N. R. Dower, former Ministerial Secretary of the Genera! Conference, lives in Ooltewah, Tennessee.


1. Only those who are truly converted to Christ and this truth should be baptized. —-Evangelism, p. 307.

2. Baptism is a sign of entrance into Christ's spiritual kingdom, which is represented by the church. —Ibid.

3. No baptism should be performed which fails to connect the candidate to Christ and His church. —-Ibid., p. 318.

4. Those who are baptized should be fully instructed. —-Ibid, p. 308.

5. Those who are baptized should be not only renewed in heart but reformed in life. —-Ibid., p. 319.

6. Accession of members who have not been truly converted and instructed are a source of weakness to the church. —-Ibid., p. 313.

7. Satan is pleased when such people are brought into the church. —-Ibid.

8. Many are baptized who have no fitness for this sacred ordinance. —-Ibid., p. 319.

9. All who enter upon the new life should understand before their baptism that the Lord requires the undivided affections, the practicing of the truth. —-Ibid., p. 308.

10. The line of demarcation should be plain among those who love God and keep His commandments and those who disregard His precepts. There is need of thorough conversion to the truth before baptism. —-Ibid.

11. A thorough inquiry into the experience of the candidate is to precede baptism. —-Ibid., p. 311.

12. Candidates are to put away erroneous beliefs and ungodly practices in preparation for baptism. —-The Acts of the Apostles, p. 475.

13. Many are buried alive. This is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the church. —-The SDA Bible Commentary, Ellen G. White comments on Romans 6:1-4, p. 1075.

14. It would be better to baptize six truly converted people and bring them into the church than sixty who make only a nominal profession and are not thoroughly converted. —-Evangelism, p. 320.


It is evident that this counsel must be followed if church membership is to be meaningful today. We are warned that the devil works to get certain people into the church so that through them he can counteract the work of the Spirit and destroy the influence of the church. Genuine care needs to be taken, therefore, when dealing with these matters.

What we appeal for is a proper balance. Let us make sure that they are properly prepared for baptism and membership in the church. On the other hand, let us not keep them waiting so long that they lose faith and feel that they are not wanted.


Questions are being frequently asked about the baptism of children. The chief one is: "How old should children be before they are baptized?" The servant of the Lord has said that children may have an experience in Christ that is in keeping with their years. When they are old enough to know what baptism signifies, when they are truly surrendered to Christ, when they understand the principles of faith and the significance of church membership, they are old enough to be baptized. The peak age for baptisms among children of the church is from 11 to 14. This seems to be a safe age spread, and it might serve as a general guideline. There will no doubt be exceptional cases where some may properly be baptized a bit earlier.

The inspired counsel to this church, however, indicates thai when children are baptized, especially those at an early age, parents must accept responsibility, along with the pastor and teachers, for their spiritual growth, (see Evangelism, pp. 309, 310).

The other danger we face is in delaying the baptism of our children so long that they come to believe there is no need or place for them in the church. This, too, is a great mistake. We need our children and youth. They are our precious treasure, and God is using them in a marvelous way to help finish His work. Let us prepare them properly for baptism, yes, but then let us baptize them. Give them the blessing and security of church membership, and then utilize their talents and energies in the service of Christ.

N. R. Dower, former Ministerial Secretary of the Genera! Conference, lives in Ooltewah, Tennessee.