Family Integrated Church Movement

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Esther W.

Puritan Board Freshman
I've come out of churches that have the youth programs. My family has been in an integrated worship service for 3 months now (with age-appropriate Sunday School before the service) and I will never put them back in a youth program.

Rom, et.al.,

I am glad to hear that. It does seem the majority on this thread believe that age-segregated (appropriate--I like that usage) Sunday school is, well, appropriate. Presumably if used rightly and in a church that fosters parental authority.

But what do the readers think about:
a) The "desert island test"
b) That family-integrated churches and homeschoolers are "almost by definition" part of a revival?

thanks again for reading my essay,

I'm sorry pastor Shawn for my late arrival and ignorance into this debate-but what is the "dessert test"? Having read through different articles on your blog I was so relieved to read the practical, thoroughly biblical, common sense of them.

On Home Schooling: I public educated my kids; home schooled them; private schooled them-and used various public programs in educating them- I even founded 2 public programs that allowed parents who wanted more structure to assist them in home based education. I have experienced well meaning, but nonetheless legalistic families who openly fought against programs I started/supported. They have directed at me, sometimes fierce hostility, at public policy meetings. I have witnessed first hand how disapproval directed at anyone who did not tow the home school line, has had tragic consequences on fellow believers, who are over burdened with guilt because they did not home school. So my proverbial hat is off to you for this much needed discussion.
 

Shawn Mathis

Puritan Board Sophomore
Esther,

This thread started with my short paper on the family integrated church movement. Here is part of the issue:

"In his lecture about the history of Sunday schools, the founder and current board member, Mr. Phillips, declares these schools a “modern invention without biblical and historical precedent—period.” He also asserts that today’s church has “ . . . an entirely new hierarchy of social groups based on age: . . . dayschools . . . adolescence . . . PMS for women of certain age . . . these are all variations of evolutionary hellish thinking.”[3] Mr. Phillips claims that such special-interest thinking resulted from Greek thinking (youth and efficiency) instead of Hebraic thinking (discipleship and relationships). In fact, the “modern classroom . . . is a distinctly Greek and pagan approach to education”—an approach initiated by the Devil himself.[4]"

Part of his reasoning against comprehensive age-segregation is the following:
“[If all you had was the Bible on a desert island] . . . would you naturally conclude that you should fragment children along age-groups and put them in grade-based classroom . . . would you see a foundation . . . would you see a pattern, would there be any ground, any refuge in God’s Word that leads you to mimic this approach?”[5]

Hope that helps.
 

Esther W.

Puritan Board Freshman
Esther,

This thread started with my short paper on the family integrated church movement. Here is part of the issue:

"In his lecture about the history of Sunday schools, the founder and current board member, Mr. Phillips, declares these schools a “modern invention without biblical and historical precedent—period.” He also asserts that today’s church has “ . . . an entirely new hierarchy of social groups based on age: . . . dayschools . . . adolescence . . . PMS for women of certain age . . . these are all variations of evolutionary hellish thinking.”[3] Mr. Phillips claims that such special-interest thinking resulted from Greek thinking (youth and efficiency) instead of Hebraic thinking (discipleship and relationships). In fact, the “modern classroom . . . is a distinctly Greek and pagan approach to education”—an approach initiated by the Devil himself.[4]"

Part of his reasoning against comprehensive age-segregation is the following:
“[If all you had was the Bible on a desert island] . . . would you naturally conclude that you should fragment children along age-groups and put them in grade-based classroom . . . would you see a foundation . . . would you see a pattern, would there be any ground, any refuge in God’s Word that leads you to mimic this approach?”[5]

Hope that helps.

Got it-thanks.

I have one thought that comes instantly to mind to his desert island question- For worship no- for other activities yes, I might.
 

Shawn Mathis

Puritan Board Sophomore
Having read through different articles on your blog I was so relieved to read the practical, thoroughly biblical, common sense of them.

Thank you.

I public educated my kids; home schooled them; private schooled them-and used various public programs in educating them

In my research, my own experience and others testimonies, I think this happens more than many homeschooling leaders would know. Homeschooling is a tool, an option, for many parents (sometimes the only option!). With the rise of distant learning (virtual academies, etc.) the definition of homeschooling is being stretched, which is a good thing in general.
 

Shawn Mathis

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have witnessed first hand how disapproval directed at anyone who did not tow the home school line, has had tragic consequences on fellow believers, who are over burdened with guilt because they did not home school.

Esther, and others,

This is exactly why I began my journey into the study of homeschooling and Christian nurture four years ago. People were claiming (and hearing from many self-proclaimed homeschooling leaders) that if they want godly families and saved children they should follow the old paths: homeschool like early America! family-integrate your church!

Historically they have no leg to stand on. For instance, I've heard it said (usually by innuendo): "Want another Patrick Henry? Homeschool!" Talk about laying on the guilt! Patrick Henry was not homeschooled. See my Famous Homeschoolers in History...?

That is just the tip of the iceberg. They don't even tell you that early American culture was predominately Calvinistic. So, I encourage you and other to pass around my articles directly challenging these historical errors such as A Very Short History of Christian Education--all documented of course!

And speaking of guilt, some of these leaders want that guilt: "Of course, my prayer is that every family would homeschool from birth. If that's not you, my prayer is that you will homeschool from now on. It may require difficult changes. It may require the awkward work of repenting to your wife and to your children for how you have abdicated your responsibility." R. C. Sproul, Jr. (p.133, When You Rise Up)
 

Esther W.

Puritan Board Freshman
I have witnessed first hand how disapproval directed at anyone who did not tow the home school line, has had tragic consequences on fellow believers, who are over burdened with guilt because they did not home school.

Esther, and others,

This is exactly why I began my journey into the study of homeschooling and Christian nurture four years ago. People were claiming (and hearing from many self-proclaimed homeschooling leaders) that if they want godly families and saved children they should follow the old paths: homeschool like early America! family-integrate your church!

Historically they have no leg to stand on. For instance, I've heard it said (usually by innuendo): "Want another Patrick Henry? Homeschool!" Talk about laying on the guilt! Patrick Henry was not homeschooled. See my Famous Homeschoolers in History...?

That is just the tip of the iceberg. They don't even tell you that early American culture was predominately Calvinistic. So, I encourage you and other to pass around my articles directly challenging these historical errors such as A Very Short History of Christian Education--all documented of course!

And speaking of guilt, some of these leaders want that guilt: "Of course, my prayer is that every family would homeschool from birth. If that's not you, my prayer is that you will homeschool from now on. It may require difficult changes. It may require the awkward work of repenting to your wife and to your children for how you have abdicated your responsibility." R. C. Sproul, Jr. (p.133, When You Rise Up)


RC Jr and I exchanged a few brief emails back in 2002, regarding Patriarchy and its divisiveness, which included the idea that home schooling was a biblical practice. It is my contention that if home schooling is a good fit for you and your family it is a worthy endeavor. Things, that make it a bad fit, range from financial ability to emotional ability and all kinds of circumstances in between and or coupled together. Some women are just simply not emotionally equipped to home school-honest statement for you husbands out there. If your wife does not believe she can do this-protect her by supporting an alternative to home schooling. The guilt and self loathing that women can experience because they can't be as "holy" as their counterparts is tragic. I was a member of a local body that saw families leave over the teachings of Patriarchy happening outside the church by some families. It presents itself as pious and godly-and in a practical sense it is-but when it is used as a bully pulpit it becomes a tool of Satan. To say that scripture teaches that parents must home school their children is not in evidence. It is a preference that can benefit, but as I have also seen, it can have bad results too.
 
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Shawn Mathis

Puritan Board Sophomore
Esther,

I agree that there are many factors involved in the private decisions of parents about how best to educate their children--no less an old-school, hard-nosed conservative Presbyterian, Dabney, agreed as much.

The good thing about Sproul Jr. is that he publicly states this legalistic position whereas the likes of Mr. Phillips and others use different language that points in the same direction:

"Most men are gripped by fear. They fear the loss of job security. They fear the unknown. They fear the opinions of others. This fear prevents many fathers from beginning home education — the educational approach most consistent with both the methodology and goals of education as articulated in Scripture. This fear prevents other fathers from making lifestyle changes which will allow them to spend more time walking beside their children, as God commands...Methods are not neutral. The rise of the home education movement is not merely a response to the failure of government education; it is an affirmation of a distinctively Biblical approach to both the methods and the objectives of Christian education." Vision Forum about page, online.

The more people like you and others know these views, the more quickly they can lose their public positions as homeschooling leaders.
 

Shawn Mathis

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hello all,

Below are some follow up articles about family-integrated churches. I think those strongly in favor of this movement may find much common ground with the first article:

1. Uniting Church and Family (weswhite.net)

2. A Weed in the Church: A Review (this is a short book review of Mr. Brown's new book (he is president of the NCFIC)) This should be a must read (unless you want to read the whole book) for those looking for more nuance out of the movement.

3. An extended analysis of the claims of Mr. Phillips (at examiner.com where I write as the Denver Christian Perspective writer [pastors should look into examiner.com for their city]).

4. More articles here.

For peace and unity in the church,
 
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