‘Give Them Grace’ is gonna be good

I just started reading Give Them Grace, a parenting book I’ll be reviewing for our church Sun night. It’s not often that I find myself amen-ing a book in the introduction but I did on this one. To wit:

This book will provide you with something more than a three-step formula for successful parenting. That’s because even though it might seem counter-intuitive, none of us need more law. In this case, law might masquerade as “easy steps,” “hints for success,” or even “secret formulas,” but make no mistake: at heart it is law. Mormons, Muslims, and moralistic atheists all share the belief that law can perfect us, but Christians don’t. Christians know that the law can’t save us; what we need is a Savior. We need a Savior because every one of us has already demonstrated that we don’t respond well to rules (Rom. 3:23). We’ve been given a perfect law (Rom. 7:12) but none of us-no, not one-has obeyed it (Rom. 3:10). Why would we think that our success rate would be any different if we just had different laws? (16)


It’s the premise of this book that the primary reason the majority of kids from Christian homes stray from the faith is that they never really heard it or had it to begin with. They were taught that God wants them to be good, that poor Jesus is sad when they disobey, and that asking Jesus into their heart is the breadth and depth of the gospel message. Scratch the surface of the faith of the young people around you and you’ll find a disturbing deficiency of understanding of even the most basic tenets of Christianity. (18)


Although we long to be faithful parents, we also rest in the truth that our faithfulness is not what will save our children. Giving grace to our children is not another formula that guarantees their salvation or obedience. Grace-parenting is not another law for you to master to perfect your parenting or your children. Our children will be saved only through the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit, who works at the direction of our faithful heavenly Father. He’s the faithful, powerful, soul-transforming One. Yes, he may use us as means to accomplish his purpose. But salvation is entirely of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). (22)

Author: Jonathan P. Merritt

Happily married father of six. Lead pastor at Edgewood Baptist Church (Columbus, GA). Good-natured contrarian, theological Luddite, and long-suffering Atlanta Falcons fan. A student of one book.

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