Rutledge Etheridge – Child-like Maturity and Childish Adulthood

What does it mean to have a child-like faith? And how in the midst of their stormy youth are we adults to guide little ones away from childishness and toward the child-like maturity which Jesus commends as the only way to receive his kingdom? We could begin by shoring up our understanding of “child-like” vs. “childish.” Often without realizing it, and always to kids’ detriment, we adults tend to get those categories confused.

In order to keep us from sweating the details of biblical doctrine, Christians will often call one another to a child-like faith. The problem with this use of the concept is that children do not want to remain ignorant. They do not naturally see deep learning and trust as opposites. Neither does Jesus. Children love to ask “Why?” and they love to say “Wow.” Children rightly refuse to accept from adults shallow answers to deep questions. A child-like faith is one which longs to learn all we can from our Lord, who has called his church to teach all that he’s commanded (Matthew 28:18-20), not just what we might consider spiritual “child’s play.”

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