Friday, March 02, 2018

Random remarks re the suckling and the service

Or, what about nurseries?

I grew up in a church that thought parents and children should be in the service together. There was no nursery. Spanking was also still in vogue! Children learned to behave in church at a young age. It scarred me for life. I became a Baptist preacher.

Modern societies often remove children from public life because doing otherwise is inconvenient and inexpedient. Some civilized societies (so-called) even remove children from life itself. In contrast, children ought to be cherished, nurtured, nourished, and seen in the Lord’s churches. The biblical worldview holds a radically different and counter-cultural approach from the world system. Young people, young families, small children, and babies have been basic to the progress of the Lord’s churches throughout this age – have been, continue, and will continue to be so. This should include integrating children into the church’s gathered services.

Recognizing that children of believers are lost – not just little believers in training – we also submit to the Word, which gives neither command nor example to follow the consumer-based models of creating separate services to satisfy the cravings of the children and convenience of the adults. When small children are brought to services, as they should be, parents of these children can (as much as possible) avoid deliberately distracting everyone. Those who do not have small children should welcome them and their parents – and be forbearing at times when such is necessary.  Parents should remove children when it is appropriate to the situation – but must also be very careful so that the children do not learn to use disruption to get their wants and way! Children learn how to behave at the church meeting by being in the church meeting. If church services are absent of children, soon both adults and children are warmed to the idea that they shouldn’t be there (even though they will vociferously deny it).

Don’t view babies at church as a problem. If you do, maybe you have a problem! If a baby starts crying, thank God that he is still blessing the world with babies. Thank him that your church has benefitted from that blessing. Thank him that your church can be a witness to the next generations. Thank him that your church hasn’t become so old and dead that no new life (even physical) can enter. Thank him that the baby is healthy and has a good set of lungs! I see nothing wrong with having a room where a parent can take a child to nurse them, feed them, change them, or rock them, as needed, but the concept of having a place so the babies will not “distract” the adults arises more from a negative view of the presence of children than any supposed benefits the baby (or small children) derive from it. Someone observed that if most of the young families have babies hanging on their shoulders, fewer will worry about a couple of babies screaming. May God bless us all with that problem!

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