At age seven I went to school every day, hoping my teacher would tell us how to get to heaven. I was obsessed with my need of forgiveness. I got some help at age 13. When I was 14, my uncle explained John 1:12. That was my turning point.
I have struggled with salvation and its teachings to children for almost a lifetime. I don’t want others to go through this the hard way or be oblivious to it altogether.
In 1972 I taught Religion Class in a school where I was teaching south of Winkler, Man. I remember the day I agonized before God, asking Him, “How can I get to the level of my Grade 2 to 4 students in order for them to understand my faith?”
The next morning I opened my Bible Story Book for our daily reading. It was the story of Jesus blessing the children and saying unless we have the faith of a little child, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. I was hit so hard I could hardly read.
That left a permanent mark on my heart. I revised the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) content of what I was using in Religion Class. But I was still very oblivious to the “eternal security” position in it right till last year (2016) when I read Dr. Harvey Plett’s article on Children in the Church, which he sent me when I asked for help.
That is when my eyes were really opened. I agree that little children are in the Kingdom and should not be talked or scared into it. They are not lost, but safe in Jesus till the age of accountability, which differs from child to child.
I talked to a Grandma whose four-year-old grandson asked Jesus into his heart. Because of my new understanding, I could rejoice with her and warn her of the need for many commitments and re-commitments ahead.
From Oct. 19 to Dec. 8, 2016, I taught little children, mostly ages four to six, in a new outreach area of our church. Again, I needed the truths of that article in my lesson prep and teaching. I had a CEF flannelgraph that I used carefully.
I checked up in my home church as to what material the Sunday School teachers are using with the young children. I found out they use the CEF flannelgraph, much to my delight. I think it is important, though, for teachers to be informed of our theology on children and salvation. If they are not, is this not cause for deep concern?
A good teacher will repeat an important teaching and come at it from various angles and perspectives. I requested that Dr. Harvey Plett’s article on the spiritual status of children be reprinted. We need to hear it again.
Irene Kroeker (Rosenort EMC) has served as a missionary in Mexico and serves in various ways within her local church.
Note: Dr. Harvey Plett’s two-part series on the spiritual status of children appears in March and April.