Caution: Children and Predestination

Predestination and Children

My friend, Ryan Stollar, posted this on his Facebook wall, and I was struck at how damaging Predestination can be to children, especially vulnerable children. Shoot, I think it could scare adults, too! Special thanks to Ryan for writing about this and giving me permission to share it.  ~ja

First off, what is predestination?



  1. The act of predestining or the condition of being predestined.
  2. Theology
    a. The doctrine that God has foreordained all things, especially that God has elected certain souls to eternal salvation.
    b. The divine decree foreordaining all souls to either salvation or damnation.
    c. The act of God foreordaining all things gone before and to come.
  3. Destiny; fate. (Source)

John Piper is an advocate of predestination, but even he understands that it is a very difficult topic. I was surprised to read that he recommends that if you are getting hung up on a righteous and holy God who sends people to hell, then he encourages you to not believe in predestination (at least that is my interpretation from this article).

Predestination and Children

Maine, October 2018

Predestination does a number on you.

Growing up in a Reformed household, where I read Loraine Boettner’s “Reformed Doctrine of Predestination” in high school for “fun,” I believed that God elected some people for heaven and some people for hell. But here’s the thing: I was a messed up kid. I was abused. So I was depressed and acted out and did all the “sinful” things that traumatized kids tend to do. I was screaming for help but I didn’t know how to verbalize it.

This didn’t make me doubt God’s existence. Instead, it made me hate God. I believed with all my heart (because all the evidence pointed in this direction) that God had elected me to go to hell.

Do you know what that does to a kid? Do you have any idea how horrible it is to live with the realization that there’s literally nothing you can do to save yourself because God made you a vessel of wrath?

It destroyed me from the inside out.

I thought God elected my abuse and God elected my damnation. And I wanted nothing to do with that God. This of course became a self-fulfilling prophecy, as I chose to rebel harder and harder just to stick it to the God who damned me.

I can’t even count how many times I said “F@#$ you” to God in high school and college because of predestination.

I’m not sure if I’d say “Don’t teach your kids predestination,” but if you believe in predestination, you need to understand that it can create some serious secondary trauma. For me, it was like being abused all over again, but this time deep within my soul.

Don’t do that to kids. Please.  ~R. L. Stollar

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