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Camp policies vary on baptisms

When is a child ready to be baptized? It’s a question faced frequently by Christian camps.
“The potential for playing on emotions is always there in a camp setting,” said Scott Billingsley, an adult volunteer at Sooner Youth Camp in Oklahoma. “The camp I attend tries not to do that, but when you’re hot and tired and feeling that ‘spiritual high’ … it’s easy for young people to become convinced they need to make a commitment for which they are not really prepared.”
But Dale Jenkins, a board member at Maywood Christian Camp in Alabama, said most campers who decide to be baptized have their hearts in the right place and understand what they’re doing.
“No, they do not know as much about sin, grace, atonement, repentance and a hundred other topics as they will five years down the road,” Jenkins said. “But I hope I don’t know as much about it now as I will five years down the road, and I’m pushing 50.”
Some camps, such as Camp Yamhill in Oregon and Camp Manatawny inPennsylvania, require a parent’s permission before baptizing a child.
“If the parents say no, we don’t do it,” Camp Yamhill manager NickMears said. “Sometimes, the directors still think the kid is ready, butthey have to follow the parent’s opinion.”
But at Mid-South Youth Camp in Tennessee, director Frank Bradford doesnot wait on a parent’s approval to baptize a child 13 or older.
“If someone knows what to do  to be saved, I will not hold them back,” Bradford said. “This could be the only time.”
Immediately after a baptism, however, Bradford asks the child to writein the notes section of his Bible at least 10 things he was thinkingbefore and after the baptism.

  • Feedback
    The word of God is very clear when coming to the issue of baptism. No writer of the Bible taught about children baptism, rather it tells us that one needs to Hear (Hebrews 1:13), Believe (Mark 16:16), Repent (Acts 2:38), Confess (Romans 10:9-10) and the final step is Baptism (Acts 8:36-38). Anyone who can differentiate right from wrong and recognize that that he/she is a sinner can be baptized.
    Isaac M. Manyike
    Barcelona Church of Christ
    Benoni, Johannesburg, Gauteng Province
    South Africa
    March, 24 2010

    When is a child ready to be baptized? It’s a question faced frequently by Christian camps.we are not preaching the Gospel?that is why we have this questions.child that they study bible and know good and bad we can baptized them.2cor 6:2-3the time of accepted .when you know good and bad
    eric asante obeng
    johannesberg, Gauteing
    south africa
    September, 23 2009

    Nowhere in the New Testament are children baptized only adults. We should not baptize adolescents or younger; their brain hasn’t fully developed yet. It is why we don’t let them drive cars, buy guns or vote. I don’t think any baptisms should take place at Camp. Phillip said to the Eunuch, “If you truly believe with all your heart”. It is very hard for teenagers and elementary aged children to truly believe with all their heart as they don’t even know who they really are emotionally/mentally until their mid twenties. What we should be doing is answering their theological questions to the very best of our abilities instead of leading them down a pre-defined path that ends at baptism.
    Joe Baggett
    First Colony Church of Christ
    Richmond, Texas
    September, 7 2009

Filed under: National

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