Gulf Coast Presbytery has submitted an overture to the 43rd General Assembly recommending a change to the Book of Church Order 56-5 concerning parental promises during the baptism of children.

The authors of the overture believe that the language is more Baptistic in nature than covenantal. The language currently asks:

“Do you now dedicate your child to God, and promise …”

The proposed change would read: “Do you now acknowledge that God in his providence has placed this child within the covenant family, and entrusted him/her to your care, and do you promise …”

Teaching elder Bill Tyson said he proposed the change after a man in his church indicated that the wording didn’t seem to fit with covenant theology.

“I had been troubled by the present wording of the third promise for years, but this incident convinced me that we need to change the wording at the beginning of the third promise to accurately reflect our theology,” Tyson said. “It is not that our children belong to us and we wish to ‘dedicate’ them to the Lord. It is that God has given and entrusted them to us within His covenant family, and we assume the responsibility to labor by all the means of His appointment to lead them to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is precisely what Abraham was to do.”

The overture will be referred to the Overtures Committee, and a recommendation made to the General Assembly this June.

To read the overture, please click here.