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Baby dedications

Submitted: 12/15/2004
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Question: The Roman Catholic practice of baptizing babies is not part of the Apostolic church. Back in the early 70s it was a 'new thing' in the sole-pastoral UPCI church my husband and I attended to have a special prayer during which we took our baby to the front of the sanctuary to dedicate OURSELVES publicly to raising our baby in the truth. A short prayer was prayed over our family by the pastor while my husband or I held our baby. I have noticed a big shift in this ceremony while our grandchildren in our sole-pastoral assembly. The mothers and the fathers physically relinquish their infant into the arms of the pastor. There is a big emphasis on respecting and obeying the pastor without question so that the child will learn to always go to the pastor in all stages of life. A lot of photos are taken, but the main focus is the pastor and the baby. Our daughter says that is the way it is always done and that they have zero photos of her husband holding the baby as the head of his family and the one to whom the child biblically should go for training. Has it come to the place where the pastor has replaced the husband as the head of the wife and also the head/father of the children? Parents are not so much dedicating themselves to raise the children in the truth, but dedicating themselves to the pastor to give him their children. The example of Samuel is given as the reasoning behind this--I hope we don't end up with a lot of Hophnis and Phinehases!

Answer: What you have related does seem like a shift toward increasing pastoral dominance. It smacks of the Catholic infant baptisms where the priest holds the child and marks the forehead with water.

In our assembly, the parents hold the child and the entire congregation prays for the child and the parents. Biblically, men are the heads of their homes, not pastors.