Editorial – June 2015

An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand

Editorial – June 2015

THE TRUE MEANING OF COMMITMENT

Dalia’s Christening as an adult can be considered very much in keeping with the procedure established with the baptism of Jesus, which is still followed in several denominations. We, like the episcopal churches have adopted a model that is based on the Jewish prescription of male infant circumcision in compliance with the original covenant, which incidentally is also adhered to in Islam. Arguments against this practice are that the recipient of this first introduction to the faith did not have any say in this matter. Again following Jewish procedure, we address this missing element in our religious life with a conscious, public commitment in the form of Confirmation on entering adulthood. Unfortunately this requirement for full acceptance into the Church community as a communicant member is falling into disuse and may account for a noticeable lack of stability in many congregations.

Many of us older members can bear witness to the benefit of confirmation as a solid foundation for spiritual growth and enlightenment.

In my case it involved, at the tender age of thirteen, the requirement to attend a year-long weekly course of instruction by the minister that gave me and my fellow communicants a reasonable understanding of the principles on which our faith is based and the practices required of me to uphold the traditions attached to it. A panel of elders then examined my knowledge of Holy Scripture and church history, with particular reference to the Reformed branch, before I was admitted, with my peers, to full membership of the congregation. It was a requirement to be met for my partaking in Communion.

In our eagerness to be welcoming and inclusive, we have dispensed with the teaching and preparation for Confirmation, to the extent of overlooking the benefit of better knowledge on which true commitment depends.

In a sense Dalia’s baptism included some of the elements of confirmation and can serve as an example to overcome the arguments against unconsented Christening of infants that could also be regarded by some as being in conflict with human rights legislation. It would also absolve parents of their publicly stated commitment to raise their children in the Christian way, an unreasonable promise in a largely secular society beset by many worldly detractions. In essence what it comes down to is the ability to uphold a set of standards that have served us well in the profession and practice of our faith and are in need of restoration. I regard my documented evidence of confirmation like a practising certificate. While is does not guarantee a place in heaven, it shows me the way by example provided in my preparation for confirmation.

Ralph