Tuesday, February 07, 2012


So what is the right age for my child to become a Christian?

I do believe this is different for each person, but let me share a few observations.

Forget the "age of accountability". That is not a phrase you will find in the Bible. There is no magic age which is the right time to baptize our children. It is rare that a child would be able to process this step before they are at least 10 or so. It is rare for a child raised in a Christian home to not process this decision before 16 or so. So as an elder often asked for advice, I discourage too young and encourage too old.

One factor to consider is how much children are around conversions. I don't mean just see a baptism, but actually witness conversion. Have they seen teenage or adult conversions? Have they heard you share your faith with others in your home? Have they been to the building at night to witness someone converted? Heard their story? I do think children around evangelistic families process baptism much quicker.

Are they old enough to worship with the saints? If they sleep thru church, need to be entertained with stickers and crayolas, or still leave for "children's church, then they are not ready to be part of the family of God independent of their parents. By the way, I am all for kids being in worship and if they need some help to stay busy that is fine. I am talking about whether they are ready to die with Jesus.

Can they process abstract thoughts like commitment, spiritual death, resurrection, sin, and discipleship? Once again, in homes where these are regular topics of discussion the process happens quicker.

When you tell your child no, how do they react? Or, as I asked one of mine... what would you do if I said no? At some point, they may say they will find someone to baptize them anyway. Or they might be able to discuss why they should.

Puberty is one marker in life that clearly indicates your child is becoming a independently functioning adult.

I might say here that some argue you should never tell a child no if they want to be baptized. What if they never ask again? Well, I would suggest that is a pretty good sign they were not ready. Answer this the same way you would when your child asks to date, or to drive.

I never worried that if I said no to a request to date that I had somehow missed the only time in their life when dating would be something they wanted. Saying no to the first request to let them drive did not cause me to worry they would never want to drive.

And as a parent, I was much more worried about the consequences of decisions they were not ready to make than I was about missing the only window of opportunity in their life. And of course I do not belive you just "blow off" the request. You answer in appropriate ways.

One last consideration. Ask someone you trust for advice. Or get your child to visit with someone else who might be more objective. Elder, preacher, friend.

Well, these are just a few of my thoughts on things to consider about baptizing our kids.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?