A child dedication or baby presentation is an act of consecration of children to God practiced in evangelical churches, such as those of the Baptist tradition.[1]

Child dedication is practiced by organisations, such as the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, in which parents promise to help their child live a life free from alcohol and other drugs.[2]



The child's presentation has its origin in the Book of Exodus in chapter 13 verse 2; "Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal".[3] The Bible relates some presentations of children. That of Samuel, in the Old Testament by Hannah.[4][5] And especially the presentation of Jesus in the Temple in the New Testament by Joseph and Mary.[6] Likewise, Jesus blessed children.[7] This biblical practice was done only for the first born sons and often they are left at the Temple to serve God. The dedication of the first born was a practice different from circumcision, which was a covenant sign for the community of God. In the New Testament, the covenant sign of circumcision was effectively replaced with baptism (Colossians 2:11-12).[8]


Even though the Christian Church had not practiced child dedication for 15 centuries from its inception, in 1523, the Anabaptist movement, which taught that baptism is only for adults (believer's baptism) according to their understanding of the bible, first instituted child dedication practice for all children from believing households instead of just the first born sons.[9] The child dedication was subsequently adopted by many evangelical denominations (Baptists and Pentecostalism) adhering to the doctrine of the believers' Church.[10][5] Other evangelical denominations, such as many Methodist Churches, contain rites for both infant baptism and child dedication, leaving the option to families for what they wish for their sons and daughters; examples include the Free Methodist Church and Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection.[11][12]


Child dedication at Crossing Church, Tampa, United States.

The form of the presentations may vary by church. The ceremony is usually performed before or after the Worship service of Sunday.[13] When the parents have come forward with the child, the pastor presents it to the congregation, or asks the parents to do so.[14] Most often, the pastor asks parents to say orally their commitment to raising the child in the Christian faith.[5] This public commitment is followed by one or more prayers and a blessing by the pastor, often after the latter has taken the child into his arms.[15] The purpose of the presentation is to express the recognition of parents and the church of the divine gift of birth and the responsibility of parents that results from it.[13]

Practice by denomination

Baptist Churches

Many Baptist Churches contain rites for child dedication, in which parents commit to raise their children "in the fear and nurture of the Lord."[1]

Methodist Churches

In the Methodist Churches, baptism is a sacrament of initiation into the visible Church.[16] Wesleyan covenant theology further teaches that baptism is a sign and a seal of the covenant of grace:[17]

Of this great new-covenant blessing, baptism was therefore eminently the sign; and it represented "the pouring out" of the Spirit, "the descending" of the Spirit, the "falling" of the Spirit "upon men," by the mode in which it was administered, the pouring of water from above upon the subjects baptized. As a seal, also, or confirming sign, baptism answers to circumcision.[17]

Infant baptism, in Methodism, is celebrated as "an acceptance of the prevenient grace of God and as a confession on the part of the church of its responsibility for children in general and for every child in particular."[18][19] Methodists teach that people receive justifying grace, which is integral to salvation, after they repent and personally accept Jesus as Saviour.[20][11] Many Methodist denominations, such as the Free Methodist Church and Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection, practice infant baptism for families who desire it for their children, but provide a rite for child dedication for those who have a preference for credobaptism only after their child has made a personal acceptance of Jesus as his/her saviour.[11][12]

Presbyterian Churches

In many Presbyterian churches, one of the questions that is asked the parents during infant baptism is: "Do you unreservedly dedicate your child to God?" Thus, for them, infant baptism includes child dedication. This essentially makes it dedication baptism, which is something different from adult or believer's baptism.[21]

Woman's Christian Temperance Union

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) conducts a White Ribbon Recruit (WRR) ceremony, in which babies are dedicated to the cause of temperance through a white ribbon being tied to their wrists, with their adult sponsors pledging to help the child live a life free from alcohol and other drugs.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b Brackney, William H. (31 December 2020). Historical Dictionary of the Baptists. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 61–62. ISBN 978-1-5381-2252-5.
  2. ^ a b Rollins, Christin Eleanor (2005). Have You Heard The Tramping of the New Crusade?: Organizational Survival and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. University of Georgia. p. 52.
  3. ^ Exodus 13:2 (NIV), [1], "Consecration of the Firstborn", Accessed May 2019
  4. ^ 1 Samuel 1:20-28
  5. ^ a b c Don S. Browning, Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, Children and Childhood in American Religions, Rutgers University Press, USA, 2009, p. 88
  6. ^ Luke 2:22.
  7. ^ Luke 18:16.
  8. ^ "Does Baptism Replace Circumcision? An Examination of the Relationship between Circumcision and Baptism in Colossians 2:11–12".
  9. ^ Kirk R. MacGregor, A Central European Synthesis of Radical and Magisterial Reform, University Press of America, USA, 2006, p. 144
  10. ^ Ronald F. Youngblood, Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary: New and Enhanced Edition, Thomas Nelson Inc, USA, 2014, p. 142
  11. ^ a b c "Baptism and Dedication". Free Methodist Church. 3 December 2008. When they baptize babies, pastors should make sure that their prayers include clear requests that God will bring the children to a personal faith that "owns" what the parents are promising at a time when the children (who "belong" from day one) cannot act for themselves. And when they dedicate children, pastors should make sure that their prayers include clear gratitude to God for the fact that he is already at work in the life of that child, who already "belongs" in the Christian community. Here's what must be stressed: whether at the time of baptism (in the adult baptism tradition) or at the time of confirmation when the vows made earlier by the parents are personally “owned” (in the infant baptism tradition), it is faith in Jesus (dependent trust, not mere cognitive affirmation) that is crucial. Paul goes so far as to say that without faith and obedience, the old rite of circumcision has no value (Romans 2:25). The same is true of baptism. With either rite, clear evangelistic follow-through is crucial.
  12. ^ a b The Discipline of the Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection (Original Allegheny Conference). Salem: Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection. 2014. pp. 140–146.
  13. ^ a b David Blankenhorn, The Faith Factor in Fatherhood: Renewing the Sacred Vocation of Fathering, Lexington Books, USA, 1999, p. 103
  14. ^ John H. Y. Briggs, the Dictionarys of European Baptist Life and Thought, Wipf and Stock Publishers, USA, 2009, p. 81
  15. ^ Stephen R. Holmes, Baptist Theology, A&C Black, UK, 2012, p. 145
  16. ^ Stuart, George Rutledge; Chappell, Edwin Barfield (1922). What Every Methodist Should Know. Lamar & Barton. p. 83.
  17. ^ a b Summers, Thomas Osmond (1857). Methodist Pamphlets for the People. E. Stevenson & F. A. Owen for the M. E. Church, South. p. 18.
  18. ^ Methodist Review, Volume 101. G. Lane & P. B. Sandford. 1918. p. 464.
  19. ^ Manns, Peter; Meyer, Harding (1984). Luther's Ecumenical Significance: An Interconfessional Consultation. Fortress Press. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-8006-1747-9. When modern Methodists expound infant baptism, they think first of " prevenient grace , " for which infant baptism is said to be an effective, or at least a useful, sign.
  20. ^ "God's Preparing, Accepting, and Sustaining Grace". The United Methodist Church GBGM. Archived from the original on January 9, 2008. Retrieved August 2, 2007.
  21. ^ "Parental Vows for Children at Baptism - Crossroads PCA".

Content in this edit is translated from the existing French Wikipedia article at fr: Présentation d'enfant; see its history for attribution.