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Age for Baptism

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by GBC Pastor, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. GBC Pastor

    GBC Pastor New Member

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    What is the youngest person you have baptized or seen baptized? I have a pastor friend who recently baptized a girl who was 4 years old. My own children are four and six, and both still seem too young even though they are both asking more questions about baptism and salvation of late. Four just seems awfully young to me, but what do the rest of you think?
     
  2. matt wade

    matt wade Well-Known Member

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    Age has nothing to do with it. Only born again Christians should be baptized. If they have been born again, then baptize away!
     
  3. GBC Pastor

    GBC Pastor New Member

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    Gotta say I disagree. Age seems to me a pretty big factor in determining the child's actual awareness of what it truly means to be "born again." I haven't met too many spiritually aware four year olds.
     
  4. matt wade

    matt wade Well-Known Member

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    I agree...age may be a factor in being born again, but not in baptism. You specifically asked about "Age for Baptism".
     
  5. GBC Pastor

    GBC Pastor New Member

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    :laugh: Wow. I guess I shouldn't make the assumption that people would know that I meant the baptism of a saved person! I felt so confident that people could link the two together on their own!

    At least in my church baptism necessitates being born again. In my role as a pastor to consent to a child being baptized is to also consent to a belief that the child is mature enough to understand what it means to be born again, and that this has taken place in their lives. Although no pastor can know with certainty.

    It seems to me a better idea to hold off on baptism in the case of the very young. If the four year old in this instance is saved, then not being baptized won't change anything. But baptizing a child who does not truly grasp what baptism means can lead to great confusion down the road.
     
  6. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    The initial question should be: does a 4 year old actually and fully understand the plan of salvation?

    I would say for the most part - not so much. I would be very hesitant to baptize a very young child.

    Salty
     
  7. annsni

    annsni Administrator
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    There's no hard and fast rule at our church but basically the child needs to be able to vocalize their faith and write a testimony. My children were saved around 4-5 years of age but they were not ready to explain their faith until they were a little older. My oldest was 10 when she was baptized and my next one was 8. They were both baptized the same day. My son was just baptized at 9 years old and my youngest is asking about it at 7 but she cannot explain to us her faith so we are waiting a bit until we allow her to be baptized. OH - she's also pretty short so I'm not sure if she's tall enough for the baptismal yet. LOL
     
  8. StefanM

    StefanM Well-Known Member
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    I like your approach! It sounds prudent without setting an arbitrary age.
     
  9. annsni

    annsni Administrator
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  10. GBC Pastor

    GBC Pastor New Member

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    I concur. :thumbs:

    This is what I try to do as well.
     
  11. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    The Elders of Capitol Hill Baptist Church have spoken:

     
  12. matt wade

    matt wade Well-Known Member

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    Right...because the Capital Hill Baptist Church Elders are the ultimate authority on these matters... :rolleyes:
     
  13. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    Such pronouncements are quite influential among those who have received the (9) Mark.:thumbs:
     
  14. matt wade

    matt wade Well-Known Member

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    And here I've always thought receiving the Mark was a bad thing?
     
  15. Jim1999

    Jim1999 <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

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    In the Church of England, I was confirmed at 13. It was preceeded by very detailed studies of the word, church, salvation. That church deemed the person to have understanding at that age.

    In my baptist churches, I followed similar thinking, and baptized only those who truly understood their personal reception of Christ as Saviour, and that age seemed appropriate.

    I guess my answer is age of understanding and personal commitment to Christ.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  16. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant Active Member

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    It's difficult to make a hard and fast rule. We question all people pretty thoroughly. With children, the children's workers talk to them to determine if they understand what salvation is. Then I have some time with them. Then we go to the parents and talk to them.

    If all are in agreement, we will baptize. But that does not make them members of the church. Baptism, for us, is just a symbol of salvation. Membership includes much more!
     
  17. annsni

    annsni Administrator
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    This we agree with. Baptism and membership are two different things in our church although having had a believer's baptism is a requirement for membership.
     
  18. annsni

    annsni Administrator
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    I will disagree with them because I don't see Scriptural support for their waiting until adulthood. I see support for being able to verbalize your faith but not that you need to be driving and have a job.
     
  19. GBC Pastor

    GBC Pastor New Member

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    Tom: Not to derail my own thread, but I would like to hear what additional requirements your church has for membership beyond believer's baptism.

    In my church, membership is based on believer's baptism, counseling/bible study on the church covenant, affirmation of the church covenant, and of course a vote by the congregation.
     
  20. annsni

    annsni Administrator
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    Pretty much the same here.
     
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