If the Bible does not teach child evangelism, I do not want anything to do with it. If the Bible does teach child evangelism, we should all believe in it and practise it.
A little child is humble and teachable and trustful. Each of these characteristics is essential to coming to God as lost sinners and accepting salvation by grace - a free gift. Adults have lost these essentials. Only through the agony of repentance and by the grace of God can they acquire them. Since children already possess these characteristics, Jesus is teaching that it is easier for a child to come to Christ than it is for an adult.
Experience proves to be so. Children come to Christ readily when given an opportunity to do so.
"Truly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become like little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven."
Jesus said that to receive one such little child in His name (on a spiritual basis) is as though we received Christ Himself (Matthew 18:5). Mark 9:37 makes this statement even stronger. To receive a little child is as though we received God the Father.
Many doubt whether little children of six or eight or ten years can believe on Christ and be regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Jesus settled the question forever. He spoke of
"Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me".
The Word of God gives the promise:
"As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God."
There is no age limit here! A little child can qualify and claim it. Is it reasonable to believe that a child of, say eight years of age can come to Christ and savingly believe?
When these questions are answered, and there is only one way to answer them, it becomes so clear that of course little children can savingly believe. And when they do believe will not God regenerate them according to His promise? Many of our choicest believers - laymen, ministers, and missionaries - testity that they were truly born again when they were little children, some of them even younger than six years of age.
- Does a child of eight sin knowingly?
- When he sins, is he conscious of guilt?
- Does a child of that age have intelligence enough to understand the simple Gospel of Christ dying to save sinners?
- Can such a child make a decision of his own free choice?
Jesus summed up His wonderful message on child evangelism and true greatness by brushing aside every doubt as to God's will regarding the salvation of little children. He said it is "not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish" (Matthew 18:14)
Extract of a message by Mr. J.I. Overholtzer
Founder of Child Evangelism Fellowship