Children of Christians Are Holy Unto the Lord
Children of Christians are Holy Seed
At this point in my life I have lived long enough to draw some conclusions from observations that I have made along the way. One very pointed observation is the mistake made by Evangelicalism (for this writing I am placing Pentecostalism within this category) concerning how Christians are made. Because the “new birth” teaching is applied to each new generation of Christians, by Evangelical theology, it becomes necessary to re-evangelize each generation, or lose them to Secular Humanism, or worse. It is obvious that we are not very adapted to such a task. Consequently, then, the main-line Evangelical groups ( e.g. main-line Protestant denominations) are shrinking in number in each succeeding generation. There is no comfort when Pentecostal camps boast that their numbers are rising. With them it is only the spiritually hungry from the main-line Evangelical, Catholic, (we might throw the Orthodox in for good measure) that are making a lateral move. It is not that they are becoming Christians by moving over to a Pentecostal pew; it is just that the floor show is better. But even in the Pentecostal (non-denominational type) churches, very few of their children will follow through. The mega-church is a fad; and when the spiritual crowd get their fill of religious entertainment, their buildings will be vast warehouses - not even a museum piece of architecture.
Yes, I confess that the New Testament teaches to be “Born Again.” However, I am no longer sure of the need of each succeeding generation of Christians being required to have the exact new birth experience as did the first. The challenge arises when we must admit that the New Testament gives no example of any but first generation converts. I mean, we have no biblical example of how second and succeeding generations were made Christians. Of course, when I speak of succeeding generation I am speaking of those born into Christian families. Early in the life of the Church historical records reveal the practice of Infant Baptism. It has become my conviction that the early Christians solved the question of: Now that I am a Christian, how are my children made Christians? They concluded, from Old Testament example, that their children were Christians already by right of birth and only needed the seal of the covenant, i.e. water baptism.
Infant Water Baptism was practiced because of their belief in the theology of the covenants. Paul, and the other apostles, taught that the New Covenant was the fruition of the Old. Water Baptism was Christian circumcision. Under the Old Covenant, infants were circumcised at eight days old (Luke 2:21). Paul parallels Old Testament circumcision with New Testament Water Baptism (Colossians 2:11-12). There is also an understanding that apostolic example is provided for Infant Water Baptism in the fact that whole households were Water Baptized in the book of Acts (Acts 10:24, 44, 48; 16:15; 16:31-34; 18:8; see also First Corinthians 1:16); it is assumed that the households included small children and infants. Moreover, the words of Paul in First Corinthians 7:14, that the children of believers are holy, gives strong indication that the children of believers are “holy seed” (Ezra 9:2; Isaiah 6:13), and are therefore born into covenant prerogatives.
Jesus told Nicodemus that the Jewish people must be born again (John 3:1-8). The apostolic missionaries took the same message to the world. Consequently, then, each individual of first generation believers were brought to a crisis point of belief; where a conscious decision is made to produce repentance and acceptance of Christ. Now we come to the children of those who were “born again.” Are they born into new covenant prerogatives by virtue of their parent’s New Birth? Or are they born into the world, and must be evangelized at some point in the future, AFTER their carnal man has been awakened? By taking the latter road (which is the lower road) the salvation of succeeding generations of Christians is but a roll of the dice. By taking the lower road, Christianity is weakened in the face of her enemies. Nay, the former road is the biblical and higher road. The children of Christians are holy seed, and, as a result are born Christians, and are eligible for all Christian prerogatives; by this, Christianity is strengthened in the face of her enemies.
The enemies of Christianity (Secular Humanism in the West, and Islam and Judaism in both the West and East) do not have any such identity crisis as does Evangelical/Pentecostal Christianity. One is born a Muslim, or a Jew. There is no conversion process for their children. As for Secular Humanism: If our children do not have their Christian identity by age four they are most likely lost forever. At or about age four, most Christian parents mindlessly hand their precious holy seed over to the agents of Secular Humanism for the next 14-18 years. Then these same Christian parents are scandalized when the college student, home on spring break, debates with his/her parents on the value of religion.
For Muslims, being a Muslim is not an option, one is born a Muslim. For a Jew, being a Jew is not an option, one is born a Jew. Only in Christian Evangelicalism must children, usually teenagers, decide to be Christian. And they, most of the time, are not confronted with this crisis decision until they have the tentacles of Secular Humanism wrapped tightly around them. In the camp of our enemies, if a decision is made, it is made to NOT be a Muslim, or to NOT be a Jew. It should be so in Christianity! If a Christian is to be faced with a crisis decision, it should be: NOT to be a Christian. Instead, however, we have stood the process on its head; and, we have placed obstacles in our childrens' pathway to becoming a Christian. We have unwittingly placed blockades in their journey to Christ. Thanks be to God, that our children, the strong ones, run the blockades. But what about those not so strong, not so determined? They are lost to the world. Why? Because they never knew they were Christians from birth. In fact they were told they were alien sinners, and that their sins made them despicable to God, and that they must struggle and fight their way to God, with tears and self-loathing, to seek His forgiveness. Why do we labor at bringing our precious innocent children to the place of self-loathing, hoping they will accept Christ and become clean, when the Bible tells us they are holy from the beginning? Why?
☩ Jerry L Hayes
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The Disciples of the Way (Apostolic) is an introduction to the DOTWA. This book contains DOTWA's mission statement in the form of a Manifesto, and the statement of faith in the form of the Apostolic Creed. Also, included is the entire study course for the Novice which is complete with the exam. This book is designed to totally inform the person wanting to know about the Disciples of the Way (Apostolic).