A Parent Privilege by Steve Wright

Steve Wright has written the book, “A Parent Privilege” as a resource for Christian parents. Steve has served in student ministry for over 20 years and is married with three children. At the writing of this book he served at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina in student and educational ministries. He founded InQuest Ministries, which supplies Sunday School resources to many churches all over the world. (176) Steve has much experience with the topic of raising children and student ministry, his veteran insight and wisdom is a valuable resource to any parent tackling the heavy task of raising children.

Many evangelicals are being awakened to the reality of our morally disintegrating culture. In life when things begin to unravel it usually leaves a big mess and takes a great deal of time to get things cleaned up and back in order. Steve Wright along with many others have traced this downward trajectory over the past one hundred years specifically and they have begun to sound the alarm. What began as a God fearing nation centered on family, freedom, and the common good has taken a tailspin into individualism, entitlement, and self-glorification. Beginning with the Great Depression and then up through the Industrial Revolution we can trace a movement that has taken the father out of the family and put him primarily in the work place. In the past 25 years the technological age has put a high powered jet end motor on this downward dive, we are left with parents that want more, children that want out, and families that are ravaged and torn apart by self-centered searches for fulfillment.

Steve Wright has written this book to attack the heart of this issue. If we are ever to see the reformation of our families it must begin with parents obeying the God given command to raise up their children in the ways of the Lord. Steve writes a short, compact book that helps parents to see their God given responsibility. In fact no only is it a responsibility but it is a privilege, and when examining God’s word on the issue it becomes very apparent that parents are to raise their children in a Christ centered home where the gospel is loved and cherished.

In this book Steve clears up a few misconceptions about parents and children. He begins by uncovering the lie that what parents do does not matter. Many today say that children simply do not listen and no matter what a parent does a child will simply reject their parents and be influenced by their peers. Many statistics are given in the opening chapters to show that in reality what a parent’s opinion matters to their child. In fact many children say that their parents are the most important influence in their lives. (18)

Steve goes on to layout a biblical understanding of parenting. Through a vast amount of Scripture the reader is confronted with God’s design for parenting. It becomes very evident through these chapters that the parents are the primary disciple makers of their children. In our culture today many parents are not aware of this and certainly do not obey this clear command of Scripture. It has become acceptable and even praise worthy to simply drop your children off at church and pick them up when the youth service is over. This has become the standard understanding of Christian parenting in our day and therefore this section of the book that vividly describes what Scripture demands the family be is very crucial.

In the heart of the book many strategies are laid out for Christian parents. There is a clear line drawn that describes the difference between the way the majority of the world parents and the way the Christian is to parent. Steve goes on to describe some foundational elements and good habits to have at work in the life of the family. As the book is coming to a close there is a call to fathers, which is an excellent chapter in the book. Steve attacks the center of the heart of the issue in this section and calls fathers to lead once again, to serve, and to love their wives and children. As the book ends there is a humbling reminder that parents must trust the sovereignty of God in regard to their children, and as parents we must dispense the same grace that we have received on our children.

I believe that Steve Wright’s book, “A Parent Privilege” is a great resource for Christian parents. Wright’s book is very well balanced in its approach, he begins by putting forth the facts about the current trends and the situation of our culture and our churches today. He goes on to lay the biblical framework for family and touches on some major issues such as the role of the father and also gives great practical tools for parents to implement. It is apparent that Steve Wright has significant experience in this field and the statistics are overwhelmingly clear on the state of our families. It is also evident that many other men who are writing on the state of the family today are affirming the same things. Paul Tripp, Tom Ascol, and John Piper have had significant things to say about the desperate need our families to embrace a gospel-centered worldview. And this shift must be led by parents not primarily the church, and of the parents the father must be the initiator. Wright is in line with God’s word, and many other leaders in this area as well.

The strength of Wright’s argumentation in this book is his scriptural and statistical support. Wright weaves together two clear pictures and they are dreadfully opposed and that is the biblical picture and the actual picture of our families today. The support also of other great men that Wright puts forth is very compelling. Such great old saints as Jonathan Edwards, Richard Baxter, and Charles Spurgeon coupled with more modern men is a powerful support for the truth that parents must lead their children in the ways of the Lord. This truly is a great work and there is a great deal of work going into this area. There is simply no place to hide from the biblical truth on this subject. When confronted with the overwhelming amount of Scripture on the topic it is hard to believe how we got here in the first place. It is hard from many mid to young aged ministers and parents to understand why the foundational truths of Christianity were not spoken of in the home growing up. Wright’s reasoning and truth claims throughout this work are very well supported.

The strongest aspect of Wright’s work is that it is Christ-centered, and it is on that note that he leaves us in the last chapter. This book is not simply about getting our children to behave, it is not only about having a nice little obedient family. Rather, it is about giving our children a vision for the glory of God, leading them to the cross of Christ, and teaching them to know God’s grace in his son Jesus. Any parenting advice that falls short of this is garbage and it is a great thing that Wright finishes his work by emphasizing this. All parents know that children reveal our selfishness and wickedness. They show us that we are not all that talented at distributing God’s grace. The humbling task of parenting, living and speaking the gospel before our children is a challenging task. Wright reminds us that this is the task before us, this is the command given to us, and if we humble ourselves before him we will receive his grace for the privilege.

This book has been a great challenge to me as both a parent and a pastor. I have two little children and the job before me to raise them in the Lord seems to big for me at times. I greatly appreciate the accumulation of statistical information that Wright has gathered. These facts have reminded me of the dangerous messages that the culture will be sending my children. I have also appreciated the tangible practices that Wright has put forth such as journaling and passage trips; I look forward to implementing these in my own family. Steve Wright has put together a great resource for parents that I hope will be read and implemented by many parents

Jared served in pastoral ministry since 2007, he has earned MDiv and PhD degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is also a member of the Evangelical Theological Society. He and his wife Heather have seven children.
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