Beeke’s Book of the Month for June 2023 is Family Worship by Dr. Joel Beeke. Enjoy this brief excerpt from the first chapter to learn why family worship is the foundation of biblical parenting. (Note: All of the references in this article are properly footnoted in the full text of Family Worship.)
“Every church desires growth. Surprisingly few churches, however, seek to promote internal church growth by stressing the need to raise children in covenantal truth. Few seriously grapple with why many adolescents become nominal members with mere notional faith or abandon evangelical truth for unbiblical doctrine and modes of worship.
I believe one major reason for this failure is the lack of stress upon family worship. In many churches and homes, family worship is an optional thing, or at most, a superficial exercise such as a brief table grace before meals. Consequently, many children grow up with no experience or impression of Christian faith and worship as a daily reality. When my parents commemorated their fiftieth anniversary, all five of us children decided to express thanks to our father and mother for one thing without consulting each other.
Remarkably, all five of us thanked our mother for her prayers, and all five of us thanked our father for his leadership of our Sunday evening family worship. My brother said, “Dad, the oldest memory I have is of tears streaming down your face as you taught us from Pilgrim’s Progress on Sunday evenings how the Holy Spirit leads believers. At the age of three, God used you in family worship to convict me that Christianity was real. No matter how far I went astray in later years, I could never seriously question the reality of Christianity, and I want to thank you for that.”
Would we see revival among our children? Let us remember that God often uses the restoration of family worship to usher in church revival. For example, the 1677 church covenant of the Puritan congregation in Dorchester, Massachusetts, included the commitment “to reform our families, engaging ourselves to a conscientious care to set before us and to maintain the worship of God in them; and to walk in our houses with perfect hearts in a faithful discharge of all domestic duties, educating, instructing, and charging our children and households to keep the ways of the Lord.”
As goes the home, so goes the church, so goes the nation. Family worship is a most decisive factor in how the home goes.
Family worship is not the only factor, of course. Family worship is not a substitute for other parental duties. Family worship without parental example is futile. Spontaneous teaching that arises throughout a typical day is crucial, yet set times of family worship are also important. Family worship is the foundation of biblical child-rearing.
In this booklet, we will examine family worship under five headings: (1) theological foundations, (2) duty; (3) implementation; (4) objections; (5) motivation.”