“Child dedication” does not adequately define what actually takes place during a service. A better description would be to call it “parental commitment.”
The Bible over and over again cautions parents to teach their children how to love and obey their God. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Moses said, “impress God’s commandments on your children.” The bulk of the book of Proverbs is a zealous plea from a father to a son instructing him to know, live and apply the biblical principles to his life. The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:4 says “fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” In light of such passages, during a child dedication service, the parents of the child or children are publicly declaring their personal commitment to Jesus Christ and their whole-hearted commitment to raising their children in the instruction of the Lord.
Some would say that infant baptism is a form of child dedication, while others put forth the idea that infant baptism removes original sin and secures salvation for the child. The Bible, which is our ultimate source of truth in faith and practice, provides room for either. Salvation is secure by faith in Jesus Christ, His sacrificial work on the cross, and resurrection from the dead. Romans 10:9 says, “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.”
“Saving faith” involves one’s whole being, their mind, will, and emotions and is reflected in confession and belief. Belief comes by intellectually understanding and confessing the factual elements of the message,(Romans 10:”14) and by emotionally realizing your need for Christ as your personal Savior and Lord (John 16:8-10).
A person believes with an act of their will as they surrender, commit and entrust themselves into Christ’s saving hands and to his authority over their lives. Only those who had a saving faith were publicly baptized.
What we can conclude:
- Individuals must believe the facts of the Gospel and confess them 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 that have made a faith commitment are the only ones to be baptized.
- A child must be old enough to understand what they are doing prior to baptism.
Since child dedication is primarily a parental commitment, the first question to ask is “Have you as parents publicly declared your faith through baptism?”
One of the marks of a true follower of Christ is an 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. The second question to ask is “Have you as parents publicly declared your whole-hearted desire to train and instruct your children in the things of God?” This is what can be called a confession of accountability–where parents make themselves accountable to the entire church to live up to their commitment.
Even if your child has experienced infant baptism, Springbrook would encourage parents to take this step of publicly confessing their faith and their desire to raise their children in a God-honoring way.
Child dedication takes place at the beginning of the service after worship time.
For additional information, please contact Associate Pastor, Richard Wollard.