A sense of history gives everything an importance, baptism has been part of Christianity since the earliest days of the church. It has its roots in the old Jewish Religion. A sense of tradition gives authority and consistency to the Christian method. Baptism for Christians began with John the Baptist. Mark's Gospel begins with telling the story of John the Baptist.
'And so John came. He baptised people in the desert. He also preached that people should be baptised and turn away from their sins. Then God would forgive them.' (Mark 1:4-5)
Salvation and forgiveness
This quote underlines the main feature and theme running throughout our Christian Baptisms in our world today. Turning away from sin and a new beginning is the central feature in any Christian Baptism today.
'It is a public sign that they have turned away from their old selfish lives and are making a new start' (St. Mark's Gospel)- Gedde's and Griffth's
Baptism is so important, because it offers salvation and forgiveness.
'Baptism is necessary for salvation. It causes remediation of original and actual sin.' (Hexham Diocese)
Water is a powerful symbol within today's Christian faith for the cleansing and forgiveness of sins. It is a highly significant feature within the ceremonies of Infant and Believer's Baptism. Jesus himself was immersed in the river Jordan
'At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee. John baptised him in the river Jordan.' (Mark 1: 9-10)
Within the Catholic Church water is poured over the baby's head three times. This is carried out at a font within the Church. Before the water is poured over the baby's head it is blessed. After the following question from the priest, a profession of faith follows.
'Is it your will, that your (name of child) be baptised in the faith of the Church.' (Roman Catholic Service)
Another important part is when the God-Parents are asked to make a number of promises which give a commitment to bring the child up in the faith. What is very important for Catholics within this feature is the cleansing of original sin. It also ensures the ascension into heaven if the child were to die.
Within Believer's Baptism the use of water is also very symbolic. For members of the 'Baptist' and 'Penticosta' churches, the use of water is a key feature of the Baptism, Believer's Baptism sticks very closely to the story of Jeaus' baptism. Firstly those taking part, like Jesus, are adults. Jesus himself was thirty-three years old at the beginning of his public ministry. Chapter one is named within Mark:
'Prelude to the public ministry of Jesus' (1:)
Another striking similarity is that Believer's Baptism the candidate is fully immersed into the water. In fact the word baptism comes from 'baptizo' which means, 'fully immersed'. The use of water symbolises cleansing, but also repentance and salvation. A new beginning is a central feature of both ceremonies.
'When the person is immersed under the water, and then comes up gain, it symbolises dying to a no life and coming alive again with new life with Christ' (Roman Catholic Tradition- Cleave)
This new beginning is expressed within the Catholic Church as membership and initiation. In fact baptism for Catholics, is to this very day, one of the three sacraments of initiation. It is the first...