By Brooks Cochran
Once in a Bible class someone asked a question concerning the dedicating of children to God. They knew that infant baptism was not taught in the Bible; but at the same time wondered if it would be wrong to have a special service, or at least part of the regular Sunday morning service be used, in which parents dedicate their child to the Lord much like Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:11. In reply I made the following observations that needed to be considered.
1. Where is the Bible authority for such a practice? Denominationalists have been creating special worship services for years. They have special services for most any occasion. But the Bible is silent upon the matter of having a special service in which parents dedicate themselves to raising their children to be obedient to the Lord and/or dedicate their children to the Lord.
2. There is no need for such a service. This is true mainly because fathers are commanded to “bring” their children “up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). The wife, being in subjection to her husband, is to “guide the house,” “love” her “husband,” “love” the children, “be discreet, chaste, keepers at home” . . . “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (1 Tim. 5:14; Tit. 2:4,5). Seeing that children are brought up to fear, serve, respect, and obey God ought to be as natural to the husband and wife as eating three meals a day. Why have a special service or make a big production out of something that is the duty and responsibility of the home and not the church?
3. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that a couple does make a vow of some sort and have a special service in which they dedicate their child to God and his service. What is going to happen when that child grows up and decides that service to God is not part of his or her plans? Who should be held accountable for breaking the vow? Remember, though parents are to teach and train the child, that child is still a free moral agent with a will of its own!
Rearing children is a very serious responsibility and obligation. It is one that is not to be taken lightly. If parents want their children to have a proper respect for God, then they had better demonstrate that respect in their lives before the eyes of their children. Our children are much smarter than we think. They soon learn from the home environment what is important in the lives of their parents! Parents should forget about such foolishness as having special dedication services for their children and start living as Christ would have them live so the child can see Christ in the parent!
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 16, p. 4
August 18, 1994