Cloud’s Critique of Family Integrated Churches (which idolize the family)
This may not be the exact page I had in mind, but if you look around his site, you can find one or more pages that are critical of family idolatry.
I think Cloud is a IFB and KJVO. Please be aware that I do not fully agree with IFB, and I certainly do reject KJVO (google “KJVO” if you ain’t never heard of it).
- I am writing about the Integrated Church Movement and Vision Forum in one report, because they are so closely tied together. While the Integrated Church Movement is larger than Vision Forum, Vision Forum is probably the most influential part of it.
The Integrated Church Movement (ICM), also called the Family Integrated Church, is defined as follows:
“The family-integrated model jettisons all age-graded ministries. Those who adhere to this model view each family unit (single or married, with or without children) as one ‘block’ that comprises the local church. That is, they view the church as a family of families. They view the church’s purpose as equipping the parents, primarily the fathers, to evangelize and disciple their children” (Terry Delany, “Three Perspectives on Family Ministry,” March 18, 2009).
It is not an organization but a philosophy, and there are many varieties of Family Integrated churches.
But there are also some serious dangers represented by the Integrated Church movement.
3. The Integrated Church neglects the Great Commission.
If you look through Integrated Church literature and web sites, there is little emphasis on the Great Commission and the preaching the gospel to the ends of the earth. I am not saying there is nothing at all, but there is far more emphasis on the family and other things. Their conferences are not missions conferences or evangelism conferences but family and dominionist conferences. Preaching the gospel to the ends of the earth is not even mentioned in Vision Forum’s mission statement.
…The family is not an end in itself. The objective of both family and church should be the fulfillment of the Lord’s Great Commission, which He emphasized greatly after He rose from the dead and before He ascended to Heaven.
The book of Acts models the working out of the Great Commission rather than the Family Integrated Church model. Though we believe in a strong emphasis on godly families, this should not be an end in itself. Paul, a single man who could not model the strong family emphasis, preached the gospel and started churches. Paul took the young Timothy away from his family and discipled him apart from his father and mother and grandmother, and there is no evidence that Timothy ever married.
4. The Integrated Church has gone beyond the Bible in making rules about family and church.
Another example of the legalism of the Integrated Church movement is its teaching that daughters must remain under the father’s roof until marriage. The following is a review of a Vision Forum book and DVD by a fundamentalist home schooling mother that investigated their materials:
- “The two items I have reviewed are the book ‘So Much More,’ a book to daughters about how to have ‘vision’ for the kingdom of God. And the DVD ‘The Return of the Daughters,’ a documentary on the whole idea of daughters staying under their father’s roof until marriage. On the surface these items seemed to be very God-honoring. Yet, I had an unsettled feeling that something just wasn’t quite right. On the DVD, it seemed very touching to want to ‘protect’ your daughters in the way they suggest. What Christian father wouldn’t want to do the best for his daughter? Being a home school father, my husband wanted to have an open heart to what the Lord may be leading him to in the future. We spent all these years training her to be a keeper at home and as she becomes an adult, we do not want to just ‘throw her to the wolves.’ This is exactly what the DVD suggests you are doing if you don’t keep your daughter at home until marriage. … The book had much material that seemed on the surface to be great. It mentioned modest dress, Christian femininity, etc. Yet, it warned daughters against an independent spirit and self-sufficiency to the point of calling working for anyone other than your dad, selfish and Marxist. It also mentioned if daughters did not have families that agreed with this vision, they should find a family that would adopt them into their families so they could fulfill this role. The whole idea was the family should not be split up at church and if you wanted to be a visionary daughter you better find a family in one of their Integrated churches so you could be a part. It was such nonsense as I have led ‘bus kids’ to Christ in junior church and have wondered how they would have fit in at church without any families to adopt them. There were so many other glaring flaws, often times they used Scripture quotes that were intended to be commands for our relationship to Christ, and they twisted it to be for our relationship to earthly fathers.”
To teach that young women cannot leave their father’s roof unless they are married is going far beyond Scripture and putting man-made yokes on God’s people.
There is the heresy of Calvinistic sovereign election. Vision Forum is founded upon and permeated with Reformed Calvinistic theology. The statement of faith includes the following: “All who were chosen in Christ from eternity past are born again by the Holy Spirit, respond from their new hearts with repentance and faith in Jesus, are justified on the basis of the shed blood of Christ, become children of God, and are indwelt, sanctified, and sealed by the Holy Spirit until they are glorified at Christ’s return.” Vision Forum books include the following: John Calvin: Man of the Millennium, The Story of the English Puritans, The World’s Greatest Reformation History Library, The Geneva Bible Calvin Legacy Edition, Children’s Stories of the Reformation, Stories of the Covenanters in Scotland, Reformation Heroes, Famous Women of the Reformed Church, Puritan Fathers Classics Library, Gill’s Body of Doctrinal Divinity (hyper, hyper Calvinism). They even sell a statue of John Calvin.