Studies in Piety
by Carrie Hurd

According to Webster's 1828 dictionary, "Piety in principle, is a compound of veneration or reverence of the Supreme Being and love of his character, or veneration accompanied with love; and piety in practice, is the exercise of these affections in obedience to his will and devotion to his service." Now who could argue with teaching our children such a discipline? Training in piety is the primary duty of a parent and should not be relegated to the pastor or some Sunday school teacher. Piety is to be consciously and consistently taught just as you would teach reading or math. Each family may have its distinct and unique style and methods of teaching piety, but it certainly should not be an "elective" or an optional course for the Christian home school.

In our home, the way I teach piety is through the time we call devotions, which begins sometime after breakfast most school days. My husband has other times and his own distinct and self-conscious way of training our children in piety. I like to read aloud to my children, so that is the primary method I have chosen to teach my children this crucial subject. We will read from the Bible and or one or more devotion books and pray together during our regular daily times (each of our reading children should have already had their personal Bible and prayer time). In this first Book Review for the new school year I would like to share with you some of the books we have used for devotional material. We have a wide range of children in our home school and, therefore, use a variety of resources to meet the different needs. My hope is that it will encourage you not to neglect this area, will give you some new ideas, and spur you to your own new and creative ways of teaching piety as a primary and on-going area of instruction in your Christian home school.

Leading Little Ones to God, a Child’s Book of Bible Teachings, by Marian M. Schoolland, is an excellent, foundational, and very easy to use classic. Each short chapter, geared to children ranging in age from 5 to 10 (but my older children also listen and benefit from these concise theological lessons too), teaches basic Biblical doctrines. Topics include: God is One God, God is Everywhere, God Knows All Things, God is Three Persons, God is Holy, How Sin Came Into the World, What it Means to be a Sinner, What the Law Means, What Jesus Did, and How We Become Children of God. These are just a few of the theological concepts your children can learn and begin to understand at an early age.

America’s Christian History: The Untold Story, by Gary DeMar, documents by scholarly and clear writing the historical facts, setting the record straight regarding America’s Christian roots. His chapters on "Whitewashing History" expose the methods and the motives of those who would rewrite the past to suit their own anti-religion bias. This book is probably written for a high school to adult audience but my 5th and 7th grade boys really got into this book as a read aloud. After reading the chapter on "Censoring the Past" my 12 year-old son was ready to find some government schooled child so he could point out the ways government schools have censored and rewritten the history they teach.

The Institutes of Biblical Law, by Rousas John Rushdoony, is an amazingly thorough but easy to read book on God’s law. Rushdoony demonstrates to us that "God’s law is much more than a legal code; it is a covenantal law. It establishes a personal relationship between God and man." He "tenderly illustrates how the law is for our good, and makes clear the difference between the sacrificial laws and those that apply today. The second section vividly shows the practical implications of the law." Each short chapter is packed with applicable modern day examples that give us great fodder for discussions around the dinner table with Dad. I love this book because it helps me teach my children that God’s law is timeless and has answers for the problems we face today. My 10 year-old and up were able to enjoy the reading and participate in the discussions.

One of the major aspects of training our children in piety is to teach them about prayer. One of the books we read together last year was With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. The author thoroughly covers the many aspects of prayer and gave us opportunity to practice prayer together in our prayer time.

God in the Dock, by C.S. Lewis, is a collection of essays and letters on a wide variety of topics: Christianity and literature, the logic of theism, modern theology, miracles, evolution, prayer, church music, ethics, subjectivism, Christmas, the role of women in church polity, and much more. This book has some great essays that introduce Christian apologetics. My teenagers enjoyed these essays but many of them were over mine and my middle schoolers heads. This book also led to some lively discussions with Dad around the dinner table.

We are currently reading The Pursuit of Holiness, by Jerry Bridges. Many of you may have copies of this Navpress book, from the late 70’s, sitting around on your bookshelves. If you don’t you need to run out and purchase it. I recently re-read it and was once again deeply convicted of my continuing need to be obedient, to persevere, and to endeavor to live a life of holiness. This classic primer on holiness encourages us to face our responsibility to take sin seriously and to walk in obedience (holiness) which will lead to experiencing that elusive "joy" that so many Christians are seeking after. Some of the chapters that are included are: Holiness Is for You, The Holiness of God, Holiness Is Not an Option, The Holiness of Christ, The Battle for Holiness, Help in the Daily Battle, Obedience—Not Victory, Putting Sin to Death, The Place of Personal Discipline, Holiness in Body, in Spirit, Our Wills, Habits of Holiness, and The Joy of Holiness. This book is soooo practical! Which one of us does not have an area of sin in which we daily struggle? Great book!!!!!

Beside the Bible, you probably already have one or more Christian books on your shelf that has been meaningful and helpful to you in your Christian walk. What better way to share your life, your faith, and teach piety than to share a book that has been personally encouraging to you? May the Lord richly bless you and pour his favor on you as you plan and obediently live out your calling to train your children in Reading, 'Righting, ‘Rithmatic, AND Piety.



Patrick L. Hurd
Weatherford, Texas

EST. 01/01/01