Book Review: Fathers & Sons: Hold Fast in a Broken World, by Douglas Bond
"Synopsis: In twenty-first century America, young men are in more need than ever of mature, godly wisdom and counsel to instruct them as they set out on their daunting task of living as genuine Christians in a deceptive and ungodly world. But unfortunately, when young men are in the direst straits, it seems as if wise fathers, who will guide them through the daunting world of false philosophies and lying pleasures stretched out before them, are in scarce demand. Recognizing this dilemma, Douglas Bond has undertaken to write a book that shows how advantageous and necessary it is, â€œin a broken world,â€ for fathers to speak sensibly and biblically on every issue from work ethics to cultural engagement, and for sons to heed their wisdom and fight against sin with the strength of youth. God grant that both generations, by his power and grace, may continue to hold fast when all the world is falling apart.
In the book of Proverbs, King Solomon models what it is to be a godly father, instructing his children in practical, God-given wisdom, which touches on every topic under the sun. How well he recognized the vast array of enticing sins and the bitter ends to which they finally lead, and how ardently did he wish to prepare his children to meet those temptations with an informed mind and a heart set on the truth! Sadly, this sort of father/son relationship is hard to find these days; but Douglas Bond is a refreshing example of just such a father, who takes advantage of every opportunity to press home to his children the courses which the godly life must take, always against the grain of this world, and the popular form of religion which has already embraced the world's deceptive ideals.Bond does not write with the pen of a scholarly exegete or systematizer of doctrine, and he has not produced a structured compendium of theological truths; instead, he writes occasionally, modeling how different circumstances and situations may be wrested to a wise father's purpose, as illustrations to his sons of the heavenly wisdom that sheds light on all of society's perplexing problems. He has a penchant for finding analogies and exemplary materials in all of the events of life, and using those everyday realities of soldiery and athletics, or encounters with inconsistent college professors and selfcontradictory artists, as solid instructional materials, designed to make his children grapple with real issues, and set their hearts on following the path of godliness, no matter what the cost may be, or how inexplicable it may appear to modern society.
Loosely grouped into four themes â€“ Leaders and Servants, Culture and Art, Culture, Humanity, Truth, and Lies, and Death, Suffering, and Heaven â€“ Bond has compiled twenty-one chapters, which may perhaps be fittingly described as informal, didactic monologues, in which he relates anecdotes and illustrations, diagnoses cultural nconsistencies and masquerading sins, prescribes godly actions and responses, and encourages heartfelt perseverance in the truth. Usually he is thought-provoking, sometimes profound, and always authentic and overflowing with a fatherly concern that his sons grow up to be faithful soldiers of Jesus Christ, holding fast in a broken world.
The command that God has given to fathers in Deuteronomy 6:6-9, that they be teaching their children always and at every opportunity of the works and commandments of the Lord, is sobering in its solemn import; and frankly, even among Christian men and leaders, far more failures to observe its prescriptions may be found than true successes. Douglas Bond is one man who seems to have taken this command seriously; and by his example, we may all be admonished. This is a book that both fathers and sons would do well to come to: sons, to drink from the well of practical wisdom, and fathers to encounter an example to be followed. May Christian fathers everywhere be encouraged to use all of life as an opportunity to train up their sons in the practical wisdom that flies in the face of the culture, and which can only be formed by a constant and Spirit-led meditation on the scriptures; and may Christian sons be stirred up to press on through the fierce and numerous foes to their faith. In a word, may both
fathers and sons â€œhold fast in a broken worldâ€.
Reviewed by Nathan Pitchford
Fathers & Sons: Volume 2: Hold Fast In a Broken World, by Douglas Bond available at Monergism Books