A little over a month ago I posted a blog article entitled Answering Scott Brown’s Challenge Concerning Age Segregated Education. In that article I challenged Scott Brown, the director of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC) and a major advocate of the Family Integrated Church Movement (FICM), either to show that my arguments for age segregated instruction in the churches clearly are not Biblical or to revise his statements asserting that such a Biblical case has not or could not be made. As the blog’s readers no doubt know, over a year ago I had written a three part series offering a Biblical defense of age segregated instruction in the churches and, as I noted in the aforementioned article, I had let Brown know about my own series in a comment on his blog. Then, when I posted last month’s article, I even sent him an email message via his church’s website, to which I have received no response. In addition, on August 23 I posted the following message on the NCFIC Facebook page:
Scott Brown has publicly asserted that he has never seen a Biblical case for the use of age segregated instruction in the churches, but I wrote a series of blog articles over a year ago presenting such a case. I have invited Scott Brown to respond here: http://reformedbaptist.blogspot.com/2014/08/answering-scott-browns-challenge.html [This note is visible if you scroll down the page and look on the left-hand side in the “Posts to Page” section. By the way, the only “Like” it received was from my wife.]
I also received no response to this Facebook posting. So, now I am writing a second blog article to call upon Scott Brown to defend his arguments. As I see it, if he is going to publicly say things like, “I have yet to hear a biblical case for age segregation. Why? Because it does not exist in Scripture” (here), or things like, “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” (here), then it behooves him to back it up when challenged. This is especially so since his organization currently has this statement in Article XI of its Biblical Confession For Uniting Church And Family:
We affirm that there is no scriptural pattern for comprehensive age segregated discipleship, and that age segregated practices are based on unbiblical, evolutionary and secular thinking which have invaded the church ….
These are the kinds of accusations that Scott Brown and other FICM advocates have leveled at the rest of us for years — even those of us in Reformed Baptist circles — simply because we may have age segregated Sunday school classes in our churches. They have essentially accused us all of having given up faithfulness to Scripture in favor of “evolutionary and secular thinking.” So, as I see it, since such extreme and unfair accusations regarding age segregated education are present in the foundational document of Brown’s organization, and since he has apparently based such accusations upon the assumption that there is no Biblical case to be made for such a practice, he has an obligation to respond to someone who has publicly challenged his assertions. Yet, unless I have missed it while doing numerous internet searches, no such response has been made. Will he respond? Will anyone of note in this movement respond? I guess we will have to wait and see. In the meantime, I guess I will also have to get used to the sound of crickets chirping.
6 thoughts on “Will Scott Brown Answer My Challenge?”
If you hear from him, we (The Confessing Baptist) wouldn't mind hosting a friendly dialog between you two. If you both think it would be worth it.
Well, I'm not holding my breath. Perhaps Brown thinks that, since they are currently working on a revision of their “Biblical Confession For Uniting Church And Family,” the issues I have raised will be sufficiently responded to there. If so, then a note saying so should suffice for the time being. On August 28, he posted this update regarding the Confession: “One of the most significant things we have been engaged in recently is the upgrading of the NCFIC confession. We are re-drafting it with significant improvements. This new version will be very important in defining, what has been and still is, one of the truly important considerations for the church in the 21st century as well as charting the course forward through a better document. I have engaged a dozen men – pastors and theologians – who are working on the new version. Some of these men are not on exactly the same page as we are, but have graciously agreed to take a careful look at it and help us improve the language.” It is posted on the NCFIC blog here: https://ncfic.org/blog/posts/ncfic_ministry_update
One of his old best buddies in business/ministry didn't even allow comments on his blog, and any questions sent to him were handled by those lower down the ladder. These men are unapproachable and above rebuke. Don't you know that by now? 🙁
Hi Pator Keith! Thank you for your articles they were informative and helpful. I agree with your position on SS, but I would like to get your position on other age – segregated classes such as children's church and weekly activities where the families are not together. This is where I personally start to have a hard time with the age-segregation because I feel the world continually divides the family and then it seems like in most churches when the family comes to church they get divided again. As for children's church I don't believe that is church as the children are separated from the church and then they have a hard time being integrated into the church as They grow older because they have never been a part of the actual church. They have been segregated. Again, I don't have this opinion in regards to children attending a SS class but when you combine SS, children's church and another weekly activity I see that as a division and would love to get yor Biblical opinion. Thank you for your time!
Well, as I pointed out in Part 1 of the series, “there is yet another way in which we can discern whether or not a ministry practice is Biblical, for we can look to see if a practice has a Biblical precedent. One example of such a precedent would be the practice of worshiping on Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2). Another example of such a precedent would be the inclusion of children in the worship gatherings of the church. It would appear obvious, for instance, that the apostle Paul assumed that children would be present with their parents at church gatherings when he included instructions for them in at least two of his epistles (Eph. 6:1-3; Col. 3:20), epistles which he expected to be publicly read when the church gathered for worship (Col. 4:16).” Given this precedent, and in keeping with some of the same concerns you have mentioned, we at Immanuel Baptist Church — where I currently serve as the primary teaching elder — do not have a children's church time. We keep our children in the worship service with their parents and the church body. The same is true for our Sunday evening teaching time. We do offer a nursery for infants and toddlers should their parents opt to use it, but we leave that decision entirely up to the parents, many of whom regularly bring their infants and toddlers into these gatherings.
As for mid-week meetings, we offer a Children Desiring God program and a Youth Group on Wednesday evening roughly coinciding with a typical school year. However, involvement in these programs is also entirely up to the parents, of course, whose judgment concerning the necessity or value of such time and whose judgment concerning the needed time to be with family in a given week we trust as best. After all, balancing such priorities has to be done on a case by case basis anyway.
As you can see, we seek to be Biblically balanced in what we do, and we offer these means of additional help in teaching and discipling children without putting pressure on parents to involve their children in ways which they might deem detrimental to their time together as a family or which might violate their consciences. In fact, for those parents who prefer not to involve their children in Sunday school either, we allow them to bring them into the adult Sunday school class with them if they desire.
So, for example, if someone such as yourself should be involved at Immanuel, you would find it easy to follow your own conscience as to whether or not you would want to involve your children in any of our age segregated ministries. We think this is the best way to go, since we believe that Scripture allows freedom in the matter. I hope this answers your questions.
Yes, it does thank you so much for your time and explanations…I really appreciate it! Particularly the portion regarding children's church, it has been most helpful. Blessings!