are sunday schools and youth groups not biblical?

I just finished watched Divided the Movie and have lots of thoughts racing around in my head. While I agree with so much of the identified problems, I don’t believe the solutions presented are broad enough for ministry within our culture today. Are Sunday schools and youth ministries “unbiblical?” Any thoughts?

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Comments

  1. says

    Wow. Two blog posts and a conference call in one day? They must have really gotten a lot of questions and/or pushback from their followers. Normally they don’t even acknowledge the existence of anyone who questions what they say or write.

    I’d love to hear the conference call, but am not willing to part with my $$$ to do so. I’ll read the transcript later. 🙂

  2. Adam says

    Dave A.,

    That is really bizarre. When I respond to my critics, I do so on my blog for all to see, plain as day. Also interesting is the way they worded this conference on the “Divided” Facebook page:

    Tonight at 8:00 PM (EST), there will be a conference call where the NCFIC will be sharing tools to equip and strengthen the position of biblical youth discipleship, links to websites for information, and strategies to promote Divided and the message. Click on the link below for more information.

    Nothing about answering critics here, although the phrase “strengthen the position of biblical youth discipleship” might imply that.

    I too would like to hear that conference call, to see if they have come up with any answer to the gross oversimplifications that exist in their hermeneutics. However, I would have to give up telephone minutes in order to do that, and who knows how long that call will be, or whether they will even address the issue of the hermeneutics that they used in the film.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  3. says

    I am just now working my way through these blog entries, recordings, etc. I am absolutely blown away that Brown has the audacity to link to Ray Ortlund’s article! This just proves that they will use any sort of deception whatsoever to try to lure people into thinking they are normal and mainstream! One of our sons goes to the church plant that Ray pastors and we were just there a month ago and attended worship. I was happy to meet him since his mom’s writings have been such an encouragement to me personally through the years! The church has children’s church for crying out loud and a nursery! And the service is anything but regulated! Scott Brown is a deceiver to use Ortlund to support the FIC!

  4. Adam says

    Clarification: If you click on the link provided in the Facebook post, you will get to the message Dave A posted.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  5. says

    To say they are “answering critics” is also deceptive. If they were sincere, it would never be in a private conference call! Seriously, only their sycophants would fall for such poppycock! I hope someone s taping this! I do not trust them with accurate transcripts! Can someone link to all the blog articles in reference to the Challies review? Any one who comes across one, please link here!

  6. says

    Dave A.,

    I would have more respect if they answered critics with a publicly written statement that all can test for accuracy. I’ve already had one “defender” quote me anonymously (so no one would find my article) and then proceed to attack a straw-man and felt good doing it.

    A phone call cuts into people’s time and places the burden of proving quotes on the ones who listen.

  7. says

    Adam, I know what you mean by “feeling left out.” Do not despair. God is on our side. You can only make a reasonable effort. You, as well as the rest of us, are busy with our lives trying to glorify God in our various callings.

    People ignoring the truth is common practice. And although I do not think you are going into the ministry, you’ll run into it just the same. Persevere and think of all the silent readers who never comment but do read and weigh the issues. This is still a super-minority position but a superminority with money and big mouths.

    yours in Christ,

  8. Dave A says

    The email says the duration of the call is 1/2 hour, so you will not get much time to address alot. I would say (just me) that it will be a one way conversation and they will pick which issues to address and then the 3 of them will “demolish” their detractors views and laud their own. Shawn, their target audience is from their already existing database of those on their email lists, the bulk are current supporters. What I have seen is that the “leaders” comments are very guarded, while those of their supporters are what you are getting on the blogs. If you get into a dialoge with others sometimes you give more information that you intended to give, similar to the dialoge between Ryan G. and Shawn last month. With the NCFIC being so broad doctrinally they appear to avoid offending those who embrace FIC but are all over the place doctrinally. Sort of like a parachurch group whose only focus is one particular issue and avoid all else.

  9. says

    This is what their FB page stated:

    Tonight at 8:00 PM (EST), there will be a conference call where the NCFIC will be sharing tools to equip and strengthen the position of biblical youth discipleship, links to websites for information, and strategies to promote Divided and the message. Click on the link below for more information. This will totally be a time for further instruction from them.

  10. Dave A says

    Grudem’s systematic theology states that….“The sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contained all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.” (p. 127) In other words we do not need extra biblical signs, visions, or anything else to know how we are to love and obey God. It does not appear that the NCFIC’s definition is the same. On the surface maybe, but does it mean that if the scripture is silent on any given issue we are “forbidden” to do it then? Scott Brown would say, if scripture does not expressly say it (anything not found in the Bible), it should be not be done. Correct?

  11. Dave A says

    This is a copy & paste of the email

    Divided Conference Call
    Dear Friends,
    Divided is stirring up a firestorm of debates all over the country. Since we first released the movie about three weeks ago, we are approaching 50,000 views. Praise be to God! The message of Divided has become a topic many households, churches, and leaders will be confronted with in the near future. People have many questions. Therefore, we must be ready to have sound, biblical, and clear answers. So, how will we do this?
    On Monday night (August 1, 2011), we will be launching our first Divided National Conference Call, where we will be rolling out a strategic plan for answering our critics and the genuinely interested. Leading the call will be Scott Brown (Director for the NCFIC), Peter Bradrick (Producer of Divided), and Tony Hernandez (NCFIC Marketing Director). On the call, we will be sharing tools to equip and strengthen our defense, links to websites for information, and strategies to promote the movie and the message.
    Now is the time to stand together for the sufficiency of Scripture and the body of Christ in America. Would you stand with us and join us on this call?
    To participate in the call, please call the number below and enter the code at 8:00 PM (EST). Details about the call:
    • Date: Monday, August 1, 2011 (Today)
    • Time: 8:00 PM (EST)
    • Telephone number to call: 1-218-862-1300
    • Conference code: 730738
    • Duration: 1/2 hour
    Please RSVP by e-mailing your name, e-mail address, and telephone number to projects@ncfic.org.
    Lord’s Blessings,
    Tony Hernandez, NCFIC Marketing Director

  12. Dave A says

    It is rather bizzare, I do not know why they would not post the “tools” on their website. Unless this a covert operation and they do not want what is said on print anywhere.

  13. Adam says

    I agree with Karen and Shawn; something isn’t right here. A thirty minute program to answer critics, and do all of the stuff they mentioned on their Facebook page?????????? I agree with Karen; I think someone should record this just in case something unusual happens.

    I am also beginning to wonder if Dave A is right too. It may simply be a pep talk for those who saw the movie, and agreed with it.

    Shawn,

    I have come to those same conclusions as well. Of course, not acknowledging the truth will always come back to bite you when people start asking questions!

    God Bless,
    Adam

  14. says

    Dave A,

    Thank you for the info. Does a lack of RSVP prevent calling in?
    Dave: here is my email: pastormathis at gmail.com Please email me ASAP.

    –shawn

  15. says

    Adam, your illustration about betrothals being the only “biblical” [only activity found in the bible] is in line with my thoughts as well. Let us brainstorm for the sake of readers out there:

    1. Servants: businesses as we know them the last three hundred years did not exist but servants did. Do the NCFIC men employ servants or contractual employees?
    2. Servants living with your family: the patriarchal model of Abraham included the servants. Do the NCFIC men have their employees live with them…even women?
    3. Servants who work any and all jobs at the house: nursemaids, nannies, farmers, shepherds, etc. Do the NCFIC men employ personal farmers or do they buy at Safeway?
    4. Servants who kill other servants: Abraham employed, supported and used 318 fighting men (Gen. 18:19). Do the NCFIC men employ small armies?

    Why not? The “sufficiency of Scripture” demands that these men employ servants who work for them, live with them and kill for them. Or at least it demands that the NCFIC men could be servants themselves 🙂

    [Add this to Adam’s excellent “how to find a wife”].

    ++++++++++
    In logic, the use of “sufficiency of Scripture” is a necessary but *insufficient* argument. Another premise is required.

    For example, combustible material is *necessary* for fire. But it is not *sufficient* for fire. One needs an energy source for one thing.

    Another premise has *not* been brought forth clearly to my recollection. Can’t find it. If someone does, please deliver it to “The church needs more than your word for it NCFIC”. Thanks.

  16. Adam says

    Shawn,

    Add this to Adam’s excellent “how to find a wife”

    Actually, I can’t take credit for that little gem; I found it online. As far as I know, I am not even the first one to use it in refutation of this hermeneutic. This hermeneutic is not anything new, unfortunately, and it has been refuted over and over again. As you have found out, once you understand the basic error in Pragmatics that it makes, you can come up with all kinds of different examples in refutation of it.

    That is why I hope that these folks will address the basic hermeneutical problems with the way they are treating scripture. That has to be addressed if you are going to claim a Biblical basis for your beliefs. Only proper hermeneutics will allow God to speak from the text.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  17. Dave A says

    Sorry Shawn I was not able to get back to this until this AM. But the way I read it was you HAD to call in first in order to participate, probably used a “special” phone number. I had other things going at that time last night so I could not listen in either. Did anyone else?

  18. Laura says

    All this secrecy by the NCFIC people reminds me of the ATIA /”top secret headquarters” type stuff.

    If something would be edifying or of benefit to God’s people, why don’t they just talk about it ? (Unless, of course, THEY alone are God’s people and therefore privy to what is truly Biblical or not….)

    I remember once an ATIA family we knew was talking to us about a particular doctrinal issue. They thought they had some insight for us but had to “clear it with headquarters” before they could talk with us… Thus appeared the first red flag on that whole scene !

    There is so much elitism and exclusivity in these types of groups. That alone should be a concern.

    One question that I thought of- if it is un-Biblical for a married woman to work, what about married female servants ? Or are these people simply created to serve “God’s people “?

  19. Adam says

    Hey Everyone!

    Did anyone listen in last night? I am almost certain that they talked about Jewish rabbinical training, as there is a discussion of Paul and Gamaliel the NCFIC blog. It was also briefly on Scott Brown’s blog. I am sure the whole “Sufficiency of scripture” misnomer was dragged out again.

    This morning an article appeared on the NCFIC website by Tony Konvalin, again using this battle cry. However, never once did he point out that 1. It has been historically challenged as to whether or not the definition of “the sufficiency of scripture” used by the NCFIC is consistent with the reformers, and 2. their definition of “the sufficiency of scripture” is grossly incoherent, and forces language to function in a way it was not intended. One wonders if they were told those things in the conference last night.

    It will be interesting to see this transcript. Then again, as one person has noted, do they even know that their hermeneutics have been challenged? If they don’t care about what their critics say, then they may only address arguments that become popular.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  20. says

    I find it interesting that Tony Konvalin’s article continues to state that those who are challenging the solutions in the movies are “entrenched” in youth culture. It has been almost three years since I wrote my series of articles on the FIC. I used our own story of helping to plant two family integrated churches to show that we fully understand the concerns of the modern youth culture within the traditional church. As wrote about the wonderful things we witnessed, I also talked about the very real concerns, especially HOW Scripture is being interpreted and applied. I have yet to hear from A SINGLE FIC guy who was willing to talk about any of the substance of those articles. And yet, on any given day if you google “family integrated church” my articles are in the top 5 on the first page and usually they are 2nd only to the NCFIC website. I get hundreds of hits on those articles each week. And yet I have seen no one address the real concerns I listed.

  21. says

    And here is another thought:

    we have no real statistics at all on the success or failure of the family integrated church. We have no standards of measurement as to what success actually looks like either, do we? The same is true for courtship or betrothal. What standards of measure do we have? In fact, I just read that Josh Harris is about to republish his book on courtship and had to rewrite some of the stories he shared of glorious courtship successes because the couples had divorced. I already am hearing stories of how pro-FIC families are destroying whole churches and we all know about young adults who are fleeing from their patriocentric homes, many of them in FIC’s as well. Besides the theological mess they are creating, they are also inept at social science research.

  22. says

    Karen,

    That is interesting about Harris’ needed corrections. It points out that many of these people use the WORLD’s approach to debate: superficial rhetoric, unsubstantiated claims, and hyper-optimism. It is just like watching a commercial.

    This explains why they cannot interact with Adam’s and other peoples more nuanced critiques: because they think like typical tv-driven, sound-byte oriented Americans!

    Add to this intellectual mix an emphasis on *doing*–on activism, to get something done right now–you get a typical movement mentality that captures peoples imaginations and feelings but without all those messy distinctions and nuance.

  23. Dave A says

    Ok I have been involved in the FIC movement for longer than I care to admit but after reading the post on the ncfic website this AM I am at a loss. First off I am certain somewhere I have heard or read (via ncfic) that the “pattern” in both the OT. & NT. was family integration. Now these people who were setting the “pattern” were Jews, both OT & NT, correct? So if there is no clear set pattern spelled out in the scripture (I think all sides agree to this)then you would look to what the people did or were doing at the time the scripture was written to get this pattern, or at least it’s practice, as best as historically possible anyway, correct? NOW, Scott Brown says that even the Jews practice was wrong and not to follow it. Here must be the “sufficiency of scripture” argument. Where is this integration pattern? They are going in circles and I do not know about anyone else but I am a bit at a loss trying to follow it.

  24. Adam says

    Karen, Shawn, Dave,

    I have seen the very thing Shawn has. While I don’t know if there is a connection, I have noticed that many people involved in this movement also claim to be Theonomists. I have been deeply concerned about where Theonomy is heading today. When I was first learning about the the law of God, one of my pastors was a theonomist, Dr. Carl Bogue. Dr. Bogue is a very level headed, carefully logical man, however. I was also introduced, at about this time, to the work of Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen. Bahnsen was likewise a very careful, logical thinker, and he had the humility to admit, at the end of his life, that a lot of work still needed to be done on the application of God’s law to modern society.

    Then I got to Trinity, and I got to study under Dr. Richard Averbeck and Dr. Willem VanGemeren. I got to read primary sources from the Ancient Near East relating to Biblical law in their original languages [Akkadian, Egyptian, Sumerian, etc.], and I started studying linguistics. Then, someone introduced me to the work of Christopher J.H. Wright, and Dr. Averbeck told me that he likewise recommended his work. I realized, at that point, that a lot of work needed to be done in order to bring the understandings of Theonomy up to date in terms of both exegesis and application of the law of God.

    However, what I started seeing was exactly the attitude that Shawn mentions. The whole rhetoric driven, t.v. commercial mentality started simply saturating the theonomic movement. In fact, many of the things that concerned me, Bahnsen had already warned about before his death [the so called “Interpretive Maximalism,” a lack of understanding of how the casuistic law relates to our modern society, the confusion of law and gospel, etc.].

    I then saw a disturbing article on American Vision’s website written by Bojidar Marinov, and I jumped into the comments section, and started dialoging with him-if you can call it that. I was concerned about a statement in his article wherein he said that, when the state executes criminals, it is proclaiming the gospel. In my exchange with him, I quoted Bahnsen’s master’s thesis Theonomy in Christian Ethics to demonstrate that Bahnsen considered that position to be wrong.

    However, what I got from Marinov was the kind of behavior I have only seen from atheists, and some of the most ridiculous claims about the gospel I had ever heard. There is one place in our dialogue where he said that the gospel doesn’t justify anyone, because the gospel is just a message. His defense was that the Bible didn’t specifically say anywhere “The gospel justifies.” I had a pastor friend tell me that the Theonomic movement is becoming more and more radical, and it is particularly the younger generation of the theonomists that are driving it. Also, I still attend the church that Dr. Bogue used to pastor, and when I got back from school last semester, I asked some of the theonomists there what they thought about Marinov’s statements. They couldn’t believe their ears, and told me I was right to challenge him.

    The problem is that the theonomic movement is being hijacked by just the kind of mentality that Shawn speaks of. While Dr. Bogue and students of Bahnsen such as Kenneth Gentry are still around, the younger people in the movement do have this emphasis on “doing,” and many of these people don’t think before they write. I am all for activism and applying the scriptures to our modern society; I wouldn’t be interested in the Divided movie, and its impact if I were not. However, Shawn is right; we have to think it through, make distinctions, and be nuanced before we can get active. If we don’t we will not be scripturally grounded, and, eventually, the whole thing will collapse.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  25. Dave A says

    Theonomy? Doug Phillips & vision forum who are the founders and still behind the ncfic are a big fan of VanTill (also Rushdooney) who I think was mentor to Greg Bahnsen. I have not read VanTill in depth but I do believe much of what drives the fic concept is coming from Phillips, that is why the “answers” that you get from supporters are almost all the same and when guys like Shawn or Adam get them into uncharted waters so to speak they are silent, they have to go back to Phillips and Brown to get the answers, monday night’s pep talk for example. For years Phillips has been putting out his message to the homeschool movement, Bauchman more recently. The rhetoric has been previously implanted in these folks so they are already ahead of the curve. It is so firmly intrenched (some could say brainwashed)that they do not even see it themselves, so when you say something it is like talking to a wall. If the goal was/is to raise an army to change the church & world it would appear they have to some extent succeded. “The harsh reality is that unless we radically change the way we view the church and family, we will not see an end to the decimation of both institutions in our culture…..We will either win the culture one family at a time or will continue to lose the culture one family at a time. Either way the family is the key.” V. Bauchman, Family Driven Faith p.213-214.

  26. Adam says

    Dave,

    I think you mean “Baucham” not “Bauchman.” Bauchman is the politician; Baucham is the theologian.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  27. says

    I wish I could remember where it was, but a few years ago there was a big controversy online that had to do with Doug Phillips. I can’t even remember the topic that was being discussed and it doesn’t even matter. The point is that the people holding the opposite view of Doug/VF were clearly winning the theological argument as they presented their view thoroughly and methodically. This poor guy who was a VF follower made a comment that he wished Doug would come out and say something or release a statement because they really needed to hear what to think about it all. The guy clearly thought he could not draw his own conclusions but needed to be told what to think.

    I’ll never forget that Spunky came on there and very kindly encouraged the man to be a Berean and study the topic for himself. He didn’t need to hear what Doug Phillips thought or what the official Vision Forum line was. He was a believer who could read the Scriptures and trust the Holy Spirit to lead him.

    Shortly after that the discussion was heavily censored (as my husband remembers it). (And if I’m remembering any of this incorrectly, feel free to correct me!)

    As Karen has said so many times here… People need to be taught to study the Bible in-depth for themselves and VF does nothing to promote that.

  28. Dave A says

    There needs to be a plan to demolish the strongholds that the fic supporters have. Many if not all are people & families that are genuinely seeking to preserve their faith and that of their children. They have been led to believe that the answer lies in this particular system of belief and especially practice. The “modern church” is viewed as causing the problem and as such they are encouraged to confront and if possible change it. In my personal experience when I came to see the importance that Christ puts on the Church and specifically the local Church I began to question some of the fic mentality. I am fully aware that the ncfic put on a love the Church conference. The gospel of Jesus Christ is what unites the Church, not homeschooling, integrated church, etc. I saw an absence of Gospel witness, an absence of gospel preaching, a general absence of the Gospel period. Unless conversion is defined as when one is won to homeschooling or fic church concepts. I see that the ncfic has put a page on their website defining the Gospel, I hope they read and live it, so far I have not seen it at all from them. “The family is central” is the only message that I have and am currently hearing. In studying some of the missionaries that God used during the first part of the 20th century a recurring theme appears, and that of prayer. When an extreme difficulty would present itself the first thing they did to “fight” was get on their knees and pray. For we wrestle not against flesh & blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places Eph.6:12. Church Pastors & leaders need to be aware of the division that is advocated from the ncfic and how to confront it, in love.

  29. Dave A says

    Vision Forum got into a very heated debate with the folks at FBFI (Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International)2006 or so I believe. Most all of the material was removed from cyberspace. The FBFI posted a censor of fic & vision forum on their website. I think it is under their resolutions. One may not agree with all they found fault with but I have to give them credit for coming out way ahead of others and identifying some real problems and throwing the caution flag within their association. It is interesting but at the time I did not agree with the FBFI and was an ardent fic supporter.

  30. Dave A says

    This is the FBFI resolution and remember it was written back in 2006

    Resolution 06-03: Concerning the Integrated Church Movement

    While recognizing that the family is under attack in our nation and in many churches today, and recognizing that choice to have (or not have) age-graded ministries is the prerogative of individual local churches as God directs them, the FBFI denounces the doctrinally errant and schismatic teaching characteristic of the Integrated Church movement for the following reasons:

    • It encourages schisms in local church bodies by encouraging its adherents to change the theology and philosophy of the churches of which they are members.
    • It does violence to local church authority, calling on local church members to leave their churches when the church does not bow the philosophical demands of the movement.
    • It espouses an ecclesiology based upon the family that is not based upon the New Testament but rather is an adaptation of Old Testament patriarchy.
    • It falsely lays the claim that the destruction of the family in the US is the solely the fault of age-graded ministries in local churches. We contend that this is a simplistic and therefore false accusation.
    • It espouses a postmillennial theology that is contradictory to a dispensational understanding of Scripture.
    • It is oddly inclusive, basing fellowship on a particular philosophy of ministry rather than the great fundamentals of the faith.

    This movement is most prominently represented by Doug Phillips (Vision Forum) and R.C. Sproul Jr., among others.

  31. says

    “We will either win the culture one family at a time or will continue to lose the culture one family at a time. Either way the family is the key.”

    This is sad. And especially grievous coming from a preacher of the Gospel. Why is not the title the Christ Driven Faith instead of the Family driven drivel. I hope he just misspoke. See my two postings where I slam this kind of revivalistic, hope-in-family-and-homeschooling thinking:

    http://christiannurture.blogspot.com/2009/01/revival-of-homeschooling.html
    http://christiannurture.blogspot.com/2009/01/malachi-46-revival-of-homeschooling.html

    America will fall. It is the way of all countries. The Gospel does change lives and families but not in a linear or consistent or completed fashion this side of heaven. This movement is full of naive, culture-warrior, hyper-optimists who are unbalanced in their concern for the culture wars.

  32. Dave A says

    Hey all Scott Brown just cleared it all up on the latest post at the ncfic website. Did you know that “methods and means of discipleship are in a different class than A/C, microphones, and computers”, I suppose gaurd rails (parapets) would fall into that as well. So the area of discipleship is exempt from all that hermeneutics stuff. Adam how could you have missed it? Just kidding :).

  33. says

    Adam, I totally agree that the younger, more recent dominionist teachings are stranger and seem to get even more nutty all the time. I was probably first exposed to these teachings 25 years ago through Bill Gothard, though he never labeled them as such. I remember sitting in the huge arena at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and seeing the massive banner that said “From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised” Psalm 113:3. Gothard went on to talk about the “rhema” God had given him for Christians taking dominion in New Zealand, the first country to see the rising of the sun each day. (In more recent years, Geoffrey Botkin has also talked about claiming New Zealand and has even tried to get Americans to move there with him.)

    I think there was the notion among many in these groups that Y2k would allow them the ability to do this. Many racked up huge credit card debt, believing they would not have to pay it back. We remember Gary North and his followers talking about how the Lord would raise them up to take charge in the midst of chaos, etc. (We have plenty of personal stories about the nuttiness we witnessed during this time.) And then when nothing happened on Dec. 31, 1999, it seems that they had to have another approach and that is the point I can look back to and see all this stuff starting to spin out of control. Prior to Y2K, I don’t recall anyone except maybe Jonathan Lindvall preaching betrothal or encouraging a return to an agrarian lifestyle (or at least a home business) or girls not attending college. And all these things have taken a place front and center and rarely is the true Gospel taught or even mentioned in some places. Did you notice how Scott Brown kept talking about the Law rather than the Gospel? This is quite common.

  34. says

    “There needs to be a plan to demolish the strongholds that the fic supporters have.”

    I think their biggest free audience in homeschooling conventions. And how sad is it that unwitting pastors encourage their homeschooling families to attend these events, not knowing about the FIC agenda until their churches are damaged?

    Any thoughts on how to do this, Dave?

  35. says

    “We will either win the culture one family at a time or will continue to lose the culture one family at a time. Either way the family is the key.”

    “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17

  36. says

    One of my greatest frustrations in trying to speak with people who are so enamored with the patriocentric movement is how loathe they are to study themselves. Sometimes I want to scream. And do.

  37. says

    “This movement is full of naive, culture-warrior, hyper-optimists who are unbalanced in their concern for the culture wars.”

    Even Cal Thomas has repented in his involvement in the Moral Majority and has said that he wishes he had spent more time preaching the Gospel since only changed hearts will see changed homes and churches.

  38. says

    “So the area of discipleship is exempt from all that hermeneutics stuff. Adam how could you have missed it? Just kidding”

    Screaming again.

  39. Adam says

    Dave A.,

    I have responded to Scott Brown’s post on my blog. Suffice it to say that, although that post is better, Scott Brown’s key weakness is still pragmatics. It is very dangerous too, because pragmatics will affect how you apply the Bible itself.

    For example, Scott Brown takes the commands for different ages to teach one another as commands which rule out all other possibilities. I pointed out that the language of commands don’t always work this way. For example, let us say that I am teaching a class, and one of my students whom we will call “John” is struggling. I know that Larry is very good, and at the top of his class so I say, “I want Larry to help John with is work.” That is clearly a command. However, would it be wrong, if another student will call “James” sees John struggling with his homework while sitting all by himself, and goes over and helps him? Would it not totally contradict what I said since I said that *Larry* was the one who as to help John? No, it would not.

    Scott Brown seems to think that, for the Bible to be sufficient, it must only allow for one possibility. That is simply false. The Bible can demand that teaching take place in a particular context, while allowing for teaching to take place in other contexts as well. Scott Brown’s understanding of language is grossly simplistic, and his achillies heel will always be pragmatics.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  40. says

    I finally had a chance to listen to Kevin Swanson’s thoughts on the Challies review and found myself agreeing with many things he said. Perhaps it was because he wasn’t quite as acerbic as usual(is the OPC reigning him a bit?)but he seemed to sound a bit more moderate than others in this movement. He did say that the FIC mindset is NOT one of the key essential doctrines of the faith, which was good to hear. His concern is that Christian families seem to be willing to turn the raising of children over to others and that needs to change. I completely agree with this! It isn’t that it is a sin for others to ever teach or influence our kids but that we need to realize that it is our responsibility as parents. Frankly, many parents give lip service to that notion without actually taking responsibility.

    Kevin said that only about 20% of families actually do things together like eat meals regularly. I can believe that. He talked about how even when they are all together, each kid will be on an iPod or texting. This is also true! I often see families out doing things “together” where the members aren’t engaged with each other but are each in their own world “together.”

    Kevin also talked about the problem with “latch-key” children, though he didn’t define the phrase and I have heard him misuse it in the past, referring to pre-schoolers as “latch key.” I do agree that the church has often done more to accommodate working moms via church daycare than it has encouraged them to be home with their little ones. (Expectations on giving to the church in some ways encourages two incomes.)

    To me, Sunday school and youth groups are an entirely different subject than daycare UNLESS a parent abrogates his responsibility to teach Bible knowledge and doctrine to a child. But if it is in addition to what the parent does, the analogy makes no sense.

    One more thing he mentioned that I found interesting is that he mocked “23 year olds” for being youth leaders and said they shouldn’t be teaching. But isn’t it interesting that he welcomed the Botkin sisters on to his program to “teach” his audience and to promote their book where they openly admit they “counsel” both fathers and mothers? (I think they began writing So Much More while they were both still teens.)

    Anyone else hear his presentation and have thoughts?

  41. Laura says

    I remembr prior to y2k that there were classes for Christians on how to prevent hungry bands of desperate people from finding your food supply.Hmm…food for thought (excuse the pun) We were fairly new Christians at the time but thought this seemed odd.

    These attitudes combined with a distorted sense of the importance of politics and dominion through government gutted the effective witness and ministry of countless Christians back in the late 90’s. People we knew of retreated and waited for doomsday.

    They continue today with the delusion of utopian (to them) patriarchy and litmus tests of belief that all must sign off on to “belong”-, such as young earth creationism.

    So much of the energy that the “culture warriors” put forth could be better devoted to Christ and His message. Not that the Christian should disengage- but rather, that he knows that his ultimate purpose is not to fix the world, but to bring glory to God.

  42. Adam says

    Karen,

    That is what is so maddening about these guys. When I was dialoguing with them over on Tim Challies’ blog, all of their assumptions simply didn’t touch me, because they assumed that any church that has a youth group must make their youth group shallow and entertainment oriented, with absolutely no involvement from the parents. The same thing with Sunday school. Yet, that is not the way it is at my church.

    These guys all like to point out that they themselves were in youth ministry, and that this somehow makes them able to objectively talk about it; yet, I have to wonder if it actually destroys their objectivity, because they can read their experiences into the text, and thus, into every other youth group and Sunday school. Thus, they then go to the Bible looking for a way to say that youth groups and Sunday schools are wrong.

    I am not saying this is the case with all of those who hold to the NCFIC position; I am not even saying this is the case with all those who have had experiences with the shallowness of youth groups and Sunday school. I am just saying that simply being in youth ministry can give you biases that you can easily bring to the text to find what you want to find. It looks suspiciously that way when criticisms of youth ministry, such as those Swanson gave in his review of Challies, don’t even touch the youth ministry at your church.

    Also, I do think we need to be careful about labels. For example, I don’t have any problem if a church prefers to not have Sunday school or youth groups, and calls themselves a “Family Integrated Church.” I have heard of many churches who have thought that the best way to teach is to not have Sunday school or youth groups, but they do not say that it is morally wrong to do so. We lend validity to the claim that we are making Sunday schools a “sacred cow” if we do not allow that a church can make such a decision.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  43. Dave A says

    Shawn, V. Baucham unfortunately did not misspeak, that sentence was from the last paragraph of the book and was his climatic ending.
    Karen, any thoughts on what to do? I was praying that someone much wiser than me would have that answer. My former Pastor was sometimes frustrated with me because I saw many problems but did not have the answers to solve them. Just a few thoughts: Pray for wisdom on how to confront NCFIC’ers; expose their error, Doug Phillips and Scott Brown make lots of statements that are not accurate (the divided movie is full of them); if you have a relationship with NCFIC’ers show them the importance of the local Church and how the spiritual gifts that God gives each “individual” believer are to be used to build up the local church, the members of the body listed in Ephesians are NECESSARY for each other in order to function properly. Two of the things that the Holy Spirit used to get me out of the NCFIC mentality was 1. a study of 1st Corinthians and 2. The book “Loving the Church” by John Crotts. For me a correct understanding of the local Church was a key, and most importantly somewhere along the way I realized that the “main thing” was missing and that was the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  44. Dave A says

    Adam, I think some of your frustration with them comes from the premise that they (particularly Scott Brown & followers) have of any “age segregated” program or ministry and that is that they are ALL Biblically wrong. These folks do not care whether or not the “program” works or is effective they are ALL wrong and should not be done period. So they do not care if your particular Church does not do a specefic ministry just as they portray, it is still wrong. You could have a vibrant Christ centered S.S. and youth ministry with parents involved, that produces healthy Christ centered children and youth BUT it is still wrong in their world. As a result some of the feedback I have seen from those closely involved in the NCFIC is that you are in sin if you advocate “age segregation”. That claim is coming from somewhere within the NCFIC. I would even charge that someone within the NCFIC, especially Scott Brown, not just someone just sympathetic to them, to come out publically and say otherwise, that it is not a sin.

  45. Adam says

    Dave A,

    I understand that they don’t care whether or not the program “works,” but if that is the case, they why bring up the programs that don’t work? The whole first third of the Divided video was totally irrelevant, if that is the case. The fact that we are loosing 85% of our youth is irrelevant, if that is the case.

    The point is, even if we weren’t loosing *any* of our youth, even if these youth programs were not worldly, etc., they should still be gotten rid of because they are inherently sinful, according to the NCFIC. Hence, those statistics are irrelevant.

    What is maddening is that these folks bring up something that is irrelevant to their case almost to poison the well. There must be some relevance if they keep bringing it up. Especially with a lot of these people being in youth ministry in the past, one can easily see how the problems in youth ministry would prejudice them against youth ministry, and then take them into the Bible in order to try to justify their prejudice.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  46. says

    Light bulb going on here: If non age segregation is “commanded,” then you are correct, there is no point whatsoever to half of that movie. The fruits are irrelevant if something is commanded. I totally missed that until this discussion.

  47. says

    Dave, I certainly believe there are solutions to the reasons young people may be leaving the church and leaving the faith. (2 separate issues) Again, the problems are not going to be solved by this paradigm. In fact, so much of what this group stands for is what turns people off in the first place: so much hypocrisy, inability to rightly divide the Word,legalism, lack of compassion for those in need, lack of zeal for evangelism, etc.

    Not long ago I read that, if current trends within the church continue, by 2025 only 1/3 of those who regularly attend church now will still be in a church. I have been doing some research on all this and think it needs to be explored even more among homeschooling families. While I do not believe that homeschooling is the secret to revival, I do believe that the church has seen a revival of sorts in the past 25 years because of the commitment of homeschooling families who have sought to apply the Word of God to all areas of life and to inculcate a Biblical worldview in their kids. One of these days I will expand on that….I have watched the homeschooling movement for the past 30 years and have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  48. says

    You know, the unwillingness to speak forthrightly and sincerely within the patriocentric crowd never seems to go away. They talk in circles and almost in another language or code that their followers understand but the rest of us don’t. And even if you quote them directly, they declare you a slanderer or worse. How they can look you straight in the eye and say one thing and turn around and claim that wasn’t what they said is beyond me. THESE are the sorts of things that send young people running for the door. Imagine teaching your children that Scripture is sure and true and then claiming it teaches all these things that aren’t so!

  49. says

    Laura, I agree with you, polygamy is on the horizon. Just wait. Remember you heard it here. Remember, the patriocentrists were the ones who quickly came to the defense of the FLDS group in Texas a few years ago. They have also been influenced by Helen Andelin and they have made large families that center around a father “normative.”

  50. Adam says

    Karen,

    They talk in circles and almost in another language or code that their followers understand but the rest of us don’t.

    Karen, that has been my concern about this movement from the very beginning. I am not saying this to say that people should not homeschool; some of the smartest people I know homeschool. However, as Wittgenstein pointed out in his Philosophical Investigations, languages gain their function from particular linguistic communities. One of the things I believe homeschoolers need to wrestle with is how the homeschooling movement relates to the church. These are two different linguistic communities. One can be a part of each, but the danger is that the language “game” of one linguistic community will then be imposed upon another linguistic community.

    The point is this. God has set up his church to be the place where the language of scripture is discussed and applied. One of the most important things a pastor can do is to teach the language game of scripture, and show their sheep how the language of the Bible works. However, when you have the language game of homeschooling and homeschooling conventions, that can become the language game that is then imposed back upon the church and the scriptures.

    The genius of using the homeschooling movement to propagate these views is that it is a movement that is separate but related to the church. Therefore, if they can saturate homeschooling with this patriarchal language game, they have a better chance of taking it into the church, and causing the people within the church to impose it on scripture. If their life is already saturated with the language game of the Christian Patriarchy movement, it is much easier to move that into their church life as well. That is why I think many people have criticized this movement as trying to put the family over the church, but they cannot prove it.

    Again, please don’t take this to be a criticism of homeschooling. It is not meant to be. The point is that there needs to be some discussion about how the homeschooling movement will relate to the church. This is not unique to homeschooling. I have to deal with how the academy relates to the church all of the time. It is important because, unless these two language games can coexist under the language game of scripture, this will always be the problem.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  51. says

    Adam, I agree with you. The interesting thing I am observing is that the majority of homeschooling families are not falling for this stuff BUT their numbers are growing. AND even more disconcerting is that it is growing outside homeschooling.

  52. Laura says

    Karen-The weirdness of these people never ceases to amaze ! Imagine unearthing that old Helen Andelin book and presenting it as anything other than a risque read for a pre-femenist,1960’s mom!

  53. says

    Laura, I had never even heard of Andelin’s book until a few years ago when I saw Jennie Chancey (Passionate Housewives) singing it’s praises on her website Ladies Against Feminism. When I found a used copy and read it I was dumbfounded. I kept wondering what sort of perverted man would find this sort of woman fascinating! I just have to believe that most of the women who are drawn into this nonsense wiLl come to their senses and grow into spiritual maturity.

  54. Adam says

    Karen,

    That is really interesting. The reason I say that is because you have spoken often of all of the publicity that these folks get at homeschooling conventions. I guess there must be some hope in the fact that most people aren’t buying it.

    If I may, I think I know why it is that this stuff works more outside of the homeschooling community. The reason is very simple, and I can speak to this from experience. Much of the worldview that is presented out in the culture, and even, unfortunately, in some schools and churches who go by the name “Christian” reduces to little more than nihilism. Because of this, you will see people grabbing hold of meaning in anything, even if it is the old south, or confederate patriarchy or whatever. There is objective truth there; there is meaning there; you can find significance there. You can’t find these things in much of what calls itself “Christianity,” as most Christians are no different than the world.

    That creates a powerful attraction for people who come out of shallow churches. It is also very powerful when you hear someone speaking with conviction when all you have ever gotten is ewie gooy mushy goosh. Hence, I can understand the appeal of this movement outside of families with good, solid Christian homes.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  55. Laura says

    Karen, this is really good stuff- I really like Anthea’s use of the word “parallel universe” in her comment on patriocentricity. That hits it on the head…Twilight Zone is another apt comparison. I remember an old episode of TZ where there was a “model house” open for tour at a housing addition. Funny part was, there was also a “model family” that came with it. These people never felt emotion, never left the house, never got dirty. I need to track that episode down and watch it. (Maybe it has made its way to the Vision Forum catalog, under the heading “Instruction for Wives”???? )

    As a fellow “yankee”, I am really encouraged that these strange persuasions are being exposed. Please make sure to mention any other past discussions that you think I should check out.

    What do you think of the new “True Grit”? I really liked it for many reasons, not the least of which was that we had a female character who was real and believable.

    Blessings, Laura

  56. Adam says

    Dave A.,

    So the area of discipleship is exempt from all that hermeneutics stuff. Adam how could you have missed it? Just kidding.

    I honestly don’t think these folks have ever thought about this issue hermeneutically. A guy by the name of Tyler over on the movie website put the objection this way:

    “Leclerc suggests in his movie that age-segregated churches are scripturally defiant. I don’t agree with that! If we are to come to the conclusion that all things not mentioned in the bible should not be incorporated into our modern churches, then we have a lot of things to change. In fact, we could make a pretty long list of the things we use and rituals we have that absolutely were not present in the early church. It seems that we would need to discontinue the use of electricity, church buildings, microphones, air conditioning, little plastic communion cups, etc. None of these things were a part of the early church, right?”

    That is not the way to frame the objection. You have to discuss hermeneutical distinctions between meaning and significance first. Then you have to show that they are willing to confuse meaning and significance on one issue [the teaching ministry of the church], but they are unwilling to make that same mistake when it comes to other things [technology, plastic communion cups, etc.]. The point is that they are using one hermeneutical standard for one issue, and another hermeneutical standard for another issue, which usually means that you have some bias that you are bringing to the text.

    When you point to youth groups and Sunday schools as applications of the significance of the command to teach, there is only one of three possibilities of response:

    1. You can try to argue that youth groups and Sunday schools have nothing to do with teaching.

    2. You can show that youth groups and Sunday schools contradict a specific command in scripture.

    3. You can just be arbitrary, and allow for the meaning/significance distinction in one instance of language, but not in the other.

    While there are many youth groups and Sunday schools to which #1 would apply, I don’t think there is any question that youth groups and Sunday schools *can* teach and *should* teach. Therefore, if youth groups and Sunday schools teach, you cannot use objection #1.

    #2 is absolutely exegetically impossible to prove. If they try to argue this, then the refutation must be exegetical.

    #3 is where most of the folks that follow this movement go. They are just simply willing to be arbitrary in their hermeneutic, and use one standard for one set of texts that they are unwilling to use for another set of texts.

    Therefore, my approach has simply been to call them to be consistent. If they are going to confuse meaning and significance, then, yes, the result is syncretism, because you must confuse meaning and significance in *all* instances of a text, and the only applications of a text you can have are ones that are semantically spelled out, and thus, the significance of the text can never go beyond the context of the text. That is the definition of syncretism.

    That is why I said in my criticism of Scott Brown’s post on air conditioners and microphones that he still has not dealt with the key issue of the arbitrariness of his hermeneutic. When you have to be arbitrary like that, it shows that you have unbiblical traditions that you are trying to protect-i.e., the idea that Sunday schools and youth groups are wrong.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  57. says

    “Shawn, excellent article. I am anxious to see if you receive a response.”

    Thank you Karen. Unfortunately, my Christian Nurture blog is virtually unknown. I’m trying to pass the article around through facebook, etc.

  58. says

    I am trying to have a discussion with two FIC defenders (second-tier). The one, Tony, is bailing out quickly but his response is interesting b/c it shows he never paid attention to what I wrote contrary to his claims. He went straight to the question of worship *which is not the issue.*

    http://theonomyresources.blogspot.com/2011/07/review-of-divided-movie.html

    Another guy Adam may remember is Mr. Wolfe. Over at the Christian Post article. He is trying the herculean task of defending the “RPE”:

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/church-services-separated-by-age-un-biblical-say-former-youth-pastors-52964/

  59. says

    Adam, the estimate I keep hearing is that only about 10% of homeschooling families attend homeschooling conventions. In fact, only about 10% of homeschoolers are members of HSLDA, I have been told.

  60. says

    Laura, interesting that you would mention “True Grit!” Several people I know who are totally patriocentric have written about how much they love that movie! I don’t get it!

    I loved both the original and the new one; my son is reading the book right now and says it is better than the movies, of course.

  61. Adam says

    Karen,

    That is interesting, because they way these folks talk, you would think the homeschooling movement is all about them. According to what you are saying, most homeschooling families don’t want anything to do with the very groups the patriarchalists associate with on a regular basis!

    Shawn,

    Unfortunately, my Christian Nurture blog is virtually unknown. I’m trying to pass the article around through facebook, etc.

    That may end up changing. Someone linked to your articles in the comments section of the Divided movie website. At least people who view the discussion will see the links, and, hopefully be willing to listen to the other side.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  62. Todd Smith says

    Wow! I am amazed at the hateful rhetoric posted here. I have read a lot of reviews of “Divided” and “A Weed in the Church” pro and con but most of the con seems to resort to attacking individuals instead of debating the concepts and questions raised by the materials. I understand some folks have had bad experiences in FIC Churches and in Traditional Churches and some have had good, but that is not a reason to attack others regardless of their beliefs. As a Pastor since 1994 with four children of my own I can see how I as a father have not done what I needed to do to disciple my own children. I was content to let Sunday School and Youth Group do it for me. I thought I was a good Christian for simply bringing my children to Church. I ignored the commands in Scripture where it was my responsibility to disciple my children. I think most fathers fall into this boat as well. At least in the circles I know of. I have never heard anyone from the FIC perspective say that if you have a youth group or a Sunday school you are going to hell. They have not equated it with a salvation issue. It has been said that these things are “unbiblical” and Scott Brown defines that clearly in his book by simply saying that “unbiblical” simply means it is not mentioned in the Bible. Argue with him that it is wrong or right to have them but don’t attack character, especially when he goes out of his way not to attack others in his materials.
    Why all the hatred? While not condemning others who disagree with me I feel attacked because I have studied the Scriptures and I am now on the FIC side of the equation. I don’t criticize other Churches or ministries who desire to do things differently but it seems like most on this site want to paint those who disagree with them with a broad “legalist” or almost suggest that to believe that it isn’t the Church’s job to disciple my children it is mine that I have horns coming out of my head. I give you full freedom in Christ to believe in youth ministries or Sunday School if you want to, but do I have the freedom from other Christians to say that for me and my family we want to do it a different way? When Christian families go into a Church that is program driven and they desire to not place their children in programs they are treated as second class citizens at best or told to leave at worst, is this right? Show some grace for those who disagree with your position. Debate the merits of the discussion if you like but stop attacking people and using words like “patriarchal” or “legalist” in order to label other Christians.

  63. says

    Karen,

    I know many are frustrated with many of those in the FIC who talk in circles, contradictory, etc. But I think it is not nefarious as much as immature. Many I have encountered (I do not think all, cp. Mr. Glick’s effort at communication with me) react like neophytes of a new movement: insecurely. I really think many do not know good critical thinking skills. And others may be offended that we are essentially saying: “You did not do your homework before jumping on the bandwagon.”

    That being said, it is mostly speculation. Sticking with the facts, quotes and analysis as you and other do is the way to push forward.

  64. says

    Pastor Smith,

    I think you and I are on the same page as far as home discipleship is concerned. As the parents of 6 children we have made family worship and spiritual mentoring a priority. I do not see or hear anyone here calling someone a legalist for promoting or practicing home discipleship. However, I am greatly concerned about the “movement” if you will. These people have openly and publicly declared that ALL homeschooling families MUST be in family integrated churches. They have also declared that the basic tenets of patriarchy are part of the Grand sweep of revelation” and it includes things like teaching that daughters should not attend college. This ismuch, much broader than whether or not age segregation occurs. I would encourage you to do your homework and peel back the layers. I would encourage you to read my article on the pros and cons of FIC’s. I don’t think you will find my thoughts to be hateful.

    http://thatmom.com/articles/pros-and-cons-of-the-family-integrated-church/

    Also, I would recommend that you listen to the patriocentricity podcasts, especially the ones discussing the 2009 homeschooling leadership summit. Maybe it will help you put these folks into context.

    http://thatmom.com/podcasts/patriarchypatriocentricity-series-two-2010/

  65. Adam says

    Todd,

    Wow! I am amazed at the hateful rhetoric posted here. I have read a lot of reviews of “Divided” and “A Weed in the Church” pro and con but most of the con seems to resort to attacking individuals instead of debating the concepts and questions raised by the materials. I understand some folks have had bad experiences in FIC Churches and in Traditional Churches and some have had good, but that is not a reason to attack others regardless of their beliefs.

    Where did we “attack” anyone? Simply pointing out that this system of theology is grossly simplistic, and pointing to documents which these people have written themselves is not “attacking” them; it is pointing out what they believe, and pointing out the absurdity of the conclusions to which it leads.

    As a Pastor since 1994 with four children of my own I can see how I as a father have not done what I needed to do to disciple my own children. I was content to let Sunday School and Youth Group do it for me. I thought I was a good Christian for simply bringing my children to Church. I ignored the commands in Scripture where it was my responsibility to disciple my children. I think most fathers fall into this boat as well. At least in the circles I know of.

    Todd, I think you are engaging in a false dilemma here. If you did not take responsibility to disciple your children, then you are right that you were wrong. However, don’t make the mistake of falling of the other cliff, and taking away the church’s responsibility to teach simply because of the fact that you realize your mistake. Both the parents *and* the church are commanded to teach. Youth groups and Sunday schools are simply applications of that command to teach. However, there is nothing contradictory in the sentence, “Parents should not neglect their responsibility to teach, and neither should the church.”

    At least in the circles I know of. I have never heard anyone from the FIC perspective say that if you have a youth group or a Sunday school you are going to hell. They have not equated it with a salvation issue. It has been said that these things are “unbiblical” and Scott Brown defines that clearly in his book by simply saying that “unbiblical” simply means it is not mentioned in the Bible. Argue with him that it is wrong or right to have them but don’t attack character, especially when he goes out of his way not to attack others in his materials.

    I have never said that he thinks we are going to hell. I know he would say that we are in open rebellion, because we are doing something unbiblical. If not, then what was the point of the Divided movie in the first place? Also, I have not attacked his character at all. I have pointed out that his hermeneutics are arbitrary; if he follows his hermeneutics consistently, it will result in syncretism. That is a linguistic and hermeneutical argument, not a personal attack.

    Why all the hatred? While not condemning others who disagree with me I feel attacked because I have studied the Scriptures and I am now on the FIC side of the equation. I don’t criticize other Churches or ministries who desire to do things differently but it seems like most on this site want to paint those who disagree with them with a broad “legalist” or almost suggest that to believe that it isn’t the Church’s job to disciple my children it is mine that I have horns coming out of my head.

    No, actually, the Bible says that it is both the Church’s job [Matthew 28:19-20] as well as the parents job [Deuteronomy 6]. The point is that you do believe that Sunday schools and youth groups are “weeds in the church.” How would you like it if someone wrote a book and called the Family Integrated Churches “Weeds in the Church?” Would you not respond, and point out the errors in logic and hermeneutics that was found therein? I think it would only make sense.

    I give you full freedom in Christ to believe in youth ministries or Sunday School if you want to, but do I have the freedom from other Christians to say that for me and my family we want to do it a different way? When Christian families go into a Church that is program driven and they desire to not place their children in programs they are treated as second class citizens at best or told to leave at worst, is this right? Show some grace for those who disagree with your position. Debate the merits of the discussion if you like but stop attacking people and using words like “patriarchal” or “legalist” in order to label other Christians.

    The point is, Todd, that we believe that, if your church believes that it is better to teach without using Sunday schools or youth ministry then you *are* free to do that. What we are objecting to is the rhetoric such as “Weed in the Church,” “this came from Darwin, Dewey, and Rousseau,” “you are violating the Sufficiency of Scripture,” and other accusations that these guys have made in the movie Divided and in Scott Brown’s book. Again, if people made these kinds of accusations against NCFIC, I would be you anything that Scott Brown would be responding to those claims exactly like we are.

    Also, again, no one is binding youth ministry to the conscience of anyone else. If your church doesn’t want to do youth ministry, that is fine. I can tell you, however, that there are plenty of youth ministries out there that do not “treat” some kids “as second class citizens” nor do they “ask them to leave.” I am sure there are some that do this, just as their are Family Integrated Churches that practice things like patriarchal communion. It is a horrible fallacy to take one experience, and apply that to all other youth groups.

    Finally, do you deny that, at the Homeschool Leadership Summit that Karen was talking about that one of the stated goals of the Christian Patriarchalists was to get all homeschoolers into Family Integrated Churches? Do you deny that people such as Voddie Baucham, Doug Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Scott Brown, and the vast majority of people involved in the leadership of the NCFIC are involved in the Christian Patriarchy movement? And why is it somehow “hateful” to point that out?

    Also, if someone binds to the conscience of God’s people the idea that youth groups and Sunday schools are wrong by using rhetoric like, “Weed in the Church,” “this came from Darwin, Dewey, and Rousseau,” “you are violating the Sufficiency of Scripture,” etc., I think we do have every right to call them a “legalist” in the popular sense of the term as someone who binds to the conscience of God’s people things not found in his word. That is how the term “legalism” is popularly understood, and I think it is well deserved when you use this kind of rhetoric in order to bind something to the conscience of God’s people.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  66. Adam says

    ooops, add “that are not found in God’s word” to the end of my last sentence in my last post.

  67. says

    Mr. Smith,

    1. I must say I found your comment quite disconcerting. You made hasty generalizations about vague people and vague issues of “hatred” and “hell”. For the sake of the Ninth Commandment by all means please tell us who said on this blog that rejecting the FIC will send someone to “hell” (or any other unsubstantiated assertion). If someone has, I will correct them with the facts.

    2. You said you read many reviews of the movie and that “most” revert to ad hominems. That’s too bad. Have you read my review? Any character assassinations there?

    http://christiannurture.blogspot.com/2011/06/divided-movie.html

    3. What about the other reviews that do not resort to ad hominems? I think Christian love demands that the best review(s) with the best arguments should be proven wrong instead of proving wrong the easy ones. Anyone can do that.

    4. You stated “I don’t criticize other Churches or ministries who desire to do things differently…” I am glad. Because the men who created that movie and signed their online confession do criticize others. Here is the quote from their NCFIC confession:

    “Article XI: 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.”

    If you signed this confession, then you are saying that my church has practices “based on unbiblical, evolutionary and secular thinking.” Those are serious allegations. Those are criticizing remarks.

    5. Lastly, you plead Christian freedom. And if others deny you that then I will defend your right to avoid age-segregated ministries. If you defend me from the NCFIC’s criticizing stance against my use of age-segregation. See Mr. Brown’s last section of his book where age-segregation is called to be eliminated en toto.

    My review of his book:
    http://christiannurture.blogspot.com/2011/05/weed-in-church-review.html

    thank you,

  68. Todd Smith says

    Mr. Mathis — I had read your reviews before and after reading them again I don’t see that they are ones that resort to the emotionally laced things that are out there on the internet today. I think too many today are simply offended that anyone would challenge youth ministry rather than look at the issue biblically or study it out. While I and my congregation has not signed the confession, and while you see it as a criticism I guess I don’t understand why the big offense. As I posted earlier “unbiblical” as defined by Scott Brown in his book simply means that Sunday School and Youth Group are not found in the Bible. Can anyone disagree with that statement whether or not they like or dislike youth ministries? and “evolutionary and secular thinking” on this regard can anyone deny that certain evolutionists and secularists have tried to separate children from parents and divide and destroy the family. That pattern was pushed by those types of men. So what is inaccurate with the statement of confession from the NCFIC.
    I would rather all churches take a good look at this and consider doing away with age-segregated ministries. Do I expect all churches to do this? No Do I criticize my friends who don’t do this? No. But my friends should not be offended if I say I think these ministries are un-Biblical in the Scott Brown definition.
    I appreciated all the other comments and to hear that there is not the “hatred” I perceived. I guess my assessment in that regard was wrong. I think it is more of that Christian Freedom doesn’t go both ways. Those against FIC feel the FIC folks are critical of them because they feel attacked when age-segregated ministries are called into question. But then I guess what I see in response is rather than a hatred a retaliation of sorts. They said we are wrong in what we believe so now I am saying they are wrong in what they believe. I don’t know how that is constructive. I understand speaking when you think a position or belief is wrong and that is fine.
    As far as the FIC folks trying to get all Homeschoolers in FIC churches. I have been a state leader in Wyoming for several years and am President of our State Organization and have never heard such a thing. That might have been mentioned at some time and place but I have listened to a lot of these guys and I haven’t heard it from Doug Phillips when he was in Wyoming. I haven’t heard it from Scott Brown or Voddie Baucham in things I have heard them speak on and the last time Kevin Swanson spoke at our State Convention he didn’t speak on such things.
    Here are some of the comments from this site that made me think hatred at first. But I take your correction that you didn’t mean it that way.

    “There needs to be a plan to demolish the strongholds that the fic supporters have.”
    This sounds like an attack on anyone who supports fic, so are you against me?
    “All this secrecy by the NCFIC people reminds me of the ATIA /”top secret headquarters” type stuff.”
    Secrecy, really. As far as I knew the conference call was open, I attended it. It was good and didn’t criticize others. And it was open to all who wanted to get on and listen it. Secrecy, really?????
    “To say they are “answering critics” is also deceptive. If they were sincere, it would never be in a private conference call! Seriously, only their sycophants would fall for such poppycock! I hope someone s taping this! I do not trust them with accurate transcripts! Can someone link to all the blog articles in reference to the Challies review? Any one who comes across one, please link here!”
    This comment says FIC people are not sincere. It says I am a sycophant. What they believe is poppycock. They are not to be trusted.
    “I am just now working my way through these blog entries, recordings, etc. I am absolutely blown away that Brown has the audacity to link to Ray Ortlund’s article! This just proves that they will use any sort of deception whatsoever to try to lure people into thinking they are normal and mainstream! One of our sons goes to the church plant that Ray pastors and we were just there a month ago and attended worship. I was happy to meet him since his mom’s writings have been such an encouragement to me personally through the years! The church has children’s church for crying out loud and a nursery! And the service is anything but regulated! Scott Brown is a deceiver to use Ortlund to support the FIC!”
    Words like deception or accusing them of not being normal. Saying Scott Brown is a deceiver. Things like these and the above listed comments made me say there were character attacks on this site and hatred instead of commenting on what the person believed.
    Bottom line for me. I guess I am labeled my many on this site because I am an FIC supporter. Even though I haven’t forced anyone else to believe as I do. But here is the question. Rather than get all upset if someone labels age-segregated ministries as Biblical or not. My question is, if I am doing the job I should be doing according to Scripture and if my wife and I are attempting to raise our children and disciple them and if they are involved in the body of the Church in Worship, wouldn’t that make Sunday School and Youth Group unnecessary? Forget whether or not it is Biblical, if I am doing my job according to the Bible is it necessary for the Church to spend its time on these other ministries? And if unnecessary then shouldn’t we refocus in training parents to do what Scripture calls them to do and spend our time and resources in that manner? Just a thought.
    Again thanks for the civil discourse.

  69. Jack Brooks says

    @Smith: There isn’t any hatred to be found in this comment thread. Your equating of criticism with “hatred” amounts to a slander, though, since hatred of the sort you’re talking about is a sin. “Unbiblical” is not being used to mean “not found in the Bible”, as you can see in Article XI in the NCFIC confession. That isn’t relevant anyway; budgets aren’t in the Bible either, and if someone came along saying that using budgets was a sin, they’d be in error as well. No one here said a word about salvation issues. so that’s muddying the water. Alexander, Philetus, and Hymenaeus weren’t talking about salvation, either, but they were still schismatics. The claim that these particular FIC spokesmen are treating it as an area of Christian liberty is false, they treat it as a matter of absolute morality.

  70. says

    Pastor Smith,

    “I think too many today are simply offended that anyone would challenge youth ministry rather than look at the issue biblically or study it out.”

    As I already stated in the articles I encouraged you to read, I am no huge fan of youth ministry. Again, you will read my thoughts on the pros and cons.
    “Can anyone disagree with that statement whether or not they like or dislike youth ministries? and “evolutionary and secular thinking” on this regard can anyone deny that certain evolutionists and secularists have tried to separate children from parents and divide and destroy the family. That pattern was pushed by those types of men.”

    Dwight L. Moody also welcomed children into his church even if their parents were not present. I don’t think the real history of Sunday school shows your assertion to be true.

    “I would rather all churches take a good look at this and consider doing away with age-segregated ministries. Do I expect all churches to do this? No Do I criticize my friends who don’t do this? No.”

    Unfortunately, that is not the agenda of the FIC leadership.

    “As far as the FIC folks trying to get all Homeschoolers in FIC churches. I have been a state leader in Wyoming for several years and am President of our State Organization and have never heard such a thing. That might have been mentioned at some time and place but I have listened to a lot of these guys and I haven’t heard it from Doug Phillips when he was in Wyoming. I haven’t heard it from Scott Brown or Voddie Baucham in things I have heard them speak on and the last time Kevin Swanson spoke at our State Convention he didn’t speak on such things.”

    Pastor Smith, I have quoted directly from that leadership conference and posted the links where you can get the MP3’s. I am very careful about using direct quotes. Honest. Before you deny these things are even possible, please do me the service of checking out my links.

    “Mr. Mathis — I had read your reviews before and after reading them again I don’t see that they are ones that resort to the emotionally laced things that are out there on the internet today. I think too many today are simply offended that anyone would challenge youth ministry rather than look at the issue biblically or study it out. While I and my congregation has not signed the confession, and while you see it as a criticism I guess I don’t understand why the big offense. As I posted earlier “unbiblical” as defined by Scott Brown in his book simply means that Sunday School and Youth Group are not found in the Bible. Can anyone disagree with that statement whether or not they like or dislike youth ministries? and “evolutionary and secular thinking” on this regard can anyone deny that certain evolutionists and secularists have tried to separate children from parents and divide and destroy the family. That pattern was pushed by those types of men. So what is inaccurate!….Words like deception or accusing them of not being normal. Saying Scott Brown is a deceiver. Things like these and the above listed comments made me say there were character attacks on this site and hatred instead of commenting on what the person believed.”

    Well, what DO you make of Scott Brown’s linking to Pastor Ortlund’s statement? Was he not implying support for the FIC position from a well-regarded evangelical pastor? Knowing what I shared from personal experience, what do you make of his doing this? From where I am sitting, it is deceptive. It is similar to the fact that Scott Brown also welcomes young men into his home to be mentored. Isn’t Pastor Brown serving as a youth leader when he does this? If not, what is the difference? I find these things to be deceptive. I am just calling it what it is. What do you say this is?

    Maybe you could explain why a conference call was the chosen vehicle for sharing information. It seems to me that far more people would be able to receive these teachings if done openly on a blog. But then, they would be written down and there would be a record of what was said. And people also would not feel as special as they would if they were on a conference call. I see some pretty good marketing go on here!

  71. says

    Pastor Smith, would you personally be willing to address some of the real concerns I have or others have about the FIC? I am totally sincere about this. In the last two segments of the pro and con series, I raise some very sincere and valid questions:

    R.C.Sproul Jr. wrote:
    “There is, in evangelical homeschooling circles, a growing divide. On the one side there are those of us who might be called movement homeschoolers. We homeschool because we believe it to be the Biblical choice, not because we merely prefer it. We tend to adopt many of the secondary lifestyle issues related to homeschooling, lots of children, modest dress, husbands as the heads of their homes, courtship, denim jumpers. On the other side are a different bunch of folks. These typically are homes where moms see homeschooling as a choice, an arena wherein they can excel by helping their children excel. The former are driven by issues of conviction, the latter by more practical matters.”

    I have seen every one of the items on his lifestyle list used as a measuring stick within FIC churches to determine the motives and convictions within the body of Christ and, brothers and sisters, this is not right. In fact, others have embraced his thoughts, too, and promptly after this statement was made on R.C.’s blog, James and Stacy McDonald from Family Reformation reprinted and linked to it, advancing these notions as sound teaching. But Jesus called the Pharisees blind guides because they strained out gnats and swallowed camels. Are these church and homeschooling leaders any less blind for leading their congregations and their followers in drawing these lines of demarcation?
    I would also ask them to stop using homeschooling conventions to promote their FIC agenda and to stop using careless rhetoric to create discontentment. Whether everyone realizes it or not, FIC speakers are using a venue that is intended for edifying and encouraging all homeschooling families as a means of advancing an FIC agenda held by a tiny minority of evangelicals and to plant seeds of doubt amongst those who do not attend FIC churches. It is an agenda that by its very nature condemns the local church and it is used to proselytize those who may be struggling. In fact, there are often times when homeschooling families are experiencing no insurmountable problems in their local churches but their fears are magnified so that FIC leaders can step in and offer their own agenda to calm those fears.

    If the real goal is to encourage home discipleship, then that should be apparent and applauded. But since the only means of church growth of an FIC church is recruiting members from other congregations and playing on their concerns, it appears that they are being given a free ride at these conventions to promote their own churches and to take homeschooling families out of traditional fellowships.

    I would also ask them to hold their own spokesmen accountable. A year ago I talked about the over-the-top rhetoric used by FIC promoter Kevin Swanson on his Generations program. The lack of grace and wisdom has disappointed me but even worse is the fact that broadcast after broadcast keeps getting worse and I only see more people giving him accolades, promoting him, participating in interviews with him, and even filling in for him when he is unavailable. Why is no one challenging his harsh and arrogant discourse? And adding to my disappointment is that Kevin, himself, is a homeschooling graduate.

    I would ask the FIC movement to stop leading parents into a false sense of security, attempting to build a church model that will guarantee long-term relationships and provide a place for their children to find spouses and thus to reproduce the same church culture for future generations. This puts pressure on young people to find a spouse within their church group, even though there may be no one that is suitable for them. So betrothal becomes the standard and is practiced in many churches. And along with that step comes the many extra biblical qualifications that are added on in order for someone to be a suitable partner.

    A few years ago I remember hearing negative responses when a Christian homeschooler would marry a Christian who hadn’t been homeschooled, treating the nonhomeschoolers as thought they worshipped pagan deities. If that wasn’t bad enough, now, the list of biblical requirements for potential spouses has grown even more stringent within these groups. Young men worthy of marrying your daughter should be entrepreneurs and not employees “building the kingdom” of another, as it were. Young ladies who are considered appropriate helpmeets should have remained at home under their father’s protection until marriage since going to college might foster an independent spirit that would make it difficult for her to come under a husband’s authority. Voddie Baucham even goes so far as to describe for young men what kind of personality a potential wife must have, which, of course, means his interpretation of what a quiet and gentle spirit should look like. Of course, according to Kevin Swanson, we know that college girls will lose their moral purity, rendering them unacceptable as wives for homeschooled young men. And on top of all of this, the hypocrisy that turns a blind eye to the real Biblical standards for marriage and family life are glossed over as long as the outward appearance is good. It boggles the mind.
    I would ask FIC churches why there is such a great emphasis on what they call “multi-generational faithfulness,” but there are typically only two generations represented in these churches, parents and their children. There are few if any elderly couples and single people are basically nonexistent. And probably the saddest aspect of the FIC church is that families who are really struggling with even basic issues of faith, let alone those who desperately need help in building relationships within their marriages or with their children, high maintenance families, as it were, would never darken the door of these churches. Sadly, even if they did, many of them would never come to understand what grace even looks like.

    I would ask how welcome orphans (those without families) and widows might feel in an FIC church. James 1:27 says “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Are they welcomed as part of the royal priesthood, joint heirs with Christ, or are they seen as projects needing to be fixed, added on to someone else’s family in order to be “normative,” which is defined in the FIC movement as married with children? It seems to me that the true “normative,” according to Scripture, is to welcome all believers, to minister to one another, and the assumption is that these things can and should be done without defiling any of God’s true standards for righteousness. The practice of father-served communion, as is common in FIC churches, is just one example of the loud and clear message that anyone outside of a human family within that congregation is not normal and needs reforming.

    I would ask “what about evangelism?” I would love to take a poll of those FIC churches that move into neighborhoods and find out how many of them have taken steps to reach out to those in their local community. How many have knocked on doors and presented the good news of Jesus Christ? My guess is that few if any have done that. Perhaps many of them are willing to financially support both foreign and local mission organizations, but what would they do with desperately needy folks who might walk in to their churches? Or would they ever consider allowing their children to go to the mission field? And if so, how are they preparing them to do that? You see, the Gospel within the FIC church is family reformation through homeschooling and lifestyle changes for man’s (the father’s) glory rather than the work of the Holy Spirit to transform lives for the glory of our Heavenly Father.

    Finally, perhaps the greatest concern I have about FIC churches is that they are Trojan horses, enticing agendas offering fathers encouragement in leading their families but inside there is a battalion of false doctrine the pushes families further and further away from Biblical truth and a healthy Christian life toward heresy. Two of these heresies are especially dangerous because of their subtle appeal to families who sincerely want God’s best.

    The first one is the heresy of patriocentricity. A year ago when I ran the first series of podcasts on the topic of patriarchy and patriocentricity within the homeschooling movement, I never would have dreamed of the response I have gotten. My concerns are shared by thousands of families who have been pulled down the patriocentric path toward father worship, having left behind the Biblical truth of husbands being the heads of their wives. Thankfully, they have recognized this idolatry for what it is, they have rejected these teachings and are beginning to delight in healthy families and real growing relationships within their marriages, with their children, and with other believers.

    I have seen these patriocentric beliefs mutating into even more bizarre teachings and the dangers for families are even greater. Abhorrent perspectives on all things from protecting moms who have ectopic pregnancies, women not being encouraged to participate in the political process, kinists beliefs recognized as acceptable, redefining the Trinity so as to place all women in the place of subordination to all men, etc. have been added to the already disturbing teachings within the FIC culture.

    The other false teaching to be aware of within FIC churches is that of ecclesiocentricity, the notion that all authority is given to the local church elders and the Christian life is not to be lived or practiced apart from their rule. Combined with patriocentricity, the priesthood of the believer and the mission of the church universal become lost in the agendas of men without any check and balances to hold leaders accountable. It becomes the perfect breeding ground for those who are attempting to build their own little fiefdoms. And sprinkled into this mix is a dominionist theology that preaches family reformation through government policies and militant fecundity rather than the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  72. says

    Pastor Smith,

    Do you have any families in your church who are not homeschoolers?

    How do you respond to Kevin Swanson’s notions that a Christian parent is not commanded to share the Gospel but rather disciple their kids instead? I will find you the direct quote on that one. It was made on his Generations show within the past few months I believe.

  73. says

    “There needs to be a plan to demolish the strongholds that the fic supporters have.”

    To me, it is troubling that state sponsored homeschooling conventions are used to further this agenda. Does the group you head allow this sort of forum?

  74. says

    Mr. Smith, I think your understanding of the NCFIC and its leaders intentions is incomplete. Before answering any more questions (sorry Karen!) please read my accurate facts about the NCFIC (its accuracy is attested by a current member of Mr. Brown’s church, one-time NCFIC employee and intern, Mr. Glick). If you are still convinced they think this a matter of Christian liberty, etc., then further discussion will go nowhere:

    http://www.weswhite.net/2011/04/family-integrated-mathis/

  75. Todd Smith says

    Mr. Mathis — just for clarification. Our congregation is not an FIC. Parents would like to be there but we are not there yet. We currently have only homeschooled families in the congregation but have had non-homeschooling families in the past. That issue has never been a test of fellowship nor have I preached on it from the pulpit. I have been looking into FIC for the past year. I have liked what I have heard and read from Voddie Baucham, Kevin Swanson, and Scott Brown. I like most of what I read and hear from Doug Phillips, but he can get legalistic in some of his points at times to me. that being said I wouldn’t label him as a legalist per se. I get a lot of good out of a lot of his materials.
    I do think my understanding of FIC leaders is complete and I did read your link at an earlier date and then again today.
    Enough of that I want to answer your direct question now. I do think these men feel that the Church is in error in this area and needs to repent. I think one church in Idaho went through a transition to FIC a few months ago and they decided to “repent and cease from age-segregated ministry.” I would agree with that statement and I wish our congregation and others would do the same. That being said, I think there is confusion on the difference between Christian liberty and a conviction. It is my conviction that the FIC folks are right on this issue. So I can point out what I see as an error in the Church that we ought to change but I cannot force anyone to change. Nor will I condemn anyone who has a different conviction. I may think they are wrong, but they have the freedom to disagree. I have not heard any FIC leader make this a test of fellowship. In fact, one of the things mentioned at that “secret covert” conference call on Monday night was that these guys are friends with a lot of youth ministers. They like them. They aren’t out to attack them. But they think that their method is wrong and unbiblical.
    I equate it to several other issues that Churches argue over, divide over. In our congregation we do not believe it is biblical for a woman to be an Elder or a Preacher. And we don’t practice speaking in tongues. Biblically we take a stand against those two positions and we would say that the practice of those in Churches is in error to Scripture. However, one of my best friends is a Pastor in a Charismatic Church. I don’t attack him or run down his ministry because I disagree with him Theologically but I think on those issues he has it wrong. He also knows what I think on FIC, he doesn’t agree with me and that’s ok.
    If whether or not you have a woman Elder or Preacher or speak in tongues can be a matter of freedom from denomination to denomination and both sides claim they are right according to Scripture. Why can’t the FIC folks believe that age-segregation is not according to Scripture and those who believe it is each do their thing. Or do you not consider anyone who doesn’t line up with your theology as a part of the body of Christ? Not accusing because I don’t know. I am friends with a lot of different Pastors from different backgrounds and we all consider ourselves as fellow brothers in Christ, why is this issue so emotional?

  76. Jack Brooks says

    To say that any church needs to repent of having age-organized educational ministries is itself sin. Because it is falsely presenting a man’s uninspired ideas as if it is God’s Word. Then, that merely-human idea is held up as a law of the Word of God, thereby bearing false witness against the Lord.

  77. says

    Mr. Smith,

    Thank you for the clarification of your use of “Christian liberty”, etc.

    So, as I understand it when you wrote: “I do think these men feel that the Church is in error in this area and needs to repent.” I take that to mean: “I do think these men feel that the Church is in *sin* in this area and needs to repent.”

    Your examples reinforces my impression, eg. women Elders and tongue speaking. These are sins. You may say “error”–but I would say “sin”. And I do agree that I cannot “force” people to my view nor typically preach on it in a schismatic fashion.

    But if you do not mean “sin” (and you may not) then why repent?

    thanks for your willingness to dialogue. These are important issues in the current context of debates.

  78. Dave A says

    “There needs to be a plan to demolish the strongholds that the fic supporters have.”

    When I made that statement I was not and am not referring to a particular location or event that the NCFIC is present at. I am referring to 2 Cor. 10:1-5 and Karen listed a whole bunch of those strongholds in her 1:34 PM post. Strongholds that ardent NCFIC supporters run into for “saftey”. Adam and Shawn are doing the type of “destroying” I am talking about. Thank You!

  79. says

    Mr. Smith,

    You wrote, “Why can’t the FIC folks believe that age-segregation is not according to Scripture and those who believe it is each do their thing. Or do you not consider anyone who doesn’t line up with your theology as a part of the body of Christ?”

    This is an either-or fallacy: why can I not consider someone the body of Christ *and* still think they are wrong?

    But more to the point, “each do their thing.” I find this baffling. I *was* minding my own business when this view hit me between the eyes with unsubstantiated claims and a far-reaching goal of revival! To claim they are following the bible and we are not, to claim they have revival with this movement (and by omission we do not) is to bind heavy burdens on my congregates, most of whom homeschool. They came to me asking, “What is this movement?” I know families who feel guilt piled on because they do not homeschool the right way, now it’s because they are age-segregated.

    You said you read my FIC paper. I document accurately their claims about *my church* even with a syllogism. Maybe they did not have my church and denomination in mind but sweeping generalizations about all types of churches in a public forum, books and now a movie aggressively promoted is not someone minding their own business. If my church is excluded, then they should state as much and stop using sweeping generalizations (a violation of the Ninth Commandment).

    Their stated goals: to make all churches in the world FIC and homeschooling. My stated goal is to spread the Gospel of God as understood in a Reformed context. These views are colliding because the FIC makes a mountain out of molehill with their denunciation of age-segregation as “evolutionary”, etc. (is evolutionary thought *not* sinful? Of course it is!). If they dropped the confession and stuck with emphasizing family discipleship and quoting good ‘ole Puritans there would be little outcry from Reformed people.

    They are not “doing their own thing” but creating a confession for uniting churches upon a unique view and trumpeting it to all Christians. When people and churches sign a confession it is a public declaration of unity. It is also stating that they also view their sister churches (both in a denomination or independent) with even the same confession have one less thing in common.

    How can 7th Day Adventist unite with Reformed baptists on the issue of family and church (see my Uniting Church and Family for what *truly* unites the two):

    http://www.weswhite.net/2011/06/uniting-church-and-family/

    Again, I am baffled by your response.

  80. Todd Smith says

    Shawn– I too am thankful for the dialogue. Take the example of women Elders. ( age segregation is too emotional). I would agree that women Elders are contrary to Scripture and therefore sin. I may express my views to my friend who believed this. I may tell him he should change his thoughts and yes even repents. He still may think it isn’t a sin. He may disagree. I would still fellowship with him. After all I sin and I am not perfect. And I haven’t seen a perfect Church yet so I think you would agree that no Church is.
    So now about FIC. If I believe that is a Biblical position to hold and even that others should repent and believe what I believe I can still allow for freedom and fellowship but I get the impression from some on this site that if I say I believe that it is like I’ve denied the Deity of Christ. I am open to hear others viewpoints and I am open to hear where I am wrong. I’ve been wrong more than once or twice. But if I hold the conviction that FIC is right am I viewed as a danger to the Church? Would that be a test of fellowship between us and could we disagree?

  81. says

    Ken Ham over at AIG is promoting and launching a big new Vacation Bible School program.

    Ken Ham is in bed with many of the leaders of the FIC movement. (Kevin Swanson, Vision Forum, etc.) Buddy buddy when it comes to speaking at conventions and working together to try and kick those whom they disagree with out of conventions.

    Do you think they will make a movie blasting Ken’s new “drug” for the “segregationholics”.

    If Sunday School is evil, surely Vacation Bible School is straight out of the pit of Hades!!!!

    Oh the irony is too great!

  82. says

    How do you repent of something that is not sin? And if it should be repented of, why the hesitancy to preach that repentance from the pulpit?

  83. Dave A says

    In all fairness to AIG and Ken Ham, I do not think they are promoting the fic movement as such. AIG is openly a parachurch organization, their only main focus is to promote a young earth creationist viewpoint. If you note in the movie divided both Ken Ham and Britt Beamer (sp) are used only for their statistics. Ken Ham’s solution in his book already gone, if I remember correctly, is for the Church to teach the Bible as history and to teach science in S.S. programs as opposed to cartoon “stories”, etc. I do believe that AIG has their own litmus tests for being “Biblical” but that is another subject. I think Ken Ham would speak anywhere that would advocate a young earth position.
    There are a few others in the movie that if you go back and listen to I believe are being “used” by the NCFIC also. Example.. Derwin Gray @ Transformation Church, check out their Church’s website and click on the KIDS tab. He also told Mr. LeClerk that he did not want to be a “posterboard” for “this way is the only way”

  84. says

    This reminds me of the Vision Forum film festival winning movie the Monstrous Regiment of Women. As I watched it, there were things that just didn’t ring true. I ended up contacting several of the women who had been interviewed and my hunch that they had been misrepresented was accurate. The anti-feminist theme of the movie went too far, implying only one role for women and outrageously placing graphic footage of an actual abortion alongside discussions of women working outside the home, as though those two things are equal. Phyllis Schafly, Carol Everett, and a woman scholar from Scotland had all been interviewed but all were clueless as to the context in which their words had been placed. Schafly and Everett had never been interviewed at all by the Gunn brothers and both told me those interviews had been done for other projects. Neither knew anything whatsoever about the film until I contacted them. What are we to make of this? This is the same thing that I believe happened with the Ortlund quote. Did Ken Ham agree to how his words would be used? If so, he is culpable; if not, he was used.

  85. Laura says

    Well, this is just one more example of the inconsistencies with this crowd.

    When we take it upon ourselves to pronounce all things “Biblical” or “unBiblical”, based on our own agendas, we generally allow ourselves to make exceptions.

    This reminds me of the Civil War balls that homeschoolers are holding. One is coming up in our area later this year. I am very concerned with this trend, primarily because of the fuzzy utopian view of the South these people tend to possess, as well as with the revisionist history they preach, but it also bothers me that these are the people that would condemn a teen dance with contemporary dress and music. But put everyone in finery ala Rhett and Scarlett, and all things are stamped “Biblical”.

    Yes, it could be argued that there is a historical element to these- but really, the bottom line is you have are teenagers socializing and dancing,costumes or not.

    Let me add that I am capable of being the world’s biggest hypocrite and no one is without fault in this area. BUT- Those who put themselves in the position of knowing better than the rest of us are going to be scrutiniized with an extra powerful lens…

  86. Dave A says

    If the NCFICers would follow the advice of Pastor Derwin Gray, whom they interviewed on their movie, and not make it “this way is the only”. If they would come out and say that Derwin Grey at Transformation Church and the way they are structured (at least as depicted on their website) is a “Biblical” model to check out, and if the Holy Spirits leads, to follow, then I do not think anyone here would have a problem with the NCFIC. I would not anyway.

  87. says

    Mr. Smith,

    I think for clarity I will outline what just happened in our discussion:

    1. “I do think these men feel that the Church is in error in this area and needs to repent.”

    2. “If I believe that is a Biblical position to hold and even that others should repent and believe what I believe I can still allow for freedom and fellowship…”

    So, you do believe that the NCFIC believes it is sin to age-segregate children?
    And do you agree?

    thanks,

    PS. I am *not* nor have assumed you signed or follow the NCFIC. And my essays thus far have covered that organization and none other.

  88. says

    Keep peeling back the layers, Dave. The NCFIC does not stand alone; at its core it is part of a bigger agenda.

    Again, we need to see ALL churches encouraging home discipleship. I am prepared to say that Christian parents who do not make discipling their own children a top priority are sinning. That is a statement with which I could find agreement.

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