Rich, from The Lens of Truth (Lydia's husband) posted a comment on yesterday's post. Since I hollered out a hearty, "AMEN BROTHER" after reading it, I thought I would use it as a springboard for expounding some of my same thoughts.
In my first post about the Family Integrated Church, I listed Voddie Baucham's "three basic flaws with systematic age-segregation". Today, I would like to address the first one of those.
(1) It's not found in scripture. He says, you can't go to the Bible and come away with this "young adults," "medium adults," "married", --you can't go to the Scriptures and come away with that kind of segregation as a church model. - Voddie Baucham
Rich said - "The first argument is one from silence and we just shouldn't do that. Just as the Bible does not say we have to have age segregated strucutures, it also does not condemn it."
I agree with Rich, that we cannot create a biblical mandate based on the absence of a particular practice. In the same way, we would never be able to replicate an exact duplicate of the New Testament church, especially dealing with the changes that have taken place in our culture.
In a great article about The New Testament Church by Bob Deffinbaugh, this question is raised:
“Assuming all of the principles of the New Testament are binding on the church today, how can we distinguish between apostolic practices which are binding and those practices which are not?”
- Are we to greet one another with a holy kiss?
- Are we to meet only in houses?
- Are we to eat a meal with the Lord’s table?
- Are Christian ministers to work to support themselves as Paul made tents, or are churches obligated to pay them?
- Are we to practice foot washing in the church today?
- Are we to expect and practice healing by men who have the gift of healing?
He then gives the following list of questions that "will enable us to distinguish between practices which are not binding from those which are."
- Was the practice in question universally and consistently followed in the churches of the New Testament?
- Is the practice directly related to a principle which we would violate by neglecting that practice?
- Is the practice a right or a responsibility?
- Is there a higher principle, which might override a particular practice?
God's silence on a subject matter has great purpose.
When Deffinbaugh was asked, "“Doesn’t it bother you that the New Testament does not tell us explicitly what process we should employ in recognizing elders?”
He replied, "Not at all. The silence of the Scriptures on this subject informs me that God has given us freedom in the area of the recognition of elders within the guidelines laid down in the New Testament. God wants us to use wisdom in this process, knowing that there is no one way which works best in every situation. You see, God deliberately does not tell us how to do everything. This keeps us humble and dependent upon Him to reveal the best possible way of carrying out His will and His word."
Preach it Bob.
Since I am on a roll with all the quoting, I am going to leave you with a little more of what Rich had to say:
"Now I do see some good ideas coming out of what Voddie says but I simply can not buy into the fact that this model will solve all (or even many) of our problems. The basic problems still remain among sinful men and women who are not doing their jobs as parents, not hearing the proper preaching of Scripture and not holding a high view of God."
Preach it Rich.
"It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. that salvation is by faith alone through God's grace, we cannot boast." Ephesians 2:8-9