God, Marriage, and Family is the best biblical theology of these issues I’ve ever seen. Written by Andreas Köstenberger with David Jones, it is both comprehensive and accessible.

You can read chapter 1 in PDF, or browse the whole book online here.

It’s now available in a new edition, and here’s what has changed:

  • A new chapter on marriage, family, and the church (including an assessment of the “family-integrated church approach”).
  • A summary of recent debates on physical discipline of children, singleness, homosexuality, and divorce and remarriage.
  • New sections on the theology of sex and parenting teens.
  • A new streamlined format for the chapter on divorce and remarriage, where emphasis is placed upon the divine design of the permanence of marriage and more technical material was put in an appendix.
  • Incorporation of discussion of important recent articles and monographs on marriage and the family, such as Christopher Ash’s Marriage: Sex in the Service of God and Barry Danylak’s A Biblical Theology of Singleness.
  • Updated bibliographies and endnote references.
  • Many other smaller adjustments in response to reviewer comments, student feedback, and other constructive criticisms we received subsequent to the publication of the first edition.

I suspect many will be interested in Köstenberger says in chapter 13 about the growing popularity of the “family-integrated” movement. Here’s the upshot:

While we share a deep conviction as to the importance of the family, we are committed to the biblical foundation for marriage and the family, and this includes a sound grasp of the New Testament teaching regarding the church. It is our tentative assessment that the family-integrated approach as defined below has elevated the family to an unduly high status that is unwarranted in light of the biblical teaching on the subject and that its view of the church as a “family of families” is not sufficiently supported by Scripture. We strongly urge the church to make families integral to the ministry of the church, supporting and strengthening them, but not in such a way that the New Testament teaching on the church is compromised or the family unduly elevated above the church. (p. 261)

Below is Mark Driscoll’s written and video blurbs for this book:

“I love this book. It is the best on the subject, and at Mars Hill we have hundreds of couples read it each year as their premarital text. The men in Acts 29 also use it in their churches. God, Marriage, and Family is amazing, comprehensive, biblical, helpful, insightful, and without peer on the matters to which it speaks. I have read this book multiple times and am astounded at how much is packed in. I have also read the footnotes multiple times, and they alone are worth twice the price of the book. I am thrilled that God, Marriage, and Family is now updated and expanded and available in a second edition and am happy to endorse this amazing work and highly commend it to you. Read it, and give it to others, and you and they will be richly blessed.”

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Comments:


120 thoughts on “New Edition: God, Marriage, and Family”

  1. Jeff says:

    It is nice to see Kostenberger oppose the family integrated church movement and some of the other legalism regarding marriage family that is coming from Al Mohler and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mohler used to be a hero of mine, but in the last decade he and SBTS have promoted all kinds of stifling legalism regarding marriage and family – mandatory homeschooling, Joshua Harris style courtship, all men must be married by 22 or they are sinning, no birth control pills, patriarchy, full quiver theology, family integrated churches, etc. What ever happened to Christian liberty and the sufficiency of Scripture?

    1. JB says:

      Jeff, I too am troubled by the legalistic views regarding the family and marriage stemming from the family-integrated movement. However, I think you are over-generalizing Dr. Mohler’s positions on those issues. Your accusations are more straw-men than representations of his actual views on those matters.

    2. I have read quite a bit from Mohler and have never seen anything about which you are writing. References would be helpful. Otherwise your comment looks more like a rant.

    3. Steve Doyle says:

      I have never heard Dr. Mohler call for mandated homeschooling, matter of fact he has openly come out against those who have brought resolutions to the floor of the SBC calling for parents to pull their kids out of public schools and to solely homeschool. Also, Southern has come out with the “Family Equipping” model in part because they see some serious Biblical concern with FIC. Take a look at what’s come out of Southern in the last year and you will see this. The Southern Baptist who is pushing so hard the FIC model is Voddie Bauchum.

    4. Rob says:

      Well, in terms of opposition to the birth control pill, this can stem not just from Scripture, but from it’s proven abortifacient nature (see abortionbreastcancer.com for more)

    5. Timothy Paul Jones says:

      Jeff,

      I teach the bulk of family ministry courses at Southern Seminary, and I do not know where you are getting your information, but it is completely wrong, reliant on no reliable information.

      1. There is no call for mandatory homeschooling anywhere. In fact, I and two of my colleagues recently wrote a book in which four different options for Christians schooling their children are addressed. One of the chapters, by Troy Temple a professor here, advocates Christians sending their children to public school whenever possible. What has been stated is that, due to increasing anti-Christian sentiments in public education, Christians should have plans in place for what to do to make certain that their children are taught in ways that can be compatible with Christian faith–though even this may not necessarily be home education. Read Dr. Mohler’s Culture Shifts book.

      2. All men must be married by 22? There have been questions raised about the phenomenon of extended adolescence, but no call for all to be married.

      3. No birth control pills? The falsity of this claim is clear from a single article in which Mohler makes it clear that birth control is acceptable if the goal is not the permanent avoidance of children. See http://www.albertmohler.com/2006/05/08/can-christians-use-birth-control/

      4. Family integrated church? This untruth perhaps is most glaring. In the first place, Mohler attends church at Highview in Louisville, which is about as far from family-integrated as one might find. But beyond that, part of my task at Southern Seminary has been the development of family ministry models that are not family integrated. Listen to the audio from the two Connecting Church and Home Conferences that have been sponsored by Southern Seminary. Our model of family ministry is known as “family equipping” and is certainly not family integrated. See my book Perspectives on Family Ministry which spells out Southern Seminary’s model of family

      It would be wise to check actual sources from the person about whom you speak before making such accusations.

      1. Timothy Paul Jones says:

        As an addendum, though I am not FIC, I would encourage persons to attend a church such as Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, and actually to interact with their people. Though I have deep difficulties with the wholesale call for every church to embrace family integration, I will also affirm that many FICs are Gospel-centered and passionate about reaching as witnesses beyond their walls. I am thankful for the work that God is doing through them, even as I work with other models of ministry.

  2. Scott Cline says:

    Jeff,

    A number of excesses and perversions are legitimized under the FIC banner, true. Extreme versions of the movement often cover for insecure and authoritarian fathers.
    Having said that, a compelling case can be made against “children’s church,” etc. I certainly hope that you aren’t railing against those who shape their children’s ideas about God, fellowship, and worship with regulated church meetings.

    Regarding the sufficiency of Scripture:
    Are you suggesting that we should discern God’s opinions in explicit commands alone? A person who immerses himself in Scripture will begin to pick up on God’s sentiments toward any number of things, and he may pick up on them in any number of genres. If a person finds God consistently displaying certain attitudes toward child-bearing, or toward child-rearing, or toward marriage, etc., he may wish to flesh out those attitudes in his own practice. Such a person may have difficulty understanding those who shrink their Christianity to the size of explicit commands and prohibitions. In fact, the former may wonder about the latter’s understanding of Scripture’s sufficiency.

    To make one more point about Scripture’s sufficiency:
    It is sufficient to speak to things we understand. It never mentions LSD, for instance, but we see that it speaks to LSD once we understand how LSD works. Scripture has a finite number of pages, but sufficient content for us to discern God’s opinion about anything we understand.
    So, let’s assume for a moment that birth control is sometimes acceptable (that is a carefully worded statement): a person may nevertheless oppose any use of certain kinds of birth control, if he understands that those kinds are potentially (though not intentionally) abortive.

    Anyway, your attitude toward Dr. Mohler and his views seems uninformed and unhelpful.

    1. Scott Cline says:

      P.S.

      The abortive nature of the pill is treated well by Randy Alcorn in this book:
      http://www.amazon.com/Does-Birth-Control-Cause-Abortions/dp/0970001606
      The essence of which is summarized here:
      http://www.prolife.com/BIRTHCNT.html

      For one perspective on the broader birth control question, see this:
      http://catholicaudio.blogspot.com/2007/08/protestants-on-birth-control.html

  3. David says:

    I believe Kostenberger’s comments (and I admit I am only refering to the short paragraph Justin provided and have not read that chapter in the book) unfairly isolate and take out of context a singular aspect of family-integrated churches, specifically Article VI of the NCFIC (see below). In fact, he misrepresents the view of the National Council for Family Integrated Churches (NCFIC) when he writes that “its view of the church as a ‘family of families’ is not sufficiently supported by Scripture..” Actually, if you look at Article VI of the NCFIC confession, it does not use the term “family of families.” The heading for that article is “Article VI — The Church is a Family of Believers that Includes Families.” This is very different. The church as a “family of families” is very different from the church as “a family of believers that includes families.” I trust this is not a deliberate misrepresentation on the part of Kostenberger, but it is nonetheless a critical one to point out.

    Further, I will note that there are other aspect of the NCFIC confession that explicitly affirm that the family is not above the church, yet Kostenberger seems to assert that all family intergrated churches “unduly elevate [the family] above the church.” This is simply not true. Again, the NCFIC confesssion explicitly states the opposite in many places. For example, Article XIII: Church is Eternal While the Family is Temporal – “We affirm that…the purpose of the family is temporal for the glory of God which includes the demonstration of the gospel and raising children in the ‘nurture and admonition of the Lord’ (Matthew 22:29-32, Ephesians 6:1-4, Ephesians 5:22-33). We deny/reject that the earthly family is the ultimate purpose of God…”

    I believe Kostenberger is throwing up non-existence straw men to tear down the entire family integrated church in an unfair and uninformed manner. He is not simply painting the family intergrated church with a broad brush; he is not painting the family integrated church at all. I am not sure what he is writing about. This is not the family integrated church that I know. And if there are extremes out there (as I am sure there are), it is certainly disingenuous to hold up those extreme elements as the norm.

    Very disappointed in this exerpt, especially at a time when families need to be supported and equipped in the church more than ever.

  4. Larry says:

    Could someone explain briefly what the family-integrated church movement is, and who are its major proponents?

  5. Scott Cline says:

    This is probably the group that best represents the best element of the movement–
    http://www.ncfic.org/

    Paul Washer and Voddie Baucham are two proponents.
    Here is an answer to your question from the latter’s church’s website:
    http://www.gracefamilybaptist.net/GFBC2/What_is_an_FIC.html

    The current “movement” is simply a reaction against age segregation in the church, but many churches refused to go that route in the first place.

    Rationale varies. For me, a major consideration is how my children’s sentiments toward God, fellowship, worship, and church are shaped.

    Unfortunately, there are perversions in which dictatorial fathers do not recognize pastoral authority over their wives and children, etc.

    1. Mason says:

      One note on the above comment – I don’t think Paul Washer is a proponent of the family-integrated movement. I know he has spoken at conferences with Doug Phillips and Voddie Baucham, and he does have a big emphasis on the biblical understanding of family. But I don’t think he would take the label of being “family-integrated” with all that it entails.

  6. Alando Franklin says:

    Larry,

    FIC’s are basically a segregated group of churches that promotes OT male patriarchy and homeschooling as non negotiables and rejects any type of age segregated ministry(Sunday school, childrens church, youth group). In their own words “age segregated discipleship and practices are based on unbiblical, evolutionary and secular thinking”

    They see their mission as being called to restore the modern church(es) back to “the biblical pattern of age integrated, family integrated worship, discipleship and evangelism”.

    Some of the key proponents are Doug Philips, Scott Brown and Voddie Baucham.

    1. Steve Doyle says:

      This is over simplistic. The FIC umbrella used to be bigger. We consider ourselves family-integrated, yet we have age segregated ministries as well. Our worship service is where we focus on integration. Even if you browse the NCFIC list of churches you will see a lot of churches doing FIC in different ways. That being said, we did take our church off the NCFIC website because their NCFIC confession document was too narrow for us to be able to sign it.

  7. Scott Cline says:

    What many mean by FIC is simply on the order of what Piper means by this:
    http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Articles/ByDate/1995/1560_The_Family_Together_in_Gods_Presence/

    1. Steve Doyle says:

      Thank you Scott. This is my understanding of FIC. The term has become to narrowly used by NCFIC.

      1. Scott Cline says:

        Yes, this is the thrust of what I mean, too. My personal preferences may tend toward a slightly more robust kind of FIC, but, what Piper describes here is “good enough,” so to speak, and certainly the most important element of what I mean by the term.

        Another leader (who’s even less FIC than I am) listed our church with the NCIFC, although he probably shouldn’t have. We offer not only SS, but even children’s church (I wouldn’t prefer either, but feel most strongly about the latter). Anyway, my wife and I simply keep our kids in the main meeting. We never crusaded for it, but, as others asked us why we did that, we had opportunity to explain, and were pleasantly surprised to see some others start following suit!

        1. Steve Doyle says:

          Are you guys keeping your church on the NCFIC website? We kept it on there but I became more and more troubled by the NCFIC confession and didn’t feel that I could in good conscience keep us on there.

          1. Scott Cline says:

            Transparently, I hadn’t thought about it in quite awhile. Thanks for the reminder, though. Regardless of my preferences, it really isn’t honest for our church to maintain its listing there, so, I’ll have it removed.

  8. It’s ironic that Köstenberger has an issue with the phrase “family of families”, as it is a phrase he used to describe the church in the 2004 edition of his book [see here (courtesy of Google Books)]

    For anyone who is interested in NCFIC’s position on the matter (and on that phrase in particular) here is a link to an article on their site.

    And lastly, for anyone who is wondering what all the hoopla is about, I would strongly argue that the topic of worship and what it looks like, and defining the family’s role, the church’s role, and the individual’s role and how they are all related to one another is a serious topic that is worthy of careful study and if necessary, life-altering action.

    God Bless,
    Charles

  9. Jason Dohm says:

    Let me begin by saying how generally thankful I am for Kostenberger and his great exegetical defense of Biblical gender roles and family life. He has given the Church a deposit that will be helpful in defending sound doctrine for a long time to come. As an elder in a family integrated church, however, I believe his criticism misses the mark. The opponents of family integrated churches talk a lot more about “family of families” than the proponents do, and they almost always misrepresent what is actually meant, which is simply that the family doesn’t cease to exist when it passes through the doors of the church. For more on this, one of the co-elders of the church where I serve, Scott Brown, has written something which provides a lot of clarity about the actual position: http://www.ncfic.org/articlemodule/view_article/id/134/src/@random49598ead4a15d/ .

  10. Tony says:

    I was curious as to why Köstenberger would say the FIC use of the term “family of Families” is not supported biblically (as quoted in the blog post) when he uses the same term in a positive light:

    “Just as Christ must rule over all heavenly powers (Eph. 1:21-22) and over the church (4:15), he must also rule over the marital relationship (5:21-33), the family (6:1-4), and the workplace (6:5-9). A married couple is part of the church (understood as a family of families, cf. I Tim. 3:15), and it, too, is part of that spiritual warfare that resolutely resists evil (Eph. 6:10-14) and seeks to promote God’s purposes in this world (foremost the preaching of the gospel, 6:15. 19-20). Thus the marriage relationship should also be viewed in the context of Christian witness in an unbelieving environment, both directly by the husband’s and the wife’s living out God’s purposes for the Christian couple, and indirectly by being part of a Biblical church that actively propagates the gospel message.” (Kostenberger, Andreas, God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation, [Crossway Books: Wheaton, IL, ©2004], p. 72 – http://tinyurl.com/2fny629 ) & (Pg 61 in the new version as viewed online – http://www.crossway.org/product/9781433503641/browse/61)

  11. Alando Franklin says:

    “which is simply that the family doesn’t cease to exist when it passes through the doors of the church”

    Jason, first let me humbly suggest that language such as “opponents” is unbiblical and misses the mark. I think the biblical picture would be brothers/sisters who share different views on a secondary matter. Secondly,could you explain in more detail what is meant by your statement above? Are you suggesting that if a family attends a non-FIC where children church, youth group, etc. exist a family has ceased to exist for the two hours or so that the church is gathered. Thirdly, we do not have “childrens church or youth groups” (well we do do we just call it parents)however we do not consider ourselves a FIC or hold that out as a distinctive. We have intentionally made sure that our people are deliberate in making sure that the Gospel is our distinctive.

  12. Jason Dohm says:

    Hello Alando. I will do my best to take these in the order of your comments. (1) Given the definition of family integrated churches you have offered several comments up, “opponent” is a fair categorization. It is clear enough that you are against what you have defined family integrated churches to be. I don’t accept that definition, and I also don’t believe this to be a secondary issue, because it is a symptom of the church’s willingness to adopt practices that are nowhere to be found in the Scriptures. That is not a small matter. (2) What I meant by “the family doesn’t cease to exist when it passes through the doors of the church” was that these two entities – the church and the family – are intended by God to be distinct and complementary. The family should be a great ally to the church, and the church to the family. However, when one begins to take on a function of the other, as defined by Scripture, we are headed for trouble. It is no more appropriate for the church to offer itself as the primary discipleship engine for children than it is for the family to take on the ordinances of baptism or the Lord’s supper. The link I provided gives much more clarity on this. (3) You are exactly right – churches should be God-centered. People who come to the church where I serve will undoubtedly notice that we keep everyone together, but it is very unlikely that they will hear the term “family integrated”. It is what we do, and a small part of what we believe, along with being baptists, etc, but it is not at the core of who we are, other than that it is one of many ways that we believe we should be faithful to our understanding of the Scriptures.

    1. Jason, When you say don’t believe this (family integrated churches) to be a secondary issue what do you mean? It might help if you were to elaborate on the differences between primary and secondary issues.

      Thanks.

      1. Jason Dohm says:

        Hi Stan. I was attempting to provide the sense in which I believe it is not a secondary issue: “I also don’t believe this to be a secondary issue, because it is a symptom of the church’s willingness to adopt practices that are nowhere to be found in the Scriptures. That is not a small matter.” In my view, there are bigger fish to fry, and the biggest fish is our view of Scripture. Let’s be a people who are content to be regulated – limited even – in our corporate lives together by the practices which are firmly established in the Scriptures.

        1. Thanks for the clarification. That makes more sense to me now.

          I have typically heard “primary” and “secondary” used as synonymous with “essential” and “non-essential.” Deny an “essential” doctrine and you’re outside the faith.

          I agree with (what has been attributed to) Augustine: In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.

          1. Steve Doyle says:

            My question for everyone who defends the NCFIC is simply this, “where is the charity in the Confessional document?” There is not. You read that document and are lead to believe that the NCFIC believes all churches that use any sort of segregated ministry are Darwinian and humanistic and following the doctrine of devils. Are Piper’s and John MacArthur’s churches Darwinian? Come on! Please. Read the confessional document folks.

            1. Steve,
              Thanks for pointing that out the following statement:

              We affirm that there is no scriptural pattern for comprehensive age segregated discipleship, and that age segregated practices are based on unbiblical, evolutionary and secular thinking which have invaded the church.”

              That should be sufficient evidence that something is surely amiss with NCFIC.

              1. Stan,
                Can you articulate a basis from Scripture for comprehensive age segregated discipleship? Can you please trace the blblical reasoning behind using physical age as the basis for spiritual edification? I would also challenge you to examine if you can trace the idea to secular, humanistic, and evolutionary thinking.

                We forget that behind every practice is a reason for that practice and we also forget that every good practice finds its basis in Jesus Christ, who came as Reason itself. We forget that a culture and a society is little more than a collection of practices, some scriptural, some not so much, and that the purpose of the people of God is to conform themselves to those thoughts and practices which emanate from the Word itself.

                The NCFIC is trying to call us back to that. They are saying, in their confession that they can find nothing in Scripture that leads to the conclusion of age-segregated worship. That cannot find the origination of this model in God’s word, and if that is true, then what can they do but cast it out?

                God Bless,
                Charles

              2. Charles,
                Observation: It seems a lot of defenders are very touchy/defensive regarding NCFIC.

                Can you please trace the blblical reasoning behind using the Internet or driving cars?

              3. Stan,
                Can you please trace the blblical reasoning behind using the Internet or driving cars?

                the Internet being a combination of communication protocols that encompasses both audio/video and text for purposes as varying as utility, business, entertainment, sin, information transfer and so on, is governed under Scriptural commandments regarding communication (lying, deceit, gossip), what should pass before ones eyes (immodesty, the second commandment, sensuality, etc), and a number of other categories.

                Similarly, driving a car touches on individual property, dominion, analogies to the legitimacy of chariots, stewardship and the like.

                I can go into greater detail if you are legitimately interested, but I’d be more interested in seeing your answer to my question, with the understanding that worship and the definition of familial, civil, and church authorities fall under categories that are much more prescriptive (Deut 4:2, Lev 10:1 [though I don't know whether you hold to the Regulative principle of worship])

                God Bless,
                Charles

              4. Charles,

                Clever.

                It seems to me that you have elevated your philosophy of age segregation to level that is higher than it should be.

                Paul decided to know nothing… except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Cor. 2:2) That should be good enough for us today.

                Later in that letter Paul wrote:
                For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve… Last of all… to me. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8 ESV)

                In Acts 15 we are told that The brothers, both the apostles and the elders wrote to Gentile believers:
                For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell. (Acts 15:28-29 ESV)

                Nothing about age segregation in either list.

              5. Stan,
                I’m not sure you if are being coy or if you really believe that those verses are answers to the issues that are being discussed here.

                Nothing about age segregation in either list.

                There’s also nothing about gossip, backbiting, lying, covetousness, murder, stealing or a number of other issues which scripture addresses.

                Think about II Tim 3:16,17 and what that means. By your interpretation of these passages, Paul is completely at odds with it.

                I’m heading to bed,
                Have a great Lord’s Day tomorrow,
                Charles

  13. Alando Franklin says:

    Thanks Jason for taking the time to clarify your statement and the tone/spirit in which you responded.

    First, I would agree that “opponents” may be a fair categorization from your perpesctive, however I would still maintain that it is unbiblical. The Scriptures speak of NO such things as believers being “opponents” of one another. If you choose to elevate FIC’s position on age integrated/family integrated worship to a matter of first importance, you have every right to do so brother. (let every man be convinced in his own mind) In keeping with the teaching of the NT Apostles(I Cor. 15) I’m not convinced that it is a matter of first importance on par with the Gospel, thus hopefully you’ll allow me the same liberty to disagree with you there. Also, I have not defined FIC “I’m only describing them as they have defined themselves” Lastly, again, our worship gatherings consist of families, singles, widows, etc gathered together during our corporate time of worship, so I’m not against “age integrated/family intergrated worship”, what you’re probably perceiving is my rejection of the idea that unless families are sitting together during worship then it is unbiblical, thus the worship of God is unbiblical. That is the logical conclusion if you continue to draw it out, if we’re honest.

    1. Jason Dohm says:

      Hello again Alando. Nowhere did I equate family integration in importance with the gospel. That is a gross – and hopefully unwitting – misrepresentation of my position. My concern is that when we say it is a secondary issue, we risk making little of what I believe it represents – “a symptom of the church’s willingness to adopt practices that are nowhere to be found in the Scriptures. That is not a small matter.” For me, that is the core issue.

    2. Jason Dohm says:

      Hi again Alando. My apologies for the persistent posting. I have been thinking about something you said, and I believe you are incorrect when you assert that one believer opposing another is an unbiblical concept. Galatians 2:11 “Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I [Paul] withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;” (NKJV) The NIV actually translates it “opposed” instead of “withstood”. I am not suggesting that we should have an eagerness in our hearts for rebuke, and we should always keep our own sinfulness in view, but I believe it is a Biblical category.

    3. Alando,
      Not to pile on with all the posting, but it is not clear to me from your posts what your specific objection is to the NCFIC’s teaching and position? (And I use the NCFIC because I am familiar with them in particular and because they have taken pains to define and defend their position in detail.)

      From reading your posts, it sounds as if your church has corporate worship that (while it may not be called by the same name or for the same deliberate reasons) is family integrated and non-age segregated in practice.

      So, what is the Biblical issue for you that the NCFIC is violating/misdefining/teaching incorrectly? Is it Christian liberty? The Regulative Principle of Worship? Headship?

      I recognize that many of these issues dovetail together and that the argument is much more complex than, “hey, let’s put everybody in one big room and ditch the puppets”, but I’m looking for where the point of contention begins.

      Have a good evening,
      Charles

  14. Tony says:

    I would agree with Jason that at the heart of this conversation is answering as to where we discern church practices and for that matter practices for life. If one sees the scriptures as sufficient for “all” of life then how we “do” church should be found in its pages.

    Those that seek to see the church practices regulated by God’s word are not placing those practices above the Gospel. But there is a danger in labeling things second, third or some other such number as they are then often relegated to personal preference rather than seeking what God says should be done. I realize that in the professing church today not all feel that church practice is to be found in scripture and that scripture simply has guidelines but I would say that any activity that is to be worship of God is regulated by His word so that it is acceptable to God and worthy of Him.

    So, the conversation should not be about what one likes or dislikes but about what God’s word, all of His word, says about how God desires to be worshipped.

    1. That would work out perfectly if we all currently had perfect knowledge.

      But we don’t and there’s the rub.

  15. Alando Franklin says:

    Jason,

    I apologize if I mirepresented your position, it was not a witting misrepresentation. Due to the fact that I agree with what Stan mentioned as being attributed to Augustine, essentials-non essentials, etc. I made the equation of family-integrated being elevated to essentials/first importance. Second, I agree with you 100% that Scripture is at the heart of the matter and I commend your elevated view of Scripture, however I would caution you to be careful as to how you interpret the very Scripture you hold in such reverent esteem. The way you described those who may view age-integrated and family integrated differently as “opponents” is not the way it is being described in the Galatians passage you qouted. There you have two brothers in Christ, one brother correcting another brother over a gospel issue, ” But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel”, so in other words, they were not “opponents”.

  16. Alando Franklin says:

    Charles,
    I don’t recall charging the NCFIC as violating/misdefining/teaching incorrectly in any of my statements, however the concern I’ve had/made is the unhelpful language and view that they hold towards those who do not practice age integrated family integrated worship(case in point, your statement, “ditch the puppets”). Please review the curriculum that this church who has childrens church/youth group uses and tell me where they have anything regarding puppets: http://www.childrendesiringgod.org/

    1. Alando,
      however the concern I’ve had/made is the unhelpful language and view that they hold towards those who do not practice age integrated family integrated worship

      So, I’m assuming you have an issue with the NCFIC for arguing that family integrated worship is prescribed as opposed to an aspect of Christian liberty?

      And if that’s right, what I would challenge you to do is to show from Scripture what the bounds are for how we worship in the church. If the NCFIC’s arguments are wrong about how worship is regulated, then what is the correct argument? What are the proper bounds for worship and what is your basis for defining it? Can you tell me what things are out of bounds? What is inappropriate worship? (I am assuming you would not argue that anything goes, but how/where should Christians draw the lines?)

      Thanks,
      Charles

  17. Alando Franklin says:

    Tony,

    You may want to take up your idea of labeling “things” in numbers as being dangerous with the Apostle Paul since he was the one that made this statement.

    “For I delivered to you as “of FIRST importance” what I also received that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (emphasis mine)

    There are many practices that the NT apostles lay out for the church in Scripture, so please provide for me the “specific teachings” where they lay out for us the practice we are discussing. I mean there are several important practices that they are very clear about(sacraments, men/women roles/qualifications/gifts, how those gifts are to be used when the church gathers, etc) there is no ambiguity that exist, therefore in being that AI/FI is “of first importance” in your view certainly they lay it out for us? Thanks in advance for showing me where the guideline for AI/FI is found in the Apostles teaching which the church follows or should be folowing

    1. Tony says:

      Alando

      I would agree that Paul placed the Gospel as of “First importance” as should we but that does not necessitate that everything else is negotiable. I was simply pointing out that far too often the labeling of first, second and so forth leads to the minimizing of that which is labeled as other than first. Again my comment was not to deny the first important of the Gospel but that simply because other aspects are not first does not make them unimportant.

      As far as needing to layout where we see the practice of family integration the question could as easily be turned around to ask where do we see other than family integration. Where do we see the practice of Sunday School and Youth groups and the other various programs of the modern church?

      Here are some examples of children being included in the meeting of the people of God, both OT and NT: Deut 31:12; Josh 8:35;Neh 8:1-3; Ezra 10:1; Matt 18:1-5; Matt 19:13-15. Also Eph 6:1-4 is addressed to children so it should be assumed that they were expected there on the reading of Paul’s letter and the same could be said of Col 3:20. While one may argue that these verses do not say they were on the Sabbath or Lord’s day they do show a pattern of more than single groups of certain ages gathering together. It would seem that the natural picture in scripture is everyone gathered together to hear God’s word and were not shuttled of here and there by ages or some other categorization.

      We must keep in mind that this is not simply just about children but all ages gathering together to worship and edify each other which sadly is not done as it should be in the modern church. The closest you get to separating out people is in a passage such as Titus where the older men and women are encouraged to teach the younger (Titus 2:1-5). But even there the call is to all the people to do as Paul encourages and thus not only are the older to reach out to the younger but the younger are to seek out the elderly. This is truly stifled in many modern churches that have all ages scattered all around so that interaction is not organic but if it does happen it is usually programmatic.

      I would add that what we as the church are to do is from God and thus not limited to the teaching of the Apostles but is to be gathered from all of scripture. The Apostles taught from the OT, as the NT was being written, so subjects that were not changed or abrogated in the NT did not necessarily need to be taught again by them. So we do not need to say that since an Apostle did not teach specifically a certain aspect that it is open to whatever one feels is right. However, I would say that even in how Eph 6:1-4 and Col 3:20 are written Paul understood that all would be gathered for the teaching he was to give as had been done and shown in the OT passages. I realize, even in reading the pertinent sections of the book in question, this is a hermetical difference that may be part of difference in views among many that question the FIC.

  18. Alando Franklin says:

    “As far as needing to layout where we see the practice of family integration the question could as easily be turned around to ask where do we see other than family integration. Where do we see the practice of Sunday School and Youth groups and the other various programs of the modern church?”

    Excellent point Tony! That is all I’m getting at, if it is not explicit and can be argured from both direction, then can or should individuals be dogmatic and claiming that the practices of those with whom they differ be unbiblical. You’re drawing and making substantial conclusions from inferences, even going so far as to call the practice of others unbiblical and probably would go so far as to say their sinning. Perhaps, I should pose that question to you. Are those who have sunday school, etc. sinning?

    1. Tony says:

      Alando:

      I am not sure what you are looking for with regards to explicit. Do you require a chapter and verse that says “Thou should not or should do such and such”? There are many doctrines that are not stated in explicit terms such as that but we still hold to them because the pattern and precepts of scripture point to them either directly or indirectly. Often we have to look at all of scripture and make inferences to what is right and what we should do. However, when it comes to much of what is done in the church today there really are not even inferences. I did give some verses that I guess were not adequate but I have not seen any from those seeking to “do” church as is often done today.

      As I hold to the regulative principle, for biblical reasons, I seek to worship as best scripture shows me how to worship. Thus it would be sin to worship apart from how God has directed worship in His word. So the answer to whether Sunday School is a sin would need to be answered, not by me, but by those who have Sunday School and it is for them to decide if it is called for by God in His word. Worship is a serious thing and we should realize that God has directed how He is to be worshipped and it is God we will have to answer to.

      For reference here is what the 21st chapter, 1st paragraph of the Westminster Confession says on worship, which encapsulates the regulative principle.:

      The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and doth good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might.[1] But the acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture.[2]

      1. Rom. 1:20; Psa. 19:1-4a; 50:6; 86:8-10; 89:5-7; 95:1-6; 97:6; 104:1-35; 145:9-12; Acts 14:17; Deut. 6:4-5
      2. Deut. 4:15-20; 12:32; Matt. 4:9-10; 15:9; Acts 17:23-25; Exod. 20:4-6, John 4:23-24; Col. 2:18-23

      I think this is probably a good place to end this as it is clear, at least to me, that we see how one interprets how to worship differently. I really do not want o get into a back and forth debate, I guess it is a little too late for that:) , but would ask that you read some of the articles pointed out over the various comments to see what the NCFIC really has to say and not what others say they have said.

      Grace and Peace,

      Tony

  19. Alando Franklin says:

    Tony,

    I was going to suggest the very same thing today. Just as I am convinced in my own mind that those who do not prescribe to the way in which we gather together to worship our risen Lord, you are convinced otherwise and I have no problem with it. As long as the gospel is being proclaimed as a matter of first importance and that is your distinctive.

    I appreciate your recommendation, but I will not be investing time into reading the articles from NCFIC since I have read what they believe and reject/deny. Gives me a pretty good idea into their views.

    Let’s close with allowing Scripture to present us with a description of what worship gatherings for the early church looked like:

    So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

    Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. “Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.

    And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ”

    May we follow in their path and keep Jesus at/as the center of all we do and proclaim.

    Amazed By Grace,
    Alando

  20. Lance Roberts says:

    @Scott Cline, I’m blown away that anyone would think that a pastor should take authority over another man’s wife.

  21. Scott Cline says:

    Lance,

    I know that there are perversions on that end of things, too.

    Some men refuse to recognize any pastoral authority over their families, and others allow overblown pastoral authority over their families.

    Sorry for leaving myself open to misunderstanding.

    Church members (which I can only assume includes wives) are commanded to obey their elders (pastors). I’m not prepared to delineate the scope of jurisdiction which is alluded to in that command (I think that it’s made too broad by some and too narrow by others); but, whatever it means, it applies to all church members.

    This is a question of jurisdiction.

  22. Lance Roberts says:

    Scott,

    I see things as pretty heirarchial. Elders -> Man -> Wife.
    Any pastoral authority over the family, should be through the husband, since the man is the leader and is responsible to God for his family. One of the huge problems out there is women counseling directly with the pastor, and not treating their husbands as their spiritual leader.

  23. Scott Cline says:

    Lance,

    I don’t think I disagree with you. I suppose that we’d have to play a game of hypotheticals to find out for sure.

    As far as I can see, this becomes a question only when the elder(s) and husband are in tension (which, hopefully, is rare). I guess that, by my way of conceiving of it, so long as a husband does not take issue with the teachings of the elders, his wife sits under their ministry directly, just like he does. Under normal circumstances, I don’t see an elder’s teaching as somehow mediated to a wife through her husband while both husband and wife sit side by side under that elder’s teaching (although the husband should lead in the recapitulation of that teaching in the home).

    I’m open to being corrected. And, as I say, apart from some hypotheticals (which are beyond the scope of this discussion), we may be talking past each other a bit.

  24. Lance Roberts says:

    Scott,

    I certainly don’t want to get into hypotheticals either.

    The crux is that all men disagree at some point, so when her husband disagrees with an elder, who will she submit to. I would say her husband is her direct spiritual leader, and God put her with him so he could lead and protect her. So for example (real life in my church), one believes in headcoverings for women in worship, while the other doesn’t. She should follow her husband’s leading.

    In other situations, if the wife is doing something ‘wrong’, then usually the other women would talk to her, but the elder may need to talk to the husband at some point, but if it’s not some immediate public thing I don’t think he should be going directly to the wife. Note that I’m not really talking about small things that would normally come about in conversation.

    1. Ed Hardin says:

      I agree with the heirarchial view established by scripture which you propose. I do believe that there may be times when the Elder/Pastor may very well “trump” the husband if the husband is sinning against his family. The disagreement between Elder/Pastor & husband in such a scenario (when a man desires to be the “head” of the family without being the spiritual head as many men have abdicated their roles) then there are in fact other authorities over him (state, law enforcement in abusive situations / Elder/pastor in spiritual, etc.)

    2. Lance Roberts says:

      Ed, Sin can change everything. One of my big issues with dissapearing manhood in the world today, is that when a man is physically abusing his wife, then her Father (or brothers, which in case of no or passive relatives would fall to the brothers in Christ) should intervene and make sure that that doesn’t happen again. I think the key point (that you made) is that there are authorities over him, and they should apply the discipline that God requires.

  25. Michael says:

    Regarding the “family of families” statement that many use against the FIC, one must ask if it is really a straw man. Consider Voddie Baucham’s reply to the issue here:

    http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2009/3/26_Is_the_church_A_Family_of_Families.html

    Also, many arguments against the FIC movement stem from the assumption that what we currently do is the more Biblically supported way. Yet the current method of Sunday School/childrens church/youth programs has no more Scriptural backing than the FIC movement. So in making your arguments against the FIC, it’s imperative that one make the case for his support of these youth programs. In other words, you cannot simply attack the FIC for what they propose without in turn applying the same measures to your own view. You know, the whole “take the plank out of your own eye” thing.

  26. Chris Prang says:

    Brothers,

    I thought I would add my perspective on this topic. Let me say right up front that I am not a member nor have ever been a member of a Family-Integrated Church.

    I have to start by stating that I have not read, nor had I heard of Kostenberger’s book prior to this. It certainly appears to be a book that I would be interested in reading. I went to my favorite Online source for Reformed books (www.CVBBS.com) to see if they had it, and they did, so I added it to my Wish List.

    Below are my points/thoughts about the authors comments that were posted here and my FIC experience.

    I have to wonder if the author (or anyone who is opposed to the FIC model) has ever attended (on more than one occasion) a Family-Integrated Church. My hunch is the author has not, nor have most of those who have disdain for the “movement.” And I am not talking about attending some pseudo-church where a few families gather together once a week and call themselves Family-Integrated, but don’t exhibit the other essentials for being a genuine church.

    I have been to five different “family-integrated” churches, some of those on multiple occasions. And in every case they function just like most other churches. You couldn’t tell the difference between them and any other church, other than the fact that the children sit with their parents and in some cases, the children minister to the body as whole. I have never seen nor heard an overemphasis on the family. The only time I have heard the family emphasized, is at an FIC conference. But that is what I expect to hear, just like if I went to a Reformed conference, I would expect to hear about Reformed theology.

    In the quote on this post that says “It is our tentative assessment that the family-integrated approach as defined below has elevated the family to an unduly high status that is unwarranted in light of the biblical teaching on the subject and that its view of the church as a “family of families” is not sufficiently supported by Scripture.”

    First, in my experience with FIC, I have never once thought that the family was elevated to an unwarranted high status. Every FIC leader that I have met, had a conversation with or heard teach (Men like Doug Phillips, Scott Brown, Voddie Baucham, Mark Fox, Eric Wallace…and Jason Dohm), has never given me the impression that the family is preeminent over the Gospel and the Church. It is always in this order: The Gospel-The Church-The Family. If there is to be something else between the Church and the Family, I don’t know what it is. It certainly isn’t the State, or politics, or business, or sports. Nor is it certain theological constructs like the Doctrines of Grace, Paedo-baptism, credo-baptism, worship style, etc. And it certainly can’t be Youth Group, VBS, or Children’s Church. The term Children’s Church is an oxymoron. How can, for the most part, a bunch of unregenerate children be a church? Are they using their spiritual gifts to edify one another and are they biblically members of one another? And when the children do meet for “church” do they have a plurality of Elders overseeing them? No! It’s usually a lady in the church.

    Those pointing their fingers at FIC because they believe that the family is overemphasized or elevated above the gospel and the church, should listen to their own teaching. I have found that most Reformed churches elevate the Five Points of Calvin over the Gospel and the Church. Though Spurgeon is one of my hero’s of the faith, I strongly disagree with his famous quote that “Calvinism is the gospel.” No, Calvinism is not the gospel/the good news. Jesus Christ is the gospel and He alone! I have also found that many credo-baptists elevate baptism by immersion over the gospel and the church. Is anyone pointing the finger at these people?

    I have found, hands down, that those churches that have a youth ministry make it the major emphasis of the church and its programs and outreaches. Go to most churches and you will see far more emphasis, resources, time and money being spent on “ministering” to children than you will on spreading the gospel to the lost, helping widows and orphans and equipping and encouraging families as a whole. I remember a “church leadership” series some of us in our old church went through. The whole series on church leadership was about the youth. The presenter even stated “the purpose of the church is the youth.” When I heard that, I knew I was not in the right place and neither was the church.

    So if anything has been elevated to “an unduly high status” within the church, it is youth ministry. If there’s an idol out there and if there’s something that “is not sufficiently supported in scripture” it is the segregated, youth focused approach to church. I am wondering if the author has addressed that in his book? I guess I’ll have to read it to find out. If he truly did his research, then there should certainly be a quote in the book that says something like this: “While it is our belief that the family-integrated approach has elevated the family to an unduly high status, it pales in comparison to the great throne of youth ministry that most churches bow down to.”

    Second, on the “family of families” statement; I am not sure why so many take issue with this. After all the church is a family (Ephesians 2:19), we are brothers and sisters in Christ and supposedly intimate members of one another. And when the church family gathers it is a collection of families that gathers together. A family could be a single person, a male husband and a female wife, a husband and wife with children or a single parent with children. A “family of families” is just one way of describing what the church is or is like.

    I see the FIC model/movement as a necessary reaction to the current mindset and practice of most churches. Just as I see Luthers, Calvins and the Radical Reformations reaction to the mindset and practice of the church in its day.

    I could be wrong, but I think these men who are leading the FIC movement are doing so because they are burdened about the condition of the family, the church and the nation. They are tired of seeing families divided, and millions of kids run through the youth ministry mill only to come out at the other end more lost than they were when they started. As Richard Baxter said “You are not likely to see a general reformation until you secure family reformation.” And we won’t have family reformation until the leaders/pastors/elders in churches start equipping and encouraging the men to shepherd their families, live holy and righteous lives and be faithful to the church. The challenge is, there are few pastors who are doing this themselves, so they are far from equipped to equip others.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts…or some of them.

    1. Steve says:

      Chris,

      As a former Student Minister (who still works with the students at my church now, though in relational small group setting), and one who has begun to study FIC (out of the same convictions you so eloquently expressed), I want to say “Thank you.” My experience with FIC is minimal, mostly since I have just pretty recently learned about the “movement.” I had an eye-opening experience a few months ago when I caught up with a “kid” who was in my first youth ministry – good kid, played in the worship band, always in attendance, brought friends, the whole nine. Out of the Youth Ministry now for a few years, he was not even the same guy I had known. The meeting confirmed, in my mind, many of the things I had been feeling (but couldn’t quite put my finger on) about Youth Ministry in particular. Reading Voddie Baucham’s “Family Driven Faith” shed some light on FIC (although that’s not the focus of the book), but in my own research I have not found anything that matches the strawmen being opposed here and called FIC.

      1. Michael says:

        Chris Prang,

        I think you make some great points about the FIC. But I think you misunderstand Spurgeon’s quote. You said:

        Though Spurgeon is one of my hero’s of the faith, I strongly disagree with his famous quote that “Calvinism is the gospel.” No, Calvinism is not the gospel/the good news. Jesus Christ is the gospel and He alone!

        You left out the rest of the sentence. The exact quote, in context, is as follows:

        “I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.”

        Spurgeon is simply saying that Calvinism is a shorthand for what happens when the Gospel is preached and received. If you approached someone who has very little to no Biblical knowledge and say “Jesus Christ is the gospel and He alone!” that would mean very little to them. You haven’t really told them anything they can understand. So even you are using shorthand to tell us what the Gospel is.

        Like I said, I agree with you on the FIC movement, but it appears some of your content is merely a rant against 5-point Calvinists and Baptists.

        1. Chris Prang says:

          Michael,

          Not ranting against 5-pointers or baptists in regards to theological beliefs…just pointing out that both theological constructs (as well as others) tend to be overemphasized and exalted in many Reformed/Calvinist and baptist churches. If I were on a charismatic/pentecostal blog, I would point out that the gifts of the spirit are overemphasized and exalted in many of their churches.

          I was trying to point out that those that have an issue with FIC exalting the family, should take issue with themselves in exalting doctrinal positions and youth ministry to an “unduly high status.”

          While I don’t classify myself as a Calvinist or a baptist (just a follower of Christ), I emphatically believe the Doctrines of Grace are 100% biblical and believe the preferred biblical method of baptism is by immersion and after salvation. And no I am not trying to start another debate. :)

          I hope that helps.

  27. Brian Metz says:

    Wow, this has got to be the first time a Mark Driscoll video has been used and it is not the subject of the controversy in the comments.

  28. Brian says:

    I’ve been a pastor for youth & families for several years in a conservative reformed church where parents are respected as the primary spiritual authority, the youth ministry encourages a high level of parental involvement, and the ministry of the Word is the primary focus. Yet, whenever I’ve talked with proponents of the FIC model, they speak as if very idea of a church doing youth ministry is inherently wrong. Its as though there are two options: (1) youth ministry–which inherently undermines parental authority and models spiritual immaturity or (2) The FIC model.

    I respect many of their reasons. As a teenager I attended youth events that were all about the “Cokes and jokes.” They were a breeding ground for immaturity. I think this is what they are reacting against, and I’ll stand with them in that.

    But there can be a third way. Believe it or not, it is possible for a church to be faithful to scripture, teach parents to train their children, encourage families to worship together, and still **gasp** have a youth ministry. In our church, we regularly remind our parents that the youth ministry is nothing more than a secondary supplement to their primary role as the spiritual authority. We also encourage them to be present at our meetings and to serve as leaders. Not all of them take us up on it, but many do. Another church that does this even better than ours is Covenant Life, where Josh Harris is the pastor.

    The FIC church leaders are raising some great questions for the church to wrestle with. But it doesn’t have to be an either/or scenario.

  29. Matt S says:

    It’s interesting reading all these comments. My question would be, is there biblical support for age segregation? I have studied this issue in depth and I believe the answer is not just no, but that the Bible actually supports the opposite.

    If you research the roots of age segregation, you will find that it comes directly from evolutionary theory and secular humanists such as Charles Darwin, G. Stanley Hall and John Dewey.

    What the church has done is to “borrow” a technique of the world and integrate it into the church. It’s surprising that people are ready to fight to the death to defend a practice that has zero biblical basis. That is tradition, and it doesn’t even come from the Bible but from the world.

    While the Bible does not specifically address age integration in regard to church function, the Bible does have many passages that identify the presence of children within the gathering of Israel and the NT church. There is much biblical support, albeit indirect, of age integration (Deut. 31:12; Ezra 10:1; Neh. 12:43; Joel 2:16; Matt 9:14; John 6:9; Acts 20:9, Eph. 6:1-2; Col. 3:20 to name a few). But there is absolutely no support for splitting the family.

    So when we defend our traditions of age segregation, we are defending something that does not exist in scripture. In fact, we are defending something that is the anomaly in church history, not the norm. The norm until around the 20th century was family integration. So the FIC is not a “reaction” but a “return” to the biblical norm. Sunday School (and youth ministries for that matter) is a pragmatic approach developed by the Methodist church to reach the unchurched, not to disciple the churched. I find it interesting that we would defend age segregation to the death and hold onto our traditions for dear life.

  30. Matt S says:

    Also, I say this as someone who fully supports the FIC. I still attend a normal age segregated church, yet I choose to keep my family together on Sunday. We also homeschool. I cannot speak of the tremendous blessing it is to have your children with you all the time. I was missing 35 hours per week with my kids and I have that back. I would encourage every Christian family to at least look into homeschooling and take a step of faith and give it a shot for one year. If you don’t like it, you have lost nothing. My bet would be that most would never go back. I was very leery and skeptical at first but our family will never go back.

    Now that I got sidetracked…the FIC has already clarified the use of the term “family of families,” yet people seem to completely miss that article. Here is a quote from Voddie Baucham about the danger of elevating the family, as Kostenberger suggests they do:

    “(Jesus) is the only one who is worthy of worship. Folks we do not worship the family. We do not worship home education. We do not worship patriarchy. We worship Jesus Christ. And as a church we exist to exalt and to worship and to bow the knee and to prostrate ourselves before the Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t make much of the family, we make much of Jesus. If we get to a place where we are making more of the family or more of patriarchy or more of home education than we are of Jesus, then we are in a place of idolatry. We exist to bow the knee to Christ.”

  31. Steve Doyle says:

    Did you know that Jonathan Edwards used to “seperate” the young men and take them them to an adjoining house to the church and reinforce the message to the them with teaching appropriate to their age? We have an age-segregated ministry at our church AFTER family worship called REWIND where we do exactly that. It exists to disciple the kids in partnership with their parents. Jesus said go and make disciples, not go and make families.

  32. Lance Roberts says:

    And the Bible is crystal clear that fathers are supposed to disciple their sons. The church taking away that responsibility from them is only creating passive men (as can be plainly seen in our culture).

    1. Steve Doyle says:

      Could it be, Lance, that some age-specific discipleship can actually be a tool in the parent’s toolbox that they use in conjunction with what they do at home and not as a replacement. It takes hard work for the church to help facilitate that, but it’s not impossible.

    2. Lance, I don’t think it’s an either/or decision.

      1. Steve Doyle says:

        Exactly. The NCFIC had decided that they have found THE way to do church, and have not considered that there may be Biblical ground for ministering to age specific groups. For example, how is the church to minister to the “spiritual orphans” in our new covenant context? There are spiritually orphaned children at our church whose parents are absent spiritually. We most certainly confront and challenge the parents to be the disciplers of their children as Scripture has called them to be, but at the same time we will “make disciples” as Christ has called us to do and help teach this child whose parents may or may not come around.

      2. Lance Roberts says:

        Steve,

        All discipleship is age-specific, because all individual teaching will be aimed a specific person. It will also be gender specific, culture-specific (I don’t mean culture-relative), etc. The key is that the parents are in charge of the discipleship of their children. God gave the children to them, and the responsibility to raise and train.

        The problem is with group segregation and isolation from the parents. When a man turns his kid over to another for discipleship he is relinquishing his responsibilities. It then gets worse when modern day Christians want to justify sending their kids to government schools, and why not, the Church taught them to turn their kids over to others!

  33. Steve Doyle says:

    An example of the far too narrow and/or ambiguous wording in the NCFIC confession (and this is just a little example – read the whole document people):

    We deny that God’s people should treat His Word as inadequate for church and family life by supplementing His completed revelation with principles from humanistic psychology, corporate business models, and modern marketing techniques.

    Surely this is right in principle. I’m cynical about marketing, and the church is not a business, and I don’t like humanistic psychology. On the other hand, is “modern marketing techniques” taking a stab at churches who send out mailers? Or make billboards? What about church signs. What about websites…are they not modern marketing techniques? What are they talking about? BTW the NCFIC has an awesome website :)

  34. Steve Doyle says:

    BTW, I also think there is a lot of REALLY good stuff in the NCFIC statement too.

  35. m says:

    As a new commentator here on this forum, I have read through everyone’s comments. May I say something?

    Having been a Christian for 25 years now, moved 10 times, lived in 4 different states, and been to many churches, I am convinced that there is a right way to worship the Lord and a way that seems good to man.

    The Martha/Mary story is not just for women! There is much to be learned here in Luke 10:38-42. The Church today is very busy. Just like Martha, it seems to be busy about good things. For it says that, “Martha was distracted with much serving.” Serving to me seems like a good thing. That’s what we are to do, right? Mary was serving before the Lord. Really. Serving in the presence of Jesus in the flesh. Wow! Yet, the Lord rebuked her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken from her.” Ouch! Wait a minute! Martha was literally serving before the Lord and yet He rebuked her. She was caught up in doing what she thought was good, was needed, and yet she missed the mark. I wonder how often in our daily lives at home and in the church we do this?

    As a couple we have been very involved in many churches over the years. Involved in every aspect of church serving: in the nursery, the toddler room, the Sunday school, children’s church, VBS, and youth ministry along w/ serving in the church for plays, work days, special ministry outreaches, and then there were the meetings. We were busy. As you all know most often our serving overlaps w/ other times of serving and this can become a lot for a family. Especially when our own children are young.

    Add that to just the busyness of daily life: job; car maintenance; home(maintenance, meals, laundry, cleaning, lawn care); and whether you home school, private school, or public school, you should be involved in your child’s education w/ of course home schooling even being a bigger time involvement for Mom and Dad; family care(aging/needy family members–on both sides);possibly sports; music lessons; all the medical/dental/ortho. appts. for each member of the family (not including all the specialty appts. some need); errands; holidays; politcal involvements or charities; Folks that’s a very busy life!!!!!

    I think the general message I am trying to bring out here, is that
    WE ARE WAY TOO BUSY!!!!! We need to in every aspect of our lives, slow down. God never meant for us to be so busy doing all these things. I just don’t see the loving God I know is wanting that for me and my family. I am not trying to advocate laziness. If you knew me you would know that is not so! What I am seeking to pull at our hearts here is the fact that if we are too busy doing all these things, most likely we are missing the mark and not doing what God would have us do.

    It is just simply not good for anyone to be so busy. Ask those who go to your church how their walk w/ the Lord really is going? The relationships in the home w/ spouse and children? Ask. Please, ask. Not just one person. And not just once. Keep asking. Ask yourself, your spouse, and your children.

    Don’t assume. Ask.

    I will leave you w/ this last thought. Other than what seems to be clear from the Scripture that the Church is to be devoted to teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer, found in Acts 2:42, and modeled throughout the New Testament, what else is listed here for the Church to do? Is not in the teaching, the preaching of the Gospel? At least it should be. What are we adding to the Scriptures that we aren’t supposed to be?

    Thank you for your time.

    M.

  36. Matt Hudson says:

    Dr. Voddie Baucham has issued a response to Dr. Kostenberger’s new chapter and the dialogue here on his blog:
    http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2010/8/20_Response_to_Andreas_K%C3%B6stenberger_on_the_FIC.html

    1. Steve Doyle says:

      I appreciate Voddie’s response. It is measured and very gracious. Voddie hasn’t always been so gracious in his tone in the past. I do think that Dr. Kostenburger’s statements are at fault for “broad-brushing.” But I find the exact same fault in the NCFIC document, especially Article XI paragraph 1.

      Both sides of the argument need to stop broad-brushing. There is a place to agree here and to move forward with like-minded resolve to restore parents to their proper place as primary disciplemakers in the home.

  37. Chris Prang says:

    Brothers,

    I would like to make a couple of additional points or thoughts.

    1. Since there is an apparent issue, disagreement, misunderstanding between Dr. Kostenberger and Voddie Baucham (and other leaders of FIC), then perhaps the best route for them is to go to their brother personally, instead of through a book or a blog. Just a thought.

    *If Dr. Kostenberger has not met with leaders with FIC, I have to wonder why. Especially since NCFIC is a stones throw from Southeastern where he teaches.

    2. While I am in favor of FIC, there have been some comments from FIC proponents who rightly point out that there is no scriptural basis for youth ministry and age-segregated church gatherings and thus we shouldn’t do what wasn’t prescribed.

    We need to remember that there are many other things that churches do that have no scriptural basis as well. But we seem to follow those practices and even hold them dear. Example: There is no scriptural basis for partaking of the Lord’s Supper while sitting in a pew, staring at the back of someone’s head, drinking out of a flask and eating a tiny wafer. Which is what most churches do. If not, then they have you get in a line and partake it in turn.

    How Jesus celebrated the Lord’ Supper and how it was practiced in the New Testament is quite different. And contrary to what some say, there is something to gathering around a table, sharing a meal and breaking bread together to celebrate what Christ has done.

    Just some thoughts.

    In Christ,

    Chris

  38. Alando Franklin says:

    There is something seriously wrong in Christ’s church when the exhortation by the Apostle Paul is easily overlooked and so many churches find their identity in a particular conviction they hold dear such as the below and are slow to avoid the sin of disunity.

    The right name:
    Yeshua is the original Hebrew proper name for Jesus of Nazareth. In other words, Yeshua was the name His mother called Him when she called Him for supper. Jesus is a mis-transliteration of the Greek mis-transliteration, Yeysu. It is most proper to call Him Yeshua, since only in the Hebrew does His name have any meaning. In Hebrew Yeshua means both “Salvation,” and the concatenated form of Yahoshua, the “L-RD who is Salvation.” The name Jesus has no intrinsic meaning in English, except as it is known as His name in English.

    King James Bible:

    The KJV should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Has anyone proven it guilty? No. Has any scholar actually PROVEN that there are errors in the King James Bible? No. Enemies of the KJV delight in IGNORING the facts about the Authorized Version, while never PROVING anything. All apparent “errors” in the KJV can be explained through prayer and a careful study of the scriptures, but the opponents of the KJV aren’t interested in looking for TRUTH; they’re interested attacking God’s word, while never proving anything. Only a very deceived individual could believe that the new versions are equal to the King James Bible.

    Baptism in Jesus Name Only:

    The church is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20). The apostles not only preached baptism in Jesus’ name, but they practiced it. Nowhere can we find that they baptized using the words “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Instead, we find them baptizing in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. In baptizing in Jesus’ name, they fulfilled the command of the Lord in Matthew 28:19.
    Paul said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). Let this be a solemn warning to us. In Mark 7:8 Jesus said, “Laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men.” History tells us that it was not until many years after the apostles that the mode and formula of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ were changed. (See Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible, vol. 1, p.241.) Which means more to you, the command of the Lord or the tradition of men?

    Family Integrated Church:

    We believe that the indisputable discipleship pattern presented in the bible is age integrated and not age segregated. Further, we maintain that the comprehensive age segregation that rules the church today is a violation of the patterns of scripture. We exist to restore the biblical pattern of age integrated, family integrated worship, discipleship and evangelism.

    No instruments:

    As a result of the distinctive plea of the church – a return to New Testament Faith and practice – acappella singing is the only music used in the worship. This singing, unaccompanied by mechanical instruments of music, conforms to the music used in the apostolic church and for several centuries thereafter (Ephesians 5:19). It is felt that there is no authority for engaging in acts of worship not found in the New Testament. This principle eliminates the use of instrumental music, along with the use of candles, incense, and other similar elements.

    1 Cor. 1:10-17

    1. Lance Roberts says:

      Alando, While I agree that the KJV is a superior version to a lot of the dynamic crap put out today, I’ve never figured out why people are hung up on the english translation of Yeshua. I agree with the KJV that Jesus is a fine translation of that word.

      Since I’m not big on the regulative principle (and don’t use it in any discussion for FIC) I don’t agree with acappella only being required (though my church does it that way).

      But I do hope you note that most of your comment didn’t apply at all to this conversation.

    2. Alando,
      Regarding baptism, Jesus commands:
      Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19 ESV)

      And what of the Trinity?

      1. Lance Roberts says:

        Stan, How do you embolden the text in this forum?

    3. Lance Roberts says:

      And the KJV: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”.

  39. Steve Doyle says:

    I think you guys missed the point of Alando’s post. Either you did or I did. He wasn’t espousing those views, he was pointing out that each one of those who do hold those views are divisive and legalistic in the way they defend them. In other words the FIC controversy is becoming like the KJV-only controversy…necessarily divisive. Correct me if I’m wrong Alando. That’s why I wrote “good post.” If you sincerely do hold those views then…not a good post.

    1. Steve Doyle says:

      that was supposed to say unnecessarily divisive, not necessarily.

    2. Lance Roberts says:

      I see what you’re saying, but trying to put the FIC viewpoint up there with Messianic names and KJV only (which I’m not) is putting up a straw man.

      1. Steve Doyle says:

        I agree. I’m just trying to make sure people understand what Alando was saying in his post. I don’t put the FIC in the same category as those arguments.

    3. Steve, I think I see what you’re saying. I must have missed a word or two in Alando’s opening sentence.

      I should really get more sleep at night.

  40. Steve Doyle says:

    This is what Alando said: “so many churches find their identity in a particular conviction they hold dear such as the below and are slow to avoid the sin of disunity.”

    He’s pointing out different controversies that create sinful disunity.

  41. Alando Franklin says:

    Steve, thanks for clarifying for me. You correctly understood my point. Each group has a strong conviction regarding their view on those issues and divides the body of Christ over them. Nothing wrong with having convictions, but when they become divisve it is sinful according to Scripture. That is exactly what the Apostle Paul is “correcting” the Corinthians about(1 Cor. 1:10-17) You may notice a common theme with all of the differing groups, the use of words such as ONLY, VIOLATION, NOWHERE, ENEMIES, OPPONENTS, etc.

    In other words, they have the correct way and anyone that does not follow their way of doing things are unbiblical. That’s the ONLY logical conclusion.

    1. Lance Roberts says:

      Alando, It’s not about logic, it’s about obedience. If the Bible says it must be done one way, then that’s the way we have to do it. I definitely divide from those who think that homosexuality is acceptable. What is sinful is not being divisive with those who want to do things the world’s way instead of God’s way. As Christ said in Mat 10:34, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”

    2. Good grief Alando. Is that what you really think? Anything that becomes divisive is sinful? Let’s add the following to your list:
      Homosexuality in the church
      Women as Elders
      Worldly music in the church
      Inerrancy of Scripture
      Creation vs Evolution

      Are you willing to say that none of these are worth dividing over?

      The main problem that I have with your comment, is that you are attempting to put family integration into the same category as other issues without argument. You are not making a well-reasoned argument from Scripture as to why family integration is wrong or insignificant, but instead you are trying to assign guilt by association: Here are a list of issues that most people will find objectionable, let’s pull them all together and put FIC into the middle of them and say they are all wrongly divisive.

      Take care,
      Charles

  42. Alando Franklin says:

    To be clear, I wasn’t defending neither of the above positions, just noting a few differing groups who believe they have the ONLY correct way.

  43. Steve Doyle says:

    Obviously we are to divide when Scripture is clearly violated or teaching is clearly heretical. But I think what you will notice with NCFIC and some (only some) FIC churches is a lack of charity and openess to those who may differ from them. Here is a statement from the NCFIC statement:

    We affirm that there is no scriptural pattern for comprehensive age segregated discipleship, and that age segregated practices are based on unbiblical, evolutionary and secular thinking which have invaded the church (Deut. 16:9-14; Josh. 8:34-35; Ezra 10:1; 2 Chr.20:13; Nehemiah 12:43; Joel 2:15-16; Luke 12:42-47; Col 4:14; Acts 20:7; Eph. 6:1-4). We deny/reject that corporate worship, discipleship and evangelism should be systematically segregated by age, and that it has been an effective method for making disciples.

    That statement is a broad-brush approach. The Scriptures cited DO support the Scriptural pattern of family-integration (which I believe in) but they DO NOT give us the grounds to conclude that anyone who does not follow said patterns perfectly are unbiblical, evolutionary, or secular or (as the document states in other places)succumbing to the Adversary’s schemes. Our church affirms Believer’s Baptism because we feel the Scriptures teach it, clearly! And I find no Scriptural evidence to the contrary (and what Scriptural evidence is presented I find to be very weak). Yet, I will not say to my paedobaptist brothers that they are secular or under the Adversary’s influence when they baptize babies. We have room for charity. Have we forgotten Augustine’s words: In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas?

    Segregated worship is not the ideal nor most Scripturally faithful means of discipleship, but for the NCFIC to conclude that statement by saying they “deny” that it “has been” an effective means of discipleship is to deny what God has been able to do with imperfect men using imperfect and sometimes Biblically flawed methods. Yes, I stand with FIC movement to bring us back to a more Biblically founded method of discipleship, yet I will not employ the strangely ambiguous yet narrow language of the NCFIC document.

    1. Lance Roberts says:

      Steve, It does give us the grounds to conclude that any pattern is unbibilical, evolutionary or secular. No one says that the people are that way, they are just following a completely unbiblical pattern, just like those who in sending out single female missionaries don’t have a biblical pattern to follow. Just like government schooling is completely unbiblical and those who allow their children to be trained by Satan, are following an unbiblical pattern. It’s the pattern that’s unbiblical and should be judged.

      And how can you possible say that the world’s system of age segregation has been an effective system. It doesn’t have any positive fruit, it has a failure rate of around 75-80% (those who leave Christ by their first year of college after being raised in evangelical churches). I personally think they’re being over-generous in their language.

      1. Steve Doyle says:

        Lance you misunderstood me. I did not say age-segregation has been an effective system. I am standing against a broad-brush statement that it has had no effectiveness what-so-ever. That’s simply not true. Now, let me be clear, I do not think age-segregation APART from very intentional structure that includes high-levels of parental participation is the most effective means of discipleship. I do not, however, reject all age-segregation and feel that there may be appropriate time for segregation that is done in a careful way that does not supplant the parental responsibilities.

      2. Steve Doyle says:

        Lance your first paragraph simply makes my point. There is no charity in your argument. There are many things we do in church for which we have no explicit Biblical pattern. You are concluding that the lack of a clear Biblical pattern means we should not do it at all, yet there are many things that most churches do that lacks clear Biblical patterns. I guess you could call this the regulative principle gone wild. Yes the Scriptures do give us a pattern for the discipleship of children in the home (especially in the Old Testament), yet in the New Testament, New Covenant reality of the church, the Scriptures are a lot less explicit on how the church is to carry out the discipling of the whole congregation, the whole family of God, which according to Christ Himself supersedes the nuclear/biological family in its importance and loyalty while never eliminating it, but simply refining it and bringing it into a new reality. In the New Covenant reality, I view my brothers and sisters in Christ as my co-laborers in the faith, even in the faith of my own children while never relegating nor minimizing my responsibilities to pass my faith on to may children. Therefore I welcome other fathers and other Christians investing their talents in my family.

        So Lance, would you therefore say that John Piper and his church, Bethlehem Baptist, a church that have given us amazing God-centered curriculum (Children’s Desiring God), a church that practices family integrated worship and argues for it eloquently in Noel Piper’s “Together in the Presence of God,” a church that has firmly stood on Scripture and put the onus squarely on the shoulders of parents to raise their kids in the fear and discipline of the Lord…you would say that their church is Darwinian, evolutionary, and under the influence of the Advesary?

        There is a tremendous lack of charity and legalism that comes out of the FIC camp. It’s sad. When we started this church we knew we would have to fight pride, arrogance, legalism and lack of charity because those who make up the bulk of our church core are primarily Reformed, Homeschoolers, and Family Integrated – three camps that struggle with the aforementioned vices.

        1. Steve,
          You keep saying that these arguments have no charity, but I don’t understand why you think that is so.

          No one is saying that someone who practices age-segregation hates God, or that God will not bless their ministry in any way. No one is saying that Christians who practice age-segregation are not brothers or that they do not love the church.

          We are saying that we believe that in this one specific area (and yes we do believe it is an important area), those who practice age-segregation based worship and discipleship have fallen prey to unbiblical thinking. We do not believe for a minute that we have no unbiblical thinking in our lives or church or families and we fully expect that as our Christian brothers that if you find us practicing things that are against the Word of God, that you will come to us and wrestle with us in the Word to show us our error.

          This is what we believe we are doing with you. We are saying: It is time to check our basis for some of our fundamental practices. We have built our nation, our churches, and our families upon certain ideas and are we truly certain that their origin is rooted in Scripture, or could the be based upon the philosophy and traditions of men? Let us go back to the Word and see if we can find this thought and practice in the mind and heart of God as revealed to us in Scripture.

          I do believe that to be a charitable position. I do believe it to be a charitable argument.

          but if after reading this, you still believe me to have no charity and love in my heart for you, then please call me at 919-410-6699 and I will be glad to talk to you. I would be pleased to have the opportunity to make things right with my brother.

          I hope you have a truly blessed evening,
          Charles

  44. Alando Franklin says:

    Lance/Charles, brothers, please hear my heart here. Please don’t patronize me my friends. Is it possible to show Christian charity at all? You guy’s know I’m not arguing that we should simply unite regardless of whether individuals are living in blatant sin or direct rebellion to what Scripture “clearly” teaches.

    I’m not putting FIC’s in any category. They/you’ll are putting yourself in an exclusive category(the ONLY ones doing it right) by using the same language as these other groups.

    When you say, we have the biblical way of doing things and those who do not do it like us are unbiblical, isn’t that what the other groups are doing. They can argue for their view based on inferences drawn from Scripture in much the same way you do.

    Still, I think there is some legitimacy to the Apostles Paul’s rebuke of the Corinthians for dividing based on certain mens teachings. I mean some were even claiming, I’m of Christ, so that isn’t to say that what they were being taught was wrong, but to say I’m of this group or that group was problematic enough to warrant rebuke from God through the Apostle Paul!

  45. Alando Franklin says:

    But I think what you will notice with NCFIC and some (only some) FIC churches is a lack of charity and openess to those who may differ from them.

    Steve,

    Well said! Excellent post! This is what I have been arguing for all along. Although we do not consider ourselves “family integrated”, we do not have childrens church, youth group, etc., however, we do not make it a distinctive. It is simply how we worship when we gather together corporately to worship our risen Lord and Savior and yet we have many within our family of churches who do it differently. I would put the children from some of our sister churches and their example up against ANY child from ANY church that does not have children church, youth group ANY day of the week as children, young adults who provide a compelling example of children that are obedient to the Lord, living lives that please and honor Him and have been discipled primarily in the home and secondarily at church.

  46. Alando Franklin says:

    “No one says that the people are that way, they are just following a completely unbiblical pattern”

    Classic example Lance.

    Although, I disagree with these views, but I would ask you Lance, to show me from the original language where do you find the name Jesus, or in Scripture where do you find the apostles “since the inception of the early church” baptizing in any other way except in Jesus name or the name of the Lord Jesus, or show me where you find the church using instruments in their worship? Using your logic, unless you are following in addition to the family integrated model, these examples desribed your worship is unbiblical.

    Again, I do not hold to those views, I’m simply using the same logic and argument that those who do hold those views would argue why they are the ONLY ones doing it right…

    1. Alando,
      You want Lance to disprove positions that have only been represented as multi-line blurbs, and that neither you nor he agree with? And once he does this, what will that prove?

      Those positions are bad positions Alando, you know it, I know it, Lance knows it. What I have been suggesting all along, is that you deal with the Scriptural arguments that the NCFIC has made regarding its positions (at ncfic.org).

      I reiterate what I wrote to you above a few days ago:
      What I would challenge you to do is to show from Scripture what the bounds are for how we worship in the church. If the NCFIC’s arguments are wrong about how worship is regulated, then what is the correct argument? What are the proper bounds for worship and what is your basis for defining it? Can you tell me what things are out of bounds? What is inappropriate worship? (I am assuming you would not argue that anything goes, but how/where should Christians draw the lines?)

      God Bless,
      Charles

  47. Alando Franklin says:

    Not only does this group believe they are the ONLY way, but all others are on their way to hell for not following their way. As serious as this pastor is, the guy is entertaining(not in the way we typically think of pastors/churches being entertaining however)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga0xg2LW-P0

  48. Tony says:

    First let me share that using the word “legalism” or some form of it never helps a conversation. Usually the word legalism rears its head when something is brought up that another may disagree with when the other party sees it clearly as that which God calls us to obey. Now one party may be wrong, or both wrong, but the discussion needs to revolve around the text and not opinions. Yes at some level opinion may come in but again it is to revolve around the text. Thus the call from some in this stream of comments for the texts to support the current form of church practice is so that dialogue can hinge on the text and not what is also an often overused and misused term, “Christian charity.”

    Is it possible the proclaimed ambiguity of the NT, referred to often over the last week, on such issues as age segregation comes from not taking into account that the NT did not have to reinvent what was still applicable from the OT. As is true of so many debates they come down to hermeneutics. How does one use and interpret the OT in light of the NT. It seem clear that since Jesus and Apostles spoke and taught from the OT and the early church would have relied on the OT for much of its practice we would be unwise to so easily toss it and its practices out. That is unless the NT specifically removes or replaces a practice as with the sacrificial system.

    I have not had the time to weigh in here but have watched and read and the lack of dialogue over the text of scripture, OT and NT, seems lacking. I would agree with Charles that if there is an argument with the NCFIC let it be with its exposition of the passages it uses. There may still be disagreement but at least it would revolve around God’s word and not conjecture and opinion.

    By the way Alando, I do not think the video was helpful or added to the discussion.

  49. Lance Roberts says:

    Steve,

    No one claims 100% effectiveness or lack thereof. If you throw enough mud against the wall something will stick. Just like decisionism has lassoed some real christians, but it’s still ineffective and unbiblical for building the church. It’s about using Biblical methodology or not. I think Tony makes the best point about using the OT in light of the NT.

    I also think you’re confusing “lack of charity” with “lack of compromise”. Obedience is linked directly to Love all over the NT. If we’re not doing things biblically then we’re not showing love. I will always appear to be “uncharitable” when it comes to sin or worldly methodology, because I refuse to compromise with it.

    I like John Piper (a lot) but I certainly see some unbiblical things being done there (as I see them done at my own church).

    I also think you are using the world’s definition of legalism. What Legalism is, is thinking that doing something will put you in a better position with God. Obedience (or Strict Obedience as one book stated) is not legalism, it’s just obedience, it’s what we do.

    Alando,

    As Stan pointed out, Matthew 28:19 covers that issue quite well.

    1. Steve Doyle says:

      I’m very tired, so I hope my arguments are cogent at this point, I will re-engage the discussion tomorrow. I think that there can be a strict obedience and faithfulness to not compromise the gospel while still maintaining a higher level of Christian charity and freedom than what the NCFIC document affords.

      BTW I found Voddie and Dr. Kostenbergers’ comments both to be charitable and lacking the inflammatory tone of some who participate in this lively, ongoing, in-house debate.

      Back to my comparison with baptism. My church will not compromise our belief in Believer’s Baptism. We defend it Scripturally and find opposing views void of solid Scriptural backing. I am frankly stunned at the lack of Scriptural argumentation when I debate the baptism issue. So we stand on the Word and we stand strong in our convictions. We will not, however, call a sister church worldly or pagan because they practice peadobaptism. I have seen such accusation thrown out there with strong force. But I find those accusations to be uncharitable, so I will not make them, and I disagree with those who resort to such rhetoric. We all see through a mirror dimly, thus we afford each other freedom to disagree. The NCFIC labels all churches with a broad brush that lacks charity. It’s one thing to forcefully state your convictions, which the NCFIC does…but it’s another to go beyond that and level accusations toward all who do not share the same convictions. I believe in family integration, but I do not believe that I have the right to come down hard and ungraciously on my brothers and sisters who do not share my views – it is not a first tier issue. Now if someone claims to be my brother yet denies the infallibility of Scripture, I will be much more forceful in my words because we are no longer dealing with a second tier issue.

      It is also interesting that the Jewish practices of Jesus’ day often had Jewish young men being taught segregated from the parents in synagogues, some (the brightest and most promising) being taught at the feet of a rabbi or teacher as Saul was under Gamaliel. Did they misinterpret Deuteronomy 6 by providing such segregated teaching? Did they miss it by only allowing women and children into certain parts of the Temple? Yes, the NT did change everything, it actually integrated everything (Gal 3:28) – and it changed the whole understanding of what it meant to be in the covenant family of God.

      1. Steve,
        Nice comment. I think you summed it up nicely.

        By the way, I like your church’s website.

      2. Chris Prang says:

        Steve,

        Your post brings to mind what two great men of the faith said. One about being charitable in regards to different beliefs and the other about being too theologically entrenched.

        John Bunyan said:
        “I will not let Water Baptism be the rule, the door, the bolt, the bar, the wall of division between the righteous and the righteous…The Lord deliver me from superstitious and idolatrous thoughts about any of the ordinances of Christ and God…Since you would know by what name I would be distinguished from others, I tell you I would be, and hope am-a Christian, and choose, if God should count me worthy, to be called a Christian, a believer, or other such name which is approved by the Holy Ghost.

        George Muller stated:
        “Nay, whatever parts of truth are made too much of, though they were even the most precious truths connected with our being risen in Christ or our heavenly calling, or prophecy, sooner or later, those who lay undue stress upon these parts of truth, and thus make them too prominent, will be losers in their own souls, and, if they be teachers, they will injure those whom they teach.”

  50. Chris says:

    Out of curiosity, is anyone going to the FIC conference in Burlington, NC next month? http://www.antiochfic.myevent.com/

    They have a very diverse line up of speakers.

  51. Chris Prang says:

    Dr. Kostenbergers response to Voddie Baucham here: http://www.biblicalfoundations.org/featured-posts/god-marriage-family-debate-part-2-rejoinder-to-voddie-baucham

    Will the debate ever end?

    1. Thanks for posting the link. Sounds like a good exchange.

  52. Alando Franklin says:

    I agree with Stan.

    Steve, excellent summation! Also, I want to commend you for not only the content of your posting but the tone in which you have interacted with your brothers in Christ with whom you may share differing convictions/conclusions on a very important topic.

  53. Tony says:

    Here is a link to conference put on by the church Voddie Baucham is an Elder at that will answer many questions people have about the FIC: http://www.gracefamilybaptist.net/GFBC2/FIC_Conference.html

  54. Alando Franklin says:

    Tony,

    I live in Spring, in fact, about 10 minutes from where Voddies church meet, although we do not meet in the immediate area ourselves as a church. My pastor is meeting with him this week due to the fact that we have had several families visit our church the last couple of weeks that are/were members of his church and they all share the same conviction regarding the FIC model from what I could discern during my brief interaction with them this past Sunday.

    I tried to reach out to Voddie several years ago to build/establish some relationship between him, my pastor and myself as brothers in Christ, however he was disinteretsed or perhaps to busy at the time, nonetheless I’m glad to see that he is open now to sit down for some dialogue.

    BTW, looks like a good conference. I am grateful for the emphasis/theme of the conference, hopeful that any misconceptions will be cleared and will continue praying that the inflammatory and unhelpful language/attitude towards those who do not share their philosophy of ministry would change as Dr. Kostenberger recommended so that God would do a mighty work through these churches and in families for His Glory!

  55. Alando Franklin says:

    Hello All,

    This conversation has reminded me of a recent sermon that my pastor preached on “unity of the saints” which I would highly recommend. It can be heard here:

    http://www.sovereigngracepearland.org/resources/sermons/

    That we may be one,
    Alando

    1. Rob says:

      Thanks, I’m going to check this out

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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