Monday, February 6, 2017

Covenant Baptism: Is It the Same Thing as a Baby Dedication?

When Christians who aren’t from a Reformed background try to understand covenant baptism, they often compare it to a baby dedication. There are, of course, obvious similarities, making this a natural comparison, but there are meaningful differences—and the differences go beyond the use of water! Essentially, in a baby dedication, the ceremony focuses on the act of the parents; the parents are dedicating their child to God. They certainly do this in a covenant baptism, too, but this isn’t its primary purpose. In a covenant baptism, the purpose is to signify and seal God’s promises to us. Yes, parents dedicate their children to God, but we must understand this as a response to God’s covenant promises to be God to us and our children (Genesis 17:7, Acts 2:38-39). The primary thing is the action of God. God is making promises to us. God is assuring us of his promises through the waters. God is placing his triune name upon us. As always, it isn’t about you—it’s about God.

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