Friday, July 27, 2007

Links to Chapter Reviews of Family Driven Faith

I realized that I had not linked back to previous chapters that I had reviewed, for those that are interested, so I added them to the last chapter I reviewed. So as to have them all in one place here again are links the chapters I reviewed in Voddie Baucham’s new book Family Driven Faith.

Chapter 1- The Lay of the Land
Chapter 2- A God with No Rivals
Chapter 3- Learn to Love
Chapter 4- Give Him Your Heart
Chapter 5- Teach the Word at Home
Chapter 6- Live the Word at Home
Chapter 7- Mark the Home as God’s Territory
Chapter 8- Enjoy the Gifts Without Forgetting the Giver
Chapter 9- The Coming Revival: Is the Church Ready for Family Driven Faith?
Chapter 10- A Radical Departure From the Norm

As I have said before, I highly recommend this book and pray that it challenges you as it has me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dog Fighting is a Choice

I have written a little on this once before but every time I hear the outrage concerning Michael Vick and the allegations of being involved in Dog fighting I cannot help but think about abortion. I hear how people think it is atrocious and even the NFL commission called it incomprehensible. But how can people think that this is so bad and look the other way on abortion? I am not saying that dog fighting is OK, it is not, and my title was just for effect but dog fighting and all it includes comes no where near what abortion is and does.

I am going to try a new question to people and see what their answer will be and if for nothing else than to maybe get them to think. How about asking what they think about Dog Fighting and all of the coverage of it in the press lately. I am pretty sure that many will find the dog fighting, and rightly so, unconscionable. But then ask them what they think of abortion. If as we are told by many that we should not intrude on abortion because it is a personal choice then so also ask “is not dog fighting”.

Also, if one were to simply try and play the unborn child is only a fetus or tissue blob card then your next comment should be that regardless of how you view the sanctity of life and if the unborn child is actually to be considered a life scientific proof has shown that at a very early stage in development the unborn child experiences pain and other sensations. The disgust from dog fighting comes from the pain and death inflicted on helpless animals, well I would say an unborn child is much more helpless and worthy of our concern. Again all of this is first and foremost to try and put abortion in a clear perspective of which those that are supposedly Pro Choice, even they do not like to use the word abortion, have successfully for the most part clouded. We as believers need to care for all life and so we should care for animals but we are to have greater care for human life which was created after the likeness of God.

Pray that even this situation can be used as a spring board for conversations that help people to see inconsistencies in their worldview. Pray also that God would use situations such as this as a means for Him to open peoples hearts to Himself.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Family Driven Faith – Chapter 10 - A Radical Departure From the Norm

Voddie ends Family Driven Faith by revealing what he feels is in the future with regards to the gathered church and the practice of Family Driven Faith. He reveals how he came to struggle with the church and the paradigm that it was and is still in. A paradigm that was not equipping parents to parent as God decrees but in reality was in many ways unhealthy for families. I would add that the paradigm of the church today has a proclivity to advertise itself as “Family Friendly” but at the end of the day is truly anything but. He also deals with what is termed “family-based” ministries and how while they are a step in the right direction there is still a gulf between what they propose and what a family-integrated ministry would propose as methods and practices of ministry.

He sets out to describe some distinctives of the Family-Integrated Church. From personal experience I have found the title. Family-integrated, is often misunderstood or misapplied so I think Voddie’s desire to set out some distinctives is a good way to end this book. The first of those distinctives is that in Family-Integrated Churches (FIC) “Families Worship Together” and this is through all age groups. While the church today sees “corporate worship being a largely adult affair” the FIC sees worship as being most glorifying to God when it is multigenerational and when families are brought together to worship rather than separated.

The second distinctive is that in the FIC there is “No Systematic Segregation.” A hallmark of the modern church is the belief that people are best ministered to by being segregated into some form of age or life situation group. The FIC seeks to keep people together simply because it is first biblical and secondly since it is biblical God uses the multigenerational aspect to help all believers grow. It is here that Voddie makes sure that he reader understands the difference between the FIC and the family-based Youth ministry and he does so not just by conjecture and observation but also by quotes from those that propose this type of youth ministry.

Thirdly, a distinctive is in seeing “Evangelism and Discipleship in and Through Homes.” This probably irks many in the modern church that has so programatized evangelism as this will sound too easy for it to be effective. But, Voddie points out that if we do not evangelize our own children we have missed our primary calling. The church needs to equip men to lead families to disciple and this would in and of itself radically change the church.

Another distinctive is the FICs “Emphasis on Education as a Key Component of Discipleship.” Voddie speaks on the fact that while the FIC is not designed for Home School families it is often a natural fit as many of the reasons people homeschool are many of the same reasons for the FIC. In this chapter he also touches on the schooling of our children and this will probably not sit well with some but I would challenge anyone that disagrees with Voddie to not only listen to what he has to say but to really listen what scripture has to say about the education of our children.

Next, Voddie gives some “Guiding Principles of the Family-Integrated Church”. First is that the FIC is to “Promote a Biblical View of Marriage and Family.” We need to head the church away from its secularization of the family and marriage and see it through God’s word and not the world’s view of things. We need to teach from scripture so that instead of families deciding how many children to have by pragmatic principles that instead the church would see children and families through God’s word.

The next principle is that the FIC needs to “Promote Family Worship/Discipleship.” For me this is the one that I, as Voddie confesses to, have been negligent of for far too long. We need to get back to seeing the training of our children to be more than simply sending them off to Sunday School but that we would take the time and effort to accept our God given responsibilities.

Thirdly is that the FIC needs to “Promote Christian Education.” As with one of the distinctives above the area of training our children in a secular world is one we take far too lightly. In some ways this can go for homeschoolers as well as often many simply school at home and not homeschool so that the motives and drives of the world are still evident even in some Christian homeschooling.

Another principle is that the FIC should “Promote Biblically Qualified Leadership.” This speaks of not just finding men that are trained and skilled in preaching and teaching but ones that also meet the requirements of eldership by having their household in order. As Voddie shares, all too often the household of the pastor is the last place that is looked at when seeking to find a leader for a church.

Voddie finishes the book by sharing what is a very important piece of information, which is that the ideas he is proposing are not new and unique. They are simply practices that have been lost over time and replaced with more pragmatic and seemingly successful models. He quotes Richard Baxter from the 1600” who says:

You are not likely to see any general reformation, till you procure family reformation. Some little religion there may be here and there; but while it is confined to single persons, and is not promoted in families, it will not prosper, nor promise future increase.

I would highly recommend this book and while at times Voddie may push a button or two I think they are buttons that need to be pushed. This is not simply a model of church to follow but a paradigm to return to. If I would have one thing to add and that would be one should not simply “do” Family-Integration” because it is novel. One should strive to be a FIC because it is biblical and what, to me, best exemplifies what God has called the church to always be.

Read and Enjoy: Family Driven Faith

Previous chapter reviews:
Chapter 1- The Lay of the Land
Chapter 2- A God with No Rivals
Chapter 3- Learn to Love
Chapter 4- Give Him Your Heart
Chapter 5- Teach the Word at Home
Chapter 6- Live the Word at Home
Chapter 7- Mark the Home as God’s Territory
Chapter 8- Enjoy the Gifts Without Forgetting the Giver
Chapter 9- The Coming Revival: Is the Church Ready for Family Driven Faith?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Piper on the Being Saved and the Gospel

Thanks to Ken Fields at The World From Our Window for pointing me to this Piper Video: What Does it mean to get saved (1:48). There is also a little longer (6:00) video below it that has Piper on the Gospel. I highly recommend reading Piper’s book God is the Gospel as it does a great job, in my opinion, of giving a biblical view of the Gospel which is so muddied by many who claim to preach it today.

What does it mean to get saved ?

Here is the longer presentation of the “The Gospel” by Piper

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Family Driven Faith - Chapter 9 – The Coming Revival: Is the Church Ready for Family Driven Faith?

Chapter 9 of Family Driven Faith is where Voddie begins to speak more on how this all comes together and reveals the struggles that taking a biblical stance on family and church can bring. He reiterates that the goal is not simply doing a few things different or even really adopting a new model of church but it is instead “a complete lifestyle and worldview overhaul.” So it is not enough to simply look at basic structures and programs and run off and change things but it takes truly seeing this as the biblical way church life is to function and taking that conviction and allowing it to be a way of life and not just a way of church.

One of the things that has struck me more lately as a family that homeschools is how many “Christian” families simply school at home rather than homeschool. By this I mean they simply see homeschooling as a way to a better education but if we see homeschooling biblically and tie it into the idea of family driven faith we should see the priority of homeschooling to be to help our children grow spiritually first and foremost with other aspects coming from this spiritual growth. This is not an easy thing to do and Voddie shares how the criticism is not simply from the unbelieving world but he shares how the church itself is often the harshest critic of those that see God’s call to family as being not only important but biblical.

Voddie than shares his struggles with finding a church that would fit the biblical model he saw it was supposed to fill. This comes from seeing church in a different light than today’s culture has changed it into. Having come to the same conclusions I can say I fully understand the dilemma he faced. In our case we have started a church but for some this may not be possible. Thus, the encouragement is that if God has called us to function a certain way as a church God will provide the means to do so. This does not mean it will be easy and that we will not have struggles but we are called to be faithfull and not necessarily to comfort.

Voddie then gives some of the flaws in the Contemporary model of church and does so in a way not so much to criticize but to awaken people to the issues at hand. As we get immersed in our culture we begin to assume certain norms and it takes a call, such as Voddie’s, to awaken us from slumber to see the problems around us. Having been a Youth Leader myself I can fully agree with what he says about the problems with current youth ministry and how whether on purpose or not it is designed to allow parents to not do the job they are called to do by God, disciple their children.

He also gives three problems he sees with the current approach ot church: 1) there is no clear biblical mandate for the current approach. 2) the current approach may actually work against the biblical model and 3) the current approach isn’t working. On each of these he does a good job explaining what the issue is so that it should be easier for someone to spot the issue when it is before them.

Voddie then speaks on the common objections to what he has to say. I too have heard these same objections and Voddie’s answers are well worth taking note of because if you move in this direction you too will be faced with such questions. These common objections are: 1) We need youth ministry for parents who don’t disciple their children 2) We need youth ministry for kids who don’t have Christian parents. 3) Why not let your children be leaders in the youth group and disciple other kids? and 4) What about youth evangelism?

Voddie ends this chapter with a short section on the Emerging/Emergent Church and while the information is only the basics it will give you an idea of the issues at hand. However I would encourage you to do more reading on this since as with most things there are varying degrees with which theses churches function and it is not as easy to understand as one might like. What I would add to this is that the modern church youth culture, in my opinion was the seedbed for the Emerging/Emergent Church. The focus on entertainment and personal gratification has fostered a biblically illiterate generation that is disgruntled with where the church is but ill equipped to change it, biblically. In the end this is not so much to blame youth leaders as much as it is to say that church leadership has failed to raise children that are equipped to see error when faced with it as the Emerging/Emergent Church all too often places does. Voddie’s goal is to show that the Emerging/Emergent Church in many ways is trying to deal with many of the same issues the modern church has created but they are heading down a road that does not have scripture as it’s guide since they do not see it as authoritative in the way God intends it to be authoritative.

This is was one of the chapters that really begins to help one see how the rubber meets the road. Voddie does not sugar coat the fact that Family Driven Faith is not an easy road to go down and that there will often be resistance and unfortunately it will be from within the church walls.

Next, Chapter 10 – A Radical Departure From the Norm

Around the Web and the Blogosphere – 7/18/07

You can download a new song for free from Sovereign Grace Ministries entitled: All I Really Need. You can also hear clips from this new album by the Father and Son duo of Mark and Stephen Altrogge.

There is a review by Colin Adams at Discerning Reader of Voddie Baucham’s new book Family Driven Faith. There is also an interview with Voddie on their site.

Also at Discerning Reader is a review of Graeme Goldsworthy’s book According to Plan which is a book I highly recommend. If you are new to the area Biblical Theology then this is a great place to start. Biblical Theology, as Goldsworthy presents it, is essentially finding Christ in all the Scriptures.

Scott at These are the Generations of….. linked to a Pastor who really said what he feels about children, Children in Church. This pastors feelings go much deeper than just “children in church” as it is more amazing all the time how far churches feel they must go to so called “reach” the world. I guess if people come in the door it does not matter how you get them there and how you keep them. Pragmatism reigns supreme in the church today.

On Voddie Baucham’s blog he has a good article: Please Stop Sending Money? The article should make us think about how we are to aid countries that are in distress. Unfortunately just as we do with education in the US we as Americans simply think that every problme can be solved by throwing money at it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Family Driven Faith - Chapter 8 - Enjoy the Gifts Without Forgetting the Giver

Many Christians live and work in this world, as if their Christianity was a low priority in life, and this world and its pleasures were all important; when indeed the things of this world are fleeting and Christianity is the one thing we need most.

John Bunyan

Voddie begins with the call by Moses in Deuteronomy 6:12 as they have been brought from slavery into the new land that they were not to forget God. The call to a family driven ministry is also a call to see things differently. As believers we are called to be in the world but not of it. However all too often believers take to one extreme or the other, total separation or total assimilation. The answer to this dilemma is to make sure that we do not get so enthralled by the gifts and blessing we receive that we neglect the giver of those gifts. That families do not fall by the wayside as a result of being enamored by worldly success.
This idea of focus on the gifts and not the giver is not the bane of the rich as it can even happen in meager surroundings as we begin to see our success in parenting as “our” success and not God’s. Often we think that if we just give our family more than we had things will be great so we give so much to our children as Voddie says:

“….our children are screaming at us from beneath the piles of untouched toys and unworn clothes begging for a few minutes of our time. Time we simply don’t have because we are too busy trying to find that one thing we can add to the pile that will make the screaming stop.”

Before we think that this issue of not spending time with family is the sole issue of the world ask how often have we have seen families, make sure we include ours, sacrificed in the name of spending time doing God’s work. Also, keep in mind I have heard the opposite reasoning used so as to justify not being involved in the local church in an integral way. Voddie gives four excuses often used to justify this behavior of a lack of family time: Other Families Suffer Worse Than Ours, My Kids Want to be Like Me, The Benefits Outweigh the Costs and Momma will fix it. In all of these reasons I think if we are honest with ourselves before God we should be convicted as in some way we all fall into these traps

The last reason is one that I think most men fall into and this is that our wives will take care of the family while we take care of the “bacon.” Well the problem is that while our wives are an integral part of raising our families we are responsible not only for the outcome but the path to that outcome.

Voddie gives a look at the path to “A Better Way” which starts with deciding what is important from a Biblical perspective. The guidelines he gives in this area are: God is Not Opposed to Prosperity, Prosperity Vs. Idolatry, Prosper as God Allows, Prioritize Family, Being a Wife and Mother Is an Honorable Calling, You Can’t Have it All….and You Don’t Need It All and Lastly A Life Invested is Never Wasted. We need to take heed of these guidelines as if we, with the best intentions, attempt to have a Family Driven Faith it will all be for nought if we do not do things as god calls for them to be done in His word.
This was one of those chapters that should not make any of us comfortable. However, it is this lack of comfort that can get us to move in the direction we need to move. We should come away from this section asking if we are not only spending adequate time with our families but are we spending God driven time. I think it is a misnomer that our children and families need quality time over a quantity of time. The truth is they need a good quantity of quality time and that time needs to be biblically directed.

Next, Chapter 9 – The Coming Revival: Is the Church Ready for Family Driven Faith?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Family Driven Faith - Chapter 7 – Mark the Home as God’s Territory

Can we honestly say our homes would be remembered as a place of worship? This is not just a matter of what it looks like but it is that and so much more. Voddie begins by speaking about his mother and her Buddhism and how the trappings of what his mother had in the house have left a lasting impression. His point is that our Christianity in the home should leave just as vivid an impression. He gives some particle advice in touching on how to involve the senses: Engaging the Eyes, Engaging the Sense of Hearing, Engaging the Sense of Taste and Smell, Engaging the Sense of Touch. Thus this chapter touches on an area, if you are like me until recently, you have not contemplated much, that of Family Worship or Family Altar.

Voddie then goes on to relate how “Family Altar”, probably a foreign word to most as it originally was to me, is a place to tie in all of the sensory aspects he has mentioned. Voddie relates a quote by Arthur Pink (1886-1952) from an article of his on Family Worship that probably sounds quite extreme to most:

It is not enough that we pray as private individuals in our closets; we are required to honor God in our families as well. At least twice each day, in the morning and in the evening the whole household should be
gathered together to bow before the Lord parents and children, master and servant to confess their sins, to give thanks for God’s mercies, to seek His help and blessing. Nothing must be allowed to interfere with this duty: all other domestic arrangements are to bend to it. The head of the house is the one to lead the devotions, but if he be absent, or seriously ill, or an unbeliever, then the wife would take his place. Under no circumstances should family worship be omitted. If we would enjoy the blessing of God upon our family, then let its members gather together daily for praise and prayer. “Them that honour Me I will honour” is His promise.

Now for most of us this would seem rather strong and we might even say this may be going too far. But, how many of us have put the same commitment called for here into other things such as sports or other activities that come no where as close to reaping the spiritual benefits Family Worship does?

Voddie does not leave the reader just knowing they need to have Family worship as he then gives some practice advice starting with: Where to Begin? (7 Steps). These seven steps are more than simply a checklist but go deeper so that the groundwork that is laid is fruitful. These steps are: Family Worship (FW) must be born of conviction, FW begins with the Head of the Household, FW must be Scheduled, FW must be Simple, FW must be Natural, FW must be mandatory, and FW must be participatory.

Voddie then moves on to the difference Family Worship will make by listing some blessing that we will observe: FW honors God, FW will draw your family closer to God, FW will draw your family closer to one another, FW will lay a foundation for Multigenerational faithfulness, FW will expose spiritual weakness in your home, FW will serve as a training ground for smaller children, and FW will make corporate worship more meaningful.

I hope as you read this book that you see that the benefits are not simply for the here and now, as they undoubtedly will be, but will greatly benefit future generations. I always remember Judges 2:10:

And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.

This verse speaks of a generation that knew little if anything of God. Not only did they not know of all He had done for their parents but they simply did not know God. If we neglect to raise our children in the “fear and admonition of the Lord” they too will grow up very much the same. I truly believe the issues we see today in the church are a result of this very thing. We need to take notice and mend our ways and return to the plan God has for our families and not simply live off of the advise others give.

Next, Chapter 8 - Enjoy the Gifts Without Forgetting the Giver

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Around the Web and the Blogosphere (7/11)

Pope Benedict XVI has some interesting comments with regards to who the true church is. Reformed Baptist Fellowship has a post on this; “Outside the church and there is no salvation” as well as a link to as article on yahoo: Pope: Other Christians not true churches. Looking at a number of blogs today this topic is on many of them. Personally I think it is good that the Pope is espousing what the Catholic church truly believes as for two long what has been said publicly often does not match the various councils decrees. At least now there is a basis for conversation and that basis is in knowing where both sides stand.

Christianity Today has an article: Gospel Riches that reveals how the property gospel has each Africa. I would have to say that anyone that has glanced at TBN should have seen this coming. Here is a quote from the article:

"[The prosperity gospel] is the most sweeping movement within the continent of Africa," says Dolan. "The African people at large in the church have bought into it hook, line, and sinker. It offers tremendous promise to an economically deprived people."

Over at Matt Bullen’s blog there is some good reading from J.C.Ryle: The duties of Christian Parents, Part1, Part 2, Part 3

As a reminder there are two Family Integrated Church conferences coming in October. The first is in Phoenix, AZ by The National Center for Family Intergraded Churches and is the “Uniting Church and Family” conference on October 12-13. The other is the First Annual FIC Conference at Grace Family Baptist Church in Houston, TX on October 26-27

Family Driven Faith - Chapter 6 – Live the Word at Home

In this chapter of Family Driven Faith Voddie delves into what for some may be a convicting topic, our call as Christians to be the one that trains our children. The chapter begins by telling us that “multigenerational faithfulness is an all-day, everyday process.” While much of this deduction comes from Deut 6 Voddie does a good job of tying this concept to the NT so as to quell those that may balk at holding to commands from the OT.

To accomplish this Voddie looks at Eph 6:1-4 , in the section entitled: Paul: A New Take on an Old Truth. For those that have heard Voddie speak on this passage before he does a god job of explaining this passage so that we do see a biblical call to train up our children and that it is not the call of others to be in charge of this training. Voddie explains from this passage three phases of training our children: Discipline & Training Phase, Catechism Phase, and the Discipleship Phase. What we need to see from this is that if you are like me you have failed to start where we should have started and in many ways suffer the consequences now. The hope comes in that it truly is never too late, it may be harder to accomplish but it is not too late. In this chapter he also touches on how easily we as Christians have turned over our understanding of child rearing to psychological “professionals” and all too often do not identify when it is contrary to scripture. In doing this he gives the example of a Christian psychologist that he would agree with on most things but in one area the person strays from scriptural commands.

In Phase 1, Discipline and Training, the goal is to foster obedience in our children. One point that is made is that the goal is not necessarily just doing what we say, which is important, but that children need to do what they are told when they are told and with a respectful attitude. How many of as parents are simply happy to see our children do what they are told? However we learn later that without training up immediate obedience and obedience with a right attitude the child will have issues in the future.

In Phase 2, Catechism Phase, the goal is to give the child not only the right information but also the right reasons and background for that information. Voddie admits that the title “Catechism” may throw people off but the truth is the way the catechisms of old were set up is very helpful in this area of training. While it is not a command of scripture to use catechisms the command it so train correctly and catechisms are a very good tool for this.

In Phase 3, Discipling Phase, the goal is to build on what has already been done so that it becomes obvious that if we, as I am guilty of, have not previously done the first two phases we have a lot of work on our hands but again it is not hopeless. It is also in this section that Voddie touches on the whole topic of education and how we as Christian parents have abdicated our role as the one primarily responsible for the discipleship phase of our child’s training. In this section on Phase 3 the subtitles of the sections deal with various aspects of the education of our children and they are: Importance of Discipleship, Education: The forgotten Key to Discipleship, Education and the knowledge of God, Education and the Great Commission, Education and Worldview Development, Education and Morality, lastly Education and Accountability.

Of all the chapters so far this is one that starts to tie things all together and at the same time may be the most convicting as if you are like me you begin to see how you may have been relying on everything but scripture for rearing your children. This is not to say as believers we do not believe scripture it simply reflects how often as Christians we have a disconnect between our beliefs and our actions, between orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Some may balk at Voddie’s take on public schools and the education of our children but I do think he deals with these objections well and if we are honest we have to admit that sending our children off to public schools is not a wise endeavor.

Next, Chapter 7 – Mark the Home as God’s Territory

Monday, July 09, 2007

Family Driven Faith - Chapter 5 – Teach the Word at Home

Family Driven Faith now begins to move towards how we affect our families faith and that begins with teaching the Word at Home. If any of you have heard Voddie speak before you know he is passionate about how easily Christians, I would add especially in the west, have abdicated their responsibility of raising their children. This is not just in the area of academics but even in the area of teaching concerning spiritual matters. We have gained a mentality that says only trained professionals should be about the business of training. This is not saying we do not learn anything from those God has gifted as teachers as obviously we do and as Voddie says he would not write this book if one was not to be taught by anyone but their parents. What he is getting at is that parents are “ultimately responsible and accountable” for the training of their children.

We can send them off to youth group and children’s church 7 days a week and at the end of the day we are responsible even if we are not involved. While not much is said of history in this chapter it is interesting that it is only a relatively new phenomenon to have youth leaders and children’s ministers who are somehow viewed as more equipped to deal with the issues that parents are called by God to deal with. But before I digress I better get back to the book.

The chapter keeps coming back to drive home the point that we as parents were not given children, yes God has given us the children we have, without equipping us to teach them and this does not mean having others do so for us. Scripture does not speak anywhere of having others train our children but speaks of it as our responsibility and a look at the landscape says we have lost sight of this. In tying together his previous chapter that dealt with having/teaching a biblical worldview Voddie says:

If giving our children a biblical worldview is the why of family driven faith, giving them biblical instruction is the what. Our worldview shapes the way we think, but learning and memorizing the Scriptures determine what we think.

In a section entitled, Home Training Basics Voddie deals with “Reading the Bible” and Q & A.” Under the section on Reading the Bible he allows scripture to speak first as to the importance of reading the Word to our families as first the “Bible is our source of wisdom” (Psalm 37:30-31), then the “Bible is our source of righteousness” (Psalm 119:11) and then the “Bible is our source of Hope” (Romans 15:4). He then gives other reasons for the reading of God’s word to our families as important, such as: It is the “very Word of God” (2 Tim 3:16), It is “God’s Primary tool in preparing us for a life of godliness and service” (2 Tim 3:17 and 2 Peter 1:3), it is “ an agent by which God conforms us to the very image of Christ” (1 Peter 1:4), and lastly “the Bible is a change agent” (Hebrews 4:12). In this section Voddie also deals with raising children that ask questions and then gives some good advice on how to answer and how to lead our children to get answers.

In this chapter Voddie also deals with the subject of books and what part they play in the life of raising children as while the Bible is to be our primary source we can use others writings to show how God has worked throughout history and in others lives. This is one place that may be hard for some in today’s age of microwave satisfaction as reading takes time and often patience but the benefits are great.

Voddie ends the chapter by reminding the reader that “Home training Takes Commitment, Time and Effort.” This is not a process that has a magic potion or as he puts it:

“There is no magic bullet when it comes to raising godly children. There is, however, a detailed road map. The Bible gives us everything we need in order to get the job done right.”

This is a chapter that not only starts to put things into practical use but it is probably the chapter where toes start to get stepped on as the actions Voddie is proposing are very contrary ot our culture and going against culture is often very difficult. The greatest reason this can be difficult is that we have all too often assimilated the culture into our biblical worldview and thus it becomes hard to differentiate between a biblical mandate and a cultural norm.

Next, Chapter 6 – Live the Word at Home

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Family Driven Faith - Chapter 4 – Give Him Your Heart

Chapter 4 of Family Driven Faith moves on to the issue of giving our heart to God and in this the idea is not simply giving our emotions to God but giving our volition and will to Him as well. The goal here is to make sure that we do not simply have families that know and feel correctly but that they have a correct basis, biblical worldview, in which to do this. Building on the previous chapter Voddie describes biblical love as the foundation and having a biblical worldview as the frame. So we need to not only have a list of what needs to be done, even if it is biblical, but we need to have a biblical framework (worldview) that drives what we do.

Voddie begins with the idea that we really need to grasp, when we move from being an unbeliever to being one of God’s family “we must not only change our allegiance but also our language and thinking.” All too often Christianity is sold as simply a life enhancement additive so that the supposed new believer sees no reason to change but that could not be further from truth. We are not only to do what God commands but to submit all areas such as our will and thinking to Him and this is a radical departure from what seems to be ever present in the western view of Christianity today.

The main emphasis of this chapter is helping people to see not only a need to change their worldview but what that looks like. Francis Schaeffer defined worldview as the “grid through which (one) sees the world” and this is a good place to start. James Sire expands on this by adding that our worldview is composed of our assumptions which are those things we just believe and others would consider strange. The last definition of world view that is given is that which Church Colson and Nancy Pearcey use; that a worldview is “the sum total of our beliefs about the world, the big picture that directs our daily decision and actions.” These definitions give a good basis for understanding the whole concept of worldview which undoubtedly many have never even given a thought too even they obviously hold one.

Voddie then answers why children need a biblical worldview as well as what the basic elements of a worldview are. He gives some statistics I have heard before but if you have not they should give cause for concern and bring to light why this topic of raising families in a biblical manner is so important.

Researcher George Barna found that less than 10 percent of self-proclaimed “born-again Christians” in America have a biblical worldview. What’s worse, he found that only half (51 percent) of America’s pastors have a biblical worldview. The Nehemiah Institute (like the Barna Group) has discovered that some 85 percent of Christian teens do not believe in the existence of absolute truth. These young people, who identify themselves as followers of Christ, believe that truth is situational and relative.

Voddie breaks a Worldview down into 5 basic elements: Our view of God, man, truth, knowledge and ethics. He then does a good job of speaking to each of these and showing how they reveal ones worldview. He does this by contrasting the conflict between Secular Humanism and Christian Theism. What is, or should be, of concern is that all too many professing Christians we meet would hold to more of a Secular Humanistic belief system than a Christian Theistic one.

Voddie then ends the chapter by making sure that we see how to separate the idea of having a correct worldview and legalism. This is important because all too many people will have a tendency to mistake the difference between the two. He makes sure that the reader understands he is not saying we should not have limits and boundaries but it is when the those limits and boundaries extend outside scripture that we enter the realm of opinion and often legalism.

These first four chapters set a good foundation and framework for what we need to do to raise our families in a manner that honors God’s call for parents. Without this frame work we will have the tendency he has already mentioned of simply setting rules for our children that while at home they may follow but when gone will quickly jettison since they have no real basis for them. We need to not only raise our children with an understanding of what God expects of them but let them see it for themselves so that in the future when faced with decisions they will innately turn to God’s word rather than to some mythical list of does and don’ts or even to simply do what ever seems culturally acceptable at the time.

Next, Chapter 5 – Teach the Word at Home

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Family Driven Faith - Chapter 3 – Learn to Love

In this chapter Voddie deals with the issue of Love and seeking to see what Biblical love is. He shares that originally the title was to be “learn to Love God” but then realized that if we only love God and not others then we really do not love God (1 John 4:20). So the title became “Learn to Love” as throughout scripture we are called to love others and this is part of showing love for God.

We need to be able to love others as well as God in such a way that our family and others have no choice but to notice it. Voddie says:

“Our homes must be rife with the aroma of love. Those who visit us should notice immediately that they have left the world of self-serving, egocentric narcissism and have entered a safe harbor where people value and esteem others above themselves. Outsiders should enter our homes and never want to leave. Our neighbors should find excuses to visit us just to get another whiff of the fragrant aroma of love. The brokenhearted should long to be near us. The downtrodden and the abused should seek us out. Families on the brink of disaster should point to us and say, “Why can’t our home be like that?””

The book then speaks about the Greco-Roman love that not only permeates the world but all too often permeates the believers understanding of love. He speaks about 4 myths that relate to this view of love: 1) Love is a Random Force, 2) Love is an Overwhelming Force, 3) Love is an Uncontrollable Force and 4) Love is a Sensual Force. These myths tend to reveal a love that is uncontrollable and random and thus create an environment that unpredictable. Also, it is shown how this form of love does not translate to relationships other than between couples as it does not say how we are to love our children or neighbors.

To contrast the Greco-Roman view of love Voddie then reveals a “Biblical Portrait of Love” using Deuteronomy 6:-5. this biblical view of love shows that first “Love is an Act of the Will.” Love is not merely an uncontrollable force but is something we think about and consciously do, “Love is a choice.” Love does not separate itself from the mind and will but uses both. The second concept is that “Love is Accompanied by Emotion.” The fact that love is a choice does not negate the emotional aspect of love. It simply says that biblical love is accompanied by emotion but is ot led by emotion. Lastly he shows how “Love Leads to Action on Behalf of its Object.” In both the OT and NT we see God’s word equates actions as demonstrations of love. In Deuteronomy (6:5-6; 7:9; 10:12; 11:1, 13, 22; 13:3-4; 19:9; 30:6, 16, 20) and in John 14:15 & 21 we see a tie between the action of following God’s commands and love for God and this is also seen in John 15:10 as well as in 1 John 2:3-4, 3:22 and 5:3.

This last part is so important and I think it ties in the whole concept of simply learning to love as it says we can not say we love God if our lives are void of true love for others. For us to learn to love God we need to also learn to love our spouses, children, neighbors and others around us.

Voddie finishes this chapter with some advantages of the “Biblical Model of Love.” These are:

The Biblical Model of Love Volitional – Since the Greco-Roman model is an uncontrollable force that the one it is forced upon has no choice in the Biblical model necessities our mind and will.

The Biblical Model of Love is Transferable – unlike the Greco-Roman model of Love which only applies to a sort of romantic love the biblical model can be used in so many ways the give glory to God

The Biblical Model of Love is Secure – Since the other form of love is fleeting and transitory the Biblical model that is rooted in God is secure. It is not, or should not, be driven but anything but God’s command to love.

The Biblical Model of Love Satisfies – the Greco-Roman model is never satisfied but since God designed us for His kind of love for the believer the love God commands is satisfying

One thing I have enjoyed and appreciated from the book is that not only does Voddie relate real stories to flesh out the point he is making he also use instances from his life to give the book a more personal nature.

Next, Chapter 4 – Give Him Your Heart

Friday, July 06, 2007

Family Driven Faith-Chapter 2 – A God with No Rivals

As the title of Chapter 2 of Family Driven Faith states we are to have a God with no rivals but just as the Israelites would all too often allow everything to rival God we need to guard against this. The point is stated by Voddie that:

A family without a commitment to the God of the Bible has no hope of stemming the tide of cultural onslaught. If we mix a little biblical truth, a little secular psychology, a little romance novel ideology, and a little eastern mysticism, we will get a deadly mixture of lies.

So it is not a matter of just caring for our families but a commitment to God needs to be at the heart of the matter. It is this commitment that we need to show and instill in our children. I know that only God can do the heart change but one of the means to this is in our leadership in this area. Children may hear our words (Orthodoxy) but if our actions (Orthopraxy) do not align they will in the end probably learn more form our actions that from our words.

Voddie shares the story of a man whose son went off to a Christian College to play baseball and shortly after going off to college he had abandoned the faith. What was learned was that this family had seen the boy’s baseball as so important that they missed worshiping God on the Lord’s Day when it conflicted with baseball. This taught the son that when it came to decisions that the Christian faith he was told about was secondary to other things so when he went off to college it was relatively easy to slide away as he had already been primed to. His parent’s commitment was reflected in the son. Voddie then shares the person issue he had with education in his family and how he and his wife had done a similar thing with education in that they had elevated it above just about all else. He shares that:

Bridget and I simply had to admit that much of what we were doing was geared toward achieving the American dream at the expense of weightier matters.

To give guidance in avoiding worshiping idols that our culture provides plenty of he uses Eph 5:15-21 and offers the following:

Watch Your Walk (vv15-16) – It is not just our words that matter, and they do, but it is also our walk that says much about what we have said. Children will inevitably not rise above our examples. This, as it is for me, should be convicting because I often have the “do as I say not as I do” mentality.

Be Good Stewards of the Time (V17) - We need to realize we have limited time with our families and we need to spend that time on what is most God glorifying and it is not going to be those things the world puts on a pedestal.

Understand God’s Will (V17) - We need to understand that our children are not ours but they belong to God and thus we should strive to want God to tell us what to do with our children instead of us telling Him.

Constantly Yield to God’s Spirit (V18) – We need to show our children that at all times we seek after God so Voddie offers some practical times we should display this ; Mealtimes, Times of Crisis and Special Occasions as well as on special trips.

Order Your relationships by the Book (V21) - We need to display proper relationships to our children and Voddie offers 3 reason. First as parents our job is to “get our children grown and gone.” Thus we need to prepare them for future relationships so they get their relationship priorities correct. Second, the marriage is the foundation upon all the other aspects of family life. To accomplish this the husband and wife need to spend time together. Marriage also “sets the tone for discipline in the home.” The submission the verse calls out for needs to be seen so that our children understand the God directed call for submission, biblical submission. Lastly, as our children will likely be married someday they need to understand how the relationship is to work in the context of the family.

Next Chapter 3 – Learn to Love

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A Layman's Guide to Church Planting

I was led by the Founders Blog to a series by Dr. Stan Reeves on the Reformed Baptist Fellowship site regarding church planting. He has posted part 1 of a 7 part series entitled: A Layman’s Guide to Church Planting – Part 1: Cultivate the Characteristics of an Effective Lay Leader . Being part of a church plant I am very interested in what he has to say over the coming weeks. While I may have been an Associate Pastor for some time church planting is new for me and something I would have never guessed God would have me do if you asked me even 8 months ago.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Family Driven Faith - Chapter 1

I just got Voddie Baucham's new book Family Driven Faith and will be giving a chapter by chapter review and synopisis over the next few weeks. Voddie also has a Family Diven Faith web site.

Chapter 1 - The Lay of the Land

Do we as Christian parents all too often look at the world through the lens of the world? Voddie puts forth that instead of asking the question “Do you know where your children are?” we should be asking “Do we know where our children are spiritually?” He relates how in his travels he speaks to youth brought up in Christian homes but often they are either not regenerate to begin with or are simply not brought up with a well grounded Christina perspective.

The tile of the first chapter, The Lay of Land, sets out to make sure we see truly where we are as a people. We see that often the priorities of the world invade the lives of Christian families and we take on those same priorities. We see our work, wealth and well being as primary over God and the family and thus get things backwards. Yes God does come before family but in the end if we ignore the command to care for our families in a biblical manner we in essence also ignore God.

Voddie uses the analogy of having a Wide Screen or Full Screen view of the world and that the average person has a Full Screen view. The point being that in Wide Screen movies there are black bands on the top and bottom and people think they are missing something but in reality it is the Wide Screen view that reveals the full picture. In today’s families people are all too afraid that their families may miss something if they are not involved in every extracurricular activity available. So, we make sure our kids are involved in every sport and every other activity that appears to give them a full life but in reality this does not do this and instead will limit time to experience the life as God desires.

Voddie, in this chapter also touches on areas such as a misguided view of education (Making the Grade), sports and extracurricular activities (Making the Team) and even wrong views on dating (Making Time). He then moves onto some aspects of the world that even Christians have assumed such as having an attitude that creates an Anti-Marriage and Anti-Child culture. The sad part is that scripture speaks of the blessing of children but how many professing Christians see children as a hindrance to advancement and any number of other things. This may be the attitude of the world but it is not to be the biblically directed attitude of believers if we truly believe God’s word is our source of direction. Unfortunately Christians have abdicated their source of direction to the world and have followed the lead of the world we are to change. The result is we are changed by the world than the other way around.

He ends the chapter with this:

"There are many worthwhile pursuits in this world, but few of them rise to the level of training our children to follow the Lord and keep His commandments. I desperately want my sons and daughters to walk with God, and I am willing to do whatever it takes, whatever the Bible says I must do in order to be used by God as a means to that end. My prayer for you is that God would awaken in you that same passion. Something tells me He already has."

Next, Chapter 2 – A God with No Rivals

AIG at NEA Conference

Answers in Genesis (AIG) has a booth at the National Educators Association (NEA) conference in Philadelphia (June 30 – July 5th). Think of it, in the midst of this conference for educators in the public schools is a booth with the title “Evolution Exposed.” You can go to their site ( Evolution Exposed: NEA Outreach Blog ) where they are blogging from the conference and there is lots of audio about what has been going on there. They even handed out surveys to fill out to win prizes, see here for what the survey asked, remember this is a survey handed out a Public school educators conference.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Christianity, Hijacked by the American Dream

How often do you hear the hopes and dreams of those in the church sound strangely similar to those of the world? Families hope their children have a good education so they can get a good job and a better life than they had. They also hope, and if time permits pray, that their children do not commit crimes or have premarital sex but if they do succumb to temptation that they are protected. The standards of many in the church mirror the best the world hopes for and even that standard of hope is falling as the bar is lowered more and more every day.

Is this what we are to aspire to for our families? Does education, moral living and a good job say anything at all about our faith. Have we allowed the American Dream to hijack Christianity and in essence be allowed to commingle just as the many foreign gods and belief systems were allowed to commingle with the Israelites. Scott over at These are the generations of…. continues to write on Multigenerational Faithfulness and touches on how we are to regain what God intended.

I know at times I tend to see these issues and write on the problems and even offer up solutions. However, at the root of all of this is that I need to raise my family in a way that is Christ exalting and God honoring. And where do we learn how to do this, well in that place that people seem to neglect to look, God’s Word. While I read as much as most I know that the extra reading is simply to see how God has revealed spiritual truths to others but at the end of the day it is God’s word that defines how we are to live.

We are a people that are often quick to claim the Bible as the inspired word of God but when issues arise we turn to Oprah, Dr. Phil and every other Thomas, Richard and Harold but neglect the one source that is infallible, the Word of God. We have become so complacent in searching out what God would have us do that when we have to have answers we have no idea where to turn and even if one does turn to the Bible we do not know how to discern what it says.

So let us commit to be faithful to the word of God and in the power of the Holy Spirit raise our families as God directs in His word. From there we should commit to being part of Christian communities that do likewise and over time the look of Christianity can be restored and rescued from the world.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Around the Web and Blogosphere (7/01)

For those of you have spent time on the web you may have found that the doctrine of Penal Substitution has been under attack, particularity by those that hold to the “New Perspective on Paul (NPP). Well here is a site that has articles on the subject: Pierced for Our Transgressions.

Jim over at Old Truth has an article on the issue of patriotism in the church: Will You Be Setting Up Asherah Poles on The 4th? I do not think the issue is whether a Christian should be patriotic or not but where ones ultimate allegiance lies and how that shows itself in the life of the church. As American believers all too often the line between patriotism and being a Christina is blurred so much so that we have statistics that say America is 85% or more Christian. I would have to say if this statistic, which is sometimes a little higher or lower, was true we would be an entirely different nation than we presently are and such things as the issues of abortion would not be an issue. We need to make sure that while we are to pray for and honor our leaders we can not let this cloud our judgment when it comes to our true allegiance, to God.

Along the same lines there is a review of a new book called: Jesus Made in America that going by the review touches on an area that has always bothered me and that is the commercialization and Americanization of Christ. The review says at one point:

"What's fascinating about this book is that it shows how American Christians have been domesticating, commodifying and otherwise trivializing our Lord from the historical outset."

Does it not bother anyone else at the things we in the west will make and by that I am pretty sure Christ would have cursed many a “Christian Bookstore” with what is sold and peddled as “Christian”. I can not speak to the book but it does sound like it should give us something to think about.

There is a debate between Dr. Albert Mohler and Orson Scott Card on: Are Mormon’s Christian? It will be interesting to read how this goes because it would not have been too long ago that Mormon’s would have been arguing as to whether “Evangelicals” were Christian instead of simply wanting to sit at the same table.

Over at Against Heresies there is an interview with Mark Dever: The Faithful Pastor and the Faithful Church: an interview with Mark Dever