I stumbled upon a church who was sharing their excitement about almost 400 children making decisions to make Jesus their Forever Friend at Vacation Bible School (VBS). Almost 60 of these children then went through a baptism class to be baptized. What startles me about telling children to make Jesus their Forever friend is that this language is not found in Scripture. I understand the desire for sinners to be saved. I want children to know Jesus as well; however, we must be sure that they understand the gospel before we treat them like Christians. If we tell children that “Jesus is their forever friend because they accepted Him” and this language is not in the Bible, then we just lied to these children. The sad reality is that Jesus can be your “forever friend” and you still go to hell. If children do not repent and believe in Christ, believing He lived and died to forgive them of their sins and rose from the dead to bring them into right relationship with God, they’re not Christians. Consider the words of Christ, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). Does that sound like a “typical friendship,” especially like the friendships children currently understand? Not in the least.
What is missing from “asking Jesus to be your forever friend?”
What about our sin and guilt? (Rom. 3:10-18, 23, 6:23)
What about God’s just wrath coming for us? (John 3:17-18, Rom. 6:23)
What about sinners repenting of sin and placing their faith in Christ for God’s gracious forgiveness? (Rom. 10:8-11; Eph. 2:8-10)
What about God the Father sending God the Son to satisfy His wrath and offer us grace? (Rom. 5:8, 1 John 2:2, 4:10; John 3:16, 14:6)
What about the death of Christ for our sin and His resurrection to declare us perfect before His Father? (Rom. 4:20-25)
What about God the Father becoming our Father through Christ? (John 14:6, Eph. 1:3-6)
In other words, why not preach the gospel instead a half-truth that does not save?
If children are asking Jesus to be their forever friend, but they’re not repenting and believing in Him, then they’re headed to Hell while believing Jesus is their forever friend.
I beg and plead with you to preach the gospel, not easy believism.