Long before I was into egalitarianism, I was into teaching children about God. My child evangelism mentor taught me Charles Spurgeon was almost right when he said:
A child of five, if properly instructed, can as truly believe and be regenerated as an adult.
We should change and become like children to enter God’s kingdom:
Matt. 18:3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
According to this mentor, Spurgeon would have been more correct if he rather said:
An adult, if properly instructed, can as truly believe and be regenerated as a five-year old child.
In learning how to do Christian work with children we also learned that children do not have a mini-version of the Holy Spirit inside them. God poured out his Spirit on everyone, including children. Sons and daughters can prophesy. And we heard actual testimonies of witnessing 9- to 12-year-olds. As I got involved in children’s work, I actually saw children teaching other children what we taught them.
I learned to relate to children as people who, although they lack some wisdom and strength that I have, are in some way my spiritual superiors, and in the most basic sense my equals before God. I also learned to see them as… Jesus. Because when you do something for the least, you do it for Jesus.
Now, this way of thinking produced problems when I ran into complementarianism. Even children are no less capable than adults to testify, led by the Spirit of God, and could testify to adults. I’ve seen them do that. But women – adults who are just as wise and spiritual (sometimes more so, sometimes less) cannot teach men of God? This makes no sense.
We should see Christ in the least – and treat them right. But here is a doctrine that say wives should see Christ in their husbands but husbands should not see Christ but the church in their wives, and this seeing of Christ in the husband should cause her to obey him in a way we don’t obey others in whom we see Christ. And while even children have the Holy Spirit and not a mini-version of him, wives – unlike husbands, the unmarried or even children – should have their husbands as “spiritual leaders.” This “spiritual leader” may in some cases be a guy who came to Christ after his wife served God for years! Why? Something did not add up.
Women and children are very different, but the approach of respecting and loving all as yourself – the strong and the weak – is more suitable for both children’s ministry and egalitarianism. If even those who actually know and understand less could play a speaking role, testifying about Christ, why would we limit where half the adult population of the church (a half who knows at least as much as the other half about God) could use their teachings and insights? Egalitarianism seems much more in keeping with the principles of good children’s ministry.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that Christian™ Patriarchy for the most part don’t believe in any form of children’s ministry/ children’s church/ children’s Sunday school at all – they call their lack of children’s ministry “family integrated church.” Who cares about talking to children on their level in a world that says men comes first? If following men is the most important thing in the world, then the fact that a Sunday school teacher could contradict a father becomes more significant than the fact that she could augment the spiritual knowledge and understanding of children. Perhaps it is not even a coincidence that the worst-run Sunday school I ever tried to be a teacher in was one where the Focus-on-the-Family-loving leader of the Youth Committee told boys to stand and girls to sit when they prayed. (Her reason was that “men should learn to stand up for God.”)
Complementarianism is an attitude where the big and strong group is catered/submitted to, while others come second. They even teach women exist to “help” men by doing their bidding. Will groups that firstly cater to the powerful be even less child-friendly than woman-friendly? I believe so.