BAPTISM: What it's about
Let’s start at the
that God has spoken to us, that he means what he says,
and therefore we must take notice of him.
the “Basis of Union” of our Uniting Church declares, it
is through the Bible that we “hear the Word of God” and
it is by the Bible that our “faith and obedience is
nourished and regulated”. Which means, that contrary to
some traditions that have developed over the years in
the Church, we are unable to “christen” children, but we
are more than happy to baptise children, in accordance with the teachings of the Bible.
Why we don’t “christen”
“Christening” has been described as a nice, but somewhat
quaint old religious custom of naming a child by having
a minister dab water on the child’s forehead and mumble
some prayers, as a prelude to that much more memorable
event known as the “Christening Party”.
This description of christening may be a bit exaggerated
but it does make an important point. The death of our
Lord Jesus on the Cross for us is far too serious a
matter for us to allow Baptism, as the initiation rite
into faith in him, to degenerate into a “nice, but
somewhat quaint old religious custom”.
There is much more to Baptism than the old “christening”
Baptism is joining a family
No one is
born a Christian nor do we inherit it from our family.
We become Christians or members of God’s family only
when we personally recognize that:-
Such is God’s holiness and purity
that we are not and never will be good enough get
ourselves into his heaven. (Romans 3.23)
such is God’s love for us and his determination not
to lose us, he sent his Son Jesus to die on the
Cross to take the penalty of our sin for us. (John
need to do something about this ourselves, by
accepting the love and forgiveness God is able
to offer us through Jesus, and by allowing him to
adopt us into his family as his children. (1 John
Baptism is an outward and public sign of this and that
we are now members of God’s family.
Why do we baptise children?
While little children are of course unable to do
anything about their relationship with God, we as the
church and their parents baptise children as a
declaration of our faith and confidence in Jesus Christ
who died for all even though they were unaware. He
calls everyone into a relationship with him. We do
this in anticipation of the children one day making their own decision for
baptism of children is a public declaration of God's
action in the world through Jesus Christ. Baptism does not make them Christians, as this is a
decision that we all must each make for ourselves.
The Baptism Service
If you are
seeking to have your child baptised the
parents/guardians need to consider these questions:
Can I confess my own faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord?
means in other words, if you were to die tonight, would
God let you into his heaven, and if so, why?
Can I provide a
Christian home for my child, and set before
him/her an example of Christian living?
means, that in your life together as a family, where
your child will see the real you, that he/she will see the
example of Jesus in the way you live and in your
attitudes towards God and other people.
Will you show your child a friendship with Jesus that is
precious to you, which you’re careful to nourish and
Will you give your child opportunity
to grow up in the life of the Church so that he/she
may accept the Lordship of Christ and be received
into the full fellowship of the Church?
as a family going to church and worshipping God together.
It is not enough to take the passive
attitude of “We’ll let them make up their own minds
about religion when they get older.”
children is a commitment by both the
parents and the congregation to actively work and pray
that they will come to “accept the Lordship of Christ
In a baptism service a commitment is made by the parents
and congregation to actively share the responsibility of providing the child with a
does not require us to have godparents and so they’re
not part of official Uniting Church belief and
practice. Nor do they have any legal status.
We believe the child’s real godparents
are the members of the Church family who received the
child in Baptism and promised to share with the parents
in giving the child a Christian upbringing.
if the parents can’t truthfully make these promises at
always better to be honest with God than make promises
we’re uncertain about keeping.
There is no law of God or of the Church
that says a child must be baptised. It is quite in
order to allow children to wait until they’re old enough
to make up their own mind whether or not they want to be
baptised. In the meantime they can still call
themselves “Uniting Church” and will always be welcome
at the Uniting Church.
there an alternative to Baptism?
is the “Service of Thanksgiving” that is also conducted
in a normal church service like Baptism. In this
service we give thanks to God for the gift of this child
and ask his blessing, protection and guidance through