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Christening is defined as "a Christian sacrament signifying spiritual cleansing and rebirth." The christening ceremony, usually done to small children and babies, and most common in Catholic and Ep...
Infant baptism is a ritual that was introduced in the Church in the later years in order to christianize the children of Christian believers. But the Bible teaches that "the Kingdom of God belongs to children" whether or not they are born to Christian parents (Mt 19:14). It's a pity that even the disciples of Christ could not understand this (v 13). "Children are a heritage from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is His reward" (Psa 127:3). This refers to all children irrespective of who their parents are. They will go to Heaven if they die before the age of accountability. Angels on their behalf in Heaven keep worshipping the Father (Mt 18:10). When David confessed, "I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me," he was simply referring to the fallen nature of all human beings (Psa 51:5). Under the Old Covenant God had said that He would punish even children for the sins of their fathers (Ex 20:5). Accordingly an old Jewish proverb said, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge" (Ezek 18:1). But God has changed this principle under the New Covenant. He said, "You shall no longer use this proverb" (v3). Each one is responsible for his own sins only (v4; Jer 31:29-31). In the Old Testament God primarily looked for "national" or "community" response. Under the New Covenant God expects "personal" or "individual" response and obedience. "Each" of us shall give account of "himself" to God (Rom 14:12). Even while addressing a Church, Christ expected "individual" responses (Rev 3:20). All that God has commanded parents is to bring up their children in the fear of the Lord (Eph 6:4). The godly influence of parents on children cannot be overstated. The faith of Lois influenced her daughter Eunice who then impacted her son Timothy. Knowing the Scriptures from childhood came in handy when Timothy entered ministry (2 Tim 1:5; 3:15). Similar to the Jewish practice of circumcision, Christian parents may bring their children to the Church to be dedicated or blessed by God's servants as Jesus did when children were brought to Him. But baptism must be reserved to be administered after an individual personally repents of his sins and believes on Christ. Both Jesus and Paul had been circumcised as babies, but they were baptized later (Lk 2:21; 3:21-23; Phil 3:5; Acts 9:18). Baptism in the Bible was always "after" confession of sins, repentance and believing on Christ (Mt 3:6; Acts 2:38; Mk 16:16; Heb 6:1,2). Because water baptism is a figure of death and burial, anyone who has not personally reckoned himself dead and buried with Christ must not be baptized (Rom 6:1-11). Sprinkling a few drops of water on babies to bless them and give them names may not be wrong. But calling this as baptism becomes an unscriptural practice which later confuses the candidates. However old a tradition may be, in order to maintain the supremacy of the truth of God's Word, we must not hesitate to drop it. Otherwise we will be guilty of making the commandment of God of no effect by our tradition (Mk 7:13). Times of ignorance God has "overlooked" (Acts 17:30). We must not think He has "sanctioned" what we did then. The difficulty many Churches will face if they stop administering infant baptism will be enormous. It may threaten to collapse the very structure. But this is what reformation means. Let everything that can be shaken be shaken in order that only that which cannot be shaken may remain (Heb 12:27). When the Bible speaks about "one Lord," it refers to Christ of the Scriptures and no other lords though there are many (1 Cor 8:5). When we talk about "one faith," we mean faith on Christ and Christ alone. All the other faiths must be renounced. The same argument holds good for "one baptism." It's an act that follows when a person puts his "one faith" on the "one Lord" (Eph 4:5). Unless infant baptism is abolished, we will continue to have more Ishmaels than Isaacs in our Churches.
No, Christening is not biblical. The person being baptized would have to have knowledge of Christianity. They would have had to accept Jesus Christ as lord and Savior. This is a tradition of some denominations and adds to their biblical culture. Some denominations dedicate their children when young (or as babies), so that the whole church will help raise the children in their Christian life. There is also the age of accountability which Is not biblical, because all kids mature at different pace, but it is the age when they know right from wrong (sin of Adam and eve) and it is after that period that when they hear the Gospel and respond to it, that they can get baptized for their sins (and original sin) and acccept Christ as Lord and Savior.
Christening means the act of giving a child a Christian name, but by association it has also come to mean infant baptism. Now this is one of the most controversial topics in the Christian Church. There are an awful lot of Christians who don't believe in baptising infants and an awful lot who do. Calvin and Luther and Wesley and Lloyd-Jones do believe in baptising infants. They get their views from passages like Col 2:11-12 which bring circumcision and baptism together. They understand this to mean that just as circumcision is the sign of the old covenant, so baptism is the sign of the new covenant. And as circumcision is available to infants so therefore is baptism. On the other hand other Christians like John Bunyan, C.H. Spurgeon and Billy Graham take the view that infants should not be baptised. Now we have to be realistic and sensibly admit that both views are honourable and held in good faith and both are encompassed by the statement of faith here. That is our starting point and if we are wise it is our end point too. Let those who are persuaded of their own view, be tolerant of those who are not. The right understanding here is to acknowledge that while Christians might have different views on baptism, this is a secondary matter of faith and not something to dogmatise about or fall out over. After all, none of us is right all the time - unless we are perfect, and they don't need baptism. Regards Phil
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