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Wayne S. Walker
5 Stars Out Of 5
wonderful story of family faithfulness
June 10, 2012
Wayne S. Walker
Back in the early 1950s, Arnold Pent Jr. and his wife Persis took their eight children out of public schools and began a journey that lasted more than one million miles during the 50s and early 60s throughout the United States and Canada, using three rather antiquated automobiles, to present the gospel message of Jesus Christ in word and song wherever they had the opportunity. Arnold's father, Arnold Van Dyke Pent Sr., had been a cigar manufacturer in Philadelphia, PA, but was converted to Christ at age 45 and became a minister. He sent his son Arnold Jr. to Wheaton Academy and Wheaton College, and, after graduating from the Bible Institute of Pennsylvania (now the Philadelphia College of the Bible and Graduate School), he too became a minister.
During this time, the Pents had regular family devotions. These were not just five minute per day sessions with a couple of verses and a quick application. The children were expected to read their Bibles every morning anywhere from fifteen minutes to a full hour, depending on their age, and then the group had half-hour devotions after every meal in which they read and discussed large portions of Scripture. As a result, they were able to quote whole chapters and even books of the Bible without active memorization. Indeed, obedience to God's will was their prime motivation in everything they did. When Mr. and Mrs. Pent made the decision to keep their children out of public school, Mr. Pent said, "I just don't think it's right to let an atheist or non-believer have our children the best part of every day, teaching them many things that we will have to turn right around and tell them are not true." Publisher Doug Phillips wrote, "Future historians may look back on the Arnold Pent family and describe them as the 'first modern home school family.' Long before there were any state home schooling organizations or curriculum fairs, Arnold Pent declared his independence from government education and his dependence on Jesus Christ in the training of his children."
This book, written by Arnold Pent III, the third child and second son, was compiled when he was 21 from journals that he had kept when he was ages seventeen to nineteen, and tells the story, not necessarily in chronological order, about the Pent family's journey of home education, family discipleship, and gospel evangelism. It is after the order of Kathryn Forbes's Mamma's Bank Account (also called I Remember Mamma), Clarence Day's Life with Father, and Frank Gilbreth's Cheaper by the Dozen, but with a distinctly Christian flavor. There are a few religious ideas and practices mentioned with which some might disagree depending on their theological background, but these are minor. The only real criticism that I saw of the book was by someone who was "disturbed by the â€˜Christian brinksmanship' that was pervasive throughout the book" where "Mr. Pent deliberately and repeatedly put his family in situations--such as driving through a North Dakota blizzard with bald tires." However, one man's "Christian brinkmanship" is another man's expression of faith. As someone else noted, the Pents often wondered where they would sleep or where their next meal would come from or how they would pay for gas, but they trusted God and He always provided.
The book is filled with great stories, wise analogies, strong conversion points and funny parts. My son had two complaints.
First, there was NOTHING "bad" in the book. They didn't make the book real enough because they left out any struggles they had personally. It began to feel like an episode of the Brady Bunch without the conflict! Perfect perfect perfect.
Second, they quote some great scripture and have great lessons but with all their memorization of the whole new testament they completely miss baptism! Seems shocking they could be that knswledgable and miss something that important.
Ten P's in a Pod is a book that will increase the faith of each family member. I highly recommend this to be a family read-aloud. Each chapter is filled with yet another family adventure, as the Pents take to the road to share Christ, and call others to take up the Word of God. The chapter on Memorizing the New Testament is quite an eye-opener, and created a great context for our family to assess where we're at, regarding the hiding of God's Word in our hearts. Excellent read...The Pent family sets a great example for godly living; the lives you read about in these pages serve as patterns for what it means to truly walk by faith.