Infants and the Church

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Michael Wrenn, Sep 26, 2001.

  1. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    What relationship, if any, do infants of Christian parents have to the visible, physical New Covenant community, the church? Should they be considered partial members, or associate memebers, or some similar designation? I want to stress that I'm not talking about infant baptism now.
     
  2. Brother Adam

    Brother Adam
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    Any child who is not a believer and baptized in most baptist churches is not considered a member of the local church.

    If you are talking about the catholic church (catholic=universal or Christ's churh) than I am one of the few who believe that infants go to heaven if they die. I also believe anyone who is alive that does not have the capacity to understand and accept the salvation message is saved (i.e. severely handicapped induviduals)

    Until Next Post, Adam
     
  3. preacher

    preacher
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    Isa 11:6
    The wolf also shall
    dwell with the lamb,
    and the leopard shall
    lie down with the kid;
    and the calf and the
    young lion and the
    fatling together; and a
    little child shall lead
    them.
    A little out of context mabey, but children have a vital role in the church, just as they do in our families. They don't make the decisions in either case, but sometimes a child can give you an insite to a situation
    that we wouldn't see because they haven't had the time to have the world affect them as it has us. Simple Innocence! ;)
     
  4. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Preacher,

    Thanks; good post!

    What do you think about giving them an "associate membership", or something similar, in the church?
     
  5. preacher

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    I'm not really sure what you mean. To get technical, one has to be baptized, after
    conversion, to become a "member" of a local congregation, in the Baptist faith anyway.
    Church membership wouldn't do a young child any good, & could confuse some. Now if a child,at whatever age, is able to understand
    their sin and they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, then fine, Baptize them & give them the full honors & duties of membership.
    Does this help any? I 've never really thought on this till now, one if the good things about this Board! [​IMG]
     
  6. John Wells

    John Wells
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    1 Corinthians 7:14 (ESV)
    14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

    This does not refer to salvation. The Christian need not separate from an unbeliever because of fear that the unbelieving spouse may defile the children. God promises the opposite. They would be unclean if both parents were unsaved, but the presence of one believing parent exposes the children to blessing and brings them protection. The presence of even one Christian parent will protect children from undue spiritual harm and they will receive many blessings, and often that includes salvation based on being “trained in the admonition of the Lord.” This is why many Baptist churches have “Baby Dedication” ceremonies, which is far from infant baptism. It’s not really the baby that’s being dedicated, but rather the parents are dedicating themselves to the challenge of raising the child by godly principals and influence as Christian role models.

    Concerning if a child dies and they were too young to understand the gospel:

    2 Samuel 12:19-23 (ESV)
    19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.”
    20 Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate.
    21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.”
    22 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’
    23 But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”

    David would someday join his son after his own death. Here is the confidence that there is a future reunion after death, which includes infants who have died being reunited with saints who die.

    Mark 10:13-15 (ESV)
    13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.
    14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
    15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

    Matthew 18:14 (ESV)
    14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

    John 6:37 (ESV)
    37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

    Members of Baptist churches should be believers who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, confessed their sins, and followed in obedience with believer's baptism. This would rule out babies and small children too young to make a mature profession of faith.
     
  7. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Preacher and John,

    I didn't say infants of Christian parents should be given full membership the way that their parents and other believers are, but it seems acceptable to me that they be given an "associate member" status. They are neither believers nor unbelievers--they are simply not capable of being either, but they are a part of the visible church as children of believers. Therefore, I think it highly appropriate that they be given some designation that represents this relationship. And I am NOT arguing here for infant baptism.

    Well, what do you think?
     
  8. preacher

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    I'd guess as far as anything short of "full"
    membership I'd say no then. Whats so important anyway, what counts is that their names be in the book of Life, not so much on the church roll. Mabey I'm not grasping where you're going with this & I'm sorry. I don't see the importance of , say a one year old being given membership.
     
  9. John Wells

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    Unless God ordained a census, He considered the taking of one a sin. Churches should not be concerned about their numbers. Churches and their leaders are called on to grow depth (disciple their flocks) and leave the width (while evangelizing) to the Lord.

    The Greek word for church is ekklesia, which is brought over into English in the word ecclesiastical. The English word church is similar in sound and form to other languages’ word for church. Kirk in Scotland, kerk in Holland, and kirche in Germany all derive from the same root. That source is the Greek word kuriache, which means “those who belong to the kurios.” Thus the word church in its literal origin means “the people who belong to the Lord.”

    I see no purpose, other than a numbers/ego game that would be produced by adding infants to some "membership status" of their parent's church.

    [ September 28, 2001: Message edited by: John Wells ]
     
  10. Michael Wrenn

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    How about because infants are included in the "people who belong to the Lord".
     
  11. John Wells

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    Because there is a difference in "people who belong to the Lord" if they were to die today, in the case of children and infirm people who cannot understand their condition and position, and "people who belong to the Lord" permanently because they have confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior. Again I ask, what purpose does this headcount serve? Does a database that shows 321 church members + 31 infants and infirms result in giving more glory to God? I guess the answer is highly subjective. It might give more glory to those in the church walking in the flesh though!
     
  12. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    I realize that difference, but keep in mind that Jesus said we must become like little children to enter the kingdom, not that little children must become like adults. It just seems harsh and against the spirit of Christ to exclude chidren entirely. If membership in the visible church matters as little as you say it does, why have ANY formal membership at all?
     

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