Wednesday 23 October 2013

The BBC have posted an article on their News website in which they refer to the baptism today of Prince George and quote Archbishop Welby as saying he hopes the baptism will inspire others to do the same. Under the article the BBC have asked readers if they are planning to have a baby christened and invites them to send pictures, comments and experiences, and to say if they would be prepared to have a BBC journalist to contact them. You can imagine the excitement this will cause in many households and the consequent rush to contact the BBC.

When the Duchess of Cambridge emerged from the hospital after the child’s birth, the dress she was wearing was immediately copied (and as with other clothes she wears) was in immediate demand by women to have the same. The same result will follow as thousands I would imagine across the country will want to have their baby ‘done’ to follow the royal couple’s action.

This in theory might seem like a welcome outcome, all these people coming to Church, but when we get down to practicalities it will be largely symbolic, for few I am sure will honour the vows and promises they make, and from what has already taken place, some extrovert Vicars will turn baptism services into little more than a three ring circus.

In a separate message, the Archbishop stated, ‘God’s love is offered without qualification, without price, without cost, to all people, in all circumstances, always.’ I have no doubt he meant well and used those words spontaneously without deeper thought. But this is not what the Bible would corroborate. The Bible teaches that before baptism there must be repentance and a declaration of faith; the baptism service also requires parents to bring their children up within the family of the Church and by their example. I venture to suggest that is a cost few are willing to honour.

A far greater cost was paid on the Cross, when even more requirements were demanded by those who followed the Saviour of the world.

I hope the Archbishop will at some time qualify his rather rash invitation.

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