Last Sunday I preached on Romans 2:17-19 – Circumcision of the Heart . It was part of an infant dedication service for Timothy Harrison, son of Graham and Michelle and brother of Ben. Let me explain why we do this. We are a Presbyterian Church and we believe in covenant baptism which includes the infants of believers. I wrote about this Baptism – A personal Journey in which it is discovered that infant baptism is Biblical! However amazingly not every Christian agrees with us! So what should we do when we have a couple who want their children to be dedicated not baptised? It would be wrong to compel people to baptise them, because whatsoever is not of faith is sin. And in my view it would be wrong to turn away parents who want to do something good, confess their faith and dedicate their children to the Lord so in St Peters we offer three options.
- Infant blessing – for non-Christians who come and want their child ‘to be done’. They have a superstitious view of baptism but also a genuine desire to seek God;s blessing on their child. If they wish so I just ask them to come up, pray for their child and seek to introduce them to Christ. There are no vows to be taken.
- Infant Dedication – This is for Christians who want to take vows and promise to bring up their children in the love and fear of the Lord. They do take vows.
- Infant Baptism – This is the gold standard! In is infant dedication, plus the sign of baptism. The parents take vows, but also the congregation take one because we are welcoming the child as a member of the congregation.
Hope that makes sense: Enjoy the sermon:
Enjoy this quote from Luther – you will need to listen to the whole sermon to get the context!
“the words do you steal also apply to the rulers and tyrants of this world who seize the possessions of their subjects, not indeed by force or open robbery, but by threatening those who do not yield to them with their disfavor and by refusing to help them when they are in trouble. So they say ‘ We did not compel them, but they gave us things of their own free will’. Most certainly they did not force them directly, but by withdrawing from them their protection, they coerced them. So wicked is the mind of man”.
Then at night Sinclair gave what a visiting couple described as one of the top three sermons they had ever heard (I suspect the morning wasn’t quite in that category!). It was on John 1:10-12 – Well worth listening to.
Finally here is one of the songs we sang. Although I am sad not to be able to worship with my own church today – having the sermons and songs really helps…