Being born and raised in a Christian family, Dedication and Baptism are familiar to me. Last week, my family and I celebrated my niece’s Baptism. However, some guests referred to the celebration during the event as a dedication. The two terms may seem similar, but they are far different. So, what are the differences between Dedication vs Baptism?
First, the Bible instructs all believers to be Baptist in Acts 2:38 but only commands the firstborn males to be dedicated in Exodus 13:2. In addition, Baptism is a believer’s public confession of their faith and commitment to Jesus Christ as they identify themselves with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, Dedication is a parent’s promise to God to offer their child to the Lord and to dedicate themselves to raising the child for the glory of God. Therefore, Baptism is a covenant between God and a believer, while Dedication is a vow between a parent and God.
Join me in this article as I give you more clarification on the differences between Dedication and Baptism. We will also learn their similarities and origin according to the Bible, so read till the end.
Dedication vs. Baptism: Difference in the definition
Dedication means consecrating or presenting a child to God. During the Dedication, parents vow to raise the child in the ways of the Lord. One Example of a famous Dedication in the Bible is the Dedication of Jesus Christ.
In Luke 2:22-40, the Bible explains that Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the Temple when the time was right and presented him to the Lord through a purification sacrifice. Simeon, a man who lived in the Temple, blessed Jesus and prayed for Him during his Dedication. Therefore, Dedication is a celebration where parents say their commitment orally to raising the child in the Christian faith as the child is prayed for.
On the other hand, Baptism is a ritual admission to the Christina Church. It means that one has accepted Jesus Christ and publicly confessed their faith in Him. During Baptism, one is sprinkled with water or immersed in water to symbolize purification or regeneration in the Christian life, and in most denominations, it is accompanied by name-giving. According to Acts 2:38, all believers should repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for God to forgive them their sins. Therefore, through repentance and Baptism in Jesus Christ, one is purified and made righteous to practice their faith in Jesus Christ as a Christian.
Differences between Dedication and Baptism
Parameters of comparison
A Christian ceremony where a child is welcomed into the church and presented to God through prayers.
A Christian sacrament performed through the ritual use of water to admit an individual to the Christian community.
Does not involve the use of water.
Involves immersing an individual in water or pouring it on one’s forehead.
Usually performed on infants who are months old.
Usually performed on older babies, maybe eight or nine years and above.
Similarities between the Dedication and Baptism
Dedication and Baptism are similar in that they are both covenants between God and his people. Dedication is a covenant between a parent and God. The parents take their children to God and vow to show them the ways of the Lord. They promise to lead the baby into doing right for the glory of the Lord. As for Baptism, it is a covenant between God and an individual. A believer who is ready to practice their faith in Jesus Christ vows to lead a righteous life according to the will of God. Therefore, both are vows or covenants.
Another similarity is they are instructions from God to his people. According to Exodus 13:2, the Bible implies that God instructs his people, the Israelites, to dedicate their firstborn males to him. Therefore, Dedication is a command that God wants his people to follow. As for Baptism, according to Acts 2:38, the Bible mentions that all believers are to be baptized in Jesus Christ to receive the Holy Spirit.
What is the origin of Dedication and Baptism in the Bible?
Dedication originates from the Book of Exodus 13:2, where God instructed Moses to tell the Israelites that all their firstborn males are to be presented to the Lord. Before the Israelites left Egypt, God asked them to dedicate all their male firstborn to him and his ways. Because of this law, Mary and Joseph in Luke dedicated Jesus to the Lord in a Temple.
As for Baptism, Christian theologians speculate that, although It was performed by John the Baptist in the New Testament, it did not originate with him. This is because Jews practiced it as a traditional act of purification and initiation into Judaism long before John the Baptist was born. Therefore, the origin of Baptism is in the book of Leviticus (Leviticus 16:4 and Leviticus 16:23-24), where the Levite Priests and Aaron were instructed to perform a symbolic purification and cleaning in water before and after their priestly duties. Though the Bible does not explicitly call the action in the Old Testament as Baptism, it explains how this cleaning is important to God. John the Baptist also followed this cleansing paradigm as he baptized the people through repentance. However, the final cleaning is only available through Jesus Christ, as stated in Acts 19:4.
Can a baby be baptized and dedicated?
Yes, a baby can be baptized and dedicated. According to Theologians, when a baby is baptized in the Christina Reformed Congregation, the congregation, and parents promise to bring up the child in faith and in the ways of the Lord, which is a form of Dedication. However, the synod advises Ministers to stop celebrating child Dedication instead of Baptism. This is because Baptism is a confession of faith and a doctrine taught in the Bible.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.