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

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