LibertyUniversity Baptist Theological Seminary
A4Mat Book Review: Family to Family By: Dr. Jerry Pipes andVictor Lee
Familyto Family by Jerry Pipes and Victor Lee is one of the mostinspirational books on family matters in modern society. The bookidentifies some of the common challenges faced by families in themodern world. The book has a total of six chapters in which theauthors illustrate their ideas and points in an organized, easy tounderstand and interesting structure. The first chapter, “HealthyFamily”, gives a description of what constitutes a healthy family.A healthy family should be able to serve God and live a godly life.The chapter is intended to help the modern family in gaugingthemselves on whether they are the ideal family as God intended1.
Thesecond chapter, “Developing a Mission Statement”, provides aguide through which Christian families can navigate and attain thestatus of a healthy family. The chapter suggests various ways throughwhich families can create their mission statement by involving allmembers of the family2.Chapter three gives a guide on responsibility of the family inbringing up children who are God-fearing and well mannered. Thechapter postulates that the family is the most important aspect ofchildren’s upbringing3.Chapters four, five and six are summaries of importance of the familyin the evangelization especially to people around them. The authorsrefer to the basics of evangelism in describing the role of thefamily in evangelism and worship4.
Toan experienced reader, the book looks shallow in content. The titlesuggests a detailed guide to family life in the modern society. Tothe contrary, the authors make generalizations and assumptions. Forexample, the book assumes that the problems and challenges facing themodern family are obvious. While the solutions are very important, aclear and detailed discussion of the challenges facing the modernsociety could have made the book better. Nonetheless, Family toFamily is an important book for individuals intending to bring upa family guided by Christian principles. It is also very helpful toindividuals who have already established their families and wish tomake them better or deal with the common challenges in the modernfamilies. The book has six subsections that make it easy for someoneto read and understand quickly. Additionally, the structure of thebook makes it easy to understand for novice Christian readers or themost seasoned evangelists. Majority of the religious books require aninterpretation by an evangelist or an individual who is moreconversant with the Christian way of life as well as religiouswriting. However, the book’s main audiences are the members of thefamily. The book is suitable for family group study, but it can alsobe an important resource in Bible study groups and small Christiancommunities. Although it is important for parents to read the book,especially on the role of family in bringing up God fearing children,the book is far from a complete guide to Christian parenting. In myupbringing, there were no books such as Family to Familyproviding guidelines to Christian based family life. The lessons inthe book remind me of family challenges I went through in mychildhood. While my mother was very concern about my spirituality, myfather was not there to provide the necessary support. Maybe due tothe nature of his profession, he was not available to provide theguidance I required. It is my conviction that such a book could havemade my Christian faith stronger and made me a better member of theChristian society. This is because it could have convinced my fatherthat his physical presence and mentoring was very essential.
BothJerry Pipes and Victor Lee are recognized and celebrated writers andspeakers in the United States. They have written several books andpublications that have had impacts on the society. However, the mainissue is the applicability of the advice and lessons contained intheir book, Family to Family.It is important to recognize that there are several challenges thatface the modern family and threaten its critical role in the society.The main challenges in the modern societies are affecting familiesthat are not based in Christianity. Therefore, one would wonder howthe book will be relevant to these families. There is no doubt thatthe book is easy to read and understand, even to a less experiencedChristian reader. Nonetheless, the lessons offered to non-Christiansby the book are also essential. This is a fundamental issue because,given the fact that the book is a Christian book, it will mainlyattract the audience of Christian readers, but the family relatedproblems are prevalent among non-religious families. Pipes and Leehave framed the book as a biblical guide to a Christian family life.The practical examples provided in the book are essential but onlyfocus on the Christ centered family. The book gives a Christianperspective to the problems facing modern families. The solutionsprovided in the book are applicable to both Christians andnon-Christians as well as married and unmarried individuals.
Nonetheless,could have been more appealing if the book had some secular aspectsof the general family life. This could have captured the concerns ofdeteriorating status of the family in the modern society to make thebook more interesting to the reader. Unless required to read in achurch or school, Family to Familydoes not look like a book a parent will pick from the shelf and readpage by page. The writing is dull and the appearance is not excitingto a casual reader.
Thereare three main essential steps in my Christian life that I considermost appropriate after reading the book. First, there is a need todevelop a mission statement to act as a guide to Christian life.Secondly, I should take the responsibility of the family as the basicunit of evangelization and worship. Thirdly, while earthly things areimportant in raising a family, I should ensure that they do nothinder my spiritual growth and commitments. Raising a family based onthe Christian principles and the teaching of Christ is one of themost important dreams of every Christian. Pipes and Lee attempt toreach the Christian families and guide them towards true discipleshipand worship. There is no doubt that there are many lessons that canbe derived from the book. Reading the book will have several impactson the reader and the way he relates with other Christians and familymembers as well as their daily work. First, the book equips thereader with the necessary information relating to the challenges inthe modern life. Although the book does not dwell so much on whatchallenges the modern families are facing, it provides practicalsolutions to the challenges. These solutions are based on Christiantraditions and teachings and are supported by real examples. Thiswill impact positively on the reader by giving him or her knowledgeas well as confidence to approach these challenges. Pipes and Leehave used a combination of subjective stories and facts to equip thereader with all the necessary materials and information to deal withthe problems directly or assist others who may be facing challengeswithin their families.
Althoughthe book mainly targets the family and ministers who are involved inguiding other Christians on family relations, the book is animportant guide to all Christians. Individuals without children orthose who are yet to establish their own families may expect thatthere is very little they can learn from the book. However, theinformation in the book is not only for fathers, mothers, andguardians, but also for the Christians in general. By reading thebook, a Christian becomes a better minister of Christianity andevangelist. Single or married, the ideas of Pipes and Lee will equipa Christian with knowledge that will help others in the church.Therefore, unmarried men or women should not ignore the book or skipsome of the chapters dealing with the family directly. These chaptersare as important as other chapters giving general Christianityinformation. Rather, in addition to helping other individuals in thefamily who are facing challenges, the reader should use theinformation in the book to make his or her Christian life better andprepare for the future. Therefore, Christians and non-Christians canadopt the core lessons from the book to improve their social livesand the lives of other people around them. For example, the chapteron developing a mission statement is essential for individualswithout families where they can develop their own mission statementsto make their lives more fulfilling. Jesus, from whom ideal Christianmission statements are based, did not have a family, but his personallife is an important testimony to individuals establishing familiesin the modern world5.
Accordingto the teachings of the Bible, parents have a responsibility ofreaching their families for Christ (Proverbs 22:6). This puts moreemphasis on the importance of a mission statement. Although the rolescan be reversed, the main focus of the authors is the role of theparents in regard to the welfare and spirituality of their children6.Nonetheless, the lesson can be applied in the reverse role where thechildren evangelize to the rest of the family. By reading the book,an individual is able to understand his role in the family regardlesstheir position in the family. For example, a child may encounterJesus Christ and salvation while in school, through close friends orvocational training. On the premises of the book FamilyTo Family,the child becomes a missionary to the members of the family. Theoutstanding teaching of the book is the fact that all members of thefamily have a responsibility to contribute to the spirituality of theentire family and the society. Additionally, the teaching of thebook will have a great influence on how people spend their lives onearth. According to Pipes and Lee7,the only things that are ultimate are “people and the word of God.”This means that the human kind in the modern world is overindulgingin things that do not matter spiritually. No matter how much wealthor earthly influence an individual has, it is useless if theindividual is not living a dignified and God fearing life. This meansthat while other things are essential in life, they are peripheralcompared to establishing a God fearing family. Individuals shouldtherefore strive to be a positive influence to their families. Forexample, due to the nature of the modern life, parents are finding itdifficult to spend time with their children. Children are spendingmore time with their teachers, peers or games instructors. While theinfluence of the parents on the children’s life is diminishing, theinfluences of their peers and other members of the society areprofound.
Readingthe book makes one appreciate the important role of a family insocial life. The family is the basic unit of the society and thechurch. The authors suggest that a family should spend time togetherthrough devotion and sharing to strengthen relations and fostercloseness. Christian families have a divine responsibility ofworshiping and praying together (Joshua 24:25). To maximize theireffectiveness, the family devotions should be regular, interactiveand all members of the family must be able to enjoy the sessions.While parents have the responsibility of nurturing their childrenspiritually (Timothy 5:8) and making them better members of thesociety, the devotions offer everybody in the family a chance tolearn from other members of the society. This means that the parentsare also able to learn from their children8.However, it is important to note that the adjustments in the familyas suggested by Pipes and Lee come at a cost. To be able to deal withthe palpable challenges facing the modern family, as proposed in thebook, families should be willing to pay the price. The suggestedapproaches do not have straight and easy outcomes. The familiesshould be ready for the insignificant and negative impacts resultingfrom some of the lessons and suggestions. Nonetheless, there is noreason to give up in any endeavors to make family life better. Thiscan be achieved through living a Christ like life in the familysetting.
Pipes,Jerry andVictorLee.Family to family: families making a difference,Alpharetta, GA: North American Mission Board of the Southern BaptistConvention, 1999.
1 Pipes, Jerry and Victor Lee. Family to family: families making a difference, Alpharetta, GA: North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1999, 6.
2 Pipes, Jerry and Victor Lee. Family to family: families making a difference, Alpharetta, GA: North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1999, 27.
3 Pipes, Jerry and Victor Lee. Family to family: families making a difference, Alpharetta, GA: North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1999, 43.
4 Pipes, Jerry and Victor Lee. Family to family: families making a difference, Alpharetta, GA: North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1999, 70.
5 Pipes, Jerry and Victor Lee. Family to family: families making a difference, Alpharetta, GA: North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1999, 27.
6 Pipes, Jerry and Victor Lee. Family to family: families making a difference, Alpharetta, GA: North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1999, 43.
7 Pipes, Jerry and Victor Lee. Family to family: families making a difference, Alpharetta, GA: North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1999, 29.
8 Pipes, Jerry and Victor Lee. Family to family: families making a difference, Alpharetta, GA: North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1999, 58.