The Christian Home


Anna Grace Eshelman and Owen Justice Eshelman welcome their new brother into the world:
Watson Truth Eshelman was born August 31, 2007 at 9:13 AM. He was 10 pounds, 4 ounces and 22 inches long. May God bless this little guy as he joins the family!

I recently received a letter from a dear friend that had a question about parenting books. Here is a copy of my letter with the books that I have suggested. I would like you all to comment on what books you have found helpful for raising children to the glory of God!


_____,

There are a million parenting books out there, but very few that are based in the Word of God. I can recommend a few and give a couple of comments. All of these should be able to be purchased via RHB. I would suggest ordering from them since they are a non profit book seller. If they do not have them on the website, call and ask for Steve. Tell him that you are a friend of mine.

*Raising Children God’s Way by Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
This book is new, but is from some sermons that were preached a number of years ago. His style is good and he shows the importance of a godly home (one chapter will not apply. It is on unbelievers in the home.)
*
Shepherding a Child’s Heart
by Paul Tripp.

This book is the must have for learning to use the Word of God as the means of Discipline instead of your own thoughts. It helps to show how using Scripture when disciplining connects the discipline to God and not to your own authority.

The Duties of Parents
by Jacobus Koelman.
This book was first published in 1679, but is timeless. It was translated from Dutch in 2003. It discusses the reason God has designed parenting all the way to various promises that parents can claim for their children. There are good discussions on how to train them in godliness as well and giving Christian instruction in the home.
Christian Living in the Home
by Jay E Adams.

This book is helpful in more areas than just parenting. It gives concise chapters on husbands, wives, leadership, submission, and other areas as well. It is important to look at child rearing in the scope of all of the Scriptures and this book does this for you.

The Christian Father At Home
by WC Brownlee.

This book is another classic. It was written in 1837 originally. This book shows that the father’s NUMBER ONE duty is to show the way of salvation to his children. The book helps fathers to discuss, demonstrate, and model what a sinner redeemed by grace looks like. (This is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak, many dads can talk the talk, but are they living out a life of redemption applied in their home? Many do not.)

Proverbs for Parenting
by Barbara Decker.

This book is an arrangement of the book of Proverbs into sections that are applicable to Christian parenting. It is worth having just because the work of categorizing Proverbs is done for you. (I would not start here though).

*
Help to Domestic Happiness
by John Angell James.
This is another Nate-classic. He also deals with a lot of other issues in the home, but look at chapters 5 and 6 especially. This book also has the old-school oddety of a chapter for servants in the home. James also writes a book just for women that is really good as well called
Female Piety.
Of Domestical Duties
by William Gouge. This is another classic, but needs to be updates with current illustrations. If you are not used to reading old writing, save this one for later. I LOVE it, but it is hard even for a reader of the Puritans. Someone has put it online, but the format is super ugly. It can found here.
Don’t Make Me Count to Three
by Ginger Plowman.
This is a really new book. It was recently on James Dobson’s show (so they tell me). It takes a biblical counseling approach to parenting and also gives the ‘rebuke the children with the Word’ approach. Many people forget that we have no authority over our children just because they are our offspring, but because God has entrusted us to raise them to his glory and honor! (Lydia just finished this one and liked it a lot.)

Praise Her in the Gates
by Nancy Wilson.
This book is especially for women. It shows the importance of being a godly mother as well as how to train your children in many biblical virtues. I have profited from a lot that the Wilsons have penned.

*
Standing on the Promises
by Douglas Wilson.

This book shows the importance of building a Christian culture in the home. Children will not be raised to honor the Lord Jesus in a home that is Sunday-Christian at best. Wilson helps to fight against this while aiding in the rearing of covenant children. The cover says, “
The norm for faithful members of the covenant is that their children will follow them in their faithfulness. Unless we reestablish faithful Christian culture in countless homes, we will never reestablish it anywhere.”

I hope that this helps. I am sure that others will come to mind and I can send them off. This list may seem to be overwhelming, but I think that they are all reasonable reads. I have starred the three that I would begin with. I will also put this list on PRESBYTERIAN THOUGHTS to see what some of my readers can come up with.

With humility and for Christ’s Honor,
Nate

Q. 33. What is justification?

A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.
Q. 34. What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of God’s free grace,a whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges, of the sons of God.

My catechumens are working on these two questions for the week. I have taken this opportunity to discuss the necessity of conversion and the need for all men (including covenant children) to have their sins pardoned.

I have given them a homework assignment that requires them to interview their believing parents and grandparents and ask them to tell the story of their justification by faith alone. As a Calvinist, I believe that one can have a testimony that says “I have never known a day when I did not love the Lord Jesus”. This is my prayer for my children, that they would know and love Christ from their very youth.

With that in mind, even covenant children can discuss and write out their testimony. I hope that this exercise proves to be beneficial to my catechumens as they again hear of how their families fell in love with the Lord Jesus Christ. I would challenge you write out yours as well. Someday you may be asked to talk about your Christian experience while sharing the good news.

The issue of whether or not Christians should use birth control is quite a topic! Without the details, it has been discussed from various angles in my home. I cannot say that I have the final word on the issue, nor do I think that it is a closed debate. But it is worth reading on from all angles. Here Douglas Wilson gives his understanding of the debate. I must say, it is quite balanced (believe it or not).

The ancient Roman world was one that had a very low view of marriage. The love between a husband and wife was seen as inferior to the ‘love’ that a homosexual relationship could bring. The Christian Church fought against this idea and showed forth the beauties of what a life according to the Word of God would accomplish in a home. Below is a text from c.160 by the theologian Tertullian (the theologian who coined the term ‘Trinity’). This type of marriage would be counter-cultural to the typical Roman marriage. Is it counter-cultural to our view of marriage as well?

How beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice. They are as brother and sister, both servants of the same Master. Nothing divides them, either in flesh or in spirit. They are, in very truth, two in one flesh; and where there is but one flesh there is also but one spirit. They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they visit God’s church and partake of God’s Banquet; side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another; they never shun each other’s company; they never bring sorrow to each other’s hearts. Tertullian, c.160

Five years ago today Lydia and I were married at the Chapel of Reformed Bible College. We sang Psalms, read Scripture, and were married according to the Reformation form written by Peter Detanus. Reformed Christians have been using this form for nearly 500 years. It was a blessed event in which the glories of Jesus Christ were proclaimed. We thank Him for 5 years and pray that the Lord would grant us many more.
In the past five years the Lord has blessed us in many ways. The greatest of which being Anna Grace and Owen Justice. We look forward to our new baby as well. The Lord is gracious and kind unto those that love His name.

Here is the prayer that was prayed as we were married before God:

Almighty God, Thou who dost manifest Thy goodness and wisdom in all Thy ordinances, and from the beginning hast said that it is not good that man be alone and therefore hast created him a helpmeet to be with him, and ordained that they who were two should be one, and who dost also punish all impurity; we pray Thee, since Thou hast called and united these two persons in the holy state of marriage that Thou wilt give them Thy Holy Spirit, so that they in true love and firm faith may live holily according to Thy divine will and resist all evil. Wilt Thou also bless them as Thou hast blessed the believing fathers, Thy friends and faithful servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; in order that they, as coheirs of the covenant which Thou hast established with these fathers, may bring up their children which Thou wilt be pleased to give them, in the fear of the Lord, to the honor of Thy holy name, to the edification of the Thy Church and to the extension of the holy gospel. Hear us, Father of all mercy, for the sake of Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, our Lord, in whose name we conclude our prayer.

We will be needing one of these as we expecting our third child.
Please pray for us as Lydia is still in the beginning stages of the pregnancy.

Psalm 127

A Song of degrees for Solomon.

Except the LORD build the house,
they labour in vain that build it except the LORD keep the city,
the watchman waketh but in vain.
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD…
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
they shall not be ashamed,
but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

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