Critics of infant baptism say very young children cannot have faith. They don’t know anything about God. They don’t know how to reason. They can’t make a decision for Christ.
We Lutherans and other advocates of infant baptism say that they too can have faith! Just as they live in dependence and trust on their mother and father and receive their love, they can live in dependence and trust on their Heavenly Father and receive his love. That’s what faith is. No reason. Not a decision.
Jesus makes the faith of a child – not the faith of an adult – our benchmark:
And calling him a child, he put him in the midst of them and say, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. He who humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-4)
Reason, with our insistence on understanding everything, can get in the way of our faith. Our will constantly leads us astray.
Certainly, as children grow and mature, they grow and mature in their faith. They need to know more about their faith, about who God is and what he has done for them. If their faith is not nourished by the Word of God, it will die. Just as they will die unless someone feeds them.
So how do we teach young children about the Trinity? This is certainly a complex and difficult theological concept, we might think, best saved for adulthood. But the Trinity is not just a theological abstraction. The Trinity is who God is. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are God in his most concrete form.
Especially with a mystery of the magnitude of the Trinity, human reason stands in the way. Of course, children can learn about the Trinity.
My daughter, Mary Moerbe, wrote a children’s book called Trinity for Tots. This is a picture book for toddlers. It introduces the one God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – through simple rhymes and in terms that little children can relate to.
The illustrations are beautiful and evocative. Not cartoony or cutesy or condescending. They are watercolor works of art, which serve the text while being objects of meditation in their own right, which both children and adults who read the book to the child on their lap will love.
The illustrations are by Jamie and Naomi Truwe, a former student of mine and her daughter. Yes, this all makes me feel old, but in a good way.
Anyway, here are the mentions on Amazon:
“In a beautifully simple poem, Mary Moerbe invites all children of the Heavenly Father to worship the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity. Praise be to God for this book which brings the first great mystery of the Christian faith to the Lord’s youngest Christians! – Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller, pastor, podcaster and author of books whose Has American Christianity Failed? and The faith of a martyr in a faithless world.
“The mystery of the Trinity is a difficult concept for anyone to grasp. Mary Moerbe’s eloquent inspirational poetry combined with watercolor imagery leads readers to the inspiring message of Trinity for Tots. – David Birnbaum, director of the First Lutheran School & Education Executive of the LCMS Oklahoma District.“Trinity for toddlers teaches with beauty and rhyme the great mystery of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This magnificent book will delight parents and children alike. – Rev. Dr. Carl Beckwith, assistant professor of theology at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University (Birmingham, Alabama) and author of The Holy Trinity, volume 3 of Lutheran confessional dogmatics (Luther Academy, 2016) and Hilary of Poitiers on the Trinity (Oxford University Press, 2008). This little book offers a wonderful, faithful, and simple definition of the Trinity that children can understand. The nursery rhymes and illustrations kept my kids interested. The book offered many opportunities to stop and teach the children. Advised!” – Rev. Garen Pay, pastor, parent and author
“A marriage of engaging illustrations and Orthodox texts, complimenting a liturgical lifestyle, Trinity for toddlers is another winner by Deaconess Mary Moerbe! This title is the perfect addition to the Christian’s arsenal of spiritual weapons against Satan’s attacks, equipping parents with a tool to broach this delicate subject with our dearest little ones. – Marie MacPherson, classic educator, homeschooled mother and author of Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood (In Your Hands, LLC) and Teaching children chastity for life (Lutherans for life).
“The God of the Bible and of our salvation is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is no Christian faith other than in this God. Yet, as a deep mystery, it is difficult to speak of him as one God in three persons. It is for this reason that this book is priceless. It gives an introduction on how to think and speak of Him as our Father who, in His Son, gives us the Spirit of eternal life. – Rev. Dr. William Weinrich, professor of early and patristic church studies at Concordia Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne, Ind.).
“And the Catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in Unity, without confusing persons or dividing substance” (Creed of Athanasius, Luterine Sservice BOh, p. 319). And therein lies the great joy of this delicious little offering from Mary Moerbe. It introduces toddlers to the joy of that One in Three and Three in One that we worship as Catholic Christians. The genius of toddlers is that they believe what they are told without insisting that they first understand HOW what they are told can be so. In this delightfully illustrated and simply written volume, the mystery of the Holy Trinity is proclaimed, not explained, to children who are thus brought to its adoration and praise. And they can indeed WORSHIP HIM even though (like all of us) they will never understand the infinite mystery of His being! – Reverend William Weedon, pastor, author, host of The Word Endures Forever and former worship leader and chaplain of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.