Tuesday, July 19, 2011

straight from the hip

Below you will find a compelling explanation of what a Family Integrated Church is. I have been posting links to the movie Divided, and I highly recommend everyone watching it. Over the last few months, our life as a family has been radically transformed. Reformed Theology has restored our hope and ignited a passion for Jesus like never before. It truly feels like being "saved" all over again. Several things have happened. Too many to list, but here are a few!

We have given God the choice as to how big our family will be.Yep, we are now one of those weird families you hear about. Does that mean we will have ten kids? I am not sure. God is the opener and closer of the womb, not us. Does Jeremy support this? Yes. 100%. He did do a little kicking and screaming (okay lots), but the Holy Spirit did ALL the work. I did appeal to my husband with scripture, and asked him to pray about it. Quickly, God changed his heart. Jeremy now has a friend who has four children and they are expecting their fifth. This friendship quickly became a huge encouragement. We also go to a Church where a family with four children is the "norm". In today's society, four is the limit. Sad. I also have a new mentor in my life who happens to be a mother of ten. YES, TEN! That's weird, huh? (smile)

In ten years of marriage, we have never been taught a solid doctrine. Instead it has been Pentecostal hype/chaos, Emergent liberalism and Post-modern relativism. That has been our church experience in a nutshell. Oh, and whole lot of relational drama! We have run ourselves ragged in the church. We sat out for almost three years and said that we would NOT go back to anything we had already encountered. If that meant staying out of church forever, we were okay with that. Thankfully, He had other plans.

One of the things I love about my church is the MOST important thing. It is based on scripture alone. We have been to so many churches where this was not the case. I have been silent for a long time on this blog because I did not want to upset or offend anyone in my inner circles (family included). Now I feel the time has come for me to share my experiences. I am not sure how much I will share. I want the Holy Spirit to be my guide. Easily, I could type soapboxes, but that would not be pleasing to God. Something I heard Paul Washer say in the interview below made me realize it was time to begin defending the BRIDE.
Paul Washer interview-Church Leaders Who Permit Carnality

We live in world full of FALSE TEACHING. We have even subscribed to it during seasons of our life. But when you come face to face with TRUTH, you want to shout it! When you come face to face with DOCTRINE, you want to shout it! You don't want "cotton candy" anymore!

ABORTION is murder.
Homosexuality is SIN.

Churches are too afraid to stand for or against these things anymore. They don't want to offend. They want to keep their numbers. Some pastors are actually telling their members that Heaven is here on earth. WHAT? Some of them are teaching that there isn't a hell. Some are teaching that God wants you to live in prosperity and checks are going to start showing up in the mailbox!  People, you better know the Word of God like you have never known it before because you are being taught LIES.

I love the Latin phrase Sola Scriptura. It means the Bible has all the knowledge we need. It is the final authority! Which brings me to the post I have copied and pasted below by R.C. Sproul Jr. No where in scripture will you find a church model for Sunday School. I am so excited about the church family God has given us. We have waited for a very long time for this. If you are wondering what Family-Integrated is all about, please read below.

And just to get that fat elephant out of the room, let me go ahead and answer your question! Yes, we are reformed. Yes, we believe in "the elect". Yes, we are Calvinists. Come to find out, we always have been. Now, we just understand it more. We understand why we were constantly skeptic of the Pentecostals, and why we never felt at peace with the emergent church. This is another reason we could not get on board with the Church plant we moved to Austin for. It went against every fiber of our being. I now believe we have sat under many false teachers. That is scary. We did not go looking for this reformed theology. As a matter of fact, it was always who we were at the core. I don't believe I chose God, HE chose me. End of story.

It feels good to shoot straight from the hip today! Maybe my hip will finally quit hurting! I've been carrying this a long time. The year I ran almost 1,000 miles, I pounded many of these questions away during each run. I wrestled with God over having more babies, questioning our church, questioning relationships, and questioning Him. Finally, that load is gone.

Sola scriptura!


What is a “Family-integrated church?”

Though it sounds rather complicated and perhaps a smidge experimental, the concept is both simple and ancient. A family integrated church is one that encourages keeping families together by keeping them together. It is a church where families together study the Bible, where families together worship the living God, where families together serve both the church and the world in the name of Jesus Christ.

We fight against a Devil that desperately fights against the family. While we are on guard, as we ought to be, against assaults on the family in the political sphere, we often miss the serpent’s subtleties. The broader culture attacks our families by dividing them. It constructs demographic groups to replace family identity. Each group has its own language, its own clothing, its own music, its own events, its own identity. Our homes, once symbols of togetherness, have now become little more than apartment complexes, designed to keep us apart. Each family member not only has his own room, but in many homes his own phone, television, music system, gaming system. We don’t even share dinner together as Mom rushes off to her book club, Dad heads back to the office, Junior catches a ride to little league practice, and Princess heads off to the youth group meeting. Messages taped to the refrigerator are the apex of our togetherness.

It’s bad enough that such happens six days a week, but we have, in the last fifty or so years, added a new tradition to the church, and imported this same mindset there. Sunday morning we might all share a ride to the church but when we get there Dad goes to his Wild at Heart meeting, Mom to her Women In the Church gathering, Junior is shuttled off to his Little Crusaders class and Princess is hanging out with her friends in the youth building. The result- we end up identifying with our peers rather than our families, just like in the world.

The Bible does actually talk about demographic groups. It addresses the issue. It, however, commands not that we separate from each other based on our stage in life, but that we come together (see Titus 2). The Bible’s pattern, and that which the church followed for over 1900 years, is that the family together is taught and encouraged by the church, and that parents raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Divided Sunday Schools and youth groups were designed with the best of intentions, to reach out to the lost. What they have become, however, is a new tradition, and worse still, a ready excuse for parents to fail in their calling. God calls me, not the Sunday school teachers, not the youth leaders, to speak to my children of the things of God when they lie down, when they walk by the way, and when they rise up (Deuteronomy 6).

My friends, the LeClerc brothers, in association with my friends at the National Center for Family Integrated Churches, have created a brief but insightful documentary, Divided, that deals with this very issue. They have made it possible to watch this video, free of charge, for the next month and a half. I’d encourage you to take a look at www.dividedthemovie.com. It might make you mad. But it will surely make you think.

Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Interesting article, I want to come back and re-read it, and let it sink in.

So glad you are at such peace. God is so good!