Yesterday, I stated that parents and teachers have no greater responsibility and privilege than to pass the Gospel on to our children. The first recommended resource for equipping us to do just that is William Farley’s book Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting. Today, I’d like to highlight the second resource, The Faith of a Child: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Salvation for your Child by Art Murphy. In one sense, you could say that this book picks up where Gospel-Powered Parentingleaves off by giving more “particulars” about when and how to share the Gospel message with your children. Especially helpful is pastor Murphy’s chapter on “How to Know if a Child is Ready to Become a Christian.” As to the overall aim and flow of the book, Pastor Murphy writes:
My main purpose is that parents and others who affect the lives of children will be better equipped and more confident to lead their children to a real relationship with Jesus.
…Early in my ministry as a children’s pastor I realized that most parents, teachers, and pastors struggle with the issue of children and salvation. I struggled too. There are many questions to consider.
- How can we know if a child is ready to become a Christian?
- How much does a child have to know? How much should he understand?
- At what age are children mature enough to make this commitment?
- When should we start explaining the gospel to children?
- What must a child do to become a Christian?
- How much should we be involved in a child’s decision?
- When should a child be baptized? [He holds to the credobaptist position, baptizing only those who are able to make a profession of faith.]
- What is the purpose of baptism?
- What can churches do to help raise children to follow the Lord?
- What help should churches provide for children who have expressed a desire to become a Christian?
- Should the church leave a child’s decision to become a Christian completely up to the child and his parents?
- What should we do when a very young child wants to become a Christian?
Throughout the book, Pastor Murphy tackles each of these questions with biblical, wise, and experienced counsel. I wish that this book would have been in my hands before raising my own children! However, I have since benefited greatly from it as a Sunday school teacher and as a grandparent. Here is a list of chapter titles:
- Building a Strong Spiritual Foundation for Your Child
- What God Says About Children and Salvation
- How Much Do You Know About Today’s Children?
- Understanding the Faith of a Child
- How to Know if a Child Is Ready to Become a Christian
- Leading Children to Christ
- The Roles of Parents and Teachers
- Children and Baptism
- Children and Discipleship: The Church’s Role
Tomorrow I will highlight my third highly recommended Gospel resource.
See also: Established in the Faith: A Discipleship Guide for Discerning and Affirming a Young Person’s Faith by David Michael