03 (March 2014)

A Neglected Grace

A Neglected Grace
Simon Arscott
Simon Arscott Simon has been sent by the International Presbyterian Church to lead All Nations Church, Ilford. Born and bred south of the river in Camberwell, London, he studied in York.
01 March, 2014 2 min read

A Neglected Grace
Jason Helopoulos
Christian Focus Publishing
128, £6.99
ISBN: 978-1781912034
Star Rating: 4

As the title suggests, this book looks at a subject that, in many Christians’ experience, is in danger of extinction, namely family worship.

Where once it was the norm that the head of a family led the household in daily acts of worship, now seeing a family do this can feel like you’ve bumped into a rare, exotic species of Christian.

The author is a Presbyterian pastor, who wants to reintroduce this important practice back into Christian families. The first three chapters give the rationale for family worship.

I particularly liked the point that the act of family worship centres and unifies the home around Christ. In a culture that atomises the family into free-floating individuals, it can be tempting for Christian families to follow suit and carve up worship into something for kiddies, something else for teens and something else for adults.

The effect is that, in practice, the TV unifies the family more than the worship of God! Seen against that backdrop, the author shows how strategic a habit family worship is.

The remaining six chapters get specific and practical. Family worship involves reading Scripture, prayer, and (interestingly) song. With a young family himself, the author doesn’t make unrealistic proposals, like 30-minute Bible studies, long extempore prayers, and harmonious a capella singing. Instead, he encourages brevity, flexibility and, above all, perseverance.

His pastoral experience is clearly visible as he thoughtfully considers a variety of family situations, including how this might work for single mums and spouses married to unbelievers.

Overall, I found my thinking sharpened on the topic and picked up a number of helpful ideas that have freshened what we do as a family.

It’s just over 100 pages, so it’s a quick read, and it succeeds in making you feel, ‘I get to worship God with my family’, rather than (groan), ‘I’ve got to worship God with my family’.

This would be ideal to put into the hands of anyone who has a blank or bewildered look on their face when they hear of this ‘strange’ practice.

Simon Arscott
York

Simon Arscott
Simon has been sent by the International Presbyterian Church to lead All Nations Church, Ilford. Born and bred south of the river in Camberwell, London, he studied in York.
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