Jul 18, 2011  •  In Christianity, Claire, Parenting, Personal

Claire’s Baptism

Yesterday, our daughter Claire Emmanuelle was baptized.  :-)

I know that many babies usually get baptized a lot earlier than our daughter’s 9 months. And the main reason for the delay was due to our church’s serious stance on baptism — we, as parents, had to take several classes to prepare, to decide whether we wanted her to be baptized or not, and to finally become eligible.

According to our faith (our denomination is Presbyterian, more specifically PCA), baptism actually does not automatically save, and there are two reasons for this. The first is that there is biblical evidence that at least one man went to heaven without being baptized: the thief who was crucified next to Jesus. The second, and more central reason, is because we believe that acts alone do not bring salvation — it is only by the grace of Jesus Christ that we are saved, and so the notion that additional work is required to be saved is incorrect.

So why baptize at all? The answer is simple — because Jesus commands it: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Mt 28:19). Peter took up this message in his very first sermon, at Pentecost, when he said, “Repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). And Paul links baptism with “putting on Christ” in his letter to the Galatians (Gal 3:27).

Baptism signifies a union with Christ, and acts as a sign and seal of the membership in the church.

While our church takes the concept of baptism seriously, the ceremony itself is quite casual and quick —
so quick that we didn’t get any pictures of the ceremony! So here are a couple of pictures of Claire in
her baptism outfit (headband, dress, and shoes all from Baby Gap).

Infant Baptism is quite different from Believer’s Baptism in that while a Believer’s Baptism focuses on the conversion and decision to follow Christ, Infant Baptism centers around God’s promise of salvation and the covenant that He has made with His people. And in return, the parent(s) make a promise to raise the child in the faith, and the church congregation joins in promising to assist the family in doing so.

I know that there is a growing trend in the modern world for parents not to baptize their children, or even to “choose” a religion for them. “If your religion is that great, don’t you trust that your child will choose to follow it as he/she gets older and is able to make informed decisions themselves?”

To them, I answer: if something is so important and central in your life, if something brings you more comfort and happiness than anything else, why wouldn’t you share it with your child? Don’t we all want the best for our children?

I have written in the past that my only fear of dying is that I will not be able to see all of my loved ones in eternity. And I couldn’t imagine being in heaven without my children. Yes, I know that there is a possibility that our children may one day rebuke God and Christianity, but I pray that this will not happen…and this is the reason we chose to baptize our children. So that they will be raised in the faith, and that they will grow to love Christ just as we have.

Our pastor told us that he believes his #1 job as a Christian parent is to make sure that his children will never know a day when they did not feel loved by God. And that is precisely what J and I hope to do.

16 Responses to “Claire’s Baptism”

  1. vir:

    She is so cute Jenny! She looks so much like you!!! Congrats to Claire on her baptism.

  2. That’s so wonderful. Baptism is so special. Claire looked beautiful.

    I’m happy to hear the Catholics aren’t the only ones who have to jump through hoops for these things! The class we had to take for our daughter was a single evening.

  3. Meredith:

    This was a great post. Even though I’m Jewish, I like reading your religious posts. You’re def not preachy and I’m always interested to learn more about others’ relationship with G-d. Also, Claire is adorable in her outfit!! Congrats!

  4. I love the first picture of Claire: she looks so solemn, like she is taking the whole thing very seriously. So cute!

  5. does your church require all members to go through a baptism course for their first child? Ours (pca too) doesn’t have a class just for baptism – they go over baptism as part of the church membership class, and then once you have a child, you just schedule it.

    Thank you for being brave enough to carefully and thoughtfully explain this on your blog! I’m always afraid I’ll misspeak or explain things about our faith unclearly so I rarely post about it.

    • We have a separate infant baptism course (as well as a baptism course for teenagers/adults who want to be baptized) that we must take before we are eligible for baptism. I’m not sure if we would have to go through the course again for later children, but I don’t think we do. Additionally, a family needs to be a church member to have their children baptized, and we had to take a 6-hour membership class, get interviewed, etc in order to become members.

  6. Many congratulations to your whole family on such a joyous occasion! Claire is lucky to have such great parents.

  7. Claire looks pretty :)
    I’m Catholic so as you know, we see baptism differently. But I am a godmother and I take that very seriously, my goddaughter’s baptism (she was 14 months old) is a lovely memory.

  8. MrsW:

    I’m PCA (well, ARP now but only for the past year!) and never before heard of an infant baptism class. Good for you guys though, I’m sure now you understand the intricacies of covenantal theology a lot better! I know the ceremony itself is quick but I always thought the words of the PCA infant baptism service were so beautiful. Just had to go look them up now, actually… /sigh. :)

    • I think the class is something my specific church chooses to do. :-) But yes, I agree that the words of the baptism ceremony are beautiful. I was tearing up a little while it was being said!

  9. What a happy time for you and your family! Claire looks so cute in her baptism outfit. :)

  10. Nnaemeka Nwosu:

    I cringed internally right before clinking on the link from Google Reader to view comments. Happy with the response i’ve seen from your followers so far. Congratulations to you and your family on this.

  11. woot woot! i’ve been lurking your site since i became a mommy 6 months ago, and i didn’t you know were a fellow P.C.A.’er! over here on the west coast, us reformed peeps are rare. baptizing our baby was one of my biggest joys in life! may she and Claire never know a day apart from our Lord :)

  12. Aww – congratulations! And…Claire looks absolutely adorable in that oufit: it’s perfect! The dress and tights are so darn pretty…

  13. Adam:

    COngratulations to Claire on her baptism (a bit late, I know). I can remember being baptised myself into the Roman Catholic Church when I was about 10 or 11. I have never really been all too religious leading me to totally drop the religion altogether a couple of years ago. Now at almost 17, I would consider myself to be an Atheist, although I have received alot of criticism about my move. Aside from that, I hope that if there is a God, that he is watching down on you and your family.

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