Book Reviews -- By: Lilly Park
JFM 2:1 (Fall/Winter 2011) p. 56
A Theology for Family Ministries. By Michael and Michelle Anthony. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishing, 2011,240 pp., $34.99.
While reviewing this book I was also engaged in conversation with two church leaders who were searching for insights into this very discussion: how do we practically adjust to the changing needs of families to promote spiritual formation in families without compromising Scripture’s timeless principle ?
A Theology for Family Ministries is a practical work committed to present current family dynamics (what is), to articulate the timeless message of Scripture regarding the family faith community and the family’s role in the historical and contemporary church (what ought to be, orthodoxy) in order to assist families in living out God’s will (what ought to be, orthopraxy).
Section 1 (Chapters 1-3), “Changing Faces of the North American Family,” addresses the current makeup of today’s family, developmental issues, lack of focus on spiritual development, and major challenges that children face today. Michael Anthony sets the tone by claiming “gone are the days of simple answers for simple dilemmas. The greater question is, What is the church doing to help, encourage, and support these families who find themselves at life’s edges?” (17). Karen Jones suggests that, though developmental issues are receiving some attention today, very little is done regarding spiritual development. Fathers in particular have all but abdicated this responsibility. Being aware of developmental propensities is helpful in raising our children spiritually but, ultimately, prayer surrendering one’s children to God is essential. Freddy Cardoza personally identifies with and statistically reveals current challenges of children and family, unpacks the social mess in what he calls a cultural exegesis, then appropriates Scripture. The healthy church family needs to go to needy and broken families to help them to develop spiritually as families: they will not come to us.
In section 2 (Chapters 4-9), “Forming a Biblical Theology of Family,” the contributing authors do a tremendous job in providing Old and New Testament survey of key passages that establish a biblical theological basis or mantle for family ministry. The family is the foundation for spiritual discipleship and marriage is a foundation for healthy families. God created families to teach and to represent his kingdom and principles to the world. Grandparents themselves offer a wealth of experience and holy habits to be modeled. Parents
JFM 2:1 (Fall/Winter 2011) p. 57
can use milestones (such as cognition/conversion, baptism, communion, evangelism, and se...
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