A Critique of Family Driven Faith

Baucham’s fervor is commendable, but too often his diagnosis and cure is a confusing blend of general biblical principles and his own personal practice within his family.

Family Driven Faith (FDF) offers solutions to these errors which are problematic on three fronts. First, FDF over-generalizes the issue by equating all involvement in age-graded ministry to children/students with abdication of parental responsibility. Second, FDF sets ministry within the family and within the church at odds. And third, FDF convolutes clear biblical mandates and Baucham’s personal application of those mandates so that, at times, the two are virtually indistinguishable.

 

A Critique of Voddie Baucham’s Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes To Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk With God

Our elders get asked all the time whether we would endorse a particular book, ministry resource, or popular teaching.  Cultivating biblical discernment is one of the most crucial aspects of the believer’s growth in the Lord. What’s difficult is that trusted teachers and authors sometimes publish questionable viewpoints, even serious errors, which foster confusion and promote unbiblical ideas.  It’s our burden as shepherds of the flock to bring biblical clarity to these challenges and help the sheep distinguish between truth and error.

A critique of otherwise faithful, godly leaders should always be loving and gracious, but where a ministry’s output has become unsound it should be pointed out, corrected, and the body of Christ strongly cautioned if the error persists.  In that spirit, below is a brief critique of the book Family Driven Faith, authored by the Family Integration Movement’s most well-known proponent, Voddie Bacham.  While evangelicalism has benefitted greatly from Voddie’s preaching ministry and faithful gospel labors, we hope this brief review will help foster greater discernment regarding this influential teaching on the family and the church.

Voddie Baucham is the pastor of Grace Family Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, a flagship ministry in the Family Integrated Church Movement. The distinctive of the Family Integrated Church (FIC) is its strong emphasis on equipping parents to fulfill their biblical responsibility to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). As a part of the FIC’s attempt to carry out that biblical mandate, churches insist that families are not separated by ages and are seated together for all public gatherings of the church (hence “integrated”) and roundly rejects all Sunday Schools, youth groups, or other age-graded “niche” ministries. Baucham’s book, Family Driven Faith, is an explanation of the philosophy behind the FIC’s ministry structure.

Baucham’s observation that many Christian parents have grossly neglected their God-given ministry of teaching the scriptures to their children is sadly accurate and his strong objection to the spiritually inane methods of many church youth groups is equally valid. But Family Driven Faith (FDF) offers solutions to these errors which are problematic on three fronts. First, FDF over-generalizes the issue by equating all involvement in age-graded ministry to children/students with abdication of parental responsibility. Second, FDF sets ministry within the family and within the church at odds. And third, FDF convolutes clear biblical mandates and Baucham’s personal application of those mandates so that, at times, the two are virtually indistinguishable.

The following excerpts and comments will substantiate these very real concerns:

1. Family Driven Faith equates having children involved in a church’s ministry to students with abdication of parental responsibility.

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