What is Baby Dedication?
The Bible over and over again admonishes parents to teach their children how to love and obey their God. Moses said, "Impress them (commandments) on your children." (Deut. 6:4-9) The bulk of the Book of Proverbs is an impassionate plea from a father to a son instructing him to know, live and apply the Lord's commands. The Apostle Paul said, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4)
During our "Baby Dedication" ceremony, the parents of the child or children are publicly declaring their personal commitment to Christ and their whole-hearted commitment to raising their children in the instruction of the Lord.
Some denominations would say that infant baptism is a form of “Baby Dedication,” while others would propagate that infant baptism removes original sin and secures salvation for the child involved.
The Bible, which is our ultimate source of truth in faith and practice, provides no room for either.
The Bible teaches that salvation is secure by faith in Christ's person, sacrificial work on the cross, and resurrection from the dead. "If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)
- Scripture also teaches that "Saving Faith" involves one's whole being, their mind, will and emotions.
- We believe intellectually by understanding and confessing the factual elements of the message. (Romans 10:14)
- We believe emotionally by realizing our need for Christ as our personal Savior and Lord. (John 16:8-10)
- We believe volitionally by an act of our will as we surrender, commit, and entrust ourselves into Christ's saving hands and to His authority over our lives. (John 3:16;36; Ephesians 2:8-10)
Also, scripture teaches us through its silence on this subject, that it gives no specific example of any infants being baptized, only those who have believed.
SO WHAT CAN WE CONCLUDE?
- Individuals must believe the facts of the gospel and confess them openly to be saved.
- Individuals must realize their need for a Savior.
- Individuals must, as an act of their will, surrender and entrust themselves to Christ.
- These individuals were the only ones to be baptized.
- Infants do not fit any of these categories.
Since Baby Dedication is primarily Parental Dedication, I would first ask, "Have you as parents publicly declared your faith in Christ through baptism?" One of the marks of a true follower of Christ is their intense gratitude for what God the Father has done for them through Jesus Christ. One has a hard time suppressing the liberating joy of knowing their sins are forgiven and their eternal destiny is secure.
In the fifth chapter of Luke's Gospel, we see two examples of this reality. First, immediately after Jesus had forgiven and healed the paralytic, Luke writes, "...he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God." Secondly, after Levi responded to Jesus' invitation to follow him, he held a great party inviting all his friends to no doubt tell them of his decision. Jesus himself makes this heart-stirring statement: "Whoever confesses me before men, I will also confess him before my Father in heaven." (Luke 12:8)
The second question I would ask is this, “Have you publicly declared your whole-hearted desire to train and instruct your children in the things of God?” This is what I call a confession of accountability—where parents make themselves accountable to the entire church to live up to their commitment.
So even if your child has experienced infant baptism, I would encourage parents to take this step of publicly confessing their faith and their desire to raise their children in a God-honoring way.
WHAT HAPPENS AT A BABY DEDICATION SERVICE?
- Baby Dedication will take place after worship time. (songs)
- The Pastor will give a short explanation of Baby Dedication.
- During the Dedication Service, the Pastor will ask you to come forward, and he will ask three questions:
Have you placed your trust in Christ as Savior, and are you committed to following Him as your Lord?
Do you recognize that your child is a gift from God, and you are responsible to train and instruct this child in the things of God?
Answer, “We do.”
Do you this day pledge as parents that you will bring up this child “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?”
Answer, “We do.”
- Then the Leaders will gather around you and your family to pray for you.