People familiar with Vision Forum and the National Center for Family Integrated Churches are probably quite aware of their emphasis on home and family life. This conference was no different, with messages on youth groups, home discipleship, women’s ministry, the Sabbath, biblical manhood and womanhood, and .
I’m not sure what order to put these in for the most coherent flow, so I’ll just write about them in that order.
As some of you may be aware, almost a year ago now our family made the decision that Cait and I would no longer regularly attend youth group. We still pop in every now and then, but it is by no means a regular thing, nor do we support it. Mr. Brown voiced why quite well.
He began his message with a tale of two cities: Calvin’s Geneva and Edwards’s Northampton. Calvin desired that the youth of Geneva would be catechized. He set up times for the youth to gather together and be taught, but it failed – because of the truth of Proverbs 13:20. Calvin tried youth groups, and he failed, too. In Northampton, Edwards exhorted the youth against gathering together.
I believe youth groups are unbiblical. This is NOT to say that God doesn’t use them, but just because God uses something doesn’t make it right. Leave youth ministry, but not ministry to youth.
We’re in an emergency, and great emergencies call for great responses!
Mr. Brown then took us through the Biblical record on youth ministry. In quick summation – youth ministry is a well-developed theme in scripture. Scripture shows the consequences of neglect. Youth ministry must conform to scriptural pattern and command. The Family has primary responsibility for ministry to youth. The Church has specific duties for youth ministry – youth are members of the body of Christ and should not be separated. The content of instruction is specified in scripture. Generational faithfulness should be emphasized in biblical ministry to youth.
However, what happens in modern youth ministry is that fathers are eliminated from it, worldly practices are used to popularize it (age segregation, video games, rock-concert like ‘worship’), cultural fragmentation is used to unify it, and evangelical impotence is the result. The Church allocates significant financial resources, staff (including the creation of Church offices not ordained by God), and commands of God are set aside in order to grow the youth ministry.
This leaves us with three questions:
Is it biblical? No. (Show me scripture supporting it!)
Does its philosophy originate in godly or worldly philosophy? French Rationalism.
Does it produce good fruit? No, it’s a weed that has its roots deep in the Church. thus to uproot it is difficult.
God didn’t command youth ministry, it’s methodology is anti-family, it’s anti Malachi 4:6, it divides the body, inhibits discipleship, and harms the transmission of a multigenerational worldview.
So what do we do for our youth? There’s a biblical alternative, called home discipleship. Pastor Voddie spoke on this.
He said that age segregation is based in Darwinian evolutionary Marxist ideology. Is that good? No.
God has given us three discipleship tools – for everyone.
1. Godly, mature men and women in the Church.
2. Godly, manly elders
3. Godly, biblically functioning homes.
These form a three-legged stool.
1 – Older men and women will be able to help younger men and women because they have walked with Him for so long. Older men have learned self-control (which is really Spirit-control). The modern Church says that if a young man loves the things of God, we pack him off to seminary to justify our lack of love for God. We push biblical knowledge into a section called “preachers only” and don’t let older men do their jobs.
The purpose of older women training younger women is so that the word of God is not defiled. Unlike many would argue, Titus 2 is NOT a model for women’s Bible study, but relational, informal teaching from an older woman to a younger woman.
Seek out an older mentor!
2 – Women should seek out a Titus 1 man to marry. People ask where the list for young men is, the answer, it’s in Titus 1. Elders are to be examples for the Church (1 Peter 5). Nothing in the elder’s list is something that we would want to give up for our sons. The Titus 1 man is a manly man, a shepherd! (Don’t think so? You go try fighting a wolf with a stick!) Jesus conquered death – how much more manly can you get?
3 – Be engulfed in a culture, bathed and saturated in the Word of God. Hear GOSPEL in all three legs of the stool. Spending time teaching your family is time that is NOT wasted!
If you take away legs you will fall. Do whatever it takes to have all three legs.
Number one of Pastor Voddie’s points parallels a breakout session I went to on Women’s ministry. I attended only the second half, but it was very good. Mr. Pollard went through the list in Titus 2:3-5, explaining every detail, spending lots of time on “keepers at home.” The Greek word that we translate “keepers at home” has slight variation, and can be a word used to insult men who don’t go to war. People argue that a woman staying at home comes from the culture of the time. But no, it is NOT found in Roman culture!
He explained the beauty of an older woman teaching a younger woman. The older woman understands the trials well. They preserve Christian womanhood by teaching it to the next generation. They can help younger women wash their failures in the blood of Christ, speaking deeply to her trials, saying “I was there once too, this is how Christ helped me.”
Elders should know these older women, they should teach sound doctrine so that the women will teach what is good.
The list of what women are to teach helps draw a line between manhood and womanhood, which Pastor Voddie spoke on more.
He unveiled lies – one being that women lead because men weren’t leading. Women usurped authority. So we’ve feminized the Church and its ministry. This causes men to back away from, not confront, the lie.
When people ask why Jasmine isn’t at college, one thing Mr. Baucham says is “I have a daughter at home who’s not off in college preparing to be a man.” Feminism seeks egalitarianism and eliminating the difference.
Another of his points was our view of marriage. The marriage issue is important because the world’s way doesn’t portray Christ and the Church. To accept the world’s way is to say “I’m ok with the perversion of the gospel.”
Any time a woman says she “feels called” or “has a desire to” be in the ministry, go to scripture! Calling is secondary to scripture, it doesn’t supersede its sufficiency.
Then Mr. Baucham discussed the ultimate man – pre-fall Adam. Adam was committed to God-honoring work, God’s law, and his family. In the perfect place, God says “man needs to work.” The first “it is not good” in Genesis is “it is not good for man to be alone.” God brings Eve to be Adam’s helpmeet, but it never mentions Eve laboring alongside Adam in the garden. Part of Adam’s work is bringing glory to God by bringing aesthetic beauty to creation.
We have denied this, replacing scripture with feminism. We know how to get back, but we have let the ship slip from the moorings of the sufficiency of scripture.
But hey – Pastor Voddie doesn’t write the mail, he just delivers it. If you have a problem, take it to the Author.
In his breakout session, Mr. Horn discussed the Sabbath.
To dishonor the Sabbath is to dishonor your husband who died for you. The Sabbath is about the bride of Christ loving her Husband. Every minute is to serve Him. Yet when He says ‘rest’ we say ‘no.’
If we say that the Sabbath is just for Jews, then we are saying that God loves the Jews more than us. This is not true! The Sabbath is a blessing. One of the worst ways to pollute the Sabbath is to call it a curse (Isaiah 58:13-14).
The Sabbath is…
– a sign that God has sanctified us to Himself. The first holy thing is the Sabbath day.
We are strict about saying that Creation was 6 24-hour days, yet when it comes to the Sabbath, we treat it as the two hours we spend in Church. Our rest on the Sabbath tells the world that God sanctifies and makes us Holy. When we don’t keep the Sabbath, we say our earthly bosses who give us 2 days are more kind than God. Communion is directly tied to the Sabbath because they both proclaim communion.
– God is not of this world, so as His people we are not of the world.
We win the lost by being different – our strength is NOT providing.
– a testimony that God sanctifies.
Why do some things sanctify us? I don’t know, all I can do is praise God.
“Do not work” on the Sabbath doesn’t mean don’t milk your cow, but don’t do anything you can do a different day. Acts of mercy and necessity are fine!
Failing to keep the Sabbath says that the world is so good I cannot put it aside for one day, and that we do not love Christ enough to give Him a day.
Giving Christ a day,