Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 28, 1962
NUMBER 9, PAGE 3,13a

Does A Little Boy Become A Man When Baptized

Lloyd Moyer

A great deal of controversy has arisen over "women teachers" who have little boys in their classes. There is no question about little boys who have not been baptized. But it is argued that as soon as a little boy is baptized he becomes a man and must be removed from the class where a woman teaches. If the woman does continue to each the little boy, she is violating the restriction set forth in I Tim. 2:11-12. It is contended that the woman would be "usurping authority" over "the man." I do not believe that baptism makes an "adult man" out of a little boy. I have no objection to any congregation placing little boys who have been baptized in a class where a man teaches; but for anyone to contend that a congregation or eldership becomes "unscriptural" simply because they allow a woman to teach a little boy (twelve years of age or under) who has been baptized, is making a law where God has not made one. I have no axe to grind with anyone. This study is prompted by a love for the truth of God's word and for the unity of God's people. My purpose is to state what I believe the Word of God teaches on this subject.

Those who object to a woman teaching a little boy who has been baptized, base their argument on the passage (1 Tim. 2:12) where Paul says, "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." They contend that the Bible makes no distinction between a boy who is a Christian and a man who is a Christian. But, when one is baptized he becomes a man regardless of age. I affirm that an examination of the scriptures will refute this idea. The scriptures do make a distinction between a boy who is a Christian and a man who is a Christian insofar as their relationship to the Christian woman is concerned.

The question under consideration is not "the public assembly of the whole church" nor who can do what in that assembly. The question is does Baptism make a "man" (as per I Tim. 2:12) out of a little boy (twelve years of age or under)? The word "man" which appears in I Tim. 2:12 is "aner" Thayer defines the word as follows: "I. with a reference to sex, and so to distinguish a man from a woman; either A, as a male:" (he lists a number of passages, among which is I Tim. 2:12 L.M.) "or B. as a husband." (more passages listed, among which is I Tim. 3:2 L.M.) "2. with reference to age, and to distinguish an adult man from a boy:" (Emp. mine LM.) The apostle Paul was guided by the Holy Spirit to use the word in reference to one who has matured in intelligence and virtue; in contrast to one who was still a child. (I Cor. 13:11). "When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." The "child" considered in this verse was old enough to think, understand, and speak; yet, was not a man. Who is ready to affirm that Paul does not make a distinction between the child and the man in this passage?

If there is no distinction between the boy and a man why did the Holy Spirit use a different word in Luke 2:43? The word used here is "piss" which means a "child" and could be either boy or girl. (Thayer, Page 473) Why was not the same word "aner" used here as it was in I Tim. 2:12? In the case of Luke 2 it is emphatically stated that a "boy" or "child" of twelve years of age is under consideration. (verse 42) Here we have a twelve year old "child" (pias) not a "man." This "child" (Jesus) was about his Father's business (verse 49). This gives authority for a "child" to be about God's business. (Christian). The scriptures plainly show that a twelve year old boy who is about God's business is not "an adult man" (Aner) but is a "child" (pias). Who is ready to affirm that it is a sin for a woman to teach a child in a class?

The Word of God plainly states that the one over which a woman is not to usurp authority is "an adult man" (aner) (I Tim. 2:12) and uses an entirely different word (pias) when reference is made to a twelve year old boy who is about God's business. I have shown the passages which substantiates my affirmative. I ask brethren who contend that baptism makes a man "aner" out of a child "pias" to show me the passage which so teaches.

Most all of those who place a little boy, when he is baptized, in a class with a man teacher say that they do it to keep down contention and to be on the safe side. This sounds fine. But I wonder if it is good? Are we on the safe side when we allow those who are ignorant of what the scriptures teach to force their opinions on the church as law and cause contention if the church does not conform to their theory? If so, to be consistent, we would have to do away with ALL women teachers because some say that it is the safe side to have all men teachers. Again, we would have to do away with all classes but one and it taught by a man because some say this is the safe thing to do. (I do not believe it would be a sin for a church to have all men teachers or to have just one class with a man teacher; but when they say that it must be done that way or be unscriptural, I must oppose them as making a law where God has not made one.) The same is true concerning little boys in a class with a man teacher. (I think it would be all right. Probably a woman could do a much better job.) But when they brand all those who have women teaching these children as unscriptural, I must oppose them.

Others contend that "one container" for communion is on the safe side. Some say "no literature but the Bible" is the safe side. Should we abandon all containers in communion except one? Should we use no literature in teaching but the Bible? On and on we could go but this is sufficient to show that we should be guided by what the scriptures teach, rather than by the whims and fancies of untaught and opinionated brethren.

In conclusion, we have learned that until a boy or male child reaches the age where he can perform the functions of a MAN "an adult man" according to Thayer in his definition of the term Man "aner" (I Tim. 2:12) he is still a child "pins" and is so referred to by the Holy Spirit. (Luke 2:43). This change is wrought in a BOY by AGE and NOT by baptism. If brethren want to put this child "pias" in a class with a man teacher it is perfectly all right with me. But, I plead with them not to make a law where God has made none and brand those who have women teaching children (a child, "pias") as being unscriptural. We should be guided by what Is revealed in God's word. In the realm of opinion let us be content with what the "Overseers" decide.

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