Is Family-Integrated Worship the Historical Norm?

"Whatever the merits of including children from early on in church services (and there are, I think, many), I'm not convinced the evidence for such being the unequivocal practice of previous ages is all that strong."

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Bert Perry's picture

....but I think the article misses the bigger question, which is what the Biblical norm is.  Unfortunately, I don't think that we can totally judge--I know Eutychus fell out of the window and died and was brought back to life, but not really whether kids were watching as he did so.  That said, I love it when I see infants and toddlers in church, even if they make some noise.  Have a nursery and/or cry room so that Mom can relax enough to hear a sermon if the little one is fussy, but I love it when little ones get to hear the Word of God.  Especially as I've got five little ones (OK some not so little) who came to Christ very young.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TOvermiller's picture

At the risk of sounding rather simplistic, I'll share my perspective on the NT precedent:

  • Ephesians and Colossians are letters which speak to specific congregations, and to particular groups within the congregation. They would have been read aloud in a congregational gathering.
  • Eph. 6:1 and Col. 3:20 speak to children, telling them to "obey your parents."
  • So children who are old enough and educated enough to hear this command and obey it would have been in the congregation, and should be in our congregations today.

I don't see any NT precedent for including infants in a worship service. And they certainly aren't old enough and educated enough to hear this command and obey it.

Thomas Overmiller
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