Monday, December 04, 2006

Baptism Question - Feedback needed!!!

My son, Ethan, made a profession of faith over a year ago (he's five, now). He has always had a tender heart towards God, and did this completely on his own. We heard about it later, the next time salvation came up. I don't think he really remembers his three year old profession, even now, but he believes and knows what he believes.

Brian and I grew up in Christian homes with what seems to be the normal multiple professions of faith and baptisms that come from various doubts about having "done it right," etc. We have decided to specifically not remind our children that they are saved/have made a profession, but to leave that up to the Holy Spirit; so that whatever doubts they have will not be created by us, nor their assurance of salvation based on what they, or us, remember or forget. I also accepted Christ at the age of three, but have struggled with so many doubts, largely due to my limited memory. But having two children who have done the same thing, I can see genuine faith in them.

Now comes the question. Ethan has asked about being baptized a few times. It seems to me that we ought to encourage this as the next step of obedience. But we are still explaining salvation as he grows and is able to understand more and more about it. That he has an openness to God is unmistakeable, but we don't want to hinder him from making his "calling and election sure" because he has been baptized. Am I making any sense? How do you know when your children go from childlike faith that they've had since birth to a true personal relationship with God? And when do you have them get baptized?

Anna Kate has also made a profession of faith. She was not nearly as God-oriented as Ethan had been, but there has been a huge change in her since then. She went from not caring in the least when I told her that she was making Jesus sad or dsispleasing God, to singing spontaneous songs of praise and thanksgiving that she constantly makes up.

So what do you think?

4 comments:

Rachel Lynn said...

Hullo, sis!
It's strange that you should bring this up now, since my Ecclesiology class has been looking at baptism and when it should happen. The church here also had its baptisms last night and five people (I think) were added to the church.
Baptism is a personal testimony to the world and to the church that you have truly accepted Christ as your Saviour. If Ethan has done this, there's no way you can really know what is in his heart, though it seems that you have seen a difference and a change in him since then, different from ordinary "growing up" changes.
I would definitely say that since he is the one asking for baptism, explain it to him afresh, make sure he knows what it is for, and knows the importance of being sure of his salvation first. Then, I truly think if he still wants to, he should be baptized.

Kim said...

Just my 2 cents....Firt of all,our oldest daughter was baptized at 6...she is saved and has fruit of true repentance and faith....but,we have come to a different view of this since then. I believe children can understand the gospel,no doubt about it,and we should continually be sharing Christ love for them. They may make a profession of faith at a young age...what a blessing! They may grow in that faith over the years and show fruit of true conversion. But,as far as baptisim...they way our church handles it,is that everone has to give a spoken testimony at the time of baptism,to express their faith in Christ,their repentance of known sins,etc...this in depth testimony can be short or long,but it still must verbally profess their faith in Christ....Could our 6 year old do this at 6...maybe just a very simple explanation,which to some may be fine. We happen to be of the mind set with our other children,that we will *preach* the gospel to them and allow God to do the work in their heart,then when we see true fruit and an ability to truly understand the doctrine of what Christ did for them and can publicly share it,then they will be baptized. Most people in our church who are baptized are older teens and adults. This doesn't mean that children can not have true faith,but the baptism comes when they can articulate what God has done for them. Does this make sense? If you are in a church where children are being baptized,your child will see this and want this...that is vey sweet and we would probably allow it...but since we are in a church that waits,we will always affirm their faith as children,but will be counseling them towards baptism.

Kim from lifesong

Karen F. said...

Hi there,
Just thought I'd jump in because we are also dealing with the same question . . . our 6 year old daughter came to repentance and saving faith in Christ last year at the age of 5. We were reading through "Leading Little Ones to God" each morning and each morning she would cry these gentle, sweet tears. It took her days to articulate what was wrong, but eventually she said that her heart was so sad that she was a sinner and wanted to ask Jesus to forgive her and for help to live for Him. Such a precious memory for all of us!
This year we were continuing to read through the same book and towards the end it talked about baptism. We read through it, looked up Scriptures about it and talked through what it meant. At the end, our little one said, "I need to get baptized. It's about obeying God. He says when you believe then you get baptized. I want to obey!"
Hmmm, she's completely right!
Here's what we are thinking right now. We want her to REMEMBER her decision to be baptized and we want her to REMEMBER her actual baptism. So, we are waiting and watching for a few months. Our church has a baptism service 3 or 4 times a year. If she hears that another one is happening, we will wait and see if she again wants to be obedient to the Lord's commands. We believe this will show us that she remembers her decision and will be old enough to remember the specific action. We so look forward to the day when she stands before all of us and expresses again her heart of love and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ!
I sure hope our little story helps in some way.
Blessings,
Karen from www.firstbrookfive.typepad.com

Alicia said...

Thanks to everyone for responding.
Welcome, Karen! I'm so glad you "jumped in." We're nearing the end of Leading Little Ones to God, and I'm not sure who loves it more, myself or my kids.