How long can someone be considered a “baby Christian?”

Steven Lawson & Derek Thomas
1 Min Read

LAWSON: In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul intentionally does not give a timeframe for how long someone can be a baby Christian. He called the believers in Corinth “carnal.” We know there is no such thing as a carnal Christian for the entirety of one’s life, but I think Paul was intentionally vague on that point. When does a child become accountable for committing his life to Christ? There are different paces at which some kids develop versus others. It is an unspoken thing. I think there is nothing we can hang our hat on as far as a timeframe is concerned. John Calvin said that he refused to be a speculative theologian or someone who addresses things that are not in Scripture. Similarly, Charles Spurgeon said, “I will not believe a matter unless I can put finger on chapter and verse.”

There is no schedule that we are given in Scripture. I would hesitate to say what that is. In my preaching and teaching, I have used language like “season.” For example, a person could be walking according to the flesh for a season, but certainly not for the duration of their Christian life.

THOMAS: The book of Hebrews chastises folks who ought to be on a better diet than “the milk of the Word.” One senses that has been the case for a considerable period of time.

I think it is very difficult to make judgments when Christians may belong to churches where they are hearing almost nothing that is edifying. I am sure there are a lot of baby Christians taking in milk for their diet because they are in churches that are not preaching expositorily through the Scriptures. They are not getting meat and potatoes or solid food. If you are in a congregation where there is solid preaching and teaching and you still remain a baby Christian, I think the judgment is different. Those are two different categories of Christian.

This is a transcript of Steven Lawson’s and Derek Thomas’ answers given during our 2020 Dallas-Fort Worth Conference and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, email or message us on Facebook or Twitter.