Category Archive

A Picture of Christian Womanhood – Jonathan Edwards Comments on His Daughter Esther

What kind of young women do we pray for in times like these? Certainly not uneducated backward or repressed women, but those who are marked by their happy faithfulness to the biblical vision and characterized by what is best in Christian virtue. Jonathan Edwards saw these things in his daughter Esther and comments on in it,

“she exceeded most of her sex in the beauty of her person, as well in her behaviour and in conversation. She discovered an unaffected, natural freedom towards persons of all ranks with whom she conversed. She had a lively, sprightly imagination, a quick and penetrating discernment, and a good judgment. She possessed an uncommon degree of wit and vivacity, which yet was consistent with pleasantness and good nature ; and she knew how to be face-tious and sportive, without trespassing on the bounds of deco- rum, or of strict, serious religion. In short, she seemed formed to please, and especially to please one of Mr. Burr’s taste and character, in whom he was exceedingly happy. But, what crowned all her excellencies and was her chief glory was religion.”
Closing remarks from the diary of Esther Edwards

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A Father’s Tender Counsel to His Daughter in the Night

Esther Edwards, the daughter of Jonathan Edwards, recorded many tender moments of her family life in her journal. On September 11, 1756, she reflects on the night before and how her father gave her counsel on some spiritual difficulties she was having

‘I opened my difficulties and he as freely advised and directed the conversation as removed some distressing doubts that discouraged me much in my Christian warfare. He gave me some excellent directions to be observed in secret that tend to keep the soul near to God… O what a mercy that I have such a father — such a guide.’

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What about “Home Churching”?

In this podcast, Hope Baptist Church elders, Scott Brown, Steve Breagy, Jason Dohm and Dan Horn, Discuss a popular practice that some call “Home Churching”


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Spurgeon on: The Gospel in Our Homes

Charles Spurgeon identified the power of the gospel in a family, in a sermon on Acts 16:14 which records the conversion of Lydia – the first conversion in Europe. He relates many of the wonderful stories of women in the Bible, and then he reflects upon the power of a godly home in a community,

“If the gospel does not influence our homes, it is little likely to make headway amongst the community. God has made family piety to be, as it were, a sort of trade-mark on religion in Europe; for the very first convert brings with her all her family. Her household believed, and were baptized with her. You shall notice in Europe, though I do not mean to say that it is not the same anywhere else, that true godliness has always flourished in proportion as family religion has been observed. They hang a bell in a steeple, and they tell us that it is our duty to go every morning and every evening into the steeple-house there to join in prayer; but we reply that our own house is better for many reasons; at any rate, it will not engender superstition for us to pray there. Gather your children together, and offer prayer and supplication to God in your own room.

“But there is no priest.” Then there ought to be. Every man should be a priest in his own household; and, in the absence of a godly father, the mother should lead the devotions. Every house should be the house of God, and there should be a church in every house; and when this is the case, it will be the greatest barrier against priestcraft, and the idolatry of holy places. Family prayer and the pulpit are the bulwarks of Protestantism. Depend upon it, when family piety goes down, the life of godliness will become very low. In Europe, at any rate, seeing that the Christian faith began with a converted household, we ought to seek after the conversion of all our families, and to maintain within our houses the good and holy practice of family worship.”

(No. 2222), Intended for Reading on Lord’s-day, September 20th, 1891, Delivered by C. H. SPURGEON, At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

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Celebrating 27 Years of Marriage Today

Oh Happy Day, 27 years ago, when she said, “I do,” making us “heirs together of the grace of life.” 1 Peter 3:7

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Blogging The NCFIC Confession

ARTICLE I — Scripture is Sufficient

We affirm that our all-wise God has revealed Himself and His will in a completed revelation—the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments—which is fully adequate in both content and clarity for “everything pertaining to life (salvation) and godliness (sanctification)” including the ordering of the church and the family (2 Pet. 1:3-4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).

We deny that God’s people should treat His Word as inadequate for church and family life by supplementing His completed revelation with principles from humanistic psychology, corporate business models, and modern marketing techniques.

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The NCFIC Confession – “A 21st century statement on the necessity of harmony between the separate jurisdictions of the local church and the family”

The NCFIC confession is a working document designed to explain biblical principles regarding family and church life, define the complementary and harmonious roles of church and family as well as identify specific contemporary problems. We call it,

“A 21st century statement on the necessity of harmony between the separate jurisdictions of the local church and the family”

Here is the introduction to the document,


In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe that the church and the family are holy institutions, ordained and established by the Sovereign Triune God Who created the heavens and the earth. God’s infallible revelation, the Bible, reveals that the family is an integral part of the unfolding of His eternal purpose for the redemption of sinners. This great and gracious salvation—purposed by the Father, accomplished by the Son, and applied by the Holy Spirit—is in great measure passed on to succeeding generations as parents faithfully disciple the children God gives them. Therefore, the biblical order and unity of the family are crucial to the stability and health of the Church of Jesus Christ. In light of this, we recognize that the family—and especially fathers—are the focus of a fierce and unrelenting attack by the world, the flesh, and the Devil. This has escalated to the point that Christians must rise up in defense of the church and family in uncompromising biblical defense.

Rather than helping in this battle, church leadership has sometimes unwittingly contributed to the problem. Despite the good intentions of many of these leaders, they bear a level of responsibility for the vulnerability of the family in the face of its enemies. Lack of understanding and even unfaithfulness to God’s Word in our pulpits have contributed to the decline of biblical Christianity and the dissolution of the family in our churches. The minimizing of scriptural authority in the church leads to unbiblical practices. This in turn leads to the perversion of the biblical roles of men and women, the destruction of our children, and the collapse of our society. Traditions, which have originated in the minds of devils and fallen men, are counterfeits to God’s authority. False doctrines derived from Darwinism, Marxism, Feminism, Secular Humanism, Psychology, and countless other unbiblical sources, have emerged from a society that has discarded Divine Revelation and have contaminated or replaced God’s standards in many professing churches of the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the bitter fruits of this is the fragmentation of the family.

We believe that the only resolution to this problem is repentance and reformation. We must confess our failures, reject the traditions of men, and wholeheartedly return to God’s revelation for the establishment and nurture of the family in loving obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church. Our fervent prayer is that our God will raise up Spirit-filled, Christ-centered, family-integrated assemblies from the ashes of our man-centered, family fragmenting churches.

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What is NCFIC’s purpose?

NCFIC’s purpose is to correctly understand God’s unified vision for church and family, rightly diagnose the problems that impede this vision, and effectively communicate biblical solutions that rebuild family-affirming churches. We do not believe that family-integration is the only—or even the primary—issue in selecting or establishing a local church. But it is unquestionably a defining issue of our day as the modern church has lost the essential familistic culture that we see modeled in the New Testament. This question and answer is taken from the “Frequently Asked Questions” page on the NCFIC web site

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A Healthy Church in a Toxic Age


Kevin Swanson says,

“I believe that this is the single most important family-reformational movement in the world. The reformation of fatherhood, family relationships, family discipleship, and a distinctively biblical way of thinking in education is all important and exceedingly basic to the reformation of life. Yet, it cannot stop here. The reformation of family life is basic in our reformation agenda, but it must lead to the reformation of church relationships, church leadership, church worship, and church life. The dysfunctionality in family relationships have led to the dysfunctionality of church relationships.

To read more click here for Kevin’s article “A Healthy Church in a Toxic Age”

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The Mission of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches

1. Proclaim the sufficiency of scripture for church and family life

2. Promote the centrality of the church in God’s plan for families

3. Recover the biblical doctrines of manhood and womanhood in church, family and civil life

4. Identify the marks of worldliness in church and family in the 21st century

5. Explain the complimentary roles of church and family

6. Facilitate church planting and relationship building worldwide

7. Communicate the biblical doctrine of the family

8. Restore the biblical pattern of age integrated, family integrated worship, discipleship and evangelism

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Listen to A Church Covenant Song

Church covenants help to center a congregation on the biblical principles that every church member should uphold. Here is a song with the best elements that many church covenants contain. Click Here to Listen

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David Brainerd, “A Pure and Fervent Flame of Love to God”

Each year the elders at our church recommend that families read a missionary biography. For 2008, our recommendation was the biography of David Brainerd compiled by Jonathan Edwards.

Jonathan Edwards captures the essence of why it was important that we read Brainerd’s biography,

“that we may be in like manner faithful in our work; that we may be filled with the same spirit, animated with the like pure and fervent flame of love to God, and the like earnest concern to advance the kingdom and glory of our Lord and Master, and the prosperity of Zion!”

Edwards further comments on his focus on the glory of God,

‘Oh that the things that were seen and heard in this extraordinary person, his holiness, heavenliness, labor, and self-denial in his life, his so remarkably devoting himself and his all, in heart and practice to the glory of God…” Jonathan Edwards, Works, Vol.2, 35-36).

Here are nine critical messages of Brainerd’s life that we hope are transformational for us at our church.

1. His sensitivity to sin

It is possible that Brainerd had an over active sensitivity to sin, but it may also be true that we at Hope Baptist are less sensitive to sin – maybe too much so. We wanted to encourage a greater hatred of sin as we see in Brainerd. He writes, “Saw myself so vile and unworthy that I could not look my people in the face when I came to preach. Oh, my meanness, folly, ignorance, and inward pollution.” p146 At the same time, he shows his desire for holiness, “My soul breathed after God in sweet spiritual and longing desires of conformity Him.’ P107

2. His sufferings

His body was constantly at war with him and the disease that finally claimed his life caused him to feel poorly nearly every day of his life. Some of of the people in our church have experienced the most difficult year of their lives physically. Brainerd shows us how one man dealt with constant sickness and physical hardship. “With regard to the comforts of life. Most of my diet consists of boiled corn, hasty-pudding, etc. I lodge on a bundle of straw, my labor is hard and extremely difficult, and I have little appearance of success to comfort me.” P124

3. His short life.

Brainerd was Saved at age 21 and he died age 29. At age 25 he became a missionary to the Indians. So for eight years he was a Christian and four years a missionary. We have a church full of young people and how important it is that we help them labor in meaningful things.

4. His struggle with depression

He experienced emotional ups and downs and brought them before the throne of God. He was often lonely and cold and without adequate food. He was among Indians and could not communicate with them in their native languages. We may struggle with discouragement, but we need also recognize that God is in control and He will glorify Himself even when we do not feel good about what is happening in our lives.

5. His devotion to evangelism

“I wanted to wear out my life in His service, and for His glory,” p81 Brainerd inspires us that all of our energies ought to be invested in eternal things.

6. His passion for prayer

We that Brainerd is constantly devoting large amounts of time for prayer. He writes, “this morning I spent about two hours in secret duties and was enabled more than ordinarily to agonize for immortal souls.” P81

7. His use of time

Brainerd desired that his time would be spent for God’s glory. He said, “O that I may never loiter in my heavenly journey.”

8. His weakness and God’s strength

Brainerd’s fruitfulness was not dependent upon himself but upon Divine blessing. Here is David Brainerd looking back on his work among the Indians, “It is remarkable that God began this work among the Indians at a time when I had the least hope and, to my apprehension, the least rational prospect of seeing a work of grace propagated amongst them. My bodily strength and been much wasted… exposed to hardships and fatigues… my mind also exceedingly depressed with a view of the unsuccessfulness of my labors. I had little reason so much as to hope that God had made me instrumental in the saving conversion of any of the Indians… Whence I learn that it is good to follow the path of duty, though in the midst of darkness and discouragement.” p243

9. He was a blessed brother – he ministered to Jonathan Edwards’ children while in Edwards house on his deathbed

“He applied himself to some of my younger children at this time, calling them to him and speaking to them one by one; setting before them, in very plain manner, the nature and essence of true piety and its great importance and necessity; earnestly warning them not to rest in anything short of a true and thorough change of heart and a life devoted to God.” p366

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R. Kent Hughes – Beloved Expositor

My appreciation runs high for my preaching professor in seminary – R. Kent Hughes. With all his heart he appealed to us to preach the Word using the expository method. That was 28 years ago. Now, a book on preaching has been dedicated to him: Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching: In Honor of R. Kent Hughes
The exposition of scripture was the focus of his life for over forty years. This book celebrates this legacy by bringing together fifteen of his friends to write about the things he loved so much. The Editor, Leland Ryken has included an article by D.A. Carson who speaks succinctly about critical issues for preaching by boiling it down to five observations.
Commenting on expository preaching he says that it is essentially, “unpacking what is there… If we expect God to re-reveal himself by his own words, then our expositions must reflect as faithfully as possible what God actually said…”
This was the heart of Kent Hughes’ ministry to young seminarians and I know several who continue to live the vision he cast so long ago. One Sunday morning a decade ago, my wife Deborah and I attended College Church where Kent was preaching. I could hardly hold back the tears as he preached – he was still doing the things he taught us to do so many years before and it was beautiful to me.

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My Parents, Bill and Mary Brown Celebrate 61 Years of Marriage Today

As the eldest son, I am perhaps one of the supreme authorities on this marriage since I have had the closest and longest inside view of almost anyone alive. As a long term observer, I must say that this has been a sweet marriage. Some of the more junior observers of this marriage say:
Grandson David says: “It is a blessing to watch the example of their interactions.”
Granddaughter Blair says: “I want a marriage like that.”
Granddaughter Claudia says: “We have had the benefit of 61 years of a marriage on the right path – their lives have been such a good example to me.”
Daughter in-law Deborah says: “Staying married this long has made them free to be with us and minister to us – like today when Grandmary helped Claudia bake.”

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2009 Calendar Events for the National Center for Family Integrated Churches

February 13-14 “Our Marriages and The Marriages of our Son’s and Daughters,” Wake Forest, NC
March 14-15 Reforming Church and Family | Unpacking Family Integrated Church Life – Wake Forest
September 18-19 Church Planters Symposium – Anderson Indiana
October 24-25 Reforming Church and Family | Unpacking Family Integrated Church Life – Wake Forest
December 10-12 National NCFIC Conference – The Sufficiency of Scripture for Church and Home Life
For more information email David Brown: [email protected]

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