Baptism is considered a rite of passage by the many different religions that practice it.
It is a ritual performed on people of all ages, from infancy through adulthood.
The word “baptism” comes from the Greek word “baptisma,” which means “to be dipped in water.”
While the word “baptism” can sometimes be interchangeable with the word “christening,” a christening usually refers to the baptism of a newborn or slightly older baby.
When an adult person has decided that he or she believes in Jesus Christ, he or she is then eligible and ready to be baptized.
However, hundreds of infants and children are also baptized each year. Baptizing infants is actually a very old practice, starting as far back as the Middle Ages.
Christian baptisms began during the 3rd century and required the person to be baptized to stand in water while additional water was poured over his or her body. Baptisms are done today in much the same way that they were during the days of early Christianity. However, instead of just standing in water, the person was either totally submerged in water from head to toe or partially submerged by standing in water and then having water poured over his or head.
Another form of baptism called “affusion” involves pouring water three times over a person’s forehead, a practice which got its start during the 8th century. Then there is aspersion baptism, which refers to sprinkling drops of water on a person’s forehead.
As for the reason why water is used in baptisms, it is because water is the only liquid that can make the ceremony valid. Any other substance used such as wine, juice, or even milk would render the baptism invalid.
What is the significance of water in the baptism ritual?
Water signifies the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When a person enters the water during his or her baptism, it represents three things: when Jesus Christ was on the cross; his burial; and when he was resurrected from the dead.
Getting baptized with water also means that a person is showing obedience and faith to Jesus Christ’s commands while affirming commitment to him.
But besides displaying obedience and faith, the primary reason that a person gets baptized is to show a public declaration of his or her salvation. But, baptism also symbolizes rebirth and a casting away of old life habits, with entrance into the new Christ-centered life he or she now wants to live.
Baptisms have been going on for centuries, starting with John the Baptist during the first century. Besides being baptized himself, John the Baptist even baptized Jesus Christ! He also baptized Jews for their repentance. Plus, he baptized Christians who had chosen to follow Jesus Christ, with all of these baptisms taking place down by the River Jordan.
In addition to Christians, there are various other religious denominations that practice baptism. For example, the baptism ceremony is common to Roman Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Eastern Orthodox churches, Baptists, Protestants, Evangelicals, Lutherans, and Methodists.