Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Dedication and Baptism

In the Catholic and Protestant churches, the words dedication and baptism are mentioned quite often. They are common practices performed to signify different believes and serve various purposes respectively.

Other denominations perform them too even though the way each denomination does each of them is specific to the denomination. All in all, the two terms refer to commonly accepted religious traditions in our churches.

The big revelation is that there exists a distinction between dedication and baptism. However, most people rarely identify that. As a result, most of them interchange the two and use one in place of the other. The truth of the matter is that they confuse even those people in the Christian faith thinking that they mean the same or that they serve a similar purpose.

To help address that misunderstanding, this post seeks to answer the question on the differences between dedication and baptism. Take a look at the characteristics of each and how they differ from one another.


Meaning of Dedication

Child dedication means the act of presenting, consecrating or dedicating a child to God. This is a practice that draws its origin from the Book of Exodus chapter 13 verse 2. The verse reads, “Every firstborn child will be consecrated to the Lord”. An example of a famous consecration is the presentation of Jesus in the Temple by Joseph and Mary in the New Testament.

How Dedication is Performed

The process of dedication is usually undertaken before or after the Worship service of Sunday. The parents of the baby to be dedicated bring with them the child to the front area of the church, and the leader or pastor in charge presents the child to the congregants. The leader can also ask the parents to do it themselves to the congregation.

As the consecration happens, the pastor or church leader asks the parents to say their commitment orally that they will raise the child in the Christian faith. That public commitment is then followed by a prayer, or more prayers as well as a blessing from the pastor.

The purpose of this presentation is usually to express the recognition of the parents as well as the church of the divine gift of birth. It also serves to express and stamp the responsibility of the parents to bring up the child in the Christian way.

Purpose of Dedication

When a child is taken through dedication, it is usually to make vows to raise them in the Christian tradition.


Meaning of Baptism

The term baptism has been with the Christian faithful since the days of Jesus Christ here on earth. It is a practice of sprinkling water on a person’s forehead to symbolize purification or a regeneration and admission to the Christian church. The rite can also be done by immersing the individual in water.

For most denominations, the practice is usually held for and performed on young children. It is also mostly accompanied by name-giving.

How Baptism is Done

Mostly, baptism is done through the pouring of water on an individual’s head or immersing them in water thrice. In the process, the trinitarian formula of, “So and so, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”.

Purpose of Baptism

Baptism is performed as an act of obedience to symbolize a believer’s faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior. It also symbolizes the believer’s death to sin, burying of their old life, and their resurrection and walking in the newness of life in Jesus Christ.


Differences Between Dedication and Baptism

The differences between dedication and baptism can be categorized based on different aspects. They include:

  1. Meaning

Dedication refers to a Christian ceremony or rite where an infant is dedicated to God and is welcomed to the church. During the ceremony, the parents are also required to dedicate themselves to bringing up the child in the Christian ways. Baptism, on the other hand, is a Christian sacrament that is usually marked by a ritual use of water to admit an individual to the Christian community.

  1. Origin

Dedication gets its origin from the Book of Exodus, chapter 13 and verses 2 whereas baptism grew its roots from John the Baptist who adopted it as a central sacrament in his messianic movement.

  1. Form

Baptism involves water while dedication does not require the use of it.

Also, children can be dedicated as early as when they are a few months old while baptism is usually done to kids from the age of nine years and above.

Dedication Vs. Baptism: Comparison Table


Summary of Dedication Vs. Baptism

Even though the two terms refer to Christian practices, they have diverse characteristics identifying them. The practices during each, the persons involved, and the time they are carried out are also different. The people the two processes are carried on are also varied in based on respective capacities to profess the respective beliefs.


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  1. Is Dedication in any way connected to Baptism? E.g. is it a preparation for Baptism? Or can you be baptised without ever having been presented to god?

  2. The above definition, while elaborate is mistaken with regard to the age(s) of children when performed-
    It is the very young, usually a lfew months if that; when a Baptism is performed.. NOT “older” above the age of 9.
    I cannot even guess as to the ages when “Dedication” is performed as I subscribe otherwise—

    • I thought Dedication can be done for infants/young children with parents/parent or legal guardians who vow to bring the child up with a Christian faith.
      Baptism can be done for an infant/young or adult when they choose to commit or recommit their faith in God.

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References :

[0]Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mennonitechurchusa-archives/7997293299/in/album-72157631529786912/

[1]Image credit: https://www.maxpixel.net/Christianity-Believe-Baby-Child-Baptism-331633

[2]"Child Dedication Vs. Baptism". Life Bridge Church, 2018, https://thelifebridgechurch.com/child-dedication-vs-baptism/. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.

[3]"Christening, Baptism And Dedication: What’S The Difference?". Advice And Ideas | Invitations By Dawn, 2018, https://www.invitationsbydawn.com/blog/2015/04/christening-baptism-and-dedication-whats-the-difference-12653.html. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.

[4]"Baptism Vs. Dedication". Third Millennium Ministries, 2018, http://thirdmill.org/answers/answer.asp/file/40306. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.

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