Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Anti-Family Church, pt. 2- Men

I will only touch lightly on the subject of discipling men in the church, since I am a woman and I believe that men should teach men. It doesn't take an expert to tell, though, that the church is not raising men to be leaders in their families.

What does the Bible say about men?

"But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness... Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us." --Titus 2:1-2, 6-8

This means men must actually know what sound doctrine is. Men who already fit this bill must disciple other men so they, too, can learn and teach others, especially their families. They should hear sound doctrine from the pulpit, in classes, in home discipleship, from mentors. They should be held accountable to high biblical standards, and the accountability must be consistent. I find one of the downfalls of the Church is that, even when sound doctrine is taught, there is no follow-up to see that it is being applied in the lives of believers. Where is our fellowship and mentoring to make sure men understand how to be men, husbands and fathers? God didn't expect us to do it alone, or He wouldn't have written so much in His Word and instructed us to keep each other accountable.

What instruction do husbands receive?

"But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God." -- 1 Corinthians 11:3

"For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior... Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her... In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body... However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
--Ephesians 5:23, 25, 28-30, 33

"Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them." -- Colossians 3:19

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered." -- 1 Peter 3:7

Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church, treat them kindly, be understanding, show them honor, cherish them, protect them, and guide them as their head. Why? Because they are followers of Christ. Not because they "feel like it" or because their wife may or may not be attractive, kind, and respectful. It is commanded they do so out of respect and obedience for God.

What does the Bible say about fathers?

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." -- Ephesians 6:4

"Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." -- Colossians 3:21

I think most instruction will be in the section on children, but it is clear that the father is the head of the family, and he is in charge of bringing up his children in the Lord.

For more information about biblical manhood, I highly recommend Voddie Baucham's series titled "Biblical Manhood" on YouTube (the link is to part 1 of 8).

An interesting commentary on manhood by Geoffrey Botkin "A Gift for the Family Hearth"

The Anti-Family Church, pt. 1- Introduction

I've been contemplating this blog series for months now, and have been putting it on the back burner until I could find some time to actually think it through a little more. I figured when I started dreaming about writing the posts it was time to get to it. I'll give you a disclaimer: this may rile quite a few people, which is ok. Before flying off the handle about it, think about whether you're upset because you think I'm dead wrong, or because you're being convicted. Then, if you decide I'm wrong, please give me biblical proof for your side, since I am doing so for mine. It's only fair. :)

The Evangelical world as a majority has been moving away from family church for a long time now, and moving toward seeker-friendly/seeker-sensitive church. Along with that has come the shift towards catering toward man-centered theology, and the idea that "what feels good must be right". In today's society that tends to be the idea that freedom is key, and avoiding family (or family responsibilities) is a perfectly acceptable alternative to raising children and instructing them in the Lord's ways. I have pretty strong feelings against seeker-sensitivity, as I see it as completely against biblical directive.

What as Christians are we to do? Let's take a look at what Jesus says:

"And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.' " -- Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)

How do we make disciples? Is it accomplished through a catchy worship service, a neat video, and funny jokes? Is it by giving "life principles" without cracking open a Bible? Do we help disciple people by feeding, clothing, and assisting them without once mentioning Jesus? Do we help our families and children by pushing them into segregated classes once a week to learn about Jesus (maybe) from teachers who themselves may or may not share the same biblical standards as we hold to?

It seems the only effective way to disciple a person is by using the Bible, God's inspired Word, which is the only place we can find the directions for a life dedicated to Him. When we get away from the Truth revealed through the Bible, we move away from God and toward man. Man-centered theology says, "it's all about me, me, me" when really we should only be focused on God, and not what makes us "feel good". Let me tell you, this is an incredibly flawed standard, especially in regards to family, which often does not make us "feel good". Family life is difficult, and as fellow believers we are to uplift and encourage each other. We should be focused on teaching men to be bold men of God, husbands, fathers, and women to be bold women of God, wives, mothers. We should encourage parents to teach their children and raise them in the way they should go.

It would appear that the direction of our society, of which the majority still claim Christian beliefs, is enough to point to the failure of the Church to disciple properly. Where is the accountability, the fellowship, the bold teaching of Truth that angers sinners and uplifts the saints? Have the days of proclaiming Truth and a Gospel so powerful it saves even the most wretched of men passed along with the reformers? May it not be so!

This series will address the areas that I see as needing the most attention in the church in regards to family: men, women, children, and family.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Purple Cow Winery

Yesterday we make a trip out to Purple Cow Winery in Forest Grove. Ken does the advertising for the owner, and he'd invited us to check it out. They were having a wine tasting, and though we're not really wine people, the kinds we tasted were very good. We were able to tour the area where they store the wine, and the view from the winery was amazing. From the hill where it's located you can see the coast range mountains, and one of the guys pointed out a hill that was on the show "Ax Men". We were able to see the baby grapes on the vine, and Weslee really enjoyed being able to run free on the land. I think we'd enjoy making another trip up there sometime. They were very family friendly, and not at all stuffy like some of the bigger vineyards.

5 Years Strong

Five stargazer lily stems Ken had delivered throughout the day

Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake

Mini replica of the top tier of our wedding cake with champagne and strawberries

June 25 Ken and I celebrated 5 years of marriage, and it was a fantastic day! First, Ken had flowers delivered to me while he was at work. The first delivery of lilies came with a card that said, "The Wedding Day", the second "January 23, 2009: A Son is Born", the third "For the Future". For those who don't know, stargazer lilies are one of my favorite flowers, and were also the flowers we had at our wedding.

We went out for a date night that evening, and Ken had planned everything out. We went to dinner at Bugatti's, a wonderful Italian restaurant where I had the BEST basil-cream tortellini. Then Ken surprised me with the new Deeanne Gist novel from Lifeway. Next we split a piece of the most decadent Godiva chocolate cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory. We stopped at the George Fox campus on the way home to take some anniversary pics, and ended the night with a bit of the wedding cake replica and champagne with strawberries.

For a couple who rarely goes out alone, it was a special time to celebrate with my husband. We look forward to many more years of marriage to grow together in the Lord and as a family.

Father's Day

Weslee and Quinn playing ball
Playing with blocks
Quinn on the move
Happy Father's Day, Ken!

Diaper Days

Sweet Tomatoes

The Stepping Stone Cafe

Weslee checking out the menu
Digging into his first "mancake"

Back in May we made a trip to The Stepping Stone Cafe in Portland. If you watch the show "Man vs. Food" you may recognize the name, and the giant 16" stack of "mancakes" in front of Weslee. We ordered one and split the delicious blueberry pancakes, and still took home half of them! We'd definitely recommend a trip to the Cafe, though be prepared to wait in line for a table (our wait on a Saturday morning was 45 minutes). The food is worth it, and the servers treat you like a regular.