Question: "When should children be baptized and/or allowed to take the Lord's Supper?"
Answer: While some churches have requirements for children to attend Bible classes for instruction in doctrine and the meaning of the sacraments before being allowed to participate, many others do not, and in these cases, the instruction and preparation for the children must be given in the home.
Before taking communion, the main requirement for all children (as with all adults) is that they have received the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. Even though some children make this salvation decision at an early age, being baptized and partaking of the Lord's Supper should not be rushed into. As a child matures in his faith and it is evident that he is truly born again, the father and/or mother should be perceptive as to when he is ready to receive such teaching. The spiritual maturity level of one child differs from that of another, even in the same family.
Although this is an Old Testament story, the truth is still applicable. In Nehemiah 8:1-8, we read the account of Ezra, the scribe, reading the Law to the people of Israel. He read it to the men and women and all who were able to understand. From 10:28 we learn that these included their sons and daughters. See also 8:8 for the same meaning. And so it must be today. It is most important that our children understand spiritual truths, and only wise Christian parents can discern when that time comes.
In many churches, when the parents of a child make it known to the pastor that he/she is wanting to be baptized, the pastor speaks with the child to decide if he/she is ready. This is a good and wise practice. It is vitally important that a child understands that neither baptism or communion saves him/her, but rather they are steps of obedience and remembrance of what Jesus did for us in providing for our salvation (Luke 22:19).
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