Children in worship is an important theme in sacred scriptures. Children are an assumed part of the covenant worship of God. Their absence in worship would be a form of re-building the walls of partition. The wall erected to keep people out was torn down to bring people in. The absence of children in worship service revives the old cursed wall (Gal. 3:28).
The Christian faith has always been genealogical. It has always been about blood. Both major testaments function with this hermeneutical principle. But there is a fine qualification to keep in mind. This genealogy traces back to the first church formed in the Garden of Eden. The Church, which began in seed form, and which became pentecostalized in Acts two, is a true family. Her blood is divine. Jesus bled for her and the Spirit bled drops of fire into that Church, and from that blood formed one holy, catholic, and apostolic body. This newly formed community comes together as one when she worships. She ceases to be a collection of families, but one family. She receives a new identity.
Children enter into this body through the same door that everyone else enters through: baptism. In baptism, children receive the ritualized mark of the Spirit. The Spirit bleeds red drops of fire on her head and empowers the infant to grow in grace and truth. The child is then educated in the ethics of Yahweh (Deut. 6). He shares the same heritage (Ps. 127-128) and the same blood (Acts 2). He becomes a qualified member of this new creation. He does not wait to be qualified, but becomes qualified through fire. Pentecost, then, is the coming together of water and fire.
Children become a necessary furniture piece in the new house of God. She is a little temple joined with many temples forming one holy temple wherein the Spirit dwells. She becomes a warrior; a warrior who depends heavily on more experienced warriors, but a warrior nevertheless. She is ready to follow in the train of the apostles without ever being able to utter her first word. God, the Spirit, gives her speech. God makes the dumb to speak, and He makes babes to cry out (Ps. 8). God’s noble army of men and boys, matron and maid is not composed of polished servants, but of servants that are being polished by the grace of the gospel in the community of faith.
Why children in worship? Because little pebbles become great stones. Because little seeds become great trees. Because little voices still frighten the enemies of God. God is perfectly capable of translating any language in the world. But when he translates the language of nursing infants into praise, He says, “this is very good.”
- One might even say assumed furniture in the household structure (back)
- Spirit-sealed (back)
Brian Moats went through the trouble of transcribing this long quote from James Jordan’s lectures on paedocommunion (well worth the read):
“”Think back to the garden. Adam and Eve…this time they don’t sin. They have a child. Does the child grow up knowing the Lord? Yes. The child, from the womb, is bonded in. Bonded to the mother and to God, just like John the Baptist who leaped for joy in the womb when he encountered Jesus. John as a fetus encounters Jesus as a fetus, and John LEAPS for joy….that’s a response of faith. People say, “do you believe children can have faith,” and I say, “Man I believe a FETUS can have faith!.” John the Baptist had faith in the womb. Now, I don’t know how much intellectual content it had, but he recognized Jesus. His heart had faith.
…back to Adam and Eve. The children would have grown up naturally knowing the Lord. They wouldn’t have to make a decision. Now, as they grow older they become more self-conscious in that relationship. Sin is what destroys this whole pattern of life…these bonds. If salvation means anything, if we are Trinitarian in our view, then I submit that to mean that these bonds [of father and son,community] are restored.
Our children do grow up knowing the Lord. Now, is that because we are MADE righteous and so our children are conceived without sin. NO. They are conceived in iniquity. They are born in sin, they are born dead. But the pattern of redemption follows the pattern of creation, and God baptizes our children and puts them in a relationship with himself. They may grow up to be an Esau and they may break this, but they start out inside by baptism. We don’t baptize our children because we presume they are regenerate. We baptize our children because we presume they are unregenerate… baptism is our claiming the promise.
Salvation, by implication, restores these relationships. It’s not just an individual thing. The Holy Spirit comes and we would expect then that God would put our children into a relationship with Himself just as if Adam and Eve had not sinned their children would have grown up in a relationship with God. And that’s what we find, of course. Have you ever known 4-6 year old children in Christian families who didn’t believe? If the parents went to church and brought their children along? And prayed [and discipled them]? Have you ever known small children who don’t believe? No. They do! They may get to be 13 or 14 [etc] and rebel, but when they are young they receive the faith of their parents. That’s God’s way. If God didn’t want it that way he wouldn’t have caused us to come into the world as little kids. There is nothing wrong with that [being a kid]. We think, somehow or other, there’s something wrong with that…for a child to believe what his parents tell him. That’s not wrong, that’s God’s way! If God didn’t want it that way children could pop into the world at the age of 20 who could make his own decision. Think about this. God’s way is for children to start out believing what their parents say, and then then begin to get to the point where they move away from their parents by degrees. First of all, there are terrible two’s where the child moves a little bit away. Then there’s terrible five’s, then there’s adolescence, and then eventually the child is out of the home. And each one of these defines a new stage and a new relationship with the parent. These stages are real. At each stage the child relates less to the father and the mother and more directly to God. That’s what we want. Children relate to God as Father. When they reach adolescence they begin to relate to God as husband. And that’s why they get involved in a passionate need to have a relationship with God the son that is like a spouse, for the same kinds of reason that they start to look for someone of the opposite sex. God puts them in a stage of life where they want a complementary relationship. Before that time they relate to God as a Father, they just climb into his lap. That’s not wrong. It’s just a different stage of life.”