Baptism and Child Dedication

What is Believer’s Baptism?

We believe that baptism is an important part of one’s Christian life. Baptism is a witness (an acting out) of the gospel story -- Christ died and we are dead to sin's power and penalty through salvation -- Christ was raised and we are raised to a new life in Christ. So, in baptism, one is identified completely with Jesus Christ -- we have "put on Christ" (Galations 3:27).

Why is Baptism important for the Christian?

Baptism is important because of our obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  It’s as simple as that -- when we love Jesus Christ we want to do what He says.  Jesus Himself was totally obedient to the Father and was baptized as were the disciples and early Christians. In Peter’s first sermon after Pentecost he preached saying, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38). Baptism is important because of our identity with Christ and our outward testimony to others. In baptism we are telling others that we are now Christians.

What is Child Dedication?

Child dedication is a public commitment you make before God, your church, your family and friends.  The dedication service provides you, the parent(s) an opportunity to express publically your desire to lead and spiritually nurture your child(ren) in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, so your child(ren) will develop a desire to love God, love others, and make a commitment to Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

What is the biblical purpose and history of a child dedication? 

The scriptural root of a child dedication is found in 1 Samuel 1:27-28 (NIV), where a godly woman named Hannah prayed year after year for God to give her a child.  He answered her prayer and she gave birth to a son, whom she named Samuel.  When Samuel was born, Hannah prayed these words. “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him.  So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”

In Luke, chapter 2 of the New Testament, following the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the temple and dedicated Him.

In both Scripture passages, the parents entrusted their child completely to God.

One key step in marking your desire to nurture your child in the ways of God is to dedicate him or her to God publically, through a child dedication ceremony.

Does Riva Trace baptize infants?

Scripture provides evidence that baptism follows an individual’s decision to trust Christ alone for salvation (Acts 2:41, 8:12, and 10:47-48).

In the Bible, we did see parents bringing their children to Jesus.  He held them, prayed for them, and told us to welcome them.  But He did not baptize them and He did not tell anyone else to baptize them.  Riva Trace believes baptism is for those who have made a personal decision to trust Christ alone for their salvation, once they have the maturity and ability to understand what that means.

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