I fancy writing a book one day, maybe I will call it “No blinding light”. Often the path to becoming a Christian is explained with quite a strong emphasis on the conversion experience. Acknowledgement of the need to repentance, often by sudden realisation. A born-again moment, a moment of spiritual rebirth.
For someone brought up as a Christian from birth this can present a problem. “When was my dramatic conversion, repentance and rebirth, can I remember the day?” And sometimes the answer is difficult. Parents are instructed to “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Also Paul tells good Christian parents “Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
If children have always accepted Jesus as their Lord and saviour, how massive a moment is their conversion, repentance and rebirth? Without this blinding light experience they may doubt their assurance, never having known a time when they did not feel that God was their God.
Some weird views can result from this conundrum – should we allow our Christian children to wander into sin and error so they can feel the full force of a conversion experience? Some groups do not consider children as Christians, believing instead that you have to be mature enough to decide for yourself. Tough on the toddlers!
I am not suggesting there is a different gospel. No, we must all be reborn through the Spirit to our own covenant relationship with God, it’s just that godly children are already living in grace, aren’t they? What do you think?
What did Jesus mean when he said: “I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”