SHERWOOD – Roy Fish, retired distinguished professor of evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, told pastors to never doubt a child’s interest in the Christian faith.
Preaching from Matthew 18:1-6; 10-13, Fish pointed to Jesus sharing with His disciples about the importance of coming to faith as a small child. He spoke at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Evangelism and Church Growth Conference being held at First Baptist Church in Sherwood.
In verses 1-3 (NASB) Jesus says, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Fish emphasized the use of “little ones” as significant in the text because it’s meaning in Greek was to “reduce something to its smallest entity.”
“Jesus is talking about very small children who have the capacity to believe in Him,” explained Fish.
“Don’t ever look suspiciously that boys and girls make a commitment to Jesus Christ,” said Fish. “Jesus is saying that little ones have the capacity to believe in Him. Children are saved like adults.”
Fish said there are dangers in rejecting the conversion of children. “Jesus says if you cause one of these little ones to stumble … it’s better to be drown in the depths of the sea.”
A number of years ago people were questioning the viability of pre-adolescent conversion, said Fish, adding, “There’s one thing a secular psychologist doesn’t understand, and that is the work of the Holy Spirit.”
Fish advised pastors to gently make inquiries of children who are asking some simple questions about becoming a Christian.
“Ask some simple questions. Always affirm. Say, ‘I am so glad you are interested. How long have you been thinking about that? When did you begin to think about that? What got you to thinking about becoming a Christian?’” he said.
Fish concluded by challenging pastors “to the imperative to seek boys and girls for the Savior and a renewed emphasis to child evangelism.”