I just finished my second book of 2009. And no, I am not a speed-reader. I was already on Chapter 4 in 2008 so I didn't have too much more to read.
While talking to Matt about some of my initial thoughts, he mentioned that someone from Nine Marks provided an excellent, well-balanced review. You can check that out here. And while I recognize that I'm no Tim Challies, I wanted to offer my reveiw of this book.
As much as I enjoyed the provoking nature of "Family Driven Faith", I felt along the way that something was just a little "off". I'm a parent who desires to disciple my children, yet I felt all the more encouraged to take hold of this God-given responsibility. Mr. Baucham comes alongside the reader, offering great suggestions and practical ways to put new habits into practice.
Perhaps I missed something, but what seemed to be lacking was a gospel connection between my failures as a parent and the hope for change. Mr. Baucham was extremely humble in sharing his weaknesses and failings as a parent in discipling his children - and it seemed that over time he developed convictions about the role of family, changed his priorities, and implemented a plan for change. This is commendable and I am sure his family is reaping much fruit as a result of his obedience. As a reader and more importantly, as a Christian parent, I just didn't see the gospel connection that calls us to change and gives us hope for change, amidst the exhortations. The motive for change seemed to be for the sake of the family.
I am sure that this was not the intent of Mr. Baucham and I attempted to read this book through a gospel lens. If not careful, it would be very possible as the reader to put stock in my obedience as a parent as opposed to trusting only in the unmerited grace of God.
My other concern, and once again, I do not think this was Mr. Bauchman's intent at all - was that the book seemed a bit too "family-centric". It left me feeling that the family was top dog as opposed to the glory of God. I know this is a huge sweeping statement, but when I read the last page and closed the book, I was not left with a greater picture of our God. In fairness, the book is about the importance of family and perhaps it's because I am spoiled with the writings of John Piper, but the connective tissue between the glory of God and the puspose of family just wasn't strong enough in my opinion.
Would I recommend the book? Absolutely! I have a list of items that by the grace of God, I hope to apply to our family life. Dr. Baucham challenged me, encouraged me, stirred my faith, and offered extremely practical ways to implement change. I am thankful I read this book and would commend it to others with the encouragement to read it with a gospel lens.