Monday, March 02, 2009

Voddie Baucham, What He Must Be

Voddie Baucham has been greatly used of God to call attention to the importance of the family in both creation and the church. His book, Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk with God, calls attention to the need for Christian parents to take the lead in evangelizing and discipling their children.

Voddie is a friend of mine, and our church has benefited from his ministry on more than one occasion. Two years ago he led a conference for us on "Family Life in the Household of God" on the intersection of church and family. We had already moved away from youth-based youth ministry and were very glad to be challenged and instructed from God's Word on this subject by Voddie.

Some of the best discussions that we had came in the informal times around the lunch and dinner tables. One subject that repeatedly came up had to do with "courtship and dating." Parents and young people alike were full of questions and the conversations took us back into Scripture to mine its wisdom on relationships.

Before our first child was out of diapers Donna and I developed some clear convictions about dating. First, we became convinced that the American practice of recreational dating is a formula for spiritual and moral disaster. The rise in divorce rates occurred as American teenagers began to experience "dating" in the mid-twentieth century. Casual dating relationships seemed to be an excellent training ground for later serial monogamy in marriage.

Secondly, we were convinced there had to be a better way. There is. A growing number of Christian parents and young people have "kissed dating goodbye" and are giving themselves to a more thoughtful and intentional process of moving toward marriage. Call it what you will (so many practices that I find bizarre have been advocated in the name of "courtship" that I no longer use that term), but the process includes parental involvement in shepherding their children through the pursuit of marriage. Young people--including young adults--need wise guidance as they navigate those waters, and who better to help provide it for them than parents who love them more than anyone else?

Voddie Baucham gets this. And he writes about it in his newly released book, What He Must Be, if He Wants to Marry My Daughter. Voddie is a gifted writer, weaving interesting narrative around biblical teaching as he sets forth principles for parents who want to serve their children well in helping them get married. Though he focuses on what women and their parents should look for in a potential husband, the book is applicable to everyone who wants to help loved ones marry well. As the father of 5 daughters, I have been helped this book to think more specifically about the spiritual qualities that a man should be developing if he hopes to be a Christ-honoring husband. I was also convicted and challenged by Baucham to invest more energy in helping my son prepare to become a faithful prophet, priest, provider and protector for his future bride.

Voddie's overall concern is to help parents--especially fathers--shepherd their daughters through the process of arranging a marriage to the "right" man. This is not the same as an "arranged marriage" in the sense that the parents simply do it. Rather, it involves teaching and preparing daughters to enter into marriage as spiritually, emotionally and physically intact as possible.

This necessarily involves holding any potential suitor to biblical standards and encouraging him to cultivate the kind of character necessary to be a faithful husband. In our day of extended adolescence and the widespread feminization of men this can be a lonely task but Baucham gives some practical tools to assist in the effort.

I encourage you to read this book. To encourage you to do so, over the course of this week I will post some excerpts from it in order to whet your appetite.


refbaptdude said...


There is no doubt that families need to be instructed in the biblical truths concerning the Christian family. We should all praise God that there has been a growing concern and emphasis in our churches of calling the family back to biblical standards. This family reformation of sorts has been evidenced by a growing number of fathers leading their homes properly, discipling their children, the growing number of young people entering Christian service, the home school movement, and churches establishing Christian schools.

In the last number of years, however, a growing radicalized movement has arisen out of the home school and home church movements. This wing is primarily seen in the “patriarchy” or “family integration” movement. Most families involved are genuine Christian parents wanting the best for their families but unfortunately, in their zeal, they have let the pendulum swing to the extreme.

In the 2007 General Assembly of The Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of Americas (ARBCA), an open forum discussed the growing problem and dangers of this movement. Also, the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International (FBFI), in 2006, showed concern and passed a resolution addressing this same issue.

This movement has gained momentum from Doug Phillip’s Vision Forum, which is a kind of modern day baptistic adoption of the Reconstructionist movement. While the Reconsstructionists of the previous decades were paedobaptistic, Vision Forum is primarily baptistic. This is why when you listen to proponents of the movement, their words ring with a “covenant family” or “covenant children” sound. It seems to be a Baptist quasi covenant children theology.

When this movement dominates the life of a church, its emphasis shifts from being gospel-centered to family-centered. This movement is also plagued with legalism and divisiveness, which grow out of personal family convictions rather than scripture.

I have no doubt that Voddie Baucham is a fine Christian gentleman; however, because he is very high profile in these circles and has associated himself with organizations like “Vision Forum,” I am concerned with your continual praise of this brother, and that many will associate the Founder’s Ministries with the patriarchal movement.

Your Brother in Christ,
Steve Clevenger

Tom said...


Thanks for your comment. I share your concerns for those who go to seed what the Bible teaches on families and fathers such that they neglect other, equally important biblical truth. But that tendency is not limited to the issues and movements that you mention, is it? The same can be said for any number of issues and groups, including some that you and I believe and appreciate.

Voddie is a friend--a good friend. He is no reconstructionist and he writes and speaks very clearly so that anyone who wants to know what he believes can find out pretty easily. I encourage you to judge him on the basis of what he says and not on the basis of one of the many groups of people with whom he associates.

I am not sure what you mean by my "continual praise of this brother" but if people want to count my friendship with him because of his friendship with others as justification for associating Founders with a movement with which we have never linked arms, then...well, let's just say I have little hope of convincing such people otherwise and won't waste any energy trying to do so.


Julius Mickel said...

A link to a recent post by Voddie.
To ANYONE else:
Attempting to put family-integrated churches or home-schoolers under one umbrella is quite riducluous. Beware of overreaction, referencing VisionForum is like referencing FamilyChristianBookstores they are simply despite their downfalls a great place for some hard to find resources or rare teaching.
Consider also the dating of such a phrase, age seperation is quite new and many international churches don't even even practice it today.
Consider the Puritans, no one could deny their emphasis on the gospel, yet they wrote tons of works concerning the family. If only we too were as concerned with being STEWARDS of ALL that God has placed into our hands.
The problem however is like most para-church ministries (what could happen) is that a leader starts to function as a pastor and draws a flock (hence the extremes) this also happens with worship artists.
The problem is that the church isn't addressing the issue, and isn't modeling what disciplship is to it's members (families).
Naturally extremes arise (humanity)-an over-reaction to ministry-focus at the expense of the family ("i have to sacrifice my family on the altar of ministry") can lead to problems.
What we need is local CHURCHES that will equip it's members so they don't feel some need to join some group to find fellowship. and YES YES YES we need especially among REFORMED eggheads a PRACTICAL call to HOLINESS and that HOLINESS begins at home, praise God for men like Voddie who are actively and practically concerned with the next generation.

Tony said...


I would suggest you read the complaint of the FBFI as I did and found that their complaints were more eschatological in nature. I wrote about this some time ago on my blog and found the following written by the FBFI which include some pretty harsh words:

“When one examines the underlying theology of the movement, the answer must be no. The FBFI is without apology committed to a dispensational understanding of Scripture. It is clear that the postmillennial teaching of Vision Forum is in contradiction with the doctrinal statement of the FBFI and would be incompatible with the ministries represented by members of the FBFI.”

“These churches are classified according to their particular theological, hermeneutical, or traditional distinctive, but the one thing that unites them—that litmus test for fellowship—is their integrated church philosophy. Scripture is clear that fellowship with unbelievers and false teachers is sin. Fundamentalists cannot violate the doctrine of separation by allowing ICM to infiltrate our local churches. Fellowship with Vision Forum, IUCAH, or similar groups—or so-called Fundamentalists who adopt such an errant theology and practice—should be condemned, not condoned.”

I am sure there are churches that may focus more on family than Christ but then there are churches of many “movements” that may over emphasize one element over the another but this does not make the movement necessarily wrong. I would suggest you read the article by Voddie Baucham that Julius linked to as well as you might listen to a talk by Scott Brown called ”What is a Family Integrated Church”
I think you will find that the focus of the FIC is as much about the gospel as any biblically based church should be.

You may disagree with the movement but I would suggest you find out about it from those that are part of it. Talk to Voddie Baucham and you tell me if he is off base. I pastor a “Family integrated Church” and I can assure you that the cross is central to all I preach. When family is part of the text it is preached on. I also promote patriarchy, not because of a movement because of how I see it permeating all of scripture.

Scotty Karber said...

Apparently Steve poked a wasp nest. I think what he is getting at is the danger of propagating the idea that churches are made up of families. They aren't.

There is a growing "movement" (for lack of a better term) toward establishing churches on the basis of this kind of family integration -- emphasizing family. It is largely driven by home schoolers who sometimes seem to find fellowship difficult with those who don't share their school preference.

This movement emphasizes family; focuses on the family; exalts the family. What's wrong with that?

Mat 10:34-37 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. (35) For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (36) And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. (37) He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Some believe that such fears are groundless, but not those who have encountered some whose emphasis on family has led them to a church which is just their family. Their numbers seem to be growing. It is not that they do not find the gospel, or worship, or the sacraments, or Biblical preaching in churches. They profess those things are present, but they often say they lack fellowship there. If our fellowship is in Christ and the gospel how can it be lacking when the gospel is there and Christ is there? You see the problem?

I am all for stopping the practice of segregation in the worship services of the church. I think there is some value in small groups which are age or development level based, but I wouldn't quibble about that.

But it is easily possible in dealing with the issue of family and church for the one to become virtually identified with the other. That's bad. I think that Steve is suggesting that is sometimes happening from those associated with Vision Forum and others who emphasize the family in a similar way. If you have not been affected by these things you think it is a straw man. If you have you don't.

In Julius Mickel's post (not sure he is quoting or stating) there is this:

"The problem is that the church isn't addressing the issue, and isn't modeling what disciplship (sic) is to it's members (families)."

Are families members, or are members families in that statement? Either is, of course, wrong. That may not be what is intended in that statement, but guarding the gospel and the church should prevent any confusion in equating church members with families. I think is a part of the danger Steve addresses.

Scotty Karber

Julius Mickel said...

Allow me to clarify my previous statement: (sorry it's long)
I didn't mean that all our family members are part of the body of Christ in some paedo-baptist sense. I meant that the family is the heart of practical Chrisitianity in the life of the believer, in this sense; Paul Washer makes the statement "I was really holy, until i got married" which anyone should be able to relate to. That despite some awesome ministry experience (like preaching for ex.) your pride is shattered when you see how much need there is to grow as a husband and/or father. The marriage is to be a picture to others of Christ and His bride. An orderly state of the HOME is a REQUIREMENT for leadership (this has to be the least examined of all ministerial interviews). Just like my blog or anyone else's we might sound great, we might receive incredible praise but if home isn't right then we aren't right. What good is it if someone praises me for my passion for Christ when my child is present, yet this 'passion' is news to him? Or likewise our compassion and sacrifice when our wives are still upset from the things we did or said on the way to church?
Straw Man? What is the straw man of Calvinism? Have some 'experienced' such straw men? Of course, yet they aren't because of Calvinism.
You simply CANNOT put homeschoolers under a category, to do so explains why they feel the lack of fellowship. To homeschool in our day is too take a giant leap of faith and should be commended. We homeschool and we believe in the blessing of many children YET we didn't come to those convictions because of some 'movement' or the church we were in or something we were raised in- it just seemed obviously wise and biblical, despite any sacrifices. At the same time i have met such that are doing it all for the wrong reasons or some that wear it as a badge, and likewise will raise up snobby, nerdy, moral pharisees.
Fellowship is hard to find for ANYONE within most church settings , considering that we are to PROVOKE one another to love and good deeds is quite difficult if that only means sit in church listen to a sermon and collect everyone and go home.
Voddie Baucham is not within that extreme camp in the least. TO emphasize the role of the family often is just the same as saying 'you need to walk this talk'!
In Family Driven Faith Voddie makes the point to illustrate the low view of children among most Christians by stating "if you don't believe me, then watch how people react to a mother with 6+ children" --in light of fellowship: i can say i've seen this and I know what it looks like (since we have 5 boys + 1 in a couple of weeks), i know what it's like to get some invitations when you have 1 and maybe 2, then to get almost no further invitations after that, i know what the gossip sounds like, and i've heard all the smart comments. In view of that I for one can understand the longing of fellowship. Not to mention the attitude often displayed to 'stay at home' moms, as though that is plan b, as though that is an UNsuccesful and insignificant role (rather when biblically motivated is an awesome ex of not 'growing weary in doing good'). With all that in mind you should be able to understand that she longs for others who can care (all should) or symphatize.
No one can cover the extremes of any teaching, but it's absurd to denounce a biblical concept because of abuse.
Could it be possible that some would denounce something because they feel convicted (and like most today then call it legalism)?
There's hints of great reform spreading throughout our nation, yet HOW much is pratical and not just 'correct' terminology and theology (quote all the dead men you will, but unless you're willing to live like such, don't expect much).
Unfortunately there is a need to make such distinctions,yet it's UNFAIR to group people under one umbrella (like saying "ALL SOUTHERN BAPTIST CHURCHES are....." or 'be careful of going to an SBC church because they ...").
LEt us agree on what's biblical, let us expose the errors of extreme without connecting the two. There SHOULD be a proper balance, the LOCAL church SHOULD be the PRIMARY place for INSTRUCTION, REBUKE, and ENCOURAGEMENT and it grieves me to see that being sought somewhere else.
Once again we see the grave NEED of healthy churches may God raise up some HOLY men!

Scotty Karber said...


Where do you find in Scripture that "the family is the heart of practical Christianity in the life of the believer"?

It is true that there are instructions for family and that there are admonitions given relating to marriage especially, but I cannot think of anything which states your position. If it is true why would Paul urge people not to marry? How do single people experience practical Christianity? I am not attacking family. I don't despise large families - I wish ours could have been larger. My best friend has 9 children.

The "straw man" I mentioned only as a perception that some might have about all home schoolers being like you say you are if they have not encountered others who are not - as you now have noted some are. No one has attacked home schoolers or home schooling. No one has tried to lump all home schoolers together. It seems your response thinks I did and I wonder if you are not a little sensitive here. Nor do I suggest that it is easy to find fellowship in churches, but that the basis of fellowship is Christ and the gospel. It is not mutual interests; hobbies; etc. I agree that there is a bias against large families in some places. Sure "stay-at-home" moms may considered "plan b." That is also wrong. But the wrong cannot be corrected by another wrong.

From the number of SHOUTS in your post I think you have looked at me as your opposition. I'm not. Nor am I Voddie Baucham's opposition. I DO know of some who have taken his views to substantiate a view of family as the basic unity in the Kingdom of Christ. That I do oppose.

My point is that in the kingdom of God it is the Church - not the family - that is the primary unit. Not just with home schooling but with many other things in the past decades I think that has become fuzzy in the thinking of many. In fact, I think many would say that it is the family. That, as I see it, is as much a danger to the ultimate mission of the church as any other error might be.

Back to the original. Where do you find in Scripture that the family is the heart of practical Christian living?


Julius Mickel said...

Scotty o boy,
Forgive my bad writing style, it's hard for me to write on a blog as to one individual, i'm always thinking group. So NO i wasn't really addresing you specifically but a general attitude which of some you might have sparked some thoughts.
SENSITIVE?? Only as a keen observer and listener of others and hence i would defend those i've seen beat down or ignored and in desperate need of encouragement. We've never really fit any sort of 'movement' and never went to any conferences or such, but ONLY those concerning the gospel; this IS my chief concern (as i hope my blog would make clear).
PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY?? What is the context of this discussion? The Family! I'm speaking in context of the family specifically. REREAD my ex. for further clarity, i think it will suffice to explain.
I would also add even children to the test of fruit equation-At the TRUE CHURCH CONFERENCE 2009, Pastor Jono Sims gave some counsel concerning fruits of conversion in young people and he illustrated how when he was speaking to a young girl that desired to be baptized and she wasn't really clear in her expression of her conversion (and what's happened since) Pastor turned to her mother and asked 'tell me how your daughter has changed' (the result of that was to wait because the mother could not point to any such fruits). A teen, a woman, a man, and even a minister may fool many but AT HOME the skeletons come out.

well i'll cease this discussion, anymore and it's just circles== bless you all!

refbaptdude said...


Of course ARBCA is not dispensational, so that is not their concern. The concern of the pastors on the ARBCA audio discussion was basically the same as that of FBFI, it is the divisive nature of these groups.
The resolution concerns of FBFI that I was writing about are found below -

Resolution 06-03: Concerning the Integrated Church Movement

While recognizing that the family is under attack in our nation and in many churches today, and recognizing that choice to have (or not have) age-graded ministries is the prerogative of individual local churches as God directs them, the FBFI denounces the doctrinally errant and schismatic teaching characteristic of the Integrated Church movement for the following reasons:

• It encourages schisms in local church bodies by encouraging its adherents to change the theology and philosophy of the churches of which they are members.
• It does violence to local church authority, calling on local church members to leave their churches when the church does not bow the philosophical demands of the movement.
• It espouses an ecclesiology based upon the family that is not based upon the New Testament but rather is an adaptation of Old Testament patriarchy.
• It falsely lays the claim that the destruction of the family in the US is the solely the fault of age-graded ministries in local churches. We contend that this is a simplistic and therefore false accusation.
• It espouses a postmillennial theology that is contradictory to a dispensational understanding of Scripture.
• It is oddly inclusive, basing fellowship on a particular philosophy of ministry rather than the great fundamentals of the faith.

This movement is most prominently represented by Doug Phillips (Vision Forum) and R.C. Sproul Jr., among others.

Secondly, I have no problem with family integrated church life, the church I pastor is family integrated. But I must strongly disagree with Vision Forums definition of the church. The church is not a “family of families”.

Grace to you,

Tony said...

This will probably be my last comment on this as it is easy to see this does not get resolved online.

Again if you read the entire FBFI statement and the part I commented on before they have a bone to pick with Vision Forum and extend that to the subject at hand and that bone is eschatological as well as their view on theonomy. Even to the point of basically questioning the salvation of those that do not hold their eschatological view. So first I take their comments very lightly with such direction as to question ones salvation because they disagree with ones end times view and views on the law.

Never the less here is what I would say with regards to the part you did copy to this post as you seem to imoply these reason are common to ARBCA:

1) I would say that the conclusion of the FBFI is incorrect that the “integrated church” is not doctrinally in error. That is merely their opinion as many in the FIC have plenty of biblical proof for their understanding of ecclesiology.

2) With regards to schisms. This is a tough one as whenever the paradigm of a church is questioned schisms are possible. I am sure being in ARBCA that you know about this with regards to Calvinism. If you recognize that a church is not holding to what you consider orthodoxy or even orthopraxy should you not try and convince the church of that error? Now you may say that the issue of families is not on the level of Calvinism but the issue is that the practices of the church are important and if they are wrong that needs to be addressed. Also, just because there are instances of schism this does not mean the movement is responsible. I can tell you that I know of very few people that have put out a sermon on “where and when to leave a church” as Doug Phillips has. If you were to listen to this tape you would see that any schisms that may happen are not the cause of Doug Phillips or any others promoting a multigenerational vision of the church.

3) As far as doing violence to local church authority, I think violence may be a little harsh. Should not a family or individual that sees a scriptural call for church to be functioning in a certain way not seek to leave if they cannot convince the church of this. Would you be saying that all ARBCA churches have everything figured out so that no one can leave? My point is that if one comes to a conclusion from scripture, as I have, it is ones duty to seek to change the church but if that is not possible or may cause more problems than one should cause then leaving is the alternative to schism. If you are saying no one can leave a local church you are stepping onto dangerous grounds. Local church authority is important but not so much as to violate the beleivers conscience.

4) Patriarchy is one of those areas that the FBFI disagree with and that colors much of their issues with the FIC. The idea of patriarchy is not abrogated in the NT and thus patriarchy is still valid in the church today. You may disagree with this and this may be a reason a person may need to leave a church but it is not grounds to call those who teach this as unbelievers or false teachers.

5) The FIC does not lay sole blame on the destruction of the family on age graded ministries but simply states that it has a major affect on it. I would agree this as I have seen first hand what separating people by ages is not only mandated by scripture it does contribute to much of the problems we have with youth in the church. Youth ministry has effectively given parents an excuse to hand over their God given duty to raise their children to people who are basically themselves not much more than children. So again you may disagree with the FIC and my assessment but this simply revels that there is a disagreement not false teaching.

6) Based on what you said before I am hoping this is not an issue with you. The FBFI would not hold to anyone’s view but a dispensational one. You could probably add to this that from what I have read of them they would also despise people such as Doug Phillips theonomic views.

7) This last point is confusing as it seems to be saying that one can not associate with others that have a differing ecclesiastical view because they hold to a similar practice of being family integrated. The FBFI seems, by their statement here, to hold that one can only associate with other dispensational fundamentalist churches. Yes there are associations with Presbyterian and other groups that are family integrated but this association is not solely around methodology. I can say this as there are postmodern churches that hold to a form of integration that most FICs would not associate with due to their theology. So if associations can only be with other churches that are exactly the same this seems like a very legalistic and controlling view.

So I am not sure how you or others in ARBCA really view the FBFI statement but I hope you can see that their comments are really unfounded. Yes they may have come across families that misunderstand the family integrated church but to use them as a cause for derision is unfounded. That would be like having a family that creates a schism in an arminean church because they come to an understanding of the doctrines of grace and claiming the doctrines of grace are schismatic and thus false.

I would highly suggest that you listen to the links Julius and I linked to and other talks by those in the family integrated movement. If when you are done you still disagree so be it but I would hope you would see that schism is not the goal but the correct practice of the church is, as should the goal of any church.

Grace and Peace,

refbaptdude said...


Do you believe that Vision Forum is in error when they declare that "the church is a family of families"?

grace to you,

Tony said...


I would not say they are in error. It may be an over simplification, most sayings are, and if you have listened to them explain the term they refer to everyone belonging to a family. So in that context the church is a family of families. While in our individualistic age this may bother some it does not make it wrong. Also, one needs to remember this is not the only message that is delivered by those in the FIC, again listen to the talk I linked to earlier on “What is a family integrated church”, but it is the only one people tend to focus on. If you disagree with this view that is your prerogative but one needs to be careful not to go as far as the FBFI has gone which is to label FICs as unbelievers or false teachers.

Below is Article VI from the NCFIC website ( that explains how they view families in the church. It is best to allow them to speak as to what they mean and intend .

ARTICLE VI — The Church is a Family of Believers that Includes Families

We affirm that local churches are spiritual households that include individual family units which are separate and distinct jurisdictions that should be cared for and strengthened to fulfill their God ordained roles, not only as individuals but also as families (1 Tim. 3:15, Ephesians 5:22-33, Ephesians 6:1-4).

We deny/reject the current trend in churches that ignores the family unit, is blind to strengthening it, systematically fragments it and does not actively work to equip her members to be faithful family members.

Grace and Peace,