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Two Myths About Baby Dedication

This Father’s Day at FCC, we're having a baby/child dedication in our worship service.  Two couples will dedicate their baby and child, respectively to the Lord.  In this ceremony, the parents will present themselves and their child to the Lord and pledge to train them to follow the way of Christ. In turn, the congregation will promise to support the family with loving assistance when needed and prayer and I will offer a prayer of blessing upon the children.

With this special service on the forefront of my mind, I want to take the opportunity to dispel two myths that sometime surface when the subject of baby dedication arises.

Myth #1 “Baby dedication is comparable to infant baptism.”

At FCC, we have people who come from diverse church backgrounds and with those backgrounds, come diverse views on baptism.  Persons who come from a sacramental church background where infants are baptized, might assume that the ceremony of baby/child dedication is performing the same function as that of infant baptism.  That is, the baptism is a means whereby God imparts saving grace, resulting in remission of sin.

At FCC, we believe the Bible teaches that no outward ritual or ceremony is capable of cleansing us from the inward defilement of sin.  One can only be washed and renewed by the Spirit of God through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection (Titus 3:4-5).  According to Romans 6:3-5, we believe that baptism proclaims what has already happened to the believer who submits to it.  Baptism, then, is the means God has provided to demonstrate the union of the believer with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. With this in mind, we believe that the Scriptures indicate that baptism best follows a credible profession of faith. Therefore, we wait until the child is able to articulate his or her own faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior before we administrate that ordinance.

Myth #2 “Baby/child dedication is an ordinance of God.”

Baby/child dedication is not prescribed by God anywhere in Scripture.  Baptism and communion, or the Lord’s Supper, are the only two rites prescribed by the Lord for the Church.  So why do it?
There is a twofold basis for baby/child dedication.  The first is Hannah’s dedication of Samuel to the Lord in 1 Samuel 1.  Hannah vowed to give her son to the Lord if He looked favorably upon her request to bear a son. The Lord did, and Hannah fulfilled her vow to the Lord. While Hannah’s circumstances were unique, one universal application for every Christian parent is that every child is a gift from God whom he entrusts to our care.  Every Christian parent has the responsibility and privilege to dedicate themselves and their child in service to Christ and His kingdom. The second basis is Jesus’ love for little children. In Matthew 19, Jesus welcomes the little children to come to him and blesses them.  Baby dedication reflects Jesus’ love and affection for children.

While baby/child dedication is not required by God, I would highly encourage believing parents to seize the opportunity to do so for this reason:  it reinforces the encouraging truth that the church is called to function as an extended family of the biological family (Matthew 12:46-50). Playing off the modern-day proverb, It takes a village to raise a child, it takes a church to disciple a child. Young Christian families ought to be looking for all the love and support they can get, especially in this crazy, mixed-up, and broken world in which we live.

Don’t fall for the myth that any ritual, whether infant baptism or dedication, can secure your child’s standing before God.  Only faith alone in the saving work of Christ alone can do that.  The tough reality of parenting is that eternal life is one thing we can’t provide our children.  But, we can provide them a shining example of what true faith looks like.  Trust in the power of God to use your influence to lead your children to love and live for Jesus.

To learn more about baptism, watch our video, "Is baptism for you?"

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