Voddie Baucham is author of Family Driven Faith and recently spoke with Discerning Reader's Colin Adams about his new book.
Discerning Reader: Pastors are often passionate about the importance of their church family, but It seems increasingly rare to find them equally enthused about their family-life at home. Where has your passion come from?
Voddie Baucham: My passion for family life comes from two main sources. First, my wife and I come from a long line of failed marriages. In the last 2 generations of both of our families, there have been 25 marriages and 22 divorces. We have seen the devastation wrought by dysfunction in the home. Second, I, like many, have seen the price that many pastors' families have paid as a direct result of a 'lack of enthusiasm' for the family. It is as though we have come to expect the pastor's family to pay the price for his ministry. However, I refuse to sacrifice my family on the altar of ministry. My family is my first ministry. In fact, it is my role as a husband and father that serves as the measuring stick for my qualification as a pastor (1 Timothy 3:2,4; Titus 1:6).
DR: One of the things you emphasize in Family Driven Faith is that often the goals of even Christian parents are wrong. Could you expand on this?
VB: Most Christian parents want the exact same things for their children that the world is looking for. Get good grades, get a good job, make a lot of money and be happy... That's as deep as many of us go. Recent research indicates that the #1 goal of Christian and non- Christian parents is the same. Both groups believe that a good education is the most important thing their children can achieve in life. An authentic, passionate relationship with the God of the universe ranks a whopping 3rd for Christian parents (behind finding someone who makes them 'happy'). Our expenditures of time and treasure bear this out. We spend the lions share of our money, energy and time on our children's school and sports pursuits.
DR: In recent years, bookstores have been piling high with books about "better parenting" and "getting on with your children." How is your approach in Family Driven Faith any different from these secular offerings?
VB: This is precisely what led me to write Family Driven Faith! There has been a sea change in the way we think about marriage/family issues. Most of the books on the subject are written by psychologists/psychologists as opposed to pastors and theologians. Even in Christian bookstores, it is rare to find an exegetical approach to these issues. Many of the books we see today are heavy on psychology and experience with a little Bible peppered throughout. In fact, one of the questions I encountered from publishers was, "Why would an apologist write a book on family?" Some looked at me quizzically when I said that the family is a front line apologetics issue in our day. Make no mistake; I'm still doing cultural apologetics. God has spoken clearly and authoritatively on family issues and this book is one man's feeble effort to apply that to the way we conduct ourselves in the home, and to "refute those who contradict" clear biblical teaching on the subject (Titus 1:9). In a number of significant ways, this book is nothing like the myriad offerings on the shelves.
DR: How did Family Driven Faith come to be written?
VB: Family Driven Faith is the culmination of years of teaching, preaching and research on marriage and family. I have spent years trying to understand and apply the principles of Deuteronomy 6 to the way I lead my family (and teach others). As a result, I have seen my home transformed. I have also watched people light up when they realize the Bible is not silent on the issues they are facing in their family. I have seen marriages restored, children reclaimed and churches revived as a result of Christians getting a grasp on these principles. I came to realize that we cannot assume that people who file into our churches each week know what it means to be a husband/ father or wife/mother. Many Christians are clueless in these areas and desperate to find answers. They follow the advice of Dr. Phil because they think their family issues are outside the expertise of Dr. Jesus. The more I taught on these issues, the more I realized I had to write this book.
DR: Finally, what are your hopes and prayers for Family Driven Faith?
VB: My hope is that people will read this book and be helped. My hope is that parents will gain a multi-generational vision for their family, that pastors will re-evaluate their approach to family ministry, and that the Christian community will seek biblical answers to their questions in every aspect of life. I also hope that Family Driven Faith will remind the Christian community that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura has as much to do with the way we raise children as it does the way we preach sermons.
Be sure to read Colin's review of Family Driven Faith.