Baptism is one of the most important Sacraments in Christianity, and one held by all three branches of it. There are many different forms of baptism, and many denominations allow for a choice in the mode of baptism, save for a few select ones, such as Baptist. When one is baptised, they are baptised with water, though a spiritual form of baptism also takes place, when the one being baptised by fire and through the Holy Ghost.

When one is baptised, they are typically supposed to be baptised by a Priest or Pastor, though some believe that any Christian is capable of performing valid baptism. Words typically recited during baptism are "I baptise you in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

Origins and History Edit

Baptism originates from the Jewish Mikvah, which is outlined in Leviticus and Numbers as the ritual submersion of Jews which cleansed them of their uncleanness (and the submersion of eating utensils obtained from Gentiles). 

Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist when he was thirty, just before beginning His ministry. His baptism was a ritual form of purity performed by the Essene sect of Judaism, who performed the Mikvah daily so that they would be pure and clean when the Messiah came to earth. Jesus participated in spite of being free from sin and uncleanliness.

After this, Christian converts were baptised once and only once as a symbolism of their faith, and to indicate the cleansing of their sins. It was typically done naked, and clothed baptism didn't become popular until later periods. People were baptised only on special occasions initially, such as on Easter or Christmas, but later on was done at any time.

Different forms of Baptism Edit

Believer's Baptism Edit

Believer's Baptism is when a born again Christian is baptised. This was the initial form of baptism used by the Early Church, but was soon replaced with Christening in later centuries. It was sometimes, though rarely, used after that. It resurfaced into the mainstream world in the 16th century during the Reformation Era with the Anabaptists, who held the belief that only adult believers could be baptised, and any other form was invalid.

Christening Edit

Christening is when an infant is baptised. This has been standard practice in most denominations since the third century, and came about as a form to "count" Christians, though some families did object to this and prefered to have their children baptised later in life. It continued and became the standard thereafter. The belief morphed into the belief that those who weren't baptised went to Hell, and that baptising infants would save them from eternal damnation.

Bloody Baptism Edit

The Bloody Baptism was a common form of baptism during the times when Christians were still being persecuted, and even today is accepted as a valid form of baptism by many denominations. It is the martyrdom of a Christian who has not been baptised by water, and is instead considered to have been baptised by his or her own blood that was shed.

Baptism by Desire Edit

Baptism by Desire is a form of baptism that comes from people who were not previously baptised and desired to and planned to be baptised, but died before they could be. 

Different methods of Baptism Edit

Immersion or Submersion Edit

Immersion is when the one being baptised is in the water while being baptised, whereas sumbersion is when one is held under the water and completely submerged while being baptised. Either form was the standard practice for the Early Church, and continued to be done until sprinkling and pouring became popular.

Sprinkling or Pouring Edit

Sprinkling is when the water is lightly sprinkled on the body of the person being baptised, and pouring is when the person has water poured on his or her head to be baptised. This became commonplace when long lines of people gathered to be baptised, and people were merely sprinkled as opposed to immersed. Pouring was the form of baptism used on the sick, and later became the popular form of baptism due to less water being used.

Importance of Baptism Edit

Most denominations believe that baptism is crucial to their salvation, a requirement to being saved. Some, on the other hand, believe that baptism is a choice, and merely an act of obediance towards God, and not needed for salvation. A minority of denominations believe that baptism is unimportant, or even non-applicable, and don't perform it.

Meanings, Effects, and Symbolism Edit

Baptism cleanses one of their past sins which were previously forgiven by God, or is at least considered a symbol of this. Some denominations also believe that it takes away any previous unclean spirits or demons from their soul. 

Baptism by immersion is a representation of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Validity in different denominations Edit

Orthodox denominations believe that baptism is valid in all other Orthodox denominations. Catholics often rebaptise Protestant converts, as they find it hard to determine whether or not they should be considered valid or not. Lutherens, Anglicans, Methodists, and Presbyterians believe that any baptism is valid no matter the denomination, and rarely rebaptise. Baptists and Anabaptists believe that any form of baptism other that Believer's Baptism by immersion or submersion is invalid and must be rebaptised.

Etymology Edit

Baptism comes from the Greek noun βάπτισμα (baptisma); meaning, to immerse.

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