The Divided Film shows at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival

It was a pleasure to work with the men who helped produce Divided: producer Peter Bradrick, directors Philip and Chris LeClerc, score writer Jurgen Beck, and assistant script writer John Fornoff.

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A Weed in the Church and Divided Now Available

We would like to announce that my new book A Weed in the Church and the documentary Divided are now available for sale at the NCFIC store.

 

 

To purchase a copy of A Weed in the Church or Divided, click here.

 

A Weed in the Church unfolds the history, the nature, the effect, and the root problem of systematic, age-segregated youth ministry and presents hopeful solutions built on Scripture’s sure foundation.

Divided follows young Christian filmmaker Philip LeClerc on a revealing journey as he seeks answers to what has led his generation away from the church. Traveling across the country conducting research and interviewing church kids, youth ministry experts, evangelists, staticians, social commentators, and pastors, Philip discovers the shockingly sinister roots of modern, age-segregated church programs, and equally shocking evidence that the pattern in the Bible for training future generations is at odds with modern church practices.

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If You Want Your Child To Love the Church… by John Piper

If you want your child to grow up in the church and love the church – love the church. Don’t send them off to Sunday School or children’s church. Show them how you love to worship God.

– John Piper, Raising Children Who Hope in the Triumph of God

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The Family Alone is Inadequate

Biblical discipleship of youth utilizes several resources. It begins with the family submitting to Christ. It includes following God’s patterns of instruction during the corporate gatherings of the people of God. It is part and parcel of a family’s devotion to the church, and it involves biblically-ordered, personal relationships.

Getting our children out of youth groups is not enough if it is not replaced with the rich contours of true discipleship. The family alone is not the answer. If the family is the only tool that we use for the discipleship of youth, it falls short of the whole counsel of God. If families neglect the local church and exempt themselves from the instruction by the elders, the building up of the saints, the “one another” relationships, and the maturation that church life provides, they do so at their own peril and to the demise of the next generation.

From, A Weed in the Church, by Scott Brown.

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Spurgeon’s View of How Often We Should Observe the Lord’s Supper

Here are two resources for how often churches should celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

First, a statement from Charles Spurgeon’s autobiography, “Spurgeon long held and taught that the apostolic precedents all appeared to indicate that the celebration of the sacred supper should take place each Lord’s day, and, therefore, whether at home or abroad, he always attended the communion every Sabbath if it was possible and he often bore his willing witness that the frequent participation in the holy feast increased rather than diminished its value as a constant reminder of Him who said to His disciples, ‘This do in remembrance of me.’ From C. H. Spurgeon Autobiography: Volume 2: The Full Harvest (Banner of Truth. 1973): p. 316

Second is a chapter that was posted on Justin Taylor’s blog over at the Gospel Coalition by Kim Riddlebarger, entitled “The Reformation of the Supper,” contained in “Always Reformed – Essays in Honor of W. Robert Godfrey

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A Young Woman Resigns from Public Education for the Sake of the Gospel

Please pray for Chuck and Sarah LaVerdier. Yesterday, Sarah resigned from her teaching position at Bugg Elementary School. She wrote the following resignation letter that explains her reasons. I attach it here as a testimony to the beauty and power of scripture to guide His people in the most practical areas of life – including education.

Dear Mrs. Page,

Since February of this year when I began teaching for the Wake County Public School System, I have been wrestling with the nagging feeling that I should not be working in public schools. In my short time as a teacher, it has been made abundantly clear to me that the public school system is not merely neutral in terms of its religious leanings, but it actually propagates ideals that are blatantly anti-Christian. As a Christian woman, it’s been extremely difficult for me to come to work each day and be restricted by law from teaching the young children in my classroom values that I hold to be eternal truths – Biblical, Christian values that have been proven for thousands of years to build character and generate productive members of society. But, instead of teaching these true Biblical values, our schools require that we teach the acceptance of homosexuality as a harmless alternative lifestyle, that radical environmentalism is a noble cause, and most damagingly of all is the system of positive behavior support which essentially teaches children that they are naturally good – this is the antithesis of the true Gospel which says that we are not good, but naturally sinful, and that we need Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Therefore, after much thought, prayerful consideration, and discussion with my husband, we have concluded that I cannot continue to work for the public school system and simultaneously uphold my higher duty to my Lord in heaven. After all, it is written in scripture that if we are not with God, we are against Him (Matthew 12:30), and by working for the public school system, I am in deed working against my Lord Jesus Christ. I hereby submit this letter of resignation of my position as a 5th grade teacher at Bugg Elementary School.

Sincerely, Sarah LaVerdiere

Upon submitting her resignation letter, Sarah was asked, by the administration, to write a letter to her students telling them why she was leaving. She wrote a very straightforward and honest and gospel centered letter for why she was leaving. When the administration got wind of the contents, they confiscated the letters and now have asked Sarah to appear before Human Resources. Please pray for Chuck and Sarah as they testify to the grace and goodness of God today before H.R.

Below is her letter to the parents of the children in her class.

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Effective Tuesday, November 2nd, I will be resigning my position as your child’s 5th grade teacher. After much thought and prayerful consideration, I strongly feel the Lord leading me away from working in public education. Mrs. Page is currently conducting interviews to find my replacement, and I will provide that new teacher with detailed information about the class in hopes of facilitating as smooth a transition as possible.

Over the past several months as a Wake County employee, I’ve realized that our public school system is not merely neutral with regards to religion, but it actually approaches education in a way that is completely contrary to biblical principles. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7) yet, sadly, public school educators are forbidden by law from even mentioning Jesus to students, making our efforts to educate your children feeble from the very start. As a Christian woman, it has been difficult for me to instruct my class without acknowledging the name of Christ throughout the curriculum. The true reason to study math and science is to witness and appreciate the orderly nature of God’s creation. Just as the true reason to study history is to witness and appreciate the providential hand of God, and the way He has shaped our modern world. The systematic removal of Christ from education is proving to be deadly for our society, as seen in the ever increasing rates of illiteracy and drop-out among high school students.

Nowhere are the negative effects of a Godless education system more apparent than in the instruction of moral issues. In the public school system, your child is subjected to a disciplinary structure that gives ultimate consideration to elevating their self-esteem and does very little in the administration of negative consequences for their immoral behavior. While this may sound positive to us, the results of this unbiblical method of discipline are anything but. Instead of producing focused, self disciplined children, the fruits of this flawed system are children who are overly confident, self-centered, motivated only by rewards, rebellious, and totally unprepared to face adverse consequences for their bad choices as they move into adulthood. How can we teach morality without God, when all true morals come from the Bible? And more importantly, how can we convey to children that they need a savior for their sinful nature when every school day they are being taught that they are naturally good people? Perhaps you have already seen the negative effects of this system manifesting itself in your child’s behavior at home. Please do not be mistaken, your child’s behavior will continue to worsen unless you take drastic measures to correct course.

The Lord said, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Mathew 12:30). If you are a Christian, please consider that your child is being scattered from the Word of God by spending 35 hours a week in an educational system that effectively teaches that we do not need Jesus. There are Christian teachers and administrators at Bugg and in other public schools who believe they are working for Christ and being salt and light to students, but these educators are silenced by law from proclaiming the Lordship of Christ and they know that speaking out would cost them their job. At the same time, teachers who are homosexuals, radical environmentalists, and atheists are given free rein to pervert the mind of your child and are given special protection by the same public school system that is all too eager to attack Christian educators.

How can Christians fight against this evil and be true salt and light to children without the ability to even acknowledge Jesus in the classroom?

Christian parents, if you desire that your children grow in the fear, admonition, and love of our Lord, I strongly encourage you to consider making the personal sacrifices necessary to remove your children from the public school system and start teaching them according to the biblical model for child raising: homeschooling. By giving you a child, God entrusted you with a tremendous responsibility to raise that child in a way that honors Him. He tells parents to instruct their children in the home, all throughout the day, as they lie down to bed, and when they rise up in the morning (Deuteronomy 6:7) – this is not accomplished by sending your child to be under the care of a stranger for 1,300 hours each school year. I pray that you will take up this challenge by educating your children in a way that is honoring to our Lord, and that He will bless your family and make your work prosperous as a result of your faithfulness to Him.

If you are not a Christian, it is my prayer that by God’s grace and mercy He will one day fill your heart with grief and shame, convicting you of your sins and leading you to a life of repentance. The love and mercy that our heavenly Father shows us is truly amazing. God loves us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to perfectly uphold the law and be gruesomely put to death on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins – Jesus willingly suffered the death we all deserve. Only through faith in Christ are we able to be washed clean of our transgressions and made worthy in the eyes of God to share in everlasting life in the kingdom of heaven.

I openly welcome the opportunity to discuss the content of this letter in more detail with you. Please feel free to email me at … with any thoughts, questions, or concerns you might have.

Sincerely,

Sarah LaVerdiere

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A New Resource from the NCFIC For Confessional Churches

Here is a resource I am super exhilarated about. (Coming soon to the NCFIC store.) We have just completed an audio recording of the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689. It includes a  20 minute introduction that I give and then follows with the reading of the entire confession. One neat thing about it for me is that my father is doing the reading. He is 87 years old now and this will be a wonderful contribution to the church in his latter years. Another notable blessing is that one of the young men in our church, Timothy Orr, both recorded my father and edited the audio.

My prayer is that this would be put in the CD players of cars and be included in the educational plan of parents for their children and that churches and families would be strengthened.

Many of you who follow the ministry of the NCFIC know that we believe that churches without historic, time-tested doctrinal statements are vulnerable and that we actually discourage people to go to churches without such doctrinal clarity.

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He Drank Damnation Dry

On Sunday, we spoke of God’s requirement for perfect obedience to the law on pain of eternal damnation, yet God the lawgiver also provided the law keeper – the Lord Jesus Christ, who kept the whole law for us so that we might escape the wrath of God.

In that same vein, Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon entitled “Justification by Grace” in which he captures one of the most stunning aspects of the love of God for sinners – He drank the poison cup for us.

The whole of the punishment of his people was distilled into one cup; no mortal lip might give it so much as a solitary sip. When he put it to his own lips, it was so bitter, he well nigh spurned it—”Let this cup pass from me.” But his love for his people was so strong, that he took the cup in both his hands, and

“At one tremendous draught of love
He drank damnation dry,”

for all his people. He drank it all, he endured all, he suffered all; so that now for ever there are no flames of hell for them, no racks of torment; they have no eternal woes; Christ hath suffered all they ought to have suffered, and they must, they shall go free. The work was completely done by himself, without a helper.

 

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Part II, Evaluation of Dr. Andreas Kostenberger on the Family-Integrated Church Movement

Here is Part II of Bill Einwechter’s evaluation of Andreas Kostenberger’s chapter on the family-integrated church movement.

Having considered Dr. Kostenberger’s discussion of the theological and ecclesiastical questions concerning the relationship of church and family (see part 1), we now turn to his second question: “How can churches today strengthen families?” (p. 249). He seeks to answer this question under three headings: “The Church and Family Ministry” (pp. 256-258), “The Family-Integrated Church Approach” (pp. 258-260), and “Contributions and Possible Limitations of a Family-Integrated Approach” (pp. 260-262). It is evident, however, that his main concern is to answer….Read more.

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Blogger Responses to Dr. Andreas Kostenberger’s Chapter on FIC

It has been a while since a vigorous  discussion was sparked by Justin Taylor on the Family Integrated Church movement. Traffic was high and debate was brisk with my last count of over 100 comments the announcement for the new chapter. Voddie Baucham weighed in. Then,  Dr. Kostenberger engaged the debate on his own blog clarifying some of his statements.

I have been a promoter of Kostenberger’s book since it was published, so my comments need to be seen in that light. As someone who has been involved in this for the past decade, it was very surprising to note the lack of original source documentation in the chapter – in sharp contrast to the rest of the book. For example he did not quote the visible leaders of this movement or cite their stated positions in spite of the abundance of their public statements.

I was not sure why he neglected to refer to the NCFIC Confession or cite our “Frequently Asked Questions” section on our web site, where we attempt to explain critical doctrinal matters and answer some questions with some level of precision.

Perhaps one of the glaring systemic faults of the chapter is that the majority of the footnotes reference Jason Webbs masters thesis which so severely misunderstands, misrepresents and straw mans the movement that it hardly seems worthy of rebuttal. For some reason, Webb builds his entire thesis on things that are not believed by anyone I know in the family integrated church movement, and accuses us of things that don’t actually exist in the movement except perhaps in unusual situations. He pretends that the FIC leaders have what he calls “a family of families ecclesiology.” If he knew what the leaders actually believe and teach he would know how inaccurate this proposition is.

It struck me as odd that Dr. Kostenberger, otherwise known for his well documented research, would continue the “family of families” concern which has been so clearly and publicly explained by both Voddie Baucham and myself. He criticizes us for using the term, and then uses it himself in another part of the book. One blog commentator on Justin Taylors blog comments rightly said, “The opponents of family integrated churches talk a lot more about “family of families” than the proponents do, and they almost always misrepresent what is actually meant, which is simply that the family doesn’t cease to exist when it passes through the doors of the church.”

It seemed that the author did not understand some important distinctions of the various parties involved in family and church reform. In footnote #20 he seemed to be confused about various streams of thought (the difference between “family equipping” and “family integrated”). Dr. Timothy Paul Jones has pointed out some of these misunderstandings in a book review of God, Marriage, and Family, in the upcoming edition of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s, The Journal of Family Ministry. (Forthcoming at www.familyministrytoday.com)

Kostenberger seemed unaware that hundreds of churches have identified themselves with the NCFIC confesssion – something that communicates a clear vision for the centrality of the gospel, the importance of expository preaching as well as a description of the complementary roles of church and family. Many of the doctrinal elements identified in this confession refute Dr. Kostenbergers suppositions about the FIC. This has been available online since 2002.

It is commonly noted by critics that the FIC movement is not monolithic. I think that it is actually far more monolithic than people might perceive. Dr. Kostenberger picks up this same notion in his new chapter. I have a very different view. The main voices in this movement are mostly confessional baptists who are constantly communicating a very high view of the church, the power of the gospel and the centrality of the glory of God. There are also many FIC presbyterians who are confessional churchmen. About half the churches that affirm the NCFIC confession are Second London Baptist Confession churches and the other half embrace the Westminster Confession of Faith. These explain the true ecclesiology of the movement. My perception after traveling 12,000 miles around the nation this year, visiting representatives of the over 700 churches who have aligned with the NCFIC confession, is that the movement is somewhat monolithic doctrinally in the sense that they are not creating their own doctrine but rather are relying on historic doctrinal statements.  In this sense, I believe the movement is monolithic.

It was encouraging to see the comments of those who tried to clarify things on Justin Taylors blog. I noticed the fellow who said that Kostenberger “is not painting the family integrated church at all. I am not sure what he is writing about. This is not the family integrated church that I know. And if there are extremes out there (as I am sure there are), it is certainly disingenuous to hold up those extreme elements as the norm.”

Another commenter did mention the identity some of of the leaders of the family integrated church movement, on Taylor’s blog, and noted that they “do not place the family over the church or neglect the gospel in their churches.”

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Bill Einwechter Responds to Andreas Kostenberger – Part I

Here is Part I of a two part series, which is a critique and overview of the issues Dr. Kostenberger has raised in his book God, Marriage, and Family concerning the family-integrated church model. Before explaining some of the problems, Einwechter voices some of the areas of that are agreeable and common with Dr. Kostenberger. In this spirit Einwechter states,

In a day when marriage and the family are under such withering attack by the forces of evil in the land and by the social and cultural climate of modern society, we rejoice in the forthright attempt of Andreas Kostenberger to set before the church a comprehensive statement of the biblical teaching on marriage and the family in his book God, Marriage, and Family (2nd edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010). Read More….

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Divided the Movie on Facebook

Today Kicks Off our Expository Preaching Symposium

Part of our Elder Discipleship program is a two day preaching practicum held at the NCFIC offices in Wake Forest, NC, where men will be giving messages and having them critiqued by Dan Horn, Scott Brown, Jason Dohm and Marcus Serven. Marcus will also be delivering three messages on the pastoral theology of John Calvin. 16 men will be delivering thirty minute expository messages on Ezekiel 34:11-24; Acts 20:17-38; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 2 Timothy 4:1-8 and 1 Peter 5:1-5. If you would like to come out and listen, please feel free as there is no cost.

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Love the Church – Only 2 Days left for Early Bird Registration

Don’t forget to register for the NCFIC National Conference, Love the Church,  December 9-11, 2010. Early bird registration prices of $85 for individuals and $400 for families ends on October 15.

With speakers like Paul Washer, Joel Beeke, Doug Phillips, and Joseph Morecraft, you won’t want to miss this exciting conference on the Church of Jesus Christ.

Register Now

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“Vast Cultural Consequences” – The End of Men

There have been many reports over the last few years of manhood lost in a labyrinth of youthful pursuits, delayed maturity, inability to commit… Here, The Atlantic reports on a decline of manhood in a place you would not expect it – the workforce,

Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same. For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality. But what if equality isn’t the end point? What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women? A report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way— and its vast cultural consequences.

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