astor Danny Hyde previously wrote Jesus Loves the Little Children: Why We Baptize Children, published by Reformed Fellowship, Inc. In this his latest book, he explains why we should include our children in our worship services. It is a sixty-nine page book with three chapters: Children’s Church or Children of the Church?, Children in Worship in Scripture, and Parenting in the Pew. Pastor Hyde writes in a style that is easy reading and easy to understand.
Most readers of The Outlook very likely are members of a congregation where children are routinely included in all worship services and are not sent to separate children’s activities. We may think then that this book is not pertinent for us. The publication of this book was first graciously offered to Reformed Fellowship by the author. It was felt for that very reason there would not be much demand for it among Reformed Fellowship clientele. The subject of this book, however, should also be of interest to us for a number of reasons.
Your children ask, or a visitor to your church asks you, why we keep children with us during worship. You are an elder, and someone asks you to explain why your church keeps children with the congregation during worship services. How do we answer? This book will serve to reinforce our understanding of this subject, supported by Scripture as explained by the author.
This book also should be in the hands of our younger generations for their instruction. History tells us that as time goes on, particularly the younger generations observing what others are doing, begin to think that their church should be doing it as well. In addition, some of us may not approve of young parents not sending their small infants to the nursery during the worship service, believing that it is disruptive. Hyde’s biblical assessment also includes these covenant children.
The emphasis of this book is that public worship is the nursery of the Holy Spirit. Hyde uses a quote from Calvin’s Institutes 4.1.1, “The church, into whose bosom God is pleased to gather his sons, not only that they may be nourished by her help and ministry as long as they are infants and children, but also that they may be guided by her motherly care until they mature and at last reach the goal of faith.”
Some pertinent historical information on this subject is provided. The author traces this modern concept to the beginning of Sunday school in the late 1700s. He states that this changed thoughts about the place of children in the church from worshiping terms into educational terms. Examples from both the Old and New Testament are given to support children in worship. A brief explanation of the covenant and how it includes infants and children is given.
Unlike many of us, Pastor Hyde did not grow up influenced by Reformed teachings. An understanding and appreciation of the Reformed doctrines and practices came later in his life. For an appreciation of the subject at hand, he credits the church with which he was a part while he was new to the Reformed faith. Hyde also credits the example of his own congregation at Oceanside in how they accept children in their worship. He states that it is often loud, causing him to preach even louder, but that the Holy Spirit will use this in the raising of their children as an example for generations to come.
In closing, Hyde says, “The children of believers, therefore, are children of the church and belong in the Holy Spirit’s most child-friendly nursery—public worship.” This book is another excellent contribution by this author worthy of our reading even though we may already be practicing this in our church.
Mr. Myron Rau is the chairman of the board of Reformed Fellowship. He is a member of the Covenant United Reformed Church in Kalamazoo, MI.