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When Should Your Child Be Baptized: Three Criteria

Over at the Gospel Coalition there is an excellent article about when to baptize young, professing children. This is an area fraught with blessing and danger. No parent should take the issue lightly.

Trevin Wax has an article that I really like. If churches really are throwing tiny children into the water that certainly is not honoring the Lord. I love the comment,“If your child still believes in Santa, he’s probably too young for you to know just what he believes about Jesus.” 9 Marks posts an article that is on the other end of the spectrum. Smith argues against a young age and for an older age. (I believe they baptize in the late teens.)

All in this discussion are arguing for believer’s baptism. None are arguing for infant baptism. But assuming that a young child can have true faith and a true conversion, then should he or she be baptized at a young age? Should we wait until they are teens? Or even later?

Our church has used the following three criteria: Regeneration, Readiness, Reasoning
Regeneration – Do their parents think they are genuinely converted?
Readiness – Are they willing to approach an elder on their own without Mom or Dad smoothing out the way? Do they want to obey the Lord in this way?
Reasoning – Do they understand the gospel? Can they articulate the gospel? Specifically, can they articulate the substitutionary atonement of Jesus on the cross.

If those three criteria are in place, our church has been willing to baptize them. For us this has been no earlier than 8.  Perhaps in another post, I will publish New Covenant’s pamphlet we hand to parents.

What are your thoughts?

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