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Baptism of Children — 24 Comments

  1. I got baptized age nine, and I faltered along the way, but i never forget my vow to Christ, so what im saying it's very important to accept the Lord when you're young, you may not know every thing but the Lord will teach you. God bless you William.

  2. We must not forget the prophet Samuel. The Lord called him when he was just a boy, probably less than 12 years old. God calls people from all walks of life; however old or young. The key is to obey the call of God. I have been a Sabbath School teacher for 38 years and I have seen many children who have been baptized. I have seen many children being discouraged from baptism by their parents when they were ready. Sadly when their parents thought they were old enough, these children wanted no part of baptism and would not accept Jesus as their Saviour. Please encourage chidren to do what is right; never speak words of discouragment.

  3. My eldest son got baptized when he was seven and half years old. He had seen God's love in our lives. As a single parent, I constantly pointed them to the many ways God was caring for us. His younger brothers followed in his footsteps and got baptized at 10,11 and 13 years old. From their late teenage years, they have not been attending church but I do not place the blame on early baptism. There were other factors involved. Children of single parents hurt a lot and are constantly looking for a father figure. With the knowledge of and relationship I have with God now, I pray constantly for their reconversion. God in His time will bring them back as I claim the promises. I have seen the many ways He has worked in their lives even though they have strayed and constantly remind them of God's working in their lives.

  4. Children are a precious gift from God. We need to prayerfully guide them into God's ways. While some kids who were baptized young later insist on baptism "because I did not know what I was doing," some hang on to their faith years on and on. The important thing is to remember that as parents and church members, we must know we have an obligation to nurture our children before and after baptism.

  5. Shirley, rather than comparing the age of baptism to the age of drinking and driving (!!), I invite you to consider the age that Moses left for Pharaoh's house as a boy. We don't know exactly how hold he was, but he may not have been even 7 years old.

    At what age did Jesus astonish the teachers in the temple?

    I believe it would be a mistake to set a specific age for baptism as we do for getting a driver's licence or for drinking alcohol (which should be set at the age of 200!!). I believe persons should be examined regarding their understanding of the "cost" of discipleship with age-appropriate questions. (See Luke 14:26-35) Then parents, children and pastors together can decide on an appropriate decision for each child. When children are baptized as early as seven (which I don't think happens very often), the parents are committing themselves to continue to guide their children in the ways of the Lord.

    Along the same lines, but from a different perspective, I believe that mistakes are more likely to be made when a whole age group in school is instructed for baptism. Peer pressure can persuade a lot to make a profession of faith they do not really feel.

    In the end, it comes down to all persons involved being led by the Holy Spirit, and we cannot organize the actions of the Holy Spirit. (I'm not even sure that there is a greater rate of recidivism from the baptism of young people than the baptism of adults. Young hearts and old hearts alike are made of different kinds of "soil." (Luke 8:11-15)

    I can sympathize with your desire to have set stages from which children can graduate to culminate in baptism. But I am cautioned from thinking in this direction by a book I'm currently reading, called "From Apostle to Priest." It traces the development of the hierarchical system of governance as practiced in certain other churches often considered part of Babylon. The original purpose was not to give all power to the person at the top of the hierarchy. The original purpose was to preserve doctrinal purity. I'm a little afraid that formalizing stages of conversion before baptism will have a similar result of excluding the leading of the Holy Spirit.
    The book is listed in our Amazon US store and our Amazon UK store. And I'm pretty sure you can download a version directly from Amazon US.

  6. A couple of things regarding the proper age for young people,(children) to be baptized. Firstly the part of Inge's response about the reason children are baptized as a group, I am very familiar with. I was 12 and as the result of a week of prayer observances many of us were baptize. Mostly because of peer pressure. I doubt many if any were repentant and had any conviction to stimulate a desire for baptism. God only knows the heart, so one cannot judge what one cannot see. I wonder however if the rush to baptize is for the right motive? Secondly Samuel was dedicated to God by his mother because He answered her repeated, many times, prayer. 1Samuel 1:11

  7. Shirley I think your questions are valid. Obviously there are some that are more perceptive than others and have different opinions base on there perspective. Is there a wrong reason for being baptized ? I think it is possible. Is there always a change in ones life after being baptized? Should there be? If the answer is yes how long? We probably all know of some that the changes didn't last very long and have reverted to an old way of life. It can be a complicated matter regarding the right age or the right reasons for baptism.

  8. Thank you all for your input. I have discovered that my approach to this question of when to baptise a young person was incorrect. A decision to accept Jesus as our Lord & Saviour is a heart matter, a spiritual issue much more than a rational issue.
    Secondly the reason why we set age limits for the decisions I mentioned are because of the possibility of harm to the child, however a decision for the LORD can only bring good to the child.
    But most of all my above approach did not include consulting the Word of God for the answer.
    Solomon said "train up a child when he is young and when he is old he will not depart from it"
    Jesus said "suffer (or allow) the children to come unto me" and he took a child and put it into the midst of them and said

    Mat 18:3 and said, Truly I say to you, Unless you are converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven.
    Mat 18:4 Therefore whoever shall humble himself like this little child, this one is the greater in the kingdom of Heaven.
    Mat 18:5 And whoever shall receive one such little child in My name receives Me.
    Mat 18:6 But whoever shall offend one of these little ones who believes in Me, it would be better for him that an ass's millstone were hung around his neck, and he be sunk in the depth of the sea.

    I now believe that just as my child can love me with all her heart she can also love Jesus with all her heart and with the right guidance can make a decision for Jesus.

  9. I personally feel there is no wrong age to be baptized. Once you feel the Holy Spirit in your heart and He speaks to you, it's a conscious decision you make with the guidance of the Lord. When I was 13 I knew that I wanted to be baptized and wanted to continue to live my life for the Lord, but now it was a commitment, a pledge I made to him witnessed by others. I'm now 32 and an certain I made the right decision when He spoke to me.

  10. My non-Adventist parents sent both my brother and I to Helderberg College in the late 1950's. In my case it meant a 4 day train journey and a life-changing experience. I took my stand for Jesus when I was 16 and was baptized on my 17th birthday. I did not ask my parents for permission - and they respected my decision. My brother, being 6 years younger, expressed his wish to be baptised when he was 13. My mother asked what I thought and my foolish reply, based on 'church' thinking at the time, was that he was too young still and should wait a while. John got into trouble in his final year of high school and chose to go home - never to complete hight school and never to take another stand for the Lord. At 67 he knows the truth but has never expressed a desire again to fully follow the Lord. He lives in place where there is no church. We share when we can and just can just keep praying. How many other 'lost souls' are there out there because a young person was told to 'wait'? In Jesus' day a boy was considered a spiritual man at 12 ... why are so many 'church elders' reluctant to accept that 12 is the last year of childhood before the terrible teens! The time when the fruit is ripe for the plucking.

  11. I was seven and a non Adventist when a minister gave our school class a scripture lesson. He mentioned that we were 'Christians' when we believed in Jesus Christ. I was so happy, I knew I believed in Jesus and had done for a very long time. That trip home from school was amazing, I found I was jumping higher over the cracks in the pavement, the sun seemed brighter, the birds whistled louder, and the more butterflies hovered around me. 'I am a Christian' I kept saying to myself.
    If I would have had the opportunity to be baptised then I would chosen that day. I have never forgotten it and never has the marvelous 'knowing' that I am a Christian ever left me since. Even though there has been dark days, when I conjurer up the happy memories I calm down again in the secure knowledge that Jesus loves me and always has.
    I have since been baptised and that too, was a happy day for me, That was after I had been accepted into the Adventist church by Profession of Faith in church one day. My baptism was a very quiet affair, very moving and very significant for me, in the ocean nearby at 6:30 in the morning. My favourite time of day. The Pastor's prayer for me was just powerful and yet he later confessed he was troubled by my wanting privacy for that event.

    I think no one has the right to determine what goes on in another's head, including children of any age and retarded children too. They know they are loved by Jesus and want to make a declaration of their love to Him and should not be discouraged in any way. Children can die at an any age, would it be right to have on one's conscience a refusal of cooperation that the child has not been baptised when they wanted to be?

  12. I think baptism is a decision one takes and hence age doesn't matter! Personally i toyed with the idea to get baptised for so long until i was 14! I was just shy much as i wanted all along! My mum never forced me much as she. constantly encouraged me! Then one Sabbath after others had gotten baptised i couldn't take in any more and in the afternoon i walked to the pastors home as he was finishing his lunch and demanded he baptises me

    The pastor accepted and that day i got baptized alone with only two witnesses, the pastor and the deacon!

    So I think time comes when you have to make that decision. and that's when you are ready!

  13. In my opinion, Shirley, baptism doesn't guarantee anything concerning anyone whether they are young or old. To me it amounts to nothing more than a statement of faith one has at the time. That being the case to me it demands that the person being baptized understand what it means and what it implies concerning his or her life.

    • Hi Tyler, I agree baptism is an outward confirmation of an inward decision. Accordingly whether the adults allow or disallow this outward sign to a child it should not have a determining factor on their inward decision and love for the LORD.

      Accordingly I am concerned when I hear some stories where there is an implication that if only the adults had allowed the child to be baptised then that person as they grew older wouldn't have lost their faith in the LORD.

  14. I remember when the Lord asked me to give Him my heart. I remember where I was, which day of the week it was, and what time of the day. I will never ever forget that day because I remember being surrounded by such a sweet presence. My dad was one of the ministers in the area. I asked to be baptized and he, along with all my family rejoiced. No one asked about my age. I was 7 years old.

    The commitment I made that day to serve him kept me from so much trouble along the way, because I had made him a promise to serve him and could not brake it.

    He is my Best Friend and I learned to joyfully love him as my parents did. I never looked back.

  15. Trina, It has been many many years since the Escobar family was a familiar name in Southern California. Wow!

  16. I love the balance in this article. For every 7-year-old William, there may be 100 11-year-old RGs, who don't have a clue what they are doing. Yet the article, and the Ellen White quotes, cover all of that very well.

    I just think that William's experience was beautiful. I'm also thankful that God has never given up on my own more difficult case.

  17. Hi William, many thanks for your message. I too gave my heart to the Lord JESUS at the tender age of seven years, followed by baptism at thirteen years. By the grace and power of GOD, despite many failings and shortcomings l have never looked back. I would really like to obtain a copy of your workbook preparing children for baptism (electronic or otherwise). Would that be possible?

  18. I was baptized when I was 9 years old. I remember asking my mom could I be baptized and was very excited when she said yes. Only about a year before I asked to be baptized the local churches were holding a city-wide joint evangelistic meeting and I was being pressured by one of the Bible workers to be baptized because the other children were doing it. That was NOT a good idea! Thankfully, I was independent and stubborn enough to say no because that was not what I wanted to do and I found it very silly to use that as an excuse. We moved out of state and to my pleasant surprise we ended up in a Evangelistic meeting being held at the local church in our new town. My sister and I both were baptized with many others. I was nine and she was six. I don't think that children should be told that they can't be baptized because they are too young especially when every parent knows their child very well and when and if they are serious about a decision. It is very important that young people not be discouraged from nor pressured into baptism. I am glad I waited and I am now, 30 years later, very active in the church working with... you guessed it young people!

    • Kimberly I am very glad you did not let the Bible Worker pressure you into being baptized! Years ago I had a baptism class at a church school. A mother wanted her daughter to be baptized but she clearly was not interested so she did not come to the class. Her mother asked me why she was not in my class. I told her because she does not want to be there. The mother responded, "She has not choice!" I told her yes she does. I talked to the principal and he agreed with me. No child should be in a baptism class who does not want to be.

      A little over 10 years ago the church I was in had some evangelistic meetings. One woman came who I had been working with for several months. The evangelist pressured her to get baptized to the point that she finally stopped coming. She kept telling the evangelist no but he would not take no for an answer. It made me and the woman feel very uneasy!

      • William Earnhardt I am happy to know that you understand from the teaching side of baptism the importance of no-pressure commitments. Even the Lord doesn't pressure people to love Him! We should do the same. Thank you for standing up to that mother in a loving way to opening her eyes to the idea of choice.

  19. Baptism has more to do with mental maturity than with age. It was fine to be baptized at 7 years for you, but this is no measure to baptize another kid even at 11 yrs old. A child might be 11yrs old and lacks mental, behavioral and other signs of maturity.


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