Children in the New Covenant: Baby-Baptism Part IV

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At the end of a YouTube clip comparing Baptist covenant theology to Reformed covenant theology, the Baptist speaker asks the question: Who are the Kingdom people? (For a better view of a Baptist position, you can watch the YouTube clip here). The speaker wants to define the people of the New Covenant Kingdom as the regenerate and the elect. Yes, new believers are called to repentance and faith, and even children are called to repentance and faith. But to affirm this, is not a rejection of children as part of the new covenant community. Consider the way Jesus treats children and the way Paul (and Peter, for that matter) addresses children:

Who are some of the people of this Kingdom that Jesus inaugurates? Here is a glimpse into how the New Testament speaks about kids.

“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’ And he laid his hands on them and went away.” (Matt. 9:13-15)

“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’ And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.” (Mark 10:13-16)

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.'” (Matt. 18:1-6)

“For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” (I Cor. 7:14)

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.’ Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:1-4)

“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” (Col. 3:20-21)

“And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.'” (Acts 2:38-39)

In the Church of Scotland, the Book of Common Order, you will find this French Huguenot hymn. In this hymn, the Huguenots sought to reflect the teaching of Scripture, and Jesus’ love for the little children:

For you Jesus Christ came into the world:
for you he lived and showed God’s love;
for you he suffered the darkness of Calvary
and cried at the last, ‘It is accomplished’;
for you he triumphed over death
and rose in newness of life;
for you he ascended to reign at God’s right hand.
All this he did for you, [name],
though you do not know it yet.
And so the word of Scripture is fulfilled:
“We love because God loved us first.”
You will find the variations of this baptismal hymn here.

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