I want to thank Grace and Truth Books for supplying a copy of Your Child’s Profession of Faith in return for my honest review.
For the rest of 2012, we’re discussing discipling our children for Jesus Christ. When we love Jesus, when we understand eternity and the true meaning of salvation, when we commit to disciple our children, and when we love our children with all our hearts, it is inevitable that some really tough, really important questions will arise.
Questions like: Is our child saved? Should our child be baptised? Should we wait? How do we know?
Dennis Gundersen’s important book Your Child’s Profession of Faith (Grace and Truth Books, 2010) helps parents examine the biblical answers to these questions. Dennis Gundersen served as a senior pastor for 27 years before founding Grace and Truth books, a ministry commited to printing Christian children’s books from centuries past. He and his wife have four grown children.
It’s inevitable that there will be doctrinal differences when it comes to the question of baptism. Mr. Gundersen writes with the assumption that baptism is an event that should be viewed, biblically, as a public proclamation of faith (and therefore, from the perspective of “adult” baptism… not necessarily adult in age, but mature in understanding). He also writes with the assumption that baptism is, biblically, an incredibly important act of obedience, but is not required for salvation (so if a child believes on the Lord Jesus Christ as his master and savior, but dies before baptism, his soul is still eternally saved). These two issues are not discussed in depth in the book, but rather, it is assumed that you have already researched these aspects of baptism on your own, or are willing to do so (there is a list of suggested resources at the back of the book).
Your Child’s Profession of Faith does an excellent job of walking a parent through the process of evaluating the wisdom of having a child baptised at a given point in their development. Mr. Gundersen highlights two major concerns regarding parental discipleship. As parents, we don’t want to just presume our children will be saved because they’ve grown up in a Christian home, or with a Christian parent. We never, ever want to ignore the mandate to raise them biblically. We don’t want our children to need to question their salvation later. We want to be clear about what true conversion really is. On the flip side, we don’t want to assure our children they’re authentic followers of Christ if they’re not. What a terrible thing – to pat our children on the head and tell them not to worry about their souls, if they really should! We also don’t want to manipulate them into professing faith in Christ when they don’t truly believe (or maybe even understand!). We can’t trick our children into Heaven.
See what I mean? These are some seriously weighty issues. Your Child’s Profession of Faith takes on two of the very most pressing concerns for a sincere Christian parent: ‘Is my child saved?’ and ‘Is my child truly ready for baptism?’
In fact, this is the first book I’ve read that addresses the issue of child salvation head-on.
In addition to giving reasons for caution in evaluating professions of faith for children under the age of 10, Mr. Gundersen also addresses signs of true faith, advice on determining the right time for baptism, and some clear understanding of a pastor’s position on baptising children. Mr. Gundersen also includes some helpful extra information at the end of the book. He has written a list of suggested questions for pastoral interviews with children about baptism, common parental questions about child baptism, and chosen three excerpts from the writing of Andrew Murray’s book The Children for Christ. Murray was a South African writer and pastor (1828-1917).
I highly recommend Dennis Gundersen’s book Your Child’s Profession of Faith. Mr. Gundersen has written a book that will help guide parents to biblical reasoning concerning the salvation and baptism of their children. I wish I’d read it some 15 years ago! Even now, with my children either grown or baptised, the book has helped clarify my reasoning on child evangelism, salvation and baptism Scripturally. This is a book that should be read by every Christian parent.
I noticed that (right now) you can get a free copy of Jim Eliff’s Going Under (about baptism) if you order from Grace and Truth books. You can find that here.
Other parenting books reviewed on Thinking Kids
- Raising Real Men by Hal & Melanie Young
- Love the Journey: Homeschooling Principles to Practice by Marcia Somerville
- You, Your Family and the Internet by David Clark
- Organic Outreach for Families by Kevin G. and Sherry Harney
- Engaging Today’s Prodigal by Carol Barnier
- Intentional Parenting by Tad Thompson
Or just check out the Thinking Kids book review indexes for
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- Christian Books for Preschoolers
- Christian Books for 4-7 Year Olds
- Christian Books for the Middle Grades
- Christian Books for Middle School
- Christian Books for High School
- Christian Books for Kids’ Devotions
- Christian Books about Parenting
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.