The Child in Christian Thoughts





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The Child in Christian Thoughts

Dr Alex Tang


One of the things I find lacking in our Christian thinking is a coherent theology of childhood. Of course, we have always referred to Jesus’ connection of children with the Kingdom of God. Various commentators take that to refer to mean innocence, lack of inhibitions, and of malice. Others struggle with the meaning of the original sin in children. Some argues on whether children should be baptised or not.

In the last decade, there have been many new studies involving the theology of childhood. This is a welcome addition as scholars and thinkers wrestle with what it means about the salvation of a child and his or her spiritual formation. The child’s interconnectivity with parents, family, community, society and nationhood are also being studied. Thus it is a delight for me to discover Marcia J. Bunge (ed)(2001) The Child in Christian Thought (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

This book collects together 17 essays on Christian thinking of children. What makes this book different is that the essays are not about contemporary thinkers but Christian thinkers from the past. These books disperse the myth that the early Christian thinkers are not concern about children.

The chapter titles reads like a who who’s of Christian thinkers:

- The Ecclesial Family: John Chrysostom on Parenthood

- “Where and When was Your Servant Innocent”: Augustine on Childhood

- A Person in the Making: Thomas Aquinas on Children and Childhood

- The Child in Luther’s Theology

- Children in the Theology of John Calvin

- Complex Innocence, Obligatory Nurturance, and Parental Vigilance: “The Child” in the Work of Menno Simons

- Education and the Child in Eighteenth-Century German Pietism

- John Wesley and Children - Jonathan Edwards, and the Puritan Culture of Child Bearing

- Friedrich Schleiermacher on the Religious Significance

- Horace Bushnell’s Christian Nurture

- Reading Karl Barth on Children

- Karl Rahner’s Contribution to Modern Catholic Thought on the Child …and more. All my favourite theologians are here.


This book is worth reading, especially for those involved in the teaching and ministry with children.



soli deo gloria


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 "spiritual forming disciples of Jesus Christ with informed minds, hearts on fire and contemplative in actions"  


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