This essay explains what is done and said at the baptism of an infant and what the different rituals/acts represent for Christians.

Essay by ed182A+, July 2006

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Baptism is the sign that someone belongs to Christ. That is why baptism is sometimes known as christening. Among Christians, there are two different opinions about who should be baptised. Some Christians believe people should only be baptised when they are old enough to understand what they are doing and make the choice to follow Jesus for themselves. Other Christians think that it is right to baptise children of Christian parents. They would say that it is not right to exclude babies and very young children from being in the Christian family just because they can't yet understand what Christianity means.

In the Anglican Church, babies, children and adults can be baptised. Although a baby cannot decide to follow Christ for themselves, in the Anglican Church a baptism shows that the child is included as a member of the church family.

When a child is baptised the family and church members look forward to the day when the promises made on behalf of the baby become personally real for the child.

Parents who would rather that their child was not baptised until old enough to choose to follow Jesus for themselves can have a 'Service of Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child', instead of a baptism. Adults can be baptised if they were not baptised as a child. It is a way for them to express their faith in Christ.

To Christians, every child is a gift from God. In nearly all cases Christian families, with a new born baby, attend a service to thank God for their child. They do this because they want God to bless and protect their child. They view baptism as a "tool" or "instrument" of God's justifying grace because it directly causes initial justification. They see it as God's drowning of the...