Several Months ago I listened to Jeff Noblit’s sermon about why their church encourages nursery use. This is unusual to me when taken in the context of the rest of the sermons that I have listened to of Noblit’s. We also don’t use the nursery personally so I was curious as to why he encouraged nursery use. (We had already been to his church with our children.)
Upon listening to his sermon I had a few specific thoughts.
1) It was based on one verse and didn’t explain other verses that stated the opposite such as:
12 Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law,
13 and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, A as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.” ESV
Ezra 10:1 While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel, for the people wept bitterly. ESV
2) I also felt that he had not had much association with homeschooled / well behaved children. The characterizations seemed to be in relation to the typical parent / child interaction that you see in public areas.
3) When is the “age of understanding” reached? Sometimes I am amazed at how much children understand what you think would go right over their heads. So how do you decide who can understand enough?
What are your thoughts after listening to this?
Why We Encourage Using the Nursery Until Your Children Are Able to Listen With Understanding
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 8
Then I read Voddie Baucham’s post:
If you’ve walked into a church service lately with a baby in your arms, chances are you are well aware of the new anti-child atmosphere that dominates much of the modern American church. There are smiling men and women stationed at every door ready to “guide” you to the nursery where your child “will have a very enjoyable experience” and be cared for by the best childcare staff in the history of the universe.
Rebuff these helpful people and their smiles will soon be replaced with determined glares. Things escalate slowly at first, but eventually the truth comes out. These people are not here to help you and your child; they are here to protect the sanctity of the sanitized worship environment. Their job is to see that you –and people like you—don’t ruin the service for everyone else. They’ve been warned about people like you. You just don’t get it. For millennia Christians have been denied the privilege of enjoying worship the way God intended it (sans children); now we’ve finally arrived, and you want to mess it up by bring in your squawking baby! How selfish, inconsiderate, and unspiritual can you be?
Another major problem with the Nehemiah’s Nursery argument is that it is inconsistent with what we see in other Old Testament passages. For example, Deuteronomy 31 paints quite a different picture than the one suggested by nursery advocates:
“Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”” (Deuteronomy 31:12-13 ESV)
Remember, we do not have explicit instructions in Nehemiah 8 regarding the absence of children. This is an assumption read into the text. If children being absent from the worship of God’s people were to be understood as normative, one would expect to see the same pattern during assemblies in Moses’ day.
After listen to Jeff Noblit’s sermon and then reading Voddie Baucham’s post I have to say that my initial thoughts are still the same. I think that the normal Biblical worship, Old and New Testament, included the children.
What do you think?