As Christmas approaches and we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus, I’d like to share something about our baby dedication ceremony.
Roman Catholics practice infant baptism, as do certain Protestant groups. But the New Testament does not record any cases of infant baptism. In Scripture Baptism was only administered to adults after they confessed their faith in Jesus Christ. So Baptists who acknowledge the Bible as their only authority for faith and practice do not baptize infants; instead, they conduct an infant dedication ceremony.
I am frequently asked whether it is necessary for both parents to be full members of our church to dedicate their child. The answer is no! Even if only one parent is a Christian, the couple may dedicate their child. But two things are required of the non-believing spouse.
One requirement is that they come to a monthly meeting where the gospel is explained to those who want to become a follower of Christ. Attendance does not mean the person must accept Jesus as their Lord. They are simply required to attend.
The other is to agree to do the following.
First, they must accept the believing spouse’s conviction that their child belongs to God and that parents are simply guardians entrusted with the child to raise him according to God’s will. The non-believing spouse needs not agree with every point of this statement but must consent to raising the child according to the Biblical principles because these principles are good even from a secular point of view.
Secondly, they must accept the fact that raising their child according to God’s will requires parents to be Biblical parents; a Biblical man and wife. The non-believing spouse needs not believe this statement in its entirety but must agree that becoming Biblical parents and a Biblical couple would be good for their child.
Third, they must agree to not prohibit their child from growing in faith and being active in church ministry.
As you know, when I pray for a child in the dedication ceremony I raise the child towards the cross in our sanctuary. I got this idea from the animated movie “The Lion King”. In it, a monkey who plays a role of a priest raises the newborn child of the lion king and presents the baby to the gathered animals. That scene left a deep impression on me. So I tried doing something similar during one dedication ceremony and got a favorable response. One church member even said that she wished she had another child just to experience the dedication ceremony for her own child. So we’ve settled on lifting up the child during the dedication prayer as our custom.
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