People commonly take us to task for being inconsistent. You can see it documented with Frank Pastore on KKLA radio in Southern California, with several comments on the Divided the movie website comment section, and with Walt Mueller, of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding.
Critics say that the NCFIC argues that youth ministry does not exist in the Bible, and, therefore, that it should not exist in modern church life. They then contend that this argument is fallacious because many things are not “in the Bible” – air conditioning, computers, cars, even film (which is the media used for Divided the movie).
Consider three things:
First, the primary argument of the NCFIC and the film Divided is not that youth ministry does not exist in the Bible. While we do observe in the film that the modern form of systematic, age-segregated youth ministry has neither precept nor example to support it in either the Old Testament or the New Testament, we do not rest our argument on this fact alone. What is more important – and this is the main point we want to make – is that all the positive commands and examples in Scripture call for the practice of age-integrated worship and discipleship in the church and the responsibility of parents to disciple their own children.
Deuteronomy 4:2 commands us not to add to or take away from the teaching and commands of Scripture in this regard. To engage the church in systematic age-segregated youth ministry adds to God’s instructions on how youth are to be taught and trained, and it takes away from God’s commands to parents to teach their own children (Deut. 4:9; 6:7).
Second, our subject is that which is plainly and irrefutably taught in Scripture regarding how youth are to be educated. The Bible is clear about this matter, and it gives the full range of that teaching including who, where, why, what, and when. It is the Bible that tells us what is central. When you split youth up according to age, you are doing something that is contrary to the explicit, revealed commands and patterns of Scripture.
The film Divided is focused on the responsibility of the church and the family to understand and follow the biblically-mandated methods of discipleship. To claim that we can set aside these scriptural methods and employ our own methods because we do things and use means not mandated in Scripture in other areas of church life is a generic fallacy.
Third, methods and means of discipleship are in a different class than microphones and computers. Discipleship methods are defined and commanded in Scripture and are matters of Law (i.e., God’s revealed will that we are to obey), while things like microphones, computers, and film are matters of technology (i.e., practical tools we can use as means to carry out the Law of God). In regard to technology and other practical aspects of church life (where we meet, the length of our meetings, type of seats we use, etc.), these are matters of liberty that are under the biblical guidelines for the practice of liberty. This means that Scripture must be consulted to see if they contradict anything that Scripture maintains.
To summarize: First, our argument is not from silence. Second, our argument is focused on what is clearly stated in Scripture. Third, air conditioners and microphones are not in the same classification as methods of discipleship.