Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Reuben A. Hubbard
Richard M. Davidson
Kenneth A. Strand
Problem. Traditionally, Seventh-day Adventists have believed that children of Adventist parents are the "younger members of God's family." However, while the term "church" is often used synonymously with the term "God's family," children, who, on one hand, are recognized as part of God's family, are, on the other hand, officially excluded from church membership. Their names are not listed on the church membership records— though they are recognized as members of the Sabbath School of the church. Because of this ambiguity, I believe the Seventh-day Adventist Church needs to clarify the status of children biblically and theologically in terms of their membership in the church and in God's family, defining what church membership really is.
Method. In Part 1, the biblical and theological bases for the status of children in the church are investigated through an exegesis of key Scriptural passages in light of recent scholarly research and discussion focusing particularly upon the issues of children's membership.
Results. Both in the OT and NT the status of the believer's children is clearly that they are incorporated into God's family. They are the children of God by birth through faith-relation with their guardians. To establish this status of children, Part 2 recommends that at the official child dedication service the names of the children be recorded in the church books as younger members of the church. (The service is based on the dedication of Jesus and the enrollment of His name in the Temple.) Though they are little, children may be Christians in accordance with their years. They would have to be baptized of their own will later on becoming mature Christians. The child-blessing service may be used for any children who are brought to Jesus. Participation in the church ordinances of footwashing and the Lord's Supper would help unbaptized child to understand more fully the mystery of God and so guide them toward Christ.
Conclusion. The names of church members' children should be recorded in the church record as younger members through the rite of child-dedication.
Church work with children--Seventh-day Adventists
Wagatsuma, Seizou, "Development of a Biblical Paradigm for Ministry to Unbaptized Seventh-day Adventist Children" (1987). Dissertation Projects DMin. 240.
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