(Mt. 18:3) Are believers supposed to be gullible like children?

CLAIM: Jesus said, “Unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 18:3). Does this mean that believers should be naïve and gullible?

RESPONSE: There are a number of observations in order:

First, Jesus is not referring to GULLIBILITY, but HUMILITY. In the very next verse, Jesus states, “Whoever humbles himself as this child” (v.4).

Second, other passages are clear that believers should be discerning—not gullible. Elsewhere, Jesus said, “Be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves” (Mt. 10:16). Paul writes, “We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14).

Third, children ask more questions than anyone. Francis Schaeffer writes, “Did you ever see a little child who didn’t ask questions? People who use this argument must never have listened to a little child or been one! My four children gave me a harder time with their endless flow of questions than university people ever have.”[1]


[1] Schaeffer, Francis A. 25 Basic Bible Studies: including Two Contents, Two Realities. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1996. 129.