FAQs – Homeschool, Family Integration and other Questions

Homeschool?:

Our Biblical conviction is that Christian parents have an responsibility and duty before God to give their children a Christ-centered education based on Biblical truth. We base this conviction on the following verses: Eph 6:4, Gen 18:19, Deut 4:9, 6:7, 11:19, Psa 78:4, Prov 22:6, Col 3:21, 2 Tim 3:15. Further, adults are warned by the Lord Jesus Himself of the fearful and certain Divine judgment they earn if they cause a “little one” to stumble into sin and perish (Matt 18:6, Mark 9:42, Luke 17:2). This is a grave responsibility which cannot be ignored or rationalized away.

The modern American public school system is, as a matter of formal written policy; expressly against the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the truth revealed in Scripture regarding the nature of existance itself, the history of the earth, and the nature of man. The dogmatic atheisitic, humanistic and secular idolatry taught in the public school system, cannot be reconciled with Biblical truth and Christianity. The two are diametric opposites. It is a stark and sinful contradiction for Christian parents to knowingly place their children into an expressly anti-christ environment when the clear Biblical command is the contrary.

The families of GFBC homeschool their children based on these Biblical convictions, and as a church it is our hope and desire to support home-school families and to do so in a Gospel-centered way. Our children range in age from pre-school to high-school. Many of our concerns about the public school system are reflected in the following documentary: http://indoctrinationmovie.com.

Some of the common objections to this important Biblical conviction are as follows, and we wanted to take a minute to respond to them each Biblically.

Objection 1: “But by putting our children in the public school, they are salt and light in that environment, and can bring the Gospel to the other children.”

Answer: Would the same argument be used to justify putting your child into a bar or house of prostitution? Would you send your child alone into a drunken tavern to “share the Gospel?” No parent in their right mind would be so negligent. Clearly believers are a sweet savor of Christ where ever they are (2 Cor 2:15), but this truth is not justificiation to place young people into situations where they are not prepared for or spiritually mature enough to deal with Biblically. Do we send little children into a fierce gun battle? No way. Why not? Such combat is only for the highly trained professional soldier. Evangelism is a responsibility for all genuine believers, but it is a grave responsibility primarily for those who have been called to the office of evangelist within the church. These are grown and mature believers, Biblically equipped, called of God and who have labored in the doctrine as a prepared workman (2 Tim 2:15). The Biblical mandate to Christian parents is one of protection and preparation, as noted in the verses above. It is a wonderful thing for a Christian father, prepared and Biblically equipped, to take his child with him when he shares the Gospel with people. The child can see and have modeled to them how the Gospel is to be presented faithfully and accurately. The child may even have to see sinful men and women mock and resist the truth of the Gospel, they may even see their parents persecuted and may have to suffer with them in it, but this is completely different from a Christian parent leaving a young sheep to fend for themselves among vicious wolves who desire their damnation and destruction. The potential of evangelism is not Biblical justification to hand your child off into the clutches of a government school system which is expressly against the teachings of Jesus Christ and the truth of Scripture. If you want to evangelize school children, you would do better to engage them with tracts in the public, or venues where they gather.

Objection 2: “How will my children be socialized if they are not among their peers? Won’t they be socially retarded and unprepared to deal with adult life?”

Answer: Your duty before God with regards to your children is NOT to see that they are “socialized” but instead to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (as noted in the verses above) and to protect them from harmful sin that could lead to their eternity in Hell, as we noted above from the Lord Jesus’ own words. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” There is no Biblical prescription for placing children among sinful peers to teach them “socialization” skills. Instead the Christian’s socialization is based entirely upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Christian knows how to interact with people with righteousness and truth because they have the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit produces within the character of the Christian the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal 5:22-23). “Socialization” among the ungodly is NOT necessary for Holy and God-pleasing behavior in the life of your children if they do become genuine Christians. Further, the Apostle Paul warns that, “evil companions corrupt good morals” in 1 Cor 15:33. Placing your children for the BULK of their waking time in an anti-christ environment where their primary influences are other sinful and foolish children is a neglect of your responsibilty for those children before God, regardless of what “socialization” they might learn. Is popularity the goal of the Christian life? Was the Lord Jesus “popular?” Christians are called to Holy living and a royal priesthood and as a peculiar people unto God. In the world, but not of the world (2 Tim 1:9, 1 Pet 2:9, Titus 2:14).

Objection 3: “What about sports/band/extracurricular activities?”

Answer: How do these vain amusements compare to the grave importance of eternity!? What is the PRIMARILY responsibility that you have before God, as a Christian parent, in regards to the children the Lord has given you? Clearly it is to communicate and demonstrate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them and before them in everything you say and do. This includes teaching them all of the truths of Holy Scripture to them, and to apply them, in faith, in your families’ life, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amusements can be perfectly fine, a blessing of recreation and comfort in a sinful world, but are recreations the goal of your life? No, the purpose of our humanity is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, and this means being obedient to His Word, and the One whom He sent, Jesus Christ, with faith in God’s character and attributes as He has revealed Himself in the Bible. Does it really matter how well your child can throw a piece of pig skin, if to do that you have to place them into an anti-christ environment where they learn sin? Sport can be fine, but not at the cost of your child’s soul, and it doesnt justify a neglect of your duty as a Christian. It would be better, and more beneficial for you to take your child to the park and play catch, even badly; than have them in the anti-christ school “program.” God can and does use God-honoring recreation, but His will is perfect, and He is not pleased when Christian parents put the idolatry of sport over Biblical truth.

What is “Family (Age) Integration” and why do we have these convictions?:

The majority of American protestant and evangelical churches in our day are “age-segregated” in how they approach worship and the teaching/preaching of God’s Word. Babies, kids, youth, young married’s, 30 something’s, and the aged; are all split off into separate Sunday school classes or “life groups” for teaching purposes based on age; and often children and youth are put into their own “children’s church.” In fact, parents are often encouraged to place their children into the nursery and are even compelled to do so by some. Parents who desire to keep their children with them in the service have even been treated as being divisive in the church for having these convictions. Even in the regular worship service, often the older folks are encouraged into a “traditional” service, and the younger adults into a “contemporary” service. When children are brought into the regular service, it seems the church goes out of its way to keep them from paying attention to the preaching by giving them coloring books, etc.

Our conviction is that this modern age-segregated “method” for conducting church is without Biblical support, is not historical, and is in fact destructive. Age-segregation, while it may be more comfortable for many, has no specific model or basis in Scripture. The Apostles simply do not teach, ordain, nor discuss having a segregated “youth” ministry within the church, nor is it even mentioned by them, not even in passing. The Bible is silent on the modern concept; instead the Bible commands “fathers” to teach their children (both by word and example), and mothers to teach the younger women and to model the Gospel to them. Accordingly, we follow a family-integrated approach.

We believe that the modern experimentation by the American church in making this type of age-segregated ministry a normative practice, is not only extra-Biblical; but has caused havoc by disrupting inter-generational faithfulness, and by supplanting the role and ministry of the parents (primarily the father) in the evangelization and teaching of the young. The unfortunate fruit of this practice is an 80% “back-slide” rate within the evangelical church among “youth” (never to return), and the wide-spread rejection of basic Biblical doctrines, principles, morality, and worldview, by the vast majority of supposedly “christians” growing up in this type of unbiblical environment. Because of the resulting hypocrisy, God’s name is blasphemed among the nations, and because of the false conversions which often result from this type of ministry; many souls have perished.

Accordingly, we don’t have a youth program or a nursery. We do acknowledge that there may be times when children must be excused from the service (diaper changes, etc.), but crying babies are welcome (we just talk louder). And kids can learn doctrine and Biblical principles. Our conviction is that the church should be a family of Gospel-centered families and that children and youth benefit greatly (in a spiritual sense) from being mentored and modeled by more mature believers. Adults likewise benefit from being around older believers.

Because of these convictions, our approach is to expositionally preach through the Bible, conduct congregational worship and prayer, live out the Gospel in word and deed, and for the parents to catechize their own children, to consistently witness and model the Gospel to them. We believe that evangelism starts in the home and everything must be done with faith towards God and trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about His express will as revealed in Scripture. We affirm the absolute sufficiency of Scripture in all matters of faith and practice. The following documentary presents many of our same convictions about this “age segregated” issue: Divided the Movie

The fact that the father is given a role of authority and responsibility does NOT mean that we believe that the father should operate with extra-Biblical authority, or in an arbitrary and unloving manner. Instead the father must not go beyond the safety of his Biblically described role as father, being obedient to the Scriptures in faith. There is a real danger of falling into a ditch of hyper-patriarchy and becoming unbalanced in theology and practice.

Hyper-patriarchialism we define as the doctrine and practice which elevates the father’s authority or role beyond what the Scripture teaches. Biblically the father and mother have roles to play in the family in a complementary fashion. They are joint-heirs with Christ and while the wife is required to submit to her husband, the husband is required to love his wife sacrificially and to honor her. He has authority, but it is a derived authority which must be exercised consistent with the Gospel and the Scriptures. Men who abuse their authority in the family, or who point to themselves as the ultimate authority in the family and not the Scriptures, are in grave danger of making themselves an idol and actually harming their family spiritually. The father must see himself as the chief sinner, as a servant who leads by example with a derived authority. He must lead his sinful wife to the Cross and not punish her when she sins. Her sins have been paid for at Calvary. If she is unconverted she likewise needs the Gospel to be saved.

Christ is the high-priest; not the father. Scripture is the final authority; not the father. The Scriptures are the prophetic Word; not the father’s opinion. The Biblical husband and father seeks Godly counsel, for this is wise. Often this comes from his wife. The Biblical husband and father listens to His wife. If there is a disagreement, he takes her to the Scriptures and ultimately makes the decision for the family, but he doesn’t foolish assume his own infallibility.

A father not walking in the Gospel tends to be draconian and often cruel. He holds grudges and imposes rules that he himself will not do. He rules as king and won’t listen to counsel from others. He doesn’t apologize when he sins, he is consumed with self and idols. Further, men who focus on moralism or behavior modification, and not the Gospel, often do great harm to their families spiritual growth. Fathers should not point to themselves, to make an idol out of themselves, but instead must always be pointing to the Gospel and to the Scriptures. They must always press their wives and children to Christ. The Scriptures have much to say about this issue, but as in all areas of faith and practice, we should never go beyond what is written. Men who go to extra-Biblical excess can fall into a hyper-patriarchy which is neither Biblical nor wise. Men who do this undermine the Biblical argument to redirect American churches from the idolatry of modern culture back to the more Biblical practices. They create the straw-man and gives license to men to ignore these vital Biblical issues.

We must also be careful about determinism, by this we mean the concept that if the father does certain things to a sufficient degree; then his children WILL be saved. The truth is there are many examples in the Bible where men were faithful and yet their children fell into sin and perished. There is also the false argument which states that because we cannot ensure the salvation of our children by “doing certain things,” then therefore men have little or no responsibility towards their families to do anything. We reject this view as unbiblical as well. God works through means, and the means He often works through are Biblical families centered on the Gospel.

Instead, the proper Biblical view, as we understand the Scriptures, is that God uses means to save children. The means is the Gospel, and the normative practice is the father, who, in a loving, faithful and obedient way, is leading his family in the Scriptures, and in concert with his wife, is going about sharing and demonstrating the Gospel with them and to them. Not once or twice, or in a truncated manner, but repeatedly, consistently and regularly. This is God’s plan for Christian families, but ultimately every individual is responsible before God for their soul. The child that rejects their Godly father’s counsel and the Gospel witness of his or her mother will perish in their own sin. God saves. Not fathers and not even means. Any yet, the father is required, regardless of the outcome, to be faithful and walk in an obedience that comes from that true saving faith. God is always just. There is no excuse for neglect of what Scripture commands. If you fear that your children will not be saved, then use that fear to bring more zeal in your heart to communicate and demonstrate the Gospel to them, and pray for their salvation. God is mighty to save. However be warned, if the father neglects his duty, then he is partly responsible before God for this neglect, a fearful thing indeed. And to the children, the fact that your parents neglect their Biblical responsibility takes nothing of your personal responsibility before God to respond to the Gospel and flee to Christ for salvation.

Why didn’t we join one of the baptist associations, like the Southern Baptist Convention?

We are not directly affiliated with any of the “baptist” conventions, but generally follow the traditions of the historical Baptist church. We are listed with the National Center for Family Integrated Churches (NCFIC) and “9Marks.” These organizations of believers that share some of the same important values and beliefs, but not all of them. You can find links to these organizations under the “Links and Resources” tab.

We acknowledge that there are many genuine Christians within churches that are members of these baptist conventions and we love them and we are confident that many of these churches are Biblical in their beliefs. However, we didn’t join one of these associations because Biblically we must hold to our conscience about what we believe the Bible teaches. At the very least we did not want to appear to be giving our approval of some of the unBiblical practices within these organizations, nor to give the impression that our convictions are not seriously held.

Here is a brief summary of our objections which we have observed are generally prevelent in these baptist associations:

1. Wide spread acceptance of the modern unBiblical “invitation” system.

2. Open and public acceptance of the modern contrivance known as the “sinner’s prayer” as a Biblical means of sharing the Gospel.

3. Widespread denial of original sin in theology.

4. Widespread acceptance and use of the quid-pro-quo tithing sermon as a key and essential doctrine pertaining to the discipleship of the believer.

5. Widespread replacement of a lucid and full counsel of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a truncated “gospel” which gives the bare minimum of information.

6. Widespread acceptance of extra-Biblical age-segregated and peer-based Sunday school classes and “children’s church” usually treated as a de facto replacement of the ministry of the father in the home as the primary means of evangelism and discipleship, as discussed above.

7. Widespread replacement of exposition of Scripture with topical man-centered sermons.

8. A replacement of Biblical evangelism with mere invites to “attend church.”

9. The wide-spread use and acceptance of “youth pastors” “youth programs” and “youth camps” as an essential element in ministry and Gospel proclamation.

10. Widespread professed “pride” over the “cooperative” program for missions, as well as the ordinary practice of sending unqualified and unspiritual groups of retirees and children to do “missons;” often at great expense to the church. Sadly the missions themselves often degenerate into mere exotic vacations which include a service focus, but not the Gospel.

What’s Biblically wrong with the “sinner’s prayer”?

1. The Lord Jesus never lead a person in a sinner’s prayer in the Gospels. He presents the “Lord’s Prayer” but this was a model prayer for His disciples, not for a sinner to bring them to repentance and faith. Even with the thief on the cross you don’t see this happening. Further you don’t see John the Baptist leading people in a sinner’s prayer; he leads them to baptism, fasting and “fruit meet for repentance,” but not a sinner’s prayer.

2. In Acts, none of the Apostles or anyone else ever leads a person in a sinner’s prayer. They share the Gospel often, but you don’t see this particular methodology at all.

3. In the epistles none of the Apostles or other authors direct or instruct on leading someone through a sinner’s prayer.

4. A sinner’s prayer can be treated as a cheap substitute for genuine contrition, repentance, and confession.

5. Saying a sinner’s prayer can give a person a false sense of assurance based upon the sincerity of their prayer or the fact that they said a prayer; instead of how Biblical assurance is presented in 1 John (comparing themselves to Scripture) or elsewhere in “examining themselves to see if they are in the faith.”

6. If a man cheats on his wife, she doesn’t want to hear a canned apology; any such apology should come from that person’s heart which has been crushed with guilt and contrition. A person broken on the rock of Christ, under conviction of the Holy Spirit, seeing their sin, the Holiness and justice of God, and the beauty of Christ and the cross; they can pray without a cue card.

7. A sinner’s prayer can put the emphasis of the Gospel presentation on an “act” that the hearer can “do” to be saved; and as such, can be treated as a salvation by a “work,” and not by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

8. Presenting a sinner’s prayer as part of a Gospel presentation can have the effect of denying the power of the Holy Spirit to save sinners through the Gospel (without our help). In other words, that the Gospel is not sufficient to save; it needs a pantomime to be effective.

9. According to Scripture, we don’t even know how to pray as we ought, but the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us. As such, God doesn’t need a “model” prayer to bring someone to genuine repentance and saving faith.

10. The sinner’s prayer can put the emphasis of the Gospel away from the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, who He is, what He did, and why (and further, what the Cross says about man, and what it says about God’s Holiness, mercy and perfect justice) and onto the sinner.

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