Monday, January 31, 2011

A review of “Family Driven Faith”

I was excited when I found Voddie Baucham’s book “Family Driven Faith”. I had recently watched the documentary “Divided” and became interested in the National Center for Family Integrated Church. During a visit to a local Christian bookstore I sought out any books related to the topic of family and its relationship to the church. Dr. Baucham’s book was, providentially, the only one they had in stock.

I have heard some of Voddie’s sermons before and even listened as he was interviewed on Wretched Radio. Some of what he teaches in the book will take many by surprise. The personal application and stories he gave really helped to drive home the biblical principles he laid out. While some may want less of an author’s personal story in writing I find it to be helpful since it explains how the individual struggled through the issues himself.

The first passage that struck me, although not by surprise was about midway down on page 11. “…85 percent of ‘born again teens’ do not believe in the existence of absolute truth. Over 60 percent agreed with the statement, ‘nothing can be known for sure except the things you experience in your own life’. More than half of those surveyed believed that Jesus sinned during His earthly life.” To clarify this on the next page he says “The problem is not that these children are leaving Christianity….by their own admission, (they) are not Christian!” The first statements are well known through Christianity but the reality of what Voddie said concerning their false conversion is rarely acknowledged. Most spend years propping up the unconverted trying to pretend they are truly saved simply because of personal pride. No one wants to really admit how much of a failure we have been in developing children and youth ministries and programs.

The stone cold reality is that we have failed! It is time that we step up and admit this. We cannot, and will not, see a change in the current trend until we do. After this admission, the bulk of the book is spent on recapturing the central role of parents in the lives of their children. Voddie points out the allowances that most Christian parents have conceded to. He targets topics such as dating, overemphasis on secular education over Scripture, and self-centeredness in most parents today.

He expounds on the self-centered aspect and discusses the attitude the world has toward children. In several very refreshing ways, Voddie admits that many Christians have subconsciously bought into the world’s teaching that children are a personal nuisance to one’s own desires and success. Does the world outright teach this? Of course not, Satan is not that stupid. The world instead does so in very subtle ways resulting in children taking a backseat to anything else that can be made to be more appealing. One evidence of this is the decrease in size of families in the Western world. “A girl for me and a boy for you and now we’re through” has become the mantra for measuring the proper size of a family. Honestly, this was exactly how my wife and I thought at the beginning of our marriage. We wasted no time planning for a family and our daughter was born a little less than 13 months after we were marred. But we had, in an unspoken way, thought we were finished when after we found out that our second child was a boy. Now, 7 children later, one still in the womb and the other in the presence of Christ, we are more open to receiving the blessing of children than ever before. But more of this will have to wait for another blog.

Voddie makes note of the importance of being the point of education for our children. While he places great emphasis on homeschooling, he does not condemn other schools completely. The objection he takes, which I do as well, is that if we are sending our children to be taught by those who do not believe what we do and want our children to, why are we giving them authority over our children? If we send them to Rome for their education, we should not be surprised when they become Romans.

What follows are practical tips and guidelines Voddie lays out the groundwork for emphasizing Scriptural teaching more than secular teaching, for discipling and catechizing our children, and for parents being the sole individuals responsible for doing so. Other points he makes that are very important include the unbiblical nature of dividing children from their parents during the church services, having age-segregated ministries, and otherwise making our churches look more like public schools than place where believers and their children can come together to worship God.

There is a wealth of information I have unfortunately had to exclude for the sake of space and readability. I cannot encourage you enough to purchase this book for yourself to read. If you cannot afford to do so, please email me (adam@doulostheou.com) and I will get one to you. That is how important I believe this teaching is.

In blogs to follow I will lay out a few things I personally learned in this book and another book I am currently reading: Scott T. Brown’s “A Weed in the Church”. There is still much I have to work through myself but the conviction of the Holy Spirit is heavy upon me to take action in my own family to become one that glorifies God through the loving disciplines of Scripture and proclamation of the Truth to the world.

May the Lamb who was slain receive the reward for His suffering!

SDG,
Pastor Adam (and family)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What is a Gospel driven Family?

So you've seen the blog title and may have asked yourself "What is a Gospel driven Family"? Well, let's answer that by answering the question "What is the Gospel"?

The Gospel is the Good News of Christ. This Good News has been preached long before Mary's angelic visitation. The first mention of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, was given to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15 "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He will bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." Here, God is pronouncing judgment upon the Serpent, Satan, for his action enticing Eve to eat the fruit and offer it to her husband. In Hebrew literature, the "Seed" is regularly attributed to the male's part in reproduction. God said the Seed will come from the woman, meaning that no male father will be necessary for this birth. Thus, we see the virgin birth of Christ clearly given. But to understand why Christ came to earth we need to understand plight of man.

Adam was given one simply command in Genesis 2:17 not to eat of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil". That was the only law God verbally gave to Adam. God revealed to Adam His standard of which Adam violated. God has furhter revealed His standard to all mankind in the Ten Commandments. Even if we break just one we are guilty of breaking them all (James 2:10). If we've lied, stolen, dishonored our parents, lusted (adultery of the heart), hated (murder of the heart), or broken any of the other 5 commandments God sees us as guilty.

Just like Adam and Eve were judged by God, so every person will be judged for violating God's law. Hebrews 9:27 tells us that we only have one life on this earth and after that life we will stand before God to give an account. When God judges you by His standard you would be found guilty and sent to Hell for all eternity. This is the bad news, and it must be understood so that the Good News makes sense. The Good News is that 2000 years ago God came to earth and took on human form, bearing the name Jesus. He lived a perfect and sinless life, in thought word and deed. Then 30-33 years into that life He voluntarily (John 10:17) went to the cross. What happened that day was that Jesus took upon Himself the penalty for your sins. You did the crime and Jesus paid your fine. He bore the full wrath of the Father on your behalf. While He died that day He did not stay dead, for He arose three days later and was seen by over 500 eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 15:6). Forty days later He ascended bodily into Heaven (Acts 1:9) to be seated at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:56) waiting to return in final judgment (2 Peter 3:7).

Our response to this should be more than just head knowledge. Acts 17:30 says that God commands us to repent, that is to turn away from sin, pleading for forgiveness and turning to God. In doing so we must put our faith and trust in what Christ has done on the cross for our sins. When you do, God will grant you a new heart with new desires and will make you born-again (John 3:3). This is the Gospel; salvation wrought by Christ on the cross on behalf of sinful, wretched people.

So how does this affect the family? Certainly, Scripture tells us that we are not saved by association. We must all individually come to repentance and faith in Christ in order to be saved. Children are not saved because their parents are. They too must come to Christ.

A Gospel driven Family is:

1) A family centered on loving Christ, rejoicing in His love, and glorifying Him in everything they do.

2) A family that is led by the father and mother in accordance with the biblical standards given to them as both husband and wife (Ephesians 5:22-33) and parents (Ephesians 6:4).

3) A family that desires to train up its children in the Lord (Proverbs 22:6) and see them come to personal faith in Christ.

4) A family who parents regularly preach the Gospel to themselves and their children.

5) A family who studies the Word together on a regular basis.

6) A family who regularly prays together.

7) A family who engages in family worship throughout the week at home and corporately with the local body of believers each week.

8) A family who has a desire to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost and dying world through the biblical principles of using the Law in evangelism.

While the latter part of this may not be as in-depth as I wish, as my family and I continue along on this path which the Lord has laid before us you will see these things become more developed and specific.

I would ask that you pray for me as the head of the home, husband, and father; my loving wife as my help-mate, mother, and teacher of our homeschool; and for our children as they come along with us in this journey. We are not a perfect family, we do make mistakes (I carry the largest load of that) but we pray that as we fall the Lord will admonish us to repentance and as we walk He will exhort us to growth.

May the Lamb who was slain receive the reward for His suffering. Thanks for stopping by!

Soli Deo gloria,
Pastor Adam (and family)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My prayer for this blog

As I believe the Lord has been doing a great work in me, my wife, and my family over the past several years I feel it necessary to start up this new blog. I do not want this to be a supplement to my other blog or a repitition of the posts you find there. While I may often reference and link between the two, this one has a unique and specific purpose. Here is a summary of how I pray the Lord will use this new blog:

>I pray that it may be a wake-up call for those who, like myself, have realized their failure in filling their biblical role as a husband and a father but have sought forgiveness from Christ and desire to finally "step up to the plate" with His guidance.

>I pray that it will be an encouragement for those wrestling with issues in their family studies and personal studies of the Word of God.

>I pray that I may be able to offer guidance in structuring and maintaining family Bible studies and worship times.

>I pray that I can offer counsel in the teachings of Scripture concerning the role of family in the corporate services of the local church.

>I pray that the reviews of materials I offer would be beneficial to a Gospel driven Family.

>I pray that some of the examples I give of how your entire family can be activley engaged in biblically sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be a source of encouragment to you.

>I pray that whatever convicting may be wrought in our lives will come as a result of the working of the Holy Spirit to further conform us to the image of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

These prayers will be posted on a tab in this blog so that there is no confusion as to its purpose. I hope you will enter your email address in the subscription box to the left to keep up with the latest on this blog. I pray that the Lord will use this to bring Him further glory. Thank you for stopping by!

Until the whole world hears,
Pastor Adam (and family)