Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Sufficiency of Scripture in the Family-Integrated Church

(Image found at www.theelegantpen.com)
In the last post I gave a very brief and general description of a family-integrated church (FIC) as one which encourages families to grow spiritually and worship together rather than going different directions in church to age-segregated classes and programs. Before moving on to what I love about the FIC model, I want to refer you to a much more thorough definition of the FIC given in a lecture by Scott T. Brown in 2008. I highly recommend you purchase this 1 hr + download from BlueBehemoth for $4.95. I thought it was excellent and if this topic is of interest to you, it will be well worth your while! My information, and therefore what I love, about the FIC model has been acquired through the books I mentioned last post and through the articles and audio downloads available through the NCFIC and/or Vision Forum. In light of this, I believe I can accurately represent the motivation behind and support for the FIC movement.

There are many qualities that endear the FIC model to me, but the one I love the most is the high view of and reliance on Scripture by the FIC. I have recently been reading about William Tyndale and how he gave his life so that English speaking people could read the Bible in their own language. I don’t mean just that he died for it, but he gave all of himself while he lived for that one passion- to make the Word of God available to all people, rich or poor; man, woman, or child; educated or uneducated; tradesmen or serfs. Luther did the same thing for the Germans. God, in His providence, ordained that His Word be made available to common people like you and me. What a joyous privilege! Mathew Henry expressed this same sentiment. “Thanks be to God we have Bibles cheap and common in a language we understand. The book of the law is not such a rarity with us as it was in Josiah’s time. We need not fetch this knowledge from afar, nor send from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth to seek the Word of God. No, the Word of God is near us.” (A Church in the House p. 35) Henry goes on to say, “It is better to be without bread in your house than without Bibles. For the words of God’s mouth are and should be to you more than your necessary food.” (A Church in the House p. 36)

Imagine if the only time a believer could grow spiritually was when listening to their preacher. We are so blessed to have an abundance of Bibles at our finger tips! Unfortunately, this mindset that the things of God are for preachers only (the professionals), the very situation that the Reformers fought to free us from, is rampant in the church today. Too many Christian parents think their duty in bringing their children up in the admonition of the Lord consists of diligently taking their children to church every time the door’s open. I am not judging here. This was us until recently and what’s worse, my husband is a pastor! I guess in retrospect we were hoping that our kids would just kind of “catch” God’s Word and that it would stick with them. Is that all that’s expected of us?

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

According to this the parents are the ones held responsible for teaching their children the commandments of God. Furthermore, the parents are to carry on a never-ending conversation with their kids throughout the day in every kind of circumstance about the Lord and His Word.

What if you know that your kids are being taught by excellent, dedicated teachers at church? That’s wonderful, by the way, you are truly blessed to have those dear saints dedicated to teaching the Bible to your children. Here’s what Mathew Henry had to say about that. “This way of catechizing does, in a special manner, belong to the church in the house. For that’s the nursery in which the trees of righteousness are reared that afterwards are planted in the courts of our God. Public catechizing will turn to little account without family catechizing. The labor of ministers in instructing youth, and feeding the lambs of the flock, therefore proves to many a labor in vain, because masters of families do not do their duty, in preparing them for public instruction, and examining their improvement by it.” (A Church in the House p. 40) In other words, having other people in your church to come alongside you and help you in teaching your children about the Bible is great, but if you’re not doing anything with them at home, it’s not enough. Already Gone by Ken Ham is about just that. Sunday school as a means of growing children into “trees of righteousness” has failed.

Family-integrated churches encourage parents to instruct their children in the Scriptures and to worship with their children in the home, so that it can be daily, no continuous, and so that it can be relational. This will necessitate that the church have a pastor who is dedicated to verse by verse expository preaching from the Word of God, rather than teaching on his recent whim or the news of the day. The FIC model also necessitates placing a high priority on discipling parents, in order to equip them for teaching their children and worshipping with them at home. All of these characteristics of a FIC, expository preaching, Biblical discipleship, and instructing children in the Word at home, rely upon the sufficiency of Scripture.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16)

We are living in a time where the busyness of family life almost precludes consistent family worship. It might not seem practical to expect parents to teach their kids daily from the Scriptures. And what of all the great youth programs available? It’s not uncommon for families to choose their church based on the youth program. Scott T. Brown says this about that. The FIC would rather be Biblical than pragmatic and relational than programmatic. And I’ll leave you with that until the next post.


  1. Hmm very interesting. Thank you for sharing. I don't know much about the FIC but thanks to you, I am more enlightened!! I have heard alot about it. I look foward to your next post and your honesty

  2. I am excited to read this series. We have no FIC close to us but I sure wish we did.

  3. It seems as if we think a lot alike. I appreciate your completeness in this post. You have done a lot of research on the topic and have not become easily swayed because it is the newest fad. You seem to be a studier. This world will benefit from people like you. I want to train our children to be studiers and thinkers and not be swayed by every wind. Maybe when I am in the area visiting my family one day, I can come and visit the church your husband pastors.

  4. Thank you, all!

    Debbie- It would be great fun to meet and wonderful to have you worship with us!

  5. I copied some of what you wrote on my blog and posted a link to this. This has been on my mind a lot. It amazes me that it is not taught more over the pulpit to equipt our children in the HOME. that is just necessary to send them off all day, we have a freedom to gaurd their hearts now, it may not always be this way, shouldn't we take advantage of that time....
    "redeem the time, for the days are evil..."



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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.