Thursday, July 15, 2010

Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham

"More teens are turning away from the faith than ever before: it is estimated that as many as 70-88% of teens who profess Christianity walk away from their faith by the end of their freshman year of college.  Something must be done."

Family Driven Faith Pictures, Images and PhotosWhile I agree with Voddie Baucham Jr's quote, taken from the book jacket for his book, Family Driven Faith, I find that I do not agree with his conclusions.  Mr. Baucham slams other Christian "movements" while promoting his own and this concerns me.  His interpretation of a Biblical church model as a patriarchal, family-driven unit where everyone homeschools and there is no age segregation has the potential to be taken to extremes that smack of legalism and that I am not comfortable in recommending.  His ideas that a child's faith rests in how his father leads the family puts undue pressure on the father.  We have only to begin flipping through our Bibles to see evidence of godly men with ungodly children, and vice versa.  While I applaud the encouragement for men to be spiritual leaders in their home and to train their children, I believe in personal responsibility- and that includes our children.

Mr. Baucham states that the church's job is to equip the saints for ministry and when the church is teaching the children and teens, we are taking that role and responsibility away from the parents.  I disagree.  The children and teens ARE the saints as well and we are merely coming alongside parents as they "train up a child in the way he should go".  And if the parent is not doing so, this does not release us from our responsibility to equip them, it only increases that responsibility.

His view on youth groups also bothers me.  I completely agree that the church structure of today is broken.  The family structure of today is even more broken.  But I don't believe the answer is to ignore the broken people and expect them to integrate into "intact Christian families".  I used to hold to many of the same beliefs as Mr. Baucham but after fifteen years in ministry have found that these ideals don't always work in the real world.  Yes, teens are walking away from their faith in droves. Yes, the church structure of our western culture is sometimes messed up.  But I believe we need to work within the culture we live in, the structure we are given, and show whomever will listen, whomever God sends our way, His love and His grace and His truth.  Whether they come from broken homes, whether they are six or fifteen or eighteen or twenty four or sixty two.

I believe the young people of today are walking away because they have not grasped the full relationship with Christ.  They are walking away from a faith tradition, rather than their faith.  Let's give them real faith, let's show them who Christ is and pray He gets a hold of their heart.  That's a lot harder to walk away from.

I was disappointed to receive a second Baucham book from Crossway for review.  I had a similar reaction to his book, What He Must Be If He Wants To Marry My Daughter.  Believe it or not, I do NOT like to post negative reviews.  I WANT to like what I read and review!  I do, I do!  But I can't, in good conscience, recommend this book.  However, Crossway publishes many other great books and you can check them out by hopping over to their blog.

*Disclosure: I received this book through Crossway at no cost, for review purposes.*


Kristenph said...

They are walking away from a faith tradition, rather than their faith.

Yes, that's it exactly!

MaryEllen said...

Hm, Mr. Bauchman - David, the one that Scripture calls a man after God's own heart, would not qualify as a sufficiently spiritual man by your standards. I mean, look at how his kids turned out! Surely he should have been yanked off the throne and had his whole relationship with God in question.

Sorry. This whole approach infuriates me. My mom is caught in an infinite loop of "what did I do wrong? what if my husband had been here to disciple him?" because my brother walked away from the faith (my dad died when he was 3 so she had to raise him alone), and I wish I could convince her that our children are responsible for their own responses to God. Some of the strongest Christians I know have had horrid backgrounds that totally should have shunted them away from faith. Some of the worst reprobates I know have come from great Christian families where other siblings totally decided to follow the Lord.

Mr. Bauchman needs a strong dose of Ezekiel 18. He appears to be reading 1 Tim. 3:4-5 without remembering that we must interpret Scripture using Scripture. Do we know the full context of this brief word Paul said to Timothy? Where else in Scripture do we see a strict interpretation of it reiterated? Again, if we look at *all* of Scripture, we find that people are held personally responsible for their good or evil without little regard for what their fathering was like (e.g., all of 2 Kings!), we find Aaron still being a priest after his sons are struck dead for their evil (as Lori was pointing out to me), etc., etc.

Okay. I'll be quiet.

Luke said...

Agreed: Abandoning faith tradition rather than their faith. Unfortunately, so much of the tradition has been wrapped up on the faith that when these kids walk away they toss out a lot of the baby with the bathwater. Moral codes... why bother? Biblical study... what difference does that make? Living self-sacrificial lives... who wants that? And so, in many ways, they are abandoning their walk with Christ, not because they don't want to love Jesus, but because what they have learned of Christianity lacks that focus.

Thanks for writing up this review. I appreciated your thoughts and insights.


Nikki said...

Wow! I read this book and came away with so many mixed emotions. There were things I really liked and there were things I really did not like. I guess I'm really good at just tossing the bad. Which may not be such a good thing all the time.

Another thing that my husband and I have talked a lot about (because we've worked with youth for 10 years now) is how does the family integrated model work with all those kids who come w/o Mom and Dad? We have led so many to the Lord and still have relationships with them. Yes, we tried to share Christ with Mom and Dad, but sometimes they don't care or want to listen.

Also, I think the church needs to do a better job of discipling parents, to disciple their teens, and communicate to them that it is not our job (the youth ministers) to evangelize and disciple their kids. How many times have we heard, "I took my kids to church, I don't know why they're rebelling." Well, parents need to realize taking them to church does nothing for their spiritual growth. Pointing their children to Christ and the personal relationship He desires to have with them, makes all the difference.

I know you hate writing negative reviews, but you did an excellent job defending why you believe what you believe.

Anonymous said...

I think it is safe to say that you have misunderstood a lot of the convictions Voddie holds to. The idea that a church of which the focus is on family is going to ignore broken people who are without parents is a stretch of the imagination. If you have a church full of Godly men who are raising their children in the fear of the Lord, I can't imagine a better place for young singles to be. I'd much prefer to see whole families taking in those who are not so fortunate and helping to fill that void, than to see all the "broken" people clustered together with all the "normal" people of the same age group who are not capable of mentoring each other. The bible tells the old men and old women to teach the young men and women for a reason. Until the church starts putting the focus back on the fathers raising their own children in the admonition in the Lord, we are going to continue to have lazy fathers who feel like they have done their job by dropping off their children in youth group.

Matt said...


its interesting you post a review remark yet choose to remain anonymous. A big error in logic is to say that when someone disagrees with someone its only because they don't understand or "hear them." This is a very common tactic used in churches, instead of bringing consensus it just creates a shouting match. Thanks for your in put.

Note your comment "If" you have a church of Godly men... huge if. Read through Kings and Chronicles. The cycle worked both ways... fathers were awesome, sons were scumbags, fathers were scumbags, sons were awesome... there is more to it than genetics...

Katy~The Country Blossom said...

I had a much different reaction when I read this book. I thought it sincere, truthful, humbling and convicting. Voddie seems to be a true man seeking God with everything he can...and to get back to the way things were 100 years or more ago would help us a lot. Youth are leaving the faith by the thousands.

In His Word, God instructs men (and women) how to properly care for their families. Just because many in the Old Testament didn't excel in this doesn't mean we shouldn't try our best to.

Of course, children have personal responsibility in their own lives...however, the only way to accurately have multi-generational faithfulness is to obey God.

Many people put up their defenses against this line of thought because they don't want the responsibility on their shoulders. Voddie isn't just giving his opinion...He is grounded and based in the Scriptures.

To God Alone be the Glory!

Lori said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Katy. I really do love hearing form people, whether they agree with my perspective or not. :)

One of my issues is that Mr. Bachman is sharing his interpretation and opinion of the Scriptures and some will take that as if it *were* Scripture and that there is no room for disagreement. I have read my Bible and I don't believe it is as specific in some of these issues as we'd like to think. Many opinions do come straight from our culture, whether the culture of today or of 100 years ago. Scriptural parenting and "churching" is not to be found by looking back 100 years but by looking at what the Bible *does* say and living that way within our culture. Nowhere does it forbid youth groups or church buildings or age groupings. I have no issue with a church deciding to run with that kind of structure. I do take issue when someone implies or states that this is the only Biblical way to do things and those who do not are wrong or not following the Lord.

It's been too long since I read this book to talk specifics, but I'm discouraged daily by what Christians have become known for and would like to see us return to focusing on the two greatest commandments- to love God and love others. I believe that if we could keep that in sight at all times and really strive for it, everything else would fall into place.


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