Infant baptism

Infant baptism is the practice of baptising infants or young children. In theological discussions, the practice is sometimes referred to as paedobaptism, or pedobaptism, from the Greek pais meaning "child". This can be contrasted with what is called "believer's baptism", or credobaptism, from the Latin word credo meaning "I believe", which is the religious practice of baptising only individuals who personally confess faith in Jesus, therefore excluding underage children. Opposition to infant baptism is termed catabaptism. Infant baptism is also called "christening" by some faith traditions.

Most Christians belong to denominations that practice infant baptism. Denominational families that practice infant baptism include Catholics, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists and other Reformed denominations, Methodists and some Nazarenes, and the Moravian Church.

The exact details of the baptismal ceremony vary among Christian denominations. Many follow a prepared ceremony, called a rite or liturgy. In a typical ceremony, parents or godparents bring their child to their congregation's priest or minister. The rite used would be the same as that denomination's rite for adults, i.e., by pouring holy water (affusion) or by sprinkling water (aspersion). Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic traditions practise total immersion and baptise babies in a font, and this practice is also the first method listed in the baptismal ritual of the Roman Catholic, although pouring is the standard practice within the Latin branch of Catholicism. Catholic and Orthodox churches that do this do not sprinkle. At the moment of baptism, the minister utters the words "I baptise you (or, 'The servant of God (name) is baptised') in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (see Matthew 28:19).

Although it is not required, many parents and godparents choose to dress the baby in a white gown called a christening gown for the baptism ceremony. Christening gowns often become treasured keepsakes that are used by many other children in the family and handed down from generation to generation. Traditionally, this gown is white or slightly off white and made with much lace, trim and intricate detail. In the past, a gown was used for both boys and girls; in the present day it has become more common to dress children in a baptismal outfit. Also normally made of white fabric, the outfit consists of a romper with a vest or other accessories. These clothes are often kept as a memento after the ceremony.

It is a naval tradition to baptise children using the ship's bell as a baptismal font and to engrave the child's name on the bell afterwards. Tracking down and searching for an individual's name on a specific bell from a ship may be a difficult and time-consuming task. Christening information from the bells held by the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt Museum has been entered into a searchable data archive that is accessible to any interested web site visitors.

Scholars disagree on the date when infant baptism was first practiced. Some believe that 1st-century Christians did not practice it, noting the lack of any explicit evidence of paedobaptism. Others, noting the lack of any explicit evidence of exclusion of paedobaptism, believe that they did, understanding biblical references to individuals "and household" being baptised (Acts 16:15, Acts 16:31–33, 1 Corinthians 1:16) as well as "the promise to you and your children" (Acts 2:39) as including young children.

This page was last edited on 20 May 2018, at 07:57.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_baptism under CC BY-SA license.

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