Monday, August 8, 2011

The Sufficiency of Scripture and Age Segregation

by Tony Konvalin

There has been a fair amount of reaction to the movie put out by the NCFIC called Divided.  You can watch the movie free online at the Divided website for around one more month.  From my experience the reaction has either been positive in that people have seen the issue dealt with in the movie in their church or in churches they have been in as well as people coming to see the lack of support in scripture for age segregation.  The other reaction has been that of anger and a rejection of the premise put forth in the movie.  As with many things the negative reactions seem to get the most notice. 

The truth is I fully understand the negative reaction.  If one has been entrenched in a model such as age segregation for so long and then for someone to question the practice and put forth that it is unbiblical will often engender an adverse reaction.  In my seminary training age segregation was taken as a given and in all truthfulness was accepted because of worldly psychological theories rather than any biblical commands.  If there was a biblical conviction it was that we needed to share the gospel and so we need to do what ever was necessary to do and since psychological theory said we learn best being in our own age group that is the model that was accepted.  I truly believe that the best intentions were put forth but as has been said before; the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  

Good intentions are not what we are held accountable to but scripture is.  We need to seek out in all we do to be true to scripture. 2 Tim 3:16-17 says “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”  Is it tough to give up the practices that have been so drummed into us over the many years of use, yes.  But that is exactly what we need to do.  We need to return to not only proclaim the sufficiency of scripture but to actually seek to live out that claim.  To do this one needs to truly believe that scripture is sufficient for all of life, and let me assure you that the word of God, all of it, is just that “SUFFICIENT.”

There have been some that have tried to argue that the Hebrew children were segregated for teaching or that the Puritans separated out their children for training.  Without dealing with the validity of each of these statements the issue is not what others have done, as helpful as that may or may not be, but what scripture says.  The actions of those before us can help inform us but our actions need to be directed and driven by the word of God.  When we face God for our actions we will not be able to use the actions of others as an excuse when we have the word of God so available.  Again, this is not to minimize those that have gone before us but often we not only learn from their successes but also from their failures.  Man is fallible and prone to error but God is not and neither is His word and that is why we are called to follow God and not man.  

At the end of the day the issue at hand is the sufficiency of Scripture and age segregation is just one of the results of not holding to Scripture as sufficient for all areas of life.  One needs to ask; if the professing church gives up the sufficiency of scripture in the area that the movie Divided touches on what is next.  The Gospel is grounded in an all-sufficient scripture not a somewhat sufficient scripture.  The Gospel is grounded in the word of God that was given to His people so that they could worship Him in all they do and how we disciple youth is one area we are not glorifying God as we should because by and large the professing church is telling God we know better.  So let us return to Scripture for all we do including how we disciple.

The Divided site has a number of FAQ to help deal with questions about the movie.  Also, here are some other reviews of the movie:
  1. When Man's Traditions Collide with God's Law - Corban and Sunday Schools – Kevin Swanson
  2. Response to Tim Challies Review of Divided Movie – Fred Wolfe
  3. A Review of "Divided: the Movie" – Buddy Hanson
  4. Tim Challies’ Harsh Review of – Scott Brown (this also includes a link to Tim Challies review of Divided)

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