Disturbing Trends, Doctrine as Idol, J.D. Hall

Indoctrinating Your Children with Doctrine

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Someone sent me a link to this book for children.  The book was just recently published – just over a month ago – April 2013.


Here is the book description from Amazon:

Come along on a journey with Mitchell, as he recalls his nightmare for his mother. Mitchell was in a land of darkness and gloom, when due to no cooperation of his own, a Knight in shining armor saved him and all the other captives He intended to save. “Help! Arminians are Giving Me Nightmares Again!” is a children’s allegory designed to teach your kids the Doctrines of Grace through the use of creative story-telling.

So check this out.  Here’s this book for children advertised on Amazon, right?  A book written specifically for children, mind you.   Go read the one negative review and all of the comments following.  We’ve got a doctrinal war going on, people.  A doctrinal war going on in the review section of a children’s storybook.

Here is that one negative review (as of June 1, 2013 – because you can be sure more will be coming):

I apologize. The decription is enough to give me the heebee-jeebees. Didn’t buy or read the book; don’t intend to. Since only a very few are chosen for salvation and many, many will go to eternal damnation (along with all and every infant), the chances of my grandchildren being those for whom God intended to save is awfully slim. Don’t want to give them Calvinistic nightmares. (Source)

As of right now, there are three pages of bantering back and forth Calvinism vs Arminianism.  Here are a couple of more comments following the negative review (man, see what happens when you leave a negative review somewhere – I sure hope this guy doesn’t get sued).

Actually, the fear that God won’t choose someone because they are too bad dovetails with the classic Arminian doctrine of conditional election, whereas unconditional election isn’t based on how good or bad the sinner is. So thanks for shooting yourself in the foot. Conditional election would give a kid nightmares. (Source)

And here’s a response to the above comment:

Keystone, your comment shows that you do not know Arminian doctrine rightly.

That’s the point of “unconditional election”. It has nothing to do with merit or demerit. Calvinism teaches man is not worthy of salvation, and that is right. However, it also essentially teaches that others are damned without any reference too their deserving it (although, that is denied; nevertheless, it is the logical conclusion).

Conditonal election would not give nightmares for the Arminian can truthfully tell the child God loves him and will save him; all he need do is trust Christ.

If the Calvinist were honest, he would need to tell the child that he might be of the elect or you might be damned to hell forever and there is nothing you can do about it. While the child cries that God can’t be like that, in good Calvinist fashion, you can tell him, “Who are you, child, to answer back to God.”

If I were 7 years old and heard Calvinistic doctrine, I’d have stinking nightmares…along with wetting my pj’s! (Source)

You all have got the picture that these are review comments on a CHILDREN’S BOOK, right? Let me rephrase it, these are reviews for a book that was written for us to read to our cute little munchkins/offspring/heritage/blessings/arrows/passel/whatever-you-want-to-call-your-kids.

We all know that Christianity has basic tenets:  Christ’s death and resurrection, virgin birth, Christ is Son of God, saved by grace through faith, etc.  Silly me – I thought I just needed to know those kinds of basics to be a Christian.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I had even heard of the names “Calvinism” and “Arminism.”  It confused me.  It still confuses me.

We’ve talked about the idolatry of doctrine before.  I believe the idolatry of doctrine can create an environment in which abuse is allowed to continue in churches.  The obsessive focus on doctrine can become a distraction to the message of Christ and what it really means to live out the life Christ intended:  loving God and loving others.

I have a problem with training children this stuff at such a young age.  What is the purpose? To raise up little like-minded warriors to defend your brand of Christianity?  Yea, I know, train up a child in the way he should go passage in Deuteronomy – – and that’s based on your interpretation of scripture because we all know your interpretation is the right interpretation and it doesn’t matter whether this stuff has been argued and debated for centuries, you’ve got it all figured out.  Uh-huh, I’m tracking with you.  I bought into this stuff in the Homeschool Movement when we were told to produce as many babies as possible so our little children could become spiritual warriors on the battlefield.

If the Bible has everything we need for life and godliness, why do my children need to learn Calvin’s stuff or the Arminian stuff?  Why can’t it just be solely from the Bible?   LDS carry their Bibles, too, along with the Book of Mormon when they go to their wards to worship.  I have seen some combo versions that include the Pearl of Great Price and The Doctrines and Covenants.   These are all part and parcel of LDS.

The way I’m seeing it, there are some Christians who behave the same way as Mormons. They have their Bible along with the Institutes of Calvin.  I wonder if there is a combo Calvin Institutes/Bible in publication yet?  By the way, I’m picking on the staunch Calvinists because that is my frame of reference.  Do Arminians have a “bible” like Calvin’s Institutes?  If they do, then add them to this paragraph.  I’m picking on anyone who adds another book to their Bible and elevates it to the level of Bible.  Ask a Mormon which book is more important to them.  They have a hard time saying that the Bible is #1.  When I talk to some people, I get the feeling they read more about their brand of doctrine than they read from their own Bibles.

I have a problem with people elevating men’s ideas as gospel above the Bible and especially when those men’s ideas become so divisive that somehow Christ and the true meaning of Christianity somehow gets lost.

Yea, I think I’ll stick with just the Bible for my kids.  Men and their ideas complicate Christianity for me.  For realz.

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608 thoughts on “Indoctrinating Your Children with Doctrine”

  1. this just reminded me of the time I visited a local Presbyterian church.

    The Pastor announced from the pulpit that they would resume their weekly study…

    of Calvin’s Institutes.

    face palm


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