christ unless their gifts are diaper changing or potluck preparation. And we are talking very humble, gentle, conservative women, not wild raving bra burners. I am concerned at the future of the organized church given the shift further down the patriocentric path we are seeing. And these women aren’t asking to be “in charge” of men either. They are gifted and are being disenfranchised because they care about far more than praying about women’s issues!

  • Lighthouse says:

    The essence of the gospel is that perfect obedience to God’s standards is only achieved by Christ—and in Him, we are free from this exacting burden. I’m confused. Could you please give some support verses from Scripture?? thanks.

  • thatmom says:

    Lighthouse, since I believe you are quoting Anne Sokol, the author of the article, I am going to forward this to her and let her respond to your question.

  • Anne Sokol says:

    I think to answer the question, I will point us to Martin Luther’s piece, Concerning Christian Liberty. It’s exacting reading, but very worth the time to read slowly and ponder.

    “But you will ask, What is this word, and by what means is it to be used, since there are so many words of God? I answer, The Apostle Paul (Rom. i.) explains what it is, namely the Gospel of God, concerning His Son, incarnate, suffering, risen, and glorified, through the Spirit, the Sanctifier. To preach Christ is to feed the soul, to justify it, to set it free, and to save it, if it believes the preaching. For faith alone and the efficacious use of the word of God, bring salvation. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. x. 9); and again, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. x. 4), and “The just shall live by faith” (Rom. i. 17). For the word of God cannot be received and honoured by any works, but by faith alone. Hence it is clear that as the soul needs the word alone for life and justification, so it is justified by faith alone, and not by any works. For if it could be justified by any other means, it would have no need of the word, nor consequently of faith.

    “But this faith cannot consist at all with works; that is, if you imagine that you can be justified by those works, whatever they are, along with it. For this would be to halt between two opinions, to worship Baal, and to kiss the hand to him, which is a very great iniquity, as Job says. Therefore, when you begin to believe, you learn at the same time that all that is in you is utterly guilty, sinful, and damnable, according to that saying, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. iii. 23), and also: “There is none righteous, no, not one; they are all gone out of the way; they are together become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. iii. 10-12). When you have learnt this, you will know that Christ is necessary for you, since He has suffered and risen again for you, that, believing on Him, you might by this faith become another man, all your sins being remitted, and you being justified by the merits of another, namely of Christ alone.

    “Since then this faith can reign only in the inward man, as it is said, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Rom. x. 10); and since it alone justifies, it is evident that by no outward work or labour can the inward man be at all justified, made free, and saved; and that no works whatever have any relation to him. And so, on the other hand, it is solely by impiety and incredulity of heart that he becomes guilty and a slave of sin, deserving condemnation, not by any outward sin or work. Therefore the first care of every Christian ought to be to lay aside all reliance on works, and strengthen his faith alone more and more, and by it grow in the knowledge, not of works, but of Christ Jesus, who has suffered and risen again for him, as Peter teaches (1 Peter v.) when he makes no other work to be a Christian one. Thus Christ, when the Jews asked Him what they should do that they might work the works of God, rejected the multitude of works, with which He saw that they were puffed up, and commanded them one thing only, saying, “This is the work of God: that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent, for Him hath God the Father sealed” (John vi. 27, 29).

    “Meanwhile it is to be noted that the whole Scripture of God is divided into two parts: precepts and promises. The precepts certainly teach us what is good, but what they teach is not forthwith done. For they show us what we ought to do, but do not give us the power to do it. . . . .

    ” Now when a man has through the precepts been taught his own impotence, and become anxious by what means he may satisfy the law — for the law must be satisfied, so that no jot or tittle of it may pass away, otherwise he must be hopelessly condemned — then, being truly humbled and brought to nothing in his own eyes, he finds in himself no resource for justification and salvation. . . .

    “Then comes in that other part of Scripture, the promises of God, which declare the glory of God, and say, “If you wish to fulfil the law, and, as the law requires, not to covet, lo! believe in Christ, in whom are promised to you grace, justification, peace, and liberty.” All these things you shall have, if you believe, and shall be without them if you do not believe. For what is impossible for you by all the works of the law, which are many and yet useless, you shall fulfil in an easy and summary way through faith, because God the Father has made everything to depend on faith, so that whosoever has it has all things, and he who has it not has nothing. “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all” (Rom. xi. 32). Thus the promises of God give that which the precepts exact, and fulfil what the law commands; so that all is of God alone, both the precepts and their fulfilment. He alone commands; He alone also fulfils. Hence the promises of God belong to the New Testament; nay, are the New Testament.

    “Now, since these promises of God are words of holiness, truth, righteousness, liberty, and peace, and are full of universal goodness, the soul, which cleaves to them with a firm faith, is so united to them, nay, thoroughly absorbed by them, that it not only partakes in, but is penetrated and saturated by, all their virtues. For if the touch of Christ was healing, how much more does that most tender spiritual touch, nay, absorption of the word, communicate to the soul all that belongs to the word! In this way therefore the soul, through faith alone, without works, is from the word of God justified, sanctified, endued with truth, peace, and liberty, and filled full with every good thing, and is truly made the child of God, as it is said, “To them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John i. 12).

    “From all this it is easy to understand why faith has such great power, and why no good works, nor even all good works put together, can compare with it, since no work can cleave to the word of God or be in the soul. Faith alone and the word reign in it; and such as is the word, such is the soul made by it, just as iron exposed to fire glows like fire, on account of its union with the fire. It is clear then that to a Christian man his faith suffices for everything, and that he has no need of works for justification. But if he has no need of works, neither has he need of the law; and if he has no need of the law, he is certainly free from the law, and the saying is true, “The law is not made for a righteous man” (1 Tim. i. 9). This is that Christian liberty, our faith, the effect of which is, not that we should be careless or lead a bad life, but that no one should need the law or works for justification and salvation.”

    The entire piece, well worth hours of study, can be found here: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=LutLibe.xml&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=2&division=div2

    Or on an easy google search for “martin luther concerning christian liberty

  • Granddad says:

    Some background to set the stage for my question:
    I’m a grandfather with two kids and 6 grandchildren. Theologically I am very much a Calvinist. My daughter & son-in-law are relatively recent “converts” to home schooling (which I have no issue with) and with the parenting teachings of Voddie Baucham, et. al. They are very adamant in their support of this position. When they joined a Sovereign Grace church (again, I have no issue with this – I regularly listen to Together for the Gospel lectures) their parenting style took a direction I was not completely comfortable with. I’m in the process of reading Elyse Fitzpatrick’s “Give Them Grace” and I have a distinct impression that it will present a position different than P. Tripp and V. Baucham.

    Now to my question:
    I would like to hear what those of you who share my Reformed background have to say about the differences – if any – between Tripp & Baucham and Tim Kimmel & Elyse Fitzpatrick.

    I cannot put my finger on what is bothering my about Tripp & Baucham, but I sense that my daughter is taking their parenting a bit too extreme. I recognize that I could be wrong and just an old foggie grandfather.

  • Susan T says:

    I am going to be very general here.

    Paul Tripp comes across as more gracious in person & in his writings- more about being a gracious believer to show your child how to do it than Ted Tripp does in his writings which highlight directions for spanking.

    Bauchum should be avoided because of his hyper-patriarchal speeches, leanings, weirdness. He and his cohorts have very defined man made rules/requirements for outward behavior which they insist are straight from the Bible, often taken from one verse out of context, but which in reality are not possible in many parts of the non- western world And from which many daughters have escaped and by which many have last faith…

    Kimmel and Fitzpatrick are gracious and helpful.

    If you search any of these names in Karen’s search box above right, several posts will come up for you to read.

    I am sorry your daughter has chosen SGM..there are also blogs of many abuses there…

  • Micah Martin says:

    Granddad,

    Try getting a copy of “Families Where Grace is in Place” by Jeff VanVonderen. As you read through that you will start to see the differences of the two paradigms. “Biblical Parenting” by Crystal Lutton is another good read.

    As a former calvinist, it is my opinion that there are some very foundational flaws in reformed theology that lead right into un-healthy parenting paradigms. The problem I have is that Tripp, Bauchum, and even Fitzpatrick can’t see their errant theology on the larger scale, so they will always be handicapped when it comes to parenting advice.

    You can click on my name and go to my blog and read the post “On Building Houses” and you may see some fundamental differences. I am also getting ready to post some more about the theology behind typical reformed parenting paradigms and why it is fundamentally flawed.

    BTW, I have heard that when men reach a certain age their body produces more of the “mothering” hormone and less testosterone. That is why Granddads are typically gentler with their grandkids than with their own kids. I don’t think you are being “an old foggie grandfather,” it might just be a natural process. (I am only 33, so I will have to wait a few more years to find out.)

    Blessings,
    Micah
    Feel free to email with any questions: micahmartin5@gmail.com

  • Laura says:

    This brings to mind a request I have. Our home school co-op has been publicizing our big state convention featuring the infamous Voddie Baucham. I am biting my tongue because it seems I am always the one to rain on the parade, so to speak…

    I would say that our group is not terribly conservative, at least by Vision Forum standards… However, because of this, many are unfamiliar with the toxic philosophy these people promote and tend to just hear the “good” stuff ( if there is some there).

    Are there any concise, non hysterical articles out there that I could direct people to, if they express interest in “vetting” this man before going to hear him? Our group has many professional (past and present) women, ambitious and adventurous daughters,and free thinkers, and it beats me how people like this would swallow this stuff, but we seem to drop our discernment at the darndest times. I know I have before.

    Again, rather than just sounding like Eeyore all the time, I could use some good information to get people thinking. Thanks all!

  • Micah Martin says:

    @ Grandad and Everyone Else,

    I wanted to take moment to apologize for saying that Reformed theology was “errant.” While I do not agree with much of the Reformed foundations I should have used a word other than errant. Errant conveys the idea of heretical or damnable and I do not think any such thing about the reformed faith. I owe much to the reformed faith and consider it part of my heritage and I certainly consider the reformed world as Christian. One thing I have tried to keep from my heritage is the idea that we should always be reforming, and that we should continue to grow in grace towards others, especially those in the Body with whom we disagree.

    So I apologize and I want to thank Grandad for the gentle rebuke.

    I will try to follow up my thoughts regarding reformed theology, and where I disagree with it, and how it pertains to parenting, on my blog over the next week or so.

    Blessings,
    Micah

  • Sue says:

    Dear JD,
    I understood what you meant right from your very first posting. I see you apologized later. But in the same way the people did not understand the book, they also misinterpret your writings. All I can say is that no one is as blind as the one who does not want to see. I stopped reading at 20 Feb, because it all just goes in circles.

  • Marioara says:

    Great open-ended advice. I eceasiplly like #10. I have often calmed an otherwise hysterical baby that way when I couldn’t figure out what the heck was wrong. Both my kids really love to be outside, as I’m sure almost all children do.And, although it’s trite, I would truly say my best advice is:enjoy the moment even sleepless nights. It passes very, very fast. Not while you are in the moment of course, but now with my second child, I can’t believe how fast it’s gone. I am always trying to do better with this.Also, lower your expectations (with respect to meals, cleanliness, hygiene, productivity, infant sleep and eating schedule, etc.) low expectations is the key to happiness I heard that in a TED talk!

  • Andrew says:

    I am a new father, and have looked for some biblical ideas for parenting. As we know Proverbs are general wisdom, and not universal truths.

    So the main Biblical passage on parenting is the instructions from Paul: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

    So my basic goal is to comfort and teach the gospel of grace (through words and actions).

    Another important goal I have is keep my children in worship services and to avoid Sunday School classes that are overly moralistic.

  • Dad says:

    Eph 6:1- please read it because Paul tells children to Obey. In fact, we as a church, are to obey the word. If my wife does not submit, godly way, it is most likely because I am not loving her as Christ loves his bride. It is the Churches job to spur one another toward righteousness, how is it righteous to not help someone with their sin (point it out). It is sinful to be disobedient. Wives help your husbands lead and love you. Just as husbands should sacrificially love their wives. We help each other achieve these things and helping our children understand obedience (which is a fruit but also a discipline) is good. We do this with formative discipline. Teach your children so when they look at life they see it through the lens of the Gospel. When they do something bad punish them as God punishes sinful man (ie. Hell)? I use scripture in every facet of my children’s life but spanking a child, if used correctly and I know that is what Dr. Tripp is getting at) is extremely effective. Using it as a behavior modification tool is wrong and not biblical, but their is a price for sin and it was paid by Christ. Show your children there are consequences for their sin and that sin = death. So, spanking can be used effectively and biblically to show and discourage/combat sin. Not every circumstance needs a spanking but don’t throw out spanking because YOU think its wrong when it is explicitly stated by God to be a means of discipline with your children. God is obligated to punish sin otherwise he would not be holy, righteous or just. I want to be told if i was standing on the train tracks and a train was coming that I didnt see or understand. Take a ball bat and hit me to get me out of the way. The bat would hurt a lot but i would rather have that than be dead. Our job is to do that with our children and most times a push will do. You don’t always have to use a bat. (train=sin, bat=spanking)

  • Granddad says:

    @Dad
    I’m not sure I know what you’re trying to say with this statement: “Teach your children so when they look at life they see it through the lens of the Gospel.”

    Since the gospel (unless specifying a specific book in the NT use a lower case ‘g’) is the life, death, and resurrection of Christ and how, in that series of events, God’s wrath was propitiated for sinners I don’t understand what children are supposed to see about life.

    “God is obligated to punish sin otherwise he would not be holy, righteous or just.” In principle this is correct, but you seem to leave no room for grace. Thank heavens God doesn’t punish me every time I sin. . .that’s all he would be doing 24/7.

    “Take a ball bat and hit me to get me out of the way” How about, getting up on the tracks and pull me off the them. Or even push me out of the way as the train hits you instead.

  • I find it disheartening to read so many comments by people here who think they read the book that this post mentions, but whose comments show they are really commenting on their own biases.

    Sokol’s (4) statements about Tripp’s book are huge misrepresentations. She has apparently missed the main points and is making huge issues out tof small components of Tripp’s instruction.

    Want to know what Tripp really emphasizes? Here ya go:

    1. If you focus on outward behavior and miss the heart, you have failed totally. This is legalism and not grace. Out of the heart flow the issues of life. This is THE point over and over and over and over and over and over.

    2. Parenting is helping kids come to truly know the meaning and power of the Cross and grace. They must come to terms with the reality that there is a God in the universe and it’s not them (or us). And they must recognize their sin and turn to this merciful God through the gospel of Christ.

    3. There are many fads and trends regarding parenting that come and go. Just like fashion and music changes. But our authority is unchanging: The Bible.

    4. There are so many goals and objectives in parenting that are not rooted in the gospel. Raising “good” kids, who make good grades and get good jobs…is NOT a worthy enough goal. We want to raise kids who know and truly love and serve God. And you’ll never do this unless by the Word and Spirit of God you can get to their hearts.

    Folks, that’s the book Tripp wrote. There are many GOOD reasons why so MANY Christians find it SO helpful and biblical.

  • thatmom says:

    Dane, I believe this is the first time to visit here so welcome.

    I took some time and looked around on your church website where you are the pastor as well as your personal blog and have concluded that you and I come from two different perspectives on raising children hence the different response to this book. Though I did not write the review myself I agree with Anne’s thoughts.

    You happen to write about the philosophy of “first time obedience” on your church website so I wanted to share this article by Sallie Clarkson that I believe is quite good on this topic. Maybe it might help you see another perspective;

    http://www.itakejoy.com/first-time-obedience-really/

    It also might help you understand that my own belief abut family life involves putting all the one anothers into practice, including with our children. They are the genuine commands of Scripture that I see and thus believe we are to obey them in all our family relationships. Doing so require hard work and as my daughter has said demands “get off your butt parenting.” It also means that we will place our children and their needs first. As I read through your recommendations, what I saw was placing parents first and that troubled me. I would encourage you to read my thoughts on what Paul said to the Thessalonians about mentoring and discipleship and how I believe they apply to how we treat children.

    http://www.thatmom.com/2013/06/03/the-bibles-pattern-for-discipling-our-children/

    You see, this isn’t a matter of biases but rather a different (and I believe truer) way of applying Scripture to our family lives.

  • I certainly agree that a lot of people size the Scripture up differently. And I dare not claim to be the only person who gets it right all the time! I keep on growing and realizing that what I once was so sure about, that I actually had it wrong.

    By the way, my comments were primarily related to the book and the comments made about it. The reviews and most of the comments here really MISSED the main message of Tripp’s book. Plain and simple. That’s the essence of what I mean by “bias.”

    Please note again the four points that I made about Tripp’s book in my initial comment. Which of those do you feel are a misrepresentation of his teachings? Those comments were my response to Sokol’s misrepresentation of Tripp’s thoughts. That’s all. It has nothing to do with my opinions or with the fact that I’m a pastor or not a pastor, or married, or single, or gay or straight.

    Whether you agree or disagree with Tripp is your free choice. But misrepresenting the main points and heart of his book and parenting training is not good scholarship or writing.

    This happens when we bring a previously made up mind with us into our reading of someone else’s thoughts. And then we do not hear their thoughts but only our own prejudices in response to their thoughts. Again, most of what I read in the comments here sadly miss his intended meaning. That was my point. You and I may not agree, but we don’t have to misrepresent each other’s views. That’s sloppy and selfish at best…and dishonest and libelous at worst.

  • Granddad says:

    I have not read Tripp’s book so I cannot comment on whether or not Sokol properly represented him or not. But, as someone who has spent +30 years studying the Watchtower Society and how they consistently misrepresent Christian and non-Christian books and scholars, I am sympathetic to Dane’s argument.

    When I wrote my essay on Vision Forum’s Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy I was very careful to properly represent VF. What I have discovered, however, is that it is not uncommon for those who disapprove of my paper to misstate my conclusions and refuse to actually present a properly worded argument in opposition.

    Good scholarship when writing a book, essay, or blog comment is critical, regardless of your position on the topic. I have little tolerance for sloppy research, exegesis, and composition.

    If I felt like spending my money I’d purchase Tripp’s book and read it for myself. But quite frankly, I am so suspect of folks within the patriarchial movement I’d rather use my money for other things. May be a poor attitude, but that’s how I feel.

  • Dan says:

    As a parent I find excuses prefaced by stating the child might burn themselves, run into the road, electrocute themselves and so on unless struck by the parent to be rather ridiculous. If I am standing right there I can I can simply avert the potential accident. If I’m not I have to get to them anyway to avert the potential accident. Hitting them isn’t going to help either way.

  • anne says:

    I just noticed this conversation continuing, and I wanted to speak to Dane’s concerns that I have misrepresented Tripp.

    There are good and bad emphases in Tripp’s book. The original article I wrote about this book was over 4,000 words, so I had to cut down, and that was without a brief mention of what I liked.

    And here’s the deal: the “good” things Tripp mentions are mentioned in most other good christian childrearing books. So Tripp is not unique in those things.

    “1. If you focus on outward behavior and miss the heart, you have failed totally. This is legalism and not grace. Out of the heart flow the issues of life. This is THE point over and over and over and over and over and over.”

    Clay Clarkson (Heartfelt Discipline) talks about the same thing, but in a context that is much more healthy relationally. Teaching parents this while emphasizing the rod is pretty disingenuous. How are you creating an environment where a child can really be honest about what is in his heart when his parent has been trained that he must spank the the child, every time, etc etc. ?

    “2. Parenting is helping kids come to truly know the meaning and power of the Cross and grace. They must come to terms with the reality that there is a God in the universe and it’s not them (or us). And they must recognize their sin and turn to this merciful God through the gospel of Christ.” But Tripp teaches the exact opposite of what the gospel is. Strangely. The gospel is that we cannot obey. Christ obeyed. Christ was punished. Our “obediences,” never enough in themselves to reach God’s standard, flow out of overwhelming gratitude to this amazing grace.

    “3. There are many fads and trends regarding parenting that come and go. Just like fashion and music changes. But our authority is unchanging: The Bible.”
    Yes, but in Tripp’s interpretation, there are only 2 “Biblical” ways to discipline (soley taken from the book of Proverbs—???): to spank, to speak.

    As I pointed out, spanking as we know it today, is not ever talked about in the Bible. Caning a young man is.

    “4. There are so many goals and objectives in parenting that are not rooted in the gospel. Raising “good” kids, who make good grades and get good jobs…is NOT a worthy enough goal. We want to raise kids who know and truly love and serve God. And you’ll never do this unless by the Word and Spirit of God you can get to their hearts.”

    This is true, and really not original to Tripp. Read ross campbell, clay clarkson, etc. ….

    thanks for the interaction!

  • tm says:

    JD, I completely agree with everything you have stated. Darcy is part of the feminist movement and it is very sad. The egalitarianism is destroying the family. I’m sorry you have received so many critical responses. I am a woman and my desire is to please the Lord. As scripture states we are RauL in Gods eyes, but we have different roles. Our family takes the Complementarian view. My husband is loving, understanding and serves myself and his children as the spiritual leader in our home. I.am sad that “Christians” are misinterpreting scripture. Our God is a loving God and we need to follow HIS design of marriage, not the cultures. Grace and Peace.

  • tm says:

    Darcy, it isn’t role-playing…it is submitting to the will of God. Have you read Titus, or is that a book you don’t read because it doesn’t fit in your box?

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truth from the Word
"Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73: 25-26
Phillip E. Johnson says:
“When pressed in interviews to name my heroes, I have spontaneously responded that they are homeschooling mothers! To me, the heroic mothers who nurture the next generation of faithful Christians are among the leaders of the church.” ~ Phillip E. Johnson
John Stonestreet says:
“C.S. Lewis said that for every new book we read, we ought to read three old ones. But I think for every latest, greatest new homeschooling book you read, go find three old homeschooling moms and ask them what happened and what worked.” ~ John Stonestreet
Oswald Chambers says:
"If we simply preach the effects of redemption in the human life instead of the revealed, divine truth regarding Jesus Himself, the result is not new birth in those who listen. The result is a refined religious lifestyle, and the Spirit of God cannot witness to it because such preaching is in a realm other than His." ~ Oswald Chambers
Carolyn Custis James says:
“The power of our theology comes alive when we take the truth personally. Holding God at arm’s length—no matter how much theology we think we know—will never make us great theologians. We have to learn to write our own names into the plot. God will always be the subject of our theological sentences but our sentences are incomplete until we make ourselves the direct objects of his attributes…..Simply knowing a lot of theological ideas, no matter how orthodox and sound they are, will never turn us into great theologians. Theology isn’t really theology for us until we live it. Not until we learn to make explicit connections between what we know about God and the race we are running will we taste the transforming power of our theology. Fixing our eyes on Jesus means reminding ourselves of all that He is to us now. He brings meaning to our routines and energizes us to tackle the difficult tasks at hand. Fixing our eyes on Jesus gives us hope to offer disheartened husbands and hurting friends, and the wisdom we need to raise children who will fix their eyes on Him, too.” ~ from Carolyn Custis James in When Life and Beliefs Collide
William Carey says:
"Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter."
Tim Keller says:
"God’s love and forgiveness can pardon and restore any and every kind of sin or wrongdoing. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter if you’ve deliberately oppressed or even murdered people, or how much you’ve abused yourself… There is no evil that the Father’s love cannot pardon and cover, there is no sin that is a match for his grace." ~ Tim Keller
Tim Keller also says:
“The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.” ! Tim Keller in The Reason for God.
Anne Ortlund says:
“So what do we do to encourage them to grow inwardly, to become resourceful and creative, to think, to meditate, to lay the foundation for growing up well? Don’t push, but affirm them! Give them the sense that all is well, that their rate of progress is acceptable to you, that you like them just the way they are…..Guide them but be delighted in them. Let them know that life is to be reached for and drunk of deeply…..Enthusiastic, that’s how you want them to grow up! The word comes from “en Theo,” or “in God.” Support them with words of faith, hope, and love, and in that framework “in God,” they’ll be ready to tackle everything. Fears and cautions are built in at an early age but so is courage! Tomorrow’s world will be different if your child has been released to experiment, to risk, to lead others, to pursue righteousness, to be an affecter for good in society, to go courageously after God.” ~ Anne Ortlund in Children Are Wet Cement
J.C Ryle says:
"Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys, these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily, these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart." ~ J. C. Ryle in The Upper Room
Kathy Thile says:
"I say this gently, as the parent of grown kids, knowing *insert parenting guru* is also the parent of grown kids: we have wonderful children — he does, I’m sure — and so do I. But without even knowing his children I can know this about them: they are not perfect. They hurt. They make mistakes. They struggle. They are prideful and overly simplistic at times; and crippled by shame and hesitancy at others. Yes — they are beautiful examples of human beings, his children (I assume), and mine (I know.) But they are not perfect. If they were, they would not be human. If it were possible to raise children to perfection, then God would have sent a parenting method, not Jesus. Our marching orders are not to raise our children by a method to be like *insert parenting guru* children. Our marching orders are to be Christians to and with our children." ~ Kathy Thile
Clay Clarkson says:
“Many Christian parents, myself included, tend to speak to children as though they were Pharisees. We can speak harshly and with judgment, implying by our manner that their hearts are hard and resistant. But this attitude is not justified by Scripture. There is no record of Jesus ever speaking to a a child in a harsh tone. When the Gospels record Him speaking to a child, it is always with gentleness. Our children are not our adversaries. Though our children’s hearts are corrupted by sin, they are not hardened sinners who have made conscious choices to reject the Savior. Our children are simply immature and childish. That’s why children need love and compassion, not harshness and guilt.” ~ Clay Clarkson in Heartfelt Discipline
Tim Kimmel says:
“Grace can’t be some abstract concept that you talk about in your home. It has to be a real-time action that ultimately imprints itself in your children’s hearts. To talk about grace, sing about grace, and have our children memorize verses about grace – but not give them specific gifts of grace – is to undermine God’s words of grace in their hearts. Grace means that God not only loves them but that He loves them uniquely and specially. The primary way to give our children grace is to offer it in place of our selfish preferences.” ~ Tim Kimmel in Grace-Based Parenting
Chuck Swindoll says:
"You want to mess up the minds of your children? Here's how - guaranteed! Rear them in a legalistic, tight context of external religion, where performance is more important than reality. Fake your faith. Sneak around and pretend your spirituality. Train your children to do the same. Embrace a long list of do's and don'ts publicly but hypocritically practice them privately...yet never own up to the fact that its hypocrisy. Act one way but live another. And you can count on it - emotional and spiritual damage will occur. "
Anna Quindlen says:
“The biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less." ~ Anna Quindlen
Winston Churchill says:
“My education was interrupted only by my schooling." ~ Winston Churchill
John Taylor Gatto says:
"The shocking possibility that dumb people don’t exist in sufficient numbers to warrant the millions of careers devoted to tending them will seem incredible to you. Yet that is my central proposition: the mass dumbness which justifies official schooling first had to be dreamed of; it isn’t real." ~ John Taylor Gatto
Fred Rogers say:
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” ~ Fred Rogers
thatmom says
"The truth is that the way a marriage becomes truly heavenly is for each husband and each wife to pursue, really pursue, a relationship with Jesus Christ, to commit to obey the Word of God, to set aside each of their own agendas and paradigms, and then as they walk in the Holy Spirit, as they are sanctified, a little at a time each day, they will grow closer to one another. Godly wisdom will manifest itself in purity, peace, gentleness, mercy, a willingness to submit to one another, the fruits of the spirit, and no role-playing (the true meaning of hypocrisy). (James 3:17)" ~ thatmom
thatmom says:
"We need to approach our children not as character projects, but rather, we must see them with hearts of sympathy, with compassion and understanding, and with ears that listen. You see, homeschooling is not about lesson plans and research papers and standardized tests. Homeschooling is about building a relationship with our children, friendships that will last our entire lives on earth and clear into eternity. Homeschooling is merely the tool whereby we build those relationships." ~ thatmom
thatmom knows:
As a homeschooling mom, I have realized that everything, ultimately, is outside of my own control. I have learned that the unique circumstances that happen in my family have occurred because God’s plan is so much bigger than my own. It is knowing this truth about God and in experiencing that truth with those in my home that has enabled us to face past challenges and that will prepare us for all those difficulties that still lie before us.
thatmom says:
"Real books from the library, a tub of art supplies, being read stories rich in vocabulary, a variety of good music, the daily discussion of God’s Word and how it relates to the world around him, and the attention of a loving parent who includes him in all the activities of real life are the secrets to a great learning experience for children." ~ thatmom
thatmom realizes:
If I think about nearly 40 years of marriage, times the number of loads of laundry I have done for 2 parents, 6 children and 1 grandma, I am amazed to know that I have washed, dried, folded, (sometimes ironed) and put away roughly 27,526 loads of laundry. That is over 215,000 socks! Or, in that same amount of time, provided 38,324 meals for a family and sometimes guests. Or that I have overseen nearly 21,500 hours of education of one sort or another during that time. Just thinking of these numbers takes my breath away. ~ thatmom
thatmom says:
"Being a mom is sort of like being all the people who crowd into a basketball arena all at once. Sometimes we are the players, the ones who are responsible for everything that is going on and our presence is front and center. Sometimes we are the coaches, giving comfort and encouragement, instructing with a clipboard in hand. Other times we are the referees, no striped shirts required but whistles are a must to break up the disputes when the game isn’t played as per the rules. Still other times we are the fans, cheering wildly from the stands, shouting from a distance but not from the floor. And then there are the days when we are the cheerleaders, the ones who scream 'Yeah, you can do it.' " ~ thatmom
thatmom says:
“The beauty of homeschooling is building relationships within our families and inspiring our children to become lifelong learners, gently leading them into the truth of Scripture and trusting that the work we have begun will be brought to completion by a sovereign God who has a plan for building His heavenly kingdom.” ~ thatmom
thatmom also says:
“After parenting for 36 years, I have come to realize that all paradigms are basically a list of do’s and don’ts that someone has created. Instead of embracing a list, I have discovered that it is best for me to run all ideas, philosophies, and paradigms through my “one-anothering hopper.” I ask myself if the suggestions or ideas I am hearing will serve to build my relationships or will serve to tear them down; will they reflect the one-anothering commands of Scripture? I ask if they are a picture of Christ and His relationship with me as His needy daughter. If not, I am not interested, no matter how much appeal they might have for any number of reasons.” ~ thatmom
thatmom says this, too:
“The word wisdom is used in Exodus to describe the knowledge that the Lord gave to the skilled artisans so they could make Aaron’s garments for worship. We are told that these workers “were given wisdom and understanding in knowledge and all manner of workmanship.” I have never had to sew any garments for a priest to wear for worship. I have not had to sew any draperies or build any walls or prepare any inner sanctuary as per the Lord’s instructions. But I have been called to give all I can toward the goal of building up children in the faith, preparing children for life outside my home, children whose bodies, we are told, are called the very temple of the Holy Spirit, children whose job it is to worship in spirit and in truth." ~ thatmom
what does thatmom believe?
" What is thy only comfort in life and death? "That I, with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with His precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him." ~ Heidelberg Catechism
What does it mean to be a Christian?

1.We must acknowledge that we are all sinners. “For we are all become as one that is unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment: and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6) and “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

2.We are all accountable for our own sins before God. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

3.There is only one way to be forgiven of these sins and that is through the blood of Jesus Christ. “Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

4.If we confess our sin to the Lord and repent of it (not allow it to rule in our lives) we can be forgiven and be in right standing with God. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousenss.” (1 John 1:9)

5.Genuine salvation will result in living lives of good works but none of those works contribute in any way to our standing before God which is based solely and completely on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. (Hebrews 10:12) and “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5) and “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

6.We all, men and women, boys and girls, have direct access to the throne of grace because everyone who is a born-again believer in Jesus Christ is called a “priest and king” in God’s economy. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (I Peter 2:9)

I believe that many of the false teachings within the patriocentric movement are in direct contrast to these Scriptures and I would encourage each of us to first examine what we believe about Jesus and His work on the cross, its implications and its marvelous power.

Secondly, I would challenge anyone reading here to examine your own heart and ask yourself whether you have been trusting in good works….baptism, homeschooling, church attendance, modest dress, the list goes on and on, or if you have placed ALL your faith and hope in Jesus’ blood and righteousness alone.

And finally, I would challenge you to examine the teachings within your own church system, whether it is Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, etc. Ask yourself what your church teaches about ecclesiastical authority and family authority. Does it line up with the Word of God? It is a top down system that requires certain works in exchange for a relationship with Jesus Christ or do you have the assurance that you are saved for eternity by His death on the cross in your stead? Does it teach that the fruits of the spirit and obedience to all the one anothers is what our lives will demonstrate or is there a list of man made rules?

If you desire to talk with me about this, please send me a note to shesthatmom@gmail.com. My desire is that no one who visits this website will leave without knowing the glorious truth that we can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and can enjoy a life filled with His goodness and grace!

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Adoration of the Home was painted by regional artist, Grant Wood. The original hangs in the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. Ben Campbell and Lon Eldridge deserve extra cookies for writing, performing, recording, and mixing Mom’s Prairie Song for the podcast intro and outro. Great job, guys. Garrison Keillor would be proud.

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