Baptism (Catholic Church) | Wikipedia audio article

By | September 9, 2019

Baptism (from the Greek noun βάπτισμα
baptisma; see below) is a Christian rite of admission and adoption, almost invariably
with the use of water, into Christianity. The synoptic gospels recount that John the
Baptist baptised Jesus. Baptism is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance
in others. Baptism is also called christening, although some reserve the word “christening”
for the baptism of infants. It has also given its name to the Baptist churches and denominations. The usual form of baptism among the earliest
Christians involved the candidate’s immersion, either totally (submerged completely under
the water) or partially (standing or kneeling in water while water was poured on him or
her). John the Baptist’s use of a deep river for his baptising suggests immersion: “The
fact that he chose a permanent and deep river suggests that more than a token quantity of
water was needed, and both the preposition ‘in’ (the Jordan) and the basic meaning of
the verb ‘baptize’ probably indicate immersion. In v. 16, Matthew will speak of Jesus ‘coming
up out of the water’. Phillip and the Eunuch also went down and came up out of water (Acts
8:38-39). Baptism is likened unto a burial in Romans 6:3. “Dip” is translated from baptō
(βάπτω). The traditional depiction in Christian art of John the Baptist pouring
water over Jesus’ head may therefore be based on later Christian practice.” Pictorial and
archaeological evidence of Christian baptism from the 3rd century onward indicates that
a normal form was to have the candidate stand in water while water was poured over the upper
body. Other common forms of baptism now in use include pouring water three times on the
forehead, a method called affusion. Martyrdom was identified early in Church history
as “baptism by blood”, enabling the salvation of martyrs who had not been baptized by water.
Later, the Catholic Church identified a baptism of desire, by which those preparing for baptism
who die before actually receiving the sacrament are considered saved. As evidenced also in
the common Christian practice of infant baptism, Christians universally regarded baptism as
in some sense necessary for salvation, until Huldrych Zwingli (1484-1531) denied its necessity
in the 16th century.Quakers and the Salvation Army practice Baptism with the Holy Spirit
instead of baptism with water. Among denominations that practice baptism by water, differences
occur in the manner and mode of baptizing and in the understanding of the significance
of the rite. Most Christians baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Spirit” (following the Great Commission), but some baptize in Jesus’ name only. Much
more than half of all Christians baptize infants; many others regard only believer’s baptism
as true baptism. The term “baptism” has also been used metaphorically
to refer to any ceremony, trial, or experience by which a person is initiated, purified,
or given a name.==Etymology==The English word baptism is derived indirectly
through Latin from the neuter Greek concept noun baptisma (Greek βάπτισμα, “washing-ism”),
which is a neologism in the New Testament derived from the masculine Greek noun baptismos
(βαπτισμός), a term for ritual washing in Greek language texts of Hellenistic Judaism
during the Second Temple period, such as the Septuagint. Both of these nouns are derived
from the verb baptizō (βαπτίζω, “I wash” transitive verb), which is used in Jewish
texts for ritual washing, and in the New Testament both for ritual washing and also for the apparently
new rite of baptisma. The Greek verb baptō (βάπτω), “dip”, from which the verb baptizo
is derived, is in turn hypothetically traced to a reconstructed Indo-European root *gʷabh-,
“dip”. The Greek words are used in a great variety of meanings.==History==Baptism has similarities to Tvilah, a Jewish
purification ritual of immersing in water, which is required for, among other things,
conversion to Judaism, but which differs in being repeatable, while baptism is to be performed
only once. (In fact, the Modern Hebrew term for “baptism” is “Christian Tvilah”.) John
the Baptist, who is considered a forerunner to Christianity, used baptism as the central
sacrament of his messianic movement. The apostle Paul distinguished between the baptism of
John, (“baptism of repentance”) and baptism in the name of Jesus, and it is questionable
whether Christian baptism was in some way linked with that of John. Christians consider
Jesus to have instituted the sacrament of baptism.The earliest Christian baptisms were
probably normally by immersion, complete or partial. though other modes may have also
been used.Though some form of immersion was likely the most common method of baptism,
many of the writings from the ancient church appeared to view the mode of baptism as inconsequential.
The Didache 7.1–3 (AD 60–150) allowed for affusion practices in situations where
immersion was not practical. Likewise, Tertullian (AD 196–212) allowed for varying approaches
to baptism even if those practices did not conform to biblical or traditional mandates
(cf. De corona militis 3; De baptismo 17). Finally, Cyprian (ca. AD 256) explicitly stated
that the amount of water was inconsequential and defended immersion, affusion, and aspersion
practices (Epistle 75.12). As a result, there was no uniform or consistent mode of baptism
in the ancient church prior to the fourth century.By the third and fourth centuries,
baptism involved catechetical instruction as well as chrismation, exorcisms, laying
on of hands, and recitation of a creed.In the early middle ages infant baptism became
common and the rite was significantly simplified. In Western Europe Affusion became the normal
mode of baptism between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, though immersion was still practiced
into the sixteenth. In the sixteenth century, Martin Luther retained baptism as a sacrament,
but Swiss reformer Huldrych Zwingli considered baptism and the Lord’s supper to be symbolic.
Anabaptists denied the validity of the practice of infant baptism, and rebaptized converts.==Mode and manner==
Baptism is practiced in several different ways. Aspersion is the sprinkling of water
on the head, and affusion is the pouring of water over the head.
The word “immersion” is derived from late Latin immersio, a noun derived from the verb
immergere (in – “into” + mergere “dip”). In relation to baptism, some use it to refer
to any form of dipping, whether the body is put completely under water or is only partly
dipped in water; they thus speak of immersion as being either total or partial. Others,
of the Anabaptist belief, use “immersion” to mean exclusively plunging someone entirely
under the surface of the water. The term “immersion” is also used of a form of baptism in which
water is poured over someone standing in water, without submersion of the person. On these
three meanings of the word “immersion”, see Immersion baptism.
When “immersion” is used in opposition to “submersion”, it indicates the form of baptism
in which the candidate stands or kneels in water and water is poured over the upper part
of the body. Immersion in this sense has been employed in West and East since at least the
2nd century and is the form in which baptism is generally depicted in early Christian art.
In the West, this method of baptism began to be replaced by affusion baptism from around
the 8th century, but it continues in use in Eastern Christianity. The word submersion comes from the late Latin
(sub- “under, below” + mergere “plunge, dip”) and is also sometimes called “complete immersion”.
It is the form of baptism in which the water completely covers the candidate’s body. Submersion
is practiced in the Orthodox and several other Eastern Churches. In the Latin Church of the
Catholic Church, baptism by submersion is used in the Ambrosian Rite and is one of the
methods provided in the Roman Rite of the baptism of infants. It is seen as obligatory
among some groups that have arisen since the Protestant Reformation, such as Baptists and
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).===Meaning of the Greek verb baptizein===
The Greek-English Lexicon of Liddell and Scott gives the primary meaning of the verb baptizein,
from which the English verb “baptize” is derived, as “dip, plunge”, and gives examples of plunging
a sword into a throat or an embryo and for drawing wine by dipping a cup in the bowl;
for New Testament usage it gives two meanings: “baptize”, with which it associates the Septuagint
mention of Naaman dipping himself in the Jordan River, and “perform ablutions”, as in Luke
11:38.Although the Greek verb baptizein does not exclusively mean dip, plunge or immerse
(it is used with literal and figurative meanings such as “sink”, “disable”, “overwhelm”, “go
under”, “overborne”, “draw from a bowl”), lexical sources typically cite this as a meaning
of the word in both the Septuagint and the New Testament.”While it is true that the basic
root meaning of the Greek words for baptize and baptism is immerse/immersion, it is not
true that the words can simply be reduced to this meaning, as can be seen from Mark
10:38–39, Luke 12:50, Matthew 3:11 Luke 3:16 and Corinthians10:2.”Two passages in
the Gospels indicate that the verb baptizein did not always indicate submersion. The first
is Luke 11:38, which tells how a Pharisee, at whose house Jesus ate, “was astonished
to see that he did not first wash (ἐβαπτίσθη, aorist passive of βαπτίζω—literally,
“was baptized”) before dinner”. This is the passage that Liddell and Scott cites as an
instance of the use of βαπτίζω to mean perform ablutions. Jesus’ omission of this
action is similar to that of his disciples: “Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees,
which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the
elders? for they wash (νίπτω) not their hands when they eat bread”. The other Gospel
passage pointed to is: “The Pharisees…do not eat unless they wash (νίπτω, the
ordinary word for washing) their hands thoroughly, observing the tradition of the elders; and
when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they wash themselves (literally,
“baptize themselves”—βαπτίσωνται, passive or middle voice of βαπτίζω)”. Scholars of various denominations claim that
these two passages show that invited guests, or people returning from market, would not
be expected to immerse themselves (“baptize themselves”) totally in water but only to
practise the partial immersion of dipping their hands in water or to pour water over
them, as is the only form admitted by present Jewish custom. In the second of the two passages,
it is actually the hands that are specifically identified as “washed” (Mark 7:3), not the
entire person, for whom the verb used is baptizomai, literally “be baptized”, “be immersed” (Mark
7:4), a fact obscured by English versions that use “wash” as a translation of both verbs.
Zodhiates concludes that the washing of the hands was done by immersing them. The Liddell–Scott–Jones
Greek-English Lexicon (1996) cites the other passage (Luke 11:38) as an instance of the
use of the verb baptizein to mean “perform ablutions”, not “submerge”. References to
the cleaning of vessels which use βαπτίζω also refer to immersion.As already mentioned,
the lexicographical work of Zodhiates says that, in the second of these two cases, the
verb baptizein indicates that, after coming from the market, the Pharisees washed their
hands by immersing them in collected water. Balz & Schneider understand the meaning of
βαπτίζω, used in place of ῥαντίσωνται (sprinkle), to be the same as βάπτω,
to dip or immerse, a verb used of the partial dipping of a morsel held in the hand into
wine or of a finger into spilled blood. A possible additional use of the verb baptizein
to relate to ritual washing is suggested by Peter Leithart (2007) who suggests that Paul’s
phrase “Else what shall they do who are baptized for the dead?” relates to Jewish ritual washing.
In Jewish Greek the verb baptizein “baptized” has a wider reference than just “baptism”
and in Jewish context primarily applies to the masculine noun baptismos “ritual washing”
The verb baptizein occurs four times in the Septuagint in the context of ritual washing,
baptismos; Judith cleansing herself from menstrual impurity, Naaman washing seven times to be
cleansed from leprosy, etc. Additionally, in the New Testament only, the verb baptizein
can also relate to the neuter noun baptisma “baptism” which is a neologism unknown in
the Septuagint and other pre-Christian Jewish texts. This broadness in the meaning of baptizein
is reflected in English Bibles rendering “wash”, where Jewish ritual washing is meant: for
example Mark 7:4 states that the Pharisees “except they wash (Greek “baptize”), they
do not eat”, and “baptize” where baptisma, the new Christian rite, is intended.===Derived nouns===
Two nouns derived from the verb baptizo (βαπτίζω) appear in the New Testament: the masculine
noun baptismos (βαπτισμός) and the neuter noun baptisma (βάπτισμα): baptismos (βαπτισμός) refers in Mark|
7:4 to a water-rite for the purpose of purification, washing, cleansing, of dishes; in the same
verse and in Hebrews 9:10 to Levitical cleansings of vessels or of the body; and in Hebrews
6:2 perhaps also to baptism, though there it may possibly refer to washing an inanimate
object. According to Spiros Zodhiates when referring merely to the cleansing of utensils
baptismos (βαπτισμός) is equated with rhantismos (ῥαντισμός, “sprinkling”),
found only in Hebrews 12:24 and Peter 1:2, a noun used to indicate the symbolic cleansing
by the Old Testament priest. baptisma (βάπτισμα), which is a neologism
appearing to originate in the New Testament, and probably should not be confused with the
earlier Jewish concept of baptismos (βαπτισμός), Later this is found only in writings by Christians.
In the New Testament, it appears at least 21 times:
13 times with regard to the rite practised by John the Baptist;
3 times with reference to the specific Christian rite (4 times if account is taken of its use
in some manuscripts of Colossians 2:12, where, however, it is most likely to have been changed
from the original baptismos than vice versa); 5 times in a metaphorical sense.
Manuscript variation: In Colossians, some manuscripts have neuter noun baptisma (βάπτισμα),
but some have masculine noun baptismos (βαπτισμός), and this is the reading given in modern critical
editions of the New Testament. If this reading is correct, then this is the only New Testament
instance in which baptismos (βαπτισμός) is clearly used of Christian baptism, rather
than of a generic washing, unless the opinion of some is correct that Hebrews 6:2 may also
refer to Christian baptism. The feminine noun baptisis, along with the
masculine noun baptismos both occur in Josephus’ Antiquities (J. AJ 18.5.2) relating to the
murder of John the Baptist by Herod. This feminine form is not used elsewhere by Josephus,
nor in the New Testament.A Christian baptism is administered in one of the following forms,
performing the action either once or thrice:===Apparel===
Until the Middle Ages, most baptisms were performed with the candidates naked—as is
evidenced by most of the early portrayals of baptism (some of which are shown in this
article), and the early Church Fathers and other Christian writers. Deaconesses helped
female candidates for reasons of modesty.Typical of these is Cyril of Jerusalem who wrote “On
the Mysteries of Baptism” in the 4th century (c. 350 AD): Do you not know, that so many of us as were
baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death? etc….for you are not under
the Law, but under grace. 1. Therefore, I shall necessarily lay before
you the sequel of yesterday’s Lecture, that you may learn of what those things, which
were done by you in the inner chamber, were symbolic.
2. As soon, then, as you entered, you put off your tunic; and this was an image of putting
off the old man with his deeds. Having stripped yourselves, you were naked; in this also imitating
Christ, who was stripped naked on the Cross, and by His nakedness put off from Himself
the principalities and powers, and openly triumphed over them on the tree. For since
the adverse powers made their lair in your members, you may no longer wear that old garment;
I do not at all mean this visible one, but the old man, which waxes corrupt in the lusts
of deceit. May the soul which has once put him off, never again put him on, but say with
the Spouse of Christ in the Song of Songs, I have put off my garment, how shall I put
it on? O wondrous thing! You were naked in the sight of all, and were not ashamed; for
truly ye bore the likeness of the first-formed Adam, who was naked in the garden, and was
not ashamed. 3. Then, when you were stripped, you were
anointed with exorcised oil, from the very hairs of your head to your feet, and were
made partakers of the good olive-tree, Jesus Christ.
4. After these things, you were led to the holy pool of Divine Baptism, as Christ was
carried from the Cross to the Sepulchre which is before our eyes. And each of you was asked,
whether he believed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and
you made that saving confession, and descended three times into the water, and ascended again;
here also hinting by a symbol at the three days burial of Christ…. And at the self-same
moment you were both dying and being born; The symbolism is threefold:
1. Baptism is considered to be a form of rebirth—”by water and the Spirit”—the nakedness of baptism
(the second birth) paralleled the condition of one’s original birth. For example, St.
John Chrysostom calls the baptism “λοχείαν”, i.e., giving birth, and “new way of creation…from
water and Spirit” (“to John” speech 25,2), and later elaborates: For nothing perceivable was handed over to
us by Jesus; but with perceivable things, all of them however conceivable. This is also
the way with the baptism; the gift of the water is done with a perceivable thing, but
the things being conducted, i.e., the rebirth and renovation, are conceivable. For, if you
were without a body, He would hand over these bodiless gifts as naked [gifts] to you. But
because the soul is closely linked to the body, He hands over the perceivable ones to
you with conceivable things. (Chrysostom to Matthew., speech 82, 4, c. 390 A.D.)2. The
removal of clothing represented the “image of putting off the old man with his deeds”
(as per Cyril, above), so the stripping of the body before for baptism represented taking
off the trappings of sinful self, so that the “new man”, which is given by Jesus, can
be put on. 3. As St. Cyril again asserts above, as Adam
and Eve in scripture were naked, innocent and unashamed in the Garden of Eden, nakedness
during baptism was seen as a renewal of that innocence and state of original sinlessness.
Other parallels can also be drawn, such as between the exposed condition of Christ during
His crucifixion, and the crucifixion of the “old man” of the repentant sinner in preparation
for baptism. Changing customs and concerns regarding modesty
probably contributed to the practice of permitting or requiring the baptismal candidate to either
retain their undergarments (as in many Renaissance paintings of baptism such as those by da Vinci,
Tintoretto, Van Scorel, Masaccio, de Wit and others) or to wear, as is almost universally
the practice today, baptismal robes. These robes are most often white, symbolizing purity.
Some groups today allow any suitable clothes to be worn, such as trousers and a T-shirt—practical
considerations include how easily the clothes will dry (denim is discouraged), and whether
they will become see-through when wet.==Meaning and effects==There are differences in views about the effect
of baptism for a Christian. Some Christian groups assert baptism is a requirement for
salvation and a sacrament, and speak of “baptismal regeneration”. Its importance is related to
their interpretation of the meaning of the “Mystical Body of Christ” as found in the
New Testament. This view is shared by the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox denominations,
and by Churches formed early during the Protestant Reformation such as Lutheran and Anglican.
For example, Martin Luther said: To put it most simply, the power, effect,
benefit, fruit, and purpose of Baptism is to save. No one is baptized in order to become
a prince, but as the words say, to “be saved”. To be saved, we know, is nothing else than
to be delivered from sin, death, and the devil and to enter into the kingdom of Christ and
live with him forever. The Churches of Christ,” Jehovah’s Witnesses,
Christadelphians, and LDS Church also espouse baptism as necessary for salvation.
For Roman Catholics, baptism by water is a sacrament of initiation into the life of the
children of God (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1212–13). It configures the person
to Christ (CCC 1272), and obliges the Christian to share in the Church’s apostolic and missionary
activity (CCC 1270). The Catholic holds that there are three types of baptism by which
one can be saved: sacramental baptism (with water), baptism of desire (explicit or implicit
desire to be part of the Church founded by Jesus Christ), and baptism of blood (martyrdom).
In his encyclical Mystici corporis Christi of June 29, 1943, Pope Pius XII spoke of baptism
and profession of the true faith as what makes members of the one true Church, which is the
body of Jesus Christ himself, as God the Holy Spirit has taught through the Apostle Paul: 18…Through the waters of Baptism those who
are born into this world dead in sin are not only born again and made members of the Church,
but being stamped with a spiritual seal they become able and fit to receive the other Sacraments.
… 22 Actually only those are to be included
as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not
been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded
by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. ‘For in one spirit’ says the Apostle, ‘were
we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free.’ As therefore
in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism,
so there can be only one faith. And therefore if a man refuse to hear the Church let him
be considered—so the Lord commands—as a heathen and a publican. It follows that
those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body,
nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit.
By contrast, Anabaptist and Evangelical Protestants recognize baptism as an outward sign of an
inward reality following on an individual believer’s experience of forgiving grace.
Reformed and Methodist Protestants maintain a link between baptism and regeneration, but
insist that it is not automatic or mechanical, and that regeneration may occur at a different
time than baptism.Churches of Christ consistently teach that in baptism a believer surrenders
his life in faith and obedience to God, and that God “by the merits of Christ’s blood,
cleanses one from sin and truly changes the state of the person from an alien to a citizen
of God’s kingdom. Baptism is not a human work; it is the place where God does the work that
only God can do.” Thus, they see baptism as a passive act of faith rather than a meritorious
work; it “is a confession that a person has nothing to offer God”.===Christian traditions===The liturgy of baptism for Catholics, Eastern
Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, and Methodist makes clear reference to baptism as not only
a symbolic burial and resurrection, but an actual supernatural transformation, one that
draws parallels to the experience of Noah and the passage of the Israelites through
the Red Sea divided by Moses. Thus, baptism is literally and symbolically not only cleansing,
but also dying and rising again with Christ. Catholics believe baptism is necessary to
cleanse the taint of original sin, and so commonly baptise infants. The Eastern Churches
(Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy) also baptize infants on the basis of texts,
such as Matthew 19:14, which are interpreted as supporting full Church membership for children.
In these denominations, baptism is immediately followed by Chrismation and Communion at the
next Divine Liturgy, regardless of age. Orthodox likewise believe that baptism removes what
they call the ancestral sin of Adam. Anglicans believe that Baptism is also the entry into
the Church and therefore allows them access to all rights and responsibilities as full
members, including the privilege to receive Holy Communion. Most Methodists and Anglicans
agree that it also cleanses the taint of what in the West is called original sin, in the
East ancestral sin. Eastern Orthodox Christians usually insist
on complete threefold immersion as both a symbol of death and rebirth into Christ, and
as a washing away of sin. Latin Church Catholics generally baptize by affusion (pouring); Eastern
Catholics usually by submersion, or at least partial immersion. However, submersion is
gaining in popularity within the Latin Catholic Church. In newer church sanctuaries, the baptismal
font may be designed to expressly allow for baptism by immersion. Anglicans baptize by
submersion, immersion, affusion or sprinkling. According to evidence which can be traced
back to at latest about the year 200, sponsors or godparents are present at baptism and vow
to uphold the Christian education and life of the baptized.
Baptists argue that the Greek word βαπτίζω originally meant “to immerse”. They interpret
some Biblical passages concerning baptism as requiring submersion of the body in water.
They also state that only submersion reflects the symbolic significance of being “buried”
and “raised” with Christ. Baptist Churches baptize in the name of the Trinity—the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit. However, they do not believe that baptism is necessary for
salvation; but rather that it is an act of Christian obedience.
Some “Full Gospel” charismatic churches such as Oneness Pentecostals baptize only in the
name of Jesus Christ, citing Peter’s preaching baptism in the name of Jesus as their authority.===Ecumenical statements===
In 1982 the World Council of Churches published the ecumenical paper Baptism, Eucharist and
Ministry. The preface of the document states: Those who know how widely the churches have
differed in doctrine and practice on baptism, Eucharist and ministry, will appreciate the
importance of the large measure of agreement registered here. Virtually all the confessional
traditions are included in the Commission’s membership. That theologians of such widely
different denominations should be able to speak so harmoniously about baptism, Eucharist
and ministry is unprecedented in the modern ecumenical movement. Particularly noteworthy
is the fact that the Commission also includes among its full members theologians of the
Catholic and other churches which do not belong to the World Council of Churches itself.
A 1997 document, Becoming a Christian: The Ecumenical Implications of Our Common Baptism,
gave the views of a commission of experts brought together under the aegis of the World
Council of Churches. It states: …according to Acts 2:38, baptisms follow
from Peter’s preaching baptism in the name of Jesus and lead those baptized to the receiving
of Christ’s Spirit, the Holy Ghost, and life in the community: “They devoted themselves
to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers”
as well as to the distribution of goods to those in need.
Those who heard, who were baptized and entered the community’s life, were already made witnesses
of and partakers in the promises of God for the last days: the forgiveness of sins through
baptism in the name of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on all flesh. Similarly,
in what may well be a baptismal pattern, 1 Peter testifies that proclamation of the resurrection
of Jesus Christ and teaching about new life lead to purification and new birth. This,
in turn, is followed by eating and drinking God’s food, by participation in the life of
the community—the royal priesthood, the new temple, the people of God—and by further
moral formation. At the beginning of 1 Peter the writer sets this baptism in the context
of obedience to Christ and sanctification by the Spirit. So baptism into Christ is seen
as baptism into the Spirit. In the fourth gospel Jesus’ discourse with Nicodemus indicates
that birth by water and Spirit becomes the gracious means of entry into the place where
God rules.===Validity considerations by some churches
===The vast majority of Christian denominations
admit the theological idea that baptism is a sacrament, that has actual spiritual, holy
and salvific effects. Certain key criteria must be complied with for it to be valid,
i.e., to actually have those effects. If these key criteria are met, violation of some rules
regarding baptism, such as varying the authorized rite for the ceremony, renders the baptism
illicit (contrary to the church’s laws) but still valid.One of the criteria for validity
is use of the correct form of words. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the use of the
verb “baptize” is essential. Catholics of the Latin Church, Anglicans and Methodists
use the form “I baptize you….” Eastern Orthodox and some Eastern Catholics use a passive voice
form “The Servant/(Handmaiden) of God is baptized in the name of….” or “This person is baptized
by my hands….”Use of the Trinitarian formula “in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit” is also considered essential; thus these churches do not accept
as valid baptisms of non-Trinitarian churches such as Oneness Pentecostals.Another essential
condition is use of water. A baptism in which some liquid that would not usually be called
water, such as wine, milk, soup or fruit juice was used would not be considered valid.Another
requirement is that the celebrant intends to perform baptism. This requirement entails
merely the intention “to do what the Church does”, not necessarily to have Christian faith,
since it is not the person baptizing, but the Holy Spirit working through the sacrament,
who produces the effects of the sacrament. Doubt about the faith of the baptizer is thus
no ground for doubt about the validity of the baptism.Some conditions expressly do not
affect validity—for example, whether submersion, immersion, affusion or aspersion is used.
However, if water is sprinkled, there is a danger that the water may not touch the skin
of the unbaptized. As has been stated, “it is not sufficient for the water to merely
touch the candidate; it must also flow, otherwise there would seem to be no real ablution. At
best, such a baptism would be considered doubtful. If the water touches only the hair, the sacrament
has probably been validly conferred, though in practice the safer course must be followed.
If only the clothes of the person have received the aspersion, the baptism is undoubtedly
void.” For many communions, validity is not affected if a single submersion or pouring
is performed rather than a triple, but in Orthodoxy this is controversial.According
to the Catholic Church, baptism imparts an indelible “seal” upon the soul of the baptized
and therefore a person who has already been baptized cannot be validly baptized again.
This teaching was affirmed against the Donatists who practiced rebaptism. The grace received
in baptism is believed to operate ex opere operato and is therefore considered valid
even if administered in heretical or schismatic groups.===Recognition by other denominations===
The Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches accept baptism performed
by other denominations within this group as valid, subject to certain conditions, including
the use of the Trinitarian formula. It is only possible to be baptized once, thus people
with valid baptisms from other denominations may not be baptized again upon conversion
or transfer. For Roman Catholics, this is affirmed in the Canon Law 864, in which it
is written that “[e]very person not yet baptized and only such a person is capable of baptism.”
Such people are accepted upon making a profession of faith and, if they have not yet validly
received the sacrament/rite of confirmation or chrismation, by being confirmed. Specifically,
“Methodist theologians argued that since God never abrogated a covenant made and sealed
with proper intentionality, rebaptism was never an option, unless the original baptism
had been defective by not having been made in the name of the Trinity.” In some cases
it can be difficult to decide if the original baptism was in fact valid; if there is doubt,
conditional baptism is administered, with a formula on the lines of “If you are not
yet baptized, I baptize you….”In the still recent past, it was common practice in the
Roman Catholic Church to baptize conditionally almost every convert from Protestantism because
of a perceived difficulty in judging about the validity in any concrete case. In the
case of the major Protestant Churches, agreements involving assurances about the manner in which
they administer baptism has ended this practice, which sometimes continues for other groups
of Protestants. The Catholic Church has always recognized the validity of baptism in the
Churches of Eastern Christianity, but it has explicitly denied the validity of the baptism
conferred in the LDS Church.Practice in the Eastern Orthodox Church for converts from
other communions is not uniform. However, generally baptisms performed in the name of
the Holy Trinity are accepted by the Orthodox Christian Church. If a convert has not received
the sacrament (mysterion) of baptism, he or she must be baptised in the name of the Holy
Trinity before they may enter into communion with the Orthodox Church. If he has been baptized
in another Christian confession (other than Orthodox Christianity) his previous baptism
is considered retroactively filled with grace by chrismation or, in rare circumstances,
confession of faith alone as long as the baptism was done in the name of the Holy Trinity (Father,
Son and Holy Spirit). The exact procedure is dependent on local canons and is the subject
of some controversy.Oriental Orthodox Churches recognise the validity of baptisms performed
within the Eastern Orthodox Communion. Some also recognise baptisms performed by Catholic
Churches. Any supposed baptism not performed using the Trinitarian formula is considered
invalid.In the eyes of the Catholic Church, all Orthodox Churches, Anglican and Lutheran
Churches, the baptism conferred by the LDS Church is invalid. An article published together
with the official declaration to that effect gave reasons for that judgment, summed up
in the following words: “The Baptism of the Catholic Church and that of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints differ essentially, both for what concerns faith in the Father,
Son and Holy Spirit, in whose name Baptism is conferred, and for what concerns the relationship
to Christ who instituted it.”The LDS Church stresses that baptism must be administered
by one having proper authority; consequently, the church does not recognize the baptism
of any other church as valid.Jehovah’s Witnesses do not recognise any other baptism occurring
after 1914 as valid, as they believe that they are now the one true church of Christ,
and that the rest of “Christendom” is false religion.===Officiator===
There is debate among Christian churches as to who can administer baptism. Some claim
that the examples given in the New Testament only show apostles and deacons administering
baptism. Ancient Christian churches interpret this as indicating that baptism should be
performed by the clergy except in extremis, i.e., when the one being baptized is in immediate
danger of death. Then anyone may baptize, provided, in the view of the Eastern Orthodox
Church, the person who does the baptizing is a member of that Church, or, in the view
of the Catholic Church, that the person, even if not baptized, intends to do what the Church
does in administering the rite. Many Protestant churches see no specific prohibition in the
biblical examples and permit any believer to baptize another.
In the Roman Catholic Church, canon law for the Latin Church lays down that the ordinary
minister of baptism is a bishop, priest or deacon, but its administration is one of the
functions “especially entrusted to the parish priest”. If the person to be baptized is at
least fourteen years old, that person’s baptism is to be referred to the bishop, so that he
can decide whether to confer the baptism himself. If no ordinary minister is available, a catechist
or some other person whom the local ordinary has appointed for this purpose may licitly
do the baptism; indeed in a case of necessity any person (irrespective of that person’s
religion) who has the requisite intention may confer the baptism By “a case of necessity”
is meant imminent danger of death because of either illness or an external threat. “The
requisite intention” is, at the minimum level, the intention “to do what the Church does”
through the rite of baptism. In the Eastern Catholic Churches, a deacon
is not considered an ordinary minister. Administration of the sacrament is reserved to the Parish
Priest or to another priest to whom he or the local hierarch grants permission, a permission
that can be presumed if in accordance with canon law. However, “in case of necessity,
baptism can be administered by a deacon or, in his absence or if he is impeded, by another
cleric, a member of an institute of consecrated life, or by any other Christian faithful;
even by the mother or father, if another person is not available who knows how to baptize.”The
discipline of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy and the Assyrian Church
of the East is similar to that of the Eastern Catholic Churches. They require the baptizer,
even in cases of necessity, to be of their own faith, on the grounds that a person cannot
convey what he himself does not possess, in this case membership in the Church. The Latin
Catholic Church does not insist on this condition, considering that the effect of the sacrament,
such as membership of the Church, is not produced by the person who baptizes, but by the Holy
Spirit. For the Orthodox, while Baptism in extremis may be administered by a deacon or
any lay-person, if the newly baptized person survives, a priest must still perform the
other prayers of the Rite of Baptism, and administer the Mystery of Chrismation.
The discipline of Anglicanism and Lutheranism is similar to that of the Latin Catholic Church.
For Methodists and many other Protestant denominations, too, the ordinary minister of baptism is a
duly ordained or appointed minister of religion. Newer movements of Protestant Evangelical
churches, particularly non-denominational, allow laypeople to baptize.
In the LDS Church, only a man who has been ordained to the Aaronic priesthood holding
the priesthood office of priest or higher office in the Melchizedek priesthood may administer
baptism.A Jehovah’s Witnesses baptism is performed by a “dedicated male” adherent. Only in extraordinary
circumstances would a “dedicated” baptizer be unbaptized (see section Jehovah’s Witnesses).==Specific Christian groups practicing baptism
==Anabaptists and Baptists recognize only believer’s
baptism or “adult baptism”. Baptism is seen as an act identifying one as having accepted
Jesus Christ as savior.===Anabaptist===
Early Anabaptists were given that name because they re-baptized persons who they felt had
not been properly baptized, having received infant baptism, sprinkling.The traditional
form of Anabaptist baptism was pouring or sprinkling, the form commonly used in the
West in the early 16th century when they emerged. Since the 18th century immersion and submersion
became more widespread. Today all forms of baptism can be found among Anabaptist.Baptism
memorializes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.[Rom 6] Baptism does not accomplish
anything in itself, but is an outward personal sign or testimony that the person’s sins have
already been washed away by the blood of Christ’s cross. It is considered a covenantal act,
signifying entrance into the New Covenant of Christ.===Baptist===
For the majority of Baptists, Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in
the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing
the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to
sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.
It is a testimony to the believer’s faith in the final resurrection of the dead.Furthermore,
for a new convert the general practice is that baptism also allows the person to be
a registered member of the local Baptist congregation (though some churches have adopted “new members
classes” as a mandatory step for congregational membership).
Regarding rebaptism the general rules are: baptisms by other than immersion are not recognized
as valid and therefore rebaptism by immersion is required; and
baptisms by immersion in other denominations may be considered valid if performed after
the person having professed faith in Jesus Christ (though among the more conservative
groups such as Independent Baptists, rebaptism may be required by the local congregation
if performed in a non-Baptist church – and, in extreme cases, even if performed within
a Baptist church that wasn’t an Independent Baptist congregation)===Churches of Christ===
Baptism in Churches of Christ is performed only by full bodily immersion, based on the
Koine Greek verb baptizo which means to dip, immerse, submerge or plunge. Submersion is
seen as more closely conforming to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus than other
modes of baptism. Churches of Christ argue that historically immersion was the mode used
in the 1st century, and that pouring and sprinkling later emerged as secondary modes when immersion
was not possible. Over time these secondary modes came to replace immersion. Only those
mentally capable of belief and repentance are baptized (i.e., infant baptism is not
practiced because the New Testament has no precedent for it).Churches of Christ have
historically had the most conservative position on baptism among the various branches of the
Restoration Movement, understanding baptism by immersion to be a necessary part of conversion.
The most significant disagreements concerned the extent to which a correct understanding
of the role of baptism is necessary for its validity. David Lipscomb insisted that if
a believer was baptized out of a desire to obey God, the baptism was valid, even if the
individual did not fully understand the role baptism plays in salvation. Austin McGary
contended that to be valid, the convert must also understand that baptism is for the forgiveness
of sins. McGary’s view became the prevailing one in the early 20th century, but the approach
advocated by Lipscomb never totally disappeared. As such, the general practice among churches
of Christ is to require rebaptism by immersion of converts, even those who were previously
baptized by immersion in other churches. More recently, the rise of the International
Churches of Christ has caused some to reexamine the issue.Churches of Christ consistently
teach that in baptism a believer surrenders his life in faith and obedience to God, and
that God “by the merits of Christ’s blood, cleanses one from sin and truly changes the
state of the person from an alien to a citizen of God’s kingdom. Baptism is not a human work;
it is the place where God does the work that only God can do.” Baptism is a passive act
of faith rather than a meritorious work; it “is a confession that a person has nothing
to offer God.” While Churches of Christ do not describe baptism as a “sacrament”, their
view of it can legitimately be described as “sacramental.” They see the power of baptism
coming from God, who chose to use baptism as a vehicle, rather than from the water or
the act itself, and understand baptism to be an integral part of the conversion process,
rather than just a symbol of conversion. A recent trend is to emphasize the transformational
aspect of baptism: instead of describing it as just a legal requirement or sign of something
that happened in the past, it is seen as “the event that places the believer ‘into Christ’
where God does the ongoing work of transformation.” There is a minority that downplays the importance
of baptism in order to avoid sectarianism, but the broader trend is to “reexamine the
richness of the biblical teaching of baptism and to reinforce its central and essential
place in Christianity.”Because of the belief that baptism is a necessary part of salvation,
some Baptists hold that the Churches of Christ endorse the doctrine of baptismal regeneration.
However, members of the Churches of Christ reject this, arguing that since faith and
repentance are necessary, and that the cleansing of sins is by the blood of Christ through
the grace of God, baptism is not an inherently redeeming ritual. Rather, their inclination
is to point to the biblical passage in which Peter, analogizing baptism to Noah’s flood,
posits that “likewise baptism doth also now save us” but parenthetically clarifies that
baptism is “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh but the response of a good conscience
toward God” (1 Peter 3:21). One author from the churches of Christ describes the relationship
between faith and baptism this way, “Faith is the reason why a person is a child of God;
baptism is the time at which one is incorporated into Christ and so becomes a child of God”
(italics are in the source). Baptism is understood as a confessional expression of faith and
repentance, rather than a “work” that earns salvation.===Methodism===The Methodist Articles of Religion, with regard
to baptism, teach: Baptism is not only a sign of profession and
mark of difference whereby Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized;
but it is also a sign of regeneration or the new birth. The Baptism of young children is
to be retained in the Church. While baptism imparts regenerating grace,
its permanence is contingent upon repentance and a personal committment to Jesus Christ.
In the Methodist Churches, baptism is a sacrament of initiation into the visible Church. Wesleyan
covenant theology further teaches that baptism is a sign and a seal of the covenant of grace:
Of this great new-covenant blessing, baptism was therefore eminently the sign; and it represented
“the pouring out” of the Spirit, “the descending” of the Spirit, the “falling” of the Spirit
“upon men,” by the mode in which it was administered, the pouring of water from above upon the subjects
baptized. As a seal, also, or confirming sign, baptism answers to circumcision.
Methodists recognize three modes of baptism as being valid—”immersion, sprinkling, or
pouring” in the name of the Holy Trinity.===Reformed Protestantism===In Reformed baptismal theology, baptism is
seen as primarily God’s offer of union with Christ and all his benefits to the baptized.
This offer is believed to be intact even when it is not received in faith by the person
baptized. Reformed theologians believe the Holy Spirit brings into effect the promises
signified in baptism. Baptism is held by almost the entire Reformed tradition to effect regeneration,
even in infants who are incapable of faith, by effecting faith which would come to fruition
later. Baptism also initiates one into the visible church and the covenant of grace.
Baptism is seen as a replacement of circumcision, which is considered the rite of initiation
into the covenant of grace in the Old Testament.Reformed Christians believe that immersion is not necessary
for baptism to be properly performed, but that pouring or sprinkling are acceptable.
Only ordained ministers are permitted to administer baptism in Reformed churches, with no allowance
for emergency baptism, though baptisms performed by non-ministers are generally considered
valid. Reformed churches, while rejecting the baptismal ceremonies of the Roman Catholic
church, accept the validity of baptisms performed with them and do not rebaptize.===Roman Catholicism===In Catholic teaching, baptism is stated to
be “necessary for salvation by actual reception or at least by desire”. This teaching is based
on Jesus’ words in the Gospel according to John: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless
one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” It dates back
to the teachings and practices of 1st-century Christians, and the connection between salvation
and baptism was not, on the whole, an item of major dispute until Huldrych Zwingli denied
the necessity of baptism, which he saw as merely a sign granting admission to the Christian
community. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “Baptism is necessary for salvation
for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking
for this sacrament.” The Council of Trent also states in the Decree Concerning Justification
from session six that baptism is necessary for salvation. A person who knowingly, willfully
and unrepentantly rejects baptism has no hope of salvation. However, if knowledge is absent,
“those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel
of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds
to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.”The Catechism
of the Catholic Church also states: “Since Baptism signifies liberation from sin and
from its instigator the devil, one or more exorcisms are pronounced over the candidate”.
In the Roman Rite of the baptism of a child, the wording of the prayer of exorcism is:
“Almighty and ever-living God, you sent your only Son into the world to cast out the power
of Satan, spirit of evil, to rescue man from the kingdom of darkness and bring him into
the splendour of your kingdom of light. We pray for this child: set him (her) free from
original sin, make him (her) a temple of your glory, and send your Holy Spirit to dwell
with him (her). Through Christ our Lord.”In the Catholic Church by baptism all sins are
forgiven, original sin and all personal sins. Given once for all, baptism cannot be repeated.
Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creature,”
an adopted son of God, who has become a “partaker of the divine nature,” member of Christ and
co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit. Sanctifying grace, the grace of justification,
given by God by baptism, erases the original sin and personal actual sins.Catholics are
baptized in water, by submersion, immersion or affusion, in the name (singular) of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit—not three gods, but one God subsisting in three
Persons. While sharing in the one divine essence, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct,
not simply three “masks” or manifestations of one divine being. The faith of the Church
and of the individual Christian is based on a relationship with these three “Persons”
of the one God. Adults can also be baptized through the Rite of Christian Initiation of
Adults. It is claimed that Pope Stephen I, St. Ambrose
and Pope Nicholas I declared that baptisms in the name of “Jesus” only as well as in
the name of “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” were valid. The correct interpretation of
their words is disputed. Current canonical law requires the Trinitarian formula and water
for validity.The Church recognizes two equivalents of baptism with water: “baptism of blood”
and “baptism of desire”. Baptism of blood is that undergone by unbaptized individuals
who are martyred for their faith, while baptism of desire generally applies to catechumens
who die before they can be baptized. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes these two
forms: The Church has always held the firm conviction
that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism
are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for
Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament. (1258)
For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together
with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were
not able to receive through the sacrament. (1259)
The Catholic Church holds that those who are ignorant of Christ’s Gospel and of the Church,
but who seek the truth and do God’s will as they understand it, may be supposed to have
an implicit desire for baptism and can be saved: “‘Since Christ died for all, and since
all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold
that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to
God, of the Paschal mystery.’ Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of
his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding
of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly
if they had known its necessity.” As for unbaptized infants, the Church is unsure of their fate;
“the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God”.===Jehovah’s Witnesses===
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that baptism should be performed by complete immersion (submersion)
only when an individual is old enough to understand its significance. They believe that water
baptism is an outward symbol that a person has made an unconditional dedication through
Jesus Christ to do the will of God. They consider baptism to constitute ordination as a minister.Prospective
candidates for baptism must express their desire to be baptized well in advance of a
planned baptismal event, to allow for congregation elders to assess their suitability. Elders
approve candidates for baptism if the candidates are considered to understand what is expected
of members of the religion and to demonstrate sincere dedication to the faith.Most baptisms
among Jehovah’s Witnesses are performed at scheduled assemblies and conventions by elders
and ministerial servants and rarely occur at local Kingdom Halls. Prior to baptism,
at the conclusion of a pre-baptism talk, candidates must affirm two questions: On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ,
have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?
Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses
in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?
Only baptized males may baptize new members. Baptizers and candidates wear swimsuits or
other informal clothing for baptism, but are directed to avoid clothing that is considered
undignified or revealing. Generally, candidates are individually immersed by a single baptizer,
unless a candidate has special circumstances such as a physical disability. In circumstances
of extended isolation, a qualified candidate’s dedication and stated intention to become
baptized may serve to identify him as a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, even if immersion
itself must be delayed. In rare instances, unbaptized males who had stated such an intention
have reciprocally baptized each other, with both baptisms accepted as valid. Individuals
who had been baptized in the 1930s and 1940s by female Witnesses, such as in concentration
camps, were later re-baptized but recognized their original baptism dates.===Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
===In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints (LDS Church), baptism has the main purpose of remitting the sins of the participant.
It is followed by confirmation, which inducts the person into membership in the church and
constitutes a baptism with the Holy Spirit. Latter-day Saints believe that baptism must
be by full immersion, and by a precise ritualized ordinance: if some part of the participant
is not fully immersed, or the ordinance was not recited verbatim, the ritual must be repeated.
It typically occurs in a baptismal font. In addition, members of the LDS Church do
not believe a baptism is valid unless it is performed by a Latter-day Saint one who has
proper authority (a priest or elder). Authority is passed down through a form of apostolic
succession. All new converts to the faith must be baptized or re-baptized. Baptism is
seen as symbolic both of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and is also symbolic of the
baptized individual discarding their “natural” self and donning a new identity as a disciple
of Jesus. According to Latter-day Saint theology, faith
and repentance are prerequisites to baptism. The ritual does not cleanse the participant
of original sin, as Latter-day Saints do not believe the doctrine of original sin. Mormonism
rejects infant baptism and baptism must occur after the age of accountability, defined in
Latter-day Saint scripture as eight years old.Latter-day Saint theology also teaches
baptism for the dead in which deceased ancestors are baptized vicariously by the living, and
believe that their practice is what Paul wrote of in Corinthians 15:29. This occurs in Latter-day
Saint temples.==Non-practitioners=====
Quakers===Quakers (members of the Religious Society
of Friends) do not believe in the baptism of either children or adults with water, rejecting
all forms of outward sacraments in their religious life. Robert Barclay’s Apology for the True
Christian Divinity (a historic explanation of Quaker theology from the 17th century),
explains Quakers’ opposition to baptism with water thus: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance;
but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he
shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire”. Here John mentions two manners
of baptizings and two different baptisms, the one with water, and the other with the
Spirit, the one whereof he was the minister of, the other whereof Christ was the minister
of: and such as were baptized with the first were not therefore baptized with the second:
“I indeed baptize you, but he shall baptize you.” Though in the present time they were
baptized with the baptism of water, yet they were not as yet, but were to be, baptized
with the baptism of Christ. Barclay argued that water baptism was only
something that happened until the time of Christ, but that now, people are baptised
inwardly by the spirit of Christ, and hence there is no need for the external sacrament
of water baptism, which Quakers argue is meaningless.===Salvation Army===
The Salvation Army does not practice water baptism, or indeed other outward sacraments.
William Booth and Catherine Booth, the founders of the Salvation Army, believed that many
Christians had come to rely on the outward signs of spiritual grace rather than on grace
itself. They believed what was important was spiritual grace itself. However, although
the Salvation Army does not practice baptism, they are not opposed to baptism within other
Christian denominations.===Hyperdispensationalism===
There are some Christians termed “Hyperdispensationalists” (Mid-Acts dispensationalism) who accept only
Paul’s Epistles as directly applicable for the church today. They do not accept water
baptism as a practice for the church since Paul who was God’s apostle to the nations
was not sent to baptize. Ultradispensationalists (Acts 28 dispensationalism) who do not accept
the practice of the Lord’s supper, do not practice baptism because these are not found
in the Prison Epistles. Both sects believe water baptism was a valid practice for covenant
Israel. Hyperdispensationalists also teach that Peter’s gospel message was not the same
as Paul’s. Hyperdispensationalists assert: The great commission and its baptism is directed
to early Jewish believers, not the Gentile believers of mid-Acts or later.
The baptism of Acts 2:36–38 is Peter’s call for Israel to repent of complicity in the
death of their Messiah; not as a Gospel announcement of atonement for sin, a later doctrine revealed
by Paul.Water baptism found early in the Book of Acts is, according to this view, now supplanted
by the one baptism foretold by John the Baptist. Others make a distinction between John’s prophesied
baptism by Christ with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit’s baptism of the believer
into the body of Christ; the latter being the one baptism for today. The one baptism
for today, it is asserted, is the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” of the believer into the
Body of Christ church.Many in this group also argue that John’s promised baptism by fire
is pending, referring to the destruction of the world by fire.John, as he said “baptized
with water”, as did Jesus’s disciples to the early, Jewish Christian church. Jesus himself
never personally baptized with water, but did so through his disciples. Unlike Jesus’
first apostles, Paul, his apostle to the Gentiles, was sent to preach rather than to baptize
in contradiction to the Great Commission. But Paul did occasionally still baptize Jews,
for instance in Corinth and in Philippi. He also taught the spiritual significance of
Spirit baptism in identifying the believer with the atoning death of Christ, his burial,
and resurrection. Romans 6 baptism does not mention nor imply water but is rather a real
baptism into Christ’s death. Other Hyperdispensationalists believe that
baptism was necessary until mid-Acts. The great commission and its baptism was directed
to early Jewish believers, not the Gentile believers of mid-Acts or later. Any Jew who
believed did not receive salvation or the baptism of the Holy Spirit until they were
water baptized. This period ended with the calling of Paul. Peter’s reaction when the
Gentiles received the Holy Spirit before baptism is seen as proof of transition from water
to Spirit baptism. Also significant is the lack of any instructions in the Acts 15 apostolic
conference requiring Gentiles to be water baptized.===Debaptism===Most Christian churches see baptism as a once-in-a-lifetime
event that can be neither repeated nor undone. They hold that those who have been baptized
remain baptized, even if they renounce the Christian faith by adopting a non-Christian
religion or by rejecting religion entirely. But some other organizations and individuals
are practicing debaptism.==Comparative summary==
Comparative Summary of Baptisms of Denominations of Christian Influence. (This section does
not give a complete listing of denominations, and therefore, it only mentions a fraction
of the churches practicing “believer’s baptism”.)==Other initiation ceremonies==Many cultures practice or have practiced initiation
rites, with or without the use of water, including the ancient Egyptian, the Hebraic/Jewish,
the Babylonian, the Mayan, and the Norse cultures. The modern Japanese practice of Miyamairi
is such as ceremony that does not use water. In some, such evidence may be archaeological
and descriptive in nature, rather than a modern practice.===Mystery religion initiation rites===
Apuleius, a 2nd-century Roman writer, described an initiation into the mysteries of Isis.
The initiation was preceded by a normal bathing in the public baths and a ceremonial sprinkling
by the priest of Isis, after which the candidate was given secret instructions in the temple
of the goddess. The candidate then fasted for ten days from meat and wine, after which
he was dressed in linen and led at night into the innermost part of the sanctuary, where
the actual initiation, the details of which were secret, took place. On the next two days,
dressed in the robes of his consecration, he participated in feasting. Apuleius describes
also an initiation into the cult of Osiris and yet a third initiation, of the same pattern
as the initiation into the cult of Isis, without mention of a preliminary bathing.The water-less
initiations of Lucius, the character in Apuleius’s story who had been turned into an ass and
changed back by Isis into human form, into the successive degrees of the rites of the
goddess was accomplished only after a significant period of study to demonstrate his loyalty
and trustworthiness, akin to catechumenal practices preceding baptism in Christianity.===Gnostic Catholicism and Thelema===
The Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, or Gnostic Catholic Church (the ecclesiastical arm of
Ordo Templi Orientis), offers its Rite of Baptism to any person at least 11 years old.
The ceremony is performed before a Gnostic Mass and represents a symbolic birth into
the Thelemic community.===Baptism of objects===The word “baptism” or “christening” is sometimes
used to describe the inauguration of certain objects for use.====Boats and ships====Baptism of Ships: at least since the time
of the Crusades, rituals have contained a blessing for ships. The priest begs God to
bless the vessel and protect those who sail in. The ship is usually sprinkled with holy
water.====Church bells====
The name Baptism of Bells has been given to the blessing of (musical, especially church)
bells, at least in France, since the 11th century. It is derived from the washing of
the bell with holy water by the bishop, before he anoints it with the oil of the infirm without
and with chrism within; a fuming censer is placed under it and the bishop prays that
these sacramentals of the Church may, at the sound of the bell, put the demons to flight,
protect from storms, and call the faithful to prayer.====Dolls====
“Baptism of Dolls”: the custom of ‘dolly dunking’ was once a common practice in parts of the
United Kingdom, particularly in Cornwall where it has been revived in recent years.==Mandaean baptism==
Mandaeans revere John the Baptist and practice frequent baptism as a ritual of purification,
not of initiation.==See also=====
Related articles and subjects===Baptism by fire
Baptism of desire Baptism of Jesus
Baptismal clothing Baptismal vows
Baptistery Believer’s baptism
Catechumen Christening
Chrismation Christifideles
Conditional baptism Consolamentum
Disciple (Christianity) Divine filiation
Emergency baptism Infant baptism
Jesus-Name doctrine Prevenient Grace
Ritual purification Sacrament
Theophany Water and religion===People and ritual objects===
Baptismal font Baptistery
Chrism Ghusl
Godparent Holy water
Holy water in Eastern Christianity John the Baptist
Mikvah Misogi==Notes====
Further reading==Canadian Council of Churches, Commission on
Faith and Witness (1992). Initiation into Christ: Ecumenical Reflections and Common
Teaching on Preparation for Baptism. Winfield, B.C.: Wood Lake Books. ISBN 2-89088-527-5.
Chaney, James M. (2009). William the Baptist. Oakland, TN: Doulos Resources.
p. 160. ISBN 978-1-4421-8560-9. OCLC 642906193. Archived from the original on July 8, 2009.
Dallmann, Robert (2014). Baptisms – One? Many? Or Both?. ChristLife, Inc. ISBN 9780991489107.
Gerfen,, Ernst (1897). “Baptizein”: the Voice of the Scriptures and Church History
Concerning Baptism. Columbus, Ohio: Press of F.J. Heer.
Guelzo, Allen C (1985). Who Should Be Baptized?: a Case for the Baptism of Infants. Reformed
Episcopal Pamphlets. Philadelphia, PA: Reformed Episcopal Publication Society.. 26 pp. N.B.:
States the Evangelical Anglican position of the Reformed Episcopal Church.
Guelzo, Allen C (1985), What Does Baptism Mean?: a Brief Lesson in the Spiritual Use
of Our Baptisms, Reformed Episcopal Pamphlets (5), Philadelphia, PA: Reformed Episcopal
Publication Society Jungkuntz, Richard (1968). The Gospel of Baptism.
St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House. OCLC 444126.
Kolb, Robert W. (1997). Make Disciples, baptizing: God’s gift of new life and Christian witness.
St. Louis: Concordia Seminary. ISBN 0-911770-66-6. OCLC 41473438.
Linderman, Jim (2009). Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography
1890–1950. Atlanta: Dust to Digital. ISBN 978-0-9817342-1-7.
Matzat, Don (Spring 1997). “In Defense of Infant Baptism”. Issues, Etc. Journal. 2 (3).
Retrieved February 26, 2009. Root, Michael; Saarinen, Risto, eds. (1998).
Baptism and the Unity of the Church. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans; Geneva: W.C.C.
[i.e. World Council of Churches] Publications. Also mentioned on t.p.: “Institute for Ecumenical
Research, Strasbourg, France”. ISBN 2-8254-1250-3. Scaer, David P. (1999). Baptism. St. Louis:
The Luther Academy. OCLC 41004868. Schlink, Edmund (1972). The Doctrine of Baptism.
St. Louis, Mo: Concordia Publishing House. ISBN 0-570-03726-3. OCLC 228096375.
Slade, Darren M. (August 15, 2014). “The Early Church’s Inconsequential View of the Mode
of Baptism” (PDF). American Theological Inquiry. 7 (2): 21–34. Archived from the original
on September 3, 2014. Stookey, Laurence Hull (1982). Baptism, Christ’s
act in the church. Nashville, TN: Abingdon. ISBN 0-687-02364-5. OCLC 7924841.
Torrell, Jean-Pierre (2011). A Priestly People: Baptismal Priesthood and Priestly Ministry.
New York/ Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-4815-8.
Ware, Kallistos (1993). The Orthodox Church. New York: Penguin Books. pp. 277–278. ISBN
0-14-014656-3. OCLC 263544700. Weigel, George (2016). “The Most Important
Day of Your Life”. FirstThings. Willimon, William H. (1980). Remember who
you are: baptism, a model for Christian life. Nashville: Upper Room. ISBN 0-8358-0399-6.
OCLC 6485882. World Council of Churches (1982). Baptism,
Eucharist, and ministry. Geneva: World Council of Churches. ISBN 2-8254-0709-7. OCLC 9918640.==External links==
“Writings of the Early Church Fathers on Baptism” “Baptism.” Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
“Baptism”. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.
“Baptism”. Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.

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