Thursday, October 18, 2007

Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham, Jr.

This book review is destined to be too long for the regularly updated Reading List. Thus its own post.

Family Driven Faith by Voddie Bauchaum, Jr. is a simple look at disturbing trends across the board in religious communities, but particularly at evangelical Christianity. A Southern Baptist minister and itinerant speaker, the author focuses on Deuteronomy 6 as the textbook for a solution to losing our children and losing our culture. His plain common sense ideas (which are not his alone, but part of what even Voddie Baucham recognizes as a Spirit-induced revival) can sound revolutionary. Whenever asked by youth pastors or church attenders how to implement the truths on which Dr. Baucham speaks, he warns them it is a sure way to lose your job or make enemies. The status quo is ingrained, and most long-time church members will fight against change with a stubborn violence which compared to the rest of their zeal-lacking conduct, is startling.

However, the book is being written to change the world one family at a time. Despite my desire to wallpaper our church with the pages of the book (scattered favorite quotes being less scattered and more comprehensive), I do recognize that the policies are not easily forced, and that the best place to begin reform is always with myself.

Each chapter is about 20 easily readable pages long, without indulging repetition, the book is engaging in every paragraph with facts, visions, examples, and applications. Most obvious of the applications from Deuteronomy 6 is the admonition to practice regular father-led family worship (or mother if father is absent). This challenges Christian men in a way that contemporary church life has been unable to. It unites families and builds strong individual faith in children. And the practice goes hand in hand training even the youngest infants for the church model promoted in Family Driven Faith: family integrated church.

My family has always searched for a church that offered time for our entire family to worship together. We attend a church that is not family integrated, but that does allow us, with only one Sunday school hour and one service, to choose. The argument is made that young children cannot sit still, pay attention, or learn anything from “grown up” service. A look at our congregation a given Sunday will reveal this to be false. Kids who have been kept in church (maybe only half of the service at first, working into longer) and expected to pay attention are taking notes and able to engage in conversation about the theology and application of the sermon. They know the worship songs and sing along. Often found sitting next to their parents, they are not disruptive. Compare these to the youth who, having been farmed away to children’s church their whole lives, and entertained at youth group with louder, more emotionally-driven music, are unwilling to sing along during congregational praise, or to open their own Bibles and take notes during the service. Baucham recalls a time when his family accompanied him to a guest-preaching engagement at a church with three services in a row in which is 15 month old son sat obediently with his mother through the entire morning. His wife answered the astonished inquirers that her children were able to be well behaved in church because they practice at home through family worship.

Another topic to be frequently encountered in this book is the unrecognized idolatry as parents and families pursuing sports or academics (and coaching or tutoring in those areas, accompanied by time investments) over the discipleship of children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. When a father asked Voddie how he lost his son in college, Voddie interviewed the father and afterward pointed out that the father had been willing to work with his son to improve his baseball skills, pray to be in tournaments on Sundays (because you lose if you miss the cut on Saturday), attend all the games, etc. but not to personally invest in his son’s spiritual life. The father thought the youth pastor was taking care of that aspect of his son’s life. The hypocrisy is seen in that the father did not think the coach would take care of his son’s baseball. Priorities were modeled in the parents.

I know that the way we “do” church is broken. This blog has often been the platform on which I present what I am learning about the Bible’s vision for “living” church (see the Shaping of Things to Come and Changing Church series). Youth pastors are very often discouraged by awareness that most of what they do is futile, that kids are leaving the church after high school anyway. These leaders beg parents to be involved. The rest of the church needs to teach parents to be involved, and hold them accountable. Priorities practiced in a family-driven faith will, if consistently applied, have an impact on how a family worships with other families. Ultimately this book is not about church, though; it is a textbook for God-centered family life to which every Christian is called.

To God be all glory.

PS: I think Crystal alerted me to the existence of this book by her review.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa, I just found my way here from Biblical Womanhood. I like your "tagline" To God be all glory. Do you mind if I use that in my e-mails? It is my sentiment exactly!

Well, off to read more of your posts! Jennifer

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Thanks for reading, commenting, and living and writing for God's glory. The concept is mine in that I believe it, but not on the basis of my invention. Paul said something quite similar, and there is a Latin version, soli deo gloria, which is very close, so you are most welcome to share this sentiment with your friends, too.
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn