Baptism and Christian Education

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CREC churches share a deep commitment to the pursuit of Christian education. We are convinced that the world must be understood in a distinctively Christian way, and young saints are to be trained up into that way of thinking about it. The reason the world must be understood in a Christian way is because the world was created by the Christian God. Apart from Him, it cannot be understood properly. But because of the presence of sin in the world, there are a great many obstacles to this proper understanding. It does not come easily. Education is all about learning how to take your rightful place in the world, and this is something too important to leave to our young people to figure out for themselves. Discipleship does not begin when a child reaches the age of 18. The Christian faith is not like one of those rides at Disneyland, where you have to be a certain height to participate.

Some of our churches as closely associated with solid Christian schools, and some have more parishioners with connections with the homeschooling community. Some of our churches have members that use both forms of education, but we are overwhelmingly committed to the need for genuine Christian education. This is the principle. The particular method for providing that education is up to the parents, but our churches in their teaching authority emphasize the principle. This is what is entailed in bringing children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).

This should be thought of as more of a cultural expectation, and not as a “legalistic requirement.” We know that there difficult circumstances where Christian education is impossible (e.g. where children are assigned to a government school as a result of a court order in a divorce case). Nevertheless, Christian education is something we are striving to provide for all our covenant children and if, for example, someone’s financial circumstances make private education unattainable, we want to have financial assistance available through the church and its deacon fund.

We consider this to be part of our life together. In our congregations, when a child is baptized, the congregation is presented with a question that has the force of an oath. “Do you as a congregation undertake the responsibility of assisting these parents in the Christian nurture of this child? If so, then signify by saying amen.”

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