Basic religious influences
AD explicitly stated that the amount of water was inconsequential and defended immersion, affusion, and aspersion practices Epistle As a result, there was no uniform or consistent mode of baptism in the ancient church prior to the fourth century. By the third and fourth centuries, baptism involved catechetical instruction as well as chrismation , exorcisms , laying on of hands , and recitation of a creed. In the early middle ages infant baptism became common and the rite was significantly simplified.
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Baptism is practiced in several different ways. Aspersion is the sprinkling of water on the head, and affusion is the pouring of water over the head. In relation to baptism, some use it to refer to any form of dipping, whether the body is put completely under water or is only partly dipped in water; they thus speak of immersion as being either total or partial. Others, of the Anabaptist belief, use "immersion" to mean exclusively plunging someone entirely under the surface of the water.
When "immersion" is used in opposition to "submersion",  it indicates the form of baptism in which the candidate stands or kneels in water and water is poured over the upper part of the body. Immersion in this sense has been employed in West and East since at least the 2nd century and is the form in which baptism is generally depicted in early Christian art. In the West, this method of baptism began to be replaced by affusion baptism from around the 8th century, but it continues in use in Eastern Christianity.
It is the form of baptism in which the water completely covers the candidate's body. Submersion is practiced in the Orthodox and several other Eastern Churches. It is seen as obligatory among some groups that have arisen since the Protestant Reformation , such as Baptists. The Greek-English Lexicon of Liddell and Scott gives the primary meaning of the verb baptizein , from which the English verb "baptize" is derived, as "dip, plunge", and gives examples of plunging a sword into a throat or an embryo and for drawing wine by dipping a cup in the bowl; for New Testament usage it gives two meanings: "baptize", with which it associates the Septuagint mention of Naaman dipping himself in the Jordan River , and "perform ablutions", as in Luke Although the Greek verb baptizein does not exclusively mean dip, plunge or immerse it is used with literal and figurative meanings such as "sink", "disable", "overwhelm", "go under", "overborne", "draw from a bowl" ,   lexical sources typically cite this as a meaning of the word in both the Septuagint    and the New Testament.
Two passages in the Gospels indicate that the verb baptizein did not always indicate submersion. Jesus' omission of this action is similar to that of his disciples: "Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? Scholars of various denominations    claim that these two passages show that invited guests, or people returning from market, would not be expected to immerse themselves "baptize themselves" totally in water but only to practise the partial immersion of dipping their hands in water or to pour water over them, as is the only form admitted by present Jewish custom.
Zodhiates concludes that the washing of the hands was done by immersing them. As already mentioned, the lexicographical work of Zodhiates says that, in the second of these two cases,  the verb baptizein indicates that, after coming from the market, the Pharisees washed their hands by immersing them in collected water. A possible additional use of the verb baptizein to relate to ritual washing is suggested by Peter Leithart who suggests that Paul's phrase "Else what shall they do who are baptized for the dead?
A Christian baptism is administered in one of the following forms, [ clarification needed ] performing the action either once or thrice:  . Until the Middle Ages , most baptisms were performed with the candidates naked—as is evidenced by most of the early portrayals of baptism some of which are shown in this article , and the early Church Fathers and other Christian writers. Deaconesses helped female candidates for reasons of modesty. Do you not know, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death?
Therefore, I shall necessarily lay before you the sequel of yesterday's Lecture, that you may learn of what those things, which were done by you in the inner chamber, were symbolic. As soon, then, as you entered, you put off your tunic; and this was an image of putting off the old man with his deeds. For since the adverse powers made their lair in your members, you may no longer wear that old garment; I do not at all mean this visible one, but the old man, which waxes corrupt in the lusts of deceit.
You were naked in the sight of all, and were not ashamed; for truly ye bore the likeness of the first-formed Adam, who was naked in the garden, and was not ashamed. Then, when you were stripped, you were anointed with exorcised oil, from the very hairs of your head to your feet, and were made partakers of the good olive-tree, Jesus Christ. After these things, you were led to the holy pool of Divine Baptism, as Christ was carried from the Cross to the Sepulchre which is before our eyes. And each of you was asked, whether he believed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and you made that saving confession, and descended three times into the water, and ascended again; here also hinting by a symbol at the three days burial of Christ And at the self-same moment you were both dying and being born; .
Baptism is considered to be a form of rebirth—"by water and the Spirit"  —the nakedness of baptism the second birth paralleled the condition of one's original birth. For example, St.
Baptism: What is It? Meaning and Definition
For nothing perceivable was handed over to us by Jesus; but with perceivable things, all of them however conceivable. This is also the way with the baptism; the gift of the water is done with a perceivable thing, but the things being conducted, i. For, if you were without a body, He would hand over these bodiless gifts as naked [gifts] to you. But because the soul is closely linked to the body, He hands over the perceivable ones to you with conceivable things.
Chrysostom to Matthew. The removal of clothing represented the "image of putting off the old man with his deeds" as per Cyril, above , so the stripping of the body before for baptism represented taking off the trappings of sinful self, so that the "new man", which is given by Jesus, can be put on.
As St. Cyril again asserts above, as Adam and Eve in scripture were naked, innocent and unashamed in the Garden of Eden, nakedness during baptism was seen as a renewal of that innocence and state of original sinlessness. Other parallels can also be drawn, such as between the exposed condition of Christ during His crucifixion, and the crucifixion of the "old man" of the repentant sinner in preparation for baptism.
Changing customs and concerns regarding modesty probably contributed to the practice of permitting or requiring the baptismal candidate to either retain their undergarments as in many Renaissance paintings of baptism such as those by da Vinci, Tintoretto, Van Scorel, Masaccio, de Wit and others or to wear, as is almost universally the practice today, baptismal robes. These robes are most often white, symbolizing purity. Some groups today allow any suitable clothes to be worn, such as trousers and a T-shirt—practical considerations include how easily the clothes will dry denim is discouraged , and whether they will become see-through when wet.
There are differences in views about the effect of baptism for a Christian. Some Christian groups assert baptism is a requirement for salvation and a sacrament , and speak of " baptismal regeneration ".
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Its importance is related to their interpretation of the meaning of the "Mystical Body of Christ" as found in the New Testament. This view is shared by the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox denominations, and by Churches formed early during the Protestant Reformation such as Lutheran and Anglican. For example, Martin Luther said:. To put it most simply, the power, effect, benefit, fruit, and purpose of Baptism is to save. No one is baptized in order to become a prince, but as the words say, to "be saved". To be saved, we know, is nothing else than to be delivered from sin, death, and the devil and to enter into the kingdom of Christ and live with him forever.
The Baptist Church: Its Doctrine of Baptism
The Churches of Christ ,"  : p. For Roman Catholics, baptism by water is a sacrament of initiation into the life of the children of God Catechism of the Catholic Church , — The Catholic holds that there are three types of baptism by which one can be saved: sacramental baptism with water , baptism of desire explicit or implicit desire to be part of the Church founded by Jesus Christ , and baptism of blood martyrdom. By contrast, Anabaptist and Evangelical Protestants recognize baptism as an outward sign of an inward reality following on an individual believer's experience of forgiving grace.
Reformed and Methodist Protestants maintain a link between baptism and regeneration, but insist that it is not automatic or mechanical, and that regeneration may occur at a different time than baptism. Baptism is not a human work; it is the place where God does the work that only God can do. The liturgy of baptism for Catholics, Eastern Orthodox , Lutheran , Anglican , and Methodist makes clear reference to baptism as not only a symbolic burial and resurrection, but an actual supernatural transformation, one that draws parallels to the experience of Noah and the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea divided by Moses.
Thus, baptism is literally and symbolically not only cleansing, but also dying and rising again with Christ. Catholics believe baptism is necessary to cleanse the taint of original sin , and so commonly baptise infants. The Eastern Churches Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy also baptize infants on the basis of texts, such as Matthew , which are interpreted as supporting full Church membership for children.
The post-Nicene fathers
In these denominations, baptism is immediately followed by Chrismation and Communion at the next Divine Liturgy , regardless of age. Orthodox likewise believe that baptism removes what they call the ancestral sin of Adam. Most Methodists and Anglicans agree that it also cleanses the taint of what in the West is called original sin, in the East ancestral sin. Eastern Orthodox Christians usually insist on complete threefold immersion as both a symbol of death and rebirth into Christ, and as a washing away of sin.
Latin Church Catholics generally baptize by affusion pouring ; Eastern Catholics usually by submersion, or at least partial immersion. However, submersion is gaining in popularity within the Latin Catholic Church. In newer church sanctuaries, the baptismal font may be designed to expressly allow for baptism by immersion. According to evidence which can be traced back to about the year ,  sponsors or godparents are present at baptism and vow to uphold the Christian education and life of the baptized.
They interpret some Biblical passages concerning baptism as requiring submersion of the body in water. They also state that only submersion reflects the symbolic significance of being "buried" and "raised" with Christ. However, they do not believe that baptism is necessary for salvation; but rather that it is an act of Christian obedience. Some " Full Gospel " charismatic churches such as Oneness Pentecostals baptize only in the name of Jesus Christ, citing Peter's preaching baptism in the name of Jesus as their authority.
The preface of the document states:. Those who know how widely the churches have differed in doctrine and practice on baptism, Eucharist and ministry, will appreciate the importance of the large measure of agreement registered here.