A Critique of the Family-Integrated Church Movement
This critique concerns a specific church model which has grown into a movement. The movement’s visible leader is Doug Philips of Vision Forum. This brief critique does not address the various other issues that revolve around Phillips, but simply his structure of family-integrated churches.
Another preliminary point should be made as well. Our church does have Sunday School and various other age-segregated ministries, but we also have the children sit in both morning and afternoon services with their families.
I would personally share the concerns with
The nuclear family is seen as central to life and the life of the church. The primacy of the family, family roles, domestic order subtly undermine the truth that the family of Christ is central and primary for the Christian (Mk. -35; Lk. -28; -27).
Although there is much Old and New Testament instruction to the family, it is the spiritual family that supersedes because of loyalty to Christ.
Under the Old Covenant,
Ask if a single person would feel welcomed as a brother or sister in Christ and a real part of the church family in a
My overall evaluation assessment of this movement is not positive. I am aware that there are some churches in the movement which have identified these weaknesses and have sought to address them. Nevertheless, there are subtle inroads the movement makes through Vision Forum and their homeschooling and family-oriented materials. Although much (not all) of Vision Forum’s material is helpful, it promotes a Victorian vision of patriarchy, rather than a biblical one. Many people are exposed to the materials and confuse biblical principles and ethics with those promoted by VF. They are not one and same.
For those families who use VF materials, I would simply caution them to be on guard against an unbiblical exaltation of the family, an unbiblical view of the church, and the subtle elevation of “family-centered” principles to the place of “the teaching of God’s Word.”