Baptism of Scott Wesley Perkins

Baptism of Scott Wesley Perkins

The people of LCPC rejoiced to witness the baptism of Scott Wesley Perkins on 20th March 2022 at the evening service. Scott is the son of members Harrison and Sarah Perkins. Harrison is our associate pastor and one of our elders, and it was a special moment for everyone when Harrison baptised his son himself. Scott is named after R. Scott Clark, Harrison’s mentor and friend from Westminster California, and Wesley Wade, Sarah’s grandfather. Harrison and Sarah shared that ‘one of our prayers for him is that he will grow up to be at least as faithful as his two eponyms and have gifts with which he can serve and bless Christ’s church.’

During the service Harrison preached a sermon on Genesis 15:1-21 and 17:1-14, commencing a series titled, Meeting God in His Means of Grace, and discussed baptism as one of these means. He preached that these means are God applying Christ to His people, and that we have physical signs and actions for us to receive the Saviour and be assured of his promises. His sermon laid the groundwork for Scott’s baptism to follow, and after the sermon concluded he embarked upon the Preface to Baptism.

Harrison defined the sacrament as a sign to represent, seal and apply Christ’s benefits to believers, and baptism is the sacrament of initiation into the covenant community. He explained that in baptism God marks us as His special possession, seals the promise that by faith we are saved, and in doing so, His benefits are conveyed to us as we trust in Him. He continued that baptism is intended for the visible church and that all within the covenant are meant to be baptised; as a result, baptism is a sacrament for both believers and their children. He cited Genesis, that God promised Abraham, ‘I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you,’ (Gen. 17:7) and further, that Peter reminds us of this, that the promise is for us, and our children, and all who are far off (Acts 2:39). He asserted that God has always dealt with His people according to families; He includes children in the covenant of grace and therefore the promises for us are for our children too. In baptism, Harrison said, God ties the child to the covenant community where we celebrate His goodness to us and follow His command to ‘Let the little children come to me,’ (Matthew 19:14). He finished the Preface further defining baptism as a covenantal rite and a reminder that God’s sovereign grace has brought us to new life.

Harrison subsequently read question 167 from the Westminster Larger Catechism: ‘How is our Baptism to be improved by us?’ The congregation communally spoke the answer which was written on the order of service. 

Harrison and Sarah with Andy Longwe

Pastor Andy Longwe joined Harrison and Sarah at the front of the church and presented the vows to them. They vowed their own confession and belief in God, their profession of faith in Jesus as their only Saviour and Lord, and promised their dependence on God’s help for bringing up their child in the instruction and discipline of the Lord. Harrison then baptised Scott, sprinkling the water on his head while Sarah held him.

Andy turned to the congregation and asked them if they would assist Harrison and Sarah in their bringing up of Scott in the training of the Lord and pray for Scott as he grows: the congregation answered yes in unison. Andy prayed, praising God for the joy of this event and asking that all that was signified in the baptism would be realised in Scott’s life, praying for his salvation, for Harrison and Sarah in their parenthood, and finally for the congregation, that we would remember our own baptism and all of its benefits as we are united to Christ.

Andy then spoke the blessing for Scott and the ceremony came to an end. 

Harrison and Sarah have since answered some questions that examine the vows that were taken, personally and by the congregation, and their practical application in Scott’s life.

In response to their personal vows to raise Scott in the instruction and discipline of the Lord, Harrison and Sarah elaborated on the ways they intend to parent him in this endeavour by stating, ‘We are a family who believes that God works most forcefully through His ordinary means of grace. So, we are foremost committed to making sure that Scott learns the regular patterns of gathering for Lord’s Day worship, taking seriously the Word as it is preached and delivered in the sacraments. We also want to build good habits of family worship, focusing on Bible reading, prayer, and memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism.’ When asked about what they consider the biggest challenges in this they answered, ‘Our sin and his sin… More specifically, the world and its messages seem more contrary to the Christian faith even than when Sarah and I (Harrison) were young. It is daunting to think about how to navigate and how to help Scott navigate the immense challenges of modern culture. We want him to be a loving and yet dogmatic Christian.’

Alongside these challenges Harrison and Sarah also expressed their excitement at all there is to look forward to in parenting their growing child in this manner: ‘There is something very exciting about getting to be the person who explains things to a child that end up shaping their worldview and points them to Christ’s love for them. We hope Scott will become a contributing member of society with well-formed and disciplined character to think of others more than himself and to prioritize Christ in all things.’ They are not embarking upon this alone; the congregation also made a vow during the ceremony, to assist Harrison and Sarah in raising Scott together as a church family. Harrison and Sarah responded, ‘We truly believe it takes a village to raise a child. We need insight from older and wiser members of the church, both those who have raised children themselves and those who simply have seasoned experience as older believers. We do not believe our parenting practices are perfect or outside of critique. Nor do we believe that the congregation coming alongside us to prop us up in our weaknesses means that they think less of us or are judging us. We need input and help from all our brothers and sisters.’

When Scott’s baptism on that Sunday evening concluded, Andy turned to Scott with words of blessing from Numbers 6:24-26: ‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.’ It had been a blessing for everyone that evening to witness the beginning of a new life and the initiation of a new member into God’s covenant community, and in this spirit the service ended with all of God’s people in LCPC saying Amen together, beginning their discipleship of Scott Perkins as one family.

Harrison and Sarah with Sarah’s parents, Pat and Jo Wade.

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