This week’s author interview is with Jim Newheiser. He is the author of Parenting Is More than a Formula and the co-author of You Never Stop Being a Parent: Thriving in Relationship with Your Adult Children.
- Question #1 — Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what you do in your spare time, etc.
I consider myself a Texan, and I determined as a young man to live there for the rest of my life. In God’s providence, early in our marriage we went to Saudi Arabia for six years during which time I was a tentmaking pastor in an underground church for expatriates, followed by the past twenty-seven years in Southern California during which time I went to seminary, helped to plant our local church and then became involved in biblical counseling.
My main hobby is running long distances slowly (marathons and ultramarathons).
- Question #2 — When did you first want to write a book?
Until Elyse Fitzpatrick invited me to co-author a book with her about ten years ago, it never occurred to me that I would ever write a book. As God used that book to help others, I had a burden to write about other topics and the Lord opened doors to make this possible.
- Question #3 — Have you always enjoyed writing?
I find writing to be extremely difficult, but I try to have an eschatological perspective, anticipating future joy as others are helped by what the Lord has been teaching me.
- Question #4 — What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?
I wrote Parenting Is More than a Formula to speak to parents who have been hurt and discouraged as they have tried to discover the perfect formula by which they can ensure that their children will turn out well. Many of the parenting methodologies being offered to the Christian community are legalistic. They go beyond what Scripture requires of parents (which is actually quite simple—discipline, instruction and not provoking their children to anger Eph. 6:4) and present a methodology (which may be one of many possible ways to implement what the Bible teaches) that they imply is God’s way of parenting. They also imply that those who don’t follow their methodology are in sin. This leads to my second major concern which is that many parenting formulas sound unbiblically deterministic, implying that parenting is like baking a cake in that if you follow the right recipe you will experience the right outcome. While Scripture teaches that parents are an important influence on how their children turn out (Prov. 29:15), we cannot control outcomes (see Ezekiel 18). We expose our children to God’s grace and wisdom, but they can choose to reject what we teach. Ultimately we parents are dependent upon God’s grace.
- Question #5 — Do you have a specific spot where you enjoy writing most?
We have some dear friends who allow us to use their apartment overlooking the beach in San Clemente, which is where I have been doing most of my writing in recent years. It is great to get away from our normal environment and to experience the beauty of God’s creation as I do the hard work of writing.
- Question #6 — Favorite food?
Anything my wife cooks.
- Question #7 — Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Anything made by Blue Bell, which tragically is not sold in California.
- Question #8 — Favorite animal? Why?
Dog. Loyal and eager to please.
- Question #9 — If you have a favorite book of the Bible, what is it and why?
Whatever book I am currently studying and preaching.
Want to learn more about Jim? He is the director and counselor of the Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship.
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