Is it appropriate for a Christian, convinced of credo-baptism (believer’s baptism by immersion), to attend a Christening (a so called ‘infant baptism’ or what I term ‘anti-credobaptism’)? This question is much different than ‘is it appropriate for a Christian, of any secondary conviction, to attend a same-sex marriage (the answer to which must be a resounding no for even an evangelistic desire to befriend such individuals can in no way trump that God pronounces it as an abomination and therefore to attend is to celebrate what God does not).
This is an important question for if one is convinced that the anti-credobaptist stance is completely unscriptural, then to attend it is to condone what is misguided or nominal. (*This dilemma doesn’t pertain to anti-credobaptists attending a credo-baptist service because they still occasionally practice credo-baptism).
On the one hand I would be inclined not to attend on these grounds, for your attendance would be in one sense false given your disbelief in any form of Biblical meaning in the ceremony itself. Consider the following words so often recited from the Book of Common Prayer on such occasions (after the priest has ‘baptized’ the child):
Seeing now, dearly beloved brethren, that this Child is regenerate and grafted into the body of Christ’s Church, let us give thanks unto Almighty God for these benefits, and with one accord make our prayers unto him, that this Child may lead the rest of his life according to this beginning.
A credo-baptist, or a Scripturally discerning anti-credobaptist, could not in good faith affirm words that speak of baptismal regeneration and justification, that we are born again not by the work of the Spirit, nor adopted into the body of Christ by faith, but because of an act of works. Other wording in the order of service is also deeply disturbing or misguided, not to mention the nominalism that is often (though not always) present in those performing the vows.
So on the one hand it would be completely appropriate not to attend such a ceremony so long as you voiced this reservation with gentleness and respect (1 Pet 3:15b) and still sought to preserve the actual relationship (*this could perhaps be done by agreeing to come to the family gathering afterwards to show your love of the family, if not your approval of the ceremony).
On the other hand, if one intentionally took the opportunity to share with the family your reservations at the outset and that you’d be attending for their sake and not the ceremonies, then this could likewise be an important Biblical talking point.
Wherever a credo-baptist comes down, it is important to uphold Biblical convictions, both of the unScripturalness of anti-credobaptism but also of engaging with anti-credobaptists evangelistically or apologetically and in a meek spirit. What should be a no go is to fail to do either.
The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,