Family-Integrated Church 7: Are We Guilty of a Messianic View of the Christian Family?

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In my previous blog one of my last paragraphs read as follows: “To make a long story short, I hear Scott and Voddie affirming that when they say the church the church is a family of families, they are referring to their ‘philosophy of church ministry.’ I think this is what they mean by the church being a ‘family of families.’ I honestly would like to know from them if I have properly understood them.” This was not mere rhetoric. I really do want to know if I have correctly understood what the church being a “family of families” means for the NCFIC. While I wait to make sure that I understand what they mean, I want to do what theologians would call an excursus. I want to address a related issue that is a little bit off the subject, but still important to it. That subject is the question contained in my heading for this blog. Are We Guilty of a Messianic View of the Christian Family? Let me answer this question by answering several related questions.

Who am I talking to? I am not talking just to the family-integrated folks. I am talking to all of us who are trying to build a family on biblical principles and making tons of sacrifices to do so. I was one of the pastors of a church for 24 years whose families were basically homeschoolers. I was proud of them. I was proud of the sacrifices they made to have a biblical family. I was proud of how hard the moms worked for their principles. I was proud of the leadership our fathers provided to their families. I was proud of how relatively well our kids behaved and did compared to most others I knew. I was proud of our families. I was proud of what we believed about the family and related biblical and social issues. Many hard and sad experiences since then have taught me that I was perhaps too proud. I was placing hope in the wrong thing. I fear I had to some degree a messianic view of the family.

What do I not mean? When I say all of this, let me make clear that I still believe in biblical principles of family living. I believe in the headship of the husband and father and the submission of the wife and mother. I still believe in and practice family worship. I still believe that God will honor diligent parenting to the salvation of many (though not necessarily all) the children of diligent parents. I think the passages in the Old Testament about this apply to salvation and to New Testament believers. For instance, I believe Psalm 112:1-2 is for Christian parents today when it asserts: “Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed.” Furthermore, I would not go back and change the standards on which I attempted to raise my children and lead my family. My wife and I would just try to live up to those standards more consistently than we did. I have not adopted some super-new covenant view which relegates all the promises of the wisdom literature of the Old Testament to the pile of abolished ceremonial precepts.

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