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Bap"tism, n. Etym: [OE. baptim, baptem, OE. baptesme, batisme, F. baptême, L. baptisma, fr. Gr. , fr. to baptize, fr. to dip in water, akin to deep, Skr. gah to dip, bathe, v. i.]
Defn: The act of baptizing; the application of water to a person, as a Sacrament or religious ceremony, by which he is initiated into the visible church of Christ. This is performed by immersion, sprinkling, or pouring.
---excerpt from the Illustrated Bible Dictionary
Baptism, Christian - A sacrament instituted by Christ (Matthew 28:19, Matthew 28:20), and designed to be observed in the church, like that of the Last Supper, "till He come." The words "baptize" and "baptism" are simply Greek words transferred into English. It means to dip a thing into an element or liquid. In the LXX, the Greek version of the Old Testament, it is used of the ablutions and baptisms required by the Mosaic law. These were effected by immersion, and the same word, "washings" (Hebrews 9:10, Hebrews 9:13, Hebrews 9:19, Hebrews 9:21) or "baptisms," designates them all. Moreover, all of the instances of baptism recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:38; Acts 8:26; Acts 9:17, Acts 9:18; Acts 22:12; Acts 10:44; Acts 16:32) suggests the idea that it was by dipping the person baptized, i.e. by immersion. In baptism, the words: "I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" are used. The apostles of our Lord were baptized with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11) by His coming upon them (Acts 1:8). The fire also with which they were baptized sat upon them. The extraordinary event of Pentecost was explained by Saint Peter as a fulfillment of the ancient promise that the Spirit would be poured out in the last days (Acts 2:17). He uses also with the same reference the expression shed forth as descriptive of the baptism of the Spirit (Acts 2:33). In the Pentecostal baptism "the apostles were not dipped into the Spirit, nor plunged into the Spirit; but the Spirit was shed forth, poured out, fell on them (Acts 11:15), came upon them, sat on them." Believers were baptized in apostolic times, and they have been baptized in all times.
The Sacrament of Baptism - (Roman Catholic Church)
Baptism is the first among three sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist). It is through the baptism of an individual person in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that one enters the Christian community.
Catholics believe baptism can happen at any point in a person's life. It can be the decision of parents to raise their children in a Christian community and so to baptize them as infants; or it can be the decision of a younger child, teenager or adult to be baptized.
By ancient Christian tradition, before baptism takes place, the individual to be baptized participates in a Christian parish community, receives instruction in the Christian faith, and is sponsored by at least one baptized Christian adult. In the United States, instruction comes through the Rite of Christian Initiation Program (RCIA) for adults. For young children and infants, parents and sponsors (Godparents) attend preparation classes.
Baptism, John's - Was not Christian baptism, nor was that which was practiced by the disciples previous to our Lord's crucifixion. Till then the New Testament economy did not exist. John's baptism bound its subjects to repentance, and not to the faith of Christ. It was not administered in the name of the Trinity, and those whom John baptized were rebaptized by Paul (Acts 18:24; Acts 19:7).
Baptism for the Dead - Only mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:29. This expression as used by the Apostle may be equivalent to saying, "He who goes through a baptism of blood in order to join a glorified church which has no existence [i.e., if the dead rise not] is a fool." Some also regard the statement here as an allusion to the strange practice which began, it is said, to prevail at Corinth, in which a person was baptized in the stead of others who had died before being baptized, to whom it was hoped some of the benefits of that rite would be extended. This they think may have been one of the erroneous customs which Saint Paul went to Corinth to "set in order."
Baptism of Christ - For this purpose he came to John, who was the representative of the law and the prophets. John refused at first to confer his baptism on Christ, for he understood not what he had to do with the "baptism of repentance." But Christ said, "'suffer it to be so now,' NOW as suited to my state of humiliation, my state as a substitute in the room of sinners." His reception of baptism was not necessary on His own account. It was a voluntary act, the same as His act of becoming incarnate. Yet if the work He had engaged to accomplish was to be completed, then it became Him to take on Him the likeness of a sinner, and to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15). The official duty of Christ and the sinless person of Christ are to be distinguished. He submitted to baptism. In coming to John our Lord virtually said, "Though sinless, and without any personal taint, yet as the Sent of God, I stand in the room of many, and bring with me the sin of the world, for which I am the propitiation." Christ was not made under the law on His own account. It was as surety of His people, a position which He spontaneously assumed. The administration of the rite of baptism was also a symbol of the baptism of suffering before Him (Luke 12:50). In thus presenting Himself, He in effect dedicated or consecrated Himself to the work of fulfilling all righteousness.
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