Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Baptism vs. Dedication

A serious question for my friends who are United Methodist pastors - do you do Infant Dedication as well as Infant Baptism in your church?

If so, where do you find the liturgy for a dedication? You’d have to go outside the denomination or to an old (almost pre-merger) Book of Worship. The lack of a liturgy for Infant Dedication in the current Book of Worship at least implies that we don’t do dedication, doesn’t it?

And more questions: How does dedication fit into your overall theology of baptism? How do you distinguish between a dedication and a baptism, for yourself, for your congregation, for the parents?

Where, if at all, does Confirmation fit into this over-all picture? As the institutional way we urge young people to make a Profession of Faith.

I’m asking because I’ve followed pastors who only allowed Infant Dedications and I’ve followed pastors who only allowed baptism. I know pastors who will do either/or. I’ve wrestled with this a lot myself, both in seminary and in the parish. I know where I’ve come down on this, but I know that I have colleagues who have differing ideas. Sadly, there is rarely an opportunity for us to exchange those ideas.

I’m hoping to hear from at least some of you here. I really want to know what you think.



Missy said...

Really hoping you get a lot of responses here.

Kevin Baker said...

I would recommend Daniel Benedict's answer on the GBOD website:

Jabe F said...

Just my 2 cents!
Baptism is something that God does; dedication is something humans do.-which one is more important? Confirmation is a form of teaching to ensure that the participant knows what he/she is professing.