Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sam Waldron on "The Relation of Church and Family"

My friend Steve Clevenger sent me a link to this article by Sam Waldron on "The Relation of Church and Family" on the Reformed Baptist Fellowship Blog. It's worth pondering.

1 comment:

John Bowman said...

It is unfortunate that Waldron isolates rather extreme, fringe aspects of this movement to attack. I am confident that his portrayal of Vision Forum, Eric Wallace (and the rapidly growing number of faithful families like mine that subscribe to this) are not reflective of how they would describe their ministry.

The family integrated church movement is based on the principles of: 1) A celebration of biblical gender roles in the family and church (Gen 2, Eph 5, Col 3, 1 Tim 2-3) A return of the visionary father and husband who is equipped and willing to lead his family (Eph 5-6, Deu 6, Prov 22:6, Prov 4:2-5 3) A rejection of age segregated activities and worship at church which has no biblical basis and pragmatically is destructive for both spiritual and educational growth 4) A call on the church to train and disciple men to subsequently train and disciple their families 5) the stressing of a continuity of gospel education and christian living extending home the other six days of the week 6) a careful and thoughtful protection of the influences on children until their armor of God is fully developed (Eph 6, Prov 13:20;Phil 4:8, 2 Cor 6:14; 1 Cor 15:33; 2 Thes 3:6

To his credit, Waldron does identify some unfortunate risks of this idealogy if taken too far; namely: 1) the family usurps the Gospel as the center of worship and an idol that compromises the 2nd commandment 2) Complete social isolation from the world 3) Home-churces or the rejection of any formal assembly of the saints under sound teaching and accountability 4) lack of fellowship and ministry with/to other types of "households" such as empty nesters, widows(ers), singles, single parents etc. But these types of risks are not unique to this movement versus any other given our sinful tendencies. It is unfair to dismiss the foundational truths described above due to the few that abuse it.

I would challenge all who are unnerved by the family integrated philosophy to study scripture carefully to identify what the Lord commands of churches, fathers, and families and their complementary yet distinct roles. I find that much of the case that argues against it is driven by cultural influences versus sound biblical doctrine.

He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers ;or else I will come and strike the land with a curse. Mal 4:6