In an age where evangelical churches, at least, are defined by the size, variety, and success of their children’s programs,
Why do we keep our children in “big church” with us?
I could cite the secular or even humanistic beginnings of Sunday school and children’s church as we know it, but that isn’t a good reason, because if anybody can take a thing that started off wrong and make it a good thing, it’s God.
I could say it’s our personal preference, but that is open to debate and could change with the seasons.
Are we just naturally confrontational? Are our children extra shy in public and couldn’t handle it? Do we distrust the church or the teachers? I do enjoy a good argument, but I like it better in the semi-anonymity of the web. So the answer to all those is a big “NO.”
Well, then? Where do we find our reasons for anything? The Bible of course.
Eph 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
It is the fathers who are to bring up the children.
Mar 10:13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
Mar 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Some argue this verse as a reason for children’s classes, but in my view having the children sent away from the church meeting is a lot like sending them away from Jesus.
Deu 31:11 When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.
Deu 31:12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:
Deu 31:13 And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
Do I even have to add emphasis on “and children?” To me this is a key verse because it doesn’t just tell how things were, but it tells how things ought to be.
Ezr 10:1 Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.
The children were there.
Joe 2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
Joe 2:16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
Again, this is an instruction, not just a narrative. And it’s very specific about a solemn assembly with nursing babies present.
This is an interesting article that I used to help find some of the verses. The author points out that children in church as a normal thing can be inferred from the passages in Eph and Col (letters meant to be read during church assemblies) that address the children specifically.
So that’s why. I’m sure you can all rest easier now, knowing we have a good reason. :-D