Anatomy of Collapse

 

“I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” –I Tim 3:15

 

The continuing fluctuation of the financial markets as well as the unending uncertainty in the economy should serve as a warning for the modern church. Mortgaging the future for the present is a common activity among men. The collapse of businesses and the condition of the markets recently is due in part to this tendency to lose our way and be swept along with worldly wisdom by amassing debt to secure rapid growth. These companies had the growth. They had thousands of employees. They were flush with cash. But their business model required dangerously high amounts of debt and insanely high valuations in order to carry their debt structure and operating model. So far we have seen numerous large companies go bust because they did not build a solid financial foundation. I believe that we will most likely see additional company failures in the future because of the lust for worldly success at the expense of substance.

This is a common tendency among men. Men tend to be posers. We want things to look good even though we know they are bankrupt. This is nothing new. Jesus referred to the posers of His day as “whitewashed tombs”.

This tendency has affected our churches. We have large buildings and growing churches with programs that target every conceivable demographic slice. We appear to be reaching people. So, I must say that it is a good looking collapse. But, this is a facade. “Whitewash” too often disguises an inwardly decrepit building. The appearance looks good enough, but underneath there has been a breakdown of basic Biblical order, practice and authority.

In the process, we gained more church members, but sustained fewer long term disciples. We can boast of a full portfolio of programs, but we neglect the basic order and authority of the church and the family.

In our postmodern, relativistic culture, it is important to understand, when it comes to the church, there is a right way and a wrong way. There is a way that “you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God.” (I Tim 3:15) One of the “wrong ways” that is commonly accepted in the church is the diminished role of the father in the spiritual training of children. This has collapsed the Biblical order. Fathers don’t do this work anymore as it has been distributed to others.

My view is that we have come by the economic downturn honestly. We did not intend to reject the Biblical order. We got where we are through a mix of creativity and good old American pragmatism. We even prayed about it. And, in our creativity, we have amassed so many non biblical structures, and have become so busy with them, that they have forced us to push the Biblical things to the periphery. It was a poor swap that has caused the mortgaging of the future for the present success.

What we gained is programmatic Christianity where everything is packaged in a professionally run program.

What we lost was the relational model of Hebrew discipleship where the father was the chief delivery system for scriptural truth.

We have gained youth groups, but lost our youth. We have gained our Sunday schools, but lost our fathers. Collapse!

It is time for reformation. It is time for a return to the Biblical order for the home and the church for the delivery of the message of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ to the world, for the eternal joy of all who believe, to a thousand generations.

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Why did we create the NCFIC Church Directory?

As fathers turn their hearts toward home and return to the biblical culture of family life, it is only to be expected that such faithful men will desire a local church that supports rather than supplants the family. The NCFIC Church Directory has been established for the specific purpose of assisting the thousands of families and local church leaders who have contacted us expressing a desire to network with like-minded individuals and assemblies, to work for godly change within pre-existing local churches or to plant family-integrated local churches in their area.

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On Being Schismatic – Is it Right to Censure Parts of the Church of Jesus Christ?

Our position is that those who love the church must speak out when she is being defiled. George Gillespie, writing in 1649, affirms this perspective:

 

“One who censures the prostitution of the church, for its idolatries or false doctrines, and associations with the impious, is no heretic, is no schismatic, is not being ungrateful toward the mother church; otherwise, even Ezekiel, along with Jeremiah and the other prophets, would have been a heretic, a schismatic, or an ingrate.”

 

Amandus Polanus, commenting on Ezek. 16:26-28

Quoted taken from, Forbidden Alliances, Concerning Associations and Confederacies?with Idolaters, Infidels, Heretics, or Any Other Known Enemies of Truth and Godliness , by George Gillespie

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Blogging the NCFIC Confession: Article III

Satan is a Deceiver

 

We affirm the warning of Holy Scripture that Satan, the father of lies and deceiver of the brethren, has used his subtle trickery from the beginning to question God’s Word: “Yea, Hath God said…?” (Gen. 3:1).

We deny that the children of God should embrace and employ the philosophies, goals, and methods of this fallen world in our churches and families, and thus succumb to the Adversary’s deception.

View the full NCFIC Confession HERE.

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How does NCFIC relate to similar ministries?

NCFIC does not view itself as the “end all” solution to the culture-driven, age-segregated, peer-dominated modern church. Other similar ministries have proficiency beyond our own in various areas. So in addition to the resources we provide, it is our firm and constant goal to help these like-minded ministries succeed at what they do best. We also work with state and regional groups who wish to affiliate with us for local and national conferences and other purposes.

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Oh That Our Wills Would Be Lost in God’s Will

“We can imagine no higher degree of perfection than that which is here set before us. To take patiently whatever God sends—to wish nothing but what God approves—to prefer pain, if it pleases God to send it, to ease, if God does not think fit to bestow it—to lie passive under God’s hand, and know no will but His—this is the highest standard at which we can aim, and of this our Lord’s conduct in Gethsemane is a perfect pattern.

Let us strive and labor to have “the mind that was in Christ” in this matter. Let us daily pray and endeavor to be enabled to mortify our self-will. It is for our happiness to do so. Nothing brings us so much misery on earth as having our own way. It is the best proof of real grace to do so. Knowledge, and gifts, and convictions, and feelings, and wishes, are often to be found in unconverted persons. But a continually increasing disposition to submit our own wills to the will of God is a far more healthy symptom. It is a sign that we are really “growing in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ.”

 

 

Ryle, J.C. Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Mathew and Mark. Volume one. Baker publishing Group, Grand Rapids, MI. Pg. 319

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Blogging the NCFIC Confession: Article II

God Created Church and Family

 

We affirm that Almighty God is the sovereign Creator and Preserver of His people and all the institutions that bring blessing to mankind—including the church and the family—and is thus deserving of our highest honor and humble obedience (Col. 1:16-17).

We deny that we, being mere creatures, have a right to refashion the church and family according to our vain imaginations by altering God’s prescribed government, worship, gender-based roles, or any other normative patterns revealed in Scripture.

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Is NCFIC a new denomination of churches?

No, absolutely not. NCFIC is not a new denomination or confederation of churches but rather a network and resource for family-integrated churches and families seeking them. It is a ministry to America’s churches by Christian leaders who see faithful fathers and mothers struggling to find a meaningful, family-affirming relationship with their local church. All the men who work with NCFIC believe in biblical church authority and are all under the oversight of their own local churches with regard to their moral life.

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Calvin on: The Superiority of God over Satan

“But God tries in one way, Satan in another. Satan tempts that he may destroy, condemn, confound, cast down, but God, that by proving his own children he may make trial of their sincerity, and establish their strength by exercising it; that he may mortify, purify, and cauterize their flesh, which unless it were forced under this restraint would play the wanton and vaunt itself beyond measure.”

 

 

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 3.20.46

 

This quotation was given to me by a young lady in our church, a self described “Calviness”

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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.

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On: “Can’t we Have it Both Ways” Jason Dohm says that “both ways” never works anyway

“My observation is that it is certain that we can’t have it both ways. In environments where the discipleship of children is outsourced to others in the church setting, I have never observed it to be the rule that fathers play their Biblical role of discipling them in the home. Never! Not once! I have observed dozens of churches, and I have not once observed a church where they have it both ways, nor do they even claim to.

This tells me that something intrinsic is in place which sets the formula in concrete: where discipleship is outsourced in the church, robust discipleship in the home is the exception and not the rule. Where the Biblical family roles are preserved in the church, robust discipleship in the home is the rule and not the exception.

We must not trust this anecdoctal evidence as the basis for our case – the Bible is plain enough on the subject and it alone must rule the day. But it does form a powerful illustration. It confirms that God knows best. May God be true and every man a liar.”

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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.

 

Read the full NCFIC Confession online HERE.

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Why Can’t We Have it Both Ways?

People often ask me, “Why can’t we have it both ways – the best of both worlds – age segregation in the church and fathers teaching and leading their homes?”

The answer is, “why would we want it both ways when scripture only presents one way?”


There are not “two ways” in scripture – only one way. Scripture shows age integrated discipleship in the church and fathers as the primary leaders and teachers of their families – that is all you see in scripture regarding the discipleship of children. We reject the pattern of age segregation in the church because God never gave us youth groups or age segregated discipleship in scripture. We borrowed this from the world.

 

And what about the “best” of both worlds? Our current age segregated youth ministry driven discipleship is giving us a 90% attrition rate, unchristian lifestyles, and rampant immorality. This is another reason why we must let God define “best” and trust him with the results of our obedience.

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NCFIC History: Where it all began

By Douglas Phillips, September 25, 2001

During the week of September 11, 2001, a gathering of pastors, elders and church leaders from across gathered with Vision Forum Ministries and the newly formed National Center for Family-Integrated Churches in San Antonio for the first ever “Summit on Uniting Church and Home.” At issue was the necessity of encouraging a reformation (and praying for a revival) concerning the relationship of the family to the local church.

At a time when God is turning the hearts of many fathers to their children, and where biblical patterns of Hebrew discipleship are being rediscovered and implemented in the homes of many families who have embraced home education, a glaring dichotomy still exists in those churches which practice unbiblical family-segregating, and teen-culture driven philosophies of church life. The purpose of the Summit was to identify the basic issues which must be addressed for reformation to take place in local churches across America. Specific concerns included:

 

 

  1. The difference between an biblical family culture in the local church, and the prevailing age-segregated, youth driven philosophy of ministry:
  2. The role fathers should play in the meeting of the Church, and the necessity that local churches formally train them to be shepherds at home;
  3. The importance of treating the meeting of the Church as a family gathering of believers, not merely an evangelism outreach to the lost;
  4. The dangers of transforming the purpose and freedom of the church to grow as a body of believers because of the introduction of wrong philosophies of debt;
  5. Reasons why reinforcing the New testament model for worship will encourage family revival., and much more.

 

 

Several important decisions were made. First, it was discussed that a committee of church leaders should be formed to draft a confession to be promoted and adopted by local churches as a reformation declaration of commitment to biblical principles of for uniting church and home. Second, plans were discussed for a national conference to address these and related issues. Third, it was proposed that a database be formed for churches who subscribe to basic principles of Christian orthodoxy by affirming the historic creeds, and who believe in uniting church and home, and signify such by affirming the confession.

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Jaw Droppers from Family Worship

Jesus shows the tragic state of our lives when we don’t listen to those He sends. Our house is left desolate when we do not listen to the prophets, but if we say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” He will come to us.

 

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ —Luke 13:34-35

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