Over the past couple years the discussion of baptism has come up for our leadership. Although we have celebrated many baptisms through God’s work in lives in and around the church, we haven’t ever established a process when it comes to children (of any age).
This topic has been on my mind and heart a lot lately. I have spent much time in prayer and study over it. As we have entered a day in which the barriers to baptism are often removed, we can see a cultural Christianity which has forged a diminishing value for baptism. The evidence of this reality is found in the number of “re-dedications” through a second baptism. During previous eras of history, baptism has brought persecution on individuals and families and therefore created a higher mark of commitment and understanding due to the possible consequences.
As taught in Matthew 28 and exemplified throughout the Book of Acts, baptism is for professing disciples of Jesus Christ. Who should be baptized? A person who has been taught and believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ should be baptized. Most difficult, however, are the areas where the Bible is silent.
We must affirm that the Bible gives no specific instruction regarding the baptism of young people. We do not have any examples in scripture where a child of any age is baptized. We are not given any age requirements regarding baptism. This silence produces a grey area that manifests in many different positions on this topic.
One must understand that rushing toward baptism without an appropriate maturity and understanding produces a false sense of security and a misrepresentation of the gospel. An individual who has believed and been baptized is now a care-taker of the gospel amidst their daily surroundings. However, one must also conclude that unnecessarily postponing baptism stunts the discipleship of anyone who has been given the command to believe, repent, and be baptized. This act of obedience given in the New Testament is a vital point as the individual is now desiring to be obedient in all things, as the Bible has instructed.
As we have worked through developing a process to equip our parents, describing that process is not the goal today. There could be no greater joy in the life of a parent than to journey through gospel truths with their child which lead to belief, repentance, and baptism. We as parents have been given a beautiful gift (Deut 6:4-9; Eph 6:4). God has given us the opportunity to teach our children about the greatest gift they will ever be given. Not only that, but we have been given the gift of discipling them and teaching them about the meaning of their salvation. Baptism is a great party in Heaven and on Earth, celebrating a milestone of discipleship. There is great joy in teaching our children about salvation and the act of obedience we call baptism.
Parents, instead of looking to your local pastor or children’s ministry leadership to teach your children about Jesus, embrace the gift you have been given. I promise you that their day of baptism will be a sweet day of celebration as you reflect upon the years of discipleship that led you and your child to that day. Parents, baptism is a gift to you as well… the gift of a memory which represents moments and conversations which you will never forget.
Questions: Parents, have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ and begun a relationship with Him? Have you been baptized after you began that journey? If not, how great would it be for your children to see you model this wonderful gift? If so, have you shared that story with your children?