Baptism is an important and meaningful aspect of Christianity. It celebrates an individual’s entrance into their faith community, as well as a cleansing from sin. Baptism is usually viewed as necessary for salvation. In fact, the Bible teaches that Jesus himself was baptized by John the Baptist. Each denomination of Christianity celebrates slightly differently than the others, but all require that it be performed in front of other members of the Church community. Baptism is viewed as an outward sign of an individual’s salvation and newfound dedication to their faith.
- Baptist faith: Baptists are a group of Christians who celebrate baptism only among adults. They believe that an individual must make a conscious decision to be relieved of sin and more fully enter into their relationship with Christ. Thus, baptism is not available for infants who are not able to decide on their own. Also, unlike some other groups of Christians, Baptists fully immerse a person’s body in water during the Baptism.
- Catholic faith: The Catholic Church teaches that baptism is the first sacrament of initiation and therefore should be performed with infants. In this faith community, the parents and godparents take responsibility for leading the infant in their life as a devout practitioner of the faith. Unlike with Baptist baptism, infants are sprinkled with water or the priest pours a bit of water on their head. They are also anointed with oil during the ceremony, which often takes place immediately after or during the mass.
- Anglican faith: Unlike Baptists of Catholics, Anglican baptism does not focus on immersion versus sprinkling or infant versus adult baptism. In fact, all options are welcome in the Anglican faith. However, believers do insist that water is used and the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are called upon during the ceremony. Also, baptism is able to be performed either by an ordained priest of by any member of this Christian community.
- Episcopal faith: As with the other denominations, the Episcopal faith teaches that the Holy Spirit is present during baptism. Adults can be baptized, or they can bring their children for baptism at any age. Again, full immersion is considered the appropriate means to carry out the baptism, which often takes place as part of the mass ceremony. Even if an individual has been baptized into another branch of Christianity, he or she can still join the Episcopal church, though a second baptism is not necessary.