Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dedication – that's what you need

The other week, we had Sprog #2's dedication at church. Because of sleepless nights and contracting some weird virus thing, it has taken me a while to get round to writing this.

Edward was born back in April, and his arrival was a long time coming (not that he was in the womb for three years or anything weird like that). After several failed attempts at fertility treatment, it finally worked and Ed was the outcome. His dedication was meant to be a way of publicly thanking God for this little miracle and take the opportunity to pray for him within the church community.

Dedications are the latest thing in evangelical / modern churches. The idea stems from the notion that traditional christenings (or infant baptism) are seen as being a bit out of touch, both theologically and logically. As I understand it, Infant baptism was conceived as a way to save the soul of the poor little critter before they got infected with the sin that exists in the big bad world. Save the person before they get a chance to go off the rails, so to speak.

Of course, this doesn't really work. Baptising babies doesn't stop them from doing 'bad' things – anyone with any common sense can see that. Also, there doesn't appear to be anything in the Bible that tells us to do this (or that being baptised at such an early point in life guarantees eternal life). All the baptisms that take place in the New Testament involve adults who are making a decision for themselves. Babies find it difficult enough to not poo their pants let alone choose to follow their Lord and Saviour.

Having said this, I've been to plenty of Christenings in Anglican churches, and never had the impression that the service is about 'saving the baby's soul'. Rather, they are about thanksgiving and committing the baby to God. I think infant baptism is more of a Catholic thing, which I don't know much about...

Ironically, we go to a Baptist church and you'd think with a name like that, they'd be baptising people all over the place, whatever their age! But no, our denomination is very clear about Christenings – it's not something we partake in!

And so, for us, the dedication was not about choosing Ed's faith for him. That will be his decision and his decision alone when the time comes. Wifey and I would love for him to have a real and active Christian faith, but if he chooses to become an Atheist or a Muslim that's up to him. We will still love him whatever his beliefs. No, the dedication was – as explained above – an opportunity for public thanksgiving and acknowledgment of God's role in our lives.

It was great to have friends and family join us for the day. It was also great to eat lots of cake in Ed's honour.

I'm sure, being a chip off the old block, when he's older he'll appreciate that!

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