Baptism & Dedication
Historically, the Evangelical Covenant Church has accepted both infant and adult baptism, intentionally avoiding the division that baptism can sometimes cause. Examining scripture, we discover many references to adult baptism following a conversion experience, thus signifying personal identification with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In the book of Acts 16, we find two references of entire households being baptized. While no mention is made of specific individuals in the household, the possibility exists that infants may have been present.
In the second and third generation of the early church, when Christian couples gave birth to children, they sought for a tangible means to mark their children as being set apart from the world around them. Baptism became the outward, visible sign of the covenant those parents had with the Lord Jesus Christ. It was never intended as a means of saving a child from sin, rather it was a means of marking the child as being part of God’s covenant people. In this way it was similar to circumcision in the Old Testament. The means of marking an Israelite child as being part of God’s covenant people by having the Infant circumcised. Baptizing an infant carries with it the same symbolism. Romans 2:28-29, Galatians 5:5-6.
Finally, scripture gives no indication that infant baptism or adult baptism brings salvation. Salvation comes through belief in the completed work of Christ on the cross. Parents who baptize their infants anticipate the day when the child will personally accept the claims of Christ and become his disciple. John 3:16, Romans 6:23.
Alexandria Covenant Church recognizes and values children who have not been baptized as infants to be full participants in the community of faith. The rite of blessing a child, also commonly referred to as the dedication of a child, is a service for parents who want the blessing of God on their child but believe that baptism is to be reserved for those who make a conscious choice in confession of faith.
Grateful for the gift of a child, the parents are accepting their responsibility of nurturing the child in the love and grace of God. The emphasis in infant dedication is on the personal pledge of parents to raise and nurture their child in a loving Christian home. There is anticipation and hope of the child’s future personal commitment of faith in Jesus Christ.
At Alexandria Covenant Church we believe baptism is an act of obedience to the command of Jesus, fulfilled by individuals who have submitted themselves to His sovereignty. It symbolizes the spiritual cleansing through divine forgiveness and the newness of life believers experience by virtue of their identification with Christ in his death and Resurrection. Baptism provides an opportunity for believers to make a formal profession of their faith, it is not a condition for salvation, but a response to the redemption and love of Jesus.
Questions? Call church office, 320.763.5659