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God Parents/Baby Baptism

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm having a hard time with this and need you ladies to help me.

My SIL and brother are going to baptis my 9 month old nephew. WHY is this so up setting? Well I don't understand why they are doing it.....My SIL never goes to church. So she is just "playing church" I believe that if you make a promise to the Lord he wants you to keep it.

So, I really want to know: Why Baby Baptism? What do God Parents do?

I'm feeling sad.
post #2 of 17
Tell me more. This phrase stands out for me: "I believe that if you make a promise to the Lord he wants you to keep it. "

Keep in mind I'm operating from a lapsed Catholic perspective. As a Catholic I was taught that one of the reasons for baptism was to wash away original sin. While it is also the first of the three sacraments of initiation into the Church, the other two are required to fulfill Catholic Church membership.

I guess I believe that if parents want to baptise their baby, whether they're active with church or not, it's their right.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yes you are right! It is their RIGHT.

I'm a messianic Jew and to me being baptis is a promise to Jesus to follow Him. You confess your sins and are washed clean. So in my thinking the parent is saying I will raise my son to follow Jesus and teach that to him/her. It is like giving the baby to the Lord.
post #4 of 17
Well ya, Catholics are expected to raise their children Catholic. And god parents are supposed to be faithful practicing Catholics that as god parents are promising to help raise the child in the faith also.
post #5 of 17
You don't have to promise to raise a child Catholic to have a Catholic baptism.
As far as I know, the only "rule" is that one godparent must be a practicing Catholic.

Baptism is very important in my family; mainly for cultural/traditional reasons.
I recall my cousins having a Catholic baptism for their children even though they attend a protestant church; the priest knew this and was totally cool with it.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
She is Lutheran by the way.
post #7 of 17
When it's all said and done, who really cares what the parental reasoning is? The baby is being baptised, shouldn't THAT be the important thing?

I just can't get all worked up over stuff like this. Many years ago, our pastor flat out refused to baptise my cousin's baby b/c my cousin and his wife (being farmers) could not guarantee that they would have the child in church every Sunday. It was pointed out to her by the Session (parish council) that she was missing the whole point, and that she needed to stop being so controlling.

I say, let God do His thing and don't stress over it. You never know what seeds are being planted ... the Holy Spirit is always at work even if we don't see it.
post #8 of 17
I'm Anglican, and in my church baptism is viewed as "presenting the baby to God". It's a way for the parents to have the baby blessed and for them to say that this is what we want for you, to grow up with the Lord and feel His love. Then later on in their teens the child can go through confirmation which is when the child says that they themselves are accepting Him and want to be part of His church. A lot of parents baptize their children even though they're not active anymore for multiple reasons. A lot of them do it for the family because there are still active family members, or some do want to present their child to God even if they're struggling with their faith.
post #9 of 17
From my religious tradition (and many that practice infant baptism) baptism is not about the parents promising anything. It is a sacrament that imparts God's grace to the child in ways I cannot fully understand. Allowing a child the sacrament of baptism is a gift to them. Sure maybe baby's mama isn't all that keen on church but at least she has this much faith. This tiny mustard seed of faith. At least she cares enough to give her baby this much. God is great and mighty and can make up what we lack. In the mean time her child will have the sacrament and mystery of baptism to help them on their journey towards salvation. Who are we to judge the parents intentions? I cannot offer my children much. I cannot take them to church every Sunday (custody issues), I cannot keep them from being exposed to heresy (custody issues), and just by way of being human I feel woefully inadequate to raise them in the faith. But I did not hesitate to get them baptized. It was a huge gift to them from me, from the church and from God. Even if *I* never did anything else. They would have that much.

Instead of judging, be pleased your SIL is willing to have her baby baptized and rejoice over the miracle of baptism. Pray for the baby to continue to walk in the ways of God all the days of his life. Pray for the parents and God parents that they will rise above their inadequacies and nurture a love of the Lord and His church in this child. Pray that they too will be be brought back to God through this child and the beginning of his sacramental journey. Pray that God's ever sufficient grace, imparted to the child through this holy mystical sacrament, would fill in any gaps where his parents and God parents fail him.

I am not sure what the godparents role is in that tradition. In my faith the godparents role is to come along beside the child and pray for them above all else. And to help the parents raise them in the Lord. They are just another set of knees kneeling in prayer, another set of hands lifting up the child, another heart full of love. Well chosen Godparents can really be a huge blessing. Most people chose friends and family though who are not well qualified. i chose relative strangers (with guidance from my priest) who had influenced my faith and growth already. They have turned out to be a mixed lot. but I love them all and I know they love us and pray for us.
post #10 of 17
I think there is actually a difficulty here though. In the baptism service in many churches, I believein the Luthean church, the parents and god parents are required to make baptismal promises, on their own and the inmfant's behalf. It is a bit of a problem if there is no actual intent to follow those promises, which are made to God. I can't get my head around how that could be understood to be ok.

Lilyka, while I agree that a baptism is still valid, whatever the parents really mean, isn't it the case that the OC will not baptize non-Orthodox babies? If so, does that not suggest there is indeed some criteria?
post #11 of 17
Yes they have to be Orthodox but even if they have never darkened the door of the church, perhaps since their baptism, I think most priests will still baptize the baby. So long as they are Orthodox and have some proof of it. of course this varies.

I admittedly do not know much about the Lutheran traditions. But even so it is between the parents and God. And that ones definition of "raising them in the faith" is between them and God.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
I think there is actually a difficulty here though. In the baptism service in many churches, I believein the Luthean church, the parents and god parents are required to make baptismal promises, on their own and the inmfant's behalf. It is a bit of a problem if there is no actual intent to follow those promises, which are made to God. I can't get my head around how that could be understood to be ok.

Lilyka, while I agree that a baptism is still valid, whatever the parents really mean, isn't it the case that the OC will not baptize non-Orthodox babies? If so, does that not suggest there is indeed some criteria?
Bluegoat, a variety of Orthodox priests I know will tell stories about people calling or showing up out of the blue to have their kids baptized. Sometimes the parents' only connection with the OC was being baptized Orthodox as an infant and not attending since. Or maybe the practicing grandparents will show up with grandchildren in tow, trying to get them baptized, even though the parents don't want anything to do with the Church.

Thing is, baptism is not "magic." The priests I know will not baptize the kids of anyone who just shows up. If they make an effort to come to church for a little while, my priest will baptize the kids and work with the parents in the meantime. But if they had no parish of their own and didn't want a parish of their own, he would not baptize them.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
Bluegoat, a variety of Orthodox priests I know will tell stories about people calling or showing up out of the blue to have their kids baptized. Sometimes the parents' only connection with the OC was being baptized Orthodox as an infant and not attending since. Or maybe the practicing grandparents will show up with grandchildren in tow, trying to get them baptized, even though the parents don't want anything to do with the Church.

Thing is, baptism is not "magic." The priests I know will not baptize the kids of anyone who just shows up. If they make an effort to come to church for a little while, my priest will baptize the kids and work with the parents in the meantime. But if they had no parish of their own and didn't want a parish of their own, he would not baptize them.
This is what I thought, thanks.
post #14 of 17
Hey Naz, I can understand why its a little bit upsetting. I used to get kind of upset, or I guess I cant explain very well exactly how I felt when a family came out of the blue to baptise a baby or child. To me and my understanding of what baptism is and why we do it as believers is more a symbolic, personal, gesture, even obedience to a command from Christ himself to go thru with baptism. When I was baptised as an adult just a year ago it was so special to me, I likened it to the day I got married it was that signifigant. It took me 12 years to actually finally do it. I dont know if I was really ready before that. I personally believe that baptism is done as an adult or at an age when a person (or child) can make the decision to become a follower of Christ for themselves. This is why I get sort of ...I guess indignant is a word I might use... when I see parents taking that away from a baby and making that decision for them. I was baptised catholic, as an infant, and it didnt mean anything to me. I think it had more to do with my mom's piece of mind. When I was baptised as an adult it meant the world to me. Honestly, it was one of the milestone moments in my adult life. Probably one of the most signifigant days of my life actually.

Otoh, when I was involved with an anglican church a few years back and we'd, every now and again, have a baptism of a child who didnt have anything to do with the church community, I wanted to welcome them to the church anyway. It took a while for me to accept that while they dont come to church ever, this might have been the only time they heard the gospel message. Not just the infants but the families as well. The thing they dont realise is that they are making promises to God, to raise their children IN the faith as well as raising the child/ren within the faith community. It IS a big deal imho. But... Its a big cultural thing. I was thinking about 'cultural christianity' lately. Its not the same as being a follower of Christ. It just isnt.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to say thanks! I'm not mad at anyone. I'm feeling like all my brother/SIL had/have to do is ask me and I will bring him to church. Even if it is a Lutheran church. I not choosy!
post #16 of 17
This is what my Lutheran denomination has to say about baptism:
http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/...eran-view.aspx

"In the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, water and God’s promises connect the one who is baptized with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This sacrament is an outward sign of our salvation and God’s unbreakable promise to us of forgiveness and new life in Jesus Christ. Holy Baptism marks the entrance into the Christian community, the Church, and gathers the communitytogether as children of God joined by their connection to Christ. Baptism is once and for all, and it is for people of any age. The Lutheran church baptizes infants because we believe that baptism is God’s gracious action not ours."

For us, baptism marks your entry into the community of believers. It's a beginning, not an end declaration.

Now, the parents do promise to nurture the child in faith and place the holy scripture in their hands. If your SIL is not intending to do that, then she shouldn't have her child baptized. But if she's meaning to or thinks she will (even if she doesn't follow through), then it's OK. Maybe it's a beginning for her too. She wouldn't be the first who came to religion through her children.
post #17 of 17
And what it means to "raise a child in the faith" can mean different things to different people. Just because she is not doing a good job of it or doing it in a way that makes sense to someone else does not mean that she is lying if she said she was going to. does that make sense.
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