Sunday, 30 August 2009

A far weightier “turning point”

This guest post has been written by Greg Thiele
who is a CASE Associate

A tragic event

Local media have reported, over the last couple of weeks, the sad case of Rebekah Lawrence. In December 2005, Rebekah, an apparently normal, happily married 34-year-old, jumped to her death from a building in the centre of Sydney (see link here). In the minutes immediately preceding her death, she exhibited behaviour that was characterised, in an inquest into her death that concluded last week, as “psychotic”, including removing her clothes, singing and talking in a childlike voice, and other “regressive” behaviour. This was totally out of character for a woman described as “measured and conservative”.

Just two days before her death, Rebekah had concluded a four-day personal development course called the Turning Point, run by Sydney-based Company People Knowhow. The course features "guided meditation, regression therapy and body work”, and promises to take its participants on "a journey to the core of the human spirit". The intention of the course is to improve the quality of people's lives by "developing emotional maturity, intelligence and soulfulness".

Regression Therapy

Forensic psychiatrist Michael Diamond, appearing at the inquest, criticised the use of regression therapy techniques as they are practised on the Turning Point, suggesting that staff involved did not have the training or expertise to deal with the “intense emotional fallout” that could be provoked by the course. It is Dr Diamond’s belief that there was a causal link between what Rebekah underwent during the course, and her bizarre behaviour leading up to her death.

While obviously feeling great sympathy for Rebekah’s Lawrence’s husband, family and friends, I have found the case disturbing on another level: twenty-odd years ago (when I was not a confessing Christian), I attended the Turning Point course myself. The company has since changed hands, and no doubt some of the course components and methodologies have altered somewhat. According to descriptions I have read recently, however, it is substantially the same.

A Personal Reflection

My recollections of the course are that it probably helped me quite a bit at the time with certain personality and relationship issues that I have struggled with. I experienced no obvious negative reaction. That being said, aspects of the course were extremely confronting. The course virtually forced participants to face aspects of themselves that were often not easy to acknowledge or deal with. I can just about imagine that for the “wrong” kind of person, an extreme negative reaction of some sort could be forthcoming (refer to link here).

According to the company’s records, some 40,000 people have completed the Turning Point (over a period of more than 25 years), and this is the first occurrence of a negative reaction of such seriousness (in fact, as came to light during the inquest, another person is believed to have died shortly after completing the Turning Point – possibly due to self-inflicted stab wounds. See link here).

Self-help courses like Turning Point have proliferated over the last three decades. It is a major industry, and one wonders at the reasons for their popularity. While one can (perhaps slightly cynically) note that participants in such courses (in my experience, at least) are overwhelmingly middle class, and professional or quasi-professional, it would be unfair to characterise them as just another “yuppie” luxury item: the need seems to be real. This prompts the question of why so many people seem to experience a need to engage in such extreme therapy methods. Are people really that unhappy? If so, why? And what is the solution?

Biblical Guidance

The Christian answer comes in two parts. The bible teaches that humankind lives in a “fallen” state, meaning essentially that due to the sinful rebellion of mankind against the rightful rule of our creator, we are doomed to live in a state essentially different from the one intended for us (Genesis 3). This will manifest itself in various ways, including the breakdown of relationships, and to a greater or lesser degree the absence of a sense of well-being. The perceived need to re-achieve the sense of “rightness” and right relationships lost at the Fall is likely to result in a ready market for those able to provide courses and therapies aimed at doing that.

The problem with such therapy methods, useful though they can be (I am in no way suggesting, for instance, that there is no such thing as legitimate treatment of genuine emotional or psychological ills), is that they treat the symptoms, rather than the disease. If human sinfulness is the root problem, then it stands to reason that the only true solution will be one, which addresses that problem.

Jesus came to earth essentially to die for humankind, and by his sacrifice to remove the barrier of sin that separates us from a holy God. By committing our lives to him, the bible tells us, and by trusting in him, we can enjoy the benefits of Jesus’ atoning death and ensuing resurrection. The results will be improved relationships, a greater sense of “rightness”, and the extraordinary hope that we will enjoy, in eternity, perfect relationship with Jesus and all others who belong to him.

This is not to suggest that Christians will always have wonderful relationships – with each other or with non-Christians. It has been the experience of the faithful through the ages, however, that those in whom the Holy Spirit is at work will experience the fruits of the spirit: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22,23). While courses like Turning Point can be helpful for some people in dealing with certain issues, the far weightier “turning point” Jesus calls us to reach involves turning our lives over to his lordship.

Related Links

Transformational Learning Australia

Sunday, 23 August 2009

The need for truth, not seduction, in a pluralistic world

The challenge of pluralism

It seems that for every generation there will be cultural challenges. In the 1960s (my teenage years) the younger generation was focused on a quest for 'freedom'. This showed itself in the questioning of the authority of institutions like the church and the state, the desire for sexual freedom and for women, in particular, feminist challenges to traditional roles and relationships between men and women at work and in the home. In this present age some of the greatest challenges are a consequence of the rise of cultural and religious pluralism and the challenge of postmodernism to truth claims. This has had consequences for Christians and the church and their place in societies like Australia that were once thought to be 'Christian'. Professor David Wells has some helpful comments on this topic in Justin Taylor and John Piper's book "The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World" (Crossways, 2007), a book that I've been reading this week. Wells suggests that the impact of pluralism has been that religions have tended to lose their edge and distinction. He argues, "religions tend to blur in the postmodern mind and become undifferentiated from each other." While some could counter this generalisation by pointing to some sections of major religions that have become more radical and others that have become more fundamentalist (I don't use the term pejoratively) or conservative; but the tendency to water down distinctives ('blending in') is a strong pressure.

New and old spiritualities

In the face of the challenge of pluralism, many have left religions due to the perception that traditional religious beliefs are too narrow and inhibiting; new atheism has been one of the responses. Other people have left mainstream churches and have sought spiritual fulfilment in other places. Wells rightly points to the fact that while established religions have suffered in western countries, that new spiritualities have emerged and some old ones like paganism and Gnosticism have re-emerged. For many, a new spirituality has been sought through peace of mind and inner transformation. A new level of consciousness is being pursued, which in its shallowest form is about self-awareness, self-esteem and self-actualisation. It seems that when there is a search for the sacred, it can be frequently sought for what can be gained personally from this new type of spiritual devotion. The search is not for the God of Christian religion but for the god within; a god found in the self. This is a faith suggests Wells that:
"...begins in the soil of human autonomy and it gives to the self the authority to decide what to believe, from what sources to draw knowledge and inspiration, and how to test the viability of what is believed."
What we have is a conflict of worldviews; people with different frameworks for understanding their world, rejecting things once taken for granted as givens. And of course, Christians see this at its foundation, as rebellion against God and the rejection of Christ. How do we respond? In such a pluralistic world Wells suggests that the Christian church should respond not by adaptation but by confrontation. Not aggressive clashes of behaviour and words but a willingness and boldness to understand people who are rejecting the Christian faith and "to speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15).

Speaking the truth in love and with humility

As I suggested in my post on 'Humble Apologetics' Don Carson has some wisdom for us here. In the 'The gagging of God: Christianity confronts pluralism' (1996) Carson, while pointing out the obvious errors of postmodernism, concedes that there is at least one thing that we can learn from it. He suggests that postmodernism is a counter to arrogant dogmatism for which there is little justification. Dogmatism is the strong expression of an opinion or assertion without evidence. It is not to be confused with expressing our well argued and thought through views with strength, boldness, certainty and conviction.

But giving a reason for our faith with respect and the avoidance of dogmatism does not mean simply avoiding hard topics and critical points of difference that reflect our different views of the world. This would be to give in to what Wells is getting at as a key danger for Christians in our present pluralistic age. This is a danger faced every day by individuals, groups and churches.

The Christian will need to rely on God’s word as their ultimate test of what is right and true. We need to be people who ‘guard [their way]’ according to God’s word, ‘storing [it] up' in our hearts, ‘meditating on’ and ‘delighting in’ his statutes (Psalm 119:9-16). In sharing the parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-20), Jesus stresses the power of God's word to chenge lives. People clamber after a better life, new purpose, freedom from many things, new ways to be fulfilled and so on. But ultimately, fulfilment will only truly be found in seeking the God who made us for a purpose. It is the power of God, that is expressed in God's Word and revealed by God's Spirit, that will truly transform lives and set us free (Gal 5:1).

The Christian needs to hold on confidently to God’s word as the way to know the truth that is life changing for whoever hears and accepts it. As Jesus taught his disciples: ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:31-32).

As I engage with people of all faiths and none in the university environment there is tremendous pressure to avoid topics that will bring me into conflict with others. I have a constant fear of being seen to be arrogant and out of touch, while at the same time having a desire to build relationships with people of other faiths and wordviews and ultimately share the gospel of Christ with them. This is a good pressure if it leads to a heart responsive to God and burdened for those who do not know him. But if it leads me to avoid tough conversations, to water down differences, to accept falsehood without comment, then this is bad! The modern church faces the same pressure, but its response argues Wells, frequently drifts to tactics and methodology for engaging with or "reaching" the culture. He suggests that the church must be aware of differing worldviews and see truth-based strategy as more vital than tactics; for if our focus is about tactics then it becomes:
"...about seduction and not about truth, about success and not about confrontation. However, without strategy, the tactics inevitably fail; without truth, all of the arts of seduction that the churches are practising sooner or later are seen for what they are - an empty charade; and because the emerging worldview is not being engaged, the church has little it can really say. Biblical truth contradicts this cultural spirituality, and that contradiction is hard to bear. Biblical truth displaces it, refuses to allow its operating assumptions, declares to it its bankruptcy. Is the evangelical church faithful enough to explode the worldview of this new spiritual search? Is it brave enough to contradict what has wide cultural approval?"
I continue to ponder this strong comment of Wells'; am I up to this challenge? Are you? Is your local church?

Related resources

You can download 'The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World' free HERE

'Truth and the Internet' Case magazine, #15, 2008 (here)

All CASE posts with the label 'truth' (here)

Friday, 14 August 2009

Apologetics in family life

Apologetics has relevance in all parts of life, including our families. Whether in our nuclear or extended family, we need to be prepared to give a reason for our faith, not just by responding defensively to our family members’ tough questions, but more positively as we give reasons for the Christian faith we hold and how this has relevance for our lives. I suspect that readers of this blog with teenagers, who are encountering new ideas, philosophies and beliefs and are asking difficult questions, will appreciate what I am suggesting.

A key priority for every parent is to regularly remind our children what we believe, why we believe it and how this has shaped our lives. My reflections on this topic have been helped in recent times by re-reading 2 Timothy and by my reading (and recent review) of Ted Tripp's book 'Shepherding a Child's Heart' (see my previous post here). While I have some concerns about his book, it is difficult to dispute that the focus in parenting should be on the child's heart, rather than just their behaviour.

In the midst of the cut and thrust of family, it is easy for parents to fail to look beyond behaviour to the rebellious heart that produces it (Luke 6:45). Our primary effort should be to ensure our children internalise the message of the gospel, so that as they grow older they will "choose this day whom (they) will serve" (Joshua 24:15). A key part of our role is to remind them of the things that we were taught by faithful men and women. As we "Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David..." (1 Tim 2:8) we are to remind our children of these things and why we believe them (1 Tim 2:14). Remembering and reminding - two key tasks for parents!

This may be a daunting task for parents, but there is a great word of encouragement in Paul's second letter to Timothy, particularly for those who have seen their children resisting the truth that they have taught them. Just as Paul trusted in God for the well being of Timothy, so too parents have to trust in God for the spiritual well being of their children. While it is our task to remind our children of the truth that we have taught them, we do this in the power of God. We remind our children to “Follow the pattern of the sound words” (2 Tim 1:13) that they hear from us, as we read and study the Bible together and as we share our faith in the midst of life; but our children cannot guard this truth in their own strength. The “good deposit” can only be guarded “…by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us”. Is there any wonder that Paul “constantly remembers [Timothy] in his prayers night and day” (v3)? He thanks God for Timothy's faith (v3) because ultimately Paul knows that it is God who made Timothy into the man that he is.

Paul challenged Timothy never to be ashamed of his faith in Christ (2 Tim 1:8-10) but to hold to this faith no matter what the cost and follow the pattern or standards set for him by Scripture:
Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you (2 Timothy 2:13-14).
Family apologetics, like all apologetics must be prayerful, and done in the power of God. We need to seek God's wisdom for the words to share with our children and the power of the Holy Spirit to work within their hearts. This is the nature of the task set before us as apologetic parents.

Case Magazine

Readers interested in thinking more about the nature of apologetics should watch out for our next edition of Case magazine which has as its theme "To give a reason". This will be out in September

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Matters of Life & Death

The case of Christian Rossiter

A significant legal judgement is about to be made in the Supreme Court in Perth (Australia) to determine whether a nursing home should be allowed to stop feeding a quadriplegic man. This tragic story had its beginning when a perfectly healthy 49 year old man, Christian Rossiter, was hit by a car and developed spastic quadriplegia. He is now fed through a tube in his stomach and wants to end his life. He has asked for the nursing home to stop feeding him. He says he is in a living hell with no control over his body. In making a testimony to the court he stated:

"I'm Christian Rossiter and I'd like to die. I am a prisoner in my own body. I can't move. I can't even wipe the tears from my eyes."

The staff in the nursing home are in effect asking, at Mr Rossiter's request, to be allowed to kill him, not just let him die. This is because the Criminal Code in Australia makes it clear that if there is somebody in your care and they can't remove themselves from this care, that you are obliged to provide them with what is necessary to sustain life. This is a very sad and tragic story, and no doubt many people will want to say, let this man have his wishes granted, but there are tremendous legal and ethical consequences that will flow from such a decision. I will allow the lawyers to deal with the legal issues, but every person has a responsibility to consider the ethical issues that the request from these nursing staff raises.

'Matters of Life and Death' by John Wyatt

Professor John Wyatt has written a helpful book that addresses this particular type of ethical issue. The book called 'Matters of Life and Death' has been around since 1998, but there are few publications that are as good. The strength of the publication is that it has been written by paediatrician who, like all medical practitioners, has been faced with decisions that have consequences for the life or death of patients. He writes as a Christian who tries to apply his faith and the Bible to the ethical dilemmas that he and other medical practitioners face every day. He challenges all of us (not just medical practitioners), to think about these issues. He addresses the very issues raised for Mr Rossiter's carers in his chapter on euthanasia and assisted suicide and suggests that:

‘Death like the sun, should not be stared at.’ So said the French philosopher…Yet advances in medicine force us to do just that. Of course, all generations have discovered that they cannot evade the reality of death. But if we are going to develop an authentic Christian response to the issues of euthanasia and medically assisted suicide, we need to stare at death with renewed intensity. We need to stare at its mystery and awful finality, at the questions and fears that it raises, and at our own mortality….death and dying are not just ‘out there’ as abstract theoretical issues. Death is in our midst.’ (p.169)

New College has invited Professor Wyatt to present its 2009 annual lecture series that we have titled 'Bioethics and future hope'. This series of three public lectures will be presented on the UNSW campus from the 8th to 10th September. They will address the ethical dilemmas faced by our times and offer biblical insights into how we might cope much better with these and make right choices.

He offers this challenge as an introduction to the series:
"Our understanding of the future changes the way we think about our ethical responsibilities in the present. The secular perspective derived from the Enlightenment sees the future as a human construct, an artefact created by human ingenuity. In contrast, the neoplatonic future offers the hope of an escape from the material world into the timeless realm of the spirit. The biblical view of the future provides a third radical perspective. The future is not a human artefact; it is a reflection of the loving purposes of God. Yet the physical nature of our humanity is not obliterated, it is affirmed and vindicated. For Christians, future hope lies not in being released from our physical bodies, but in becoming the people we were meant to be.”
There will be MP3 recordings made available after the lectures on the New College Website. The details for those able to attend the lectures follows.

Details on the 2009 New College Lectures

Dr John Wyatt is Professor of Ethics & Perinatology at UCL. He has a clinical background as an academic neonatologist working on the mechanisms, consequences and prevention of brain injury in critically ill newborn infants. His work is now concentrated on ethical issues raised by advances in reproductive and medical technology at the beginning of life, research ethics and governance and the philosophical basis of medical practice.

Lecture 1 - Bioethics and creation
(Tuesday 8th September, 7.15pm)

How do different conceptions of the origins of the cosmos impact on current bioethical debates? What does creation order imply about reproductive technology, parenthood, and the intrinsic value of human life?

Lecture 2 - Bioethics and redemption (
Wednesday 9th September, 7.30pm)

The minimization of suffering is central to the moral vision of utilitarianism. How does the Easter story transform perceptions of suffering and how does this impact on current bioethical controversies about assisted suicide, euthanasia, ageing and degenerative diseases?

Lecture 3 - Bioethics and future hope (
Thursday 10th September, 7.30pm)

The Enlightenment project aims to create better humans by the use of technology. How should be respond? What are the implications of the Christian hope for bioethics? How should we treat our patients now in the light of the future?

PLEASE NOTE - RSVP is essential for all lectures by Friday 4 September 2009. Full details, venues and directions can be found HERE.

Related links

ABC News Story 'End my living hell' (

CASE blog posts on medical ethics (here)

Link to Case magazine issue on 'Living and dying ethically' (here)

Link to 2009 New College Lecture information (

* Photo of Christian Rossiter, ABC News

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Wise advice and one key error

Like any father I have always found parenting to be both challenging and rewarding. When I came to faith as a 31 year old with two daughters aged 3 and 5 years I was confronted by a new challenge, how would I raise my children to know God and be obedient to him? As an academic with interest in child development, learning and how families structure learning in the home, I also have more than a passing interest in parenting. As a new Christian, I quickly learned that the Bible was our family's key resource and that this was where I was to seek God's wisdom on how to be a wise parent. It took many years before I even realised that there was a large market for Christian parenting resources and that many of the books published evoked varied responses from Bible believing parents.

Tripp's Error

After hearing many references to Ted Tripp's Book, 'Shepherding a Child's Heart' in recent years from young parents, I decided that I needed to read and review it on this blog. I see this as a very helpful book with some excellent and biblical advice written by a godly and wise Christian, but it has one major flaw. The error is signalled on page 59 when Ted Tripp suggests that:
"We cannot be indifferent to [parenting] methodology. Biblically, the method is as important as the objectives. God speaks to both issues. He is concerned not only with what we do, but also with how we do it."
I believe that the second sentence in this short paragraph is false. The first sentence is difficult to dispute, yes we should give careful consideration to how we parent; we can't be "indifferent to methodology". And perhaps, God has spoken through his word in places to give some pointers to methods. But I don't believe that God is concerned with how we do parenting in the sense that he might favour specific methods, let alone one main method of discipline as we see argued in Tripp's book. Of course, we should use the Bible to inform our practices, but to claim that the Bible offers clear guidance on disciplinary method has little biblical justification. God is certainly concerned that we act as godly parents who seek to honour him and bring glory to his name as we care for and lead our families. Like many authors of parenting books before him, Tripp allows his own methods, which he suggests worked well for his children (and I have no reason to doubt that they did), to become the yardstick by which he assesses the appropriateness of other approaches, before using the Bible to justify his approach while dismissing others. Suggesting a single method ignores key variability in children and parents. For example, not all fathers are capable of controlling their anger and avoiding the warnings that Tripp gives about abuse of punishment. Furthermore, all children are different, even in the one family! They have different personalities and psychological make-ups which cannot be ignored. I believe that slavish adherence to one method will make it harder to avoid the warning of Ephesians 6:4, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord".

Tripp's wise advice

I find Tripp's emphasis on 'the rod' all the more frustrating because the first half of this book lays out a sound biblical framework for the basics of parenting. Until I reached p.59 I found little that I could question and much that I would applaud. For example his comments that:
The gospel is the central focus of parenting.
Far too often parents focus on changing children's behaviour; instead we need to look beyond behaviour to the rebellious heart that produces it (Luke 6:45).
Our every effort should be to ensure our children internalise the message of the gospel.
There are many influences that shape children, including family values, the structure of the family and its history, family practices like conflict resolution, how roles are defined, and how families deal with failure.
Children like adults are covenantal beings that must choose who they will worship and serve - from the womb we are wayward and can go astray (Psalm 58:3).
Parents have the critical task of 'shepherding children's hearts' to be oriented towards God.
Punishment must always be corrective not punitive and be an expression of love of wanting what is good for your child - Discipline must not be in anger, for revenge or just to punish.
Our goals for parenting are always to see God glorified in our lives, in our children's lives and in our family.
Communication is all about dialogue (not monologue) and is vital to good parenting.
It is important to regularly diagnose our children's relationship to God (Tripp offers a helpful strategy for this) that gives biblical focus to parenting.

The Rod

While I do see a place for occasional physical punishment (e.g. a slap on the legs, or a tap on the hand of a toddler who defies my instructions and verbal prompts) as a parent, I don't see much biblical evidence for the major priority that Tripp gives it in this book and his claim (in effect) that 'the rod' is the most biblical of methods, trumping threats of punishment, withdrawal of rewards and privileges, isolation (e.g. the 'naughty chair') etc. Like several high profile books on parenting in the past, this one is in a sense a corrective to overly permissive and unbiblical parenting, but it goes too far. This is a blog post rather than an essay, so I won't go into great detail about my objections to the priority given to 'the rod', but I'd like to simply list some of these objections to the emphasis given to corporal punishment and Tripp's dismissal on biblical grounds of some other parenting methods.

There is no question that Tripp is correct that the Bible supports his advice that parents need to be concerned primarily about their children's hearts, not their behaviour. Parents need to help their children understand that they are sinners and that the cross of Christ should be the central focus of childrearing. He is also correct that parents must discipline their children to curb these rebellious hearts and to train them in obedience - obedience to parents, obedience to other authorities and above all, obedience to God. But how we do this is less certain and there is very little biblical justification for 'the rod' being the primary tool for training your child alongside communication (p. 150). Because 'the rod' is spoken of in Proverbs there is certainly justification for considering it as one method, but exactly what form 'the rod' should take is debatable. Even Tripp's use of Proverbs is open to question, for not all the references necessitate a reading that physical punishment is intended, and certainly there is doubt about the form it should take today. In my view it is unclear whether 'the rod' need only refer to physical beating, spanking, hitting etc. For example, I'm not convinced that Hebrews 12:5-11 (a passage he uses) provides justification for Tripp's thesis that physical punishment is what is intended - let alone his brand of spanking - as the key biblical method. This passage speaks of a father's discipline as being for a child's good and that it leads to the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Heb 12:11). But it hardly provides justification for Tripp's form of discipline; that is, pulling down a child's pants and paddling them a sufficient number of times to hurt them, from any age when they show resistance to you (p. 151). This he suggests can be as simple as resisting a diaper change. While we must help our children to recognise their sinfulness and rebellion, we need to be careful that we do not lose sight of the fact that we also need to help them to grasp an understanding of God's mercy, forgiveness, grace, patience, love and ultimately the possibility of redemption as sinners in Christ. I'm not suggesting that Tripp makes this error, but over-use of 'the rod' may well leave less room for children to learn these things about God.

In contrast to Tripp's justification of 'the rod' is his quick dismissal of many other forms of discipline as unbiblical. While I agree with him that far too often parents appeal to 'pop psychology' for answers, other criticisms are unjustified. For example, he dismisses what he calls 'punitive correction', that is, the threat of punishment to control children (p.64). But surely as a form of discipline a biblical case can be made for it. The Bible has many examples of God warning his people of the consequences of wrong behaviour, and often links punishment, wise behaviour and blessing (e.g. Deuteronomy 28). The pattern for warning of impending punishment is set in Genesis 2, with the ultimate warning that if Adam were to eat of the tree of knowledge that he would "surely die". We must also remember that there is a two way relationship between 'the heart' and behaviour. Yes, our behaviour reflects our heart, but repeated uncorrected behaviour begins to set patterns that influence the heart.

Summing up

There is so much good material in this book that is sound biblically, but its impact is reduced as Tripp embellishes this with his advice that physical punishment is the key tool for discipline. He is right in suggesting that parents should talk to their children when they rebel and that they should appeal to their consciences, but why must this be followed so regularly from a very early age by physical punishment? I would encourage parents to heed Tripp’s encouragement to use the Bible as the key resource in guiding our parenting and not expect to find biblical support for a single method to train our children in godliness. This book is one of the few books to offer a sound biblical framework for parenting, it's a shame that the section on method (which also has much good advice) is flawed due to Tripp's preoccupation with 'the rod', and a very narrow interpretation of what it means in practice.