ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Baptized

Updated on October 30, 2010

The New Testament is full of teaching as to the meaning, the nature, and the effect of Christian baptism. In John iii. Jesus describes it as a rebirth by water and the Holy Spirit without which a man cannot enter the Kingdom of God. St Peter calls on his hearers to repent and be baptised for the remission of sins, promising them the gift of the Holy Spirit. And St Paul (Romans vi.) makes use of the symbolism of baptism (which was usually by immersion) to point out that the Christian shares in the death and resurrection of Christ, dying to sin and rising to righteousness.

The Roman Catholic teaching on baptism (repeated by the Church of England in its catechism) is that it washes away and forgives all sin (both original sin and actual sins committed before baptism), that it unites the recipient to Christ and makes him a member of his Body, the Church, and that it bestows upon him, at any rate in germ, a new nature, which has to be nourished and developed until it replaces the old fallen manhood. On this view, since baptism confers a new nature permanently, it can never be repeated.

The outward sign of baptism is washing with water, accompanied by the words 'I baptise thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit' (in Eastern churches, 'the servant of God is baptised'). The person may be totally immersed in the water, or it may be poured over the body (normally over the head). The action is traditionally performed three times, once at each of the three divine names. The water should wash the skin of the recipient, i.e. it must flow over it. For that reason affusion (pouring) is a proper method, while aspersion (sprinkling) is an uncertain and improper method. Affusion is now the normal method in the Western Church, though immersion is permitted and was general earlier, as the ancient baptistries in Italy (e.g. Naples) show.

The normal and regular minister of the sacrament is a priest; but in an emergency anybody may administer baptism, even perhaps one who has not been baptised or who is not a Christian.

The proper subject of baptism is any unbaptised person. In the case of a person above the age of discretion (i.e. capable of discerning right from wrong and so of sin, and normally older than five to seven) the proper dispositions are necessary, i.e. faith and repentance. In the case of infants these dispositions are adequately expressed by adult sponsors who promise to bring them up to have the right dispositions when they are capable of them.

At the Reformation, Calvinists and Zwinglians repudiated most of the sacramental teaching of the Church, concerning baptism, though they retained the rite (as required in Scripture) as a symbol of repentance and of incorporation into Christ. The baptists and anabaptists rejected infant baptism, arguing that there was no evidence for it from Scripture, and that it was a meaningless rite apart from conscious faith and repentance, expressed by the individual recipient.

Baptism in the apostolic Church was mainly of adults, since the greater number of converts were adult Jews, proselytes, or pagans. It seems certain, however, that infants were included in some of the baptisms of whole households mentioned in Acts (e.g. xvi. 32-3). Children had always a recognised place in the Jewish Church, and it is clear that the new dispensation did not abolish that position (Mark x. 13-14). The baptism of infants was a natural corollary from the circumcision of infants which it replaced. Nevertheless, the severe discipline imposed by the early Church on its members who committed grave sins after baptism led many (especially after the conversion of the Empire under Constantine had diluted the faithful with many formal Christians) to postpone baptism until late in life, so as to leave as little scope as possible for such sins and to escape responsibility. This abuse was remedied by the development of a more lenient penitential discipline, and of confession. The rite of baptism was accompanied in the early Church by a number of other striking ceremonies. The Protestant reformers abandoned all of these, but the Church of England retained the signing of the head of the infant with a cross (though consecrated oil was no longer used for the purpose). The custom of bestowing a Christian name at baptism naturally derived from the similar Jewish practice at circumcision (Luke i. 59-63; ii. 21). But it properly means merely that the person is addressed by name in recognition of personality. Another name for baptism in England is christening.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Unchained Grace profile image

      Unchained Grace 

      7 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Baptism is regarded by many to be an outward sign of obedience to God. Yes, there are many opinions on this subject. Why not let's go to God's Word and get it done in the manner prescribed therein?

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)