Ask Your Preacher
Sixteen years ago, when I was nine years old, I made a profession of faith and was baptized, but I don't think I fully understood what it means to truly follow Christ until years later when I was in college. As a child, I thought you just had to mentally believe and not follow Christ. Is there any biblical reason why I could not be baptized a second time now that I fully understand what it means to be a Christian?
Older And Wiser
Dear Older And Wiser,
The word ‘baptism’ simply means ‘immersion’ – it is the reason for your immersion that makes baptism a soul-saving act. When we understand that baptism saves us from our sins (1 Pet. 3:21) and are baptized by the authority of Christ (Acts 2:38) and believe in His Name (Mk. 16:16), then that baptism saves us. Many people are baptized without understanding these things… in which case, they just get wet. You will have to evaluate for yourself whether or not you understood what you were doing when you were baptized. If you did, there is no need for re-baptism. If you believe you didn’t know what you were doing, then you should be rebaptized.
As a child, what is the estimated age you have to be to not know Christ and not be saved and not go to Heaven? If a baby dies, will they go to Heaven? If a two-year-old dies, will they go to Heaven?
Dear Maturity Matters,
The age of accountability is the age when a child becomes accountable to God for their sins and would be judged for them… exactly at what age that happens is the tricky part of your question. We can tell you what the Bible says on the subject, but it doesn’t say much.
We know any baby that dies goes to heaven. David’s son died, and David made it clear that his son was in heaven (2 Sam 12:23). Also, Paul uses the immaturity of children as an example (1 Cor 13:11). This tells us God doesn’t have the same expectation of a child’s behavior as He does of an adult’s. Children are not bound by the same rules as adults. A child doesn’t have the mental capacity or maturity to be held accountable for their mistakes like adults are.
In order to become a christian, there are several things God expects you to be capable of doing:
1. Take responsibility for your sins (Acts 3:19).
2. Hear and understand the Word of God (Rom 10:17).
3. Be responsible for your own spiritual growth (1 Pet 2:1-2).
If a child is not capable of doing those things, they cannot be held accountable for their eternal future.
This still doesn’t answer the question though because every child matures at a different rate. Everyone agrees that a five-year-old can’t be held accountable, and that a twenty-year-old can. It is the age spectrum in between where our judgment gets fuzzy. Only God, who knows our hearts (Lk 16:15), can accurately judge the hour in which a child makes that transition into accountability.
I have struggled with this my entire life, including my entire Christian life. NO one will even try and provide an answer – only quote Scripture that doesn't provide an answer.
I have been taught God is all-knowing, all-powerful, can do anything, etc. That being said and believed... why do such evil things happen to little kids (molestation, rape, murder)? It might make sense if they were adults... but little kids?
How can you be all-knowing, all-powerful, watch what is happening to little children, and not help?
Everyone says, “FREE WILL; God doesn't mess with free will.” Then why pray? IF He will not intervene to prevent an evil done to a child, why would He intervene and help you with patience or sickness or anything else?
I just don't get it. I'm a parent. I could not watch an evil done to my child and do nothing. PERIOD.
Please explain… if you can.
Dear Angry Mother,
All suffering is caused by mankind and sin. When God made the world, He made it to be good – it was sin that destroyed that perfect vision. All wickedness and evil brings pain to God and grieves Him, and He will only endure it for so long. In Noah’s day, God saw all the violence that was in the world, and it made Him deeply sad (Gen 6:5-6). God gives mankind the freedom to make our own choices, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pain Him to see the evil upon this earth. God tells us that the only reason He endures it is because He is longsuffering and desires to give as many people as possible the chance to repent and turn to Him (2 Pet 3:9). God's longsuffering is what is hard for us to comprehend because if we were in His shoes, we wouldn't be as patient with wickedness as God is. But then again, we also wouldn't send our own son to die for wicked people – so it is a trade off.
God's patience is greater than ours, which feels like a blessing when we think of our own need for forgiveness... but it feels like a curse when we look at others’ behavior going unchecked. It is a dark and ugly world, and God’s love is the shining light in that darkness (Jhn 3:19) – His love is deeper than ours, and His patience is profounder than ours. Just remember this: all the blameless (including children) will be comforted in His arms in heaven (Rev 21:3-4). This darkness will not last forever, and it will seem like a mere wisp of time when we get to eternity (Jas 4:14).
I am a fifty-two-year-old christian mother. My thirty-four-year-old son is dying of ALS. I am furious with God right now… not only that my son is dying, but how horribly devastating this disease is. He is married with three children. Please, without the usual christian rhetoric that we all preach, please explain to me WHY God who loves us lets horrible things happen – not only to my son, but others. Are we just rats in a cage to Him for His amusement? Is He loving, or is that just a myth? Are He, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit one? I think no. I think Jesus represents love, and I think God represents power, control, wrath, and arrogance. Please help me to understand.
Dear Angry Mother,
Life here on this planet is full of heartaches, and we here at AYP cannot imagine how devastated you are right now. This world is full of all sorts of disease, pain, violence, and strife – but God didn’t cause those things, sin did. All bad things are a result of sin. When God made the world, He placed mankind in the Garden of Eden and gave us a joyously blissful existence in that paradise. Who caused the pain? We did. It is sin that has brought all of the death, disease, decay, pain, suffering, troubles, and heartaches into our world. We all, in varying degrees, are reaping the benefits of a world with sin in it. Sickness is a consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. One of the curses of their sin was that we all must face our own mortality – life is finite. Sickness, disease, and pain are a part of the human existence. Sadly, this is true even for our children. When God gave us freewill, He gave us the right to cause problems for ourselves and others, and if He simply removed all the consequences for our actions, He would be removing our freedoms as well.
Sometimes bad things simply happen because they happen. Job suffered greatly, and his children died, but it wasn’t his (or their) fault. Job hadn’t done anything wrong, nor had his kids. It all happened because Satan wanted to do evil (Job 1:6). As long as we live in this world of sin, there will be troubles. Sometimes, there isn’t anyone at fault… just time and chance wreaking havoc in a sinful world (Eccl 9:11).
Regardless of the reasons, your son’s illness is devastating to you – and rightfully so. You have every right to be hurt, but don’t let that hurt cause you to turn your back on God who wants to save us all from this sinful world. After all, God gave His Son’s life for us – He knows how painful this is for you and knows exactly how to give you comfort through this dark hour.
What does God think about infertility? I have a disease that has caused me to not be able to conceive a child on our own. Is that in God’s plan for us, or is it the devil? I do believe that He has a plan for everyone and He tests your faith, but if we've been trying for eight years, does that mean that I've failed? What does God say about infertility treatment? Is it a sin?
Dear Heart-Broken Wife,
Infertility is another consequence of Adam and Eve's sin. When God created the universe, He made everything good (Gen 1:31). The world didn’t have disease, thorns, suffering, and all the other problems we see today. Originally, Adam and Eve lived in the perfect paradise of the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:8). It is only after Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden because of their sin that all the problems we see today began.
God can cause all things to work together for good for you and your husband (Rom 8:28), but He didn't cause the diseases that affect our lives. The fact that you haven't conceived doesn't mean you have "failed" any sort of test; just like other people dealing with sicknesses aren't failures because of their illnesses, you aren't a failure because you can't conceive. Some of the most faithful people dealt with the same infertility issues that you do. Hannah and Sarah were both faithful women that wept many tears over the fact they couldn't have children. The burden and pain you are carrying isn't an indicator that you are unfaithful – it just is what it is.
As far as infertility treatments, that is a big issue because modern technology allows us to do things that are both good and bad – some treatments are fine; others aren't. Read our post "Apples Of Our Eyes" for what to consider before undergoing treatments.