good links to articles on the family integrated church movement

old church

Since my series of articles on the pros and cons of the family integrated church continue to be read and linked to on a daily basis, I thought it would be a great idea to share some good links I have found recently that address this topic. These articles consider the theological perspective, especially as they relate to the NCFIC notion of the church being a “family of families.”

My Introduction to the Family Integrated Church Movement
by Jason Webb is the first in a series of articles that are gracious in tone and give a great overview of the movement, offering good insights into the theological problems with the teachings of various leaders within the FIC.

The Relation of Church and Family by Sam Waldron
outlines some of the key concerns with the FIC movement and his Biblical response is well presented and sound.

Andy Dunkerton’s article entitled What Should We Think of the Family-Integrated Church Movement? presents a brief outline of the concerns and hits the nail on the head on each point he makes.

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  1. Susan T says

    I was just looking around on youtube and this was on the sidebar: a series of lectures on the rise of the development of “biblical” patriarchy(she clarifies this very well) in the last 15 yrs in the homeschooling movement… your word -patriocentry- is the user name on youtube sidebar… and ironically this sidebar appears on the page of the youtube video for the local FIC.

    Seems to be real research this woman has done; I only watched part of the first one… didn’t know if you were aware of these talks or happen to know this gal? I’m unable to determine the location/event/audience either…. but here are some quotes I caught as I sped thru: “this movement is a disproportionate response to cultural decline and sees family as essential to the restoration of our culture”… It is “a homeschooling special purpose religion or affinity group”… “instead of engaging culture, withdraws… survivalist mentality…” They are “evangelistically pessemistic- instead of seeking to save the lost… evangelizes other christians into the structure…”

  2. says

    BTW, Julie, I have putting a review of Family Driven Faith up as one of the items on my short list. I LOVED the first couple of chapters and realized as I read that nearly everything he said has been said in the “normal” homeschooling camps for at least 25 years. But I am left scratching my head at how “this” Voddie is the same “Voddie” who has written and said some other stuff that I find so troubling.

  3. thereisnoeasyanswer says

    I am truly saddened that such a good idea could go south so quick, and become labelled as evil so suddenly.

    I have recently been loosely introduced to the concept of FIC and was amazed at what this had a great chance to be. My wife and I have always kept out children with us (instead of going to SS) every other week. This has proven to be a great benefit to both us and our children. We did this out of a concern that so many children were coming out of the SS programs and were unable to sit and focus through a full sermon. For us, it has been a journey that has taught me just how capable children are to understand and consume biblical teachings.

    I agree that the model is quite unbiblical in many of it’s ideas, but when conservative numbers show the current church model has %70 of first year freshman leaving their Christianity behind… I believe it may be failing.

    Also, lastly I would like to mention that all this and the response that “pastor andy” of one of your linked articles gives “the church has a right to…” shows us that we have forgotten what church is.

    The Church is not a place it is a who. Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ as it’s cornerstone. Church is the chosen bride of Christ. Before we start claiming our rights we should search out our identity and responsibilities, and live in a life that honors the God who’s Gospel we barely preach in these buildings we so ambitiously fight over.

  4. says

    I certainly have not ever claimed that the family integrated church movement is evil! I hope you will read the series of articles I wrote about our own history within this movement. As I state right from the start, I believe there are many good and valid reasons for a family to be part of a family integrated congregation. We have kept our own children with us through the years most of the time durin SS except when my husband taught a group of children the age of our own and always through worship services. mt critique of this movement is with the exclusive nature. How many non homeschooling families are actually welcomed in these churches? I think it would be so awesome if traditional churches could see the value of many of the things FIC’s practice. Anyway I have covered all of that in my own series…pull down articles menu on the bar at the top of the page. would love to discuss this after you read.

  5. says

    I really enjoyed the Pros and Cons of the Family Integrated church article. I hope you don’t mind if I link to it on my blog.

  6. Mrs. Baker says

    After scratching my head awhile, I must say that we are all a product of our experiences. Your convictions are not mine and mine are not yours, mainly because we’ve all walked different paths in this life. We may indeed have convictions held in common, but overall, we’re much different. What I find most disturbing is the view of what church is. Just what is church and what is its purpose? Is it a big evangelical tool? Is it a training ground? Is it the bride of Christ? Is it a body? Is its purpose to offer up praise to the ever-worthy Father, Son and Spirit? Is it for the building up of the Saints? We must answer those questions first before we can accurately determine what type of ‘church’ we must choose for ourselves or our families.

    You see, we are in a family integrated church, and it does not do all the ‘horrible’ things spoken of in your ‘pros and cons’ post. It also does so many other good things. I’m certain we’re not perfect, but I really had a hard time reading your article because what we are a part of is nothing like you described. It would be like saying that the FIC is a dessert, but for us it’s a lush, verdant rainforest. So, from what I heard you say, I would counter to say that the FIC model can be done well, in such a way as to be edifying to the saints, a place of praise to the Father, a real relationship with other members of the body and missional in practice.

  7. says

    “Your convictions are not mine and mine are not yours, mainly because we’ve all walked different paths in this life.”

    I would hope and do pray that my conviction are based on the Word of God and His grace to me rather than on my own experiences.

  8. says

    “Your convictions are not mine and mine are not yours, mainly because we’ve all walked different paths in this life.”

    I would hope and do pray that my conviction are based on the Word of God and His grace to me rather than on my own experiences.

    I also posted this response to you on the most recent thread on the movie “divided” and hope you will join the discussion:

    Mrs. Baker, surely you could not have read my articles on the Pros and Cons of the family integrated church to conclude that I said horrible things. Many people have told me how fair and balanced my perspective was. I would love for you to share specifics on your own church…I would really like to know some of the things I asked Pastor Smith about, which he still has not answered. Tapping foot here. Earth to Pastor Smith…

    Here are a few things that I would love to hear about. What are the age and schooling types demographics in your church? How many families are not homeschooling families? How many elderly families are there? Single men and women? What does evangelism look like? Missions?

  9. Naomi Hunt says

    I just wanted to thank you so much for your thoughtful, well written and overall very gentle and grace filled article (the pros and cons of FIC). We are a young family with only two littles so far who are looking forward to embarking on the homeschool journey in coming years. I had never even heard about the FIC model in my whole conservative, homeschooled upbringing (granted we are canadian, does that make a difference?) until recently coming across a blog series about homeschooling and living life with lots of kids. (the 4 moms with 35+ kids blogs) Several of these families are in FIC churches. (and strongly promote Vision Forum, which I hadn’t looked into because we’re in canada, was rather shocked to hear some of the ideas shared there.) Over the last month or so I have been deeply struggling with many of the new ‘twists’ or interpretations or applications of scriptures shared on one blog in particular that I just have never thought about before or seen put into practice. I’ve spent many late nights reading my bible and thinking and discussing with my husband on some issues that you have really really helped bring into clarity for me! It’s hard to argue with ‘sufficiency of scripture’ challenges, as in “well this is what the bible says, are you going to agree with God or disagree”. Scripture is sufficient but we need to be careful if we choose the most literal interpretation, asking for the wisdom and insight of the Author of it all as we read and apply. I am learning that every portion of the Bible has SO many layers and nuances to be dug out, that’s how we can read the same verse hundreds of times and recieve ‘fresh bread’ each time. Something that was SO helpful for me was your sharing of the ” where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Freedom” verse and showing the context of that. I knew it by I think I was becoming clouded by confusion myself. I wasn’t trusting the voice of the Holy Spirit in my heart because their arguments were so ‘scriptural’.
    You really provided a balance, of love and applause for the good things practiced by families in these churches, which I have also seen and can learn from and appreciate from the blogs I’ve been reading. I particularly am challenged and excited by the hospitality aspect and the scripture memory. I am praying for and encouraging my husband to learn how to implement family worship in our home. (His parents are very Godly, but his dad worked so much that all devotional times and family worship type stuff was left up to my mother in law, and so I think he sees that as the mom’s job to spear head) However, you also clearly laid out the fallacies and straight up wrong teaching that I see now was really disturbing my spirit although I had no answer for their seemingly biblical arguments and had not researched their stuff enough to see the glaring issues for myself. I am thankful not to have to wade into that mire to find the truth but be able to read and learn from your experience. I am very excited to be using your blog in the future as a resource and tool as we strive to raise our children to Love their Lord and serve Him.

  10. says

    Hi Naomi and thanks for your kind words and your thoughtful comment! So glad you are here!!!

    I’m not sure how far you have dug into this blog to find FIC related resources but the FIC is only part of a much larger agenda in the dominionist movement. (Its been a while since I was at the blog you mentioned but I think at least one of those moms has written favorably about reconstructionism. Would have to go back and check.) I would encourage you to listen to the podcast series on the FIC to put the “sufficiency of Scripture” arguments into context. Pastor Shawn Mathis did a great job of researching the FIC writings and engaging with many leaders in the FIC movement before he began writing about this claim of “sufficiency” they use. I know you will find it helpful. Also, I did two series on podcasts on the patriarchy/patriocentricity culture that will also help you put these teachings into perspective. You can listen to the podcasts right here on this website…see the podcasts tab in the top bar) or you can get them directly on an mp3 device/iPod as free downloads from iTunes. Just click on the iTunes link on the sidebar. Don’t get overwhelmed. Please!

  11. says

    Also Naomi,

    I also wanted to comment on moms teaching Scripture to their children and family devotions time in busy households.

    The notion that moms cannot teach their children Scripture, especially teen age boys has no grounding in Scripture whatsoever, though it is often taught within the FIC culture. In fact, the Bible presents many examples to the contrary.

    Proverbs 31 is instructions to King Lemuel by his mother. He was not a toddler at the time! 😉 Here are a couple blog posts I wrote about this amazing mom and her admonition to her adult son, an example for us all!

    Here is also an blog post about raising sons: I think you will love the story of Dr. Ben Carson, the world famous pediatric surgeon. So inspiring!

    Also, as far as finding time for family devotions in a busy household where dad works, this is what really was helpful for us. My husband’s long hours and desire to have devotions before he left for work saw us up with the chickens for many years. It really wasn’t the most optimal time but because the babies and toddlers were usually sleeping it worked. As everyone got older, we decided to have our devotions in the evenings, which brought their own challenges. We had learned that when you want to make something a new habit, the best thing is to “wrap it around” something else that you do together every day. In our house that is supper so we began having family devotions at the table right after dinner (and before dessert). Since my elderly mom has lived with us for many years and this is her favorite part of the day (devotions and dessert!) this has been a perfect way to develop this discipline. It doesn’t have to be long and there is the added anticipation of dessert to keep littles attentive!) Just a suggestion as to what helped us……

  12. says

    Naomi, one more thought on the FIC in Canada, etc.

    I don’t know how extensive the teachings on the FIC are in Canada but I do know that some of the patricentric teachers have spoken at the homeschooling conventions there. (This is the vehicle they use to drive their agenda.) There are blog readers here from several countries and some are seeing bits and pieces of these philosophies trickling into their countries via homeschooling. My personal belief is that in conservative Christianity in general the FIC/patriarchy ideals are pulling normal Christianity their direction which, of course, is their goal for dominion!)

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