'Describe and explain the essential features of infant and believer's baptism,' (a GCSE coursework question)

Essay by nirvanarocksmysocksHigh School, 11th gradeA-, January 2006

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Infant baptism is the baptism of practices that baptize infants as well as adults, whereas believers' baptism is the baptism of practices that only baptize from the age of 18 or 16.

Both the different types of Baptism share the four symbols of baptism, water, oil, a candle and a white garment. However they are not all used in the same way. The Roman Catholics who practise infant baptism, sprinkle water on the infant's heads three times, whereas another Group who practises infant baptism is the Christian Orthodox Church, and they are fully immersed three times in the font. In believer's baptism, the Baptists fully immerse their adults in a pool in the church, whereas the Pentecosts fully immerse their adults in a river. Water is the most important symbol in baptism and it has more than one meaning. It is used as a symbol of cleansing people of their sins, but it also symbolizes drowning sins as we die to sin and then rise again to a new, sin-free life.

The idea of using water came from the Jews. They ritually washed themselves with water before performing spiritual ceremonies. They did this any number of times when they needed to but Christians are only baptised once, and the baptised with the holy spirit as well as water.

The Christian denominations use oil, the candle and the white garment in the same way, except that in the Christian Orthodox Church, chrism oil is given in a separate ceremony called Baptism involves two anointings with oil. The first is before baptism with the oil of catechumens, and the second is after baptism with the oil of chrism. The anointing with the oil of chrism symbolizes the taking on of Christ. The word 'Christ' means 'the anointed one' so Christians are...