Friday, November 14, 2008

Family Integrated Church - Why Not?

edited from earlier today to add my thoughts...

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.

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?
*Hmm. The foot washing aspect would certainly appeal to my son, but the holy kiss part might be an issue.

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?
When asking these questions regarding the Family Integrated Church model, it is clear that scripture could not be the basis for an argument which presents this model as "God's standard".

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


Richpo the Unmagnificent said...

Wow! I never expected that post :-)

I don't mean to try and come across as some form of expert on church life, I just reacted to the three rules that were posted and typed out my stream of consciousness at the time. As I re-read my comments I see where I came up short in "justifying" my position. As always, I like to spark debate and have some give-n-take with other believers as we wrestle over the issues in the gray areas of life.

I don't mean to turn anyone away from the Family Integrated approach, only to temper the enthusiasm I hear from some who may have this notion that this model alone will solve a myriad of the problems that we see. Since we are fallen beings, we will continually fall short of the glory of God and continue to be frustrated with our own efforts. But, Lord willing, He'll show us more and more of the path that needs to be taken as we live out our lives for Christ, doing God's will in building His kingdom here on earth and submitting to one another in love.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Kim said...


My hope in posting your comment was that it would do just what you said, and cause believers to "wrestle over the issues in the gray areas of life". I would love to be able to elicit more feedback, and therefore more conversation, but I am afraid that people are just not aware of the movement ... yet.

I too hope to never turn anyone away from choosing to keep their family together for worship and/or teaching time, if that is their heart's desire (as it has been ours for the last few years). That is such a personal decision and I know God can be glorified and honored in so many different ways!

My burden to bring this issue to light comes from the divisive manner in which it is often brought into the church and the framework used to present it as "God's design for the family".

Thanks for letting me borrow your words for a bit. If we cannot temper our positions with humility, then we will most certainly offend with our own judgments, rather than gospel.

God Bless!

gypsy@Hebrews11:13 said...

Hey! What about head coverings, hmmm? :) Got your email, will write you back on Monday, GREAT to hear from you!

Jill said...

Wow Kim, you have been busy writing! Our internet has been down for a week, what a week to miss out on. ;o)

I love this quote:

"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."

I have found myself so exasperated by others that FIC looks great, but you are right, it does not hold all the answers. I wonder about myself and years down the road when my children are grown, will I want a child free environment to worship or study in or at least a quiet child environment? Will I want to invest in other peoples children? My grandchildren? I hope so, but that doesn't mean FIC or segregation.

I am anxiously awaiting...the next post(s).