Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Being a Dad Who Leads by John MacArthur (Book Review #7 of 2016)

Being a Dad Who Leads
This was once a free audio book of the month from christianaudio.com and I listened to it while shoveling snow in January. I don't think I'm the first to note that, in his prolific book publishing, MacArthur seems to get a little sloppy with his logic, facts, and flow. This book is relatively short, like most of his books, and is focused on fatherhood with a slant toward bringing up boys.

It is a pretty basic book, not a lot of deep insights here and even fewer personal anecdotes either from MacArthur's childhood or his personal parenting. Why not give examples of how he has led his family through difficult times or personal decisions?
Here is what I gleaned:
MacArthur begins by expositing Ephesians 5 and 6. Parenting begins with parents demonstrating sacrificial love for one another. The best parenting a father can do is demonstrating how he loves and cherishes his wife. In Ephesians 6, MacArthur reminds dads not to exacerbate (v.4) their children by being excessively harsh or unapproachable.

The context of Ephesians is the Roman culture of infanticide and exploitation. Romans would abandon children on hillsides, and later churches when it became clear that Christians would adopt the unwanted; or they would sell them into slavery or prostitution.  So, Paul is elevating the status of both women and children, despite modern feminist commentary to the contrary. Christians

MacArthur writes that TV is the devil and largely to blame for society's ills. He falsely claims that violent crime has been on the rise since television got into households (violent crime has been trending downward for decades). This is common in many MacArthur books and sermons, when he strays from the biblical text he errs into what he thinks must be true even if verifiably false. That is dangerous. "If you don't teach your kids to love your neighbor, the devil will teach them to love themselves." Share the Gospel all the time. Conversion and discipleship is a lifelong process of guidance and correction-- not a one-time rote prayer to "ask Jesus into your heart."

MacArthur also walks through Proverbs, pulling out the parenting insights there. He closes the book with a retelling of the parable of the Prodigal Son as a reminder that no son is too far gone to be forgiven. MacArthur has a sermon on the Prodigal Son that I consider one of the best I've ever heard, so the book ends on a real positive note.

In all, however, I give it about 2 stars. It is not very engaging, has the tangent on social ills that contain too many factual errors to be taken seriously, and is not very deep or personal.

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