Semper Blog

Coffee in...pontification out

“Children should be in an area where they are taught at their level!”

You have all heard this in our churches; this thinking is flawed and highly unbiblical. This thinking is generally considered normal in most churches in our day; we ship our children off to ‘children’s church’, away from the means of grace, to a non-ordained person. How is it that this is a good thing? How can you call this “church”? The church is where the Pastor preaches and God speaks directly through the man. A few things occur when we subject ourselves to this travesty. Firstly, the child fails to hear the gospel message every Lord’s day. Secondly, we divide the family unit. We transfer order from our federal headship of that particular family and give it to another person, who is not of this particular family unit. Thirdly, these kiddie churches (if you can call it that) are rank with coloring books, toys and things of this nature; the children see church as a time of playing; the reverence that should be there is soon lost and the children get used to not worshipping with their family and see no injustice in ‘coloring’ their way into hell. As well, the leaders are generally women from the church body who are essentially babysitting; many see it this way. There is no ordained man there ministering nor are the means of grace being distributed.

The gospel can be heard by all; age is insignificant. It is a simple message that pierces through that which we believe to be impossible;  on one hand, all theologians would agree, men come to faith via regeneration from above; the conversion process take gray matter (os so it would seem). Men cannot assent to truths that they are not aware of, right? Think about the three elements of salvation; Fiducia, ascentia and notitia. Charles Hodge writes:

The Bible makes eternal life to consist in knowledge; sinfulness is blindness, or darkness; the transition from a state of sin to a state of holiness is a translation from darkness into light; men are said to be renewed unto knowledge, i.e., knowledge is the effect of regeneration; conversion is said to be effected by the revelation of Christ; the rejection of Him as the Son of God and Saviour of men is referred to the fact that the eyes of those who believe not are blinded by the god of this world. These Scriptural representations prove much. They prove that knowledge is essential to all holy exercises; that truth, as the object of knowledge, is of vital importance, and that error is always evil and often fatal; and that the effects of regeneration, so far as they reveal themselves in our consciousness, consist largely in the spiritual apprehension or discernment of divine things. These representations also prove that in the order of nature, knowledge, or spiritual discernment, is antecedent and causative relatively to all holy exercises of the feelings or affections. It is the spiritual apprehension of the truth that awakens love, faith, and delight; and not love that produces spiritual discernment. It was the vision Paul had of the divine glory of Christ that made him instantly and forever his worshipper and servant. The Scriptures, however, do not teach that regeneration consists exclusively in illumination, or that the cognitive faculties are exclusively the subject of the renewing power of the Spirit. It is the soul as such that is spiritually dead; and it is to the soul that a new principle of life controlling all its exercises, whether of the intellect, the sensibility, the conscience, or the will is imparted.

Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. 3 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 16–17.

What Hodge is stating is the general rule. But what of the imbecile? Could it be possible that no imbecile could be saved? How do we reconcile this with what I and Hodge are saying here? Simply, Christ Jesus goes to this person, just like the elect infant about to die in infancy, and brings regeneration and the needed information to the individual; Christ will lose none of His! He saves to the uttermost. But I digress here. Getting back to the point of this short paper, who are we to say that God and his Holy Spirit cannot work in our children in the same fashion? Shipping them away from the means of grace is preposterous as how will they be saved if they cannot ever hear the gospel message from the proclaimer of such messages, each and every Lord’s day? May God have mercy on our churches that subject their young to such things.

Mt 21:15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, 16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? 17 And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.

Babes:

νήπιος

For νήπιος, “immature,” “foolish,” no convincing derivation has yet been found. The old connection with ἔπος εἰπεῖν (with negation == Lat. infans). and with ἤπιος, “gentle,” has been given up, but interpretation as “without understanding,” in terms of πινυτός, “understanding” and πινυτή, “the understanding,” which is built on the apparently related Homeric νηπύτιος (though this is not used of children), causes great difficulties. More likely is a link with the Ion νηπελέω, “to be without power” etc., which gives the meaning “impotent,” “weak.” In fact the term comprises the concept of a child as well as that of the person who in various ways is without understanding.

Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 912.

Suckling:

θηλάζω thēlazō; from θηλή thēlē (a nipple); to suckle:—nursed(1), nursing babies(4).

Robert L. Thomas, New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : Updated Edition (Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998).

Isaiah 55:12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Lk 19:39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

The Gospel transcend human understanding. The inanimate becomes animated if God so wills! Consider (even) ‘rocks’ crying out. All of creation worships God!

Rom 10: 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18

Monergism is the act where the power of the word of God, yes, that same power that brought the world into being, righteous fiat, ex-nihilo, transcends the mind of men and God takes possession of what is His, by His divine decree and order; as He so wills, to ‘whomever’, even infants and imbeciles.

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