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Baptizing 5 Year Olds?

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How young is too young to be baptized? My church baptized two 5 year olds this morning.  This is just MY opinion but that's too young. There may be a very select few 5 yr olds that can truly comprehend salvation but I think (MY OPINION only) that baptizing children this young, makes the conversion of adults and the work and prayers they've put into it of light. IMO that true acknowledgment of the temptation of sin doesn't occur until a child reaches an age of sexuality when true, hard temptation occurs constantly.

Baptism okay as long as it's not an infant? Or when they can repeat a prayer after you? (age 3)?

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My guess is most 5 year old's do not have the maturity to make such a decision & its dangerous. They might be a very few that would understand, yet I think it would be a very few.

 

For the most part the 5 year old would be just imitating the adults, not knowing the full meaning of what is taking place.

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Personally, with children I am very slow to baptise.
They have to request it (not their parents), and then I tell them that there are some things I have to do about it first , then wait for them to ask again.
During that time I watch for signs of real salvation.

It is the understanding, not the age that is important.

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Well said Jerry and Dave! The very rare 5 year old might be able to truly grasp the Gospel, understand and rightly respond, but such would be exceedingly rare. I certainly agree one should be slow and cautious about baptizing young children. The pastor should speak with the child alone and be sure to really go over the matter, and not just simply ask if they believe in Jesus, but ask questions that would require the child to think so the pastor could evaluate whether the answer is reasonable and right, or an attempt to guess the answer or simply repeating something he's heard before or basically memorized.

 

As far as I can recall, our church hasn't baptized anyone that young, or anywhere near that young. Most often the youngest are in their teens, though I think a few over the years may have been between 10 and 12 when baptized, but that's not common.

 

I agree with lefton that baptism is a serious matter and when it comes to young children great caution is in order.

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Children have to be judged on a case-by-case basis. Some children catch on quicker, and others not so much, but it's not the degree of temptation that they need to understand, it's their sin nature and it's consequences and what Christ did to ameliorate that.

 

I personally do not lead a child into a patterned prayer. In fact, I don't use that approach very often at all. The best way to see what they understand is have them repeat back to you what you have told them, and then asked them to pray their own prayer. Not only do I believe that avoids the "quick prayerism" trap, but lets you see just what all they understand. Just don't make it so complicated that they get confused because the gospel was intended to be simple (2 Cor 11:3).

 

If the child has a clear  understanding of the gospel and calls upon the Lord to save them, then there is no reason that they can not be baptized as soon as they can, but that needs to be clearly explained to any parents, and the child. For instance, if it occurs in a church service, don't baptize them right away until you have talked to the parents. Not only will that aggravate the parents, but they may want to call other relatives to watch the baptism.

 

Furthermore, if it is a child that is on a bus route whose parents do not attend church, it provides an opportunity to witness to the parents.

Edited by DrJamesA

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If you say that a child can understand the gospel and be baptized at five (maybe even younger) then you would have to agree that children as young as five or younger are in hell too. 

Edited by ASongOfDegrees

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Mathew19: 13Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 14But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 15And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.

 

It's not for us to say how young or how old. It simply says "suffer them to come" and "forbid them not". A person can't get saved unless they come as a little child anyway. I was 25 and wish now that I had been 5.

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David knew that he would see his child again and his child had not even been out of the womb. 2 Samuel 12:22-23. 

 

Not only is it a matter of what the child can understand, but it is also a matter when sin is imputed. Romans 4:1-7, and that is God's call. Any attempt to rationalize the issue only displays a willingness to use human reasoning to craft fancy arguments that don't use the Bible as the authority on an issue like this.

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David knew that he would see his child again and his child had not even been out of the womb. 2 Samuel 12:22-23. 

 

Not only is it a matter of what the child can understand, but it is also a matter when sin is imputed. Romans 4:1-7, and that is God's call. Any attempt to rationalize the issue only displays a willingness to use human reasoning to craft fancy arguments that don't use the Bible as the authority on an issue like this.

So them there may be 3-5 year olds in hell?

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You are attempting to use emotional logic instead of what the Bible says. There are some things in the Bible that are clear:

 

*That children are said not to be forbidden to come to Christ

 

*That WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord SHALL be saved (except for 5 year olds??? I don't see that)

 

*Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does NOT IMPUTE SIN

 

It is POSSIBLE that a child could be old enough to understand the gospel, and reject it, and end up in hell, but the question of whether God imputes sin to that child at that age is only in the parameter of God's knowledge. God did not spare Egypt's firstborn children, and will not spare children of the apostate whore in Revelation (2:23). But again, whether the child is of age is only a condition of the heart and mind that God is aware of. There are 5 year olds that have a greater understanding of the gospel, sin and consequences than some adults with Downs Syndrome or other mental abnormalities but it's not our job to judge whether or not they have the capacity or not, our job is to present the gospel and let God do His work.

 

If you attempt to make arguments based upon what is not in the Bible, you can have any plethora of false ideas and presumptions. If you explain theories in light of what is clear in the Bible, much less confusion. Now if the Bible is not your final authority, then that's an entirely different argument.

Edited by DrJamesA

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Mathew19: 13Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 14But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 15And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.

 

It's not for us to say how young or how old. It simply says "suffer them to come" and "forbid them not". A person can't get saved unless they come as a little child anyway. I was 25 and wish now that I had been 5.

 

Well said Heartstrings!

 

Our church does not hinder the young from coming up and being baptised. Our pastors will sit them down and ask them several questions to see if they understand salvation and if they have the right answers, they can be baptised. Are they all saved? Probably not, but they are taking a step in the right direction. They want to make a public profession for Christ, why should we forbid that? Jesus obviously didn't.

 

My youngest son professed salvation at six and was very eager to be baptised. Is he saved, I have my doubts, but then I have my doubts about some adults too.

 

Now at eight, my son is also eager every Saturday to stand on a street corner and hold scripture signs for the Lord. Should I turn him away from that too? Maybe all he truly understands is that Jesus can keep him from going to hell and he loves Jesus for that and wants to show that love in some way. Just like he likes to show his love for his Mom and Dad, or his friends. Is that love something I should dampen?

 

If you say that a child can understand the gospel and be baptized at five (maybe even younger) then you would have to agree that children as young as five or younger are in hell too. 

 

As for me, I will stick with the words of Jesus and "suffer little children, and forbid them not" to come to Jesus. Perhaps, ASongOfDegrees, you have scripture to back up this statement, but if not it is nothing more than conjecture based on your thoughts. I'll stick with God's thoughts, thank you!

 

Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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Listen, you will be asked this when witnessing so you better have some kind of answer. If a child as young as 4 or 5 years of age can understand the gospel and be saved then it is only logical (call it "emotional logic" all you want) that a child 4 to 5 years of age can also go to hell. Stop with all the dodging!

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You are attempting to use emotional logic instead of what the Bible says. There are some things in the Bible that are clear:

 

*That children are said not to be forbidden to come to Christ

 

*That WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord SHALL be saved (except for 5 year olds??? I don't see that)

 

*Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does NOT IMPUTE SIN

 

It is POSSIBLE that a child could be old enough to understand the gospel, and reject it, and end up in hell, but the question of whether God imputes sin to that child at that age is only in the parameter of God's knowledge. God did not spare Egypt's firstborn children, and will not spare children of the apostate whore in Revelation (2:23). But again, whether the child is of age is only a condition of the heart and mind that God is aware of. There are 5 year olds that have a greater understanding of the gospel, sin and consequences than some adults with Downs Syndrome or other mental abnormalities but it's not our job to judge whether or not they have the capacity or not, our job is to present the gospel and let God do His work.

 

If you attempt to make arguments based upon what is not in the Bible, you can have any plethora of false ideas and presumptions. If you explain theories in light of what is clear in the Bible, much less confusion. Now if the Bible is not your final authority, then that's an entirely different argument.

I'm just trying to get a straightforward answer from someone. If a child can understand sin then God's righteousness is no longer imputed to him. Therefore it can only be concluded that if a child as young as five can understand his need for a Savior then he can also be damned to hell if he doesn't receive the Savior for whatever reason. Therefore there is a chance that there are children as young as four (the youngest age I've heard someone claim they got saved) who are burning in hell.

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Listen, you will be asked this when witnessing so you better have some kind of answer. If a child as young as 4 or 5 years of age can understand the gospel and be saved then it is only logical (call it "emotional logic" all you want) that a child 4 to 5 years of age can also go to hell. Stop with all the dodging!

There is no dodging, the question was asked and answered with Scripture. God makes provisions for not imputing sin in Romans chapter 4:1-8, and I clearly stated that it is POSSIBLE that if God deems a child accountable that they can go to hell for rejecting the gospel. I also used the example of God killing all the firstborn in Egypt, as well as the apostate whore and anyone that gets into bed with her in Revelation 2:23.

 

Man is born in sin (Rom 5:12) and is already under condemnation (John 3:17-18). But, the fact that David said he would see his child again when that child never had a chance to repent or acknowledge his sinful state shows that even though there are those born under condemnation, there is a limit where God does not impute sin. Now if you can show me in the Bible where that specific age is at, then I'll quit saying that only God knows when any particular child is of age to be held accountable for their rejection of the gospel.

 

And I have been asked that question before, several times, right along with "what about those in Africa who don't have any missionaries and/or have never heard the gospel?" and I give them the same answer (with the addition of explaining Romans 2 to the latter).

 

A person does not go to hell because of their age, they go to hell because God holds them accountable for their knowledge of the gospel, and whether they accept or reject it. However, there is a difference between judgment and sentencing. Judgment has pronounced on all from birth, but the execution of that judgment falls under the permissible will and patience of God as to whether that person is going to have the sin nature imputed to them and then sentenced according to the decision they have made regarding the gospel.

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I'm just trying to get a straightforward answer from someone. If a child can understand sin then God's righteousness is no longer imputed to him. Therefore it can only be concluded that if a child as young as five can understand his need for a Savior then he can also be damned to hell if he doesn't receive the Savior for whatever reason. Therefore there is a chance that there are children as young as four (the youngest age I've heard someone claim they got saved) who are burning in hell.

You are basing that argument on a false premise. You are arguing that God withdraws his imputed righteousness from the child and that's not what the Scripture teaches. Ever heard the phrase that "grace is getting what you do not deserve, and mercy is not getting what you DO deserve"? As with a person born into sin, they do not have righteousness imputed to them, that does not occur until one receives Christ. But they do not have the sentence from the sin nature imputed to them.

 

I don't know of any child that has ever had the gospel explained to them, acknowledged their sin and then rejected Christ. I have yet to meet a 5 year old atheist that actually believes what an atheist parent may tell them. But even in that scenario, the atheist parent did not explain the truth of sin and the gospel to the child. If a child demonstrates that they understand the gospel, and they receive Christ, they are saved, simple as that, and since salvation can not be lost, there is no danger of that child going to hell.

 

But the specific age is a matter of "who hath known the mind of the Lord". There are many things in the Bible that are crystal clear, then there are others that you must rely on what the Bible DOES say about the issue, not what it does NOT say. Does the Bible specifically prohibit smoking or watching television? NO. But it does say that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and David said "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes". There are general principles and truisms in the Bible that are guides to explain matters that may not be specifically covered in the Bible.

Edited by DrJamesA

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Dr. J,

"A person does not go to hell because of their age, they go to hell because God holds them accountable for their knowledge of the gospel, and whether they accept or reject it. However, there is a difference between judgment and sentencing. Judgment has pronounced on all from birth, but the execution of that judgment falls under the permissible will and patience of God as to whether that person is going to have the sin nature imputed to them and then sentenced according to the decision they have made regarding the gospel."

 

I am a little confused as to what you mean.  Did you mean some people will not go to hell because God never imputed sin to them?

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Age has nothing to do with it.
and.actually, for a point of clarity, rejecting the Gospel has nothing to do with it.
Rejecting your own sinful state and rejecting God is the determinate.

The Bible tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God. There is enough testimony in creation for a man to become aware of these things.

If a person becomes aware of their state and of God's existence, but does not seek Him out, then he has rejected God, and thus becomes accountable.

The reason I state it this way is simply because some will - and have - suggested that.those who have never heard the Gospel are judged differently.

accountability comes with realisation of sin and accountability to God.
It is to do with understanding - that is why age is irrelevant. Everyone grows and develops at different rates, so that time will be different for each and every person.

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Such a long discussion for a topic that, to me, seems fairly straightforward.

 

Once a child understands sin and understands Jesus and understands salvation, he can get saved.   After he is saved, then he should get baptized.   It takes a responsible parent or teacher to make sure the understanding is there and is genuine.    As long as it is the child's decision and not a parent or teacher nagging the child to do something, then there is no reason to deny a child from coming to God and following Him in obedience.

 

As far as admitting a child is in hell, well yes, its not fun, but if a child is old enough to accept Christ (truly and fully, meaning, yes, without a doubt, he is saved) then he is old enough to reject Christ, and thus old enough to go to hell.

 

The other option is that nobody goes to hell until they're 12.    However if you believe THAT, you'd have to believe that 11 year olds that rape or hurt or even kill others will still go to Heaven.  So...you have to pick your "uncomfortable truth".

 

Only God knows which of the two ideas is "truth" but its probably somewhere in between....God can see hearts and God knows what children (or handicapped adults, even) are capable of.   "Without the law there is no sin imputed" so that means if a person cannot comprehend sin, then likely, they don't have it imputed to their account.   This is where we have to trust God to do the "right thing" (His way is perfect) instead of worrying about it, or trying to micromanage things.

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Right, if they are 5 year old's, 4 year old's, even 3 year old's,  that can understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ & be saved, there are also 5 year old's, 4 year old's, even 3 year old's that can understand the Gospel rejecting Jesus as their Savior, them be doomed for Hell if they die in that condition because they understood & rejected the Savior.

 

Some people walk down only down one way streets, in order to dodge questions, while looking for every opportunity to tell others they are projecting a false Gospel.

 

I would be very careful, cautious baptizing 5 or 4 or 3 year old's. They have a habit of imitating their parents & others, not really understanding everything. The same is true for 6, 7, or even 8 years old or older.

 

By the way, I did not say it was not possible, & even if you put off the baptizing, that will not keep them from being saved, so you are not cutting them off from Jesus nor God, your not hindering them from coming to Jesus, your not blocking them from Heaven, Baptizing never saved a soul from Hell. Unless your a member of a church that believes in baptism regeneration, & of course that is false teaching, because one is saved by faith alone!  So stop acting like some are trying to hinder them from coming to Jesus, from being saved.

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Dr. J,

"A person does not go to hell because of their age, they go to hell because God holds them accountable for their knowledge of the gospel, and whether they accept or reject it. However, there is a difference between judgment and sentencing. Judgment has pronounced on all from birth, but the execution of that judgment falls under the permissible will and patience of God as to whether that person is going to have the sin nature imputed to them and then sentenced according to the decision they have made regarding the gospel."

 

I am a little confused as to what you mean.  Did you mean some people will not go to hell because God never imputed sin to them?

Yes. But that "some people" is limited to those who died before having the capacity to comprehend the scriptures and fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit as in the case with children (i.e. David's child 2 Samuel 12). However, the parameters of that persons capacity are only known to God, and should not be used as an excuse to refrain from the presenting the gospel to a child (unless one is a hyper Calvinist that believes the child must have not been "elected").

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Age has nothing to do with it.
and.actually, for a point of clarity, rejecting the Gospel has nothing to do with it.
Rejecting your own sinful state and rejecting God is the determinate.

The Bible tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God. There is enough testimony in creation for a man to become aware of these things.

If a person becomes aware of their state and of God's existence, but does not seek Him out, then he has rejected God, and thus becomes accountable.

The reason I state it this way is simply because some will - and have - suggested that.those who have never heard the Gospel are judged differently.

accountability comes with realisation of sin and accountability to God.
It is to do with understanding - that is why age is irrelevant. Everyone grows and develops at different rates, so that time will be different for each and every person.

I agree with almost everything you said except "rejecting the Gospel has nothing to do with it".

 

"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, that OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ" 2 Thess 1:8.

 

What you are referring to is another subject entirely (Law of Conscience from Romans 1:17-32 and 2:12-15) that applies to the argument I mentioned earlier about those in other countries who it has been argued have never heard the gospel.

 

This subject is about the accountability of someone that dies before they are able to search for their shoes and "baba" let alone God and whether or not sin is imputed to a child before that child has the capacity to comprehend sin, judgment, and the gospel (all of which go hand-in-hand).

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Only when it goes with the cause when trying to make someone wrong when they're right.

If you can prove from Scripture that what I stated is wrong, and refute the Biblical foundations that I gave (which are similar to what others said) then by all means, do so. Or, you can simply keep acting like a jerk in assuming that everyone that has a different opinion has an ulterior motive

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