Pastor Roger, speaking from a “free” church baptistic context (no infant baptism) and concerned about a failure to understand what one is getting into, wonders aloud if churches are baptizing by profession too many too young:
What is your wisdom on this one?
I was seven years old. I was baptized by immersion on Mothers’ Day, 1957.
Two weeks later I sensed that God was telling me that He wanted me to be a pastor. Six years later I preached my first sermon. My life’s work was laid out before me. I never wavered.
My story is highly unusual. I made a deep commitment to Christ and stuck to it. Few determine the course of their lives at the age of seven–and stick to it. Of course, some do.
In an Evangelical Church culture where the age of children baptized reaches down to five or four, it is no wonder that so many of our church children are getting baptized too early and grow up with little whole-hearted dedication to Christ.
Maybe it is time to stop baptizing children and wait until they are twenty or so and in the process of putting in place their life-long values and commitments. It seems to me that we have an intriguing model of twenty-year-old conversions put in place by God when the spies returned and God punished Israel for their lack of faith. He declared that no one over the age of twenty could cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land.
You may have heard the term, the “age of accountability,” which uses the same idea as the story above. The idea is a child has until twenty to make up their mind whether or not they want to follow Christ. The age of accountability varies from person to person–some older/younger than others. If they die before reaching the age of accountability they are not responsible for their sins and thus go to Heaven. However, after reaching the age of accountability they are responsible for their sins and need a personal savior–one who is both Lord and Savior.