Book Review Series, Children Desiring God, Christian Marriage, Complementarianism, Desiring God, Doctrine as Idol, Extra-Biblical Nonsense, Gender Roles, God's Design for the Family, Patriarchal-Complementarian Movement, Single and Christian, Uncategorized, Women and the Church

Review of Children’s Book “God’s Design” – Married/Single; Husband/ Father; Wife/Mother

Complementarian, Gender Roles, Being Married, Being Single, Desiring God’s Influence

married-couple

-by Kathi

This series is a review of God’s Design, a children’s book which teaches children about complementarity. For an introduction of the book, click here. All of the underlined subtitles below are chapters from the book.

Today, children, we will talk about marriage and singleness, husbands and fathers, and wives and mothers. 

Marriage and Singleness

This chapter talks about how being married and being single are both good gifts; although, there is greater focus on being married than being single — go figure.

The authors start by letting us know that it doesn’t matter if you’re married or single:

Being married and being single (not married) are gifts too. Both are good gifts from God. One isn’t better than the other. They are just different from each other.

Does this sound familiar to you? It’s the same rhetoric as talking about men and women – one isn’t better than the other, they are just different.

The chapter continues with the thought that marriage must follow God’s design: marriage is between a man and a woman, God joins the marriage together, Christians should only marry Christians, and marriage is made to last until death. I wonder if it is permissible to marry after the death of a spouse. Do they believe that couples remain married for eternity?

Divorce is not a part of God’s design because “God hates divorce.” Here’s why:

He hates it because He joined the man and woman together, and He knows that separating brings much sorrow and pain. Marriage is meant to be an example of God’s faithfulness to His people. So divorce in marriage is not showing God’s good example to others.

This is my main concern about this chapter. The authors leave no room for cases of infidelity (which Jesus does address) or abuse, and they do not believe that separation is permissible. As to the argument that divorce brings sorrow and pain, well, a lot of marriages bring sorrow and pain, too. If a person is in an abusive marriage, that marriage does not reflect God’s faithfulness.

As far as being single goes, the benefits of being single are: more freedom, more time to serve God and help others, and a greater dependence upon God, which brings a closer relationship to God. Interesting…so you can either be in a relationship which mirrors God’s relationship to the church, or you can be single and be closer to God.

Tell me what you think about this activity:

If we don’t look at things the way God does, we might think it is better to be married than single. Sometimes people do not serve or honor single people. As a family, do something this week to bless a single person.

Husbands and Fathers & Wives and Mothers

I want to keep these chapters brief, so I have combined the two together. Honestly, there’s not much new here because everything in these two chapters has been covered through the entire book so far. After discussing these two chapters, I would like to go back and address how the church deals with single and married people.

Basically, the chapters discuss roles like this:

God gives his commands for his design for husbands and wives and families. If we don’t follow his commands, that is unwise. God’s command is clear, so if we don’t follow it, we are being disobedient. That disobedience reflects a sinful heart.

The husband is the head/leader of the wife. As a father, he “provides for, protects, and leads his children.” Fathers must correct their children, love their family with kindness and sacrifice (i.e., give up his plans) when needed. I doubt that the authors consider that women may sacrifice their plans when they stay home with children.

The wife must submit to her husband and trust that “he will care for her and make good decisions.” If he is disobedient to God, she must continue to follow and respect him. Women’s important work is “having children and caring for them.” Women have the choice to make a happy home and “take care of the needs of their families,” or be grumpy about their role and make the family unhappy. I love this ending kicker — a single woman can make her home welcoming and hospitable, too. I guess single guys are free from opening their homes to company.

On Being Single or Married in the Church

“God’s Design” is a book about gender roles which tends to focus on husbands and wives and fathers and mothers. So why even mention singles? One doesn’t need to be in the church long to recognize that it views marriage and families highly.  Desiring God’s website also sends this message loud and clear. Oh, they’ll tell you being single is good, but just you wait single person…married life offers so much more!

I came across an article on Desiring God’s site and came upon some interesting comments on their Facebook page:

screenshot-2017-02-09-at-9-25-09-pm

Clearly there are people who do not like how the church gives so much attention to marriage. I know that we have had discussions of that on the blog before. Many times people feel uncomfortable or excluded because of the extreme focus the church places on marriage. How can/should the church respond better?

Categorizing people can be fine to a certain extent. But in the end, whether we are married or single, we all deal with similar struggles when it comes to relationships, jobs, or personal problems. Is it reasonable to ask the church to view people as people instead of solely in categories?

****

If you would like to read prior reviews on God’s Design, here are links in the order of the book chapters:

Know Thyself, Creature

Headship, Helper, and an Answer We Already Knew

Rebellion, a.k.a. It’s All Her Fault!

Teachings on Homosexuality as a Distortion of God’s Design

Examples of Complementarian Manhood and More Doublespeak

Examples of Godly Womanhood

Purity and Honoring God’s Design

114 thoughts on “Review of Children’s Book “God’s Design” – Married/Single; Husband/ Father; Wife/Mother”

  1. Lea – That article…Wow! From it:

    “The God-given burden our husbands have for shepherding the entire family is a heavy one, whether they ever admit it or not.” So why are comps putting so much pressure on men to step up in head-ship? It does put a lot of unnecessary pressure on men.

    “You can complain about him and criticize him for his mistake.You can pray for wisdom to know the right time and right way to talk to him about it. Or you can let it go and continue believing in the man you married.”

    Or….you can talk things out. Why are comps so afraid to talk about the perceptions that they bring into the relationship? Why are egos so fragile? If they’re really married to be together, then they need to learn how to work together. \

    Shesh…Relationships are already difficult. They just pile on more and more to make it even more difficult.

    Like

  2. Back to my ending question….Is it reasonable to ask the church to view people as people instead of solely in categories?

    This book is written from a comp perspective, specifically from people who learned under and worked directly with John Piper. Piper advocates for preaching comp doctrine on a regular basis from the pulpit. I would venture to guess that most of that preaching deals around marriage. Is it any wonder that singles might feel left out of the conversation?

    Like

  3. Is it reasonable to ask the church to view people as people instead of solely in categories?

    I would ask that of all of society actually. People are unique, peculiar folks. Sometimes we have things in common like station in life and sometimes it is interests or personality. You shouldn’t divide people unnecessarily. I think a mix of options is best!

    Like

  4. My best church experiences were when adults and children, married, and singles mixed. I didn’t believe in the artificial separations in the church and usually took my kids to all types of meetings. In one board meeting there was an older woman crocheting. My daughter ( who was 7 at the time) was fascinated by it and later asked me if the woman would teach her. They had a great time–an hour once a week for about seven months. I paid the woman so she got something and 20 years later my daughter can crochet anything! At the same church there was a older single lady who made sure my kids with allergies had food they could eat at the potluck. There was also a single who had divorced an abusive husband. I had her teach some preschool stuff to my daughter. We took food to the sick– and it didn’t matter whether they were married. I would love it if we did away with Sunday school and started getting to know and love each other.

    Like

  5. Lea and Irene,
    In particular, the last two comments here……Alleluia and Amen! Praise the Lord here for the wise counsel from both of you!

    Lea, “I think a mix of options is best.”
    The Body of Christ is a living organism with individuals functioning differently, as the Body has various organs to make it function properly, so does the Ekklesia of Christ, and it should be honored and celebrated as such! In the churches that I have attended in the past, if one of the Body chooses to bring a meal to the sick in their home, the so called ‘leaders (?)’ get all bent out of shape for not being under their committee rule, labeling you as ‘rebellious.’ Must have a lord it over narc in order to serve Jesus Christ, evidently.

    Irene, “I would love it if we did away with Sunday school and started getting to know and love each other.”

    I love what you said! Amen sister! This would mean that we would actually have to lower ourselves and work at getting to know and love one another for the unique individuals our LORD made us to be, instead of herding the sheep into one pen and assuming they all have the same gifts. It would mean that we could freely exhibit and serve Jesus, using our God given gifts in serving one another, instead of having leadership tell us who to be (in their eyes), and what to do (according to their I know it best ways.) This is precisely why so many of the “least of these” are neglected, ignored, and shunned within churches. How can this be? It is because the pastor, his leadership, and the important people (usually those with wealth that are catered too as they ‘give more money to the cause of the church system, so they must be coddled and lifted up) decide who is valuable within their religious organization.

    Following my surgery, when I needed care the most, it was the unchurched believers in Jesus Christ that visited, delivered meals, sent cards, and called via the phone to encourage and pray with me. Thus, I was shown by our LORD, the true Body of Jesus Christ has no walls, and God the Holy Spirit, is still moving and working amongst His people. I love our LORD’s lowly servants/sheep!

    Very complimentary to the Body of Christ I might add! Smile!

    Like

  6. Daisy, I’m sorry to hear you are going through a rough patch right now. I, too, have missed your posts lately. I feel like you have a gift of cutting right through to the underlying issues and a way of expressing your thoughts that is at once assertive but also kind and respectful towards others. You really think things through and research them. I’ve been blessed by your comments so many times. Hope things are soon going better for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Daisy, I echo everyone’s response in that I have missed you too! I wish you the best and encourage you to do what you need to take care of yourself. It has been great “seeing” you again!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I got to thinking about the various replies on this post and it sounds to me like the church is not meeting anyone’s needs all that well. Singles feel excluded. Married couples with kids are doing everything they’re told is “right” but are overwhelmed and exhausted. Sick and old people are set aside and forgotten. Battered women have no one to turn to. Families who lose a loved one find themselves alone in their grief. I’ve heard these things over and over. I have experienced some myself. When my kids were babies, I had a difficult birth and no one reached out to help me, to bring a meal or watch my older kids, and in fact I was shamed because I wouldn’t push myself to teach vacation Bible school that summer. Same thing happened when my sister died. I was really ill with an auto-immune disease one year and I found myself forgotten. I realized then that church is for the strong, especially outgoing, energetic people, who can do a lot for the church. I felt like as soon as I wasn’t of use, they just stepped over my body and went on without me.

    Church is very demanding of us, of our time, our energy, our loyalty. But very often, when times are tough, they are not there for us, right when we need them. It’s a sobering realization when it unexpectedly happens to you. It made me start wondering what is the church for? And if we’re not caring for each other, where is all our energy going and is it really going to good use? Sometimes I wonder if we put a whole lot of energy into stuff that doesn’t really make much difference in the long run. I don’t know.

    Like

  9. Shy, I don’t think church can solve all these problems and relationship issues for people. But, they can certainly do a better job not contributing to them!!! Where they can do better ministering to people who do need that help, they should at least try. So many just throw up their hands.

    Like

  10. “The God-given burden our husbands have for shepherding the entire family is a heavy one, whether they ever admit it or not.”

    That sounds sooo much like Animal Farm. The pigs choose to get a double portion of the grain. They claim that they really hate grain, but they need the energy the grain provides to be able to think properly and make wise decisions for the farm. It’s really a “sacrifice” for the better good.

    Something like, “Honey, you know I really hate sex, but in order to survive the heavy burden of shepherding this family wisely, I need to be able to relieve my stress so I can remain calm when I’m making godly decisions! It’s really a huge sacrifice on my part.”

    Orwell was such a genius!

    Liked by 2 people

Thanks for participating in the SSB community. Please be sure to leave a name/pseudonym (not "Anonymous"). Thx :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s