Are nurseries scriptural?
A pastor recently cited Nehemiah 8:1-4 to support church nurseries.
There are a few problems however with this.
1. Neh 8:1-4 is in no way referring to N.T. churches. This is concerning a specific instance recorded in this book and is not a pattern for N.T. churches.
2. If one desires to make an issue of this portion of scripture, do they follow other distinctions that we see here such as all the people lifting up their hands and worshipping the Lord, with "their faces to the ground." And does the pastor preach from morning until midday? To equate this with a N.T. church is nothing short of ludicrous and a perverted view of Bible interpretation.
3. Part of the definition of the word "understand" in. v. 3 is to LEARN, TO BE INFORMED OF,(Websters 1828). Can a child, even a youth as young as 18, 24, 36 months etc. learn? Certainly! They can learn words like "Bible, Jesus, Saved, God etc." Interesting in v. 8 of the same chapter it is stated that they GAVE THE SENSE, and CAUSED THEM TO UNDERSTAND THE READING. So in v. 3 "those that could understand" were present but in. v. 8 they "gave the sense" so the people could understand. Could it be that those who could not understand might be referring to those that are "out of the way" (Hebrews 5:2), a term used for those that are unable to comprehend, today we would refer to one in that manner as "retarded."
4. There are many passages in scripture that would refute this idea of children not being allowed in services. Though four of these are O.T. and set no precedence for N.T. services, they negate the argument that some use of Neh. 8:1-4 being support for nurseries in our churches today.
A. In 2 Chron. 20, as Judah met together, it included their "little ones" according to v. 13.
B. In 22 Kings 23 "all of the inhabitants of Jerusalem" met together.
C. In Deut. 31:12 the list of those that gathered together included the "children."
D. In Joel 2:15-18, included in the list is those that "suck the breast." CLEAR! BABIES!
E. In Matt 19:14 Jesus states, "...suffer little children, and forbid them not..."
What good is it to have children in the services?
1. They can learn Bible words and consistently hear preaching.
2. They can be trained by the parents to sit still, listen etc. If they need disciplined or nursed, the mother/father can take them out accordingly, deal with the need and then bring them back.
3. They have their place next to the parents, learning their place is with them, NOT their peers.
4. The parents are able to be aware and control the teaching their child is receiving.
5. Peers, which are many times worldly and unspiritual, are NOT a direct influence on the child, which is a good thing, especially today. This obviously is more of a factor as the children get older.
6. The child will not be overseen by others that are not like-minded on standards etc. and some that are just plain worldly. When you place your child in a church nursery, you are trusting the spirituality of those that are watching them.
7. Avoiding the nursery can prevent moral problems. We KNOW of at least one situation where children were being molested in church nurseries, sad to say. Keeping them with you takes care of that possibility.
8. It helps the pastor to be man enough to speak over a baby. I have actually heard pastors complain that they could not preach loud enough to be heard over normal baby fussing. Certainly babies can get loud, but I am speaking of normal noises and mild crying.
I know of one church years ago that would hire an unsaved woman to take care of the nursery. When I challenged the leaders on the error of this, they did not understand why it was important. Listen, does it not take the Holy Ghost of God to properly care for a child, have godly patience etc.
History of Church Nurseries
As best I can guess, and that is all anyone can do at this point, nurseries in our services came about, or at least were popularized, around the time of the Billy Sunday revivals, when the preachers were concerned about people being distracted from the message. Now this is my best guess brethren, if you know of any facts, please let me know. By the way, the Spirit of God can work despite a baby crying or noise from a disabled person.
I hope this helps brethren. In this world of family breakup and confusion, I pray that many will see the unscripturalness of a pastor demanding his people to place their children in a nursery. Does it matter, some might say. How important is a godly family and your children to you? Baptist tradition or what is best for your family-what will you do and pastor, what will you teach?
I hope this helps folks
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Are nurseries scriptural?