The Family, God's Weapon for Victory by Robert AndrewsWinepress Publishing (Mukilteo, WA 98275), 1995, 370pp, pbk.
reviewed by Clive and Ruth Davies
Robert Andrews is a former college campus minister, high-school chemistry teacher, basketball coach and church planter. He is currently a teaching elder at a church in the Seattle area. He is married with three grown children, one of whom is married with his own young family.
In his introduction, the author describes Satan thus: "...he piggybacks into our homes via such things as television, movies, neighbourhood friends, recreational activities and innumerable other apparently innocent pursuits, until he is in a position to deliver what is frequently a crushing, disabling blow to our families." Having thus diagnosed the problem, he proceeds to deliver a very practical "theology of the family", which is based first and foremost on the author's submission to the Word of God as the rule for every area of life. His own practical experience features strongly in the text and he is working with "the Kingdom of God" as the touchstone, his "frame of reference, by which all family truth is measured."
Mr. Andrews has six parts to his book which, apart from Laying the Foundations, deal specifically with marriage, fulfilling roles within marriage, experiencing oneness within marriage, selecting a mate and building a heritage. All the sections are practical and helpfully anecdotal and, while containing material available in many other good books, it is nonetheless good to have a new perspective on these vital truths and commands and to see how one family has applied God's Word to the nitty-gritty of raising another generation for God in these days.
The last section deals with issues relating to family planning. He addresses objections frequently raised to the idea of letting God plan your family, and provides answers to them. His position is clear: "...we teach that children are a blessing from God, and that having lots of them, if they are properly trained, is not a curse, but a joy," but he does not make a major touchstone of the issue. Indeed, his church recognises "that what a man does in his kingdom [sic] is his call in an area like birth control, where the scriptures give no 'commandment from the Lord'. Only he knows the circumstances and conditions in his family, the feelings of his wife, and all the other factors that affect his decision."
The crux of the matter for this author seems to be the proper training of children - a matter which fills four complete chapters - and in this area he follows Richard Fugate closely, and quotes his book What the Bible says about Child Training. Whilst Andrews is prescriptive almost to the point of legalism in this area, it is still very helpful to evaluate our own approach constantly alongside the Word of God and our brothers' approaches, and take on board their wisdom when appropriate.
The chapters dealing with courtship also present a challenge to British readers who, while not facing the dating scene quite as Americans do, still have youngsters growing up in a promiscuous and an amoral society for which a biblical and godly antidote is urgently needed.
Our main criticism would be that in some areas the author does not seem to work his reasoning through thoroughly enough from the Scriptures, or perhaps assumes too much acquiescence from his readers, which is unlikely in Britain where issues relating to the biblical teaching on families are seldom even recognised as issues, let alone worked out systematically. Having said that, the book is a challenging and helpful addition to the library for those who do recognise the issues and already want to reform their own families in the light of revealed truth.
Copyright © Family Matters 1998