Compartmentalization Revisited

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 23, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Two years ago, I wrote on how we have a compartmentalized life. I would recommend reading that post before continuing on here. Over the past few months, one of the elders at my church and I have been feeding off each other as we are wrestling with different issues. He has been wrestling with God over what he needs to do in his family life to prevent little things from going downhill, even asking God, “What seeds am I planting that I will not like when they bear fruit?” God has been doing an amazing work in him, and it’s been stirring me up as well. That is what triggered me to write my current blog posts.

As mentioned last week, the American home has been a center of consumption in the last 100-150 years, mostly triggered by the Industrial Revolution. The home today is for eating, sleeping, consuming, and little else. With few exceptions, I think only farmers maintain the old lifestyle, where all the kids were seen as assets and were productive to the family job. Today, they are viewed as liabilities, and they produce suffering for those who want to consume and be entertained. These are significant issues that we have to face, and this has produced another side effect: the compartmentalization of the family, the church, and the areas of life.

The Industrial Revolution brought something to the home that had never been done before other than with military service: taken the father away from the home. The typical “work dad” in the family leave home early, works for a corporation, and comes home in the evening. His job is completely irrelevant to the family. The typical mom, because dad’s job is independent of the home, now only has housekeeping to do and gets bored. Due to rising costs, mom also has to work (which was catalyzed by World War II). Kids are now bored because mom and dad are working and are now sent to school. Public schools were birthed in this industry, and for several decades now, we have “compulsory” education – children MUST be in school or they are sent to court (yes, that is a real thing).

While much can be said about the effects this has, one key thing to point out is that dad, mom, and kids each have completely separate lives and only spend time with each other for a few hours each day and on weekends/holidays. In fact, parents have to be encouraged to spend “quality time” with their kids. They are advised to take from the few hours you have to make quality time. That is not what used to be. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, parents had “quality time” with their kids every day, because everything they did revolved around the home from their farming, blacksmithing, tailoring, etc.

But as goes the home, so goes the church. Regarding elders, Paul told Timothy that if a man cannot rule his own household, how can he rule the church? Paul was not talking about totalitarian dictatorship nor was he talking about having completely submissive children. He was talking about how a man manages the home. Was he leading the family appropriately? That letter was written in a context when the whole family was truly a unit, and the wife and children were all part of what dad was doing. If dad led a dysfunctional home, how could he functionally lead the church?

What is going on in the church today? Total segregation. Adult service, children’s ministries, youth ministries, woman’s studies, black studies, white studies, division, division, division. While youth group was formed as an answer to the bored children who were segregated from their families due to jobs, it has since become an institutionalized part of the church and has actually usurped the parents’ role and job. There are pastors who will tear children away from their parents to take them to Sunday School when parents wanted their kids with them for the main service. There are even pastors who didn’t know their own kids were not going to church because they were part of the youth ministry and went to separate services and different buildings. See Voddie Baucham’s Q&A on youth ministry for more details. What is going on? Compartmentalization of the home led to compartmentalization of the church, and the enemy is having a heyday with it. Parents no longer know who their own kids are because they are rarely with them.

Church aspects themselves are also compartmentalized. How often have you heard the claim that the “worship” was just the singing part of a service? This is not so. The reading of Scripture, the preaching, the singing, the testimony – all of it (when done appropriately) is worship. My church has a “beadle,” which in our case is someone who presents the Bible to the pulpit (a job I often do). It was done with John Calvin’s churches too, which I didn’t know until just recently, so it has history. It is meant to showcase that the Bible is not just some book but the holy Word of God. Even that practice can become mundane and trivialized. But that is worship too; it is not worship of a book but worship of its Author. Yet we have compartmentalized that also.

The worst part of it, though, is the compartmentalization of our faith and the rest of life. It is so strong that people believe literal contradictions at the same time. I know a guy who is an “Old Earth Creationist.” He professes to believe in a literal Adam and whom was the originator of sin and that all death to mankind came through Adam. He proclaims animal death prior to sin because “the Bible is silent on it,” but he believes human death was only after Adam. I asked him how he handles his dating methods that put human fossils and human DNA long before Adam lived, and he avoids this like the plague. He thinks he’s escaped it with “I don’t know.” At that point, I cite the very theologians he cites as defense for his Old Earth position who adamantly stand on the doctrine of Adam’s original sin as being fundamental to the Gospel and that they reject any teaching that violates that doctrine. His compartmentalization is so strong that he does not see the inconsistency in his beliefs.

We need to return to holistic faith again, where our faith is holistic and central to every aspect of our lives. We let science separate our doctrine from the real world, and with that line of thinking came separation of the family and separation of the church. This is why we cannot mess with origins or any other part of the Bible. We cannot have the Bible in one category and academia in another. Abner Chao wrote a masterpiece article on getting theology back in its rightful position as the Queen of the Sciences. I have been preaching that message for years, and it is great to hear others give the same message. We need God to reunite our families, reunite our churches, and reunite our thinking/academia and all under one banner: the banner of Jesus Christ. That means kicking out anything that would usurp and take a place that it is not supposed to have. Satan is a master of division, but Jesus’ prayer was that we would be united. Never at the expense of truth, but under truth.

Next week, I’ll take a closer look at science and its proper place, based on an intriguing statement made by an elder at my church.

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