Dedication rather than Baptism?

My mother told me she was “dedicated” as an infant in the forties and neither she nor I know what that means exactly? Anyone know? We assume it’s an alternative to Baptism, but we’re not sure what it means exactly. Thanks.

In Baptist and other churches that don’t baptize infants, children are generally dedicated to God shortly after birth. This is a declaration that the children will be brought up as Christians, in the hope that they will later choose to put their faith in Christ and be baptized. It basically enrolls the child in the order of catechumens, though these churches don’t usually use that language . . . . The point is that even though the children are not baptized they are not regarded as heathens either. They have been dedicated to God and are tentatively (though not fully) members of the Church.

Infant dedication is not that different from the view of infant baptism held by many Presbyterians, Methodists, etc.

In Christ,


Hi everyone,

 I thought I had posted this yesterday, but I don't see it so it must not have gone through?  
 My mother told me she was dedicated as an infant rather than baptized, yet she doesn't really know what that means exactly. Neither do I. I have heard the term used occasionally and would like to know if anyone knows what is meant by it and if it is considered a valid baptism by our church?  I suspect it it not, but don't know for sure.  



An infant dedication is not a Baptism, therefore not considered a Baptism. It is a special blessing when the parents decided to dedicate their child to the Church, they promise to raise them as Christian. Most (not all) Protestant denominations use Baptism as the only Sacrament for Salvation. They don’t have the Sacrament of Penance, for sins commited after Baptism. The Catholic Church teaches that the Sacraments are an efficacious sign which means they give sanctifying grace, when valid. The Sacraments are instituted and empowerd by Jesus Christ. In the act itself Christ works through the one who baptizes. There are plenty of Scriptural references (if anyone wants some of them I can list them in another post)
Celebrated worthily in faith, the sacraments confer the grace that they signify. They are *efficacious *because in them Christ himself is at work; it is he who baptizes, he who acts in his sacraments in order to communicate the grace that each sacrament signifies (Catechism 1172)

For a person to receive sanctifying grace through Baptism, they must be properly disposed. It can be intentionally “blocked” by an individual who does not want it. A baby is not capable of doing this. Whole households were Baptised in the new testament, it did not specify age. Babies of Jewish Tradition are circumcised at 7 days. In the Old Testament it was a sign that made them a member of the people of God. Baptism is considered the new circumcision, but it actually makes us reborn as God’s children. (again if you want detailed Scriptural references, ask and I will write them out) What was ritual washing in the Old Testament, only a sign, became Baptism in the New Testament. When Jesus was Baptised the Holy Spirit rested upon him, making it more than a symbol.** "Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 3:21)**
Protestants formed under Luther and Calvin view the Sacraments in the same way as the Old Testament. They are mere symbols, there is no efficacious quality. Faith alone is what saves. For them, a person is incapable of making this decision of faith before the age of reason (generally speaking, 7) . There is no Sacrament of Penance, so no way to cleanse sin after Baptism. To remedy this, the liberal views ie simply accepting Jesus as your personal savior, once saved, always saved developed. (and many others depending on the denomination, Lutherans Baptize babies, every denomination is different.)For them, Baptism must be done at the age of reason (usually around age 7)
In the Catholic Tradition, when babies are Baptised, the parents and community are making the commitment to rear the child in the Catholic Church… but they *also *receive sanctifying grace through the efficacious Sacrament of Baptism, they are made a new creation, the old has passed away and they are reborn in the resurrection of Christ. Origional and actual sin are washed away. For various Protestant faiths, because of the reasons I mentioned before, they simply “dedicate” their babies into the Church, promising to rear them as Christians.
This is, by no means, an exhaustive explanation. There are so many Protestant Denominations it is difficult to speak in general terms. As I mentioned before, if anyone is interested, I can give more detailed Scriptural references.

I am Baptist (waiting on RCIA classes).

No water is used in an infant dedication at my Baptist Church.
And I have been to many Baptist Churches (and other denominations).

If water was being used to bless the baby, it would be called a Baptism. My Baptist church and most others don’t Baptize anyone unless they first accept Jesus Christ (are at an age of reason). Some protestants think immersion and some think sprinkling. The sprinkling crowd never has any problem with immersion – and any denomination might rarely have an immersion baptism (although I know from watching EWTN that some priests say if it is immersion then it needs to be full immersion – and not accidentally having a hand up or not getting the head fully under).

As a Baptist, I think like this: “Baby Dedication” is a misnomer. It is more of a parents dedication. The parents are taking a vow to bring up the child in a Christian home. The congregation affirms that they will live Christian lives to be an example to the child. But in any Baby Dedication it is usual for the minister to momentarily hold the child and bless the child and parents.

I don’t know why you think it didn’t go through. The thread is right here for everyone to read–just go down a bit.


I’m “bumping” this thread up, since Lisa-Marie says she can’t find it. Also, I should add to my previous post that infant dedication is not baptism and is not recognized as such by anyone, so of course it is not the same thing as Protestant infant baptism. My point in the other post was that many Protestants think of infant baptism as essentially the same thing as infant dedication. The Church generally recognizes their baptisms anyway, since they are intending to do what the Church does even if they understand what that means erroneously (some Protestants are “conditionally” rebaptized when they become Catholic, and a hundred years ago that was considered a generous practice; today it is fairly rare and the more common practice is to accept Protestant baptisms without any cavil). People dedicated as infants, however, would of course need to be baptized later (everyone would agree on that).

In Christ,


Just wanted to say thanks to everyone. I did finally see my original posting. As you might have guessed, I am not a veteran on these forums and don’t always realize how they work. Now I know! Thanks again for the info.


There was only one time that I saw this happen. It was in a baptist church in Alaska that my mom and I attended at the time. The pastor’s daughter had had a baby. During the service one weekend, she and her husband carried the baby to the front and the pastor announced that they were dedicating this child to God. And that was the whole thing. Nothing more. No baptism took place.

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