"Suffer The Little Children To Come Unto Me"   

Mark 10:14

     Few words spoken by our Lord have been more twisted and misapplied than these. In almost all religious circles, they are used as an excuse to pump a profession of faith from young children, so that mom and dad can convince themselves that their children have been saved. But our Lord simply told his disciples not to hinder parents from bringing their children to him; and he used them for an illustration of the character of the regenerate soul. These words, however, have no connection with faith or a profession of faith.

     Today, I received a letter from a young father who is a personal friend. In the letter he asked me about his three year old daughter professing faith in Christ. His question is one that I have often been asked by zealous young parents. The following is my reply to it.

     "Before encouraging your three year old to make a profession of faith, may I offer a suggestion? Search the Scriptures and find a place, any place in the New Testament, where children were baptized or encouraged to be baptized (to profess faith in Christ). It appears to me that the gospel is addressed to mature, responsible adults, capable of weighing the matters of sin and holiness, wrath and grace, justice and mercy, time and eternity. Would it not be far better to simply preach and teach the gospel of God's grace to our sons and daughters, pray for them, encourage them to trust the Lord, and wait for God to do his work in their hearts and lives, if he is pleased to save them? Is it not better to trust God to save his elect through the preaching of the Word, as he said he would?

     The danger of getting children to make a profession of faith when they have not genuinely experienced the grace of God is, in my opinion, exactly the same as that of an unbeliever who receives the Lord's Supper and thereby eats and drinks damnation to himself, `Not discerning the Lord's body,' that is, not realizing the necessity of Christ's incarnation, obedience, and death as our Substitute.

     In a word, those who profess and practice religion without a personal, genuine knowledge of Christ make for themselves a refuge of lies and a covenant with death that gives them security without salvation (Isa. 28:14-20). I can think of nothing more dangerous."


Don Fortner