October 29, 2013
Since the royal wedding of April 2011 the nation has kept its eyes firmly fixed on Will and Kate, waiting expectantly for a baby. Last July little Prince George was born as third in line to the throne. And on Wednesday he was christened by the Archbishop, prompting a BBC news article entitled “10 Ways Christening Has Changed.”
According to the BBC’s research there are a number of ways British attitudes have changed in the last thirty years alone. Overall, fewer people are choosing to have their kids christened. But for those who still favour this church tradition, this ceremony has swayed under the influence of consumerism.
The number of Godparents per child has increased, as has the age of children being christened. Even more revealing is the current attitude towards christening or baptism services. In much the same way that the Christian celebration of Jesus’ birth has been hijacked by card companies and toy stores, so the christening is similarly suffering from the secularization of society. Many parents, for example, choose to have their children christened not out of any particular conviction, but because it opens up the possibility of enrolling them in certain religious schools. Gift-giving, on the other hand, is on the up. Instead of the ceremony itself being the focus for celebration, it is now the ‘after-party.’
These changes themselves, however, mean little. True, they show the effects of modern secularism. And yes, they indicate a significant shift away from traditional values towards the gods of Education and Wealth. But this is not the major battlefield for the Christian.
Amidst all these changes, one thing remains the same: Christening and baptism by themselves have no power to save. They never have. They never will. In fact, in terms of what God thinks of us, christening has no value at all.
That might sound like a fairly simple thing to say, but there are plenty of people who believe the opposite. They say that they’ll be alright when they die and come face to face with God because of their religious background or because they were christened as a child. Perhaps you yourself think that? But the Bible is very clear about how a person is saved. The book of Romans in the New Testament says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 3:23-24). Therefore “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” (Romans 10:13).
The Bible is clear. It isn’t christening or a religious background or upbringing that makes us right with God. We have to trust Jesus. The Jesus who came as a man to live and die and come back to life is the One in whom we must put our trust. He is the only one who is rich enough to save.
By the Cornerstone Team