Posted by Andreas Köstenberger
Voddie: Thank you for these additional points of follow-up.
First of all, thank you for articulating your strong commitment to regenerate church membership, with implication for observance of the Lord’s Supper. I accept your assurance that this is not an FIC issue even though Presbyterians will differ from Baptists on these matters. Perhaps a bit more dialogue is needed on this to crystallize the issue even more clearly.
I’m not sure what was unclear about my response regarding the Mohler blog. As I tried to indicate, Dr. Mohler had planned to post a blog but did not end up doing so, and when I realized this I tried to have the reference removed, but the book was already being printed. As already planned, note 17 will be reworded in future printings.
As to Renfro and the Perspectives on Family Ministry volume, I don’t recall the exact details now, but I believe the manuscript only reached me in the final stages of working on the chapter. I am certainly prepared to consider Renfro’s response and note any salient points in any future editions.
With regard to “segregation” language, I am sincerely glad to hear you say that you don’t necessarily disagree with me (though it certainly sounded like you did when you wrote in your post that “[t]he term is appropriate … it simply communicates a truth … the word fits … Segregation is simply the most appropriate term for the church practices in question”). When you compare this issue with my use of the word “extreme” in a single, passing reference and call this a “double standard,” here is the difference (at least the way I see it): I used a given word once (in the context of seeking to differentiate between various models of family integration), while “segregation” language represents a consistent pattern of usage in family-integrated circles. Perhaps the reason for this proliferation is that the term “segregated” serves as the preferred antonym to “integrated.” I think this is just plain unfortunate. But I’m glad to hear that you don’t necessarily disagree with me on this issue. I hope that other family-integrated church advocates will follow suit and avoid “segregation” language in the future. How about this: I’ll change the one instance of “extreme” in my chapter to something like “thoroughgoing,” and you desist from using “segregated” from here on out. Agreed?
I am also glad to hear you say that, “We have never argued that ours is the only way to do church.” That’s very refreshing. I sincerely hope that you are representative of other family-integrated churches in this regard. This is the kind of humility that will make future dialogue a whole lot easier, in my opinion.
Finally, thanks for your gracious tone and apology (accepted!). I’m genuinely grateful for our dialogue, and others have told me they have found it helpful as well. Be assured that I will continue to ponder the concerns you raised as I continue to reflect, and perhaps write, on the subject.
Your brother in Christ,