Family Integrated Churches

Over at a certain blog from which I have been banned for daring to challenge the fact that they pretty much condemn and damn not only very real wrongs in the church, the individuals that are perceived as guilty without all the facts, as well as entire ‘movements’ such as homeschooling, anything close to Reformed theology, and yes, the Family Integrated Church movement, the latest rant is in fact against the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC). The NCFIC has a ‘Confession’ composed of ‘Articles’, and a ‘Wherefore we have resolved. . . .’ section based on the set of Articles, which can be read in their entirety here.

In the blog I mentioned above, I found this:

Below is one of the more troubling confessions in 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.”

Well, it’s true that there is no model / pattern for age segregated discipleship activities in the Bible. It is also true that the idea for ‘age segregated discipleship’ had to have come from somewhere. If it’s not patterned nor seen in scripture, It must have been developed in the mind(s) of mere mortal men. Either they just dreamed it up out of thin air or they used an existing model that existed in secular society. Therefore, the only issue I would have for the above affirmation is the phrase “have ‘invaded’ the church”. In my mind ‘invaded’ implies malicious intent, and I don’t think there was any ‘malicious’ intent in the minds of those who invented Sunday School and Children’s Church. I think they were trying to fill a gap that existed because children weren’t being raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord at home where parents have the biblical mandate to do so.

What troubles me is that the blog post author calls that Article a ‘troubling confession’, rather than examine it objectively. What follows is a bot of play-by-play about a particular Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) Pastor who signed the FCIC Confession and the Presbytery to which his church belongs. That is an issue between the Pastor and the Presbytery, not something broadcast to the world to ‘prove’ how horrible the FCIC is, which is exactly what is intended. Listen to the NFCIC basher’s conclusion:

The NCFIC, in its attempt to have the perfect church ideology, has marginalized other traditional churches which have Sunday schools, youth groups, college groups, etc. This is the same kind of methodology we see from high-controlling and abusive groups:

  • black and white thinking
  • our way is the right way
  • everybody else is wrong
  • our way is the biblical way
  • our way is the godly way

In this kind of high-controlling environment, if you differ from these views, they will likely question what else in your belief system is off kilter. They may even question your salvation if you get too many “wrong” answers.

I give kudos to OPC presbytery for keeping this destructive ideology away from their church groups. It will be interesting to watch Kevin Swanson (The OPC Pastor) maneuver around this when he has been one of the loudest voices in the Family-Integrated Church movement.

All the NFCIC is doing is trying to be what they consider more biblical. The Article discussed at the beginning of this blog post is no more ‘troubling’ than saying that you can’t find anything in the NT that tells us to ‘give our hearts to Jesus’ or that you can’t find altar calls in the NT either. If there is anything that might be termed abusive it’s the OPC demanding a choice be made between the OPC and the NFCIC, however the OPC gets to set OPC rules and guidelines, and Pastor faces a decision it seems.

Charging the NCFIC of being a high-controlling and abusive group is completely without foundation, spurious and rotten to the core. Professing Christian who make such false charges bring shame upon the label ‘Christian’, if not upon the Savior they claim.

2 responses to “Family Integrated Churches

  1. I think Family Intergrated Churches are much maligned today; I think the biggest take away for me from the FIC movement is the importance of a multi-generational dynamic in the church and family

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  2. Is there any movement in the church that doesn’t have in it those who could/would abuse his/her authority? Even if there is no formal leadership structure such abuses can occur because leader/follower roles seem to develop naturally even if there are only two people. What grieves me the most is what I see in some Christian circles to condemn entire movements (although there are some ‘Christian’ cults that deserve judgment in their entirety). The homeschool and family integrated churches take huge hits at the unnamed blog I mentioned above, but they are not alone. In the end, the root problem is not the movement, but human sin. If while terrible abuses are exposed, there was also the expression of forgiveness of sin and redemption in Christ along with sympathy for victims, that blog and others like it might have a genuinely salvific purpose,

    I’ll get off my soapbox now.

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