A God-fearing Father (VII)

This series of blogs shares my remembrances of the life and death of my father, John Beeke (d. 1993). In this part of the series I am sharing lessons learned from his example.

(4) Holy earnestness. Our father was earnest. He often taught us at home and in church with tears about the dangers of sin and the necessity of coming before God as a hell-worthy sinner. With tears he instructed us about the only way of escape in Christ Jesus. He taught us with great conviction. Often he said to us: “Oh, that I could write these great truths of eternity upon your hearts with an iron pen!”

Dear parents, never forget that the church and the school cannot replace your foundational task. The church and school are designed to assist you, but the primary task of child-rearing, also in the area of true religion, rests with you. Can your children witness in your life a holy earnestness for the welfare of their never-dying souls?

(5) Wise, practical instructions. Our father often had golden nuggets of wisdom to impart to us. How well I remember one occasion when he said to me, “There are two things I don’t ever want you to forget if you become a minister some day: first, remember that J. C. Philpot was right when he said that though Satan cannot keep a child of God out of heaven, he can successfully keep heaven out of a child of God during this life when that child of God cooperates with him. And second, remember that you will need more wisdom to lead individual souls in a flock than to preach to the entire flock.”

To mention only one more example, he often said to us: “For a child of God a divine instruction is more than a divine comfort. A comfort is precious, but is usually of short duration; an instruction may not seem as great as a comfort at first, but an instruction will last an entire lifetime.”


  1. John Van Voorhis

    Joel’s father was obviously a remarkable man and these columns are a blessing. However, it should not be forgotten that many of us did not have such a father. I found a letter which told that in 1927 my father was visited by a local pastor and urged to receive Christ. He declined. In 1956, before departing for law school, I urged my father, who could not speak due to strokes, that my greatest wish for him was that he put his trust in Christ. Tears rolled down his cheeks, but I could not be sure whether this might be just an emotional response. Not long after, another evangelical local pastor ministered to my father and wrote to my sister and me that he thought my father had received Christ. He died in 1957. God’s ways are mysterious, but He is ever faithful.

  2. homeschoolonthecroft

    I am loving this series on your father, Dr Beeke. What precious, precious memories you have.
    I love the way our Saviour is spoken of as ‘Christ’ in these posts too. How precious that name is to me, and I hear Him given this title too little now. That grieves me, and so it has rejoiced my heart in reading of your father’s experiences.
    How precious the name of Christ is when we are convicted of our own total sinfulness, but convinced then of Christ’s righteousness being *ours*. Can anything be more wonderful?!

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