Thursday, May 19, 2011

Avoiding "a Messianic View of the Christian Family"

Lately Sam Waldron has been writing a series of blog posts addressing the Family-Integrated Church Movement (FICM). I highly recommend the whole series (which is still in progress), but today I want to highlight two of the articles in particular, which constitute parts 7 and 8 of the series thus far:

Family-Integrated Church 7: Are We Guilty of a Messianic View of the Christian Family?

Family-Integrated Church 8: Are We Guilty of a Messianic View of the Christian Family? (Continued)

In these articles Dr. Waldron warns that we can wrongly begin to think that the focus of the Gospel is on the Christian family rather than Christ. I think we should pay heed to his heartfelt admonition when he writes:
What do I mean? I mean that the Bible is first of all about the gospel of Christ. There is one Messiah, and he alone is the hope of the world. He alone is the hope of our children. Our Christian families are not the hope of the world. The hope of the world in any sense that we may speak of an earthly institution is the body of Christ, the church, and not the Christian family. It was to the church and not the family that Christ said in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Our light should shine partly in our Christian families, but the light is mainly Christ in the church seen in its good works.

Let me say it clearly. The message of the Bible is Christ, and it is really, really easy to gradually in our minds and hearts to make our focus something else—like the Christian family. The hope of the world is the gospel of Christ, and it is really, really easy to put our hope in something else. It is especially easy to put our hope in something good like the Bible’s general promises of temporal welfare for moral living, like the Bible’s general promises to nations which have moral civil laws, and like the Bible’s real commands and promises about Christian living in the home.

Why am I concerned? Here is why. I believe that my views on this subject were skewed and distorted for some years. And I believe that all of us must be careful not to distort the message of the Bible into something that focuses on the Christian family rather than on Christ Himself. We are not the hope of the world. We are earthen vessels. The treasure is Christ Himself.
If you have been interested in the discussion concerning the FICM, then I heartily recommend Dr. Waldron's fair, loving, and transparent critique. I look forward to the rest of the series, and I think you will too.

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