Thursday, May 22, 2008

Child Dedication

*This is for Kelly and anyone else interested in knowing what all this "dedication" stuff is about*

First of all, to clarify, we attend a Missionary Church. It would be classified as an Evangelical Christian denomination. We do not baptize infants. In our beliefs, baptism is an outward expression of an inward decision and commitment. Obviously, an infant is not capable of making such an inward decision and commitment. If a child is raised in a Christian home, they may make this decision at a fairly early age. I think I was somewhere around 10 or 11 when I was baptized (I have a terrible memory, seriously)...

In many Protestant denominations, instead of infant baptism, the parents may choose to "dedicate" their child. This is a choice and not a requirement. Even being on staff, we were never approached about whether or not we were planning on dedicating Elijah. It was our choice.

This "ceremony" (kind of a fancy word) works like this (at least in the 3 different churches we have had a child dedicated at). You have Christian parents. They have a baby (the child may be any age). The parents realise what an awesome responsibility God has placed on them when He blessed them with this child. They desire to raise their child(ren) for God, according to His Word.

A child dedication is basically just a way for parents to declare their intentions in raising their child for Christ. It is also a chance for the church to publically declare their support - of the parents, of the family.

The child can be any age. Many parents do this when the child is still a baby. Yet if parents comes to know Christ later, they may make the decision to raise their children from that point forward for Him - they are more than welcome to have their children dedicated. I imagine such a dedication would be quite touching and emotional, even with older children (elementary, jr. high, whatever).

And lastly, a child dedication does not "save" the child. A person is saved ONLY through the grace of Jesus Christ. Once a person is old enough to understand what Jesus did for him/her, they may choose to accept this amazing gift of salvation, through His sacrifice, His death, on the cross. When a person accepts Jesus as their Savior, when they ask Him for forgiveness of their sins (past, present, future), when they dedicate their life to Him and His will - then that person may choose to publically demonstrate this commitment through baptism. A baptism also does not "save" you - only Christ and His Gift can do that.

Anyway, hope that helps. If anyone wants further clarification, just let me know.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Great, thanks!