"Vision Forum has got it right! A lot of “modern” churches have got it wrong. God makes it quite clear how things are supposed to operate and when all parties are in submission to Him it is a wonderful thing. We must stand apart from the world. Vision Forum equips us with the resources and encouragement to do that. As hard as it is to be mocked by the world and labeled wrongly, I stand by the hope of hearing, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.' "
Taken by Deb
Family Integrated Church seems to be all the buzz in certain Christian circles these days. How many of our TWW readers know the origin of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches (discussed in yesterday's post), and how long has this organization existed? Here is an excerpt from a blog post written by Scott Brown's colleague, Doug Phillips, who answers these questions.
The Ten Year Anniversary of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches (link)
"September 11, 2011, marked the 10th anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history. But it also marked the ten year anniversary of the founding of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches. The very day the Twin Towers fell, our founding meeting took place in San Antonio, Texas.
I had called on leading pastors and laymen to gather here to discuss the crisis of church and family, and to seek biblical solutions. Many came. They travelled from the East Coast and the West Coast at great personal expense, just to pray and talk and seek the wisdom of the Lord.
In those days it was not uncommon for Christian parents (especially home educators) to receive significant persecution for simply wanting to have their children in the meeting of the church and declining kiddie church. There were charges of disloyalty and extremism against home educators for refusing to place their children in church schools and youth groups. Many church leaders were unable and unwilling to defend the modern youth-centered, family-dividing practices from the Bible, but entirely willing to condemn those who raised biblical concerns about the practices. On the other hand, some families grew so frustrated that they responded in error, sometimes even giving up on the local church altogether. These “lone rangers” wrongly isolated themselves from lawful church authority and became church renegades. Others responded to persecution with divisive and inappropriate attitudes directed at church leadership.
Several years ago Vision Forum Ministries spun off the NCFIC as an independent organization under the leadership of Scott Brown…"
NCFIC, like Vision Forum, has internships for homeschoolers. According to the information for interns, NCFIC became independent just two years ago. Take a look.
"It has been 10 years since the NCFIC was founded on September 11, 2001. For the first eight years we were a part of Vision Forum Ministries, and two years ago the NCFIC was launched as an independent organization. Since then, we have significantly expanded our online presence with articles, audio messages, and videos. We have hosted national conferences on crucial biblical doctrines, traveled across the country encouraging and exhorting family-integrated churches, published multiple books on pressing issues of the day, and completed a groundbreaking film on age-segregated youth ministry."
How long has Scott Brown been the director of NCFIC? Doug's blog confirms he was named in 2004. (link) Brown also serves on the Board for Vision Forum Ministries, along with a couple other men. (link) Interestingly, the same men on the VF Board also serve on the NCFIC Board. (link)
What is REALLY going on here? Why all these close ties between the same few men?
As I mentioned in the Homeschooling Hijackers post, I heard Doug Phillips speak at the North Carolina Home Educators Convention in 1998 — the same year he launched Vision Forum (VF). Not long after that annual homeschooling conference, I began receiving a catalog from a business called Vision Forum. Wait a minute… Is Vision Forum a ministry or a business? The answer is BOTH. Even after I stopped homeschooling, I continued to receive VF catalogs offering books, CDs, DVDs, gender specific toys, etc. I think they finally took me off their mailing list last year after my youngest graduated from high school. Here is the link to Doug Phillips' business: Vision Forum, Inc.
As you can see, I have been familiar with VF (the business) since its inception. Because I stopped homeschooling in 1999, I had no idea what was happening in the world of homeschooling. When Dee and I began researching Christian issues and trends for our blog, Vision Forum came back on the radar screen. I have spent countless hours researching Phillips and his business/ministry, and I shared some of the information in earlier blog posts. Now that I have new information about NCFIC, which was founded by Vision Forum, I am beginning to speculate about what is really going on here.
NCFIC claims to be a network of 800 Family Integrated Churches. As Cyndi L (a VF proponent) confirmed: Vision Forum equips us with the resources and encouragement to do that." My guess is that Cyndi represents the sentiments of many homeschooling families in these churches affiliated with NCFIC. All of these families need resources in order to educate their children the RIGHT WAY. After all, so many of these homeschooling families idolize Doug Phillips and Scott Brown and look to them as spiritual leaders.
What if these 800 churches in the NCFIC network also function as profit centers for the Vision Forum business? Cha ching!!! That, dear readers, is what I believe to be the BOTTOM LINE.
Perhaps NCFIC was spun off Vision Forum to give the perception that it is independent of Phillips' business and ministry. As the two boards demonstrate, the same people are in charge, so there is no true independence. These two organizations are intentionally intertwined.
I would imagine that there is considerable peer pressure among the NCFIC homeschooling families to demonstrate loyalty to Vision Forum. Maybe the girls all read the same Elsie Dinsmore books and play with the same VF dolls, while the boys all play with the same patriarchal paraphernalia. Please be sure to check out the catalogs to see what I mean.
If all these VF items are a little pricey (which they are), homeschooling families can become Affiliates and make extra cash by encouraging others to buy VF products. One of the frequently asked questions is: What is my commission percentage? Here is the answer:
"When you first establish your affiliate account, you will earn an 8% commission on all your affiliate sales. Once your commission history totals $1,500 received, you will begin earning a 10% commission on all your affiliate sales. At $3,000 commission received, your commission rate will jump to 12% on all your affiliate sales, and once you reach $4,500 commission received, your per-sale affiliate commission will be locked in at 13%. The more sales you generate, the greater percentage return you earn!"
What is wrong with this picture? I wonder who the VF affiliates are in the 800 NCFIC churches?
In all honesty, I wouldn't have a problem with any of this if Doug Phillips, Scott Brown, and their ilk just kept to themselves and stopped trying to stir up strife in the larger body of Christ. Unfortunately, that's not how they operate. They profess to have all the right answers and want to teach the rest of us, which they attempted to do in a new video release called "Divided". I have watched this video, and controversial doesn't even begin to describe it. Now I better understand Cyndi's words, as quoted above: "Vision Forum has got it right! A lot of “modern” churches have got it wrong."
Because NCFIC (part of Vision Forum until two years ago) was "disinvited" from the D6 Conference over its controversial video "Divided", many more people are going to be scrutinizing these organizations. Stay tuned because next week we will take a closer look at "Divided", which we believe is appropriately named because VF and NCFIC are the ones DIVIDING the body of Christ, not those whom they criticize in the video.
Lydia's Corner: 1 Chronicles 9:1-10:14 Acts 27:21-44 Psalm 8:1-9 Proverbs 18:23-24