Complementarian, Egalitarian, Teaching Children, Children Desiring God, John Piper
Vaccinating Children with Complementarianism
I spent many years reading books to my children. Homeschooling families know all too well the importance of reading. However, I can say that I never read a book like this to my kids.
God’s Design is a children’s books which teaches about the importance of gender roles.
Oh, yes. You read that correctly.
About the Organization and Authors
God’s Design is written by Sally Michael and Gary Steward. It is published by P & R Publishing and sponsored through Children Desiring God. I purchased my copy through Amazon. Research and benefiting my charity of choice made this purchase a little bit easier to swallow. Here is some information about the authors from the back cover:
Sally Michaels is the cofounder, curriculum author, and publishing consultant of Children Desiring God. She is also an author, speaker, and former Minister for Children at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis.
Gary Steward is an assistant professor of history at Colorado Christian University. Previously he served as pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.
A couple of things stand out in these bios. First is the name, Children Desiring God. Does that sound familiar in any way? A simple Google search brought this up:
Yes, Children Desiring God is linked to Desiring God website. Desiring God’s year end 2014 statement has them listed as a ministry partner (or is it an extension of Desiring God? Either way, they are linked together.). Children Desiring God offers Sunday School curriculum, homeschool curriculum, books, seminars and an annual conference. Sounds like Children Desiring God runs about the same as Desiring God, only it’s solely geared toward children.
This leads me to my second stand out in the bios….who do you immediately think of when you hear Desiring God? It is no wonder that Sally Michaels is writing for Children Desiring God when she served at Bethlehem Baptist along side John Piper for 10 years (Sally’s husband, Michael, served for 20 years). What I want to know is how Sally managed to earn and maintain the coveted Minister title while working under John Piper’s leadership. Gary Steward also spent three years under John Piper’s tutelage and has contributed curriculum for Children Desiring God.
About the Book
God’s Design is roughly 100 pages long and consists of 26 short story chapters. Follow-up questions and activities are provided to ensure that children grasp the concepts in the lessons. The main purpose of this book is to build a theological foundation for “biblical manhood and womanhood” in children.
The preface offers more:
Now more than ever parents need to talk with their children in age-appropriate ways about God’s good design for manhood and womanhood. Parents also need to talk with their children concerning how many ideas about manhood and womanhood – egalitarianism, feminism, homosexuality, gender blending/bending – go against the beautiful design of gender complementarity.
Children need to understand, before their teenage years, how God created men and women to be equal in personhood, dignity, and worth, and yet different regarding the roles He designed them to have.
We find many of the familiar catch phrases here. First there is the idea that egalitarianism and feminism go against the Bible. This is a hill to die on and for the life of me, I really do not understand why. All I can determine is that the last great stand for men to retain total power is in the home and in the church. I can understand why some Christians struggle with accepting homosexuality, but the reality is that God loves all people, and we should too. I find it fascinating how the theology of complementarity can be so focused on homosexuality. We must remember, though, that it is the view of biblical marriage which homosexuality threatens.
The other familiar catch phrase that is found in this part of the preface is how God created “men and women to be equal in personhood, dignity, and worth, and yet different regarding the roles he Designed them to have.” Different but equal. When will these folks ever learn that those who are “different” will never feel “equal” as long as this mentality is in place?
Continuing in the preface:
Hopefully this book can serve as a springboard for further interaction between parents and children, not just about manhood and womanhood, but about God and the gospel . May the Lord bless you as you inoculate your children against the Devil’s lies by speaking truth from God’s Word, and may your children grow up to be godly men and women who spread the light of the gospel and live out God’s design for men and women in a dark and needy world.
This book is about God and the gospel. THEIR gospel. That’s the problem with where complementarianism is at this point and time. It has become a primary doctrine issue and has become their gospel. The gospel is merely proclaiming the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and the eternal hope we have in Him alone. I often wonder if God looks down on these churches and leaders and is thinking that they have lost their first love.
But it’s this golden phrase that has me worried the most about this book: “May the Lord bless you as you inoculate your children against the Devil’s lies…” Oh, Lord, may we vaccinate our children against the evil lies of equality and women’s rights! This book may be damaged from being thrown across the room too many times.
About the Series
This series will consist of reviewing 2-3 chapters of God’s Design at a time. The goal is to post at least once a week. Given that summer is winding down quickly, we still have company coming to visit at some point within the next two months, and school will be starting back up, I may have to go a little longer in between. But, I will try to keep pauses short so that we don’t lose track in discussion.
Why am I doing this series? It’s not easy for me to hide my disdain for complementarity. I think that organizations such as Desiring God and CBMW have gone too far in convincing people that this is not one way of looking at marriage, gender roles, and roles in the church. It is the way. The gospel way. I think that their insistence on this issue is damaging and binds the freedom that we have in Christ. I hope you will find it informative to see what people embedded in the complementarian camp are using to vaccinate impressionable young minds.