Monday, November 28, 2011

Age Rules – Part I

In our home, and somewhat in our community, there were a couple of unwritten (but sometimes spoken) “age rules” for youngsters.

Rule #1:  A person who grew up in the church should be baptized between the ages of 10 and 12.

The concerns, as I recall, went something like this:  If kids went forward too early, they might not be ready for the commitment.  If kids put off the decision until later, they might slip through junior high and high school without ever giving their lives to Christ.

My sister Cindy went right on time – age 10.  I think she might have gone sooner, if it had been more acceptable.  My brother Jimmy waited longer to take the plunge – around 12.  (In fact, Dad got a little bit worried about Jimmy and had him read a portion of a commentary that dealt with “immersion.”)  I remember keeping tabs on all of this, aware of the times of their baptisms.  I knew it was an important decision, more important than choosing my spouse or anything else.

And so my turn came on August 31, 1976, a Tuesday night.  I went forward during the fall gospel meeting at the College Church.  I don’t know who was preaching, but I do know that my dad made his way down to the front, took my good confession, and baptized me in front of about 1,000 witnesses.

I was 10 ½, and it was a very good night.  Maybe my best night this side of heaven?

To be continued … Rule #2 on dating.


  1. I remember asking my father at age 10 if I could be baptized. He responded, "Son, if you have to ask, the answer is no." So my rebellious little self waited till I was 13 to do it. I must have scared him to death. :)

  2. Well I was baptized by a Lutheran pastor in 1944, by a Christian Church preacher on Easter, 1958 and by a Church of Christ preacher sometime in my late teens (thinking I didn't know enough in 1958 - or certainly in 1944). So when did I become radioactive? As I have come to view God's action in baptism immensely more important than my time or my knowledge it doesn't really matter which date it happened. I believe we are always living into our baptism. Besides since it is God's action I can really only be baptized once and get wet other times if I want to.

  3. That's a funny story, Gary. Both of our children were baptized in their teens, which seemed about right in terms of maturity, etc.

    Amen, Ralph. I've seen people agonize over baptism ... wondering if they got it right the first time (or the second time).

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