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Question and Answer

Are Godparents Biblical?


Does the Orthodox Presbyterian Church oppose the practice of godparents, or is it deemed permissible? If so, on what grounds do you either support or oppose the practice?


The place of godparents in connection with baptism is acknowledged by Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans; such persons are also known as Sponsors. It is interesting that The Book of Common Prayer of the Reformed Episcopal Church—founded, 1873—says nothing concerning godparents. Similarly, the Westminster Confession and Catechisms do not mention godparents. I would be surprised to discover that Calvin favored godparents. If in his published works he does not oppose this practice, the reason may be that he did not deem it worthy of discussion, a theological non sequitur!

In the theology and practice of the OPC, a godparent role does not exist. God's relationship with his people is that in the institution of the family parents are sovereign, under God, over their children. Believers and their children are in covenant relationship with the Lord. There is no other human party in the baptismal event. Such is the teaching of the Word of God. It is the parent(s) who make vows at the font.

I hope I have engaged biblically and responsibly with your questions.

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those people who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by e-mail. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two (2) weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references or from some source may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

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