What follows is the second of a three part response to Dr. Douglas Brown of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary. The response is presented by Jeffrey Klick, Ph.D., and J. Mark Fox, M.Div.
We would concur with Dr. Brown regarding the teaching ministry of the Church and its value to equipping the saints for ministry. One of the primary roles of the leadership of the Church should be the impartation of biblical, life-changing truth. The best place to learn how to walk out that truth is in the home.
We see this call for fathers to disciple their own children as a fundamental truth throughout Scripture. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is a command to the fathers in Israel to love the Lord with all their heart, and the measure of that love will be the training of their children to do the same. God says to Dads, You shall teach them (His commands) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up (Deuteronomy 6:7).
Proverbs was written by a young father who saw it was his responsibility under God to train his son. “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother” (Proverbs 1:8). Solomon calls on his son again in the second chapter to listen to his teaching: “My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you…” (Proverbs 2:1). Again in chapters 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, Solomon begins his teaching with a word to his son! Solomon did not hand over his responsibility for spiritual training to the priests and the scribes; he did it himself. In the New Testament, the principle is repeated: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
This does not mean the church has no role in discipling the children. Indeed, we believe God has ordained a perfect marriage between family and church. The pastors and elders are to equip the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4), and the fathers, being equipped by the church leaders, are to teach their own sons and daughters to love God with all their heart, soul and strength. What is taught in the Church should be walked out in real life, and especially in the family unit. What would happen if the home actually did take the truth taught from the Church and implemented it daily in the home? What would happen to the family structure if the parents took notes on the teaching received and discussed these everyday with the family until the next meeting?
I (J. Mark Fox) can tell you what has happened in the twenty years Antioch Community Church has been family-integrated. Children have grown up loving the Lord Jesus into their adulthood. We have lost none of the teenagers who grew up in this model and went away to college. We have also seen men rise to the challenge of leading their marriages and homes in the Word, teaching and training their primary disciples and giving them a vision for serving the Lord. In twenty years, there has been only one marriage that ended in divorce. This is anecdotal evidence, for sure, but it is also strong fruit, the kind of fruit that Jesus said His followers would bear, “fruit that remains” (John 15:16). I believe the key to this fruit is that these men have been in a church that did not make a way for them to abdicate their responsibilities, and instead encouraged them and equipped them to fulfill, with great joy, their leadership in the home. I am reminded of a statement E.M. Bounds made in his book, Power Through Prayer: “What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men — men of prayer.”
Continued in the next post. . .