Baptism as a rite of initiation welcomes the individual into the Christian tradition and links the individual, community and divine. However, not all Christians identify with the physical nature of the rite. Quakers believe that the whole of life is sacramental. To be a member of Christ 's body involves no outward rite, it requires instead an inward transformation of one 's whole life. While other denominations have differences involving the rituals used and the age of the initiate.
Baptism celebrates a family 's and a community 's love for the initiate who is welcomed into the community of believers. The candidate (infant or adult) is provided with a god-parent/ sponsor to help them with their initiation as a Christian. 'Baptise first the children, and if they can speak for themselves let them do so. Otherwise their parents or other relatives speak for them '. (Hippolytus in the Apostolic Tradition c.215)
For Catholics, the sacrament of Baptism is the first step in a lifelong journey of commitment and discipleship. It is followed by years of catechesis before being completed late by Confirmation and the Eucharist, the summit of Christian initiation. Baptism is the Church 's way of celebrating and enacting the embrace of God and the promise of salvation. 'Peter replied, "Repent and be baptised..." ' (Acts 2: 38-39) Baptism happens not only to the individual, but also the wider Church. At the time of Christ it signified that the person being baptised became a followe...
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... you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." ' (Matthew 28 16-20)
The Baptist Church takes its name from the conviction that followers of Jesus should be immersed in water as a visible and public display of their faith. Baptists believe 'There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord '. Baptists emphasise a believer 's baptism by full immersion, after a public profession of faith in Christ as saviour. Unlike most Christian denominations Baptists do not baptise infants because of their belief that a person must be old enough to make a public profession of faith in order to be baptised.
Therefore, the foundational sacrament of Baptism unites the community of believers. It determines the spiritual life journey of the believer and reinforces the central tenets of the faith to those who witness the initiation of the individual.
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