The difference between 'dedication' and 'baptism'?

I am a new father and would like some guidance regarding child christening and/or child baptism. Are the two practices synonymous? What is their scriptural rationale if any? - Elwood

Congratulations on becoming a father. It is a wonderful experience and I am sure you have many years of joy in front of you as you raise up this precious life. I am also delighted that you are thinking of the spiritual development of your child. Proverbs 22:6 states "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

This is a privilege that begins early in your child's life and in dedicating a child you are as much dedicating yourself to raise that child as you are praying for a blessing on the child itself. Child dedication follows that Biblical practice of bringing a child before God. The best example of this is Mary and Joseph bringing Jesus to the temple (Luke 2:22-38) where the child not only got the blessing of the priest, but also that of Simeon and Anna. Beyond that, it seems a very reasonable and desirable thing for parents to want the best for their children. Mothers brought their children to Jesus for a blessing (Luke 19:13-14) and God must delight when we do the same.

Child baptism is slightly different in that baptism is a public declaration of commitment to God. Baptism, in Biblical terms, is a public declaration that I am choosing God's way. It is a choice I make rather than a choice someone makes for me. Thus, for me, baptism is something special for someone who has developed an understanding of what God wants for their life rather than a "right of passage" for a baby. However, I am sure God loves and cherishes the baptised child just as much as he does the one who has been dedicated.

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