Book Review: Pastor Dad

“Pastor Dad: Scriptural Insights on Fatherhood” by Mark Driscoll

This short book is basically an edited and updated transcript of one of Driscoll’s sermons from 2001. In his direct and to-the-point style, Driscoll addresses several areas of fatherhood (inseparable from a father’s role as husband), including a man’s Biblical obligation to instruct his children in the Lord, cultivate his family’s development in every area, provide for his family, and protect his family from their own sin as well as from the sins of others.

Driscoll’s basic premise is that every husband is the pastor — the shepherd — of his family. Though this is a counter-cultural teaching, and one that is often neglected or openly disdained even by those within the Church, I believe that this is the clear teaching of Scripture. Rather than portraying a father’s duty as a burden, this book shows that Biblical fatherhood is the path to “The Good Life”. Driscoll gives evidence to this by expositing Psalm 128:1-6 as the book progresses.

Those unused to Driscoll’s blunt language may balk at a few things written in this book. What he writes is pretty much straight out of Scripture, but sounds a lot harsher than we’re used to hearing… which may be a good thing. For example, in summing up a church’s responsibility to hold men accountable and discipline them when necessary, Driscoll writes: “Simply, churches must demand that sinful men change or leave.

There are a few places where I might take issue with Driscoll, but many of these may be cleared up if I had the opportunity to hear him expound a little more fully what he means. In such a short booklet (only about 40 pages), he just doesn’t go into much detail. A notable example of something I question is Driscoll’s insistence that men not just provide for their family, but “out-earn other men” (p. 23) and “make a lot of money” (p. 25). I suppose it would depend on how he defines this. By worldly standards, I am certainly not “out-earning” most men, and am far from achieving my earning potential, but I love what I do, I feel I am serving the Lord to the best of my ability with the gifts He has given me, I am in a position to exert positive influence on my family and many others, and I have no doubts about my ability to comfortably provide for my family’s financial needs. Some of Driscoll’s wording makes it sound as if I should be unsatisfied with all of this, but perhaps I mistake him.

That said, I love the way he phrases and teaches most things in this book. I have particularly benefited from his explanation of the difference between punishment and correction. Many of my guy friends will also want to read his thoughts on recovery from porn addiction (more fully fleshed out in another e-book which I’ll review soon).

In short, this is a great book for every Christian dad. It’s available for free online here. Check it out!

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