Christen

<<perform an infant baptism>>

A ceremony practiced by some churches where a baby is sprinkled with water and (incorrectly) declared a follower of Jesus Christ. This act on a child’s behalf does not make the baby a Christian – this only comes about by the individual’s choice when they are old enough to understand what they are doing, repent and in faith choose to follow

    We can’t make the decision to                    follow Christ for another

Christ (Rom 10:17; Heb 11:6). Christening is not recorded anywhere in Scripture, and it can lead to the mistaken belief that ‘I was christened as a child so I’m on my way to heaven’ which side-steps the need for a personal trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ for salvation from sin. For those christened as infants, a subsequent ritual, also not mentioned as being practiced in the early church is confirmation, the rite of passage into the full life of the church.

The Scriptural alternative is baby dedication and blessing, when Christian parents declare in a public statement that they will pray for and train their child in the Christian faith,
endeavouring to ensure they will accept Christ as Saviour. This reinforces the notion that no church ritual has the power to force this decision; it must be a personal choice. It is

We should pray and strive for the                     salvation of our children

desirable to have close friends (sometimes called ‘Godparents’) who agree to assist with the spiritual development of the young child. Later, the solemn step of baptism is taken by believers who (in some measure) understand the significance of the act by indicating their commitment to follow the Lord.

Even before he was conceived Samuel was dedicated to the Lord – this was followed through on when he was a young child (1 Sam 1:11,27,28). As a baby Jesus was brought to the temple to be dedicated to God; this occurred at the same time as His circumcision (Lk 2:21-38).

See also: baptism (water), Christian, confirm/confirmation, dedicate, godparents

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