Returning to Biblical Order in the Church and the Home
How thankful I am to be part of the reforming influence of the NCFIC in calling the church back home to foundational biblical practices. In the following months, I will be writing articles that are a call for reformation of practices in the home and in the church.
These articles will work to identify the modern problems that have come from turning away from the biblical order in the church and the home. I will also bring some practical solutions to bear that I pray will be helpful. There is nowhere where the turning away is so vividly illustrated as in the schedule of the average church and in the behavior of the average father in his home.
The Scriptures are perfectly clear: children should be trained in spiritual matters by their fathers and mothers and gifted men in the church. Husbands should be teaching their wives. The father is a key component of the delivery system for the news of the kingdom of God, and when you bypass him, you reject the biblical order for the church and the home.
As the church has followed the world’s system, she has nearly obliterated the scriptural role of the head of the household in church life. This has paralleled what the world has done in the broader culture. Progressively, and often unwittingly, the church has taken over the fathers role and given it to preachers, women, Sunday school teachers, and childcare workers. I believe that until fathers take their jobs back, there will be no reformation.
Instead of children receiving a breadth of teaching from gifted teachers in the church (Eph. 4) AND their fathers (Deut 6) — as it should be — they receive no teaching from their fathers because the church has scheduled him out of the deal.
The problem is clearly observable. Look where the bulk of the energy of human resource is directed in the average church. Massive amounts of energy are plunged into things that secure short term attendance bumps by making low entry level slots for people to be involved, but neglect the daily long term activity and energy investment that secures a future for many generations.
In these articles you will find a call to return to scripture for the reformation of practices regarding the role of fathers.
There Is a Right Way and a Wrong Way
As we analyze the collapse of biblical practices in the modern church, one principle that we need to understand clearly is there are right and wrong ways to conduct ourselves in the church. This idea is discordant to our relativistic, postmodern ears. Paul made this plain to Timothy:
“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
Paul makes it clear here that there are right ways and wrong ways when it comes to the church.
Men Tend to Be Posers
The recent collapse of the financial markets should serve as a warning for the modern church. Examples of mortgaging the future for the present is a common activity among men. The collapse of the markets recently is due in part to this tendency to lose our way and be swept along in 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 several large companies go bust because they did not build a solid financial foundation. I believe that we will see a flood of additional company failures 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. It is a good-looking collapse, but it is a façade. “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.
Gains and Losses
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. The programs drained the energies of fathers from their basic clearly defined role. We gained the energies of men as Sunday school teachers or committee members once per week, but we lost their energies for the daily ministry of the word of God and prayer in their homes.
In our postmodern, relativistic culture, it is important to understand that 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. They have allowed to carry the load.
My view is that we have come by the collapse 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 was programmatic Christianity where everything is packaged in a professionally run program and measured by it’s numerical success.
What Was Lost
What we lost in the process was the relational model of Hebrew discipleship where the father was the chief delivery system for scriptural truth to the next generation.
We gained youth groups, but lost our youth. We gained our Sunday schools, but lost our fathers. Collapse!
It’s Time For Reformation
It is time for reformation. It is time for a return to the biblical order for the church and the home 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.