Thursday, August 14, 2014

Answering Scott Brown's Challenge Concerning Age Segregated Education

Over the years I have consistently heard advocates of the Family Integrated Church Movement (FICM) assert that age segregated education, such as employed in youth ministries or Sunday schools, is not Biblical. As a matter of fact, Scott Brown, a well known FICM advocate and director of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC) has at least twice challenged those who advocate some form of age segregated education that the burden of proof is on them and that they cannot meet it. Here is what he said in a November 25, 2009, NCFIC blog post entitled Burden of Proof for Age Segregation:
It is easy to prove the pattern of age integrated discipleship from Scripture. The entire fabric of scripture is woven with age integrated gatherings of God’s people. But it is almost impossible to prove the principle of age segregation. I have yet to hear a biblical case for age segregation. Why? Because it does not exist in Scripture. Therefore, the burden of proof for age segregation rests upon those who support it.
Then, in an August 30, 2011, NCFIC blog post entitled The Burden of Proof for Age Segregation, Brown restated the challenge and wrote:
The big question is this: "Where is the clear biblical proof for segregating the church by age?" This is where the burden of proof lies. Scripture shows what seems to be an almost exclusively age-integrated world for worship, instruction, prayer, and celebration. After many years, I have never seen a credible exegetical argument FOR age segregation. I have heard dozens of arguments for age segregation that are not based upon the Bible, but none that are grounded upon the Bible.
The readers of the Reformed Baptist Blog will observe that I commented "a year ago" on the second of these two posts with a link to the first in a series of articles on this blog containing the very kind of Biblical argument that Brown says either has not or cannot be made. Here again are the links to all three articles:
Now, although I informed Brown in the aforesaid comment, and although I know he is aware of this blog (since he linked to it at least once here, in footnote 3), I don't think he noticed either the comment or the series as posted here. So, having just sent him a message through his church's website, I am also posting this article to let him know about the series and to invite his rebuttal. He says that he has "heard dozens of arguments for age segregation that are not based upon the Bible, but none that are grounded upon the Bible." However, since I have offered such Biblically grounded arguments here, I think it behooves him either to show that my arguments clearly are not Biblical or to revise his statements.

P.S. I have made a few minor edits of the articles linked above (15 August 2014).

4 comments:

  1. Looking forward to see if Mr. Brown will publicly interact with you. He was aware of my short treatment back in 2011 and chose to ignore it. There was an attempt locally (back in 2012) to interact with a Presbyterian in favor of this movement, but he was not willing to dialogue with us.

    You may find my recent public lecture on the topic helpful as I found more evidence to prove the nascent legalism of his approach: he denigrated the catechetical efforts of Calvin and lists FIC and homeschooling as characteristics of revival (!). Here it is in written form:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/pastoral-evaluation-of-the-family-integrated-church-movement-part-1

    Here's the particular evidence: http://www.examiner.com/article/pastoral-evaluation-of-the-family-integrated-church-movement-part-3
    And here is the audio (not the greatest in a large room):

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    1. Thanks, Shawn. I will check out your work. I have read your book and am planning to post a recommendation for it on the blog. I am anxious to read more of your thinking on this subject. I guess you're covering the Presbyterian side while I cover the Reformed Baptist side, but our work is overlapping nicely.

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  2. You might like to know that our Presbytery required a sister church that signed the NCFIC confession to take their name off until the confession is corrected. The church's pastor has been friends with Brown and Doug for almost a decade:

    http://theaquilareport.com/presbytery-of-the-dakotas-rules-kevin-swansons-church-must-remove-name-from-ncfic-confession/

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    1. Yes, I was encouraged by the way your brothers held him accountable. I actually added a post about it here: http://reformedbaptist.blogspot.com/2014/06/kevin-swansons-church-removed-name-from.html

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