I’ve had this book for years. My former Pastor bought multiple copies for families in the church. I’m glad I finally finished it. It’s a great read. I think every Pastor should read this one. More importantly every parent. It’s written more for parents than Pastors. There’s a great review of the updated 2010 version over here. Gundersen is challenging us to take a deep breath, step back and take it slow when we think our child may have come to faith in Christ. Be excited, but let’s be careful not to rush to any conclusions. Praise God our kids are even thinking about these ultimately important things at all. But don’t conclude that just because little Johnny says he thinks he has become a Christian that he necessarily is. Gundersen is graciously encouraging us to have a conversation with our children, began an ongoing discussion to see what the Spirit of God might be doing in their heart and encouraging our kids to continue to seek the face of the Lord. We should be very careful not to push them toward baptism or any kind of other outward act or commitment because there is a great risk to do things to please men or do things their friends are doing. If pushed, this could lay the foundation for them to be deceived into thinking they are a Christian when they haven’t really had a work of grace in their heart.
Lest you think Gundersen is poo-pooing the possibility of children being converted, I counted at leat 9 times in this book, that he affirms his belief that children absolutely can come to faith. He emphasizes this point plenty of times throughout this short book. What he is arguing is that even though it’s possible, this doesn’t mean we should take just anything our children say as proof that they must be converted and should be baptized. What I really appreciate here is that Gundersen not only says what not to do (rush to baptism), he also gives some great pastoral counsel on what to do while you walk with your children through this time.
I’m all for encouraging folks who are truly converted to be baptized with the urgency of the Eunuch in Acts 8. What we don’t want to do is rush our children to make an outward proclamation when we are not reasonably (never positively, since we cannot see their heart) sure that an inward change has happened first.