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Describe and explain the central features of infant and believers baptism.

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Introduction

Describe and explain the central features of infant and believers baptism. Baptism has been an important part of Christianity since the earliest days of the church. Baptism is the first of 7 sacraments in the Catholic Church. It is the 1st of the 3 sacraments of initiation. Someone who is baptized becomes a member of the Christian community and baptism is also a sacrament in many protestant churches. Many Christian traditions baptise infants. In the Roman Catholic Church baptism usually takes place within 6 weeks of the child's birth. The ceremony takes place in the church and the priest baptises the infant. It begins with the reception, which takes place at the entrance of the church. The priest waits at the door and welcomes the baptismal party. It takes place at the back of the church as it signifies a journey in faith. The entrance to the church is also the entrance to the faith. The priest asks three questions to the baptismal party. He asks what name they give their child and what they want of the church for their child, they reply "Baptism". He asks the god- parents if they agree to help the parents in their duty as Christian parents. And then traces the sign of the cross on the child's forehead: the parents and god- parents do the same. This is a sign of ownership and that the child now belongs to God and it is also a sign of the saving power of the crucifixion of Jesus. The celebration of the word of God includes a number of readings that stress the importance of this sacrament. ...read more.

Middle

The candidates are asked if they have repented of their sins and if they have faith in the lord Jesus Christ. They base their belief on this from the New Testament, which describes adults being baptised. Peter said "Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins." The candidate may give a sign of testimony, explaining how they came to be Christians and why they wish to be baptised. The candidate now enters the pool by a set of steps. This shows that they wish to leave their old sinful life behind. Next the candidate and minister step into the pool. The minister says, "(Name), because you have repented of your sins and have requested baptism, I now baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen." The candidate is immersed in the water. Immersion, that is to say, the dipping of the believer in water, is essential for the true administration of this ordinance. This is a sign that the old way of life has died, and that the Christian is buried in the same way as Jesus was buried for three days in the tomb. When we descend into the baptismal water that meant we died with Christ to sin when water closed over our heads that meant we lay buried with him. It is also the way Jesus was baptised and his early followers. The candidate now leaves the pool. This symbolises that the Christian's new life has begun. ...read more.

Conclusion

We believe that baptism frees the infant from the burden of original sin, the sin of Adam and Eve, and that it is better to be rid of this burden as quickly as possible. However other Christians believe that you should have adult baptism because you can only make a commitment as an adult. They see babies as being unable to commit themselves to Christ and a parent's commitment is not enough. My baptism took place when I was a baby and I see it as the best way because I have been brought up as a Christian with my parents teaching me the Christian faith and teaching me to go to church and to receive the other sacraments which makes me a member of Christ's community. However as some Christians believe that baptism should take place as an adult, they would also say that repentance comes first in the New Testament and they seen that Jesus was baptized as an adult. And they believe that they should follow his example. Babies cannot repent when they are baptized but adults can fully accept by repenting, believing and being baptized "You don't have personal sin" Peter Acts 2V 38 Jesus always welcomed little children and loved them very much by blessing them and telling off those who wanted to make them go away. "Let the little children come to me and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs." Mark 10: 13-16. Jesus saw children as an example of what Christians should be like. The Church should also welcome children and infant baptism is a good way to do this. Darren Martin 11G ...read more.

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