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Baptism is a sign that the person belongs to God and with the people of God. It is about becoming a member of a new faith community. Baptism is a sign and seal of grace and faith.
Baptism is often confused with ‘Christening.’ The idea of christening seems to be that the child is brought to the Church (so to God), so God then knows that child’s name; and, if anything should ever happen, and the child dies, then God knows the child – and will take the child to heaven. This is not what the Bible teaches, and because the Presbyterian Church seeks to remain true to the Bible, it has no ‘christening’ service. What Presbyterians practice is called “Baptism”.
Baptism does NOT make certain that the person being baptised will go to heaven when they die.
Baptism must NOT be done just to please some other church or family members.
A popular verse, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Luke 9:48), has no reference to the practice of child baptism.
Certain vows are required by the Presbyterian Church of Australia to be made by parents who present their children for Baptism.
Therefore regular attendance by the family at church is the very basic requirement in order to fulfill these vows. To have a child baptised and then not attend church is both being dishonest before God and denying the child the right to weekly fellowship of mixing with other children of like-minded families.
By witnessing and confirming the parents making their vows, the congregation has certain responsibilities put to them, as well. They will be required to say “I will” to the following vow.
“This sacrament lays special responsibilities upon you, the people of God. Will you be faithful to your calling as members of the Church of Christ, so that, by God’s grace, this child may grow up in the knowledge and love of Christ?”
Again, if the family of the baptised child does not attend church regularly, the congregation will not be able to fulfill this vow that is made before God, making any who made the vow effectively dishonest before God. Therefore, please consider carefully before seeking to or agreeing to have your child baptised. Remember that in the vows taken before God and the Church you will be promising to: