Not long ago, I watched one of my first episodes of "19 Kids and Counting" and I have to say, I'm not a fan. The Duggars have a lot of good things going on in their lives that I support. I think Christians should be encouraged to marry young. I think Christian couples should have a mess of kids (as many as they can afford and disciple). And I think Americans, in general, should be creative and frugal. What I don't dig is home-churching. Churches often need to start in homes (we did) but the particular type of home-churching that is basically your family and maybe a few others is actually very destructive to the church and to Christians because:
- Dad, who is not submitted to any higher authorities is the highest authority. This creates the unique, individualistic American attitude that causes Christians to boogie out of church as soon as any conflict arises or accountability comes into play. "We don't need no stinking pastors!"
- The church is a completely earthbound fleshly structure. The home-church is made up of people in one particular aspect of one relationship, family. This relationship will lose it's meaning in the age to come as the fleshly family is totally subsumed by the relationship of The Body of Christ (Mt. 22:30). Church is supposed to be a training ground for loosening our fleshly familial bonds into something greater.
- Sacraments are mediated by blood. Nearly the entire church in "19 Kids and Counting" are blood relatives. The one administering sacraments (if they even do) is their real estate agent father (I don't believe he has any ordination). What does this say about the mystery and power of the church?
- Dad is the theological authority. This isn't an isolated problem. Lots of ordained ministers these days are pretty poor theological leaders, but dad? I deal with young people every day who have headed off to college or the workplace and are thrown into oblivion by new and contrary theological ideas. Many fall into apostasy. How much of a disadvantage are you at when your whole ecclesiastical world is your siblings and your real estate agent father sitting in your living room?
I understand part of all this is practical; the Duggars are celebrities and need privacy. But when you live near a major city and can't and won't fellowship with other Christians - all those messy, sinful people IN the church, what are you saying about grace?