The article starts out pretty typical…
[Ezekiel] Stoddard said he was motivated to become a minister after God spoke to him in a dream and told him to read Psalm 23.
“God gave me that particular scripture because a lot of people, they try to draw you away from the lord, trying to get you on the wrong path,” he said.
So now he’s been ordained as a pastor. Just one thing: he’s 11-you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me-years-old:
“A lot of people think of me being a kid, that my parents are forcing me to minister the gospel,” he said. “But the first time I did a sermon, I was 7 or 8.”
He said he plans on being a minister his entire life.
I’m sure his parents — who, totally coincidentally, happen to be pastors at the same church — had no influence on him whatsoever.
Before you jump to conclusions, though, realize that he has a completely normal childhood!
Stoddard is homeschooled by his mother, along with three other siblings. His mother says he spends at least three to four hours a day studying the Bible.
Maybe he got an advance copy of this book…
At least there’s a voice of hope from one person quoted in the article:
“There have been child preachers through the decades, and more than one of them has grown up to be quite embittered by the experience and turned away from the faith,” said [Dartmouth professor Richard] Balmer. “I think that’s a cautionary tale to anyone who wants to rush in and be ordained.”
Taking the Richard Dawkins approach here, if this kid was speaking out in favor of taxing the rich and having universal health care, people would call him brainwashed. They’d say he’s not mature enough to understand things like politics — and they’d be right. So why isn’t there a bigger uproar over this?
It’s not unusual for kids to recite things they hear all the time in their homes. It is unusual for them to have any real understanding of what they’re talking about. And young Ezekiel shows no signs of having that comprehension. He’s just parroting what the adults around him say.
It’s not his fault. He doesn’t know any better. (Yet.) He’s just a charming kid in a suit who has good public-speaking skills. If only his parents would find a way to make better use of his talents.
(Thanks to Paddy for the link)