When Are We Old Enough to Believe?

Jesus child 1

Christians around the world differ on what they think the fitting age should be for full initiation into the church.  For those who practice infant baptism, the question centers on when somebody is ready for confirmation and their first Communion.  Others think that the appropriate age is age 12, because it’s the age at which Jesus encountered the teachers of the Law and most likely had His bar mitzvah.  When He did this He could only then participate fully in Jewish worship.

For those who believe that baptism should only be reserved for believers, the question centers on when one is capable of truly repenting and embracing Christ in wholehearted discipleship.  They emphasize the adult character of this decision, making baptism a right only after they have advanced past puberty.  For others, the age is much lower.  Some even baptize toddlers.

Acts 16:33 (NIV)

33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.

I personally, have been baptized twice in my life.  My parents had me baptized when I was only months old.  I was baptized as an infant in the Lutheran church.  I am so thankful to my parents for doing this.  It shows how much they cared for my well-being.  The problem is though, that I did not make the choice to be baptized.  They made this decision for me.  After I stepped over the faith line a few years ago, it was important for me to get baptized a second time.  This time I wanted it to be my decision.  I wanted to make a public declaration of my faith in God.  I was baptized a second time a few years ago in the Evangelical Free church I attend.

So what is the right age?  Who is right and who is wrong?

Here are a couple of guidelines that I think we should follow when determining what the right age is:

We should not impose some arbitrary age.  God works in the lives of each person He makes in His image.  That is each one of us.  He does not treat us all as one big group, but treats each of us as unique individuals.  Each child should be dealt with individually and encouraged to take their own “steps toward Jesus” at their own pace, not some set age.  We should not try to manipulate the children into making an early decision to follow Christ.

We need to develop a proper understanding of God’s relationship with children.  The Bible seems to indicate that the children of believing parents stand is a special providential relationship to the people and promises of God.  We find this in the following verse:

1 Corinthians 7:14 (NIV)

14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

It is the responsibility of parents and the church to lead children by prayers, instruction, and to set an example toward a true faith in Christ.  You can help guide a child, but you can never make the decision for them.  Each person comes to God in their own time.  That time is a personal thing between them and God.  Nothing we do or don’t do will ever ultimately change that.

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About wmarsau

Most of the people who visit this blog already know me so it is kind of pointless to try to describe my life in this short little blurb. What is the purpose of this blog is the question. Over the course of this last year I have been exposed to some amazing people and have made personal development an important focus of my life. Being successful, not by the world's standards, but by God's has become my main focus. Mainly, I want to work to develop myself as a person who is kinder, reaches out to help those in need, and truly makes a difference in this world. To this end I am constantly reading and am exposed to so many differnet things along the way. These have been amazing and it is helping me grow so much. Then I started to think, "Why am I being so selfish?" You need to share with others these amazing things you are learning and being exposed to. That is where this blog comes into play. As I am reading and experiencing things that are truly amazing and life changing, I will be posting them on this blog. Obviously, I will not be able to post everything in it's entirity, but I will be summarizing them and letting you know the source of the article or book they come from so you can check them out later if you wish. I want this blog to be a place where you can go to often and be inspired and leave here with a smile on your face. I will be covering all kinds of different topics dealing with success and personal development. Topics like taking action, relationships, living to your potential, reinventing yourself, finances, leadership, presenting, goal setting, time management, etc. I will also be occasionally including topics on cooking, music, and gardening because they are special interests of mine. As a little disclaimer, I have given my life to the Lord and he is #1 in my life. I am his servant and everything I do in life is for his glory. With that being said, religion influences all areas of my life. There will be references to God in this blog because I can't seperate God from this or any other area of my life. I want you to know that if you do not believe in God, that is fine. That is your choice. This blog is open to anyone who wants to better their life. I will not be trying to influence or pressure anyone into having a relationship with the Lord from this site. Please don't feel uncomfortable. You can just read the portions of the blog that you wish to. I am inviting you to go on a journey with me. We will learn together to be the kind of people we were designed to be. Anyone can make a difference in this world, but it starts%
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