Seven Suggested Problems with the "Family Integrated Church Movement"

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by John Carpenter, Sep 13, 2012.

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  1. John Carpenter

    John Carpenter Puritan Board Freshman

    Seven Suggested Problems with the "Family Integrated Church Movement" Plus one Extra: Eight Problems!

    The "Family Integrated Church" (FIC) movement insists on the necessity of families meeting together for the main service of the church and that if age and sex segregated ministries are to be tolerated at all, they should be done by family members, not by specialized youth ministers. They see these distinctives as important enough to form entire churches around. The problems with this, as I see them, are:

    (1) The sufficiency of scripture: To be "Reformed" is to believe in sola scriptura. I believe that the sufficiency of scripture means that scripture tells us everything that is sufficient for the essential operation of the church. Scripture does not tell us that all meetings need to be "integrated". Therefore, we have to wonder why the FIC is making such a major issue of it. For this reason I would question whether the FIC is outside the bounds of the "Reformed" camp.

    (2) Divisiveness: FIC makes an essential out of something that can't even be described as a secondary issue (perhaps a tertiary issue); whole churches are organized around something that there is not one command for the church to do. They believe their "family integration" is so important to the church that it is valid to differentiate their church from others on that basis alone. Whether they are "hyper-patriarchal" or not, the question is whether integrating every assembly of the church is a substantial enough an issue to organize a church around. Please note that practically, I prefer the advice of John Piper who doesn't support a separate "children's church" (The Family: Together in God's*Presence - Desiring God). Practically, I prefer that the children stay in the main service and that's the way our church has developed. But I don't think it is a dogmatic issue and would work with children's church if necessary. On the other hand, I would be insistent about the need to sing psalms (not exclusively) because that is a clear Biblical command. We should be insistent on those things that scripture clearly teaches us and flexible about things it does not.

    If, for example, I started the "Pew Sitting Church Movement" (PSCM); insisted that pew sitting was good enough for the church for centuries; that about the same time some churches started to use chairs the church declined (so they must be connected!); that chair sitting is "modernistic"; etc. Then I insisted that to be a sound church it must use pews; and encouraged people not to go to churches that used chairs. That would be absurd because there's not a hint of that in scripture. It’s not that it’s wrong to sit in pews. What is wrong is the elevation of an extra-Biblical opinion to the level of a Biblical conviction.

    (3) Contradicts Scripture: It appears to be in direct contradiction to the instruction of the Apostle Paul to the work of the pastor in Titus 2, where Paul tells Titus to address distinct age and gender segregated groups; the only group that Paul doesn't tell Titus to deal with directly illustrates even more vividly the lack of the patriarchal approach: young women are to be discipled by older women (not by their fathers or by their mothers). It is clear, in that the chapter begins and ends by mentioning the teaching role of Titus, that Paul is addressing the ministry of the church as a whole, not simply narrowly the discipleship-relationships outside the main assembly. Hence, that what the FIC insists on -- "family integration" -- is omitted completely in Titus 2 proves that the FIC’s emphasis is not a Biblical one.

    (4) Undermines the Authority of the Offices in the church: Ephesians 4:11 tells us that God has called particular officers ("gifts") to build up the church (who are the elect), namely (for our day) pastors/teachers. The FIC, on the other hand, frequently suggests that the pastor normally works through the heads of the households; they will say that the family is another authority in the church. This is unBiblical.

    (5) The FIC Misreads Church History: The FIC insists that the ministry of the church wasn’t focused on specific demographic groups until very recently and is therefore the product of “humanistic” marketing techniques. This appears to be the result of a lack of understanding church history. In the early history of the church, men and women would separate, and not only worship separately but live separately. Eventually this gave rise to the monasteries and convents. Perhaps a case can be made that age segregation didn't occur in Protestant churches for the worship service until relatively recently; that would likely be true. However, sound, conscientious pastors, like Jonathan Edwards, would frequently gather the youth together for specific instruction, distinct from the rest of the body of the church. That was in the mid-eighteenth century. In the early next century, the Sunday School movement arose to organize just that kind of approach, sensing a need of the children and youth to be addressed directly. Therefore, the suggestion of the FIC that age segregation is a new development and therefore arising out of humanistic marketing techniques is highly questionable.

    (6) The FIC is a Cure for a Disease that’s Not Prevalent: The suggestion that the “problem” they are addressing is really even a problem, also needs to be questioned. Today, only a few mega-churches segregate into highly niche-targeted demographics. I don't know of one church in my area that does that. Also, among those that have a “children’s church” during the main service how many would adamantly require children to leave even if a father wanted to keep them in the service? Surely very few, if any; I suspect that most churches with a “children’s church” would allow the children to stay in the service if the parents insisted that such was their preference. So this is not a widespread problem that deserves an entire movement (or even distinct churches) to address. In fact, the disease the FIC purports to be trying to cure isn't really there at all.

    (7) Misdefinition of the Church: Finally, as above, the definition of the church is flawed. It is not a "family of families". The church is the "household of God" (1 Tim. 3:15). The Lord puts people from all kinds of families and frequently (and sadly) often there are only some people from each family that are truly converted and made part of the church. The family is a creation institution that will end with the old creation. The Lord Jesus appears to say that "in heaven" that since there will be no marriage, there will be no family. The church, however, as the assembly of God's people, will last eternally. By making the church centered on or serving the family, the FICM subverts the church.

    (8) Familism: the Lord Jesus pitied loyalty to the family against loyalty to Him. When He was informed that his natural family was outside and wanted to speak with Him, rather than putting “integrating” with that family as a priority, he pointed to those around Him, listening to the Word of God (the church) and said, “ “Here are my mother and my brothers!” (Mt. 12:46ff.) In other words, the spiritual family of the church takes priority over the natural family. This is the practice the church is to follow. On the other hand, the FIC smacks of “familism”. Familism — the making the family the ultimate loyalty — is an idol, a competitor to the Lordship of Christ; hence, Jesus tells us we must be willing to “hate” the family to follow Him. On paper The National Center for Family-Intergrated Churches (NCFIC), the main source for FIC doctrine, affirms this, “We affirm that the gospel may divide families because the gospel can “set a man at variance against his father” and that “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me” and that our duty is to obey God rather than man (Matt. 10:35-37; Acts 4:19-21). We deny/reject that loyalty to the family should ever supercede obedience to God which makes the family an idol.” While that would seem to answer my objection, keep in mind that errant movements usually profess, in formal doctrine, not to take their positions to the problematic extremes. The Catholic church claims it believes in salvation by grace (just not “alone”). It also claims not to practice idolatry, only that they are “venerating” images, etc. Practice and priorities speak volumes about what a group's true convictions are, notwithstanding their formal doctrinal statements. So, we must ask, if they are not making an idol out of the family, why are they making such a priority of something not at all found in scripture? Why do they think it is so important? I once had a prospective elder in a FIC church seriously suggest to me that Jesus didn’t know what they know about how to save whole families; that Jesus’ challenge to discipleship wouldn’t be necessary if we only follow the FIC model.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
  2. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

  3. John Carpenter

    John Carpenter Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Bruce,

    Thanks for that. I agree with Pastor Mathis. And I note how obsessed the proponent of the FIC seems to be about it. Whenever someone is that focused on something scripture is completely silent about, there is a problem. It would be like someone obsessing over "Pew Sitting". On the one hand I could shrug my shoulders and say "whatever", "If you want us to sit in pews, fine" but, on the other hand, I'd think that there's something wrong with someone who makes such a big deal about it.
     
  4. Fly Caster

    Fly Caster Puritan Board Sophomore

    I've stayed out of the past discussions, but one point above caught my eye. I'll go ahead and state that I am sympathetic with what is known as the FIC movement and the corrections that it is attempting to make-- all the while recognizing that with any type of "correction" certain dangers are real in taking it too far. So I don't mind critical discussion, but I'm somewhat put off by blanket condemnation.

    Point #6 misses wide the mark. There is a problem and it is prevelant. And yes, I know of more than one church where children are not welcome in the worship service. I used to be an usher at one where we were instructed to go as far as escorting out of the building those who refused to comply. Of course this extreme is not as prevelant as age-segregation in general; but the difference is one of degree and not of kind. There are others ways to pressure and manipulate folks to split up the family other than showing them the door.
     
  5. John Carpenter

    John Carpenter Puritan Board Freshman

    That you admit requiring age segregation is "extreme" then proves my point: it's not prevalent. If a church encourages (though not requires) age groups to meet separately, they may be doing that as a valid attempt to follow Titus 2 which speaks directly to age (and gender) groups and does not require (nor any other place in scripture) "family integration" in the church.
     
  6. Fly Caster

    Fly Caster Puritan Board Sophomore


    I fail to see how the extreme of escorting people from church proves your point in #6 that the “problem” is "not prevelant." One does not exclude the other. The habitual failing to attend worship is an "extreme" violation of the command to be "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together"-- that doesn't mean the practice is not prevelant.
     
  7. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I've heard many complaints about this sort of thing but have never actually seen it, despite visiting a good number of broadly evangelical churches. I'm sure it exists, but I have to suspect it's still easy to find a church that allows kids in the service. Those that don't would be the exception, not the rule.

    John, your post makes some excellent points.
     
  8. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    John,

    I would be hesitant to say that Scripture or the principles of Scripture is silent on this issue. I believe we can learn a lot from Scripture about this topic, yet I would not come down completely on the FIC side of things. I believe for the proponents of such, it is often the main issue, but the main issue is the Gospel. Can we learn things from FIC that some of the church has struggled with? Sure. Yet, it is of my opinion that FIC is just another pendulum swing that has gone too far, but does help us show some errors in the Church (though they may not be perfectly corrected with said movement).
     
  9. John Carpenter

    John Carpenter Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Fly Caster,

    If something is "extreme" by definition it is "not prevalent." One does preclude the other in the context of speaking about how common a practice is (which was the context I employed it). Extreme, in the way I used it of the practice, means to be far out of the norm. Nonattendance is an "extreme violation", yes, but if I said it was an "extreme practice" that would be wrong because it is common. Granted that you may have used "extreme" in another context and thus I'm wrong to say that you conceded my point.

    But, be that as it may, my initial point is still valid: there simply are not many churches that uncompromisingly demand that family members go to their age segregated groups (like "children's church") even if they don't want to. The church you mention is the only one I've ever heard of to do so; it is extreme and not prevalent and so the "disease" the FIC seeks to address isn't widespread.
     
  10. John Carpenter

    John Carpenter Puritan Board Freshman

     
  11. John Carpenter

    John Carpenter Puritan Board Freshman

    Ok, then please name the scriptures for us that tell the church to be "family integrated." I don't know of any. If there are some that I'm missing, I'd like to know.

    As far as I can tell, one of the few specific instructions to the elders about doing ministry to the church is Titus 2, in which Paul gives Titus instructions specific to both age and sex differentiated groups.
     
  12. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    John,

    Titus shows what Titus was to teach the Church. Those roles of men and women in the congregation. But like I said I am not a proponent of FIC. So I agree that older women (not just those in the family) are to teach the younger. Yet, as I said, based in what FIC is countering, we can learn or be reminded of many things.

    One of those things is the need for children to be in public worship. And the abstaining from anything that resembles a "children's church". In baptist circles especially, but as we know from a recent discussion on the PB, Presbyterians as well take children out of worship and put them in the nursery or what have you. Yet Scripture is clear (Neh. 8, Deut. 29, Matthew 19, etc.) that children are to be in worship with their families. So like I said, there are good things in FIC, and not EVERYTHING should be discounted because they are addressing a problem. They just go too far in their answer to the problem and have not conformed their answer to God's answer.

    Like I said, there is much we can learn from FIC, especially if we are coming out of baptistic (non-reformed) circles or the like. Places where youth ministry is so far emphasized, children are called to either not be in public worship and just go to youth ministry or that even the youth ministry is their youth worship/church. But we need to be mindful that they also go too far in many respects.
     
  13. John Carpenter

    John Carpenter Puritan Board Freshman

    No, scripture is NOT at all clear about that. Nehemiah 8 and Matthew 19 are historical records, narrative not imperative. I think a good case can be made that the Apostolic church had the Lord's Supper every week. I believe the narratives show that. But there is not one imperative telling us to do so and so we don't have to follow that. Further, Nehemiah 8 is a unique historical event, the gathering of all Israel after their return from exile. It really doesn't tell us how to do church. Matthew 19 -- I'm assuming you're referring to the Lord Jesus' statement to "let the children come to Me" -- likewise has no clear bearing on how we do church. Indeed, a proponent of age segregated meetings, children's church and the like, could just as well argue from the same text that we are bend over backward to make the children feel comfortable, speak to them on their level, and thus use it as a rationale for insisting on a children's church. Deuteronomy 29 is egregiously misapplied as it only tells parents to instruct their children in the faith at every spontaneous opportunity. It has no application to the gathering of the church, except that parents ought to lead their children in faithful church attendance.

    Besides, you simply haven't dealt fully with Titus 2. There, Paul specifically tells Titus to approach age and sex segregated groups in different ways. Never once does he speak of keeping families together or approaching members of the church in and through their families. The older women are specifically told to instruct the younger women, not just the fathers or their mothers instruct them but other, likely unrelated older women. When one of the few texts that specifically addresses the exact issue that the FIC purports to be concerned with -- what to do in the church, how to approach various groups -- and the inspired Apostles answer is nothing like the answer the FIC proffers, then we can conclude the FIC is wrong.

    Also, as in point #6 above, I simply don't acknowledge that what they are addressing is a problem.
     
  14. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    And I'll add my agreement to all that. The FIC movement has rightly noticed some real problems. They're making some good points. Kids ought to be in worship with the whole church. Dads should be leading their families spiritually (which should include worshipping together at church). And some ministry programs for kids are doing more harm than good. All that is true enough.

    But I don't think they've spoken to those problems very effectively. Because they take things too far, churches that need to listen to them instead label them as crazies and tune them out.

    In my church, I've been an outspoken advocate for kids being in the worship service and for parents leading their families spiritually. At times, people have tuned me out. They figure I'm one of those extremists who believes Sunday school classes are of the devil. So why listen to me? I'm one of the crazies. But I'm not one of those. I teach kids' Sunday school. Sadly, though, I get lumped in with the extremists because they're loud and noticed. If they were less radical and more biblical, they might better help bring about some needed changes.
     
  15. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    John,

    It seems you are arguing for the sake of arguing. I'm not really disagreeing with you, just saying there are positives about FIC.
     
  16. PaulMc

    PaulMc Puritan Board Freshman

    I am sad to say that I know of a church where this is the case, where any child under the age of around 10 or 11 cannot be in the worship service, but must be in Children's church. Any family with young children would never be able to be together during the service. This grieves me.
    It makes it worse that the place in question is one of the biggest and most prominent reformed churches in England.
     
  17. John Carpenter

    John Carpenter Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Paul,

    First, one church does not a trend make.
    Second, one cannot establish from scripture that having a children's church is wrong. So there is no need to be grieved by it.
    Third, one can establish from scripture that divisiveness is wrong (e.g. Titus 3:9f) and can show that the FICM can be divisive over this issue.
    Therefore, it is the FICM that is doing what is grievous.
     
  18. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    John,

    God says, "You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it."

    Where in Scripture do we see "Children's Church" commanded or deduced from Scripture?
     
  19. PaulMc

    PaulMc Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi John,
    I didn't write that in support of the FICM in any way.
    To your second point, while I don't think that having a children's church is right, I am sad that it is mandatory, somewhere your family must be broken up if you have any children under a certain age. I wouldn't have so much of a problem if it was optional.
     
  20. DeniseM

    DeniseM Puritan Board Freshman

    Joshua addressed the men, women and children at the same time, in the same worship setting. I'm not saying that the Family Integrated Churches are correct in all of their teachings, but where is the justification for separating the children from their parents in worship? Teaching is one thing and corporate worship is another. Corporate worship does include teaching, but it also involves much more. When the ladies of the church have edifying conversations after the service or join together for a bible study, we often teach one another, but this doesn't excuse us of our duty to come together as a congregation, the body of Christ, in which all the members are one body joined together in Christ. Christ appears to have also taught the women, men and children together, when he preached. -Matthew 15:38

    Just wondering where the justification for forming a children's church in the first place would come from? During corporate worship, the Pastor is already leading the congregation in worship, so who would be leading the children in the separate children's church? Do we not need an ordained Pastor to lead our children in corporate worship? If not, do you think that this could lead to the mind set of treating our children as second rate Christians?

    Not trying to challenge you here, just really seeking to learn the proper biblical teaching on these subjects. Any thoughts?
     
  21. Tim

    Tim Puritan Board Graduate

    Dr. Carpenter, I find the sort of reasoning you are using to be way too "quick". It sounds like you require an explicit proof text for each position, rather than arriving at a conclusion based on the consequence of biblical principles, and if you don't find anything explicit, you proclaim that "scripture is silent", citing this is sufficient evidence that a particular position should be rejected.

    You also seem to be making sweeping statements and conclusions based on a single Biblical passage:

    I suggest that you take this a bit slower. There are a number of points in this topic that have a valid place in discussion. Please do not dismiss them all so quickly, or else there will be nothing left to discuss in this thread! And it's a good issue to discuss, so thanks for bringing up the topic.
     
  22. Curt

    Curt Puritan Board Graduate

    I've tried to stay away from these discussion, because I don't want to seem self-serving. In Chapter 10 of our (my wife Sandra and myself) forthcoming book, Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship, I write,


     
  23. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Dear Denise (it's always so nice to see you and interact with you anywhere :) -- my own small thoughts would be that 'children's church' is not the best name or concept for a time of training small children who are as yet (for whatever reason) unable to sit through a service for worship. I like what Rev. Greco and Rev. Strange cite here as 'worship training' at posts #50 and 51. http://www.puritanboard.com/f103/no-kids-allowed-movement-73219/

    Is there warrant for small children being kept out of services? Yes, I believe so: as much warrant as there is for small children being in services, in that we have OT example (Hannah). Just as illness or some other impediment might keep a member away, a child's incapacity (or a mother with her hands full learning how to take care of a new child) can keep them away. It's not a permanent state or some sort of acknowledgement that the child or mother are not part of the body. Taking advantage of that time to train children to sit in worship with Bible stories, etc., does not equate, I don't believe, to having another separate worship service (which would have to be elder led) any more than a woman's Bible study is a separate worship service that must be elder led.

    Those are my own thoughts about it, for whatever they are worth. I love to see children in worship (especially yours :) -- and you and Ben do such an exemplary job with training your kids in so many ways). I think we should do everything we can to accommodate the children being in the public worship. I also love to see churches welcome the unchurched from the communities around them and accommodate as much as possible to helping them learn to be a part of Christ's body.
     
  24. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    Perhaps the question should be asked: Exactly what happens in the Non-FIC assemblies?

    If it's something in line with the church, and if it's done at a separate time from corporate worship (A local church does these meetings after its corporate service), then it can be edifying.

    However, if these groups are undermining the congregation (such as, for example, teaching questionable material or having an essentially "Christian rock concert" in a church that holds to traditional worship), then there's a serious problem.

    Personally, I don't have a problem with the outside groups PROVIDED they 1.) reinforce the doctrinal core of the corporate church and 2.) occur some time other than the corporate worship service.
     
  25. John Carpenter

    John Carpenter Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Andrew,

    You could perhaps deduce age segregated meetings from Titus 2. The younger men are dealt with differently than the older; the younger women are dealt with by the older women. Never in this important passage on ministry in the church is the family mentioned as being dealt with as a whole nor are we told to keep it together.

    But, one could ask the same of the FIC: where in scripture do we see "family integration" commanded or deduced from Scripture? Certainly not in the text you quoted (but did not cite) as it is a fine passage for the Regulative Principle but since there isn't any passage commanding family integration, any condemnation of "children's church" you might want to deduce from it applies equally well to insisting on family integration.
     
  26. DeniseM

    DeniseM Puritan Board Freshman

    Dear, Heidi, yes I completely agree with what you said about women's bible studies not needing to be a part of worship at all or needing to be elder led. If fact, that was my point. :) I think I didn't make clear though what I meant about the children's church. If I'm correct in what the FIC is taking a stand against, it is actually the church trying to limit children to a separate worship service of their own, apart from their parents. I know first hand that there are a number of churches that do this. I grew up in one and my brother and his wife currently addend a church that practices 'children's church'. I agree that it is a bad name and a bad practice, but that's what they call it. So, I hope that explains why I raised the questions that I did. I wasn't questioning a parents right to take a child out for correction or training; I was questioning whether there was justification from scripture for a church to exclude children from worshipping with the rest of the congregation. The instance of the family from our church kicked out of a church that they were visiting, while on vacation, for refusing to put their children in the children's services immediately came to mind.

    Thank you for your reply. It is always good to her from you and I value your opinion a great deal. What you said about our children in church is very kind and I know that they(and we) always look forward to seeing you and Ruben in church also.
     
  27. John Carpenter

    John Carpenter Puritan Board Freshman

     
  28. John Carpenter

    John Carpenter Puritan Board Freshman

    [/QUOTE]Dr. Carpenter, I find the sort of reasoning you are using to be way too "quick". It sounds like you require an explicit proof text for each position, rather than arriving at a conclusion based on the consequence of biblical principles, and if you don't find anything explicit, you proclaim that "scripture is silent", citing this is sufficient evidence that a particular position should be rejected.

    You also seem to be making sweeping statements and conclusions based on a single Biblical passage:[/QUOTE]


    I'd have to plead "guilty" to that. But I believe it's a consequence of my belief in the perspicuity of scripture. I believe scripture is clear in everything God wants to communicate in it. I don't believe that He has left us up to the creative inferences of theologians to divine what they say can be teased out of some unrelated passages. For example, when someone says that having women pastors is ok or that homosexual practices are not sinful, I can be very "quick" and insisting that that is not so. Or, to use a positive example: I believe in singing Psalms as part of our worship service because scripture explicitly tells us to do so (Col. 3:16). God did not inspire the passages on these topics and then expect us to ascertain that they really mean the opposite. It means what it says, says what it means, and when it doesn't address a particular issue, then we need to tread carefully.

    On this topic, the FICM puts forth an assertion: Family Integration in worship services is God's command and breaking church meetings up into age differentiated groups is a corrupting influence of modernity. Of course, I want to see the passage that says this. But there is no such passage. In fact, it appears that Titus 2 either allows for or even specifically calls for the opposite: namely, dealing with age (and sex) differentiated groups in different ways. Further, I simply do not believe that God expects us to string together unrelated texts, usually out of context, and come to a conclusion that isn't spelled out elsewhere. So, while I might agree that I'm "quick", I still believe that I'm right.
     
  29. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Denise, I think we are mostly agreed then -- for I too disagree with making children go to a separate 'church' of their own (and certainly there is a problem with that, if not so common in reformed circles -- very common in others). And I also value your opinion a great deal :) What I said about your children in church is just honest!
     
  30. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Curt's comment hits the main point. If we're appealing to direct instructions in Scripture about what to do with kids during worship services, we're going to end up overstating our points because there isn't anything all that direct. If you want to argue against "children's church" during the service (and I do), there are better ways to do it.

    1. As Curt pointed out, faith comes through hearing. The Spirit works growth in Christ through the Word, and importantly through the preached Word delivered by a minister called to that task. Plus, even if kids don't take the Lord's Supper they ought to be seeing it in action and begining to know the Word in that form as well. If we remove our children from the Word in these forms in the name of Christian instruction, we're making a mistake. We're failing to understand how the Spirit actually instructs.

    2. The church's worship service is a celebration of the church coming together as one. It's where all of us, different as we are, join for an hour or two each week to worship our God together. If we believe children are a part of our righty diverse church, then they ought to be part of our whole-church worship service. We have plenty of time when we aren't in a worship service to go our separate ways and do age-specific things.

    3. What does it say about a dad's spiritual leadership if he instructs his kids at home, leads in family worship, talks about Christ as they walk along, etc... and then, when the worship highlight of the week comes along he sends his kids off to do their separate thing while he worships without them? That just doesn't fit spiritual leadership. It doesn't fit parenthood.

    Scripture makes strong statements about all these things: Strong statements about the value of God's Word. Strong statements about the oneness of the body. Strong statements about a parent's spiritual leadership. We don't need to be looking for some other kind of statement and arguing over the regulative principle. These other three principles will do just fine.

    They are why I advocate for kids in the service, with their parents, as a general rule.
     
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