The Biblio-Files

bib·li·o·phile (bĭb'lē-ə-fīl') n.

1. A lover of books.
2. A collector of books.


Praise Her in the Gates

So, I've read a few books lately, but have not added them to the Booked Blog.  No reason why, so I'm going to try and play catch up. 

It's been a while back, but I read Praise Her in the Gates, The Calling of Christian Motherhood, by Nancy Wilson (wife of Douglas Wilson).   It was a small book, easy read.  I'm not very good at summaries of books, but I'll give it a shot.

The book begins by laying out the misconceptions and biblical truths about conception, pregnancy and childbirth.  What God desires from these things and how our minds should be trained to think on these things.  It is also encouraging for those who are unable to have children or who have miscarriages.  God doesn't give us the why; we must trust in His kindness, goodness and His Sovereignty-- knowing that He works all things for our good and His glory.

The book then goes into very practical applications of what living out Proverbs 31:31 looks like:

Chapter 4: When the kids are sick
Overreacting vs. Under reacting
A time for teaching cheerfulness and patience
Teaching our kids to trust God in our illnesses

Chapter 5: Loving the Kids- Dinnertime, Bedtime and Holidays
Loving children when they aren't lovable
"You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
You shall be blessed and it shall be well with you.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
Your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. " Psalm 118:2-4
Table time-- a foreshadowing of the fellowship we will have in heaven
Reading around the table and at bedtime
Fluffy pillows and warm comforters

Chapter 6: Manners: Church Behavior, Friends, Family
Love for one another, protection of each other's names and reputations, sensitivity to needs of brothers
Church manners: 
Worship and fellowship
Trained and taught all week long
Sitting together as a family
Creative ways to keep the little ones quiet and the older ones paying attention
Courtesy is  a Christian characteristic

Chapter 7: Respecting Sons
Bring them up in their full stature both physically and spiritually
Treat them in a way that their soul prospers
Teach them to be providers
His need for respect from mothers and sisters
Not taking sides between Dad and son
Teach respect by respecting husband
Praise your husband to your son
Praise your sons achievements and accomplishments
Give him responsibilities and fully expect him to fulfill them
Good behavior receives respect and honor from parents
Courtesy-- do not humiliate or point out flaws in public
Do not expect male piety to look like female piety

Chapter 8: Loving Daughters
A critical spirit is destructive
Teach them about meekness, submission, respect, courtesy and holiness
They need love and security
Dads should fulfill the need for male approval
Teach them to control their emotions--not to use them to manipulate
Teach them to be home-centered
Model and teach biblical femininity

Chapter 9: Setting Standards: God's Rules and House Rules
"Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds." Prov. 27:23
Take care of business at home first, before you get involved in other Christian affairs
Our children are our disciples
Godly discipline is focused on a long-term goal, not a short-term goal to make life easier
Be consistent

Chapter 10: The Importance of Education
Parents are responsible for the godly education of their children

Chapter 11: The Pleasant Home
A pleasant home should be full of joy and beauty-- the beauty of holiness
Perform duties cheerfully and patiently
Tidy, well-managed home

Chapter 12: The Domestic Arts
See domesticity as a duty and calling, not an option
Childrearing, cooking, cleaning, sewing, gardening and decorating

Chapter 13: Letting Them Go
Train them to leave productive, godly lives on their own

As you can tell from the titles alone, it will be a book I will soon be picking up to reference.



Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Rienvention of the American Grown-up by Christopher Noxon

What are the necessary, non-negotiable changes one must undergo to be considered a responsible, functioning adult? Everyone (including Christopher Noxon) agrees that no one should stay a naive, temper-tantrum throwing, un-potty trained child forever. Most people can detect immaturity in someone quite quickly and will display various levels of irritation based on the age appropriate stages that many intuitively expect from all people. But are these age appropriate expectations universal for every time, age, and society? Are there re-definable aspects of adulthood that people must embrace as simply a part of constantly changing cultures? In light of the Industrial Revolution, the explosion of technology, the absence of economic hardship, and the increase in life expectancy among American adults, is there a legitimate (and therefore, acceptable) challenge to the modern definition of the term "adult?" Good question. In Rejuvenile, (a term coined and used by Noxon himself to describe those who have life interests of those younger than themselves) one is forced to wrestle with these tough issues as one cannot deny the ubiquitous emergence of new, non-traditional adult norms. For Christians, this area must be addressed. We must know how the Bible defines "adult," and what we are to expect from our young brothers and sisters in regards to true aging and maturity. Pastors must recognize that confusion about issues of gender, sexuality, and adulthood abound in our secular culture, and the average church attender is no exception to being subtly influenced by this confusion.

Noxon, who is not writing from a Christian worldview, writes:

Evidences of the presence and influence of rejuveniles is all around. The Cartoon Network boasts bigger overall ratings among viewers aged eighteen to thirty-four than CNN, Fox News, or any cable news channel. Half of the visitors to Disney World are childless adults, making the Magic Kingdom the number-one adult vacation destination in the world. Department stores stock fuzzy pajamas with attached feet in adult sizes. . . . The Entertainment Software Association reports that the average age of video game players is twenty nine, up from eighteen in 1990. (3)

Also, from the back cover:

Once upon a time, boys and girls grew up and set aside childish things. Nowadays, moms and dads skateboard alongside their kids, captains of industry pose for Business Week holding Super Soakers, and young people delay marriage and childbirth longer than ever--in part to keep family obligations from interfering from their fun.

Noxon also makes a distinction between "childlike and childish" (223), with the former being the acceptable alternative to traditional adulthood. For him, even amidst a lifestyle characterized by late night hours of video gaming, moving back in with parents after college, and remaining deliberately single or childless, one may still be considered an adult. He argues that because they are able to maintain complex relationships and display responsibility (even if it is to manage a mass tournaments of adult dodge ball), rejuveniles are qualified adults who have indeed grown up, just not in the way our parents and grandparents did. In his most defining statement, he writes:

[Rejuveniles] might not be married, they might not have kids, they might build their life around values older people find self-serving, but they're still adults--they're just a different sort, less mature in some ways, but, it must be said, far more in others. Yes, they're less self-sufficient, but they're also more self-aware. Yes, they're less dependable, but they're also more adaptable. And yes, their crisscrossing career paths can look like proof of indecisiveness or all-around flakiness. But these same qualities can also be seen as evidence of an open and adventurous spirit, one that would rather explore and experiment that settle down, stick to it, and hope for the best. (162-163)

As I read this book I thought of a lot of people by name, many of whom are Christians. Whenever I get that cringe feeling in my soul when I hear of directionless believers spending their money selfishly and who are celebrating a whimsical, "adventurous" life, should I just pass it off as a cultural difference? Should I just come to terms with the fact that my age appropriate expectations are a relative product of the place I was raised? Or, are there certain mindsets and behaviors that we can truly urge young adults to change their minds about? There is nothing intrinsically childish about taking a lengthy trip to another country or playing video games, but defined by the individual in context, they can be.

I do think we can say that adulthood universally boils down to two non-negotiable characteristics: Gospel-marriage (for those who are not called to gospel celibacy) and Gospel-parenthood. Now, I realize that being married, per se, and having children, per se, does not make one an adult any more than being unmarried makes one childish. But, there is a clear Scriptural distinction between childhood and adulthood (e.g., 1 Cor. 13:11) and, it is sinful to not grow out of the former. Thus, it is crucial to recognize the things that keep one in childhood and prevent one from becoming a respectable adult in the eyes of Jesus.

Noxon is right when he points out that the widespread presence things like divorce and the ability to travel anywhere in the world at a relatively cheap price all contribute to the molding of a culture. He is quite helpful for my thinking on some of the things he says. I think there are some changes taking place in our minds regarding what it means to grow up, and not all are sinful. But, in the end, I think adulthood belongs to and is defined by God. There are non-negotiables, namely, marriage and parenthood, and the reality of selfishness is not something to be taken lightly, especially for Christians. Youth pastors need to know how their young people are growing up, and they need to have an understanding of what promotes true maturity and what keeps it from flourishing.

I enjoyed this book. Blake, I know you will get to it soon. I can't wait to talk about it with you.

Peace. Comments? Questions? Differing viewpoints?

(Sculpture found at Rednose Studios)


Mohler's Booked Blog

Dang it! Mohler just started a book blog for reviews and such. Not only will this put The Booked Blog out of business, but it will also make us look like children given that he will post about 7 posts a week. Thanks a lot Al.

You can find his new blog here. If anything, you know where he got his inspiration... ; )



Why Small Groups?: Together Toward Maturity

You can find this book in full-text at Google here.

Why Small Groups?: Together Toward Maturity is edited by C.J. Mahaney and includes a compilation of articles on small groups from many seasoned pastors across the nation. This book is primarily geared toward equipping leaders to lead small groups, but is certainly beneficial for those who want deepen their current small group involvement. Also, those who are still considering or questioning the small-group (aka, home-group, care-group, family-group, etc.) rout and it's biblical foundations will find no better Scripture-centered discussion of small-groups than here.

Main Thesis

Small groups provide an environment that cultivates biblical fellowship and sanctification. Biblically, the Christian faith is designed to thrive in a community setting. Though fellowship certainly occurs in many ways and at many times, small-groups are a way to ensure consistent, long-term, gospel-focused meetings between members of a local church. In most churches going to Sunday School and hearing a sermon in "Big Church" (even if they are sound, expository studies) is an inadequate means of sanctification. Small groups are not bible studies. They are geared to create a climate that allows for Christians to meet with the intention of walking together in faith. From serving one another to serving with one another; from rebuking sin to applying the weekly sermon; from praying together for a lost parent to accountability for one's private struggles; from grieving together over the loss of a sibling or parent to celebrating the arrival of a new baby; from providing a meal for one who is sick to sharpening spiritual gifts; from personality conflicts to biblical reconciliation--small groups get people into real community and challenge those who would otherwise only relate to their Christian friends on a superficial level. Fellowship is essential to the Christian life. Talking doctrine once a quarter over a styrofoam plate of fried chicken, green bean casserole, and rolls does not create the type of fellowship envisioned in Acts 2. Small groups are a way to become skilled at experiencing true fellowship with those of your local church.


"Genuine fellowship isn't practical in a crowd of 200 or 2,000. That's why I feel so strongly that churches must create small groups where Christians can develop intimate relationships, where they can 'know and be known.' A church following a biblical model will not just 'have' small groups. It will not merely 'offer' small groups. Rather, it will be built with small groups." (Mahaney, 3)

"Opportunities to fall in love, get married, procreate, pursue a career, go bungee jumping, play baseball, or go to school are all open to humanity in general. But only Christians can experience fellowship. For this reason alone, this unique quality of Christian existence should be exceedingly precious to us." (Loftness, 19-20)

"Small groups provide an excellent context in which to pursue many of the vital goals of church life that are difficult, if not impossible, to pursue on Sunday mornings." (Mullery, 47)

"Small groups can provide excellent opportunities for us to die to excessive love of comfort by embracing the changes and challenges God brings our way." (Butler, 77)

"The most important decision one will ever make is whether he or she will be devoted to Jesus Christ. And devotion to Jesus Christ cannot be effectively implemented without a devotion to the local church." (Harvey, 92)

"[It] is absolutely essential to realize that [para-church] ministries exist largely because local churches have fallen short of their biblical mandate. Truly, para-church ministries are evidence of the unpaid debt of the local church." (Harvey, 103)

"I find no New Testament examples of ministries that operated independently of local churches." (Harvey, 104)

Overall Conclusion

Anyone who is leading a small group needs to read this. There are crucial chapters on small group leadership filled with wisdom and insight on how to maintain a healthy small group. This was a great read. It's easy to read and can be read in one day. Check it out.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions?

Next post: Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Reinvention of the American Grown-up by Christopher Noxon. Get a preview here.)