Does the CRC Have an Official Position on Godparents?


Is this something that goes contrary to our theology or is it something that has just not been part of our tradition? I thought I read somewhere that this was part of the baptismal ceremony in Geneva. If it is within the tradition, are there any resources you know of for exploring its role in worship? Thanks.

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I am not aware of any official position taken by the CRCNA.  It's true that there was this custom remaining in Geneva for a time.  But the earliest of Reformed synods in the 16th century continental Reformed tradition left the use of godparents ("doopgetuigen" - literally, baptismal witnesses) as one of the diaphora (indifferent things).  There was a rejection of earlier Roman Catholic practices in this regard, and the use of godparents fell into disuse fairly quickly.  In general, later assemblies insisted that one of the (natural or adopting) parents must be a confessing member and present for the sacrament, taking upon him- or herself the responsibility to lead the child in the way of the Covenant.

Since it is an indifferent matter, some churches have re-introduced this phenomenon, but never as a replacement for one or both parents.  In our congregation, we've had "mentors" stand with the parents as those who agree to be more especially involved than most members in the task of the entire congregation to bring up this particular child in the Christian faith.

I'd be interested in knowing about other instances of use of godparents in our denomination.



I appreciate this question. Thanks for the historical context from Henry. I've had several inquiries about this as we have a diverse church with a mixture of backgrounds. We haven't actually allowed it thus far, but I know there are folks who want it.