Saturday, January 11, 2014

Baptism..

This weekend the Church celebrates the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.  I've been thinking about the various ways that different Christian denominations view baptism.  Some baptize infants, others only those who are old enough to profess their faith in Jesus Christ.  Some don't even have an outward sign for baptism (such as sprinkling or immersion into water).  The Quakers are one such denomination.  They see baptism as an ongoing spiritual process that should not be treated as an event.  In some denominations, beliefs and practices surround baptism might vary in different congregations.  

For myself, I don't see the infant vs. adult issue as primary. After all, for God, time is not like our time.  I would venture to say that the heart of the matter lies in our acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.  Do I really give my life over to him, each day?  Do I live my life with Jesus as my center, my focus, my reason for living?  

Consider your own baptism today.  Were you an infant, teen, or adult?  Do you remember your baptism?  What were the feelings you had on that day?  Anticipation?  Joy? Humility?  If your denomination baptizes children as infants, recall those moments when you might have had your own children baptized or been a Godparent or witness at a baptism.  Did you recommit yourself as well as that tiny baby was being presented for baptism by the parents?  Did you accept the responsibility along with the parents for guiding that child in the Christian faith?

The baptism of our children was always a very special time for me.  I felt like God was always there with me, as I parented my children, even when I thought I was a failure, I knew that HE had my back!  I knew that HE would always, and will always be there for each of my children!  My youngest son, Tim, was baptized on Easter.  I'd always wanted to have a child baptized on Easter, and sure enough, the timing was perfect for it with Tim!

Here's a chart that I found on at ReligiousResourcesOnline.org.  It's a quick look at the many ways in which baptism is viewed by some of the major Christian denominations.  Of course, this could also vary from congregation to congregation.  There is also a link to the denomination if you want to learn more.

Baptism

Adventist

It expresses a person's personal faith in Christ, who died for our sins. By immersion only. Baptisms by other churches are accepted on conditions.

Baptist

It is not entirely necessary for salvation. By immersion only. Baptisms of other churches accepted if done by immersion. Infants are not baptized. Candidates must first believe.

Catholic

By pouring, sprinkling or immersion. Baptisms of other churches accepted when performed as Catholic Church prescribes. Necessary for salvation. Infants are baptized.

Quaker

Do not believe in outward ritual of baptism. The ongoing spiritual process should not be treated as an event. Inward baptism and communion are most important to spiritual life.

Presbyterian

By sprinkling, pouring, or immersion which ever method is preferred by the applicant. Baptisms of other churches accepted.  Not necessary for salvation.  Infants are baptized.

Disciples of Christ

Done by immersion, showing one's obedience. Symbolic of death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Only those old enough to know what they are doing when they confess the name of Christ are baptized.

Eastern Orthodox

By immersion for the remission of sins and entrance into church. Essential to salvation must be performed by one holding proper priesthood authority. Required of all 8 years & older. Infants are not baptized.

Episcopalian

By immersion or pouring. In an emergency any Christian may baptize saying "in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Ghost". Necessary to salvation. Infants are baptized.

United Church of Christ

Done at time of confirmation and reception into church. Infants presented by parents or sponsor. Usually performed by sprinkling.

Lutheran

By sprinkling, pouring or immersion. Baptisms performed by other churches accepted when all Bible conditions are met. Necessary to salvation except in rare instances. Infants are baptized.

Methodist

By sprinkling, pouring, or immersion. Is only an outward sign of one's entrance into the church.  Baptisms of other churches accepted. Not necessary to salvation. Infants are baptized.



And to end with a little music - here's a little bluegrass for your day...the Bluegrass Gospel Project singing River of Jordan.