Discipling Your Grandchildren: Great Ideas To Help Them Know, Love, And Serve God, by Dr. Josh Mulvihill with Jen Mulvihill and Linda Weddle
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Bethany House Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
There are some good thoughts and ideas in this book. If discipling one’s grandchildren is by no means an easy task, the suggestions in this book certainly do provide the reader with a good sense of what is meant by the term as well as what can be done to encourage one’s grandchildren to behave in what the authors consider to be a godly fashion. The chapters of this book give a reasonably clear primer, to those readers who are not aware, about what discipling means, and it even provides advice on how grandparents can avoid being obnoxious to their grandchildren and also how to manage technology that helps people stay in closer touch with each other–although the authors insist that social media not replace in person or telephone as a means of communication with others. Whether or not the reader agrees with all that is said in the book, there is certainly a lot to gain here for older readers in particular.
This book is a bit less than 20- pages long and contains eleven chapters. After a foreword and introduction, the authors talk about what the Bible says about grandparenting (1). After this the author encourages gifts, encouragement, and prayer (2). This leads into a discussion of intentional meals, including ethnic dinners and meals with biblical ingredients (3). The authors then move into discussing the teaching of God’s word and the telling of God’s work (4) as a means of discipling. This leads into a recommendation of reading and memorizing the Bible (5) as well as sharing the gospel (6) and serving together with grandchildren (7). The authors then discuss relationship building (8) including respecting the wishes of non-Christian parents and also discipling in the home, focusing on respecting and welcoming and honoring the young folk (9). Finally, the book ends with a discussion on how older folks can launch a grandparents ministry at their church and participate in something called GrandCamp (10), and then deal with the wide variety of holidays that take place during the secular year (11), after which the book ends with an index.
Although this book has a lot to offer, it comes with a lot of issues. The authors appear to be ignorant of the non-biblical baggage that they bring to their efforts to disciple others. Although the authors drag other books for encouraging people to do things that are not biblical, this book certainly offers a lot of non-biblical guidance. That is not even considering the way that this book endorses less than literal translations like the ESV and NIV in contrast to better options. Indeed, the last chapter of the book in particular contains a great deal of discussion about holidays, the vast majority of which are either unbiblical or in many cases contrary to what the Bible itself commands. Nowhere is there a call to worship on any of the days proclaimed in Leviticus 23, for example. The authors seem to confuse American protestant religion with biblical religion, when there is a fair amount of difference between them. Of course, we disciple people into our own faith, and it is unreasonable to expect those who do not practice biblical Christianity to be able to effectively disciple other people into it, but rarely does a book make the sort of claims that it so transparently cannot fulfill as this one does, even if it does provide useful advice.