A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

How To Tell Children About Predestination.

Many people assume children do not understand as much theology as they should. Others prefer to keep children in sunday school where they can play with video games, have pizza parties and become distracted to death with endless games. Dr Wayne Grudem has another idea regarding teaching children theology and in particular fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith:

church clowns

Wayne mentioned that he taught 4th grade Sunday school from 1967-1969 at Park Street Church in Boston. His other form of experience came from parenting (together with his wife Margaret) three sons who are now 33, 30, and 27 years old.

[On the doctrine of predestination or election] Election is an act of God before creation in which he chooses some people to be saved, not on account of any foreseen merit in them, but only because of his sovereign good pleasure.

Children can understand choosing. They have experiences of being chosen for a team, or a play. So we can tell them “God chose you to be a part of his team, his family.” Being chosen could encourage pride, unless we also teach kids that it was not a result of anything that they did (Eph. 1:4-6, I Thes. 1:4-5).

“Well, when did he choose us, Daddy?” A child may ask. “Before the foundation of the world” would be the reply. “But when did we know he chose us?” “When we repented and believed.” Wayne noted that it is OK to say to kids, “God chose you.”

Wayne recognizes that there are misunderstandings or abuses of the doctrine of predestination. Nevertheless, since it is in the Bible, we should teach it. We should not avoid it just because there is a possibility of misunderstanding.

So how does the New Testament present election?

1. As a comfort. (Rom. 8:28-30)

God’s predestinating love is the basis upon which we can know that God is working all things for our good.

2. As a reason to praise God. (Eph. 1:5-6)

Children will instinctively understand this. What could be more natural than to thank God for choosing us?

3. As an encouragement to evangelism. (II Tim. 2:10)

Paul had been beaten, persecuted, and driven from town to town. He said he endured all things for the sake of the elect, so that the people that God had chosen would come to know him.

“So, did God choose my friend Sally, Daddy?” “Well, I don’t know, let’s invite her to church, let’s tell her about Jesus, and if she receive him, then yes, we’ll know that God chose her.” And if she doesn’t, we don’t know. Because God might still call her to himself later.

Excerpt from Teaching Children About Election by Dr Wayne Grudem [HT: Children Desiring God]

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14 responses to “How To Tell Children About Predestination.

  1. Amory June 15, 2011 at 04:31

    At last! Someone who unredstands! Thanks for posting!

  2. Jason K October 16, 2011 at 04:34

    This is Terrible….. I am a new Christian and was under the impression that God wanted EVERYONE saved. Isn’t that all about the great commission and stuff. isn’t that what the cross was for … so ALL men might be saved and come to know him. I have friends that have taken their own lives without knowing God. Does this mean that God didn’t choose them to live in eternity with him? You said predestination is “only because of his sovereign good pleasure”.. does this mean that God didn’t find my friends and loved ones “pleasurable” and that he had more pleasure in sending them straight to Hell than living wth them in eternity? I thought he dies for them too… I am so confused.. If that is What God is like then it sucks big time!!!!

    • Truthinator October 16, 2011 at 17:15

      Chill Jason. You admitted that you are a new Christian. Should you be making the assumption that you should be able to understand & approve of God’s sovereignty in order for it to be a reality? I would suggest you read your Bible daily with great anticipation for what God will show you about Himself. Read it from front to back like any other book although it is unlike any other book you will ever read.

      You are not alone, Jason. God is more than we can comprehend yet what we can comprehend will amaze, comfort, and energize us. The concept of inability with responsibility is difficult for anyone to grasp. However, the more I study the greater, more loving, and more wonder God becomes in my understaning. (God has always been all of these things & more but it is my understanding that has been developed over time).

      Thanks and peace to you, Jason.

      Wallace (Truthinator)

      • Acidri October 16, 2011 at 19:18

        Thanks Wallace for those kind words.

    • Richard Harstone November 12, 2012 at 12:18

      Jason, you’re right, the Calvinist/Reformed doctrine of Election and Predestination is terrible and misrepresents of the very nature of the Triune God.

      • Acidri November 12, 2012 at 16:34

        Thank you for your opinion Richard. However What matters most is what the bible says about the attributes of God.

    • Anon July 17, 2013 at 22:15

      Calvanism is a damaging lie especially to a new Christian. I have read a lot on calvanism and have been a christian many years and I am always sad to see people being led down this path, often in an attempt to break away from the opposite we see in the church today of lukewarmness and a huge theme park of entertainment, lacking in true biblical teaching. But often they don’t realise what Calvin was really like (I really do doubt he was saved) and that worshipping man (Calvin or otherwise) is wrong. But there is a better way than both…God’s way. The Lord has shown me we should not label ourselves as calvanists, arminains etc, we are Christ followers. Can I recommed a book to you…What Love is this by Dave Hunt, he is one of the few genuine christian authors out there today. If you read any of his books I am sure you will get a true sense of a fellow brother who is humble and Godly. All the best.

      • Acidri July 18, 2013 at 12:14

        Im confused…Who is calvin? Was John calvin a calvinist? I think you make many assumptions and generalisations. Calvinists do not worship Calvin. Just like Arminians do not worship James Arminius or Dave Hunt. It would be good to know why the word ‘Calvinism’ was coined or why ‘Arminianism’ was coined. It has nothing to do with worshipping one or the other persons. (sorry I didnt get your name -please be kind enough to share your name next time)

      • dbp49 November 5, 2014 at 07:08

        Thank-you. And Jason, take this man’s advice, since it seems to be the first sensible comment on this page. Even Paul gave Christians grief when they said “I follow Paul”, or “I follow Apollos”. He told them exactly Anon said, we are neither, the very word Christian, means follower of Christ. So be very careful when someone uses anyone as an authority whose words don’t line up with those of our Lord Jesus. And though he might not have been my first choice, Anon is correct when he says Dave Hunt is a worthwhile author to read. You could certainly do much worse. Whatever you do, don’t give up on God just because of someone’s inability to teach something in a truly understandable manner, failing to take into consideration the harm that could be done to a young Christian by talking loosely about such complicated matters, something that Jesus mentions it would be better for a person like that who harms even the least of His children’s new faith if they were to tie a heavy stone unto their waist and jump into the sea. Don’t give up on God Jason, He certainly won’t give up on you.

    • John February 14, 2014 at 23:25

      No God isn`t like that. God measures by our measurements as Jesus said himself, if we love our fellow man. That is what the Catholic Church teaches, which Jesus himself started. Predestination is a heretical Calvinist believe, don`t listen to it.

      • Acidri February 15, 2014 at 23:46

        Does the Bible teach it? Well that should be the million dollar question, isn’t it?

  3. Joan Sedely December 6, 2012 at 23:01

    Richard, please read Romans 9.

  4. Wanda Gould November 4, 2014 at 01:43

    Please read 2 Peter 3 which represents God’s moral will and Daniel to understand God’s sovereign will and this will help you immensely.

    • Acidri November 4, 2014 at 11:23

      Thanks Wanda for passing by.

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