Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Pendulum is Swinging Too Far

Almost two years ago when we were looking for a new church home, we found two extremes: churches with children's classes with fun and games that rivaled Chuck E Cheese, with church bulletins that made it clear that children were unwelcome in the service; and churches whose entire focus was family driven. On the one extreme, the church mirrors the world's view of children- that they are a burden and adults shouldn't have to be bothered with wiping their child's nose when they are worshiping the Lord in song. Church for children is all about fun.
Biblically, we see no examples of segregating families to worship. But in our attempt to solve this problem and agree in action that our children are a blessing and a gift of God, many churches have eclipsed the gospel with family. Family is important. My children are one of the most valuable tools of my sanctification, but the family unit is not more important than Christ. Our focus should be Christ, not simply family.
The pendulum is swinging too far.


heartchild said...

Wow, Ginger! You hit the nail on the head. Thank you.

Edward and Gretchen said...

I disagree 100 percent. I think the family is central to the the christian faith. It is the passing on from one generation to the next that God instituted throughout scripture. I think Voddie speaks so strongly as a family advocate because families are being destroyed by both secular and church culture that marginalizes our youth and their faith. We need MORE people of faith to refute the ridiculous notion that sending them off to the"youth pastor" is the answer to their rebellious woes.

Ginger, I really don't get you on this. On one hand you're the 15p parent with the "children are a blessing not a burden" bumper sticker and on the other talking critically about one of the strongest voices in modern church culture who is speaking out for family.

If we spray paint our kids gold, stick them on a pedestal while bowing down giving alms, we have gone too far, but this is not what is being advocated.


Ginger said...

You said you disagree 100%.
I said:
"Family is important."
You disagree with that?
I said:
"My children are one of the most valuable tools of my sanctification, but the family unit is not more important than Christ."
So, you believe the family IS more important than Christ? Or do you disagree that our children are used by God to sanctify us?
I said:
"When pastors start blogging exclusively about the need for Christians to get out of the public school system, we have lost our focus."
So, do you really think a pastor who isn't preaching the gospel or even reminding us that we should be preaching the gospel is on target? Since you are naming names, Mr. Baucham is an excellent homeschool speaker. But as a pastor, his focus really should be Christ, not homeschooling. People go to hell because they don't know Christ, not because they weren't homeschooled. And you know that I wholeheartedly believe in homeschooling.
I said:
"Our focus should be Christ, not simply family."
So you're saying our focus should not be Christ, but we should only focus on family?
Seriously, think about what you're saying when you say you disagree 100%.

I've never seen anyone paint their house gold, bow down to it, or offer sacrifices to it, but you and I both know that MANY suburbanites treat their McMansions like idols.
Likewise, I've never seen anyone bow down to their children, but there are many who elevate their children above Christ.
Your hyperbole is not helpful in this case.

I do not disagree with what Mr. Baucham stands for, as far as family and homeschooling. But I do desperately want Christ to remain central to all we do. Family alone will not save us.

L Harris said...

I am a homeschooling mom.

I send my children to children's church.

I want my children in the service with me, but don't have enough support to pull it off at this time.

I do not want my children in the public school system, but I do know that others have been called by God to be a light in that dark world.

I believe and agree that Christ and HIS MESSAGE need to be central.

Homeschooling or not is not the issue.

Family is not the issue.

Where is OUR FOUNDATION? Our foundation needs to be CHRIST!


Jamie Wooddell said...

I don't believe that Voddie has eclipsed Christ with family. I think his ministry is all about saving generational faith. I'm sure in his church they aren't preaching each Sunday about families getting out of public school. They are teaching the gospel to whole families. Not just adults who will leave it at the doorstep. Voddie's ministry is for the Christians of today to step up and take action. He is calling all parents to treat their role as seriously as the Lord meant it to be. There are many "ministries" that focus on different spiritual needs. That doesn't mean that Christ isn't at the core of the ministry. Baucham wants families to put Christ first. Not Christians to put family first. There's a difference.

Edward and Gretchen said...

If Voddie's standards were less stringent regarding who they place on their recommended "family church" list, I don't think you would have written this post and hence having this discussion. I disagree 100 percent with your critical tone, not every word or comment you made.
I thought I found a perfect church once too, but then I joined it and messed everything up.

I think your assessment of him as "not a great pastor" is a very judgmental comment. Have you ever been to one of his services?

While preaching salvation may feel like a more effective way to win the lost, I think Doug Phillips and Voddie may disagree and say that changing the culture by raising up strong and godly leaders is a more effective approach. But hey, guess what, the God of this universe is big enough for both. And while you may prefer to pass out tracts, and I may witness though acts of service/kindness, and Voddie through influencing a return to the Biblical principle of family; God is honored by all.

It is called diversity.

Susan said...

Right on, Ginger! I can't believe you had the guts to say this!

Ginger said...

I'm not only talking about Voddie here fyi. But regarding him, I'm referring to his ministry newsletter and his blog, not his church.

Ginger said...

I don't want this discussion to be all about Voddie. That misses the point entirely. His newsletter is just a good example of this.

When you said: "I'm sure in his church they aren't preaching each Sunday about families getting out of public school. They are teaching the gospel to whole families."

you're making a really big assumption here. How can you possibly be so sure what they are or aren't preaching?
I'm just sayin'.

Ginger said...

Ed, (not responding in order, sorry guys!)

I apologize if I had a critical tone. You say you tho't you'd found the perfect church once, which I assume is an insinuation that I think I have found the perfect church. There is no such thing this side of heaven and my own church is testimony to the fact. ;) It is full of flawed sinners saved by grace.
I did not say Mr. Baucham was not a great pastor. Your quotes make it appear as I said that. I did not and I do not think that. He is a very dynamic speaker and I agree with what he has to say. My only concern is that all leaders in the Vision Forum/Family Driven circles keep the focus on Christ and not get sidetracked by family issues alone.
As far as what Doug Phillips or Voddie Baucham would define as effective evangelism, I really don't care. (And please don't read sarcastic tone in that. I'm not being sarcastic.) I respect both men, truly I do, but only God's definition of evangelism concerns me.
He says we are to preach the gospel. Our children are definitely our first disciples in this, but they are not the only ones. They simply can't be. Compassion for the lost begs that we reach beyond our family unit.

Kyle said...

Wow! What a fruitless rabbit trail this has turned into.

Let’s get back to the original post. While family is important, it should not be the main focus of any ministry. That’s all Ginger was trying to say. It’s just that simple. We see this in the ministry of Jesus in Matt 12: 47-49 “And someone said to Him, Behold, your mother and your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You. But He answered the one who was telling Him and said, Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” (Ed, you’ll notice my appropriate use for quotes here. :-) ) OR Matt 10:37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

Amber in the City said...

I see what you're saying G. We must be careful to follow Christ and not a movement or a person.

Kellie said...

Hard words. But very true. Christ is our priority, not the family He gives us. God gave us children to teach them to follow Him. It's all about HIM!