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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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!
Pastor Adam (and family)