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. (and if you don’t feel comfortable giving more personal info, that’s fine. I understand caution. Feel free to delete these comments.)


  2. I get it, Refugee. The reality is that if you are a Christian homeschooler, you will rub shoulders with those who hold to dangerous ideologies that are extra-biblical. Another big reality that we homeschoolers must face is that there are likely those in our own churches who hold to Reconstructionist theology but may not even know they are doing that. You don’t hear these leaders say the word Reconstructionist. Homeschoolers tend to listen to homeschool leaders and sometimes pay more attention to their teachings than their own pastors. Why is that? Because sometimes our very own pastors are not homeschoolers. So it makes the homeschool leaders seem more like-minded. So we bend our ear towards them and their ideologies because they most closely resemble ours. That is the trap.

    I posted that Homeschool Apostate article on my personal Facebook page and I got my eyes opened. There are many of my friends who are steeped in this movement.

    You are right to be concerned about your children’s friends. Think about when they get older – “courtship” age. Read this and the comments. Your adult child could get trapped like “Bethany” almost did: https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2013/12/20/a-young-womans-relationship-with-her-boyfriend-is-shattered-by-christian-patriarchy/

    I think there is a way to remain friends, but you will have to show your own children the traps (which we should be doing, anyway). I am friends with people who do not share my same beliefs. I am just not bosom buddies with them.


  3. Refugee: Wasn’t sure if you were asking the name of my church, but I’m not going to name my church publicly (my pastor knows my story and I really don’t want him or the church to get in the spotlight because of me).

    The Wartburg Watch did a good post on Friday that you might find helpful: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/12/20/how-to-analyze-churches-via-the-internet/

    I have posts called “Learn and Discern” which you might find helpful, too.


  4. I did read it the other day, and discussed it with our teens. They have been looking at the people in our circles — it’s human nature to speculate about future possibilities, even when you have been taught to “guard your heart” — and they are candid about those who are not “marriage material” because of their family culture. (It’s ironic, but we’re looking at it from the *other* end of the telescope. The “family culture” that makes someone off limits for us these days is repressive patriocentricity. Lovely people. Poisonous culture. BTDT.)

    I don’t know if in the long run we’ll be able to stay at our current church. I have no clue about how (and no heart) to go about looking for another fellowship of believers. Sometimes I think it would be easier just to stay home, but the Bible does say something about not neglecting the gathering together with fellow believers. Sigh.


  5. (JA, yes, I started out asking about your church but realized in/after the asking how unwise it would be for you to post the name publicly. Apologies. If we weren’t so shattered, I’d be using a proper email address to post and we could talk by email, if you even felt comfortable talking about your church privately, which you might not, since you don’t know me from Adam. Do I sound paranoid? I’m sorry. I’m just being very cautious, as I don’t want to hurt our children any more than they’ve already been hurt. As for me, I’ve just about given up on friendship for myself — but our children need friends, and a social life, and so I am walking very cautiously these days, trying to build a new community for them so that if/when the current community falls apart, they won’t be completely bereft.)


  6. 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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