Is My Son Ready for Baptism?

Earlier this year, I had a conversation with my son Elijah about communion and baptism. I believe that baptism should precede communion (and a better theologian agrees), so Elijah has not been allowed to take the Lord's Supper.

But our conversation did not end there. We've continued (over years, actually) to discuss faith, discipleship, baptism, and related topics. It's just a part of our regular life to have these talks (Deuteronomy 6:7).

"My Life Before I Met Jesus"
A few weeks ago, during our church worship service, the pastor had everyone write down what your life was like before you "met Jesus." Church-lingo aside, it was a great opportunity for the congregation to reflect on our lives.

These are the words Elijah wrote:  Miserable  Bad  Horrible

I told him that was great, but inwardly I wanted to know what he was thinking. When we talked about it later, he explained that he used to think that his life was good. But now that he's been reading the Bible and that he knows God more, his life is much, much better.

Faith Like a Child
Does "life being better" make one a true follower? Not in and of itself. But I think Elijah is trying to express that God is his joy, and that Jesus makes life so much sweeter, fuller, and meaningful.

My tendency has been to be cautious about children being baptized, even to generally say that children are probably not ready to be baptized. My concern is that we give a child a false assurance, and that we parents push our children in this out of fear (wanting them to be saved).

But I've also been received counsel (from other pastors, friends, and this guy) that we parents can go too far on the other end of the spectrum. I don't want to be so "cautious" (or fearful) that I discourage Elijah in his walk. I need to trust God no matter what decision we make.

Now What?
I think Elijah may be a follower of Jesus. He knows the truth of the Gospel. He bears fruit, like good works and heart-felt repentance, though he is a sinner (and will readily admit that). He acts like he thinks he is a believer, if you understand what I mean.

My job is to help him grow in his faith, no matter where he is in his relationship with God. I do believe that God is working in his heart, and I don't need to doubt Elijah's profession of faith.

Elijah wants to be baptized. More importantly, he has a desire to follow Jesus, as best he knows how. We are trying to help him figure out what that looks like in reality, just as I struggle with always knowing what that means.

I was encouraged as I watched testimonies from folks at Grace Church; actually, Elijah and I watched them together. (If you want to know more, there is great material about baptism on the church website.) I loved seeing the number of children who have made professions of faith, and who followed Jesus in the act of baptism.

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