Family Worship

Family worship (Family guidance series)Family worship by Joel R Beeke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dr. Beeke details the what, why and how of family worship.

I am in basic agreement with the content of the book, but found myself leaning a different direction than Beeke. I agree family worship is a valuable outward means God uses to sanctify us. He gives a quick defense of leadership in the home, clearly lays out what is involved (reading Scripture, short comment and/or discussion on it, prayer, singing), and gives tips on what to avoid. All quite excellent.

Beeke's general goal is to move people toward more developed devotions than just reading some Scripture verses and prayer. This is good in itself, but with the pietism of the introspective Puritans that he follows, it can take an unhealthy turn. Buying into his outlook will usually lead to constant wondering if you're doing enough in family devotions to please God or effect change in your family. Not so good. I generally lean these days toward keeping it short enough to not be exasperating for my children. To his credit, Beeke also says this: "Family worship that is too long makes children restless and may provoke them to wrath." But the general gist of the booklet is that you should really be doing more. This article is a good counterpoint to Beeke's booklet.

So, I would want the average Christian father or mother to read this and learn from it - there is much wisdom and practical implementation packed into a short 25 pages. But I would also want to steer that father or mother away from unneeded guilt, clarifying that family worship is not specifically commanded in the Bible, and is a privilege more than an obligation. Family worship should grow organically from Godly, personal, affectionate leadership in the home, more than from a sense of duty (certainly not guilt) or a programmed checklist of tasks.

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