There are a number of occasions each year when the minister has people
coming to him to ask that their child be baptised, without necessarily
having any great understanding as to what it means or involves.
Sometimes they are being pressurised by parents or grandparents to have
their new baby ‘done’. This may explain what we are about when we
The sacrament of baptism is one of the two sacraments that we celebrate in the Church of Scotland, the other being communion.
Baptism in the Christian faith has it’s beginnings in the New Testament when Christians are commanded to go and make disciples of all nations, and to baptise them. Baptism was something that happened to those who believed and was a sign that they were entering the fellowship of believers, the church. There came a time when Christian parents wanted their children to be part of the church and so they started to baptise infants, in the belief that they were made part of the visible church and in due course would come to have their own faith.
When children are baptised it is usually at a normal service on a Sunday and the parents take certain vows. They first of all make confession of their faith when they are asked the question:
In presenting this child for baptism do you confess your faith in God as your Heavenly Father, in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord and in the Holy Spirit as your sanctifier?
They are further asked:
Do you promise, depending on the grace of God, to teach him/her the duties of he Christian faith and by prayer, instruction and example to bring him/her up in the ways of Christ and the fellowship of the church?
The whole thing about baptism is that it is about bringing children into the community of faith and so it is essential that the parents themselves are part of that community or the baptism means little or nothing at all. One parent at least should be a member of the church, and to set a good example should be a regular worshipper.