Baby dedication for unwed mother

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by GODzThunder, Apr 8, 2004.

  1. GODzThunder

    GODzThunder
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2003
    Messages:
    1,094
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a situation in my Church concerning a young lady wanting to have her baby dedicated. Half the Church is fully supportive of dedicating the baby because they say that a dedication is the issuing of a challenge to the parents and family to raise the child in a Christian environment.

    The other half of the Church bring up an interesting point though. This girl is living with the man who is the father of the baby but they are not married. This group in the Church believe that you should not dedicate a baby because you are in actuality presenting them before the Church as a family, which in God's eyes they are not because they live together out of wed-lock (they are shacked up so to speak).

    The first group believes that the dedication is an encouragement and a challenge to raise the child as a Christian family including encouragement to do the right thing and get married.

    What is your opinion and would you or would you not do a dedication with this child???
     
  2. Bro Tony

    Bro Tony
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2,398
    Likes Received:
    0
    To me the matter of dedication is not merely about the child. In our church we speak of this time as a commitment of the parent(s) to raise their child in the way of the Lord. We also speak to the church as this being a time of commitment to the family and the child, to stand beside them and encourage them in the Lord. I fear it sounds like this family is approaching dedication like infant baptism. How can the mother and father commit to raise the child in the Lord if they have no intention of living in the Lord themselves. Before I would do the dedication they would have to get their live right before God.

    In my first church I had a young couple that came to the Lord who were living together without being married. After they received Jesus they wanted to be baptized. I spoke with them and encouraged them to get their relationship situation right before they entered the baptismal waters. They agreed, I married them, and that next Sunday I baptized them. What a great day that was for them and for our church. Our people saw that Jesus had really done a great work in them.

    I would not do anything that would in anyway encourage or seem to condone someone in sin. Remember dedication does nothing for the child, it is the commitment of the parents to Christ that is of the most importance.

    God bless you and guide you as you deal with these difficult decisions where you minister.

    Bro Tony
     
  3. go2church

    go2church
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,304
    Likes Received:
    6
    I agree with the first group. The reality is that the father is going to be a part of the child's life, married or not, and it would hoped that he would want to do so under the influence of Christ, the church can show them that they are willing to help him do this. There is a real possibilty that at this time a marriage wouldn't be a good idea. I can't tell you how many times I have seen people get married because of an "unexpected" baby (although I'm not sure what they thought was going to happen once they started sleeping together!) and it turn out to be another bad decision. Remember, these are people who have already shown that aren't mature enough to follow some of Christ's clearest teachings....yet. It also could be argued that in God's eyes they are "married", if you wanted to split hairs so to speak. How about an agreement to come to a "Why Marriage is Important to Jesus" study time with the pastor? How about the church agreeing pay the cost of the wedding? Just a few suggestions.

    BTW, I can see the the other point of view on this situation, I am just trying to "err" on the side of what I think could (key word, could) produce the greater spiritual long-term impact, even if that makes me a bit squirmy in the pew in the short-term.

    This really seems to be real opportunity to make an impact, for the good, on their lives. I will be praying that the Holy Spirit brings clarity to this situation for the entire church.
     
  4. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have long questioned baby dedications. They seem to me like baby baptisms without the water, a kind of sanitized infant baptism. I don't do them. I would have a baby parade on MOther's day or something where all the babies born in the past year get carried by their parents in front of the congregation and each given a new testament or something. That is more reasonable, IMO.

    I would go after the bigger picture. Why does this mother (and father if the case is so) want this baby dedicated? What do they expect baby dedication to do? If they have a proper understanding that baby dedication is really about the parents dedicating themselves to raise the child in a Christian home, then they should be able to see the immediate implications ... like how is this home Christian? And what does it need to do to become Christian?

    This is a great opportunity for ministry, but without the baby dedication.
     
  5. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Messages:
    2,537
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree. If we do not hold to Biblical standards, then who will beleive us when we preach th Gospel? If they are committed to each other, they need to be married first. Then dedicate the baby.
     
  6. Mike McK

    Mike McK
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    6,630
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess my first question would be if this woman is living with this man in sin, and is evidently unrepentant about it, why is she still a member of the church?

    I agree with the second group. I don't believe that they should be presented to the church as a family.

    The whole point of a baby dedication is that the parents are promising to raise the baby according to Godly standards. How ironic would it be for her to stand in front of the church and make that promise when she's living in unrepentant sin, herself? It would be blantantly insincere on her part and I don't think the church should take such vows lightly.

    Now, all of that having been said, my most fervant prayer here is for the baby. I hope that the church will not take the mother's sins out on the baby, who has nothing to do with any of this.
     
  7. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Dedicating a baby is "extra-biblical" activity, totally at the discretion of the local body. Whatever they decide should be good for the body.

    I always like to help people "do right". Even if it is a small step (like a couple living together and they ask me to marry them) I am happy to help.

    But that is individual; corporate church function is something else.
     
  8. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2000
    Messages:
    17,933
    Likes Received:
    8
    The way that I think I/we would handle that would be to talk to the parents to see why they are dedicating it, and if it is to raise the child in a Christian home, then talk to them about what a Christian home is.

    It is about the parents, not the child, and I feel we would need to direct them accordingly.
     
  9. Roy

    Roy
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/0710.gif>

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2001
    Messages:
    745
    Likes Received:
    0
    Consider the impressionable young minds who may be taking in this spectacle. They may see a ceremony such as that as church approval of unwed parenting. I don't think it should be done.

    Roy
     
  10. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Messages:
    26,806
    Likes Received:
    78
    I have always viewed baby dedications as actually being parent dedications,where parents dedicate themselves to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the the Lord. The church is admonished at the same time to be supportive of these parents in their task.

    In the case of this mother, I don't think she and the father can dedicate themselves to bring their child up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord since their "home" is based on an ungodly relationship.
     
  11. Abiyah

    Abiyah
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/abiyah.gif>

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Messages:
    5,194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Amein!

    When that church allows the unmarried woman who is living with the man to stand before the congregation for such a dedication, the church is, in effect, sanctioning their sinful situation.

    The woman needs to wisely decide to either marry the man or get him out of the house. Fornication is unacceptable in all situations.

    The child is not the one who sinned; the parents sinned. The child is innocent of their sin and should not be punished for it.
     
  12. Jude

    Jude
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/scott3.jpg>

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2001
    Messages:
    2,680
    Likes Received:
    0
    'Baby dedication' is something rather-foreign to me, we baptise infants. That said, the parents do make promises regarding doctrine AND lifestyle. I would NOT baptize an infant whose parents are living together. I would baptize an infant (conceived out of wedlock) being raised by a single mom/dad, who were, at that time, living the Christian life, and had confessed their past sins.
     
  13. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Messages:
    26,806
    Likes Received:
    78
    Jude,

    Thanks for your input.It might be interesting to hear a variety of viewpoints on the issue, so I have started a thread in the "All Other Christian" category so that other non-Baptists might reply.

    Roger
     
  14. Bethelassoc

    Bethelassoc
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2003
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have had the "pleasure" of a couple showing up out of the blue (no idea who they were) to church one Sunday and wanted their newborn dedicated.

    I took the opportunity to tell them that dedicating a baby is telling the church that they, the parents, are responsible for the child's rearing in the church and a dedication in no way secures the child.

    Needless to say, they didn't go through with it and have not been back to our church since. I do believe, like P.L. said, that some people look at dedication as a "dry baptism", if you will.
     
  15. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Our two churches (where I pastored 16 years in Wisconsin) did NOT practice infant dedication for the very reason that the area was 95% Catholic or Lutheran and they looked upon what we did as "christening", only without water.

    To stop confusion and allay misconceptions, we stopped it.
     

Share This Page

Loading...