HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: For Instruction in Righteousness: A Topical Reference Guide for Biblical Child-Training
Author: Pam Forster
Publisher: Doorposts, third edition published in 2011
Related website: http://www.doorposts.com/ (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Intended for use with all ages
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Forster, Pam. For Instruction in Righteousness: A Topical Reference Guide for Biblical Child-Training (published in 1993 and revised in 1995 by Doorposts, 5905 S.W. Lookingglass Dr., Gaston, OR 97119). “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In the introduction to this spiral-bound volume, author Pam Forster wrote, “This book is the result of ignorance, not expertise. Our children are not perfect….That’s why we needed this book! Raising children is a humbling experience; each new baby exposes more of my weaknesses, more of my inadequacies, more of my need to rely on my sovereign Lord for strength and guidance. We put this book together so that we could use it in our own family. It is the result of our prayer for God’s wisdom.” For Instruction in Righteousness is designed to help parents use the Bible every time they discipline their children! It includes hundreds of Bible verses that are organized around some 52 areas of misbehavior, including pride, self-righteousness, selfishness and greed, being easily swayed and doubleminded, laziness, lying, hatred, bad friendships, and foolishness vs. wisdom.
Each chapter includes what the Bible says will, or should, happen to a person who sins in this way, along with what the Bible likens a person to when he indulges in this sin. Then it gives ideas for discipline that parallel these Biblical consequences and practical object lessons using these examples, citing stories and people in the Bible that illustrate obedience and disobedience in each area. Some people do not like this book. One reviewer said, “I don’t think it gave a very good picture of how God wants us to parent our children. It’s very harsh in it’s [sic] ‘suggestions’ using the Bible to back them up….God is not a harsh Father with His children and I honestly don’t think He would want us to parent with the methods described in this book.” Someone must have missed Romans 11:22, “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.” This person also wrote, “The problem is that the verses are taken out of context.” Yes, it’s possible to take verses out of context, but today this is a modern codeword for “The Bible doesn’t really mean what it says, so we don’t actually have to do what it says.”
Another reviewer said, “Instruction in Cruelty! This book encourages parents to torture young people.” I may not always agree with every suggestion made in the book, but the charge of cruelty and torture is hyperbole to the extreme. These are the kinds of people who claim that even if you tell your children “No” you are damaging their little egos. This same person wrote, “If religion is this depressing and abusive then it’s no wonder so many children are rejecting Christianity when they grow up.” Unfortunately, too many people’s version of Christianity today is a modernist, weak, watered-down, ecumenical imitation which views God as nothing but “love” and then confuses love with “tolerance” and “acceptance” as its greatest goals. For Instruction in Righteousness was originally published in 1993. Some dear friends gave us a copy of the 1995 revised version several years ago, and we have used it for our family devotions until our younger son graduated and went off to college. A third edition which was published in 2011 has been updated and expanded after eighteen years of faithful service with over fifty pages added and many chapters expanded as a result of additional parenting experience and Bible study.