Brother M. K. from K. Mich., asks the following question:

Rev. H. Hoeksema, Editor

Standard Bearer

Grand Rapids, Mich.

Dear Sir:

I am interested in the question regarding the baptism in our churches of adopted children.

The question more specifically put is as follows: Is it necessary for an adopted child to be in the line of the generations of the believers, as proven by the religious background of the child, in order that the child may be baptized?

I would like to ask that this question be discussed in the Standard Bearer so that we all may derive benefit from the discussion.

With brotherly regards,

M. K.


There is much difference of opinion regarding this question in the Reformed Churches. My own consistory has always given a favorable answer to the question although never quite unanimously. I would, therefore, advise the brother, before he proceeds with the adoption of such a child, to consult his own consistory.

My own opinion is as follows:

  1. That a child is adopted from a nominally Christian community most probably is guarantee that in the recent past it belonged to the generations of the people of God. It is true that those generations were cut off, and that, as a general rule, the branches cut off are not grafted in again. But exceptions to this rule are not excluded.
  2. That it is under the providence of God that a child, that has lost its parents or has been abandoned by them, is adopted by Christians, by covenant parents that can and will vouch for the bringing up of the child “in the aforesaid doctrine.”
  3. When God established His covenant with Abraham and his seed and instituted the sign of circumcision he emphatically commanded that all that were in his house should be circumcised, even he that was “bought with money of any stranger” that was not of his seed.

For the above reasons I am inclined to think that an adopted child such as is referred to by Mr. K. should be baptized.

But I gladly invite discussion.

H. H.