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.