The CREC & It’s Ecclesio-olatry

The CREC crowd is out there insisting that when one is converted they are not only converted from death unto life but they are also converted from their old family to a new family discovered as and in the Church. Allow me to contend this is yet another example of grace destroying nature that is so ubiquitous in the CREC ecclesiolatry model that is owned by the CREC.

Below we find a Whitman’s sampler of quotes sustaining the claim above;

“I believe that familism is a pervasive error in American Christianity….In heaven, however, the family is not the nuclear, biological family. Jesus said that the natural family, not the state, would be the greatest enemy of His kingdom. The new family is the church. The parents are not the biological parents, but the elders of the church, who act for Christ. The natural, biological family is dead in Adam, and its children are born dead.”

James B. Jordan
(Biblical Horizons » No. 21: A Letter on Paedocommunion)

“Christian universalism takes concrete political form in a global communion of saints. It’s an ecclesial universalism. The bonds that connect Christians across national boundaries are deeper and stronger than bonds of blood or culture.”

– Peter Leithart
First Things — August 2022
Against National Conservatism

“Men and women are called upon to be separated from their natural identities as members of race and class and be given a new Spiritual identity by being added to the body of Christ in baptism.”

Mark Horne

“The Church is God’s greatest masterpiece. It is not a man-made institution; it is the creation of God the Father, Son and Spirit….The Church is made new by the Pentecostal fire of Acts 2. She is the undoing of Babel. Whereas in Babel God separated the families of the earth, in the Church Christ brings the nations of the earth together to form one holy and undivided family.”

The Church-Friendly Family
Randy Booth and Rich Lusk XVI
(This is from Uri Brito’s intro)

“We must affirm the supremacy of the Church among all the spheres and institutions of human life by placing ourselves within the life and mission of the Church.”

The Church-Friendly Family
Randy Booth and Rich Lusk XVII
(This is from Uri Brito’s intro)

“He even initially separates us from our family so that new families can emerge…The Church is an outpost of the kingdom of God. From there we are sent back to our families to establish outposts of the Church.”

Randy Booth and Rich Lusk
The Church-Friendly Family — p. 2

“We must come to see the Church as the primary family and our individual families as outposts of the Church…The Church, then, is the primary institution of society.”

Randy Booth and Rich Lusk
–The Church-Friendly Family — p. 20

“The Church is not an institution ordained to assist the family so that it can be a blessing to the world rather than a curse. The same is true for the State. The Church holds the place of primacy–always. If it is the Body of Christ, then there’s no other place for it.”

Randy Booth and Rich Lusk
The Church-Friendly Family — p. 21

First, we want to note that all of the above has a very Roman Catholic feel about it. Remember, Rome always insisted that were any Institution to have legitimacy it had to, in some fashion, come into the Church and so be under its umbrella of legitimacy. This kind of hegemony won its spurs when Henry IV went to Canossa to submit to Pope Gregory VII. There the Church had gained its primacy over the state and by extension over all things. The CREC looks to be demanding that the modern family go to Canossa to gain legitimacy.

Second, the admonition that we find in I Timothy 5:4f cuts against this ecclesiolatry model that is being pushed by acolytes in the CREC;

4 … But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.

Note the centrality of the family in its proper role. The inspired Apostle is telling Timothy and the Church that it is the family’s natural role to be the first to provide for their own elderly over and above the Church.

Then there is the account in Acts 6 which demonstrates, just as I Timothy 5 demonstrates how much natural relations, not only character qualities, impacts the life of the Church and not the reverse of that which is being pushed by the ecclesiolaters in the CREC. Notice in Acts 6 that in the midst of conflict between ethnic lines (The matter of provision for Hebrews Jewish widows vs. the provision of Grecian Jewish widows in the Church) the Church chooses Hellenistic Deacons to address the needs of their Grecian widowed women-folk who were being overlooked (Acts 6:1, 5). This is communicating that family realities are not necessarily superseded once one is converted and comes into the Church.

Further the fact that the realities of nature ordained by God continue to have reality and impact in the Church is seen by the fact that women are not allowed to hold office in the Church (cf. 1 Cor. 14:34–35; 1 Tim. 2:12). and that quite without any denial that women have all the spiritual benefits of being united to Christ.

Indeed the centrality of the family as in its own nature sphere is not even eclipsed in the New Jerusalem where in the book of Revelation we see that the New Jerusalem is populated by the nations in their nations (Rev. 20-21). Even the resurrected and now glorified saints will not lose their familial or community identities that were characteristic of them in the fallen world (cf. Rev. 7:9). The nations as nations come walk in the new Jerusalem by the glory of God’s presence and light.

So, we see the error that the ecclesiolaters in the CREC are making in their hyper-prioritizing of the church. One is tempted to say that they are trying to immanentize the eschaton by pulling heaven down to earth but that is not even accurate as we see above since even in the eschaton the both family and church have an existence.

I am not familial-centric though that is what I’ll be accused of, but neither am I ecclesiocentric or an ecclesiolater. I believe that the Church and the Family are both ordained of God to work in a harmony of interest to extend the crown rights of Jesus Christ into every area of life. I believe the church and the family are the left leg and the right leg of walking the Christian life. Both are necessary and we are left crippled without both legs being the same length.


Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

One thought on “The CREC & It’s Ecclesio-olatry”

  1. I would add that this crypto-Romanist view of Family/Church is contrary to the Puritans, with one Jonathan Mitchell (an ancestor of mine by chance) writing

    “The family is the root from whence church and commonwealth spring”

    But I doubt you’ll find that in those Reformation Heritage reprints.

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