Review: Daniel R. Hyde’s Jesus Loves the Little Children

Because of the size of the book, there are some assertions that might make those who read the Bible from a completely different paradigm scratch their heads, but that cannot be avoided in such a small book. However, all the pieces are there for someone to pick up this book become interested and do further research.

I found his explanation of the covenant of grace helpful (12, 13)--which is foundational for understanding covenant baptism. I also found the chapter on circumcision and baptism essential especially in the way he demonstrates why circumcision ended (Jesus’ “bloody circumcision on the cross” 18) and why we now baptize children and new believers outside of the covenant (connecting it back to the first exodus and Paul’s usage of new Exodus language 23).

The most invaluable discussion occurs when he argues for the inclusion of children in the covenant from the New Testament (37-44). He argues this most precisely when engaging with the use the preposition “in” in relation to parent/child relations in Eph. 6:1-4 and Col. 3:20 (39) and the regular way Paul uses “in” as a shorthand for union with Jesus Christ. “While we and our children are personally to embrace God’s promises, the fact remains that God chooses to work through families” (41). Later he argues baptism is essential as the beginning point of discipleship for our children: “Baptism is not the end of the story, but the beginning, for both you and your children, as a life of discipleship begins” (79).

Coming to see that Jesus loves the little children and, therefore, we should baptize our children was a slow road for me. It’s interesting looking back how most churches who do not practice covenant baptism have some kind of non-Scriptural equivalent in their services (baby dedications or blessings) and even speak in covenant language about the church’s children (“Jesus loves you Johnny,” or “You’ve been blessed by growing up in a Christian home”). If children are not, in any way, in the covenant community, than this way of talking is backwards. If they are, we should continue talking this way and baptism our children.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Mathew Sims is the author of A Household Gospel Fulfilling the Great Commission in Our Homes and has written for CBMW Men’s blog, Gospel-Centered Discipleship, Borrowed Light, and Servants of Grace. He also works as the managing editor at Gospel-Centered Discipleship. They attend Downtown Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Greenville, SC.