The Puritans on Children in Church

“We should bring our children with us to the publick teaching, so may our private teaching prove profitable. Oftentimes divine truths are as nails, one teaching sets them in, and the other teaching fastens them; one plants and the other waters, and so of both God gives increase.

“We should bring the word publickly taught home to our children, by repeating it to them, and requiring it of them. It is not enough that we with others teach them, but we must see what they learn, enlivening things upon their hearts at home, by holy counsel. At our houses we should harrow in that good seed which hath been publickly sown, that so it may be covered the closer and root the better in the hearts of the children and servants.”

 

 

“Family Religion Revived, or a Treatise as to discover the good old way of serving God in private Houses; so to Recover the Pious Practice of those Precious, Duties unto their Primitive platform.” By Phillip Goodwin, p. 401-402 (1655)

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Education Methodology Matters: See the Fruit- Do the Numbers- Stop the Madness

The Biblical model for education features fathers as teachers, walking and talking alongside their children when they sit in the house, when they walk by the way, when they lie down and when they rise up, bringing them up “in the training and admonition of the Lord” in an age integrated context of church and family and business life.

In contrast, Kyle Anne-Shiver writes in “American Thinker” about the despicable moral state of the souls of those who experience public education– a system which rages against almost every principle of biblical education. After thousands of hours getting their brians pickled in relativism and socialism, they are – relativists and socialists. She tells of a “a very disturbing pattern of moral erosion:”

 

  • 30% stole from a store in the past year; 23% stole from a parent or other relative; 20% stole something from a friend.

 

  • 42% lie regularly to save money; 83% lied to a parent about something significant.

 

  • 64% cheated on a test in the last year; 38% cheated 2 or more times; 36% used the internet to plagiarize an assignment.

 

American young people are just about evenly divided on whether they prefer capitalism to socialism. Among our under-30 crowd, 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided.


You may be thinking it could be worse. And as it turns out, you would be correct. It actually is worse. By students’ own admission, 26% confessed they lied on at least one or two questions on the survey. Experts agree that dishonesty on surveys usually is an attempt to conceal misconduct, i.e., to make oneself appear better than he actually is.

But it gets even worse.

High school students admit to vast amounts of lying, cheating and stealing, but lo and behold, their confessions make nary a dent in their ethical self-esteem. A staggering 93 percent said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character and 77 percent said that when it comes to doing what is right, “I am better than most people I know.”


I have little patience with those who praise or want to try to preserve such a damaging system. We need to go back to obeying the word of God in the realm of education and training of children. Two hundred years ago before modern age segregated education model had infiltrated our culture– literacy researcher Dupont de Nemours discovered that only four out of every one thousand could not read – for a literacy rate of over 99%. Why? Fathers and mothers were teaching their children in their own homes how to read using the Bible and the children were not being polluted by their peers in an age segregated world. My belief is this: without a return to biblical discpleship in our homes, there is no hope for the church or the state of the United States of America.

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NCFIC Confession Advocates Expository Preaching in Churches

The NCFIC Confession contains this statement on expository preaching, explaining that it is our intention to, “Restore the practice of teaching ‘the whole counsel of God’ through exegetical preaching of Scripture in the church and daily instruction in homes by fathers and mothers.”

Our prayer is the same as John Piper communicated in his sermon Why Expository Preaching is Particularly Glorifying to God. He says his prayer is:

 

“That God would raise up thousands of broken-hearted, Bible-saturated preachers who are dominated by a sense of the greatness and the majesty and the holiness of God, revealed in the gospel of Christ crucified and risen and reigning with absolute authority over every nation and every army and every false religion and every terrorist and every tsunami and every cancer cell, and every galaxy in the universe.”

 

Piper explains that:

 

“Exposition of texts is essential because the gospel is a message that comes to us in words and God has ordained that people see the glory of Christ—the “unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8)—in those gospel words. That is our calling: to open the words and sentences and paragraphs of Scripture and display “the glory of Christ who is the image of God.”

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One Half of One Percent Young People Have a Biblical Worldview

Young man studying scripture

What will happen to a nation where almost no one has a biblical worldview? The Barna organization has just released new data which indicates that only 9% of adults in America have a biblical world view. But what is even more startling is that among individuals eighteen to twenty-three years old the number is nearly zero. This in a nation where Barna says approximately four in ten adults and one in three teenagers claim to be born again.*

“The research data showed that one pattern emerged loud and clear: young adults rarely possess a biblical worldview. The current study found that less than one-half of one percent of adults in the Mosaic generation – i.e., those aged 18 to 23 – have a biblical worldview, compared to about one out of every nine older adults.” Barna.org

Perhaps we should also consider if this situation is partly a reflection of the loss of biblical discipleship practices in the church and the family. I believe that it is. Further, there is hope for families and churches which are faithful to emulate biblical discipleship patterns which are always age integrated, bible saturated, walk along talk along, relational and generational in nature.

Here is something to rejoice in. Our God takes delight in mightily using small numbers of dedicated men who are faithful to Him. Let us commit ourselves to building churches that disciple and nurture faithful “aliens and strangers” in an increasingly godless society. As darkness increases around us, may the light of the gospel shine brighter and brighter through our lives, our homes, and our churches.


*(Think Like Jesus, by George Barna p209)

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Article: Texas Church Revamps for Family Integration

Southern Baptist Texan —“Gone are the days when Christians understood that the home—and not the Christian church or school—is principally and primarily responsible for the education, evangelism, and discipleship of children and that our ecclesiology should reflect that reality.”

Written by Guidry, the book chronicles how he and staff came to grips with, and solved their unwillingness to place their children in age-segregated, church discipleship programs—be they Sunday school, children’s church, youth department and camps, even the nursery, all of which were the traditional methodology at Ridgewood.
Read the article HERE

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Turning the Ship

 

Turning the Ship, Exploring the Age Integrated Church, by Dustin GuidryI met Dustin Guidry as the “ship” (Ridgewood Baptist) was turning and I was astonished at the blessings they were experiencing as a church. Now, Dustin Guidry’s new book, “Turning the Ship” tells the inspiring story of a traditional programmatic, age segregated church making the transition to family integration. While Dustin’s story is rare today it is not alone and represents a groundswell of courageous church leaders who have gone back to scripture to build their model of church discipleship and have been willing to risk their reputations and standing in the evangelical community in order to obey what they found in scripture.

 

 

I believe that we will look back in years to come on men like Dustin Guidry as the Lewis and Clarks of the 21st century church. They are blazing a trail, not new but forgotten to our generation, and many, many feet are following in their footsteps.

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First Quarter NCFIC Investor Report

I want to share with you our first quarter activity, so that you may know where the National Center for Family Integrated Churches stands as we enter April, 2009.

 

On Jan 1, 2009, the Board of Directors of Vision Forum Ministries decided to make the NCFIC an independent organization in order to allow it to provide a more distinctive and focused message, to minister to the churches and families who have identified with the movement, and to allow it to grow and develop as a distinct ministry from Vision Forum. This report identifies the activities of the NCFIC since January 1st.

 

Click here to view the Investor Report.

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Our God: A Temperate and Skillful Rider

Calvin says that God is “like a temperate and skillful rider,” while “the devil has seized the saddle, like an ignorant and rash rider.”

He notes, “Augustine (in Psa 31 and 33) compares the human will to a horse preparing to start, and God and the devil to riders.

If God mounts, he, like a temperate and skillful rider, guides it calmly, urges it when too slow, reins it in when too fast, curbs its forwardness and over-action, checks its bad temper, and keeps it on the proper course; but if the devil has seized the saddle, like an ignorant and rash rider, he hurries it over broken ground, drives it into ditches, dashes it over precipices, spurs it into obstinacy or fury.”

With this simile, since a better does not occur, we shall for the present be contented. When it is said, then, that the will of the natural man is subject to the power of the devil, and is actuated by him, the meaning is not that the wills while reluctant and resisting, is forced to submit, (as masters oblige unwilling slaves to execute their orders) but that, fascinated by the impostures of Satan, it necessarily yields to his guidance, and does him homage…

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Children who spend time with their fathers have a higher IQ

A recent study in the UK concluded that “children who spend large amounts of time with their fathers have higher IQs, according to a new study.”

“Strong fatherly involvement in their early life can also improve a child’s future career prospects, the research shows.”

“‘The data suggest that having a second adult involved during childhood produces benefits in terms of skills and abilities that endure throughout adult life.”

Click Here to see rest of article

We do not need IQ tests, surveys, and research reports to know the importance of a father’s role in the life and developement of his children. The wisdom of God is illustrated in this news item… God calls fathers to teach their children, when you “sit in the house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:7

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Our Marriages and the marriages of our sons and daughters

We just completed our first, “Our Marriages and the Marriages of our Sons and Daughters” conference where we gathered 25 couples to consider God’s beautiful design for marriage, define what makes for godly intimacy in marriage, how husbands and wives lovingly work for one another’s sanctification, and how to troubleshoot problems in marriage. We outlined how to identify potential spouses for our children, detailed how we encourage young men to ready themselves for marriage, and identified various ways to connect with others who may be potential marriage partners. Peter and Kelly Bradrick told their story and shared principles and lessons they learned while working toward marriage. We identified how to prepare sons and daughters for marriage and lay the foundation from the early years. We also spoke of how to conduct oneself while planning the wedding and how to become a godly in-law.

I praise the Lord for the opportunity to spend the weekend discussing the glorious subject of God’s plan for marriage and how we can model Christ’s love to our spouses.

We are scheduling another marriage conference like this. If you are interested, please write us. We can only take 25 couples.

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That The Sweetest Harmony Would Reign in Marriage

Here is John Calvin on the glory of a Christain marriage. He notes the support, help, companionship, assistance, harmony, friendship and peace that God has wrought in providing marriage for man and woman,

“Now, since God assigns the woman as a help to the man, he not only prescribes to wives the rule of their vocation to instruct them in their duty, but he also pronounces that marriage will really prove to men the best support of life. We may therefore conclude, that the order of nature implies that the woman should be the helper of the man. The vulgar proverb, indeed, is, that she is a necessary evil; but the voice of God is rather to be heard, which declares that woman is given as a companion and an associate to the man, to assist him to live well. I confess, indeed, that in this corrupt state of mankind, the blessing of God, which is here described, is neither perceived nor flourishes; but the cause of the evil must be considered, namely, that the order of nature, which God had appointed, has been inverted by us. For if the integrity of man had remained to this day such as it was from the beginning, that divine institution would be clearly discerned, and the sweetest harmony would reign in marriage; because the husband would look up with reverence to God; the woman in this would be a faithful assistant to him; and both, with one consent, would cultivate a holy, as well as friendly and peaceful intercourse.”

 


From John Calvin’s Commentary on Genesis

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Charles Darwin – A Case Study in Preparing Children for Marriage

 

Preparing children to marry is one of the most important parental tasks. It is obvious that Darwin had no conception of the marks of a Christian marriage the year before he married. Instead of a stage for the self sacrificial love of Christ, he saw marriage as an intrusion into personal pleasure and satisfaction. Among his papers there is a checklist Darwin made to decide whether or not it was worth getting married. It is believed that he wrote this memorandum on marriage in 1838 the year before he married.

Here is a young man who was not mentored in doctrine of Christian marriage and therefore entered marriage totally unprepared,

“Reasons for not marrying: freedom to go where one liked; choice of Society & little of it. – Conversation of clever men at clubs – Not forced to visit relatives, & to bend in every trifle. – to have the expense & anxiety of children – perhaps quarrelling – Loss of time. – cannot read in the Evenings – fatness & idleness – Anxiety & responsibility – less money for books.”

He also writes,

“… But then if I married tomorrow: there would be an infinity of trouble & expense in getting & furnishing a house, —fighting about no Society —morning calls — awkwardness —loss of time every day. (without one’s wife was an angel, & made one keep industrious). — Then how should I manage all my business if I were obliged to go every day walking with one’s my wife. — Eheu!! I never should know French, — or see the Continent — or go to America, or go up in a Balloon, or take solitary trip in Wales — poor slave. — you will be worse than a negro — And then horrid poverty, (without one’s wife was better than an angel & had money) — Never mind my boy — Cheer up — One cannot live this solitary life, with groggy old age, friendless & cold, & childless staring one in ones face, already beginning to wrinkle. — Never mind, trust to chance —keep a sharp look out — There is many a happy slave”

 


Darwin’s notes on marriage are transcribed and annotated in “Correspondence” vol. 2, appendix iv.

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Charles Darwin, Out of Step with the Puritans on Marriage

 

Here are some statements from various Puritans on marriage that show a sharp contrast between a Darwinian marriage and a Godly marriage.
Thomas Adams (1612-1653) “There is no such fountain of comfort on earth, as marriage”

Robert Cleaver, (1560-1640) “There can be no greater society or company, than is between a man and his wife.”

George Swinnock (1627-1673) “They are partners in the nearest degree imaginable”

Thomas Hooker (1586-1647) “The man whose heart is endeared to the woman he loves, he dreams of her in the night, hath her in his eye and apprehension when he awakes, he museth on here as he sits at table, walks with her when he travels and parlies with her in each place where he comes.”

“She lies in his bosom and his heart trust in her, which forceth all to confess, that the stream of his affection, like a mighty current, runs with full tide and strength”

Richard Baxter (1615-1691) “It is a mercy to have a faithful friend, that loveth you entirely, and is a true to you as yourself, to whom you may open your mind and communicate your affairs, and who would be ready to strengthen you, and divide the cares of your affairs and family with you, and help you bear your burdens, and comfort you in your sorrows, and be the daily companion of your lives, and partaker of your joys and sorrows. And it is a mercy to have so near a friend to be a helper to your soul; to join with you in prayer an other holy exercises, to watch over you and tell you your sins and dangers, and to stir up in you the grace of God, and remember to you of the life to come, and cheerfully accompany you in the ways of holiness.” Xviii

Bishop Thomas Wilson (1663-1755) “Love is a talkative passion”

 


These quotations on marriage are taken from “The Christian Lover – The Sweetness of love and Marriage in the Letters of Believers” by Michael Haykin

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The Essence of Biblical Patriarchy

At Hope Baptist, we are preaching through the Ten Commandments. This Sunday we will providentially consider the seventh command, “You shall not commit adultery” (Deuteronomy 5:18) This command will initiate a celebration of the wonderful commands of God for marriage. This command takes us into the deepest recesses of the heart of God’s love for men and women. He desires us to mirror His own nature in the loving unified relationships in the Godhead as well as His sacrificial love for the church that Christ demonstrates. This is the essence of Biblical patriarchy and it displays the truth that God’s commands for marriage are both a soothing breeze and a wall of protection for all those who would obey them. Why do I say that this command is the essence of Biblical patriarchy? Because Christ’s love for the church is the supreme example of what we mean by patriarchal leadership. There are different kinds of patriarchy out there to choose from, but the Bible has the perfect form that is communicated in summary form in 1 Cor. 11:3 – “God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of man and man is the head of woman.” It is through this patriarchal chain of loving leadership that women are loved and cared for. Love begins in heaven in the heart of a loving Father. It is passed down to His Son who gives it to man who presents it to a woman. This is biblical patriarchy – the love of the Father expressed to Christ, who expresses it to man, who expresses it to a woman in marriage. Now consider this: Not only does God give husbands to be communicators and demonstrators of His love to their wives. Additionally, He lovingly gives every Christian woman a direct line to the blessings of Christ through the Spirit. It is in this way that God supplies a double conduit of love for the daughters of Zion. Nowhere but in a biblically structured marriage is a woman more honored, cherished, and loved. This is biblical patriarchy.

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The Sway of Love – A Wife’s Influence on her Husband

The blessings and opportunities of marriage are on my mind this week as I am preaching on the seventh commandment (“Thou shalt not commit adultery”) and joining with 25 couples in our home this weekend to consider, “Our Marriages and the Marriages of our Sons and Daughters.” Here is J.R. Miller writing on the amazing role of a wife as an influencer of her husband.

“Again let me say that no wife can over-estimate the influence she wields over her husband, or the measure in which his character, his career and his every destiny are laid in her hands for shaping. The sway which she holds over him is the sway of love, but it is mighty and resistless. If she retains her power, if she holds her place as queen of his life, she can do with him as she will. Even unconsciously to her herself, without any thought of her responsibility, she will exert over him an influence that will go far toward making or marring all his future.

“If she is vain and frivolous, she will only chill his ardor, weaken his resolution and draw him aside from any earnest endeavor. But if she has in her soul noble womanly qualities, if she has true thoughts of life, if she has purpose, strength of character and fidelity to principle, she will be to him and unfailing inspiration toward all that is noble, manly and Christ-like. The high conceptions of life in her mind will elevate his conceptions. Her firm, strong purpose will put vigor and determination into every resolve and act of his.

“Her purity of soul will cleanse and refine his spirit. Her warm interest in all his affairs and her wise counsel at every point will make him strong for every duty and valiant in every struggle. Her bright, orderly, happy homemaking will be a perpetual source of joy and peace, and an incentive to nobler living. Her unwavering faithfulness, her tender affection, her womanly sympathy, her beauty of soul, will make her to him God’s angel indeed, sheltering, guarding, keeping, guiding and blessing him. Just in the measure in which she realizes this lofty ideal of wifehood will she fulfill her mission and reap the rich harvest of her hopes.

“Such is the “woman’s lot” that falls on every wife. It is solemn enough to make her very thoughtful and very earnest. How can she make sure that her influence over her husband will be for good, that he will be a better man, more successful and more happy because she is his wife? Not by any weak resolving to help him and be an uplifting inspiration to him; not by perpetual preaching and lecturing on a husband’s duties and on manly character; she can do it only by being in the very depths of her soul, in every thought and impulse of her heart and in every fiber of her nature, a true and noble woman. She will make him not like what she tells him he ought to be, but like what she herself is.

“So it all comes back to a question of character. She can be a good wife only by being a good woman. And she can be a good woman in the true sense only by being a Christian woman. Nowhere save in Christ can she find the wisdom and strength she needs to meet the solemn responsibilities of wifehood. Only in Christ can she find that rich beauty of soul, those gems and pearls of the character, which shall make her lovely in her husband’s sight when the bloom of youth is gone, when the brilliance has faded out of her eyes and the roses have fled from her cheeks. Only Christ can teach her how to live so as to be blessed and a blessing in her married life.”

 


From, The Home Beautiful, By J.R. Miller, Pathway Publishers, Copyright, 1912, Revised edition, 2000 p47

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