Infants and Children in the Church: Five Views on Theology and Ministry
addresses an important, but often overlooked, theological and ministry issue facing the church today: How should churches receive and minister to the infants and children God has entrusted to their care?
Various Christian traditions affirm different theological views and ministry practices concerning the spiritual status of children, how they relate to God, and how churches can best minister to and promote their growing response to the grace of God in Christ Jesus. To help address this critical area of concern, the contributors to this volume provide a comparative analysis of the views and practices of five major Christian traditions.
The book begins with a brief biblical and historical overview of the church's theological understanding of ministry to children. Then, advocates from the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, and Baptist perspectives each address the following critical questions as they describe their theological traditions and the ministry efforts that flow from them.
- How are infants and children impacted by sin?
- How does God treat people who die in their infancy or childhood?
- When and how are children considered members of the church?
- When and how are children instructed in Christian doctrine?
The authors then respond to each of the other viewpoints, addressing areas of agreement and difference. The book closes with an examination of areas of commonality and several implications for ministry for, to, with, and by children in our churches. What we believe (theology) impacts what we do (ministry), and it is our hope that this book will help Christian leaders think more clearly and act more faithfully in regard to the infants and children God has entrusted to our churches and communities.