I appreciate the clarification of your stance. The issue then is not of age but of understanding. A child can simply mimick what their parents believe and do or they can have a spiritual encounter with the Lord of spirits. The question of at what age this can happen is not something we can define clearly.
"Finally, I know of people who were raised in churches, came forward and signed on the dotted line, or "prayed the prayer," or "knelt at the alter," and then went on and became murderers and rapists. Would anyone seriously argue that because these people made confessions of faith as children that they are just confused Christians?"
We have accepted a lie that a "profession of faith" is faith. Faith with our corresponding action is dead. I can tell you that I beleive that you deposited money in my bank account but if I don't act to use that money it profits me nothing. I can say that I believe the fire alarm but if I do not exit the building I will burn.
Modern man has reduced 'faith' to mental assent or aquiesence. If I simply agree verbally that a statement is true then I believe. This is not Biblical faith.
A child may copy what everyone else is doing in order to be 'accepted' in religious matters and talk. This is not justification by faith. The fruit that you speak of is the fruit of the Spirit. If a 6 or 9 year old child have an encounter with Jesus and begin to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit can we say that there has been no true conversion? Yes there are many who mouth the words just as there are many adults whose 'coming to Christ' is "form of godliness" and not a change of heart. A person who is truly born again, regardless of the age, will have a change of character (values and beliefs) that will be evident in their daily lives.
I believe that the biggest reason that we do not see more 'true conversions' is that we are preaching a Gospel of a Savior without preaching Jesus as Lord. I believe that many who make a 'decision' to accept Jesus as Savior (a ticket out of hell) would not act so quickly if they knew that they have to also receive Him as Master, King, Potentate, Governor, and Lord.
28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doth not first sit down and count the cost , whether he have (wherewith) to complete it?
29 Lest haply, when he hath laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all that behold begin to mock him,
30 saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
I believe we do people and God a diservice to preach Jesus only as Savior. Can He really save anyone who does not make Him Lord?
Love in Christ,
| 2006/3/25 10:44||Profile|
"I believe that the biggest reason that we do not see more 'true conversions' is that we are preaching a Gospel of a Savior without preaching Jesus as Lord. I believe that many who make a 'decision' to accept Jesus as Savior (a ticket out of hell) would not act so quickly if they knew that they have to also receive Him as "Master, King, Potentate, Governor, and Lord.
I totally agree with the above point and I think you and I are not far apart on this subject, but I think you may have made my point for me in what you wrote above. If many adults can come forward and get their ticket out of hell or for any other reason other than submitting their whole lives , in complete surrender to the master, how is it that we imagine that a child would understand the gravity of what is going on?
I have been in America for 16 years now, fifteen of them as a born-again Christian. And let me say, and perhaps we disagree on this, that the American church is in a state of disorder, with a watered down Gospel, easy believism and so many other problems. Now I also believe that Europe, including Britain, is even worse.
What are the possible reasons for the state of the Chruch in America?Well thats an enormous subject, but let me put forward one problem. Those that are raised in the church, those who made confessions as children, pastors children taking over from their parents, are mostly running todays church. Many of these people have a form of Godliness, but do not have the power of a transformed heart. Hundreds of years ago, Whitfield wrote a famous letter. In that letter he claimed that almost all of the clergy "knew nothing of the new birth." It got him barred from almost every denominational platform in the western world, just as well because tens of thousands of people came out to the fields to listen to him preach and revival followed him everywhere.
I would assert that a great portion of todays leaders, who grew up in the church, who "made confessions," as children, know nothing of the new birth. In fact many admit that they could not tell you the day and the hour that they met Jesus. This leaves me incredulous that one could have an encounter with the king of kings and Lord of Lords and not remember it, truth be told, one will never forget the day that Jeus comes into their hearts and changes their whole lives...................Frank
| 2006/3/25 11:30|
You are right in saying that we are not too far apart. The church of America is in disarray. I mostly agree with your point that a person, adult or child, will know when Jesus comes into their heart and makes a change.
My testimony is strange. I don't remember the exact date that Jesus came into my heart. I know that He did when I was eight years old and my life was continuously changing. The reason that I don't remember the exact date was because of bad teaching. I thought that every time I sinned that I was "cut off" and had to be saved again, as a result I got saved many times that year. Jesus was inside of me transforming me but I had erroneous beliefs in what it means to be "saved" because of the teaching.
That false belief and many other had to be renovated in order for me to walk in victory of faith. When a child is trained in a home with the scriptures their belief system does not appear to change as dramatically when Jesus enters their heart personally, as a child who learned many wrong things from their home and environment.
Every child has a spirit of 'anomia' (lawlessness) working inside of them. This refusal to be governed or told what to do manifests very early in life even before a child is old enough to know right and wrong. It is the purpose of God for each child to be shown the light of God's Word, Jesus, that they may rescued from this bondage to self rule and self-determination and come into the glorious freedom found in submitting to the Lordship of Christ.
Submission and obedience are measured, as has been spoken on other threads, not by a written code of law but on revelation or understanding to the requirements of God. We all have sinned, none of us on the earth has followed the voice of God perfectly. When a person is born again the Spirit of God enters their heart and begins to teach them the ways of God. This teaching is not instanteous. God measures each persons faithfulness not on a universal set of standards but by their personal responsivensss to what the Holy Spirit has revealed to that person. What a child is taught by the Holy Spirit is far simpler than for most adults but the question is are they listening and obeying.
I have watched some young children, 6-9 years old, hear the Word of God and in simple faith do it. I have seen them lay hands on the sick and seen God heal. I have heard some speak prophetic words that mature Christian adults judged as being the Word of the Lord. This does not mean that these children are mature or faultless (in a human evaluation). The gifts of the Spirit are not a measurement of maturity. This simply means that these children are acting upon the Word of God as it has been revealed to them.
I am getting very wordy here and I am sorry. Jeus said,
2 And he called to him a little child, and set him in the midst of them,
3 and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children , ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me:
6 But whoso shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble, it is profitable for him that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and (that) he should be sunk in the depth of the sea.
We All need to become like little children in that we hear and obey. We adults need to learn how to quit trying to 'understand' and to just in simple faith do what we are told to do. We, like they, will make mistakes but those sins have already been paid for. This issue is relationship not perfection. If we would teach children that they can be one with Christ, hearing His voice and doing what He says, instead of teaching lists of rules to achieve moral perfection, we probably would see fewer stumble and fall away from the simple faith that they 'professed.'
I love you brother. We are closer than you can imagine.
| 2006/3/25 13:04||Profile|
I was waiting on Matt 18:)I actually think this scripture proves the point. Jesus is urging us as adults, to have blind faith and be innocent and humble. Children are unquestioning, and will take their fathers hand wherever He leads them and expects their fathet to provide and protect. We should know and trust that our Heavenly Father will provide for our needs and protects us, in this we should be as little children. Yes, I think we are close Jeff....Love ya brother...........Frank
| 2006/3/25 18:45|