Dear Bridge Family and Friends,
What an exciting past Sunday we had at the Taylor’s home, as both Alyssa and Cesar celebrated their baptisms, renewed their commitment to Christ Jesus, and made a public proclamation of their desire to follow Him!
As both Alyssa and Cesar were baptized when they were young, they felt it important that they renew the baptismal promises made on their behalf by their parents, by personally committing themselves to Jesus. You may or may not be aware that the Covenant Church recognizes the validity of both infant baptism for the forgiveness of sins, as well as adult baptism (often called believer’s baptism).
In the first case, because of the parents’ faith, the child is brought into a saving relationship with Jesus (cf. Matthew 8:5-13) through the sacrament of Baptism, and that child is healed of all stain of sin and made a child of God. Often, as a way to show the personal nature of the relationship once the child is of age, confirmation occurs, whereby the grace of God begun in baptism is brought to completion in confirmation.
Alternately, for the parent who desires to wait on baptism until their child is of age to decide, the covenant church practices infant “dedication,” whereby a child is dedicated to God as a way to show the parent’s commitment to raise that child in the faith. Eventually, when ready, the (then) young adult will seek the waters of the believer’s baptism. This is when an individual, knowing the power of Christ to heal their soul, approaches the throne of grace and accepts Christ Jesus into his/her heart, and is healed. (cf Matthew 8:1-4)
Sacred Scripture is absolutely clear on the importance of baptism (cf. MT 28:19, John 3:5, Acts 2:38, and a many more!), but is not clear when exactly it should occur. Jesus says quite clearly about children, “do not hinder them (Luke 18:16).” Also, it seems that baptism has replaced circumcision for the Christian community (Colossians 2:11-12), and circumcision was done on the 8th day in accordance with the Law of Moses. Peter seems to teach infant baptism (Acts 2:39), and in Acts 16:15 and 16:33, whole households were baptized. Even so, nowhere do we see in Scripture “make sure you baptize infants” given as a command, similarly, no where is it forbidden as a practice. Additionally, we see quite clearly the truth of believer’s baptism, but nowhere does Scripture claim that baptism is ONLY for those who have reached the age of reason.
While some church’s forbid infant baptism, and others encourage it, the Covenant church keeps both infant and believer baptism as options for the faithful. We are not an “either/or,” type of community, but rather a “both/and” type of people. We stand in solidarity with both the present and the past in baptizing infants whose parents believe and desire it for their child, and adult baptism for those that desire it for themselves.
If you, or someone you know is interested in a baptism, a dedication, or a confirmation, please do not hesitate to see me after church. I’d love to help.
I’ve included some helpful documents that might in a better way than I have explained here, provide clarity and authority to the Evangelical Covenant Church’s teaching.