Parenting Is More Than a Formula Interview

May 6, 2015

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BCC Staff Note: In this author interview Q & A, the BCC is re-posting, with permission, an interview that P & R Publishing did with Jim Newheiser on Parenting Is More Than a Formula. You can also read the original interview at the P & R site here

P&R: Tell us a lit­tle bit about your­self, Jim: where you’re from, fam­ily, job, per­sonal inter­ests, unique hob­bies, what you do in your spare time, etc.?”

JN: I con­sider myself a Texan, and I deter­mined as a young man to live there for the rest of my life. In God’s prov­i­dence, early in our mar­riage we went to Saudi Ara­bia for six years dur­ing which time I was a tent­mak­ing pas­tor in an under­ground church for expa­tri­ates, fol­lowed by the past twenty-seven years in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia dur­ing which time I went to sem­i­nary, helped to plant our local church, and then became involved in bib­li­cal counseling. My main hobby is run­ning long dis­tances slowly: marathons and ultramarathons.”

P&R: When did you first want to write a book?”

JN: Until Elyse Fitz­patrick invited me to co-author a book with her about ten years ago, it never occurred to me that I would ever write a book. As God used that book to help oth­ers, I had a bur­den to write about other top­ics and the Lord opened doors to make this possible.”

P&R: Have you always enjoyed writing?”

JN: I find writ­ing to be extremely dif­fi­cult, but I try to have an escha­to­log­i­cal per­spec­tive, antic­i­pat­ing future joy as oth­ers are helped by what the Lord has been teach­ing me.”

P&R: What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?”

JN: I wrote Par­ent­ing Is More Than a For­mula to speak to par­ents who have been hurt and dis­cour­aged as they have tried to dis­cover the per­fect for­mula by which they can ensure that their chil­dren will turn out well. Many of the par­ent­ing method­olo­gies being offered to the Chris­t­ian com­mu­nity are legal­is­tic. They go beyond what Scrip­ture requires of par­ents (which is actu­ally quite simple—discipline, instruc­tion, and not pro­vok­ing their chil­dren to anger Ephesians 6:4) and present a method­ol­ogy (which may be one of many pos­si­ble ways to imple­ment what the Bible teaches) that they imply is God’s way of par­ent­ing. They also imply that those who don’t fol­low their method­ol­ogy are in sin. This leads to my sec­ond major con­cern which is that many par­ent­ing for­mu­las sound unbib­li­cally deter­min­is­tic, imply­ing that par­ent­ing is like bak­ing a cake in that if you fol­low the right recipe you will expe­ri­ence the right out­come. While Scrip­ture teaches that par­ents are an impor­tant influ­ence on how their chil­dren turn out (Proverbs 29:15), we can­not con­trol out­comes (see Ezekiel 18). We expose our chil­dren to God’s grace and wis­dom, but they can choose to reject what we teach. Ulti­mately we par­ents are depen­dent upon God’s grace.”

P&R: Do you have a spe­cific spot where you enjoy writ­ing most?”

JN: We have some dear friends who allow us to use their apart­ment over­look­ing the beach in San Clemente, which is where I have been doing most of my writ­ing in recent years. It is great to get away from our nor­mal envi­ron­ment and to expe­ri­ence the beauty of God’s cre­ation as I do the hard work of writing.”

P&R: “Want to learn more about Jim? He is the direc­tor and coun­selor of the Insti­tute for Bib­li­cal Coun­sel­ing & Discipleship.”

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