A young woman, a minor still well within her mother’s care, desperately wishes to be baptized. Her mother has forbidden it.
Now, do I:
1. Listen to Jesus’s command to “baptize all nations” and baptize this young woman anyway?
2. Listen to Jesus’s command to respect parents?
Things to keep in mind:
This young woman has saving faith. The Holy Spirit, through God’s Word, has created a love of Jesus in her heart. She is forgiven. She has eternal life already. She is a member of God’s family. Baptism, while an awesome gift, does not convey anything she does not already have.
This young woman is certainly not despising the Sacrament; this is not a matter of her saying that the blessings of baptism aren’t that big a deal.
Yet, baptism has very real blessings, even when applied after faith already exists. It is not merely a symbol; I Peter says “Baptism now saves you.” Titus calls it a “washing of rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit.”
Complications in this case:
The young woman and her family will be moving in about a month to a place where it will be very difficult for her to get to a church to worship or stay connected with a face-to-face Christian family.
Her mother does want her baptized; however, the mom is Jehova’s Witness. Because they deny the Trinity, their baptisms are not real.
Mom has a decent amount of pull in the community. This young woman came into contact with the Gospel through our Teen Center, which does most of its work with teens who had never before heard the Gospel. If Mom finds out we went against her wishes, it is realistic (as I know her) that she would then speak badly of the center to other parents, directly limiting the amount of Gospel outreach we could do.
Saying no to this young woman could realistically cause offense to her in the Christian sense; it may hurt her faith. At the very least, it would cause a very real struggle for her that may be unnecessary.
Things to bring comfort:
This young woman has saving faith. This is not a question of whether or not she goes to heaven. It is a question of whether or not we can participate in giving her this solid reassurance, this sacrament, at this time.
It is God-pleasing to obey the fourth commandment and honor parents.
It is God-pleasing to baptize.
Either way, we win.
What do you suggest? Do you have any advice or questions? Help me out here!