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Michael Austin: Wise Stewards

 

Michael W. Austin, Wise Stewards: Philosophical Foundations of Christian Parenting (Kregel Academic, 2009), 192 pages, ISBN 9780825424250.

Wise Stewards begins with the philosophical question “What gives meaning, purpose, and value in life?” But don’t let the philosophical focus of this book scare you away. One of the author’s main accomplishments in the text is his ability to present this concept in a manner that is more of a challenge to our way of thinking than to our intellectual ability. This unspoken challenge is for parents—biological or not—to obtain a personal theory of a more suitable, Godly parenting style rather than relying on unstructured notions of parenting. Austin does not simply discuss key virtues for the Christian family in an abstract way, he intends the reader to integrate the ideas into a comprehensive framework that can then be used as a resource to enhance their parenting skills.

Austin makes sure to clarify early on that he believes in moral realism. Additionally, he begins with a disclaimer that his suggestions are not to replace scripture. I appreciated both of these points. In today’s postmodern society, this is a rare attribute in publications related to parenting, which should be valued. The author invites the reader to join him on a journey into becoming a better parent, a journey that will be guided by Biblical truths. If there was one sentence that could sum up the entire book it would be: “I seek to develop a sound understanding of the parent-child relationship by combining biblical, theological and philosophical reflections in order to construct an everyday ethic of parenthood that is distinctly Christian.” Finally we have someone who is not afraid to take a strong stand on Christian values. The way Austin opens himself at the onset of this undertaking is inviting and encourages the reader to maintain an open mind to the views that follow.

Wise Stewards sheds light on the often neglected area of parenting. Unfortunately it has come to the point that parents have to be reminded of their biblical roles. It is not a suggestion to raise your child up in the Lord—it is a mandate. Austin does a great job of reminding us of this by addressing the need for Christian ethics for parents, insisting that wise parents must view themselves as stewards of their children. He addresses basic values every parent should already be teaching their children. One’s view of parenthood will definitely change after reading this book.

The end of book challenges parents to restore the home to be the center for spiritual life and a “sacred place” for worship and study. The modern family has forsaken gathering around the table for dinner. The home is no longer the center for learning or spiritual development. Austin makes a compelling case that parents who are acting as wise stewards must not bow to societal pressures but must live up to Godly standards.

If used correctly, Wise Stewards could restore the earthly home to a place of shalom that provides a reflection of our heavenly home.

Reviewed by Kathryn N. Donev

Preview: books.google.com/books?id=OW6uL2OXG8oC

 

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Category: Living the Faith, Summer 2011

About the Author: Kathryn N. Donev, LPS/MHSP, NBCC, established Cup & Cross Ministries International with her husband, Dony, in 1999 with a vision for global revival and restoration of New Testament principles of inter and intra church activities and relationships. www.cupandcross.com

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