Yesterday at Providence Church we had opportunity to acknowledge the Lord's goodness in bestowing a little girl to one of our families. I even had the joy of playing a part in the dedication service.
Why is a paedo-baptism guy helping to preside over a child dedication? Wouldn't it be more proper to protest the act with folded arms, furrowed glares, and other signs of great disapproval?
Certainly, I believe that the child ought to have the sign of the covenant applied to her, and I could go into the reasons why it is imperative that we do so. [After all, one of the blessings of Providence is that there is freedom to argue the matter in Christian love being that it is not a core essential to the faith.] However, my point is not to do flesh out the doctrine of paedo-baptism now. My aim is to affirm why I could stand up front in solidarity with my credo-baptist elders at the church.
The dedication service has at least this in common with the baptism of infants: The parents have been given a great responsibility, and they now have the duty before God of raising this covenant child in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Moreover, in both services we affirm the necessity of this child looking to Christ in faith for salvation individually and for herself.
While I wish we could have affirmed the child's membership in God's covenant through baptism, I am glad for the opportunity to stand with my brethren in the affirmation of God's covenant love. That we could, at the very least, publicly declare these vows and corporately look to God in prayer for the child's spiritual development is a grand sign of our union and communion together as believers.
And now for the prayer which I offered on the occasion...
We thank you for your tender mercies and we are glad that we can be present here today to acknowledge your goodness and covenant love. You have blessed this family with yet another child, and we praise you that another disciple has been added to your kingdom.
We ask, O God, that you would be favorable towards this family. We pray that you may enable them to make good on the vows that they have taken today. Give them that grace so needed so that they may be diligent in imparting the faith to their little one. Help them to train her up in the way she should go, and rear her in the fear and admonition of you. Grant them all wisdom so that they may pamper her with the gospel all her days and nurture her in truths of our holy religion.
Moreover, we look to you now for the fulfillment of your promises. You have said that you show mercies to the thousands of them that love you and keep your commandments. So we call upon you today to bring to fruition the things of which you speak. May your Spirit quicken her heart and cause her early to profess the Lord Jesus. May she claim you as her own and cleave to you all her days. May the light of the gospel enliven her soul in the early morning of life, that she can in later years testify that she never knew a day where she did not know Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
For this we pray in the strong Name of Jesus, Amen.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.