Candid Chatter

Just Say It

Baptism April 19, 2009

Filed under: Faith — candidchatter @ 1:25 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Immersion
Believer Baptism

immersion

Sprinkle or Pour
Infant Baptism

infantbaptism

Which do you choose?
Why?

NOTE: There will be absolutely no fighting over this subject.
I am not posting this to start a blog war.
I simply want to know what you believe and why.
Judgment Free!

Anyone who starts mudslinging will have their
comment deleted and will enter into moderation hell,
which is the equivalent of being “grounded” on my blog.
Thank You!

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17 Responses to “Baptism”

  1. candidchatter Says:

    I’ll start.
    I was baptized as an infant in a Catholic church by a priest.

    About 6 years ago, I was baptized again with full immersion by a pastor in a non-denominational Christian church on Father’s Day because that was shortly after I believed in Jesus Christ as my Savior for myself.

    I believe infant baptism is meaningless. I believe one must be baptized AFTER accepting Christ as Lord and Savior, not before.

    Your turn.

    Heidi Reed
    Author

  2. Julie Arnold Says:

    I grew up in the Lutheran Church, similar in a lot of ways to the Catholic Church.. I was baptized as an infant, as were Melanie and Jenifer..

    I guess to put it simply, I believe that the Lord got it right the first time. I don’t think you need a “do-over”…being perfect, his grace is sufficient for your lifetime during that infant baptism.

    However, I think if any person wants to be re-baptized there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, it confirms His claim earlier on your life, and will be very meaningful to you..

    And of course, if one has never been baptized, there is great joy in coming to Christ to be sealed with His mark on your life forever!

    Blessings,

    julie

  3. Lana Says:

    why do i have the feeling your previous post has something to do with this post?

    i have teetered on this question for the last six years, also.
    My story is similar to yours… baptized as an infant by a Catholic priest, then fully emersed on April 28, 2002 by a non-denominational pastor.
    My family are Catholic to the core… cultural Catholics, none-the-less. My husband and I have attended non-denominational churches since our wedding and currently attend a Presbyterian Church. We are returning to traditional, reverent, yet FAITH FILLED!

    We relunctantly had our boys baptized in the Catholic church to honor our families.
    Over the last year, I have eagerly sought information about the phenomenon I’m about to attest to…
    I do believe that the foundation of the Catholic Church had the idea right… first baptism, and with baptism a commitment to raising that child up in the way’s of the Lord, that would ultimately lead the child to an accepting faith in Jesus Christ at a fairly young age (for the first Holy Communion) and then that faith would be affirmed through the Confirmation… BUT unfortunately, the Catholic Church has failed, and it seems that many Catholics have an extremely shallow faith and know nothing about the meanings behind these sacraments… But I do think there are Jesus loving Catholics out there, who raise up their children to love and serve the Lord… and for those Catholics, the sacraments (including infant baptism) are meaningful, honest, and NOT ritualistic.
    I can go on and on about this, but we need to talk over coffee with this one…

    I will tell you this, I will baptize Mia in the Catholic Church. The ceremony is too precious to my parents and grand-parents, as it is to Fabiano’s… I refuse to tear at their hearts so much that any seed within them becomes embittered and bears “bad” fruit because they would view it as a betrayal from me… it would lead them futher from the Father than they already are.
    I have actually courted the idea of returning to the Catholic Church… that probably sounds INSANE! But I have. If all the believers leave that church, who wins?

  4. candidchatter Says:

    Lana: I’m too transparent. I keep hearing in my heart “..honor thy Father and Mother..”

  5. Will_nottheactor Says:

    First, I’m not Catholic, which seems to me is the nature of this post, since Catholic, or more-Catholic-oriented churches tend to practice infant baptism, while Protestant Churches practice Believer’s baptism – a publec profession of faith. Wikipedia actually has a decent article on this subject, including some breakdowns of the different religions and their interpretations.

    I am a Protestant, and believe in the immersion method. It says in 3 of the 4 Gospels that people went out to John in the desert, and confessing their sins, were baptized, (the public profession of faith and confession of sin) –Matt 3:6, Mark 1:5, Luke 3:3. The Gospel of John describes it with the Pharisees challenge John’s authority to baptize people, John 1:25, which is a different spin on the personal proclamation of faith and repentence – his authority to accept that profession of faith.

    Jesus was baptized as an adult to fulfill all righteousness (Matt 3:15).

    The whole immersion process is symbolic of the burial of our sins with Christ, and being purified through Christ who died our those sins as He rose again.

    So to me, it’s the scripture that states baptism is about the public profession of faith and the repentance of sin – an infant that can’t even hold its head up cannot do that. It’s not about the ceremony (which is lovely when you know the people making that profession) or a parents pledge, or anything other than that personal, public statement. That public aspect is important, due to the witnesses involved with your profession, thus holds you more accountable for your actions.

  6. candidchatter Says:

    I’ve been to a Methodist church baptism, Lutheran church baptism, and a Presbyterian church I know of baptizes babies too. So this isn’t only a Catholic thing.

  7. Heidi: I have toyed with whether to answer or not but here goes. I believe the Bible teaches believer’s baptism (immersion). I was dedicated as a baby, have had both of our girls dedicated, and as a pastor also dedicate them. We don’t use any water though since I don’t see this as a practice found in the NT. The baby is brought to the front, I get to hold him/her, I read a challenge to the parents and to the church fellowship, and then pray with the baby in my arms. Just this past Sunday I was approached by a mother who wants to talk to me about “baptizing” her baby. I am formulating an answer that is sensitive and caring but non-compromising. I won’t/don’t denigrate someone who has it done but I personally cannot participate in it. I believe that baby’s are God’s special people and are innocent of judgment until they reach an age of understanding sin, etc. I hope my answer is not seen as combative or degrading someone who believes differently than me.

  8. candidchatter Says:

    Bill: I would bet my pastor would agree with you. We do child dedication with our kids too. In fact, I’m working on it for Jack right now. Thanks for commenting. I doubt you could ever get “grounded” on my blog. You’re a nice one! 🙂

  9. Mark Says:

    Heidi, my experience is similar to yours – “Baptised/Christened” as a baby into the Catholic church, but baptised by immersion in another church after I believed as an adult. I am now married with 5 children, and they have all been dedicated/blessed as babies. I also thank God that when they reached an age to make their own decision, the older three have themselves been baptised by immersion as it was in the Bible.

    In fact I have recently been led to study and write a book on baptism – I looked at every scripture on the subject – 91 in all. You can read the book on my website at http://www.91witnesses.com

    God Bless

    Mark Anderson

  10. Eric John (PNW) Says:

    As an Christian in the Eastern Orthodox Church, I note that the practice in the East was and remains immersion baptism, three full dunkings in the water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    There is a distinction between immersion/sprinkling and infant/”believers” baptism. That is to say, there is full immersion infant baptism in the Orthodox churches. I believe that is also the case in the Oriental Orthodox Churches (Armenian, Ethiopian, Malankaran Orthodox, Coptic, etc.). Immersion is not synonymous with ‘believers baptism.’

    In the West immersion baptism was practiced for a very long time as well, I believe – maybe well into the 8th or 9th Century.

    I grew up in a Church of Christ/non-denom Christian Church context (sometimes called “Stone-Campbell” movement) where immersion ‘believers baptism’ was standard – so I am quite familiar with that view.

    I only place ‘believers baptism’ here in quotes because it suggests by negative inference that those who are baptized as infants are not believers. I have come to see baptism as more of a covenant community matter rather than simply a personal matter. Were Jewish males who were circumcised on the 8th day any less part of the covenant community because they didn’t know? No, they were raised in the covenant community – they could reject it as they grew up, but that does not change the fact that they were received into the set-apart nation of Israel and fostered there and taught in the way of the fathers.

    Moreover, while there were huge debates in early Christian history about Christ’s nature (e.g., Nicea, Chalcedon, etc.), and there were all sorts of debate about things like Gnosticism and the like, and when to celebrate Easter, we find no such debate about infant baptism, which would have been a huge issue causing all sorts of rifts and councils and bickering had the apostolic practice and the early second century practice been to not baptise infants and then such things to have changed in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries. I must conclude that the weight of evidence, as also evidenced by all the oldest churches with unbroken traditions going back into the earliest centuries (the Malankaran or Thomas Christians in India, the Ethiopian Orthodox, the Syriac and Armenian and Chaldean Churches, the Greek Orthodox Churches, and the Roman Catholic Church) is that infant baptism was normnative for children of Christians and familys/households of new converts and immersion baptism for all was normnative.

    Luther and Calvin did not depart from this practice . . . but Zwingili and the Anabaptists did in the 1500s.

    I do not wish to be polemical about this . . . I happened across your site while looking for pictures of immersion baptsim for an article I am writing about St. John Chrysostom’s exegesis of Hebrews 6 and the responses to your question were thought provoking and I had it on my heart to provide some thought that may not have occurred.

    Please pray for the Malankara Orthodox Christians in the Persian Gulf who maintain the Christian faith in strongly Muslim Theocracies in the GCC countries.

    If you want to know more about Thomas Christians, Oriental Orthodox, or Eastern Orthodox as well as Eastern Rite Catholics (those in communion with Rome but following the Eastern rites and practices rather than Latin Rite) you could do worse than visit:

    http://www.cnewacanada.ca/ecc-bodypg-ca.aspx?eccpageID=2&IndexView=toc

    May God richly bless you and keep you all!

    Christ is Risen!

  11. Amelia Says:

    I guess it comes down to whether or not you think babies have original sin in them and need to be baptised at that point. I think there’s a good case to be made that babies need the baptism since we’re all inherent sinners in Christianity, and also a good one to be made that babies cannot sin…

    …But, personally, as someone who would have really resented being baptised as a baby (and wasn’t), I like the idea that a person has to choose to be baptised consciously.

  12. I came across this blog post while searching for a baptism picture for a video I am working on. I simply want to point out a few facts about the subject. The Bible claims to be God’s Word and our only source of Faith and Practice, and no where in the Bible do you find infant baptism. The only time you find baptism in the Bible is when someone gets saved they are thereafter baptized. I would also like to point out the Greek word used by the Bible for baptism is baptizmo which means immersion. Since Baptism is according to the Bible a picture of Christ’ Death, Burial, and Ressurection. I would like to point out that when you bury someone you don’t sprinkle a little dirt or pour a little dirt on them. You immerse them in dirt. One more interesting fact of History. The Roman Catholic church has murdered thousands of innocent people during the Middle Ages over this issue of Baptism.

  13. Mike Cornett Says:

    I, too, am a follower of Eastern Orthodoxy, and happened upon this posting after a Google Image search lead me here. I was raised in the Catholic Tradition. I come from a long line of French Catholics mostly (although we’ve been in the Americas since 1600). I was fit to be tied with Catholicism, and by my confirmation at age 17 or so, I left, in search of the New Testament church, so to speak. I knew Orthodoxy was the way, but it took me a few more years to start actually attending/participating in the Greek Orthodox Church (which happens to be mostly non-Greek converts in my neck of the woods, fwiw).

    As I am a Catechumen in the Orthodox Tradition, I had to really delve into this subject. I was baptized as an infant in the Catholic Church, and truly find nothing wrong with it in the introduction of the greater Church community. Unlike my experience with Catholicism, in Orthodoxy, the community truly DOES raise the child, and Baptism is a great introduction into this. It is traditionally held around 40 days after the birth…Not only was infant Baptism held in the first centuries of the Faith (as noted in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers), but when “households” were baptized in Acts, and other books of the Bible, this is the entire household (all occupants..children included). As the previous poster clarified, this was always done in full immersion, with ‘pouring’ as a last means option in dire situations. Sprinkling was never accepted or recognized.

    I think it’s a great point about the views of Luther & Calvin…Both on infant baptism & views of the Theotokos (Mary, Mother of God). The abuses of the Roman Catholic Church, which separated from the greater Apostolic Church (Jerusalem, Alexandria, Constantinople, Greece) around 1000 years ago, have tainted the modern American Protestant viewpoints, and even those of the early Reformers. The reason why the greater Orthodox Church traditions weren’t more widely known in the middle ages is due to heavy persecutions by both Ottoman rule, and injustices of the Romans.

    Many Anabaptists and Non-Denominational Americans might be surprised at how much in agreement Calvin, Wesley, and Luther were with the Orthodox Church on many key points of Christian Sacraments, and observances. To get a good image of who the American Christian is today, take the general teachings of Calvin, Wesley, & Luther, and create a group who felt THEY weren’t teaching the true ‘interpretive’ Bible that they found most fitting to their own mind frame. It wasn’t the Catholic church that the early settlers were running from, it was the Church of England, which was basically the Anglican Church…a group more in tune w/ original Church Orthodoxy than even the Roman Catholics. I highly recommend reading Apostolic Fathers 1 & 2 to get a concept on where the Church was 1 generation after the writings of the New Testament…

  14. Bo Says:

    I’d have to agree with Bill. My church does baby dedications as well. This is not degrade other denominations and practices however, I do believe it is more valuable and makes more biblical sense to dedicate a child in their infancy rather than have them baptized. I believe that baptisms entail a lot responsibility on the one who was baptized, of course you have to continue to uphold The Lords commandments and so and so forth and an infant with no recolection of reality as we know it can’t do that for themselves yet. However, dedications (from what I understand and from I agree Bill on) are more so pacts being made between The Father, the church and the parents. Raising that child in the word, making sure they are fed the word and learning the ways of a Christian family. Raising the child to have a great reverence of God and enstilling in them such morals and principals that when it’s time they’ll make the decision to be born again and accept Christ. It’s almost like a vow being made.

  15. Candi Johnson Says:

    I believe that baptism represents our death, burial, and ressurection with Jesus. I believe that immersion is the form of baptism that carries that symbolism. When I rose from the water of baptism, I rose to newness of life in Christ. It was a conscious and public commitment to follow Him. Because an infant cannot make a conscious decision, I believe dedication is the best early declaration of the parents intent, and immersion baptism is the best declaration of the personal intent of the individual.

  16. Carol Says:

    I am the daughter of a Baptist Minister( now with the Lord). I was Baptized twice. The first time by my Father,after being prodded and prodded by my Sunday School Teacher that it was time to make my ‘Profession of Faith” and be Baptized. I basically did it to get her off my back and stop making me feel guilty because I was at the “age of understanding” and should not have to give it any other thought, after all….I was the Pastor’s daughter.
    I made my true Profession of Faith where my Father was an assistant Pastor. My marriage had ended in divorce and I was actually dating my present husband. He is Catholic but attended Church with me quite often. He attributes his return to the Catholic Church to the in depths teachings of my Pastors. To them, one being with our Lord, I will be forever great full.
    We have always been able to discuss our Faith differences without arguing…we Baptized our 2 daughters, which were 7 years apart and when our Baby turned 3 I came into full Communion with the Catholic Church.
    I chose to have my Babies Baptized, while I was not yet Catholic. My Parents backed me 100%. However it took me a year to tell them I had converted. Again, My decision was backed 100%. My Dad assured me he understood, knew my heart was in the right place, and felt I had a calling in my new Faith.
    I believe in Infant Baptism, just as I believe in “Believers’ Baptism” . They both have their places. What “fallen away” Catholics fail to see is that they have always been Christians. We as Catholics do accept Jesus as our Savior. Maybe not the way I was first forced to…but I have raised my daughters to realize that there needs to be a relationship between them and Jesus…and this was backed up many times by our Priests. Their Professions of Faith came with their Confirmation. Not only were they confirming Our Baptismal Vows and promises to God, they were also making a Public Profession of Faith that they were going to full fill these vows by renewing them in their Confirmation, and continue to live as Catholic Christians…receiving Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity into their very being every time they attend Mass.
    It is a really sad day when a Catholic is convinced by another denomination that they are not a Christian or “Saved”. Think back to what you were taught as a Catholic. The one thing that you were taught, that you will not find in your other denominations, is Christ’s Real Presence in the Bread and Wine. All they offer is a symbol. Christ did not say that the bread was a symbol…he said…my Body is real food…my Blood is real drink. THIS IS MY BODY…which will be given up for you…THIS IS MY BLOOD…which will be spilled for the sins of many. Look at John 6, where Jesus is talking to his “followers”. What happened when he told them they had to eat his flesh and drink his blood? They could not accept his teaching and turned away from him. When he turned to the 12 and asked where they stood…Peter, God Love him, says “Master, You are the only one who has the words of truth.”
    So if you are a former Catholic who is re-considering the Catholic Church, return to the one you have been missing…Jesus… truly present in the Eucharist.
    A good source to listen to is Scott Haugn and Jeff Cavins…EWTN…The Journey Home…hosted by a former Assemblies of God minister. (Grodin) cannot remember his first name. Any writings by any of these guys and Tim Staples, “Surprised by Truth”. Check out EWTN.com to see scheduling for programming and answers to any questions you may have concerning the Catholic Faith and returning to it. Remember, You are always Catholic and can return through the Rite of Reconciliation. He’s waiting for you…what are you waiting for?
    I will be praying for you…God Bless you All in your witness…

  17. Evie Says:

    I was raised in a Christian home and there has been no time in my memory when I have not professed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I have had an active relationship with Christ, personal devotions and a good understanding of the gospel since my earliest years. Despite this, I was not baptized until I was 15 years old and had reached a level of maturity that my parents deemed fitted me to make an independant decision about my faith.

    I am now married and through a long and sometimes painful journey my husband and I have embraced reformed, covenantal theology and have joined a Presbyterian church. We have accepted paedobaptism by immersion (in accordance with our understanding of the Biblical precedent, ancient church practice and the Eastern church tradition), though we believe all baptisms are legitimate if done in the context of a Gospel believing church and family (in the case of infants). Some of the scriptural evidence upon which we based our decision is the following: Children were included in the Abrahamic covenant, which, according to Galatians 3:17, is the same covenant that we are in today – the covenant of grace by faith. Infants raised by believing parents can and do experience faith, the Holy Spirit and inclusion in Christ’s kingdom (Ps. 71:5-6; Mtt. 18:1-5; Mtt. 21:15-16; Luke 1:15, 41; Luke 18:15-17; John 2:12-13). Infants believe that God is their God in the same way they believe their mother is their mother. Can they espress the relationship? No. Does that make it less real? No. The New Testament is written mainly about 1st generation christians, so obviously most of those early converts would be adults, but in every instance mentioned where we know the believing adult had a household, the household was baptized as well. No where does the New Testament explain that infants were not to be included in the household.

    My own three children were baptized within the last year (at 6 yrs, 2 yrs and 3 mo) by immersion. Yes, infants can be baptized safely by immersion! It has been done for centuries in the Eastern church. God designed them with something called the “diver’s reflex” that closes their air passages as they enter the water. Ever heard of people teaching babies to swim? In anycase, my 3 mo old went all the way under and he didn’t caugh, sputter or even wimper.


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