I’ve been thinking lately. Mostly my mind just wonders here and there. Yesterday it wondered toward seeing children saved and baptized. Always such an awesome experience! But then I thought of the times I have heard Sunday School teachers, or parents say their children had to talk to the preacher. I’ve heard mothers tell their kids this for months; saying the child has to approach the preacher herself, supposedly, to show they are really “ready to be saved.” I have a few objections to this approach.
These are personal objects and maybe some pastors won’t agree; but here they are anyway. First, I believe once a child reaches a point where they know they are not good, no matter how narrow that understanding; they have already reached the “age of accountability.” In other words, if your 6 year old asks about being baptized because they “don’t want to die in hell.” Then that child already understands the beginnings of salvation. He may not fully grasp all aspects of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, but he knows enough that God will hold him accountable. I know it sounds absolutely horrifying to think of a 6 year old going to hell; but I do believe knowing he needs Christ, and not actually accepting Him, would merit separation from the Father in Heaven. Again, maybe a stronger Bible scholar would argue with that; however, that is MY understanding.
Which brings me to my second objection with asking kids to go to their pastor to accept Christ. If, once a child begins to see the need for Jesus in her life, she is accountable for her sins; then is time not important in that situation? Let’s suppose your 9 year old is asking questions about asking Jesus into her heart. Now let’s say that you don’t feel “qualified” to answer those questions so you tell her to wait and ask the preacher on Sunday. Sunday comes and the pastor has to rush after church for another obligation. You try again to speak on Wednesday but your child is shy and doesn’t want to interrupt the preacher chatting. This goes on for a couple of weeks before you are in a car wreck…… What if your child were to die not having professed Jesus as her savior? What if that were the case, and you had simply ignored her questions because “that’s the preacher’s job?”
That last statement brings me to my final objection to making children wait to talk to a pastor. If you can not even explain Salvation through Faith in Christ to your own child, to whom CAN you explain it?! If we are to be leading others to Christ, shouldn’t we know what that means? If you can’t tell your very own child that when they do bad things, like lie or disobey you, that it makes God sad. If you can’t continue by telling them God knew we would do bad things, so He gave something even more special than toys or money just for us. That God loved us so much that He let His Son be killed; and then His Son, Jesus, didn’t stay dead. He rose again so that We can still know Him. We can pray and tell Jesus “thank You for dying so I don’t have to. Please forgive me for doing bad things; I want to do things that make You happy.” …. If we can’t find SOME words to explain it to a child, how can we ever explain it to a coworker, a stranger, a friend, or anyone else?
Jesus said “let the children come to Me.” He didn’t say let them talk to the preacher and let him decide if they are ready to come. He said “let them come.”