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FIC Elder talks with Reformed Pastor

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by southkogs, Nov 10, 2011.

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  1. southkogs

    southkogs Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks Pastor Mathis for this dialogue. For me more than anyone else, I'm convinced it will be a blessing.

    Hi all, my name is Erik I had run across another thread where Pastor Mathis was talking with Mr. Wolfe. I saw it had fizzled out, and after reading several of Pastor Mathis' articles was intrigued by the conversation. I decided to ask if we could pick it back up.

    I've posted a brief introduction here:http://www.puritanboard.com/f20/howdy-yall-70994/

    And I've posted an overview of my own church here: http://www.puritanboard.com/f117/fic-tennessee-ha-even-rhymes-70995/#post908856

    By looking at those two things you can get a snapshot of the premise I start from. Along with that, I'll also say that I can really only answer questions from the basis of myself and my church. I have experience with Voddie Baucham and Scott Brown (as in met and had conversations with), and am familiar with guys like Doug Phillips, Doug Wilson and Kevin Swanson (to name a few). I can't speak for them as a whole.

    Also, through some preliminary contact with Pastor Mathis, I am confident that this can be a fun dialogue even in disagreement. Things can get spirited certainly, but I'll probably back away from arguing too much.

    So - to kick this off:

    Pastor Mathis, you are critical of the FIC movement (though gracious). If there is one criticism that stands out as a primary for you, what might that big (or perhaps first) one be?
     
  2. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Freshman

    In 2009 I was asked to review some tapes from a homeschooling leadership conference. Many of the speakers were FIC leaders. I sat down and talked with an Elder that attended and explained my concerns. Besides the obvious helpful reminders of fatherhood, etc., there was little to no Gospel message. The audience included the wide spectrum of homeschooling. The Elder responded that he overheard some Adventists ask each other the meaning of a new word, 'Reformed.'

    If that is the extent of the Gospel message presented to a dying Evangelical culture, then the FIC is in trouble. The Pew and Barna numbers (as well as Reformed pastors' and laymen's experience) show an abysmal church and homeschoolers and FICs are no exception. If the Gospel has been clearly present more recently, good. But the confession does not have the Gospel as an explicit solution. If it did, Adventists could not sign it along side Calvinists. Calling it a revival (like Mr. Phillips and others do) changes nothing.

    Are youth-oriented, programmatic “ministries” a problem? Yes. Do fathers need to take their duties seriously? Yes. And this movement is a needful reminder of these facts. But there is a greater problem that is harming youth and families alike: a soil of widespread ignorance of the Gospel. The basic truths of Christianity are needed in the churches.

    [My research has focused on the organization and leadership of the NCFIC. So what I write may or may not be accurate for the rest of the FIC movement. However, those churches that signed the NCFIC confession will necessarily be partially and implicitly critiqued by my work.]
     
  3. southkogs

    southkogs Puritan Board Freshman

    - I'm assuming that you mean the NCFIC Confession, correct? If so, I would say that our church (and I) have never taken this confession to be a complete confession of faith (like the Westminster or LBC). Rather it's an explanation of the relationship of the family and the church. I believe that would be consistent with NCFIC's view of it as well. On their site they say the confession "explains [NCFIC's] understanding of the necessity of harmony between the separate jurisdictions of church and family."

    While perhaps shortsighted in doing so, I think the confession presumes the Gospel. The reason that I say that is because my experience with the NCFIC and several of the more prominent voices from the FIC movement has always been Gospel focused. Why presume the Gospel? Because the focus of NCFIC's mission is methodology within the church, rather than evangelism of the lost.

    Your point of the paramount position of the Gospel is well taken, and I have to say that I believe I'm in full agreement with you. In fact, there is a particular danger within family integrated churches to focus so much on "family" that crude legalism casts a shadow over the light of the Gospel, the foundations of good theology and a Biblical model for worship.

    At least in the case of our own church, the Pew and Barna research (and I would add some of the work Ken Hamm has recently produced) that you mention are a driver in why we've chosen the methodology we have. The modern iteration of the church as we know it is a disastrous mess on the overall, and we have tried to step back from it and re-examine the Biblical mandates for worship, discipleship, fellowship, benevolence and evangelism.

    As to Doug Phillips calling it a revival: I've heard Doug say that, and I've also heard him say that God is the one who brings revival - not men. I don't know Doug, and have never personally talked with him. I have heard Kevin Swanson do an excellent job suggesting that the tenor in America right now is (in at least his estimation) similar to what the colonies were like in the late 1600's. What followed that was the Great Awakening, and he offered the hope that perhaps God is doing something that will be VERY significant. We can all hope, pray and watch, right?

    If you could be assured of a FIC that had a good grasp on the Gospel (and preached it consistently), taught sound doctrine (reformed even!) and had a firm confessional footing (London Baptist Confession, Westminster Confession, etc.) - would the methodology itself be problematic for you?
     
  4. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Freshman

    Erik,

    You state: "the focus of the NCFIC's mission is methodology within the church, rather than evangelism of the lost."

    That is exactly the problem. The church herself needs to hear the Gospel. Note the introduction to the NCFIC confession (printed almost in full for the sake of other readers):

    "Therefore, the biblical order and unity of the family are crucial to the stability and health of the Church of Jesus Christ. In light of this, we recognize that the family—and especially fathers—are the focus of a fierce and unrelenting attack by the world, the flesh, and the Devil. This has escalated to the point that Christians must rise up in defense of the church and family in uncompromising biblical defense.

    Rather than helping in this battle, church leadership has sometimes unwittingly contributed to the problem...Lack of understanding and even unfaithfulness to God’s Word in our pulpits have contributed to the decline of biblical Christianity and the dissolution of the family in our churches. The minimizing of scriptural authority in the church leads to unbiblical practices. This in turn leads to the perversion of the biblical roles of men and women, the destruction of our children, and the collapse of our society. Traditions, which have originated in the minds of devils and fallen men, are counterfeits to God’s authority. False doctrines derived from Darwinism, Marxism, Feminism, Secular Humanism, Psychology, and countless other unbiblical sources, have emerged from a society that has discarded Divine Revelation and have contaminated or replaced God’s standards in many professing churches of the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the bitter fruits of this is the fragmentation of the family.

    We believe that the only resolution to this problem is repentance and reformation. We must confess our failures, reject the traditions of men, and wholeheartedly return to God’s revelation for the establishment and nurture of the family in loving obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church. Our fervent prayer is that our God will raise up Spirit-filled, Christ-centered, family-integrated assemblies from the ashes of our man-centered, family fragmenting churches."

    Note:

    1. It rightly explains the importance of the family as a unit within the church. The church needs (on one level) strong families.
    2. It rightly is concerned with the relationship between the church and family.
    3. It rightly points to false practices and doctrines in the church that have adversely affected the family.
    4. It wrongly omits the families and parents fault in propagating and/or encouraging said deficiencies.
    5. It wrongly omits the lack of the Gospel as being the root problem in many churches (the point of the Barna numbers I referenced) [this does not mean other problems are not a concern, such as those highlighted by the movement].
    6. It rightly asserts that the "only resolution to this problem is repentance and reformation."
    7. It wrongly omits the Reformed Gospel as central to that reformation.
    8. This gross omission is further amplified by the last sentence: "raise up Spirit-filled, Christ-centered, family-integrated assemblies..." [This description can be descriptive of the Reformed Gospel but only to the initiated].

    The last point leads to a question I will pose (before I forget!) but do not expect an answer just yet: do you have the same prayer as in #8? Or can my church (with responsibly used age-segregated Sunday school) be part of said reformation?

    This issue is not an aside but germane: if the problem is misdiagnosed then the solution will be. The problem is the wrong Message in the church not fundamentally a wrong method.

    I will respond more fully to the rest of your observations and question. I do get long-winded but this whole movement include many other issues than mere methodology.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
  5. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Freshman

    Erik,

    I am glad. However, I think the point is not well taken by many others. And I think that may be the difference between myself (and a host of others) and the NCFIC: Evangelicals need to hear the Gospel first. I think a mixed audience of Evangelicals should not be told they are part of some movement of God since they have no Reformed Gospel. Consider:

    Mr. Phillips: “You men are here and you represent what I believe is one of the most important things happening in the world today...We are living at one of the most remarkable internal reformations of the last 200 years.” [4.30", 27" A Vision for the Family, 2009 Summit]

    Mr. Swanson: “This is my vision for where we are headed by the year 2050…I’d say we are half-way into this modern reformation where God has renewed the hearts of fathers and turned them back to the sons. This is a mighty reformation. It is happening. I travel the nation; I testify to you it is happening. Unlike anything I’ve seen in the 1960s, 70s, 80s. God is doing something. God’s Spirit is working...There is hope for the salvation of Western Civilization and the Christian Faith because of home education." [35", 51" Closing statements, 2009 Summit]

    If you are comfortable with this hyped optimism about homeschooling/FIC then we certainly are not on the same page about the importance of the Gospel. In those lectures to over 400 men (yes, even Adventists) the Reformed Gospel was not central. It was all about fixing families with a method (supposed commanded by God?) before fixing their message.

    My Presbyterian ancestors would roll in the grave hearing that. Proof? During the Second Great Awakening the General Assembly of 1809 asserted:

    “In those parts of the church, without exception, in which vital religion has flourished, in the course of the last year, the fundamental doctrines of the gospel; viz. the total depravity of human nature, the divinity and atonement of Jesus Christ, justification by his imputed righteousness, the sovereignty and freeness of divine grace, and the special influences of the Holy Spirit in the regeneration and sanctification of sinners have been decidedly received and honoured.”

    I strongly believe your Reformed Baptist fathers would agree.

    And when given a chance to articulate the number one problem with current Evangelical pastors Dr. Baucham stated:

    "But what is the root of the [youth] problem? What is the root of the problem? I want to look at it from the angle of a pastor: 1. Pastoral laxity—number one root cause of this problem.” [6.30", The Battle for Faith and Family, 2009 Summit.

    I couldn't disagree more. I see the problem differently (little Gospel, too much legalism and antinomianism) and so see the solution differently for the average Evangelical family with youth problems.

    I hope and pray for a Revival and Reformation as powerful or more than the First. And that will start with changing the belief of hundreds of thousands of Evangelicals.

    The fact that Mr. Phillips publicly stated that God brings revivals means nothing because I believed that before I was Reformed. Please, just step back: you hear Reformed because you already know they are. But if you are not Reformed and you hear this it sounds different. When the Reformed Gospel is articulated clearly, people will be offended as a rule.

    As for Mr. Swanson liking this time-period to the late 1600s (more like 1700s since the First Awakening was 1739 as I recall), I am quite flabbergasted. At that time, anyway, the Reformed faith was dominate in the Colonies. Not always vibrant to be sure but doctrinally sound overall in spite of their imperfections. Nothing like today's church.

    Even granting this weak analogy, offering hope to an audience full of non-Reformed people without calling for repentance from a false Gospel first is ineffectual at best (if such was his audience as it was at the 2009 Summit).


    The Pew and Barna studies I referenced were not about youth problems but the gross ignorance about Biblical truth among Evangelicals and homeschoolers alike. Perhaps you are suggesting that the FIC method offers a better chance at doctrinal fidelity? That has not been my experience. And we can discuss that later.

    I will give part 3 in the next answer to keep issues separate.

    thank you for your patience,
     
  6. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Freshman

    Erik,

    Thank you for your patience as I get to your next formal question:

    The short answer is: no. Not if the method is used in the context of Christian liberty and not assumed as a command of God.

    The long answer is: maybe. In the abstract it is allowable; in the concrete it depends on the churches and families involved.

    That is the nature of Christian liberty. That and the importance of families to learn from the ordain leadership of the church. God has not made the family an island unto itself (I think you would agree; I know Mr. Phillips does too). And that fact (e.g., 1 Cor. 12, etc.) coupled with Titus 2:3ff. means it is OK for someone else to teach our children. Even Mr. Brown agrees with me (almost, here).

    Delegation does not mean abdication. Some of the FIC leaders allow for delegation. Unfortunately, my research does not have them saying: "stop abusing Sunday school as an excuse not to catechize your child." Rather they are saying: "stop using Sunday school for reason x"---which reasons I have demonstrably shown to be wrong, misguided or just irrelevant (see here).

    I hope that is clear,
     
  7. southkogs

    southkogs Puritan Board Freshman

    Pastor Mathis - I hope you and yours are having a great week, and look forward to a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday:

    It's a shared affliction. Though, you've definitely raised the bar for me … three posts!?! ;)

    I agree, and appreciate your desire to guard a correct view of the Gospel, doctrine and church order. Through this discussion, I may boil a particular point down a little for clarity on my part; hence the focus on methodology in my last post.

    I'm going to start with this particular question because I think it helps set a tone. You ask the question as an either/or question, but I don't find it limited to either/or. I do pray for Spirit-filled, Christ-centered, family-integrated assemblies. I would like to see more of them. AND - I believe that Providence OPC could indeed be an agent of reformation (even with age-segregated Sunday School) should God deem them so. Perhaps, God in His Sovereignty would grant your church to be the "tip of the spear" in reformation and revival. I would have indeed grown too big for my britches if I believed it not possible, and I pray the FIC movement as a whole does not fall into that trap of pride and prejudice.

    Forgive my lack of clarity - the point I was trying to make is that the NCFIC is not a church or a denomination with governing powers of any sort over churches. While they have been trying to assemble a database of FIC churches, they have not at this time done much more than achieve a bulletin board of sorts. The organization speaks to the methods churches employ in ministering the Gospel - they "talk shop" with churches, if you will. When you look at the individual church websites for the main voices in the FIC movement - GFBC, Spring TX / Hope Baptist, Wake Forrest NC / Boerne Christian Assembly, Waring TX / Reformation OPC, Castle Rock CO - the driving focus shifts definitively to the Gospel. I don't deny that there is a family emphasis, but the Gospel is certainly center stage.

    As a note concerning the NCFIC as an organization - My church has never signed a confession with the NCFIC. If there ever was an opportunity for that, I'm not aware of it. We did, when we registered on the website, check a box stating that we were in significant agreement with the confession, but as the NCFIC has no jurisdiction of any sort over my particular church it's really a question of our honesty more than anything else. You referenced a confession signed by churches in your post, but we've never been required (or even given the opportunity) to sign any confession. No decoder ring either :D

    You are correct about 1739(ish), but Mr. Swanson was talking about the late 1600's. His point was not conclusive as I recall, but suggestive that God used the frustrations with society at that time to set the stage for the early 1700's and ultimately the Great Awakening. I can go dig that up and listen to it again … it's been a while.

    It wasn't at the 2009 Summit (I'm actually not familiar with that summit). I'm referring to a session at Gary DeMar's "Great Reversal" in 2009 in Georgia. It was held at DeMar's church and the bulk of the attendees certainly seemed to be Reformed (and the speakers seemed to assume so as well). I actually recall Swanson, Baucham, DeMar, Titus and Steve Camp being the main ones who spoke to the Gospel and repentance (though not from a false gospel) more than the others - but I don't have a quote readily available.

    More to come …
     
  8. southkogs

    southkogs Puritan Board Freshman

    "… we officially oppose the doctrine of the family being preeminent over the doctrine of Christ …" [Doug Phillips/ Answering Critics of the Family Integrated Church Movement, Love the Church, 2011]

    I think a unilateral statement that the FIC movement has no focus on the Gospel (or even the Reformed Gospel) is incorrect. I can agree that some of the main voices get hyped from time to time, and that perhaps a couple can be overly dogmatic to my taste (I'll let them defend that on their own). However, my experience with the NCFIC conferences (and I typically listen to the recorded messages rather than attend) leave me convinced that the Gospel is a focus. My church recognized early on that there is a danger of losing focus of the Gospel in favor of being "family integrated" (which I think typically manifests as legalism within FIC churches) and have made a point within our teaching, preaching and practice to keep the Gospel in focus in all we do.

    "… we oppose … groups of Christians gathered together that claim to be constituted local churches but which lack a church government composed of elders and deacons … " [Doug Phillips/ Answering Critics of the Family Integrated Church Movement, Love the Church, 2011]

    We (my church) also recognized that with homeschool families, there is an undertow of individualism that can lead to a complete separation from the church. I'm not sure if I can describe it well, but perhaps by saying that sometimes families decide to just break off and "house church" among themselves (which I think can lead to the antinomianism you mentioned) you'll see what I mean. In order to combat that we (our church) have maintained two things - 1.) a structure for ordination of elders to lead the church, and 2.) a confessional stance to act as a theological foundation. We do recognize that there are plenty of other FIC churches out there who have not built themselves on such a platform, and there are some problem "rogues" out there.

    Perhaps I do hear reformed partially because of my predisposition, but I'm not convinced that this is the case in totality. That statement presupposes that I don't think critically about what I hear from within the FIC movement. I'm just too skeptical (due to some past circumstances) to take it all at face value. I don't buy hype. And I certainly don't accept it without weighing concepts against Scripture. That's the reason our church has opted to base our teaching/preaching specifically on exposition of books of the Bible teaching what is said in the Word, rather than taking ideas and trying to find Bible verses to support it.

    Believe me - people are offended. We struggle to be as kind as possible. We work hard to be charitable. But to your statement - people are offended.

    I'll post on age-integration in just a moment, but I want to touch on teaching children from a statement you made:

    Sure, it's is okay for someone else to teach children - but let's keep that in context: The typical requirements for a Sunday School teacher in America today are a pulse and a clear background check. The average (dare I say, "overwhelming majority of?") Sunday School programs are kept alive merely because the church believes it should have one, and has little or no structure or Biblical standard. At some point the Pastor might review the curriculum (which is typically some "Jesus loves me" cookie cutter template). There is typically a "director," but they are usually not an elder or ordained in any sense and the teachers in the classrooms are really just looking to see that the kids "enjoyed it" rather than were effectively moved toward sanctification (if they even know them well enough to speak to justification). In that context the conversation is almost silly.

    I'll take your term "responsibly used age-segregated Sunday School" to define a program that identifies and employs pastoral/elder teaching to young people in concert with parental responsibility to disciple children. If the children are broken up by age group to employ that, and parents are encouraged to participate and involve themselves AND there is a mutual respect between church and family - I'd almost tell you that's more family integrated than one might think. Most FIC leaders would jump for joy at that kind of thing. And in that context, you're correct - it is okay for someone else to teach our children.

    You are also correct: some churches in the FIC movement take things too far, and say a church elder can't (in any case) teach to anyone but the fathers. There's no way to back that up from Scripture, and it's wrong. However, discipleship of children does not necessarily require Sunday School. To date, my church has not found a benefit to adding a Sunday School program. Our concentration on families having regular family worship, and our "hospitality" approach of spending significant time "kneecap to kneecap" allows for some very focused and fruitful discipleship of adults and children alike.

    Teaching doctrinal fidelity across the plain of the entire congregation? The FIC method is not necessarily better for that. The driving factor there is the doctrinal integrity of the church in question. And I would submit we might both agree that more often than not, churches are not holding to sound doctrine (regardless of being FIC or not).

    Let me try to address children next ...
     
  9. southkogs

    southkogs Puritan Board Freshman

    “The family is the Seminary of the Church.” – Thomas Manton

    Thomas Manton saw the family as a foundation of the church at least in some senses in the 1600's.

    “You are not likely to see any general reformation until you see family reformation.” –Richard Baxter

    I don't know what Richard Baxter saw in the late 1600's that put this thought into his head, but perhaps the same may hold true today?

    “Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by his rules. And family education and order are some of the chief means of grace.” – Johnathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards seems to suggest a similar focus later in the early 1700's.

    “Masters of families, who preside in the other affairs of the house, must go before their households in the things of God. They must be as prophets, priests, and kings in their own families; and as such they must keep up family-doctrine, family-worship, and family-discipline: then is there a church in the house, and this is the family religion I am persuading you to. You must read the scriptures to your families, in a solemn manner, requiring their attendance on your reading, and their attention to it: and inquiring sometimes whether they understand what you read.” – Matthew Henry

    Matthew Henry appears to suggest that there is at least some value in a focus on the organization and health of family religion.

    “First, let us begin by emphatically declaring it is parents (fathers in particular) and not the church who are given the primary responsibility for calling the next generation to hope in God. The church serves a supplementary role, reinforcing the biblical nurture that is occurring in the home. It is not the job of “professionals” at the church to rear the children of believers in the faith.” – Charles Spurgeon

    And Spurgeon seems to even draw some lines as to who carries the bulk load of responsibility in teaching children.

    Research by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer for the book "Already Gone" showed that Sunday School may even be counter productive to solid doctrinal footing. Children who have been brought up going to Sunday School are more likely to leave the church, believe the Bible is less true, defend the legality of abortion and same sex marriage, and to defend pre-marital sex. We have to face it - Sunday School (at large, not necessarily specific instances of it) is a gross failure.

    Admittedly, the Gospel is the critical element. And I have endeavored to agree on that, and to explain that we (at least my church, and I believe a good many others who identify with the NCFIC) have a healthy and solid focus on the Gospel. But a Gospel focus has to include at least a measure of right living along side of right believing. And if the stats found by Ham and Beemer are true - Sunday School is not even neutral. It's counter productive to the cause of Christ.

    Spurgeon, in the above quote, clearly indicates that the church is a secondary force in the spiritual education of children. Does that demand that Sunday School be completely tossed overboard? Not at all. But does it lend a little bit of credence to the FIC position that a focus on the family unit, family roles and spiritual education within the home are significant factors in Christian discipleship? I would suggest it at least elevates us past the the classification of "idolatrous nuts."

    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of Wisdom (Prov. 1:7), and that is a great verification that when God regenerates a person the capacity to have real wisdom awakens along side. But Duet. 6, Proverbs 22:6, and Ephesians 6:4 also show us that HOW (methodology) a child gains that wisdom is given (at least partially) in scripture. Manton, Baxter, Edwards, Henry and Spurgeon all seem to suggest there is an appropriate focus on family and it's relationship to the church.

    There is no Biblical prescription for Sunday School. There is no prohibition against it either, I understand. But there is a clear prescription that fathers head up discipleship of their children (Eph. 6:4). And if Ham and Beemer's data is even mostly accurate, Sunday School as it's popularly known needs to be abandoned. It needs to be dismantled and examined closely to see where it's off track. Parents need to be instructed to disciple their children (consider what happened to Eli in 1 Sam. 2), and the church needs to humbly support that in a way that reinforces the parents primary role to train up their child in the nurture and admonition of the LORD.

    To say that the FIC focus on family order, family discipleship and a proper relationship is out of balance with the Gospel, historic church doctrine or healthy discipleship is just plain wrong. Family focus within the church has a historic context, it has a Biblical foundation and it has an expressed purpose - and it can work within a right focus on the Gospel.

    Pastor Mathis - I wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.
     
  10. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    This is ridiculous in my opinion. Sunday School or Sabbath School is not to be blamed or abandoned. That is just hogwash. I could take data from all kinds of Churches and pin point problems and failures and make the same off handed remark that these Churches need to be dismantled and examined closely to see where they are off track. Especially, if I took data from various liberal Churches who don't even believe the Scriptures.

    Most of the examples that a recent movie brought out were so slanted and strange that I didn't recognize them. The Church's function concerning discipline and accountability were so lacking that it wasn't even recognizable. Instead of dismantling the function of the Church it just needs to repent and start being and doing what it is supposed to be and do. Programs and Bible Studies can facilitate it. Programs that have accountability and shepherding are not things to trash but things to bring about. Another problem I am seeing is that some of these FIC guys are not working within a full context themselves. Some fathers are just absent and some Abigail's have foolish husbands. Some men have Gomer's for wives. But they are part of the Church and they have to operate in a situation that God has placed them in. There is a balance and the Church is to take the responsiblity of teaching in homes and at Church to call these lost souls like Richard Baxter did.

    The fact is, that we are to teach our children. I agree with that. We are to make sure they are being taught correctly. That is the father's responsibility as much as it is the Teachers, Elders, Pastors. Everyone depends on the Church as a mother to them. If the Church is doing its job, holding things accountable, if it is guarding its doctrine, having its conversation aright, then it will save.

    (1Ti 4:16) Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

    Truth sets free. God's Spirit is where true Liberty comes from. Yes, he uses means. He always uses his word. Teaching is a ministry of the Church. I believe you are taking Manton and Baxter out of context also. Let's evaluate Baxter who you quoted above. He was fruitful, but there is something you are leaving out. He personally went and Catechized his Parish. He operated in the office he was called to and took the authority he was given and performed in that capacity. He did it outside of the Worship Service and in their personal homes. The Church is to function as the teacher. It is also the guardian of truth. It has an office that isn't necessarily given to all men. Yes, men are responsible for their families but fathers are also responsible to the Eldership. And that is something that is very lacking in our generation. We can discuss this more later if you want.

    I agree with Calvin here cand believe it relates concerning my comment on submission to Eldership.

    Sunday School has been beneficial when it is used as a tool of shepherding and accountability. The Law of the Lord converts the soul. The testimony of the Lord makes wise the simple. His word does not return to Him void.

    If it is reformation we are seeking for along with Revival then one must look to the Lord to send out Laborers. The fields are white for harvest. We can pray for men to be placed in His work. Luther and Calvin both were great men. They were Reformers. Others operated under the fruit of their ministry. But I can also attest that it was the Word of God being recognized for what it was. And that only comes from God no matter who the Parents are or what method they use. God is pleased to visit our Children and call them thankfully. May we guide them and nurture them in the fear and admonition of the Lord. One plants, one waters, but the Lord gives the increase. May he increase by adding our children and hearing our prayers.

    BTW, are you familiar with Dawson Trotman's testimony? Two old Sunday School Teachers have the most awesome inheritance in Heaven because of God's work through them. It has born much more fruit around the world than you or I could probably imagine. You are poo pooing God's work. I would be very full of care in doing so.

    May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving time Pastor Erik.


    http://www.puritanboard.com/blogs/puritancovenanter/importance-church-sovereign-grace-715/
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  11. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Freshman

    I am sorry folks. I installed IE 9 but it has different security setup than the old Chrome. I can't seem to post.

    ---------- Post added at 10:02 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:00 PM ----------

    I had to put this domain in the trusted zone (wow, IE 9 really micormanages). I'll try the facebook publish now. Testing...

    ---------- Post added at 10:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:02 PM ----------

    OK Eric,

    Third time is a charm (did I really write that?).

    1. My comments were not directed at what your church does or does not believe. As I explicitly wrote, they are about the NCFIC. But those churches that signed their confession (which I know is non-committal to the NCFIC per se) must deal with the "collateral damage" by virtue of their public association with such leadership and their public statements. Having an "exception" to the confession tells the average Christian nothing without a list. The confession just gives the NCFIC 'street cred' with a large list to show off and gives the local churches publicity.

    But let us move to the question of method as you wish:

    2. I am glad that non-family-integrated churches can be part of a revival. However I still have two questions that I think you can answer when you address children:

    a. Why do you pray for the family-integrated along side Reformed? Is such an approach commanded by God? Is your understanding of family-integrated different than the NCFIC leadership?

    b. When you state that God can use non-family-integrated churches are you saying that God can use sinful methods? Or inferior methods? (see point a).

    thanks,

    [wow: IE 9 does not even have native spell checking...]
     
  12. southkogs

    southkogs Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks brother, I hope you had a great holiday as well.

    It's not quite as mad as one would think if you note that my position is on Sunday School (or even more broadly "youth ministry") as it's "popularly known" (or whatever you might phrase to be most common). Your church may well use a type of Sunday School that does an outstanding job of discipling young people and enforcing the parent-child mandates of Scripture. But the church at large does not. The data is telling us that these types of ministries are NOT helping in discipleship on the overall. Even Willow Creek had to acknowledge their ministry style was completely ineffective years ago - they've had to take it apart and re-examine it. I don't really agree with their starting point, or their conclusion but they did have to take a very big step back a few years ago.

    Unfortunately, I did (even to some personal experience). And, I find them more common than I would like. I was in youth ministry for quite a while and (in the ultimate appearance of being "two-faced") currently serve on a local board of a national youth evangelism organization - many of the things mentioned in the movie (if I'm thinking of the same one you are) are alive and well. One may suggest that makes me a little too "over sensitive." Perhaps, but I try hard to be more objective than that.

    I'm not familiar with him, but I did a quick web search. Defending that I'm not "poo-pooing God's Work" is difficult to do in an anonymous web forum without some personal interaction. I guess the best I can do is try to iterate that there are people out there who I have significant differences with regarding theology - but I trust that these men are being used of God. I don't get to step into that work of the Holy Spirit and declare it null and void (part of the reason I still serve on the board mentioned above). God will be the final arbitrator of that, and I have to be satisfied with His perfect judgment.

    I hope that helps a little.
     
  13. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Erik,

    If I may interject without derailing the thread too much; you seem like you recognize the centrality of the Cross in whatever the Church does. In my dealings with families who are friendly towards the NCFIC I have observed an obsession with family integration and less about the Cross. I'm not suggesting the Cross is absent; it's just that is not primary focus. While I share Shawn's concern that the lack of Gospel emphasis is a weakness of the NCFIC, I also share your concern about theology as a possibly distraction from the Cross. Idolatry is a charge that most Reformed Christians bristle against. After all, we're Reformed! But when theology itself becomes our focal point it's possible for the Gospel to take second place. That is when idolatry creeps in; unawares, but creeps in nonetheless. All of us need to beware of this trap.
     
  14. southkogs

    southkogs Puritan Board Freshman

    :doh:The worst is when I do that during a sermon ...

    Uh,oh ... the FIC guy is a "Mac snob" too :lol: Probably best left to another thread ...

    I understand/stood that. And, I'm trying to be careful to trust your intentions and not over react. I started this whole thing, right? At the same time, distinctions can be helpful. For instance, Al Mohler is typically a trusted voice among Reformed believers, but he's Southern Baptist and the SBC as a whole isn't all that Reformed.

    Agreed. It would much easier for me and for my church to simply try to distance ourselves from the movement as a whole. At a bare minimum though, we are in substantial agreement with them and so we identify with the movement as a whole.

    Let me start with this first. I think the question is a little too broad to answer exactly. Are some youth group/Sunday school programs non-FIC and sinful? Absolutely. I think you and I could agree that some of the programs are just complete derelicts. Can God use them? In spite of their sinfulness, sure. He used Pharaoh, didn't he? He used Judas, didn't he? Does God actively employ sin for His purpose? No. Can He redeem what is sinful? Yes. A church that fits in this category is one I would pray for God to reform.

    Are there other youth/Sunday school that are non-FIC and are not sinful? I think there probably are. Nothing comes to mind that I've been a part of, but I think that must exist. God reaches in a preserves and protects. The Church is not so far off the rails that my church and a handful of little FIC fellowships around the world are the last hope of survival. Even coming into the Reformation, Martin Luther was not alone. Though he seemed to be a singular voice for the reform of the church, there were others who understood the doctrines of Grace before he laid the first blow on the door at Wittenburg.

    I don't think that my understanding is different from the NCFIC. However, Scott Brown has made some statements even recently that may present a divergence here from the NCFIC stand on some points (I've not discussed it with Scott directly).

    I know that the NCFIC would agree - we pray for the Church because it's the Bride of Christ. At large, He loves Her and He's the One who's going to perfect Her. I (a Baptist) can pray for your church (Presbyterian) even with some significant (though secondary) differences between us. I don't have to abandon our relationship as brothers in Christ over the differences we have denominationally (there are Baptist and Presbyterian churches that have issues where we do divide, but I think you see my greater point). Maybe Mark 9:38-41 sheds a little light on this point?

    That leaves the question of if it's inferior. Assuming the youth/Sunday school program we're talking about here is a "healthy" one (whatever definition we might agree upon), the question falls into the same category that paedo-baptism and credo-baptism would (to my mind). As a Baptist, I'm obviously going to lean toward credo-baptism. I've spent time in the PCA, and I think I have a good grasp on paedo-baptism. But I'm bound by my convictions from Scripture that credo-baptism is my landing spot. I'm confident that your convictions on the matter are as strong, if not stronger than mine. Is paedo-baptism inferior to credo-baptism? Well, I think so. My guess is that you think the exact opposite. I can still pray for my non-FIC brothers and sisters just like I can still pray for my paedo-baptist brothers and sisters and for God's blessing on their ministry (even while holding firm convictions).

    By the way, the "needle tilt" on the paedo/credo debate is a rather slight lean for me. My convictions are solid, but gap between the two views (in my mind anyway) is not so vast. Between a FIC no-program approach, and a non-FIC "healthy" (again, not yet defined) approach - my differences with it might be equally as slight.

    Does that help?

    ---------- Post added at 08:32 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:30 AM ----------

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  15. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Freshman

    Erik,

    One last question(s) before you address the question of children:

    You wrote: "I'll take your term "responsibly used age-segregated Sunday School" to define a program that identifies and employs pastoral/elder teaching to young people in concert with parental responsibility to disciple children. If the children are broken up by age group to employ that, and parents are encouraged to participate and involve themselves AND there is a mutual respect between church and family - I'd almost tell you that's more family integrated than one might think. Most FIC leaders would jump for joy at that kind of thing. And in that context, you're correct - it is okay for someone else to teach our children."

    I am glad you wrote this. I am not sure if the NCFIC could write it from the quotes I've read. You also stated:

    "There is no Biblical prescription for Sunday School. There is no prohibition against it either, I understand. But there is a clear prescription that fathers head up discipleship of their children (Eph. 6:4)."

    Again. I rejoice that you agree with me. If only the leadership of the NCFIC were so clear. In fact, Mr. Brown (as you probably know) has denied this (read here).

    So, do other like-minded pastors of other FIC churches agree with you on the above points?

    thanks,
     
  16. southkogs

    southkogs Puritan Board Freshman

    Shall we share a bit of a laugh? You are a far more polished and accomplished writer than I am. When I read this line I had to laugh at myself … post #10 was where I was thinking I had "addressed the question of children." I like what I wrote … but, it's not really clear that I was addressing the question of children. You may all chuckle amongst yourselves whilst I regroup… :p

    I'm somewhat (though not completely) confident that the NCFIC would agree with my stance. The terminology is a bit muddy, and that certainly isn't helping any of us. In your article you even ask for the definition of "systematic, age-segregated youth ministry," and I don't know if you've gotten one (I don't recall reading one anyway). Let's try this for a rude attempt:

    "Systematic" is probably a sloppy word to use mainly because nearly everything that one does in an organized sense (programs, meetings, etc.) has some level of "system" to it. I think in this case that "systematic" is used to describe age-segregation that is built foundationally on the child development philosophies that grade-based government schools employ. I would hope that we can agree that this particular type of segregation has some (rather significant) roots in Marxism and humanistic evolution. I would further submit that the early foundational proponents of this type of school system saw the school/teachers as the primary and more "legitimate" source of wisdom and knowledge. Primary over and more "legitimate" than whom? Parents (God is not even considered); who for centuries had both legitimacy and primacy in the education of their children. Indeed, many modern educators have taken this philosophy and (perhaps with good intentions) galvanized it into a belief that no parent can possibly educate like the professionals in the schools (most of whom are completely anti-christ in their considerations). Why then, considering the origins, philosophies and attitudes of such a system (one that is clearly against the Gospel), would the Church embrace and promote it as the "system" of choice for discipleship of Christian children? Especially when most churches who do employ such as system typically can't properly retain, train, verify and monitor enough qualified teachers (and there are at least some Biblical descriptions and warnings about teachers) for so many divisions of the congregation.

    A Sunday school divided up by maturity, subject matter, gender topics or similar types of divisions, that is easy to place good Biblically qualified teachers over, and respects the parents role as primary in the discipleship of children is one that FIC churches could probably accept under Christian liberty. Most FIC churches have some type of divisions like this. My church, for example, has regular men's meetings for any male over 12 (among some other things). We don't have those meetings every Sunday (or every week), but we do have them regularly within a month.


    I'm not sure I quite agree that Scott Brown has "denied" that there is no prohibition of Sunday school (sorry for the double negative there). I've read your article and the one you link to a couple of times, and I'm not quite seeing a carte blanche denial. I do see him utilizing the term "systematic age-segregated," and denied there is no prohibition against that. Perhaps I'm missing the specific statement you're referring to or I'm reading too much into what Scott did say. But I do agree with Scott that there is a difference between tools (computers, sound systems, etc.) and methods. While I say that there are constructs of Sunday school that really are matters of liberty, those constructs need to consider methodology at least to some degree.

    If we take the over-exploited story of Uzzah and the Ark (2 Sam 6) and look at one of the concepts, we find that Uzzah's good intentions (to guard the sanctity of the Ark) were in the context of bad methodology. God did prescribe a manner for transporting the Ark. That prescription was not being observed. There is (not that I know of anyway) no prohibition against the Ark traveling on an ox cart (in fact, it had done just that coming back from the Philistines, though at the hand of pagans), but there is a prescription that is to be born on specific poles by certain people. There is a positive prescription of method here. Likewise, the positive prescription for the discipleship of children is given to the parents (specifically fathers). There is an authority that's granted there that the church must observe and uphold. That doesn't prevent the church from discipling children (I do all the time), but it does require a respect for the parents role which is spelled out very clearly (and most churches don't do this).

    I haven't talked with Scott Brown personally, so I might be divergent from the NCFIC on what I've just said. But I'm pretty confident that they would be in agreement with what I've just said (however unclear it might be).

    I don't really know. There are about three other FIC churches that I have regular contact with, and I know one of them would be certainly in agreement. The other two I think would be, but I've not discussed it directly with them. Trying not to sound self-righteous about it - the truth is what other churches/pastors agree with is a consideration, but we have to be bound by our convictions through Scripture.

    I think that covers most of what I had in my head regarding children too :D
     
  17. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Freshman

    Erik, For clarification: my comment about Mr. Brown is that he denies the position that asserts a prohibition must be found against SS. And on the flip side, a prescription must be found. For example:

    "The Bible is clear about this matter, and it gives the full range of that teaching including who, where, why, what, and when....When you split youth up according to age, you are doing something that is contrary to the explicit, revealed commands and patterns of Scripture...to claim that we can set aside these scriptural methods and employ our own methods because we do things and use means not mandated in Scripture in other areas of church life is a generic fallacy." (also see his book).

    On the other hand, you seem, in this sentence, which I may have read into, to deny his approach: "There is no Biblical prescription for Sunday School. There is no prohibition against it either."

    I hope that is clearer.
     
  18. southkogs

    southkogs Puritan Board Freshman

    I see - and perhaps Scott and I have a disagreement there. That would be something to clarify with him. But let's also flesh both statements out a little bit -

    No one can point chapter and verse to a directive to have a Sunday school based on how old children are. Likewise, no one can point chapter and verse to an explicit didactic command not to have a Sunday school based on how old children are. So, under Christian liberty (as I understand the concept) can a church have a Sunday school? I don't see why not. However, that Sunday school cannot damage any of the chapter and verse commands of Scripture. For example:

    Scott suggests (perhaps this is what he means) that there is a Biblical prescription not to split the assembly up by age.

    Matthew 19 - "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them..." & Hebrew 10 - "...not neglecting to meet together..." - children (especially those who've made a profession of faith) need to be with the assembly on the LORD's day. That doesn't prohibit Sunday school, and many people reading this will think "those two things are not even connected." But there are many churches who employ "children's church" and other such things to pull children out of the Sunday service. Professing children (at least) and covenant children (again, if I understand the concept correctly) should be actively with the assembly on Sunday.

    When he says that "set aside Scriptural methods and employ our own" perhaps this idea of delegation (which is no problem in a limited amount) of duties out of the hands of the parent (specifically fathers) is what he had in mind.

    Eph. 6:1-4 - "Fathers ... bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the LORD." & Deu. 6:7 "... teach them diligently to your children ..." - anything that damages this commandment to parents to be the ones teach their children diligently, probably needs to be scrutinized at the very least - but I think this might be a point where Scott Brown would say completely done away with. And it's not a crazy concept. Consider - The Bible doesn't prohibit drinking alcohol, but it clearly prohibits drunkenness. Under Christian liberty we can drink alcohol, but we have a responsibility not to be a stumbling block (Rom. 14:13) to someone who struggles with drunkenness. Why then is the church not more careful in not being a stumbling block to parents who like to abdicate their responsibility to disciple children? Some churches are I admit, but on the whole (and I mean a majority) they're not. That's what the data I've mentioned is telling us.

    So, I see how the two statements seem in conflict (and perhaps they actually are). However, there is a perspective from his statements that ought to be considered carefully.

    Does that help?
     
  19. nasa30

    nasa30 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Could you post the original passage from the book unedited?
     
  20. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Freshman

    Hello Judson,

    The full quote is from his blog post: "Second, our subject is that which is plainly and irrefutably taught in Scripture regarding how youth are to be educated. The Bible is clear about this matter, and it gives the full range of that teaching including who, where, why, what, and when. It is the Bible that tells us what is central. When you split youth up according to age, you are doing something that is contrary to the explicit, revealed commands and patterns of Scripture. The film Divided is focused on the responsibility of the church and the family to understand and follow the biblically-mandated methods of discipleship. To claim that we can set aside these scriptural methods and employ our own methods because we do things and use means not mandated in Scripture in other areas of church life is a generic fallacy."

    I mentioned the book as "also". The book quote involves a little more. A summary can be read here. I could quote it in full later, but the assumption with the dialogue between myself and Erik is that he read my major essays on the matter. To avoid unnecessary duplication, I would encourage anyone who wants to know my understanding and concern about the NCFIC to read my essays here: each of them are shorter than 2 pages.

    thanks,
     
  21. nasa30

    nasa30 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hi Pastor Mathis.

    Just curious why you edited out the two sections in bold above in your quote of what Pastor Brown said? It was not like it was super lengthy or unrelated to what he was saying in the quote.

    Especially the first one.

     
  22. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Freshman

    Judson,

    When I write, I write with length restrictions. Publishers want only so many words (as do many readers!). As for the the last quote "It is the Bible that tells us what is central" --it is only repeating what he says several times in so many words (which I do quote elsewhere). It is not a point of dispute and thus not central to the debate. The real debate is given this premise what does the bible actually say on the matter.
     
  23. nasa30

    nasa30 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Ten words (first portion removed) did not seem to be too long to be concerned with length restrictions, but thank you for the answer anyway. I think it did the quote an injustice to remove it but it might just be me. It was just confusing/concerning to me about what was being edited out considering the purpose of this discussion was to be informative to see what two people think about FIC, you and Pastor Erik.
    I am not a fan of editing quotes from folks in discussions like this because it does not add strength to the argument to me but rather leads to a question, "What was removed from this passage that this person was using to make a point?" So I wanted to ask what and why.
     
  24. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Freshman

    Erik,
    Your comment about children being part of public worship is not in dispute. You mentioned you read a number of my articles so I think you are already aware of this.

    Mr. Brown is saying more than this (as my articles point out). His book even mentions that meetings in general and instruction in general (he never, as I recall, specifies but uses broad sweeping language) should avoid age-segregation. He does not seem to narrow it to public worship.

    If you have not read his book I would encourage you to. This is a significant issue. If he is offering a different rational than what pastors agree with then this should be known publicly and the NCFIC should clarify their confession accordingly.

    As I understand your position, I agree:

    "I'll take your term "responsibly used age-segregated Sunday School" to define a program that identifies and employs pastoral/elder teaching to young people in concert with parental responsibility to disciple children. If the children are broken up by age group to employ that, and parents are encouraged to participate and involve themselves AND there is a mutual respect between church and family - I'd almost tell you that's more family integrated than one might think. Most FIC leaders would jump for joy at that kind of thing. And in that context, you're correct - it is okay for someone else to teach our children."

    And yet others who agree with you do not agree with me. I must be missing something between this statement and the many statement from Mr. Brown, et. al.

    thanks,
     
  25. southkogs

    southkogs Puritan Board Freshman

    Pastor Mathis:

    I haven't read Scott's book - I'll make it a point to do that quickly.

    Your agreement on many issues is what intrigued me to start the conversation. You seemed in agreement on so much, yet critical at the same time (again, in a gracious manner). Without having read Scott's book, I'm curious if lack of clarity from the FIC perspective hasn't gotten in the way (or stated, I wonder if Scott just wasn't clear). I don't know if you recall the broo-ha-ha between Voddie Baucham and Sam Waldron a couple of years ago regarding the phrase "the Church is a Family of Familes." Waldron (rightly) climbed all over the FIC movement for that statement, and Dr. Baucham had to address it (Family of Families being a relational term, not a statement on ecclesiology). I have found some times that FIC voices can get a little ahead of themselves. That's actually part of the experiment in this conversation from my part - to see how often I have to "back paddle" from saying something dopey ;) The centrality and authority of Scripture is the critical feature. In some senses I see the FIC movement as calling that issue on the table, in some other senses I see the FIC movement more putting on the brakes - deconstructing a little back to what is clearly outlined in Scripture - and then opening back up to methodology that falls under "Christian Liberty." All things are permissible, but not profitable - if that makes sense.

    Out of curiosity, have you had any direct conversations with Voddie Baucham, Scott Brown, Doug Phillips or Kevin Swanson?

    Maybe we can discuss "responsibly used age-segregated Sunday School" and see what falls out in a more technical discussion?

    Along those lines, would you comment on "youth ministry?" To the extent of what we see as youth ministry commonly in the United States, I think from your articles you'd agree that on the overall it's full of pretty big problems.

    All the Best,
     
  26. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Freshman

    :) Dont' know about "quickly"...
     
  27. southkogs

    southkogs Puritan Board Freshman

    Touché ... relatively quickly :lol:
     
  28. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Freshman

    About three years ago I heard that a sister church in my Presbytery signed an extra-confessional confession (the NCFIC confession). I asked the pastor and elder about the confession. I was encouraged to sign the document since it was in line with my concerns about the family and the youth in particular.

    My impressions was that it was against Sunday school. So I emailed the NCFIC. Asking the group if my church could join, the liaison, Thompson, replied that we could join if we were working on dismantling our age-segregated Sunday schools (email, Oct. 7, 2006). Apparently, youth groups are acceptable if parents immediately oversee and learn with the youth (email, March, 2007).

    I presented this info to my sister church (the pastor and elder). They were not persuaded. The elder said that there was an exception clause to the confession [which reads: "Are you in substantial agreement with the NCFIC Confession?"]. I should go ahead and sign it. So I tried to contact Mr. Brown. My email was forwarded beyond Mr. Thompson. Mr. Brown requested a phone call. At the time I had a new cell-phone and was unfamiliar with it. So when he called I hung up on him! I emailed him again to set up another talk. It never came to fruition.

    During this time I emailed, called and talked face-to-face with Mr. Swanson, the pastor of the aforementioned sister church. We meet three more times with two other pastors to clarify exactly what Mr. Swanson believed about FICs and homeschooling as well. Unfortunately, any such clarification has not been made public beyond my own writings.

    As for Mr. Bauchan, I have not tried to contact him directly. Of interest is the fact that other defenders of the FIC familiar with some of my work think such men should not spend time interacting with what I write since I am not a big name (I think that was in the previous thread with Mr. Wolfe).

    For the record, Mr. Brown knows about my first essay at Wes White's site because one of his parishioners (Mr. Glick, here) told him.

    Why this long-winded answer? Because I have been falsely accused of not making any effort in this area. Note well: I have initiated all these contacts and most of the follow-ups (except when Mr. Brown willing tried to call me).
     
  29. southkogs

    southkogs Puritan Board Freshman

    Forgive me - I completely forgot about reading of your contact with Kevin Swanson (though I was pretty sure of that contact, knowing you and he were in the same denomination). And I hope I didn't sound accusatory in asking the question. I was more curious as to how much clarification you've gained from each of (or any of) these people - and truly, more for your own benefit than even for this discussion. I've found in many discussions "definition of terms" can be a major hurdle to get over in reaching an understanding.

    If you've not seen it, Dr. Baucham's church does regular campus visits. I attended one two years ago (my wife and I happened to be in the area) . Because of the intention of interacting with people who are curious about FIC, access to their elders is planned and generous (at least by my experience). I think it would be worth the time for you to make one of those visits, and I would suggest that Dr. Baucham would be very open to speaking with you directly if you contact him ahead of the trip.

    And ... I got "A Weed in the Church" over the weekend and have started my homework assignment ;)
     
  30. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Freshman

    Erik,

    You did not sound accusatory at all.

    I am on vacation until Christmas so my response will be sloooower. I'm glad you got the book. That would be a good place to start, I think.

    As for talking with yet another FIC proponent, I'll pass on initiating that but will respond if they tap me on the shoulder.
     
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