It is a long time since I went to a christening; I think it was 1987, if I remember correctly. So why is it that I don’t go to them? I suppose I had better make it clear what I am referring to here. It is the event whereby a baby is brought to church in order to be sprinkled with water and thereby, supposedly, becomes part of the Christian faith community.
The biggest concern is that of the confusion that comes through “being christened”. The confusion comes because of what is understood to happen on account of the baby being sprinkled with water. The understanding is that this baby is now a Christian because of the sprinkling event. The ceremony has somehow christianised them and now all is well with their souls for time and eternity. This is just so confusing and dangerous for the individual concerned who grows up presuming that on account of their christening that they are Christian. Moreover, it encourages everyone involved to think that if you are christened then you are a Christian. So the baby grows into adulthood with this confusion and the participants in the christening are similarly led into a deception.
It is all such a concern because a ceremony as a child does not make a person a Christian. It needs to be asserted fervently that it is faith in our Lord Jesus Christ which makes someone a Christian. Someone needs to repent of their heinous sin before the Lord God and trust in Christ who gave Himself to the cross for their sins. There is a fuller explanation of this here.This is what makes someone a Christian. This repenting and believing can only be done by someone who has the mental capacity to grasp the gospel truth and believe. A baby self-evidently cannot do this. Repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus make a Christian, not the performing of religious observances.
A further, but lesser point, would be that there is something distasteful about the church being used as a religious prop to enhance a social gathering. So often, people choose a nice church building so it will enhance the photos. And everybody gets the religious bit out-of-the-way and then gets on with the serious bits of eating and drinking. Any vows taken are done so with indifference to the implications. To use the church as an adjunct in this way leaves me somewhat disconcerted.
It is the issue of what defines a Christian, though, which particularly motivates me as regards to not going to christenings. If I went, I feel that I am giving covert approval to what is being undertaken. Moreover my presence could be construed as encouraging people in a delusion which is leading them to hell.