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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. I was lucky enough to be present at my baby cousin's baptism in the Catholic Church a few weeks ago and the ceremony was even more meaningful to me since I had studied it in class, so recently. Baptism is a community celebration and our celebration of the sacrament of Baptism started at the entrance porch of the chapel, where the baby, her parents, godparents and family members were all greeted by the priest. The priest verified with the parents that they knew what obligations they were taking on. He also asked the godparents if they were prepared to help the parents train the child in the practice of their faith. The priest welcomed the baby into the family of God, by putting the sign of cross on her forehead and inviting parents and godparents to do likewise. The sign of the cross is a symbol the child belongs to God. We then entered the chapel and moved to the left seating area where we heard the celebration of the word of God. We were reminded that reading and preaching the word of God would stimulate our faith. ...read more.

Middle

We can recall Jesus' baptism as Mark tells in Chapter 1.9-11 that as soon as Jesus came up out of the water, he saw heaven opening and the spirit came down on him like a dove. The Baptism now followed during which the priest poured water over the child's head, while saying the following words "Therese, I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". The most important gesture is the sign of the cross. The cross represents the saving power of the crucifixion. Therese was now a member of the Christian community, having been "christened". From now on, she will live with the life of Christ, but will need the help of the community to do so. Water is used in baptism as a sign of the beginning of a new life. It is a symbol of cleansing and nourishment, of life and death. In baptism we 'die' to our unredeemed self because of Original Sin and 'rise' to the new life of grace. The baptism was followed by a second anointing. This time the oil used was called 'Chrism'. This oil is used again at confirmation and also in the ordination of priests. ...read more.

Conclusion

As such, it is a mature decision and a personal commitment. The Baptist religion emphasises that Baptism does not make you a Christian. Rather Baptists believe that one can only be baptised when they are a Christian believer and are already acting as Christ would and are prepared to continue to live life according to Christian standards. Instead of promises being made on his behalf, as in the case of infant baptism, the adult makes his own promises to serve and follow Christ in response to the Pastor's questions. The person being baptised is asked if they promise to follow Christ and to serve him forever in the followers of the Church. The person being baptised will wear white clothing symbolising a new life of purity and the actual baptism will be a total immersion usually into a baptismal pool. The person enters the pool down steps at one side and is submerged with the help of the pastor. He/she leaves the pool using a second set of stairs, demonstrating that there is no turning back to old ways. This symbolises complete death to sin in drowning and rising to a new life. The Baptist knows that through his Baptism he belongs to a Christian community that will be his full support. As with Baptism in the Catholic Church, the new member is now blessed and welcomed into the community. ...read more.

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