Among the addresses given to commemorate the 1888 centennial of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (which is available to read in its entirety on our Compilations page) is one by Givens Brown Strickler titled “The Children of the Covenant.” It is a brief address emphasizing the Presbyterian doctrine of covenant theology, based on the promises of God, and its outworking in the place of children within the Church. He concludes his address with an important point about the need for parents, as stewards of God’s good gift, to consecrate their children to the Lord.
Another reason for our interest in children is our belief that the Scriptures teach the duty of consecrating them to God in a covenant well ordered and sure. As we consecrate our time, and possessions, and ourselves to God, so should we consecrate our children. God never asks for the consecration of anything that He will not accept. As God accepts parents He accepts their children, and as He accepts the parents promising to be their God and Saviour, so He accepts the children as their God and Saviour. He is obliged to do so, unless we assume that God requires a consecration and then refuses to receive it. The seal of the covenant guarantees that the consecrated shall be accepted, as the rainbow that stretched across the heavens guaranteed that the world should not again be destroyed by water. So the sprinkling of the water of baptism assures parents that their consecration of their children shall not be in vain. By means like these the Presbyterian Church in every age of the world has shown its interest in its youth, and the result has been that Presbyterian children growing to manhood and womanhood have, as a rule, been characterized by clearer, stronger, and more settled views of truth than the children of any other people in the history of the world, and have been as useful, as earnest and as persevering propagators of the truth of God's Word as the world has ever seen.