…And how it relates to adult Baptism by Evangelicals
I don’t know enough Roman Catholic Church history to know at what point First Communion and Confirmation became gift giving occasions; though I do see how the Christening of a baby might occasion a little remembrance from close family. More recently, I’ve been asked if there is a gift or card appropriate for First Reconciliation, the first confession necessary before receiving the sacrament.
In the last several years, this activity has not been restricted to friends and family of Catholic Children. Believer’s baptism of adults and teens in Evangelical churches often joins the rank of religious occasions sending people out into the marketplace frantically searching for just the right gift. I’m not sure if this by outsiders who feel the gift is expected, or by insiders who have been caught up the current of purchasing started by their Mainline Protestant and Catholic friends.
As someone whose daytime employment allows for the possibility that I have a huge conflict of interest here, let me say for the record that I have always put principle over profit, and in this case I think a card is sufficient and a gift is not warranted.
Yes, it’s okay to give people Christian books and Bibles to encourage them in their Christian journey generally; and some CDs and wall plaques might even suit the occasion. But nobody reading this should ever feel that when someone desires to follow Jesus in the waters of Baptism that this necessitates a shopping trip.
Perhaps this a microcosm of our modern consumerist disease that propels us to take any situation — good or bad — and throw money at it. There is also the possibility that if it’s a young adult being baptized, Christians are searching for a counterpart to the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah enjoyed by our Jewish friends, or Catholic or Anglican confirmation itself.
Rather, just as a wedding is an opportunity for a couple to think back to their wedding day and inwardly renew their vows, an adult baptism service allows you and I to look carefully at our own walk with God and refresh that commitment.
Someone at the early stages of their Christian journey needs you as a mentor, not a benefactor. Don’t buy something, be there for them.
I got into a much deeper Bible study using this topic as a springboard today at Christianity 201. Click here to read Cheapening Spiritual Progress With Giftware.
Image: Random pics from two Google Images searches for Confirmation and First Communion Gifts. I only saw one thumbnail picture of a Bible among the pictures selected.