Biblical Significance of the Dedication Ceremony
“And when the days of her [Mary] purification according to the law of Moses [Leviticus 12:2-6] were accomplished, they [Joseph and Mary] brought him [Jesus] to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;).” Luke 2:22-23
The purpose of this ceremony is to ensure that the dedicated child receives a “special dedication” before the Lord in which the parents promise to do their best to guide the child. Also included in the ceremony is a chosen person or persons who will be involved in the child’s welfare. According to the biblical guidelines set forth in the Scriptures, the child was circumcised, given a name, and dedicated to the Lord on the 8th day after birth [Genesis 17:12; Leviticus 12:3; Luke 2:21]. These steps were given to the Jewish people under the Old Testament guidelines that they still follow today. After the crucifixion of Christ, circumcision of the flesh was abolished and replaced by the experience of being born again [Romans 2:29; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11], which can only be experienced by willingly accepting the sacrifice of Christ [Acts 4:12; 8:37; Romans 10:9]. Under the New Testament guidelines, the dedication of the child remained in effect to emphasize the responsibility of the parents and those entrusted with the child’s welfare. Since the child dedicated to the Lord has no conscience of his own, he remains under the care of his parents and those entrusted with his care. This means that the ceremony of dedication is useless if the parents and those entrusted with the child’s care do not nourish the child physically, mentally, emotionally, and above all spiritually.
This term refers to those entrusted by the child’s parents to care for the child. In the consanguineous sense, kinship includes direct blood relatives such as parents and children (lineal kinship) and siblings. Kinship care is generally defined as “the full-time care, nurturing, and protection of a child by relatives, members of the child’s tribe or clan, godparents, stepparents, or other adults who have a family relationship with the child.” However, the term is also used to refer to those who are not related to the child’s parents and who have been selected to care for the child physically, mentally, emotionally, and especially spiritually. In biblical language, “spiritual kinship” has to do with the protection and guidance of those whom the child’s parents have entrusted with such care because of the connection between the child’s parents and the spiritual kin. It’s an honor that someone would choose a person to care for their own child, even after an unfortunate event. Therefore, it is important to choose a person who can protect the child not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and especially spiritually. Of course, this “spiritual kinship” must remain within the limits set by the authority of the child’s parents. Spiritual kinship is also known as godparents, compadres, sponsors, mentors, and so on. Whatever you call this responsibility, it is meaningless unless the purpose behind it is fulfilled. Even the dedication ceremony is meaningless if even the child’s parents do not meet God’s requirements as set forth in His Word. As an ordained minister, it is my responsibility to make these points very clear to the child’s parents and to those entrusted with this responsibility. As I have said before, it is an honor to be chosen to care for the child of someone dear to us, but it is also a great responsibility before God and all who witness this ceremony.
By bringing a child into existence, both parents are responsible before God to protect, care for, and nurture the child. No parent can fulfill these responsibilities without the love, guidance, and respect for God present in their home. The Word of God contains the parental instruction for the upbringing of each child, which, if followed without hesitation by the parent, will bear fruit, as it is stated in passages such as these:
“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.” Deuteronomy 4:9
“Train up [instruct] a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:15
We, as the Body of Christ, are also here to provide each parent with spiritual growth that will help them raise their children. However, it is up to the parents to put into practice the learning of the biblical principles that God has set forth in His Word, without which the formation of any family would not be possible.
We, The Refuge Christian Center, as well as members of the Body of Christ, rejoice in the dedication of this child under the primary care of God, the child’s parents, and the chosen spiritual kin. It is our prayer that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit will always provide the child’s parents and spiritual kinship with wisdom, understanding, love, and guidance so that the child may grow up as God intended.
Many use pagan rituals mixed with the biblical guidelines set forth in Scripture, and the “dedication ceremony” is no exception. Regardless of who uses such pagan-rooted rituals, we must adhere to the biblical text and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If a ceremony is not clearly stated in Scripture, then we must follow the way of righteousness and the peace of God, which is, in a sense, a way of discerning the way to follow. If you have been formed by a polluted structure, you won’t understand the meaning of my statement, but I believe that God can reveal anything if we are willing to put aside our own opinions. Never imitate or copy the structure of another person, but seek the structure of God. Unfortunately, we tend to copy the work or structure of others instead of God’s. Whether it is the dedication of a child, baptism in water, the Lord’s Supper, or any other ordinance, do not imitate it unless you have confirmation that such a ceremony is according to Scripture and in harmony with the biblical guidelines set forth regarding the Body of Christ.
I pray, therefore, that our Lord will grant you understanding in regard to my above statement.
May our Lord give you His grace and favor in all that you do to bring others to His knowledge. Amen!
Rev. Jay Werman