Baptism celebrated in Christianity

GCSE RS Coursework


Describe and explain the differing ways

Baptism is celebrated in Christianity

Baptism is celebrated in many different ways, such as Believer’s Baptism, Infant Baptism in the Orthodox Church and Infant Baptism in the Anglican Church.

Infant Baptism in the Anglican Church usually takes place during a Eucharist or a family service. This allows Christians to welcome the child into their community. In many occasions only family and a few friends attend, but this is up to the child and his or hers family. The order of service follows these general guidelines. Firstly, the parents and godparents decide that they will help the child grow up as a Christian. They promise to pray for the child and to create a good example of the Christian way of living for the child. The priest will then make the sign of the cross on the child’s forehead and may invite the parents and godparents to do likewise and then the water will be blessed. The congregation no join with the parents and godparents in stating their belief in God as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now the child is baptised with water being poured on the head three times and the priest will say the words, ‘[Name], I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’ The parents and child may be given a lighted candle which represents the light of Christ in the child’s life. And finally, the congregation welcome the child into the family of God.

Infant Baptisms in the Orthodox Church, however, the infant is immersed completely in the water and immediately following the baptism there is a service of Chrismation, in which the child is confirmed as a full member of the Christian Church. The service would normally look progress in the following order. Firstly, the godparents answer for the child when they are asked to desert evil and turn to Christ. They also read the Nicene Creed for the child. The water in the font will be blessed and prayers are said for the child. The child will be anointed with oil called Chrism. The child will be immersed in the water three times ‘in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and if the Holy Spirit.’

The child is then dressed in a Baptismal robe and has a cross placed around his or hers neck to show that they have taken up the cross of Christ. The child will then take his or her place in the service of Chrismation or confirmation. Here, Chrism is placed on the child’s head, lips, ears, chest, hands and feet. After this the child is carried three times around the font and finally a lock of hair is cut to show dedication to God.

And finally, Believer’s or Adult Baptism which is only practised in non-liturgical traditions and so the service varies from church to church, but most contain the following aspects. Firstly, the minister gives a sermon to explain the importance of Baptism, which is the external sign that a person’s life has been changed by the Holy Spirit. He may call on the congregation to remember their Baptism and to renew their commitment to Jesus Christ. Then, those to be baptised are called forward in turn, wearing white or light clothing to symbolised forgiveness and new life. They then are asked if they have repented of their sins and if they have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They now may read a short passage from the Bible and a testimony.

The candidate and minister step into the pool and the minister says, ‘[Name] because you have repented of your sins and have requested baptism, I now baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.’ Now they step into the pool and the candidate is briefly immersed in the water. The congregation may now sing a hymn or chorus chosen by the candidate. The minister may give the newly baptised Christian a few quiet words of encouragement. And finally, a friend, or sponsor, will be waiting at the top of the steps with a towel. This person will have been chosen by the candidate as someone