Thinking Out Loud

January 2, 2015

#the15 and Calvinist Hate Speech for Children

First of all, I promise we’ll do our best to move away from #the15 as a topic tomorrow and look at something else. I also modified yesterday’s post mid-afternoon yesterday slightly so as to not characterize the whole thing as a Reformed-based or Reformed-centered. More blurry lines. But you don’t have to follow TULIP to have that spirit, but again, as I said, the issue here was LifeWay, not who specifically was calling them out. The nuances to this story are endless…

However, from the beginning, I kept thinking I’d seen the name J.D. Hall somewhere*, and then I found this on my own blog, from Summer, 2013. The books in question indoctrinate children to fear Arminians (i.e. in this case, people who believe a different ‘religion’) so I wonder if a good lawyer here could prove that under Canadian law, they constitute hate speech, and it could actually be illegal to bring them across the border. I’m not about to find out.

Tag this “grieving the Holy Spirit…”

Help Arminians Are Giving Me Nightmares Again - Sample

Help Arminians Are Giving Me Nightmares AgainI hate it when I hear of children waking up with Arminian nightmares. Yes, seriously. Do I look like the kind of person who would make this up? From the description at Amazon:

Book Description
Publication Date: April 15, 2013

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.

About the Author:

Hall is the pastor of Fellowship Church in Eastern Montana, where he lives with his wife, Mandy, and three children. JD is a co-founder of Reformation Montana, a network and mission society consisting of Reformed Baptist churches in Montana and the surrounding region. He is a columnist for the Intermountain Christian News, and operates the Pulpit and Pen website. JD received his B.A. in Christian Education from Williams Baptist College and M.A. in History from Arkansas State University.

Help Mom There Are Arminians Under My BedOh no! It’s part of a series of books…

We heard about this at the blog Spiritual Sounding Board which did an analysis of the doctrinal war going on in the comments section — and remember this is for a children’s book — at Amazon.

…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 (sic) this stuff at such a young age. What is the purpose? To raise up little like-minded warriors to defend your brand of Christianity?…

…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?…

Staging this doctrinal battle in the pages of a children’s book is indoctrinating kids at the earliest against anyone who is part of the Arminian tradition. It’s almost what we in Canada would call hate speech (which is illegal here) against groups such as the Wesleyan, Free Methodist, Anabaptist, Salvation Army, Church of the Nazarene, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Four Square, Pentecostals, Assemblies of God, Free Will Baptist, Charismatic, and many, many others.

Sadly, while the blog post at Spiritual Sounding Board — who is now over 450 comments since Saturday — gets a little worked up on this, we have to agree with her. The Reformed movement just sunk to a new low. This is unconscionable. This type of book is simply not of God.

The fracturing of the body of Christ continues…stay tuned.

* [Update] It turns out that was the only place I knew the name from. (Remember, I track about a hundred stories weekly.)  It gets worse: read more about him at this story.  This guy is a menace.


Related post: Drawing the Body Together, Tearing the Body Apart


  1. “Sadly, while the blog post at Spiritual Sounding Board — who is now over 450 comments since Saturday — gets a little worked up on this, we have to agree with her. The Reformed movement just sunk to a new low. This is unconscionable. This type of book is simply not of God. The fracturing of the body of Christ continues…stay tuned.”

    My entire life as a Christian I have tried to embrace Calvinism. I know the theology as well as anyone who embraces it. I have openly courted it. Yet, I still reject it and it is a very educated rejection. My back and forth with Calvin led me to the early church writings. I wanted to find out what the disciples of the disciples believed about these things. I care more what they say than Calvin, who was 23 when he wrote The Institutes” Nobody has their theology figured out at 23! What they taught about salvation and Christianity is markedly different than Calvin.

    I have lots of friends who are Reformed and I love them dearly. We are brothers in Christ. I attend church with people who are Calvinists and non-Calvinists. It has come to the point that I just don’t care what side of the debate a brother or sister is on. It doesn’t matter!

    Here is the crucial thing for me: It is one thing to debate these new theologies, dating from the Reformers. It is another thing to call Armenians heretics or non-Christians. Or vice-versa.

    The differences in Armenian and Calvin Theology are subtle. Take the P of TULIP for example:

    Reformed theology teaches that only those who endure to the end are truly saved. Those who fall away, and never come back, were never saved in the first place. Result: Hell
    Arminian theology teaches that people can choose to walk away from Christ and continue to make that choice. Those who continue to make that choice and never come back are forever lost. Result: Hell.
    Can you lose your salvation? Can you forfeit your salvation? In the end, both sides agree that those who die following Christ will be saved. What is the actual difference? Like I said it is subtle.

    So Let us thank God that He is NOT a theologian and let us quite beating the hell our of each other over our interpretations of Scripture. If we can all rally around the Nicene Creed and embrace The Faith as presented there, we will all be better off!

    Comment by Jim — January 2, 2015 @ 11:22 am

    • Thanks for that very clear response.

      I once had an opportunity to discuss the Calvinist/Arminian thing with two Catholic priests. The first listened and said, “then we would definitely be Calvinist;” and then a day later the other said the opposite. Not sure how that applies exactly, but thought I’d fit it in somewhere!

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — January 2, 2015 @ 11:33 am

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