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Baptism (from the Greek noun βάπτισμα baptisma; see below) is a Christian sacrament of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally. The canonical Gospels report that Jesus was baptized—a historical event to which a high degree of certainty can be assigned. Baptism has been called a sacrament and an ordinance of Jesus Christ. In some denominations, baptism is also called christening, but for others the word "christening" is reserved for the baptism of infants. Baptism has also given its name to the Baptist churches and denominations, they being called Baptism as a whole.
The usual form of baptism among the earliest Christians was for the candidate to be immersed, either totally (submerged completely under the water) or partially (standing or kneeling in water while water was poured on him or her). While John the Baptist's use of a deep river for his baptism suggests immersion, 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 martyrs who had not been baptized by water to be saved. 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, baptism was universally seen by Christians as in some sense necessary for salvation, until Huldrych Zwingli in the 16th century denied its necessity.
Today, some Christians, particularly Christian Scientists, Quakers, The Salvation Army, and Unitarians, do not see baptism as necessary, and do not practice the rite. Among those that do, differences can be found 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 hold that only believer's baptism is true baptism. Some insist on submersion or at least partial immersion of the person who is baptized, others consider that any form of washing by water, as long as the water flows on the head, is sufficient. The term "baptism" has also been used to refer to any ceremony, trial, or experience by which a person is initiated, purified, or given a name.
- Etymology 1
- History 2
Mode and manner 3
- Meaning of the Greek verb baptizein 3.1
- Derived nouns 3.2
- Apparel 3.3
- Inconsequential Views Before AD 300 3.4
Meaning and effects 4
- Christian traditions 4.1
- Ecumenical statements 4.2
- Validity considerations by some churches 4.3
- Recognition by other denominations 4.4
- Officiator 4.5
Specific Christian groups practicing baptism 5
- Anabaptist 5.1
- Baptist 5.2
- Churches of Christ 5.3
- Reformed and Covenant theology view 5.4
- Roman Catholicism 5.5
- Jehovah's Witnesses 5.6
- Latter-day Saints 5.7
- Quakers 6.1
- Salvation Army 6.2
- Hyperdispensationalism 6.3
- Comparative summary 7
- Debaptism 8
Other initiation ceremonies 9
- Mystery religion initiation rites 9.1
- Gnostic Catholicism and Thelema 9.2
- Baptism of objects 9.3
- Mandaean baptism 10
See also 11
- 11.1 Related articles and subjects
- People and ritual objects 11.2
- Notes 12
- References 13
- Further reading 14
- External links 15
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.
Baptism has similarities to
- 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; Ottawa: Novalis. 50 p. ISBN 2-89088-527-5
- Gerfen, Ernst (1897). "Baptizein": the Voice of the Scriptures and Church History Concerning Baptism. Columbus, OH: Press of F.J. Heer, cop. 1897, t.p. 1908.
- . 26 pp. N.B.: States the Evangelical Anglican position of the Reformed Episcopal Church. Without ISBN
- . 35 pp. Without ISBN.
- Root, Michael, and Risto Saarinen, jt. 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. 209 p. Also mentioned on t.p.: "Institute for Ecumenical Research, Strasbourg, France". ISBN 2-8254-1250-3
- St. Paul: Romans 8:15 "the spirit of adoption" ("of sonship" RSV), Galatians 4:5 "adoption of sons", Ephesians 1:15 "the adoption of children by Jesus Christ" ("to be his sons through Jesus Christ" RSV).
- For example, "baptized in the Catholic Church" (, 28Lumen gentiumSecond Vatican Council,
- Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:9–10, Luke 3:21
- American Heritage Dictionary of the English language, page 33.
- sacrament (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 20, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/515366/sacrament
- David Guzik's Commentary on the Bible on Acts 19:1-7
- "Lexicographers universally agree that the primary meaning of baptizo G966 is 'to dip' or 'to immerse", and there is a similar consensus of scholarly opinion that both the baptism of John and of the apostles was by immersion", Jewett, "Baptism", in Murray (ed.), "Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, volume 1, p.466 (rev. ed. 2009).
- "Most scholars agree that immersion was practiced in the NT, and it is likely that both of these texts allude to the practice, even though baptism is not the main point of either text.", Schreiner, "Believer's Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ", p. 81 (2007).
- "Furthermore, modern NT scholars generally concede, regardless of denominational affiliation, that Christian baptism in NT times was by immersion, as it was and still is in Judaism.", Helyer, 'Exploring Jewish literature of the Second Temple Period", p. 481 (2002).
- "The baptism commanded by Jesus in the making of disciples is an immersion in water. The topic formerly was warmly debated, but in these days there is general scholarly agreement. Several lines of evidence converge in support of the baptismal action as a dipping.", Ferguson, "The church of Christ: a biblical ecclesiology for today", p. 201 (1996).
- Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible casts doubt on "the usual assumption that all NT baptisms were by immersion" ( (Amsterdam University Press 2000), p. 148Eerdmans Dictionary of the BibleDavid Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers (editors), ); and the Global Dictionary of Theology says that it is "probable" that immersion was the early church's normal mode of baptism, but that it was not seen as an important issue.( (Intervarsity Press 2008 ISBN 978-0-8308-2454-0), p. 101Global Dictionary of TheologyWilliam A. Dyrness (editor), )
- "Historians have sometimes assumed that baptism was usually accomplished by full immersion - or submersion - of the body (dunking). However, the archaeological and iconographic evidence is ambiguous on this point" ( (Brill 2010 ISBN 978-9-00418898-3), p. 137Living WaterRobin Jensen, ).
- "In the early centuries, baptism was usually by submersion. However, this need not have meant full submersion in the water" ( (Geneva Press 2003 ISBN 978-0-66450232-4), p. 163Companion to the Book of Common WorshipPeter C. Bower (editor), ).
- Immersion is to be distinguished from submersion (that is going under the water), a minority practice in early Christianity" (Pastoral Answers (Our Sunday Visitor 2002 ISBN 978-0-87973725-2), p. 99).
- Laurie Guy, Introducing Early Christianity (InterVarsity Press 2011 ISBN 978-0-83083942-1), p. 225
- Hippolytus 2013, p. 33.
- Online Etymology Dictionary. Etymonline.com. Retrieved on August 14, 2010.
- In scientific contexts the two words are often understood as mutually exclusive. Examples are found in mathematics (see Ralph Abraham, Jerrold E. Marsden, Tudor S. Ra iu, Manifolds, Tensor Analysis, and Applications, p. 196 and Klaus Fritzsche, Hans Grauert, From Holomorphic Functions to Complex Manifolds, p.168), in medicine (Effect of immersion, submersion, and scuba diving on heart rate variability), and language learning (Immersion in a Second Language in School). Archived May 14, 2015 at the Wayback Machine
- Submerge – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-webster.com (2007-04-25). Retrieved on August 14, 2010.
- It is not the only method that these churches use: "In the present practice of infant baptism in the Greek church the priest holds the child as far under the water as possible and scoops water over the head so as to be fully covered with water" (, p. 860Baptism in the Early ChurchEverett Ferguson, ).
- Liddell & Scott: entry βαπτίζω: "βαπτ-ίζω, A. dip, plunge, 'ξίφος εἰς σφαγήν' J.BJ2.18.4; 'σπάθιον εἰς τὸ ἔμβρυον' Sor.2.63:—Pass., of a trephine, Gal.10.447; ... 2. draw wine by dipping the cup in the bowl, Aristopho 14.5; 'φιάλαις β. ἐκ . . κρατήρων' ..." The usage examples quoted here mean "a sword into his throat"; "a sword into the foetus"; "draw with cups from bowls"
- Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964–c1976. Vols. 5–9 edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 compiled by Ronald Pitkin. (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (1:529–530). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
- 'In the Sept.: 2 Kgs. 5:13, 14 we have loúō (3068), to bathe and baptízomai. See also Lev. 11:25, 28, 40, where plúnō (4150), to wash clothes by dipping, and loúō (3068), to bathe are used. In Num. 19:18, 19, báphō, to dip, and plúnō, to wash by dipping are used', Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The Complete Word Study Dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.) (G908). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
- 'In the LXX βάπτειν (βαπτίζειν occurs only at 4 Βασ. 5:14) as a rendering of טָבַל, "to dip," is used for the dipping of the morsel in wine at Ru. 2:14, of feet in the river at Jos. 3:15, of the finger in blood in the Torah of sacrifices at Lv. 4:6, 17 etc., of the dipping of unsanctified vessels in water in the laws of purification at Lv. 11:32 (בא hiph). In the latter case, however, πλύνω (כבס) and λούομαι (רחץ) are more common, as in Lv. 15:11, 13 etc. The sevenfold dipping of Naaman (2 K. 5:14) perhaps suggests sacramental ideas and illustrates the importance of the Jordan. In the later Jewish period טבל (b. Ber., 2b of the bathing of priests; Joma, 3, 2ff. etc.) and βαπτίζειν become tech. terms for washings to cleanse from Levitical impurity, as already in Jdt. 12:7; Gk. Sir. 31(34):30. The טְבִילָה of proselytes belongs to this context.', Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964–c1976. Vols. 5–9 edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 compiled by Ronald Pitkin. (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (1:535). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
- 'βαπτίζω+ V 0-1-1-0-2=4 2 Kgs 5,14; Is 21,4; Jdt 12,7; Sir 34,25 M to dip oneself 2 Kgs 5,14; to wash Jdt 12,7 ἡ ἀνομία με βαπτίζει I am imbued with transgression Is 21,4 Cf. DELLING 1970, 243–245; →NIDNTT; TWNT', Lust, J., Eynikel, E., & Hauspie, K. (2003). A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint : Revised Edition. Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft: Stuttgart.
- 'In Mark 7:3, the phrase "wash their hands" is the translation of níptō (3538), to wash part of the body such as the hands. In Mark 7:4 the verb wash in "except they wash" is baptízomai, to immerse. This indicates that the washing of the hands was done by immersing them in collected water. See Luke 11:38 which refers to washing one's hands before the meal, with the use of baptízomai, to have the hands baptized.', Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The Complete Word Study Dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.) (G907). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
- A. A. Hodge,Outlines of Theology 1992 ISBN 0-85151-160-0, ISBN 978-0-85151-160-3 quoted in
- 'Washing or ablution was frequently by immersion, indicated by either baptízō or níptō (3538), to wash. In Mark 7:3, the phrase 'wash their hands' is the translation of níptō (3538), to wash part of the body such as the hands. In Mark 7:4 the verb wash in 'except they wash' is baptízomai, to immerse. This indicates that the washing of the hands was done by immersing them in collected water. See Luke 11:38 which refers to washing one's hands before the meal, with the use of baptízomai, to have the hands baptized.", Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The Complete Word Study Dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.) (G907). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
- 'Despite assertions to the contrary, it seems that baptizō, both in Jewish and Christian contexts, normally meant "immerse", and that even when it became a technical term for baptism, the thought of immersion remains. The use of the term for cleansing vessels (as in Lev. 6:28 Aquila [cf. 6:21]; cf. baptismos in Mk. 7:4) does not prove the contrary, since vessels were normally cleansed by immersing them in water. The metaphorical uses of the term in the NT appear to take this for granted, e.g. the prophecy that the Messiah will baptise in Spirit and fire as a liquid (Matt. 3:11), the "baptism" of the Israelites in the cloud and the sea (1 Cor. 10:2), and in the idea of Jesus' death as a baptism (Mk. 10:38f. baptisma; Lk. 12:50; cf. Ysebaert, op. cit., 41 ff.).', Brown, C. (1986). Vol. 1: New international dictionary of New Testament theology (144)
- 'Mark 7:4 [v.l. in v. 8]; here βαπτίσωνται appears in place of ῥαντίσωνται in Koine D Θ pl, giving βαπτίζω the meaning of βάπτω', Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990–c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of: Exegetisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament. (1:195). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
- 'Βάπτω dip, immerse', Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990–c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of: Exegetisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament. (1:195). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
- 'βάπτω; ἐμβάπτω: to dip an object in a liquid—'to dip in., Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996, c1989). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (1:522). New York: United Bible societies.
- "In the LXX βάπτειν...is used for the dipping of the morsel in wine at Ju. 2:14, ...of the finger in blood in the Torah of sacrifices at Lv. 4:6, 17 etc.", Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964–c1976. Vols. 5–9 edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 compiled by Ronald Pitkin. (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (1:535). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
- οἱ βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν
- Peter J. Leithart The Baptized Body 2007 p136 "Paul uses a distancing third person—"they" baptize for the dead. Why not "we"? Paul might well be referring to Jewish practices. Under the ceremonial laws of Torah, every washing was a washing "for the dead" (cf. Num. 19). Uncleanness was a ceremonial form of death, and through washings of various sorts the unclean dead were restored to life in fellowship with.."
- Philippe Wolff Baptism: The Covenant and the Family 2009 p45 "This word occurs but four times in the Septuagint, and in no case with the Baptist meaning. 1st. "Judith baptized herself in a fountain of water, by the camp." (Judith xii. 7.) She was then purifying herself from her uncleanness."
- Jonathan David Lawrence Washing in Water: Trajectories of Ritual Bathing in the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Literature (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2006), p294
- ἐὰν μὴ βαπτίσωνται οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν
- Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, (3rd ed.) (165). Chicago: University of Chicago Press
- Friberg, T., Friberg, B., & Miller, N. F. (2000). Vol. 4: Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Baker's Greek New Testament Library (87). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.
- Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. 1964–c1976. Vols. 5–9 edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 compiled by Ronald Pitkin. (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (1:545). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
- Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The Complete Word Study Dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.) (G908). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
- Matthew 3:7, Matthew 21:25; Mark 1:4, Mark 11:30; Luke 3:3, Luke 7:29, Luke 20:4; Acts 1:22, Acts 10:37, Acts 13:24, Acts 18:25, Acts 19:3–4)
- Romans 6:4, Ephesians 4:5, 1Peter 3:21
- Matthew 20:22–23, Mark 10:38–39, Luke 12:50
- See http://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/online-bibeln/novum-testamentum-graece-na-27/lesen-im-bibeltext/bibelstelle/Kol%202/cache/d3cb350c68/#v12 Nestle-Aland 27th (latest) edition.
- LSJ baptisis
- LSJ baptismos
- Benedikt Niese ed. Niese edition Greek text
- William Whiston translator English translation
- James D. G. Dunn Jesus remembered 2003 p256
- Didache, chapter 7: "Pour out water three times upon the head".
- Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 20 (On the Mysteries. II. of Baptism) Romans 6:3–14 http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310120.htm
- Slade, Darren M. (August 2014). "The Early Church's Inconsequential View of the Mode of Baptism." American Theological Inquiry 7 (2): 21-34
- Douglas Allen Foster and Anthony L. Dunnavant, The Encyclopedia of the Stone–Campbell Movement: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Churches of Christ, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-8028-3898-7, ISBN 978-0-8028-3898-8, 854 pages, entry on Baptism
- Harold Hazelip, Gary Holloway, Randall J. Harris, Mark C. Black, Theology Matters: In Honor of Harold Hazelip: Answers for the Church Today, College Press, 1998, ISBN 0-89900-813-5, ISBN 978-0-89900-813-4, 368 pages
- – via Questia (subscription required)
- Code of Canon Law, canon 869; cf. New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law By John P. Beal, James A. Coriden, Thomas J., pp. 1057–1059.
- Declaration of June 5, 2001 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
- "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, May 1, 1959, p. 288, "Thus, when Christ was enthroned as King A.D. 1914 it was not necessary for all true Christians to be rebaptized in recognition of his ruling position."
- "Jehovah's Witnesses Endure for His Sovereign Godship", The Watchtower, September 15, 1966, p. 560, "In the decades of restoration since 1919, right-hearted clergymen of various religious sects in different parts of the earth have repentantly accepted the priesthood services of the anointed remnant of Job-like ones by becoming rebaptized and ordained as true ministers of Jehovah."
- "True Christianity Is Flourishing", The Watchtower, March 1, 2004, p. 7 As retrieved November 3, 2014, "While Christendom's theologians, missionaries, and churchgoers continue to grapple with the gathering storm of controversy in their churches, true Christianity is flourishing worldwide. Indeed, true Christians...invite you to join Jehovah's Witnesses in united Christian worship of the only true God, Jehovah."
- Jehovah's Witnesses— Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, publ Jehovah's Witnesses, "Chapter 31: How Chosen and Led by God", p. 706, "Clearly, when the time of the end began in 1914, none of the churches of Christendom were measuring up to these Bible standards for the one true Christian congregation. What, though, about the Bible Students, as Jehovah's Witnesses were then known?"
- "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, August 1, 1973, page 480, "In connection with baptism, it may also be noted that a baptism may be performed by a dedicated male even though no other human witnesses are present."
- "The General Priesthood Today", The Watchtower, March 1, 1963, page 147, "Because he is a minister, any competent male member is called on to perform funerals, baptisms and weddings, and to conduct the service in annual commemoration of the Lord's death."
- London Baptist Confession of 1644, XVII. Web: London Baptist Confession of 1644. Dec 29, 2009
- Jeremiah 31:31–34; Hebrews 8:8–12; Romans 6
- "The Baptist Faith and Message," Southern Baptist Convention. Adopted, June 14, 2000. Accessed July 29, 2009: http://www.sbc.net/bfm/bfm2000.asp#vii
- Stuart M. Matlins, Arthur J. Magida, J. Magida, How to Be a Perfect Stranger: A Guide to Etiquette in Other People's Religious Ceremonies, Wood Lake Publishing Inc., 1999, ISBN 1-896836-28-3, ISBN 978-1-896836-28-7, 426 pages, Chapter 6— Churches of Christ
- Ron Rhodes, The Complete Guide to Christian Denominations, Harvest House Publishers, 2005, ISBN 0-7369-1289-4
- Batsell Barrett Baxter, Who are the churches of Christ and what do they believe in? Available on-line in a Archived January 31, 2008 at the Wayback Machine, and here , here  and here 
- Tom J. Nettles, Richard L. Pratt, Jr., John H. Armstrong, Robert Kolb, Understanding Four Views on Baptism, Zondervan, 2007, ISBN 0-310-26267-4, ISBN 978-0-310-26267-1, 222 pages
- V. E. Howard, What Is the Church of Christ? 4th Edition (Revised) Central Printers & Publishers, West Monroe, Louisiana, 1971
- Rees Bryant, Baptism, Why Wait?: Faith's Response in Conversion, College Press, 1999, ISBN 0-89900-858-5, ISBN 978-0-89900-858-5, 224 pages
- Edward C. Wharton, The Church of Christ: The Distinctive Nature of the New Testament Church, Gospel Advocate Co., 1997, ISBN 0-89225-464-5
- Everett Ferguson, The Church of Christ: A Biblical Ecclesiology for Today, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1996, ISBN 0-8028-4189-9, ISBN 978-0-8028-4189-6, 443 pages
- Douglas A. Foster, "Churches of Christ and Baptism: An Historical and Theological Overview," Restoration Quarterly, Volume 43/Number 2 (2001)
- Douglas Allen Foster and Anthony L. Dunnavant, The Encyclopedia of the Stone–Campbell Movement: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Churches of Christ, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-8028-3898-7, ISBN 978-0-8028-3898-8, 854 pages, entry on Regeneration
- KJV, italics inserted.
- Wikisource:Westminster Confession of Faith#CHAPTER XXVIII. Of Baptism.
- Rite of Baptism of Children, 86
- Ordo initiationis christanae adultorum, editio typica, Vatican City, Typis polyglottis vaticanis, 1972, pg 92, cf Lateran IV De Fide Catholica, DS 802, cf Florence, Decretum pro Armeniis, DS, 1317.
- Jet magazine, Aug 4, 1955, page 26 Online
- Organized to Do Jehovah's Will, published by Jehovah's Witnesses, page 182.
- Organized to Do Jehovah's Will, published by Jehovah's Witnesses, page 217–218.
- The Watchtower, May 15, 1970, page 309.
- "The General Priesthood Today", The Watchtower, March 1, 1963, page 147
- Organized to Do Jehovah's Will, published by Jehovah's Witnesses, page 215, "Baptisms are usually performed at assemblies and conventions of Jehovah's Witnesses."
- "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, August 1, 1973, page 480
- Watchtower June 1, 1985
- ""God's Prophetic Word" District Conventions", Our Kingdom Ministry, May 1999, page 4
- "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, April 15, 1973, page 254–255
- "Question Box", Our Kingdom Ministry, June 1993, page 3
- "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, November 15, 1986, page 31
- "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, August 1, 1973, pages 479–480
- "Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands", 1987 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, page 71
- Book of Mormon,
- "Prison epistles" include Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon
- Luke 3:16, John 1:33, Matt 3:11Acts 1:5
- Matthew 3:12, Luke 3:17, 
- Good News. Issue 3. St Louis, MO. 2003. pp 18–19
- For a more thorough Latter-day Saint explanation of the Godhead with scripture references, see:
- Worship the Only True God, published by Jehovah's Witnesses (2002, 2006), "Chapter 12: The Meaning of Your Baptism", p. 118, "It would be a mistake to conclude that baptism is in itself a guarantee of salvation. It has value only if a person has truly dedicated himself to Jehovah through Jesus Christ and thereafter carries out God's will, being faithful to the end."
- "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, May 1, 1979, p. 31, "The Bible shows that baptism by complete immersion is very important. So even when unusual steps are necessary because of a person's condition, he should be baptized if at all possible. ...In modern times Jehovah's Witnesses have arranged for baptisms at conventions. [However], fully valid baptisms have even been performed locally in large home bathtubs. ...Of course, it might be that in some extreme case baptism would seem absolutely impossible for the time being. Then we trust that our merciful heavenly Father will understand".
- United Pentecostal Church International. Upci.org. Retrieved on August 14, 2010. Archived July 12, 2015 at the Wayback Machine
- Fundamental Truths (Full Statement). Ag.org (2010-03-01). Retrieved on August 14, 2010.
- John Wilhelm Rowntree, 1902, Quaker Faith and Practice, Fourth Edition ch 27.37
- Scott Hahn, Leon J. Suprenant, Catholic for a Reason: Scripture and the Mystery of the Family of God (Emmaus Road Publishing, 1998 ISBN 0-9663223-0-4, ISBN 978-0-9663223-0-9), p. 135.
- Paul Haffner, The Sacramental Mystery (Gracewing Publishing, 1999 ISBN 0-85244-476-1, ISBN 978-0-85244-476-4), p. 36.
- Seventh-day Adventist Minister's Handbook, ed. Ministerial Association, The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (Silver Spring,Marylend, 1997), 199.
- Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual: Revised 2005 17th Edition, ed. The Secretariat of General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (Hagerstown, Marylend: Review and Herald, 2005), 30.
- "The society's president, Terry Sanderson, says the certificate is not designed to be taken too seriously, and he suggests displaying it in the loo" (Atheists call for "debaptism").
- "Participants acknowledge the silliness and celebrate freely because the mock ceremony is a very informal [...] While it is true that a ceremony to affirm one's atheism is unnecessary, it's also true that human beings are social creatures who simply enjoy being silly from time to time and having fun at celebratory social gatherings". (The First Minnesota Atheists Debaptism Event) Archived October 21, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- Apuleius, The Golden Ass (Penguin Books), pp. 211-214
It is a controversy whether baptism was performed by total or partial immersion. Described by various scholars:
- "In the early centuries baptism was usually by immersion. However, this need not have meant full submersion in the water. Early Christian mosaics portray persons kneeling or standing in the baptismal pool with water being poured over them".
- "In the case of such a pouring type of baptism, one is necessarily 'immersed' by someone who actually does the pouring over the body".
- "Very probably Paul pictures baptism as it was given in the early Church by partial immersion, and as the word in its original meaning suggests".
- Out of a total of about 2,100,000,000 Christians, infant baptism is in use in the Catholic Church (1,100,000,000), the Eastern Orthodox Church (225,000,000), most of the 77,000,000 members of the Anglican Communion, Lutherans and others.
- βάπτισμα, βαπτισμός, βαπτίζω, βάπτω. Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project. The several Greek words from which the English word baptism has been formed are used by Greek writers (in classical antiquity, in the Septuagint, and in the New Testament) with a great latitude of meaning, including "to make Christian" and "baptisma pyros (baptism of fire)" — : "baptism"Reflexes and IE (Indo-European) Etymon, PIE (Proto-Indo-European) Indo-European LexiconThe University of Texas at Austin, College of Liberal Arts, Linguistics Research Center, and "baptize", baptein, baptizein, baptosGreek — : "Baptism": EtymologyCatholic EncyclopediaNew Advent, — Spirit Restoration, Theological Terms: A to B Dictionary: "baptize" (scroll down to "baptism") — Online Etymological Dictionary: "baptize" — International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: "baptism" — two parallel online sources, Search God's Word and Eliyah, for "Strong's numbers": "baptize"βαπτίζω 907Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: Greek Lexicon / "baptize"baptizo 907, "baptism"βάπτισμα 908/ "baptism"baptisma 908, "baptisms"βαπτισμός 909/ "baptisms"baptismos 909, and "baptist"βαπτστἠς 910/ "baptist"baptistes 910. Archived June 29, 2015 at the Wayback Machine
- Christian Missionary Alliance
- Assemblies of God, Church of God of Prophecy, and Church of God in Christ
- Baptismal font
- Holy water
- Holy water in Eastern Christianity
- John the Baptist
People and ritual objects
- Baptism by fire
- Baptism of desire
- Baptism of Jesus
- Baptismal clothing
- Believer's baptism
- Conditional baptism
- Disciple (Christianity)
- Divine filiation
- Emergency baptism
- Infant baptism
- Jesus-Name doctrine
- Prevenient Grace
- Ritual purification
- Water and religion
Related articles and subjects
- 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.
- 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.
The word "baptism" or "christening" is sometimes used to describe the inauguration of certain objects for use.
Baptism of objects
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.
Gnostic Catholicism and Thelema
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.
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.
Mystery religion initiation rites
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.
Other initiation ceremonies
Using a hair dryer, some atheist groups have conducted tongue-in-cheek "debaptism" ceremonies, not intended to be taken seriously.
Some atheist organizations, such as the Italian Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics and the British National Secular Society, offer certificates of "debaptism". Not even those who provide the certificates consider them as having legal or canonical effect. The Church of England refuses to take any action on presentation of the certificate. The Roman Catholic Church likewise treats it as any other act of renunciation of the Catholic faith, although for a few years, from 2006 to 2009, it did note in the baptismal register any formal act of defection from the Catholic Church, a concept quite distinct from that of presentation of such a certificate.
In addition to de facto renunciation through apostasy, heresy, or schism, the Roman Catholic Church envisaged from 1983 to 2009 the possibility of formal defection from the Church through a decision manifested personally, consciously and freely, and in writing, to the competent church authority, who was then to judge whether it was genuinely a case of "true separation from the constitutive elements of the life of the Church ... (by) an act of apostasy, heresy or schism." A formal defection of this kind was then noted in the register of the person's baptism, an annotation that, like those of marriage or ordination, was independent of the fact of the baptism and was not an actual "debaptism", even if the person who formally defected from the Catholic Church had also defected from the Christian religion. The fact of having been baptized remains a fact and the Catholic Church holds that baptism marks a person with a lasting seal or character that "is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by reason of any act or fact of defection." Nonetheless, formal requests for debaptisms are made; in France, a man sued the French catholic church for "its refusal to let him nullify his baptism." He had been "un-baptized" in 2000, and ten years later he demanded to have his name stricken from the baptismal records, a request granted by a judge in Normandy, a decision appealed by the church.
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.
|Denomination||Beliefs about baptism||Type of baptism||Baptize infants?||Baptism regenerates / gives spiritual life||Standard|
|African Methodist Episcopal Church||Baptism is a regeneration sign and a profession of faith.||Immersion, sprinkling, or pouring||Yes||Yes||Trinity|
|Anabaptist||Baptism is considered by the majority of Anabaptist Churches (anabaptist means to baptize again) to be essential to Christian faith but not to salvation. It is considered to be an ordinance. The Anabaptists stood firmly against infant baptism in a time when the Church and State were one and when people were made a citizen through baptism into the officially sanctioned Church (Reformed or Catholic).||By submersion, immersion or pouring.||No||No. Belief and repentance are believed to precede and follow baptism.||Trinity|
|Anglicanism||"Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or New-Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God."||By submersion, immersion or pouring.||Yes (in most provinces)||Yes (in most provinces)||Trinity|
|Baptists||A divine ordinance, a symbolic ritual, a mechanism for publicly declaring one's faith, and a sign of having already been saved, but not necessary for salvation.||By submersion only.||No||No||Trinity|
|Brethren||Baptism is an ordinance performed upon adults in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is a commitment to live Christ's teachings responsibly and joyfully.||Immersion only||No||Yes||Trinity|
|Calvary Chapel||Baptism is disregarded as necessary for salvation but instead recognizes as an outward sign of an inward change||Immersion only||No||No||Trinity|
|Christadelphians||Baptism is essential for the salvation of a believer. It is only effective if somebody believes the true gospel message before they are baptized. Baptism is an external symbol of an internal change in the believer: it represents a death to an old, sinful way of life, and the start of a new life as a Christian, summed up as the repentance of the believer—it therefore leads to forgiveness from God, who forgives people who repent. Although someone is only baptized once, a believer must live by the principles of their baptism (i.e.,death to sin, and a new life following Jesus) throughout their life.||By submersion only||No||Yes||The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (although Christadelphians do not believe in the Nicean trinity)|
|Denomination (continued)||Beliefs about baptism||Type of baptism||Baptize infants?||Baptism regenerates / gives spiritual life||Standard|
|Churches of Christ||Baptism is the remissions for sins, it washes away sins and gives spiritual life; it is a symbolization through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. 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.:p.61||By immersion only:p.107:p.124||No:p.124:p.318–319:p.195||Yes; 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.:p.133:p.630,631 Baptism is understood as a confessional expression of faith and repentance,:p.179–182 rather than a "work" that earns salvation.:p.170||Trinity|
|The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints||An ordinance essential to enter the Celestial Kingdom of Heaven and preparatory for receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.||By immersion performed by a person holding proper priesthood authority.||No (at least 8 years old)||Yes||Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost (the LDS Church does not teach a belief in the Nicean trinity, but rather a belief in the Godhead)|
|Community Churches||Not necessary for salvation but rather is a sign as a Christ's followers. It is an act of obedience to Christ that follows one's acceptance of salvation by God's grace. Baptism is a symbolization of cleansing of the spirit through God's divine forgiveness and a new life through Christ's death, burial, and resurrection.||Immersion only||No||Yes||Trinity|
|Disciples of Christ||Baptism is a symbolization of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. It also signifies new birth, cleansing from sin, individual's response to God's grace, and acceptance into the faith community.||Mostly immersion; others pouring. Most Disciples believe that believer's baptism and the practice of immersion were used in the New Testament.||No||Yes||Trinity|
|Eastern Orthodox Church||Baptism is the initiator the salvation experience and for the remissions of sins and is the actual supernatural transformation||Immersion||Yes||Yes||Trinity|
|Evangelical Free Church||An outward expression of an individual's inward faith to God's grace.||Submersion only||No||No||Trinity|
|Foursquare Gospel Church||Baptism is required as a public commitment to Christ's role as Redeemer and King||Immersion only||No||Yes||Trinity|
|Grace Communion International||Baptism proclaims the good news that Christ has made everyone his own and that it is only Him that everybody's new life of faith and obedience merges.||Immersion only||No||Yes||Trinity|
|Jehovah's Witnesses||Baptism is necessary for salvation as part of the entire baptismal arrangement: as an expression of obedience to Jesus' command (Matthew 28:19–20), as a public symbol of the saving faith in the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:10), and as an indication of repentance from dead works and the dedication of one's life to Jehovah. (1 Peter 2:21) However, baptism does not guarantee salvation.||By submersion only; typical candidates are baptized at district and circuit conventions.||No||No||Jesus|
|Denomination (continued)||Beliefs about baptism||Type of baptism||Baptize infants?||Baptism regenerates / gives spiritual life||Standard|
|Lutherans||The entry ||By sprinkling, pouring or immersion.||Yes||Yes||Trinity|
|Methodists and Wesleyans||The Sacrament of initiation into Christ's holy Church whereby one is incorporated into God's mighty acts of salvation and given new birth through water and the spirit. Baptism washes away sin and clothes one in the righteousness of Christ.||By sprinkling, pouring, or immersion.||Yes||Yes, although contingent upon repentance and a personal acceptance of Christ as Saviour.||Trinity|
|Metropolitan Community Church||Baptism is conducted in the order of worship.||sprinkling, pouring, or immersion||Yes||Yes||Trinity|
|Moravian Church||The individual receives the pledge of the forgiveness of sins and admission through God's covenant through the blood of Jesus Christ||sprinkling, pour, or immersion||Yes||Yes||Trinity|
|Nazarenes and many Holiness groups||Baptism signifies the acceptance of Christ Jesus as Saviour and are willingly to obey him righteously and in holiness.||sprinkling, pouring, or immersion||Yes||Yes||Trinity|
|Oneness Pentecostals||Necessary for salvation because it conveys spiritual rebirth. Being baptized is an ordinance directed and established by Jesus and the Apostles.||By submersion. Also stress the necessity of a baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 8:14–17, 35–38).||No||Yes||Jesus|
|Pentecostals (Trinitarian)||Water Baptism is an ordinance, a symbolic ritual used to witness to having accepted Christ as personal Savior.||By submersion. Also stress the necessity of a "second" Baptism of a special outpouring from the Holy Spirit.||No||Varies||Trinity|
|Presbyterian and most Reformed churches||A sacrament, a symbolic ritual, and a seal of the adult believer's present faith. It is an outward sign of an inward grace.||By sprinkling, pouring, immersion or submersion||Yes, to indicate membership in the New Covenant.||No||Trinity|
|Quakers (Religious Society of Friends)||Only an external symbol that is no longer to be practiced||Do not believe in Baptism of water, but only in an inward, ongoing purification of the human spirit in a life of discipline led by the Holy Spirit.||–||–||–|
|Denomination (continued)||Beliefs about baptism||Type of baptism||Baptize infants?||Baptism regenerates / gives spiritual life||Standard|
|Roman Catholic Church||"Necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament"||Usually by pouring in the West, by submersion or immersion in the East; sprinkling admitted only if the water then flows on the head.||Yes||Yes||Trinity|
|Seventh-day Adventists||Not stated as the prerequisite to salvation, but a prerequisite for becoming a member of the church, although nonmembers are still accepted in the church. It symbolizes death to sin and new birth in Jesus Christ. "It affirms joining the family of God and sets on apart for a life of ministry."||By submersion.||No||No||Trinity|
|United Church of Christ (Evangelical and Reformed Churches and the Congregational Christian Churches)||One of two sacraments. Baptism is an outward sign of God's inward grace. It may or may not be necessary for membership in a local congregation. However, it is a common practice for both infants and adults.||By sprinkling, pouring, immersion or submersion.||Yes, to indicate membership in the New Covenant.||No||Trinity|
|United Church of God||Through the laying on hands with prayer, the baptized believer receives the Holy Spirit and becomes a part of the spiritual body of Jesus Christ.||Immersion only||No||No||Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (although members of the United Church of God doctrinally believe in Binitarianism believing that the Holy Spirit is a power of God and Jesus Christ rather than a separate person)|
|Vineyard Churches||A public expression of faith for a person who has committed to follow Jesus. It also symbolizes a person's cleansing of sin and gives a person a chance to openly profess their faith in front of the church, friends, and family.||Immersion only||No (at least six years old)||Yes||Trinity|
|Denomination||Beliefs about baptism||Type of baptism||Baptize infants?||Baptism regenerates / gives spiritual life||Standard|
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 Hyperdispensationalists believe that baptism was necessary only for a short period between Christ's ascension and mid-Acts. The great commission [Mt 28:18–20] 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[Mk 16:16] [1 Pe 3:21] or the Holy Spirit[Ac 2:38] until they were baptized. This period ended with the calling of Paul.[9:17–18] Peter's reaction when the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit before baptism[10:44–48] is worthy of note.
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.[Jn 4:1–2] Unlike Jesus' first Apostles, Paul, his Apostle to the Gentiles, was sent to preach rather than to baptize[1 Co 1:17] but did occasionally baptize, for instance in Corinth[1:14–16] and in Philippi,[Ac 16:13] in the same manner as they.cf.[Mt 28:19] He also taught the spiritual significance of the submerging in baptism and how one contacts the atoning death of Christ in such.[Rom 6:4]
Many in this group also argue that John's promised baptism by fire is pending, referring to the destruction of the world by fire.
Water baptism found early in the Book of Acts is, according to this view, now supplanted by the one baptism[1 Cor 12:13] foretold by John the Baptist. The one baptism for today, it is asserted, is the "baptism of the Holy Spirit".[Ac 11:15–16]
- The great commission[Matthew 28:18–20] 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 the Messiah; not as a Gospel announcement of atonement for sin, a later doctrine revealed by Paul.
There are some Christians termed "Hyperdispensationalists" who accept only Paul's Epistles as applicable for the church today. They do not accept baptism or the Lord's Supper, since these are not found in the Prison Epistles. They also teach that Peter's gospel message was not the same as Paul's. Hyperdispensationalists assert:
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.
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.
"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".[Mt 3:11] 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.— Robert Barclay, 1678
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:
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 1 Corinthians 15:29. This occurs in Latter-day Saint temples.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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?
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:
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.
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.
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".
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 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)
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:
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.
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.
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 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."[Jn 3:5] 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."
Baptism is considered by the Reformed churches as the visible sign of entrance into the New Covenant and therefore may be administered individually to new believers making a public profession of faith. Paedobaptists further believe this extends corporately to the households of believers which typically would include children, or individually to children or infants of believing parents (see Infant baptism). In this view, baptism is thus seen as the functional replacement and sacramental equivalent of the Abrahamic rite of circumcision and symbolizes the internal cleansing from sin, among other things.
Paedobaptist Covenant theologians see the administration of all the biblical covenants, including the New Covenant, as including a principle of familial, corporate inclusion or "generational succession". The biblical covenants between God and man include signs and seals that visibly represent the realities behind the covenants. These visible signs and symbols of God's covenant redemption are administered in a corporate manner (for instance, to households), not in an exclusively individualistic manner.
Reformed and Covenant theology view
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.:p.133:p.630,631 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).:p.170 Baptism is understood as a confessional expression of faith and repentance,:p.179–182 rather than a "work" that earns salvation.:p.170
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.":p.66 Baptism is a passive act of faith rather than a meritorious work; it "is a confession that a person has nothing to offer God.":p.112 While Churches of Christ do not describe baptism as a "sacrament", their view of it can legitimately be described as "sacramental.":p.66:p.186 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,:p.186 and understand baptism to be an integral part of the conversion process, rather than just a symbol of conversion.:p.184 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.":p.66 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.":p.66
:p.66 (who "saw themselves as the only true Christians and insisted on reimmersing all who come into their fellowship, even those previously immersed 'for remission of sins' in a Church of Christ") has caused some to reexamine the issue.International Churches of Christ More recently, the rise of the :p.62 McGary's view became the prevailing one in the early 20th century, but the approach advocated by Lipscomb never totally disappeared.:p.62 Churches of Christ have historically had the most conservative position on baptism among the various branches of the
Baptism in Churches of Christ is performed only by full bodily immersion,:p.107:p.124 based on the Koine Greek verb baptizo which is understood to mean to dip, immerse, submerge or plunge.:p.139:p.313–314:p.22:p.45–46 Submersion is seen as more closely conforming to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus than other modes of baptism.:p.140:p.314–316 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.:p.140 Over time these secondary modes came to replace immersion.:p.140 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).:p.124:p.318–319:p.195
Churches of Christ
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.[Mt 28:19] 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.
Anabaptists perform baptisms indoors in a baptismal font, a swimming pool, or a bathtub, or outdoors in a creek or river. 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.
Early Anabaptists were given that name because they re-baptized persons who they felt had not been properly baptized, having received infant baptism, sprinkling.
Specific Christian groups practicing 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).
In the LDS Church, only a man who has been ordained to the 
Newer movements of Protestant Evangelical churches, particularly non-denominational, allow laypeople to baptize.
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.
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.
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."
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.
There is debate among Christian churches as to who can administer baptism. 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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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. Such people are accepted upon making a profession of faith and, if they have not yet validly received the sacrament of confirmation or chrismation, by being confirmed. 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...."
Recognition by other denominations
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...."
Since the Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Methodist and Lutheran churches teach that baptism is a sacrament that has actual spiritual 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.
Validity considerations by some churches
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.[Ac 2:38] 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[1 Pe 1:3–21] lead to purification and new birth.[1:22–23] This, in turn, is followed by eating and drinking God's food,[2:2–3] by participation in the life of the community—the royal priesthood, the new temple, the people of God[2:4–10]—and by further moral formation.[2:11ff] At the beginning of 1 Peter the writer sets this baptism in the context of obedience to Christ and sanctification by the Spirit.[1:2] So baptism into Christ is seen as baptism into the Spirit.cf. [1 Co 12:13] 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. [Jn 3:5]
...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"[2:42] as well as to the distribution of goods to those in need.[2:45]
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:
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.[Ac 2:38] They also point to several historical sources that maintain that the early church always baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus until development of the Trinity Doctrine in the 2nd century.
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.[Rom 6:3–4] 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.
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.
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.
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 that baptism is necessary for the cleansing of the taint of original sin, and for that reason infant baptism is a common practice. 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.
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.":p.66 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".:p.112
By contrast, 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.
- 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.— (full text in an English translation)Mystici corporis Christi
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 29 June 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:
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.— Luther's Large Catechism, 1529
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 may be understood by an informed knowledge of their interpretation of the most fundamental and basic 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:
Meaning and effects
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.
Inconsequential Views Before AD 300
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) and/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.
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.
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.
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.)
1. Baptism is considered to be a form of rebirth—"by water and the Spirit"[Jn 3:5]—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:
The symbolism is threefold:
Typical of these is Cyril of Jerusalem who wrote "On the Mysteries of Baptism" in the 4th century (c. 350 AD):
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.
A Christian baptism is administered in one of the following forms, performing the action either once or thrice:
- 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 1Peter 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 2:12, 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.
Two nouns derived from the verb baptizo (βαπτίζω) appear in the New Testament: the masculine noun baptismos (βαπτισμός) and the neuter noun baptisma (βάπτισμα):
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.
As already mentioned, the lexicographical work of Zodhiates says that, in the second of these two cases, Mark 7:4, 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.
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.
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, "be 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" (Mt 15:1–2). 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)" (Mk 7:3–4).
"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, 1 Corinthians 10:2."
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.
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.
Meaning of the Greek verb baptizein
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).
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 "immersion" is derived from late Latin immersionem, 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.
Mode and manner
In the early middle ages infant baptism became common and the rite was significantly simplified. 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 baptisms conducted outside their group and rebaptized converts. They also rejected the practice of infant baptism, as did several other Protestant groups.
- At the hour in which the cock crows, they shall first pray over the water.
- When they come to the water, the water shall be pure and flowing, that is, the water of a spring or a flowing body of water.
- Then they shall take off all their clothes.
- The children shall be baptized first. All of the children who can answer for themselves, let them answer. If there are any children who cannot answer for themselves, let their parents answer for them, or someone else from their family.
- After this, the men will be baptized. Finally, the women, after they have unbound their hair, and removed their jewelry. No one shall take any foreign object with themselves down into the water.
The earliest Christian baptisms were probably normally by immersion, complete or partial. though other modes may have also been used. The first recorded liturgy of baptism, written down by Saint Hippolytus of Rome (170–235) in his Apostolic Tradition, required men, women and children to remove all clothing, including all foreign objects such as jewellery and hair fastenings.