- Mark 10:14
- "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God."
- Matthew 18:4
- "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
- These references are cited to justify the widespread practice of "baptizing" infants. The United Church of Canada puts it this way:
- ". . .if the Kingdom belongs to little children, they cannot be denied baptism which is the sacrament of initiation into that kingdom . . . If even adult candidates for baptism have to become like little children, how can baptism be refused to the children whom they are supposed to imitate?1
- Infant sprinkling is not mentioned in this text or any other in the New Testament.
- If the United Church interpretation were the correct one, then the doors of the kingdom would be shut to all but baptized infants since Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." (Mark 10:15).
- "Of such" and "as" ("like", see R.S.V., Mark 10:14, 15) indicate that Jesus is making a comparison. Unless the adult has child-like qualities the doors of the kingdom will be shut. Child-like qualities are stressed elsewhere in Scripture, e.g., "Brethren be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men." (1 Cor. 14:20); "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." (1 Peter 2:1, 2).
- The Matthew account leaves no doubt as to the intent of Jesus' words: "Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever, therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18:3,4). See verses 10 and 14 - "little ones" are the disciples.
- In the Mark account Jesus refers to his disciples as "children." (Mark 10:24).
- "The Doctrine and Practice of Infant Baptism", Church Membership: Doctrine and Practice in The United Church of Canada: A report presented and accepted at the Twentieth General Council in 1962. (Toronto: The Board of Evangelism and Social Service, and The Board of Christian Education, 1963), p. 25. It was a stated objective of the report to "be of use in helping the Church come to a clearer understanding of God's purpose and a more faithful obedience to his will." Return