Divided The Movie & Challies

Divided, the movie is available to view for free.

Modern Youth Ministry is
Contrary to Scripture

Will you take action to change that?

Divided the Movie Tim Challies’ response:

Your church is heavily influenced by evolutionary thinking. It is founded on principles created by pagans and for pagans. You have succumbed to hellish thinking and imposed it upon your church. At least this is the case if your church has a nursery or a Sunday school or any other kind of program that involves dividing people by age. That is the rather audacious claim of Divided, a documentary that is being heavily promoted by the National Center for Family Integrated Churches (NCFIC). Divided is a film about youth ministry. Kind of. At its heart it is a movie that promotes Family Integrated Church (FIC).

What do you think?

Does it really matter what we think?

Can we back it from Scripture?

Not that I’m a pragmatist but really what does the evidence show?

Is the movie and the response both done in an inflammatory manner which negates the value by causing an emotional response?

Added: Odd, after watching the movie I didn’t find it as inflammatory as I was led to believe it would be from Challies’ initial post and response. 

 


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19 thoughts on “Divided The Movie & Challies

  1. To be honest, I took issue with the way the film portrayed anecdotal evidence and inferred conclusions from statistics (as well all know, statistics can be used to prove anything) to make the point the film’s producer wanted it to. It was not a documentary, but rather a propaganda film.

    What’s the difference? In a documentary, objective, factual evidence is shown and no obvious bias can be concluded from one side or the other, (even if one side of an issue is clearly the correct one) solely from the producer’s slanted portrayal. For example, “Supersize Me” and “Jesus Camp” were both propaganda films. “Miracles for Sale” was not, despite the fact that at the beginning, the producer candidly stated he was not a believer. The way in which portrayals and interviews are skewed in order to manipulate what the viewer will conclude determines whether a film is a true documentary or a propaganda film — not whether or not some truth was presented, or whether or not you agree with the producer’s thesis.

    That said, naturally “Divided” did contain some elements of truth. Unfortuantely, the maker (I apologize – I forget his name) deliberately ONLY showed the horror stories and interviewed people (Ken Ham; Voddie Baucham; other leaders in the FIC movement) who he already knew would agree with him.

    It is a fact that MUCH of what passes for “youth ministry” in this country is deplorable. It is NOT fair, however, to lay the blame for carnality in the Church and division of families solely at the feet of the “youth ministry” leaders and/or movement. Attempting to use statistics to do so is misleading. For example, many evangelicals love to pull out the Barna statistic that 80% of the kids raised in the Church will fall away by college, and that has been a rallying cry of the FIC movement almost since it’s inception. However, (and keep in mind George Barna is usually dismissed by the VERY SAME conservatives who are now quoting him on that), did it ever occur to anyone to ask the following:
    – By “the Church”, what denominations are included in that statistic? Does it refer to Bible-preaching churches, liberal denominations, the RCC, or all? Exactly what demographic is being included here?
    – By “fall away”, do the quoters of this statistic realize that the survey is including youth who no longer are involved with “youth ministry”, the very activity to which they are objecting? (By that definition, my 14-year-old daughter, who is active in church and serves at VBS and the nursery, would be considered to have “fallen away”).
    – Is this statistic adjusted for kids who are active in a church OTHER than their home church, while they are away at college? How are they tracked if they are not on the membership roles? (This question is self-evident).
    – What empirical, objective evidence is there to measure the hearts of all youth (regardless of whether or not they grew up in the Church), in terms of both their justification and their progressive sanctification? These things cannot be measured by a Barna survey.

    In short, I’d be the last one to argue that many “Youth Group” activities and objectives haven’t gone astray. They have. My local UCC hired a 20-year-old gal who knew nothing about theology to act as a “Youth Pastor”. We all know many horror stories. However, as a parent of 4 kids (all of whom love God), I can tell you there is a more balanced, God-honoring attitude than the slanted view put forth in this film. The AWANA program and Sunday School programs my children have participated in are great; although they are not, and never have been, the sum and sustenance of their spiritual life. As the maker of this film (correctly) stated, the parents are the main teachers of spiritual truth. That is as it should be. But that does NOT mean that a well-done, Christ-honoring teen or children’s Bible class is wrong; nor does it necessarily mean that youth cannot socialize together.

    VBS is another example: I see it as entertainment, and my younger children enjoy it. There’s nothing wrong with their going. However, if I wanted to use the same methodology as the maker of “Divided”, I could criticize Ken Ham for the defects of the VBS curriculum our church uses – it’s put out by Answers in Genesis – HIS MINISTRY – and barely mentions the Gospel. Check it out for yourself — the whole week’s agenda is to convince the kids of Young Earth Creationism. The Lord Jesus Christ gets barely a mention – the Cross was mentioned on Day 5, the year I taught (they produce a new curriculum every year). So is Ken Ham guilty if the kids in our church don’t hear the Gospel? Of course not, but by the logic used in “Divided”, I should blame him.

    Sorry, but even as a conservative evangelical Christian, my critical thinking skills picked up on a lot of red flags in “Divided”‘s alarmist, one-sided view. Saying age-segregated classrooms come out of paganism (and are therefore wrong) is the same as concluding cardiology and all surgery is to be avoided, because pagans invented it. Or astronomy. They were the first to employ the science, therefore…..it’s wrong??

    That’s a very poor use of exegetical skills. If a philosophical principle goes against (either directly or implicitly) a biblical one, we must reject it. NOT every educational construct he cited can be linked to paganistic thought, or even evolution (which is, of course, totally against God). It seems to me the more extreme Family Integrated people skew facts and reach unproved conclusions, simply to give validity to the premises of their movement.

  2. I just wanted to make one more point…about the churches which, as shown in the movie, FORBID kids in the main service. That is a horrible practice, but it seems to be the exception and not the rule. Most churches, including mine, that offer age-segregated teaching emphasize that it is optional. Our 11 and 14 year olds, who have been in the Church since they were babies, sit with us in the Adult Learning Center and our daughter doesn’t go to Youth Group mainly because she finds games at her age boring. They are free to do that…or not.

    The bottom line is that it should be the family and parents’ choice where and whether the kids will participate. If you don’t want the kids in a certain program, don’t send ’em. But starting a movement and blaming the Church Youth Group for all the ills of society is a bit much. 🙂

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Marie,

    I don’t know where the idea that the film Divided was a “documentary” came from. Several have called it such, but whether or not the film fits the classic definition of a documentary, I still feel it the film is worthy of watching and discussing. Actually I felt the film was rather mild and actually wasn’t inflammatory or distorting at all. There is so much worse that could have been portrayed about youth groups that wasn’t. Example: Peanut Butter Passion I could share so many more that I have actually had contact with.

    Challies’ review was inflammatory and distorting especially for him and the likes of what he has reviewed in the past. I’ll share more about that in a post. But for him to call it a destructive message and to recommend the church ignore it? Was this heresy? Why such an emotional response? When good sound pastors like Ham, Baucham and Washer express such beliefs should we not think twice about the issue? They can run circles around the average pastor in Scripture knowledge and sound teaching.

    What was the truth in the movie? Is it a truth that many fear to look honestly at? Why the fear to discuss the issue of our youth? All sides can admit that by and large we are losing the young to the world at astounding rates. While granted the Lord will save whom He will save, even despite everything, that does not negate our responsibility to be obedient and to seek the Lord’s will in our families.

    Here is some information on the statistics:

    Barna: Most Twentysomethings Put Christianity on the Shelf Following Spiritually Active Teen Years

    Lifeway: Has lots of studies but the website is being reorganized so they are hard to locate.

    I’m not concerned with the statistics. They are just interesting data to back up experience. I am concerned with the individuals that each statistic represents. See I brought this up years ago at a previous church to the pastor and youth leader. Since I became a parent I began to notice how children “grew” out of church. Granted some stayed, some just lingered on the fringes as occasional attenders, some moved away, but by and large the majority left the church, often as early as their first car. Living in a smaller area it made it much easier to see where the youth went. Essentially away from the church and not away from the community.

    Granted there are good worthwhile programs many churches are using. However, that does not negate the effect of spending large amounts of time with foolish youth. My two older children left Sunday School and the “youth” activities more because of the foolishness of the youth than because anything else. But no one would have ever said they had left the church. They both became integral parts of the church such that when we left the church finding replacements for them was harder than replacing my husband and me. Nor would my children have said they had left the church or their faith.

    I have attended several churches where children were not welcome in the services. One large (5,000 member) church actually instructed the ushers to escort “visitors with children” to the nursery. If ever someone did insist on bringing children often the next week’s bulletin would have a note about the wonderful nursery and why parents should use it. When we were looking for a church in the past few years, I honestly had to often hang onto my children, otherwise they would have each been whisked away. I’m not making that up. The older ones were told how to respond when some “helpful” church member tried to escort the little ones away. Not only that, but when we visited Jeff Noblit’s church a couple of times he both times mentioned the nursery from the pulpit and he has a sermon about why he believes nurseries are important. Every single one of these churches was an established SBC churches, not some strange denomination. (Well, that is debatable to some. :0)

    If you keep your children with you and your daughter does not attend youth group, why not? Is it because you and even they have found value in not segregating at times? See just a month ago at a women’s Bible study we were discussing loving our little ones. You know what is sad? The two grandmothers who were there and how they both said over and over, “Why didn’t anyone tell us this when our kids were little?” They regret the loss of something they didn’t know they were missing out on. Why not let families and churches see the movie Divided and decide for themselves? At least then they won’t be able to say, “Why didn’t someone tell us?”

    Berean Wife

  3. Hi, thanks for your well-thought out response. (Also for the links – I’ve seen the info from Pyro and DefCon about the gross-out Youth Group activities and was appropriately appalled; but I’ll check out the Barna ones. That should be illuminating.)

    To back up a bit, neither I nor anyone I know would object to having the family together for worship and teaching in the Word. My daughter doesn’t participate in Youth Group for much the same reason it sounds like yours doesn’t – a lot of game-playing. She is a mature girl, and will be taking all honors classes this coming year at a college-prep school. She doesn’t have time (or the desire) for that kind of silliness. Occasionally she’ll go with them on outings – 6 Flags; the beach – and that’s fine, but she (like my 11-year-old) learns more in the Adult Sunday School than Youth Group. No big surprise.

    Now, we do have a doctrinally-sound youth pastor who would never resort to the extreme banality shown in the Peanut Butter Gross-Out Video. However, I went to a meeting for the parents last month and evidently Youth Group consists of game-playing, eating, and THEN breaking up into “discussion groups” to talk about the inductive Bible study they’ve presumably done at home over the course of the week. I’m all for inductive Bible study — but did you catch that? The real spiritual growth and learning happens in the milleau — they’re just “discussing” it with their peers on Monday night. Umm…okay….so as I said to my husband, ‘Wouldn’t it be better if she just discusses it with you or me? I’m pretty sure we have a better grasp of systematic theology than a group of 14-15 year olds!’

    This past year, she’s preferred to teach the Puggles (youngest AWANA class) than participate in the Jr. High Youth Group. My guess is that those groups exist to help socialize the homeschool kids (which make up the majority of our church. I don’t know.)

    So I certainly don’t defend the intensity of all youth groups etc. I firmly believe participation should be optional, and not seen as delegating spiritual responsibility (and I am appalled at the mandating of nursery that you describe. I know one woman who came out of a church like that. It is wrong on so many levels!) Rather, the point is this: it is equally unfair and unbalanced to insist that eliminating all age-segregated instructional activities is the way to reform the Church. I totally agree with Challies that Leclerc’s deliberate juxtaposition of leaders in the movement against the occasional, flaky teen on the street (rather than presenting an equally-respected pastor with an opposing view) was obviously biased.

    I was discussing this film last night with a friend, and she said that Ken Ham doesn’t even support the FIC movement, so using that clip from an interview with him to support Leclerc’s agenda was inaccurate. His conclusion is different.

    The other huge issue I have with this film, which is an advertisement for the FIC movement, is the rest of the FIC’s agenda. I didn’t mention this in my earlier comment, but last year our church was nearly split by a group of families who went FIC. They ended up all leaving and bringing a number of people out with them (all very new and vulnerable believers), after the Elders refused to re-write our church’s constitution to please them. It was a big mess…friendships were destroyed; some of us who have been called to work outside the home in ministry or careers were demonized (2 Titus was used as a proof text;) those who do not homeschool found out they would never be welcome in a FIC church. I didn’t know about this movement until after the fact (the Elders handled it very tactfully and graciously), but a friend in another part of the country warned me it is a movement steeped in judgementalism and legalism. Seeing the fruit of it in my church, as well as the personality change in formerly-humble Christians who suddenly got involved with it, and research I did online confirmed to me the dangers of those who go extreme. None of that “darker side”, of course, came out in the film. And that’s not even getting into the problems with the related Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements.

    When people take a good thing, (in this case, families learning, worshiping and growing together to the glory of God) and turn it into a “movement”, the Gospel itself becomes crowded out. The “agenda” of the group becomes an idol of sorts. Paul Washer himself has said this; he is not affiliated with the FIC (I assume for that reason — he sees the dangers inherent in it. John Macarthur has as well.)

    Sometimes it seems trends or practices (in this case, herding the kids off separately in church; entertainment-driven programs for teens) get so out of balance that the pendulum swings to the other extreme (the dogmatic approach of the FIC). I believe that parents can and should have the discernment and common sense to use available programs, classes, and social activities for their children at their own discretion. They likewise should not feel condemned if they are not playing by someone else’s extra-biblical, man-made rules.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Marie,

    Seems to me that the film has been wildly misunderstood, I know the terms documentary and questioning if it was truly a “journey” have been tossed around. However, I see the film as portraying a young adult whose father exhibited leadership and discernment by pulling the youth from many youth activities. As Leclerc admits he was not happy about it. His family was seen as judgmental by doing so. (I understand that! We’ve experienced it ourselves.) I see the film as Laclerc’s journey as a young adult to either embrace the belief of his father or to reject it as being wrong, thus the use of “journey” to describe the film. I pray that my children would make everything I’ve taught them their own and not just reject them because that’s the weird way my mom is or to act as if they believe them with no heart found basis. That is what much of the church has done. They cannot back up what they believe and when seriously challenged often find they really don’t know why they believe what they say they believe.

    You said a group of “new and vulnerable” believers left your church for a family integrated type church. Could it be that they do not have the baggage older believers have about how church should be done? Or could it be that they themselves grew up in the church and rejected it but now as adults have mercifully been saved and want different for their children? I don’t know what type of influence they had from others (It could have been bad or error filled) but I would rather have someone who will on the basis of Acts 17:11 question everything they hear according to the Bible, being Berean.

    Your daughter is 14 and she sees how unwise your church’s youth group is. I will venture to say she will become more and more dissatisfied with it as she continues to mature. My daughter years ago at 12 complained that her Sunday School classmates only played on their cell phones, talked about boyfriends and girlfriends and were rude to their teachers. This is at twelve! Just think how much worse it gets in highschool. The difference then compared to now with the young adults in our present church is amazing. This was with sound teachers. Sometimes out of the mouth of babes comes wisdom.

    If your daughters learn more in the adult classes than they do in the youth groups why not encourage others to give their children that opportunity? You’ll also find the parents learn more because they expect to be questioned by their children later at home about the concepts. As a parent how can you counter poor or even false teaching in the children’s ministry if you are not there to hear what is being taught?

    Just as you would not want your church characterized by Peanut Butter Evangelism non age-segregated churches should not be characterized by the worst of FIC. FIC does not include what is characterized by the terms Patriarchy or Quiverful. There are some churches that combine all three but the majority do not. Yet the average person would lump my church in that mix. Because we do have family integration, fathers are the head of the home, and a majority allows God to direct their child bearing.

    What would the response to the movie have been if put out by Focus on the Family instead of NCFIC? See most of the response and criticism is against NCFIC and has nothing to do with the movie itself, because the focus of the film is to get Fathers involved in the discipleship of their children. Here is a link to Divided’s vision.

    I cannot speak to what happened in your church since I do not know the situation. However, my church, which was planted over a year ago, would be consider FIC by most people because we do not have separate classes. We meet together for Bible study prior to the worship service. Yet we have two elders and one of them does not homeschool and his wife works fulltime outside the home. All the children that attend our church are not homeschooled although most are. Believe me our homeschooled students do not need programs for socialization. That is a strange misconception that may have been accurate 20 years ago but is flawed thinking. Twenty years ago homeschooling was so risky that we were told to not let our children be seen in public (even in the backyard) during school hours for fear of having them taken away. But today we fight to limit the social activities so we can school. Most of our church activities are family oriented. We have our cookouts together. The elders playing football right along with the youth and children. The whole family goes to Six Flags together as a church group. The children are studying the formation of the English Bible right along with the adults. They ask good questions and are filling out the study sheets. They aren’t learning Noah took two animals into the ark for the 100th time. You should hear children when they are actually taught Noah took more clean animals! They have never heard that before. You should see them read their Bibles to check up on that info.

    Your friend that warned you about FIC and said they were judgmental and legalistic lumped all FIC churches together just how all age-segregated churches would not want to be lumped together. Sounds legalistic and judgmental to me. Our FIC church has older couples, single youth, married childless couples, working wives, homeschool children, public school children, large families, small families, divorced families and we welcome any combination of the above. Yet no matter what fathers will be encouraged to lead and disciple their families.

    Is there not a darker side to age segregated churches and youth ministries, i.e. Peanut Butter Evangelism? Yet, that is not rejected because of the darker side. Why not do the same with FIC? People tend to always fear and react negatively to something new.

    I’ve been in both types of churches. Neither is perfect nor will they ever be perfect here on earth. Nothing we do will guarantee that our children are among the elect in the last days. I am confident in God’s Sovereignty and that He will do what is best for each of us. However, even so, I will work diligently to be obedient and do the absolute best I can to have my children taught God’s Word in a sound Biblical manner. That for me means homeschooling, being home with my children, supervising outside influences and a family integrated church. FIC in a sound Biblical Church is the best church model I know for that to happen and if it is ever not sound we are there to discuss the matter with our children. As I know my child will not die today outside of God’s will, that does not mean I will not strive to keep him out of the road. Does that make sense?

    Berean Wife

    P.S. Sorry to take so long replying, we were field-tripping yesterday.

  4. Coming from someone whose husband recently resigned from youth ministry: The movie honestly did not make youth ministry look as bad as they could have. I have seen much worse at youth events and concerts. After reading the Challies review I thought it was going to be a case of taking the worst possible examples of youth ministry and putting them up against the best possible cases of FIC. Challies failed to mention that some of the biggest names in youth ministry were given camera time. Jeanne Mayo and Rick Lawrence are well respected names in youth ministry. I respect the fact that this film does address the fact that it is not just “youth” ministry that is failing. They touch on the subject that kids are leaving the church well before they hit college age.
    What is truly boils down to is the fact that way too many families are dropping the ball when it comes to family discipleship. They expect their children’s Biblical knowledge to be gained from Sunday School teachers and youth pastors, rather than at home. Many parents expect youth pastors to take on the role of mentor/best friend/teacher/jiminy crickett-type conscience. Parents expect the youth pastor to counsel their kids on things that the parents should be dealing with at home-themselves.
    Please do not misunderstand me. I do not think that all (or even most) youth pastors and Sunday School teachers are bad people who want to lead your children to Hell. I think that for the most part, they are people who are very concerned about children/youth and want to do the best they can. When we segregate our churches, however, we miss out on a lot of wisdom from people of other ages. There is hostility built between different groups. It is very possible for youth and children workers to go to a church and not even know the names of the childless adults in the congregation.
    To be honest, I used to think FIC was somewhat weird, but I see that church the way it has been done for so many years is not working. If something is not done, we are going to lose the young people forever.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Kelli,

    Thank you for your comment. I was wondering what you and Mark would think about the movie and Challies’ review.

    As you know my church’s elders are both previous youth leaders who saw the problems and errors years ago. They both left youth ministry to become pastors. One elder when we first met him three or more years ago actually admitted he thought our family and FIC was weird and he had never heard of it until he met us. But he checked it out according to the Bible and compared it to his experience and his reject of the youth ministry model. Jump forward to a year ago and now he is an elder in a FIC church and see’s the fruit and the difference.

    I hope ya’ll are being refreshed at NCBC Albertville.

    Berean Wife

  5. Dear Berean,

    Thank you very much for that; really, I appreciate the dialogue and perspective. I should mention from the get-go that I certainly don’t mind being corrected when/if my thinking is off, and having someone else’s POV and experience to consider. I appreciate your gracious tone.

    I think we are completely on the same page regarding content of children’s ministry and Youth Group, and why our kids don’t get much out of it. I tell myself the “babyish-ness” of the curriculum (for lack of a better word) is for the benefit of the “unchurched” kids; ie those whose families just started coming to church, but I don’t know that that’s a good excuse. You’re so right that they are capable of learning so much more — the AWANA program, which focuses on verse memorization, pretty much proves that. So why dumb it down? I guess it’s to justify entertainment, which is not sound.

    My negative attitude towards FIC may be in large part shaped by my experience and the friend I lost (whose personality changed overnight). She demonized churches for having any age-segregated activities, and decided I wasn’t holy enough because I have a job. Her attitude seemed to be pretty standard among those who left, but it is good to know that that is not necessarily representative of FIC. I’ve also read that the FIC movement has an unbiblical ecclesiology, but I don’t think that has anything to do with fathers taking the role of spiritual leadership in the home (which is certainly biblical!)

    FIC does not include what is characterized by the terms Patriarchy or Quiverful. There are some churches that combine all three but the majority do not.

    Okay, this is good to know because I was under the impression that it did. In my NANC training, Jay Adams and others have warned us about those two movements and the leader (Gothard), who “started off relatively sound, but then went off the deep end” and others whose “causes” and agendas become paramount, rather than the Gospel. (James Dobson would definitely be included in this. I actually have much more in common with the views of FIC than I do with FOTF). After the mini-split over the FIC issue last year, I had to wonder: by the “women must always be at home” rule, that would mean that female NANC counselors are (according to them) in violation of Titus 2. Biblical counseling is done in the church offices — not the home. One of the FIC ladies who is NANC certified no longer counsels, for that reason. I don’t know if NANC has an official position on FIC, but based on what you’ve said, I doubt it….it may be that what I’ve encountered (and the testimonies I’ve read online) are not typical, and most FIC churches are just your average, bible-believing fellowships without any extremes (or mind-numbing youth activities!)

    Also encouraging to know non-homeschooling families are not ostracized.

    I thought of another incident that occurred recently since last posting. At VBS last month, a lady I know well approached me on the last day t inform me that my son (just turned 8) had “made a profession” the day before. It took me a second before I realized what she was talking about, then she re-phrased: “When we asked the kids who would like to ask Jesus into their hearts, Stefan came up….maybe you’ve already done that….I just thought you would like to know.” AAAAACCCCKKKK!!!! (Of course I didn’t say that — I was totally polite!)

    Two years prior, I was (mildly) annoyed because, against my counsel, my two teen helpers brought half the class (of K-1st graders) into the nursery and led them in a “Sinners’ Prayer”. (I walked in on them). They excitedly showed me the “list of new converts”. I very gently explained to them that being able to get first graders to repeat a prayer after them is not necessarily proof of regeneration, and when I talked to the Pastor’s wife about it, she agreed that that should not have happened. (But it seems that some enthusiastic, well-meaning people in children’s ministry are big on the Sinner’s Prayer anyway). So this kind of supports your point about the need to be with our children, and keep tabs on what they’re being taught in those ministries. Decisional regeneration? Um, no. Kids are capable of understanding sin and repentance.

    Back to my son – the thing is, he has been in church and brought up in a Christian home since infancy, and knows the Word well. We talk about these things at home, and after church my husband has each of them read from the Bible and we briefly discuss it. I know my son, and I truly do believe he knows the Lord – BUT, as I said to my husband, I don’t believe he was any more “saved” on Friday (after he “prayed the prayer”) than he was on Wednesday. He agreed. So well-meaning people can inadvertently confuse our kids…even though they are singing Christ-honoring songs, learning something about the Bible, and having harmless fun together. This shouldn’t be. I’m not ready to write off VBS programs all together, but I’m seeing to some extent the danger of having kids taught away from their families.

    I don’t know all the answers, and naturally I don’t want my convictions to be shaped solely by experience any more than I want my theology to be. There are some good things going on in churches that have Sunday Schools and other youth programs; there are kids who are growing in their faith (just as there are women growing who participate in women’s Bible studies). Knowing the FIC churches are typically not as “extreme” as I’d been led to believe is helpful. The important thing is that God is glorified through the lives of individuals.

    Thanks again for the food for thought. 🙂

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Marie,

    I love when Christians can reason and discuss even totally opposite ideas in an intelligent manner. But honestly, that is why Challies’s review bothers me so much. He took a well-respected platform he has developed and did a disservice to the movie (I’ll explain that in a post) and also painted with a broad brush Baucham, Washer, Ham and every family integrated church as being “destructive”. If we as Christians cannot be more honest when dealing with disagreements why should we ever expect to dialogue with non-believers in a civil manner?

    I have no vested interest in converting others to a family integrated model of church. It is not a salvation issue although essentially it can be related to ones theology. However, it is important to share with others so that they can study the issue themselves. If a person chooses then to reject it that is between them and the Lord. But most have not even considered the issue or worse rejected it based on flawed information.

    I’m sorry your friend changed so much. It may well be she did get caught up in an extreme version. They do exist and often speak very loudly and judgmentally. There is a wide range of ecclesiology represented in FIC. There is no one view of church that can be pegged on every FIC. Generally all do subscribe to the father’s being the spiritual leader but even in that how it is lived out is totally different in each church and even in families of the same church. I pray that your friend will compare everything to the Bible and come to Biblical understanding. There are several “loud and belligerent” women who have left some seemingly extreme FIC and attack any semblance of the idea everywhere. Challies had a few of those folks comment on his post. Some have rejected Christianity because they rejected an extreme FIC, patriarchy, quiverful, dominionistic “cult” with false teaching for lack of a better word. The same happens in segregated churches also just not as “loudly”.

    There will always be extremes to watch out for. Dobson, I enjoyed when I was a young mom 20 years ago. However, it drifted and I also grew in my faith. As long as a person continues to go back to the scripture comparing everything to that one plumb line we may stray at times but we will always come back to the center at some point. Sometimes it takes the extreme to see where just a little skew in the direction at one point can lead us way off track in the future. Think the airplane flying .5 degrees off course and how far off course they will eventually be.

    Planning to email you later about NANC. I’ve decided I can’t wait until I have time to start, it won’t ever happen. Hoping to start this Fall if I can work it out.

    None of us will ever be on the same page in our Christian walk. There will always be others farther along on the journey just as there will be those just beginning and those just a little bit behind us. None of us arrived where we are on our own. The Lord opened our eyes to the gospel and He is perfectly capable of opening our eyes to those truths He desires us to have. I wish He had shown me many, many things much earlier but in His providence He did not. Why? I may never know. However, there were also things He did show me and yet my sinful, selfish nature rejected it. We are sinning when we have our eyes opened to the truth in an area, even if just a glimmer and we either refuse to look any longer or yet deny we see it for fear or for selfish purposes.

    When we were at a regular SBC church I had talks with two children’s teachers about my children. They both said my children knew much more than everyone else did about the Bible and they had a good understanding. They wanted them to “make a profession”. I explained true salvation as best I could and asked them to not pressure the kids although I think most of their age group “walked the aisle and were baptized” in those years. It is a good thing to not have someone wanting more check marks on their tally.

    Berean Wife

  6. As one who sends his own kids to godless, anti-theist public schools to “walk in the counsel of the wicked, to stand in the path of sinners, and to sit in the seat of scoffers” Challies’ inflammatory remarks do not persuade me, nor do they surprise me. But it is still amazing to me how hard those in the church work to divide the family, as if the institutions of the world weren’t doing a good enough job at it. Frankly, I’m growing weary of trying to convince (by Scripture, by church tradition, by statistics, and by reason) people who should know better.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Pilgrim,

    I have often pointed out Challies blindspot concerning homeschooling. However, now I must add FIC. Obviously those are too closely connected. See if you don’t want just any proclaimed “Christian” leading your children in the church then the next step is to consider the public school. I pray that he is called to reconsider and retract his flawed review. Working on a post to point out his errors in the review. But stubbornness to not look at the issue fairly can be hard to set aside. 🙁 I’ve done it myself at times due to my sin.

    Berean Wife

  7. Thanks.
    Oh, and by the way, in case you haven’t seen it yet:
    http://defendingcontending.com/2011/07/23/my-thoughts-on-youth-ministry-and-vacation-bible-school/

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Pilgrim,

    Thanks for sharing this link. They do go hand-in-hand. I cringe to think what the local children are experiencing in VBS. One local church is bragging “19 lives saved”. Wonder where all those will be in 10 – 20 years?

    I’ve also been surprised to hear that Answers In Genesis has a VBS not much different from other VBS vendors. 🙁

    Berean Wife

  8. Pilgrim:

    I appreciated the research and insight that went into your post on VBS, and linked to it in my latest post (initiated an illuminating discussion between my 2nd grader and me).

    Berean Wife: not to stir the pot further, but it has been the Answers in Genesis VBS curriculum our church has been doing for the last several years, so when I mention VBS, it’s with that one in mind. It’s not so bad this year but the first year we did it (3 years ago?) the curirculum barely mentioned Christ until day 5 (and it prompted us to get the kids to recite the “Sinner’s Prayer”, as I referenced above.) It was the AiG lesson plan that I had to “tweak” in order to make sure the kids got any instruction about the Gospel at all. 🙁

    I have rather mixed feelings about all of this, as you can tell. Focusing more on teaching at home and keeping the older kids with us in SS seems like a good first step.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Marie,

    Your post about your 2nd grader is interesting. I hope your husband is encouraged. We have typically not used a child’s devotional just gave a simplified explanation of the material we’ve used. Our children’s ages range from 19 – 6 years old. We went through Sproul’s “Dust to Glory” series which is really a good overview of every book of the Bible. We’ve also used Pilgrim’s Progress. Right now we are just covering a Psalm a day with discussion. You’ll be amazed what the little ones will learn. Last night the “baby” asked about the difference between the tabernacle and the temple.

    I can only hope that Answers in Genesis has grown in wisdom over the past few years and that they will continue to improve on their curriculum for VBS.

    Which ever view you chose, either FIC or segregated, as long as you are open to the prompting from the Lord and you seriously consider and study the issue then you will do much better than most folks. The Lord will lead us as we grow.

    Berean Wife

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