A sinless christening?

THE Church of England is introducing a christening ceremony that removes the requirement on parents and godparents to “repent sins” and “reject the devil.”

In 2011, a group of clergy brought forward a motion to the General Synod requesting materials to be used as an alternative in the baptism service “in culturally appropriate and accessible language.”

Critics claimed the new wording, designed as an alternative to the current liturgy, “watered down” the concepts of sin and repentance.

The text, backed by the Most Rev Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is already being used in 1,000 parishes as part of a trial lasting until Easter.



12 thoughts on “A sinless christening?

  1. To begin with, please provide the Scriptural basis of infant baptism (there isn’t any). If it is not scriptural, then the anglicans are merely urinating in the wind!


      • Perhaps just wish the kid ‘godspeed’ into its new existence: ‘best wishes from those who care about you’ sort of thing, since the kid has no idea of morality, sinfulness or faith etc. anyway. AND it abrogates the absurd notion of ‘original sin’ at the same stroke.

        We say ‘May god be with you’ even to men being executed’.
        Why not to littles, since it conveys best wishes without any concomitant obligations upon those unwilling or unable to accept them.
        …….. nor even any declaration of denominational fealty.

        I quite like the idea.


      • I would think that the traditional wording stems from ancient times and practice in which Baptism was one of the forms of Exorcism commonly applied in the church. The Roman Catholic rite certainly includes suggestions of this. But I havent checked that they still do it all as of old.
        With less and less belief in a literal ‘Devil’, it has lost much of the ancient meaning. As well, I doubt that nowadays very many folks take the matter of being God-Parents particularly seriously.


  2. the reasoning behind providing an alternative form of wording was that people were and are turning up at churches and asking for baptism. The legally licensed form that exists is very wordy, hard to understand and includes some quite heavy theological concepts for people who are just at the start of their journey of faith. For some of us baptism is something that comes with a certain maturity of faith, but for many its an early step (which is a fairly Biblical concept, it was later that baptism became separated from coming to faith).
    I haven’t had a good look at the new wording, but i do know that
    a- every time I get a call from a non-church family wanting their child to be baptised, I get to spend time talking about the Gospel (including the need for repentance from sin) to a group of non Christians who are asking me to explain it to them
    b- every time I try to do the ‘proper’ words, it raises all sorts of questions about the integrity of those who are in a supporting role- often 1 parent is less committed than the other to the process of exploring Christianity.

    Its not ideal, but i do know that by welcoming those enquiries I get more opportunities to share the Gospel than through our outreach projects. If by offering more alternative provisions for the actual service we can help those seekers to become disciples, then I’ll take it.


    • Thanks for the reply Acdodwell. I guess the problem is trying to help people become disciples by sacrificing the very tenets of faith that the church stands for. Thus the particular denomination becomes just another social club, no better than any non-religious organisations that abound.
      Thus Richard Dawkins can be a member of the Anglican Church and claim that it is a civilised religion because it does not believe in Creationism (a very important tenet of the Bible tied to reasons for Christ’s advent). Thus Henry 8 can believe in divorce and remarriage thus making a mockery of the whole 7th commandment. One has to ask how you can help others become disciples when you reject clear testimony of the Scripture. How are you better than the New Atheist for example?


      • I guess you have to consider how many basic tenets of the Christian faith you expect people to understand before they can begin to be disciples- Jesus taught his disciples after they began to follow him, I wonder at what point they stopped following ‘Jesus the teacher/healer’ and realised they were following ‘Jesus the Son of God’…

        I’d suggest that the importance of sin and repentance has to be equalled by our understanding of grace and forgiveness- they make sense together. So whenever I talk about forgiveness, I have to talk about sin. I’m not sure exactly what particular tenets of faith you’re concerned that we’ve sacrificed at this time- the debates about creation/creationism and divorce/adultery are nothing new, and I don’t feel we’ll gain much by raking over them.

        Do i have to believe in 7 day creation to believe Jesus is the Son of God who rose again so that I might be forgiven for my sins and have eternal life? I’d say no, and equally I’d say that I can believe in it and still be a Christian. But its on that basis that I’d disagree with the New Atheist movement- they might believe that the church is capable of doing good things, but not believe in the God who inspires us, encourages us and empowers us, nor in the power of God to save and transform our lives. I don’t know if that makes me better than them, but I hope it means I’m trying to follow God.


      • Sorry. If one can legitimately discard the veracity of one part of the ‘word of god’ then that renders all the rest of it unreliable.

        The bible often makes the ‘all-or-nothing’ point (eg James summarising other ‘teachings’/ parables:-
        “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

        It’s a fairly encompassing problem brought about by the irrational ‘need’ to shoehorn christianity into judaism.

        Has anybody ever explained why that ‘need’ exists?


  3. My three eldest children were ‘christened’ in the then C of E mainly because their grandmother felt it ‘necessary’. That seemed like superstition to me. My youngest was baptised by her own wish as a teenager in the Presbyterian church, and the only one who continued on to confirmation.

    Babies baptised there were not considered to be christened, brought to Christ, but welcomed into the church family, the whole congregation committing themselves to helping the child live a godly life.


    • Yep,,, that’s the sort of thing I was trying to express.
      And it makes sense from an evolutionary/social point of view: Tribalism at its best.
      ‘It takes a village to raise a child’, as someone said


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