When Should We Baptize Kids?

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

Among those who practice believer's baptism (credo-baptism), there are  two basic positions regarding the questions of childhood participation in the church ordinances, baptism and communion, and childhood church membership.  The two views are:

  1. Withholding baptism and communion from children until they reach a level of maturity that is independent of their parents in matters relating to God and the church.
  2. Immediate participation in baptism and communion for believing children, who are recognized as church members with limited responsibilities.

Over the past few weeks, both Trevin Wax (Kingdom People) and John Starke (The Gospel Coalition) have weighed in on this discussion.  Both suggested four principles.

Trevin takes the "withholding" position:

  • We should actively share the gospel with our children, and we should encourage them when they trust Christ.
  • Those who are baptized must be able to make a credible profession of faith.
  • There is wisdom in delaying baptism for young children.
  • Delaying baptism does not mean we should consider childhood baptisms invalid.

John takes the "immediate participation" position.  He argues as follows:

  • The regular pattern in Scripture doesn’t give any indication of a probationary period.
  • A probationary period seems to imply that there is something more than faith we need to do in order to be a Christian.
  • Affirming belief in the gospel is never false assurance.
  • The New Testament pattern is reactive rather than proactive concerning conversion.

At Sojourn, we practice a version of the "withholding" position.  Similar to Trevin, we advocate waiting until age 12 though we definitely affirm conversions at earlier ages.  You can download the latest update of our position paper, policy, and process here and at the Bethlehem Baptist (Minneapolis) site.  The paper outlines what we see as the strengths and weaknesses of both positions.  I definitely think that the "immediate participation" position can be practice with gospel thoughtfulness.   Church leaders and parents will benefit by reading the full articles by Trevin and John, our full position paper, and these resources as well:

HT: Tony Kummer, Justin Taylor


Bethlehem Baptist's New Youth Baptism Policy

UncategorizedJared Kennedy1 Comment

Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, where David Michael serves as family pastor, recently updated their youth baptism information brochure and process.  As part of that revision, they have provided a link to an explanation paper written by Scott Holman, a friend and fellow Sojourner, and myself.  Bethlehem is a model church and a mentor to Sojourn in many ways.   It is humbling that something we have been part of writing has been used and highlighted by a mentor church body that we respect very much.  May the Lord be glorified in our efforts, and in the lives of the children and families who are part of this process at both Bethlehem and Sojourn.

"First Step" Children's Discipleship Classes

UncategorizedJared Kennedy3 Comments

Doug Wolter and the guys at LaGrange Baptist offer a discipleship class for children and their parents yearly called "First Step." The goal is to partner with parents in their God-given role as faith nurturers in the home.  To that end this class aims to be a catalyst for more gospel conversations between the parent and child outside of class.  We'll be doing something similar here at Sojourn on March 21st & 28th during the 11:00 AM service.  We're calling our version the "Ask Class: For Parents & Kids with Questions about Salvation & Baptism."  I'm finding Doug's class to be really helpful as Pastor Gary and I prepare for our own.

The LaGrange Baptist First Step classes can be streamed or downloaded here:

Part 1: Salvation Listen Listen |  Download Download To download this message, right click “Download” and select “Save Target As…”

Part 2: Assurance and Baptism Listen Listen |  Download Download To download this message, right click “Download” and select “Save Target As…”

HT: Doug Wolter