Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Infant Baptism

On Pentecost Sunday, May 27, 2007, Meghan and I gave our twin girls, Brenna Munro & Brooklyn Gwen, for infant baptism. Click here for all the pictures. It was a beautiful gathering.

Our son Brayden Wesley was also baptized as an infant on Christmas Sunday, December 25, 2005. We have just the one picture you see here. This one was special because his cousin, Karter Landen Kern, was dedicated at the very same time.

For all three of our children, we were blessed to have their grandfathers - both elders in the Church of the Nazarene - present and overseeing. Our families were well-represented (with all the Parkers present for Brayden's baptism and most of the Scotts present for the twins' baptism).

These were important events for the Scott family. Meghan and I "dedicated" our children to God the day we knew they existed. We chose infant baptism for all three for a number of reasons. Baptism is many things. Perhaps at the forefront for us, it is the public entrance (welcoming!) of an individual into the Christian community of faith. In my own experience (and in Meghan's), we were both born "into" the Church. We've never known life outside of the Church. While we've had our fallings and shortcomings, we've really always been a part of the Church. We want the same for our children.

So yes, we made that decision for our children. They can choose to accept or reject that decision at an appropriate age - as they can and will with all the decisions we'll make for them throughout their early lives. It's obviously our hope and prayer that we raise them in ways that are most conducive to them making the choice to follow Christ.

What happened at their baptism was a sign of and to something, not an end. I believe that this is true for all baptisms. Baptism is a sign and symbol of what happens in one's life.

One thing that was beautiful about the gathering for Brooklyn and Brenna's baptism is that our community of faith got to recognize the affirmation of a little girl's own infant baptism. Just the week before, a girl in the church prayed to acknowledge Christ. For her, it was the "confirmation" of her own infant baptism that her parents had initiated when she was a baby. It's good to see it come full circle! It's to this end that Meghan and I pray.

The last thing I'd add for now is that it's important to us that this happen within our local church community. As a reception into the community of faith, these children become a part of the Church through this local church. North Street had already been so supportive of the kids in every way, but it's important to me (as Dad and as Pastor) that the community be reminded that these children are theirs.

Meghan and I get the unbelievable privilege, joy, and responsibility of taking care of these three kids for a few years. What we do will shape them tremendously. This is an awesome responsibility and one we don't take lightly. I'm not sure there's anything more important in our lives for which we can be so directly responsible. This is it.

By the way, we don't hold infant baptism as prescriptive for anyone (though I'll recommend it in my own community). We just chose it as we saw it best for our kids.

For Brenna & Brooklyn's baptisms, we used about 90% of the order of service that Dennis Bratcher provides at the Christian Resource Institute (click here to see it).