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  #1  
Old Apr 18, '12, 6:13 pm
Gianna_MarieJMJ Gianna_MarieJMJ is offline
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Question Baptism 'Immersion'

Hello All!

My boyfriend's brother who is not a catholic brought up a topic just to friendly discuss my boyfriend's view on baptism. And what my boyfriend though about full water Immersion vs. sprinkling or pouring onto the head. My boyfriend and his brother were brought up believing infant baptism in the church they grew up in before my boyfriend converted. So they both never really thought too much about it. His brother said that one of his youth pastors pointed out that no where in the bible was it done without being immersed.
Could anyone help me on why we believe in the way we do baptism and why we baptize infants?
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  #2  
Old Apr 18, '12, 6:23 pm
Richard320 Richard320 is offline
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Default Re: Baptism 'Immersion'

It doesn't specify that the baptisms were done by immersion in Acts 16. Run that tidbit past the youth pastor! But it seems unlikely that the jailer would haul Paul and Silas and his whole family down to a river to get baptized. More likely it was done with whatever water was handy.

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Old Apr 18, '12, 6:32 pm
Farsight001 Farsight001 is offline
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Default Re: Baptism 'Immersion'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gianna_MarieJMJ View Post
Hello All!

My boyfriend's brother who is not a catholic brought up a topic just to friendly discuss my boyfriend's view on baptism. And what my boyfriend though about full water Immersion vs. sprinkling or pouring onto the head. My boyfriend and his brother were brought up believing infant baptism in the church they grew up in before my boyfriend converted. So they both never really thought too much about it. His brother said that one of his youth pastors pointed out that no where in the bible was it done without being immersed.
Could anyone help me on why we believe in the way we do baptism and why we baptize infants?
You'd first have to explain why the method of baptism matters. No where in the bible was it done anywhere but a river either. Nor was it done anywhere but in the middle east. Why do these things matter?
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Old Apr 18, '12, 6:40 pm
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Default Re: Baptism 'Immersion'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gianna_MarieJMJ View Post
Hello All!

My boyfriend's brother who is not a catholic brought up a topic just to friendly discuss my boyfriend's view on baptism. And what my boyfriend though about full water Immersion vs. sprinkling or pouring onto the head. My boyfriend and his brother were brought up believing infant baptism in the church they grew up in before my boyfriend converted. So they both never really thought too much about it. His brother said that one of his youth pastors pointed out that no where in the bible was it done without being immersed.
Could anyone help me on why we believe in the way we do baptism and why we baptize infants?
We baptize infants because St. Peter tells us in Acts 2 that "these promises are for you and for your children." In the Early Church, the argument was not whether infants could be baptized, but whether you could baptize them before they were eight days old (the Church said yes, they can) - it was seen as the New Covenant equivalent of circumcision - bringing the infant child into God's Covenant.

In the Didache, which was written to summarize the teachings of the Apostles, we read that any amount of water will do, as long as it is poured over the body three times, with the words, "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

Catholics do not "sprinkle." The majority of the time, a small baptismal font is used, with the person's head held over it, and water poured over the head three times. More rarely, full immersion is used, but again, with pouring of water three times and the proper words used.

Also he might try to say that "whole households" did not have any children in them. Call him on it - even in this age of rampant birth control where children are considered an expensive burden, most households contain at least one child - how much more so in first century Jewish society, which prized children as blessings from God, and a family's standing was counted according to the number of children at home - "a quiver-full" (12) being considered the perfect number.
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  #5  
Old Apr 18, '12, 6:54 pm
Ignatius Ignatius is offline
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Default Re: Baptism 'Immersion'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gianna_MarieJMJ View Post
Hello All!

My boyfriend's brother who is not a catholic brought up a topic just to friendly discuss my boyfriend's view on baptism. And what my boyfriend though about full water Immersion vs. sprinkling or pouring onto the head.His brother said that one of his youth pastors pointed out that no where in the bible was it done without being immersed.
The youth pastor is quite wrong. No where in the Bible does it say that Baptism has to be by imersion. In fact the same word is used to refer to washing before meals.

No where in the bible does it say that only adults are to be baptized. In fact many of the examples say that the entire household was baptized.
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  #6  
Old Apr 18, '12, 7:00 pm
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Default Re: Baptism 'Immersion'

What always perplexes me is that everyone I've ever known who insists on Baptism by immersion also believes that Baptism is merely a symbolic ritual (a public witness to a "Spirit Baptism" that has already happened).

It seems strange that people would get worked up about how Baptism is done if they don't believe Baptism really does anything.
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  #7  
Old Apr 18, '12, 7:06 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farsight001 View Post
You'd first have to explain why the method of baptism matters. No where in the bible was it done anywhere but a river either. Nor was it done anywhere but in the middle east. Why do these things matter?
And particularly if it's only "symbolic." So, questions for the youth pastor of your boyfriend's brother:

1) where does it say thou must baptize by immersion in a baptismal pool located in a church building? and

2) if it's only a symbolic gesture, why does the method matter? and why even use a baptismal pool? wouldn't it be just as effective if the born-again Christian were to dive into a "pool" of plastic playpen balls and then come out shouting his or her faith in Jesus Christ? Now that would be a public profession of faith...
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  #8  
Old Apr 18, '12, 7:12 pm
TimothyH TimothyH is offline
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Default Re: Baptism 'Immersion'

Batism at the time of Jesus and shortly after would have been based on the Jewish Mikvah purification bath.

A Mikvah purification bath would have been done with living water, that is to say running water as opposed to stagnant water. The person would strip naked go down into the water, spreading their fingers, opening their eyes, and keeping their mouth wide open so that the water would touch every possible part of their body, thus immersing themselves completely. This is what was done when in the Bible God tells Israel to "Purify yourselves." The phrase "Wash your garments" was an idiom for undergoing a ritual Mikvah purification bath.

The mikvah is still used by the Jewish faith. A good article about it is at http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman...The-Mikvah.htm

The Mikvah was a rule of the Law of Moses as part of the old covenant. The Mikvah was specified by God and Solomon included a Mikvah pool in the temple for the priests.
He also made the molten sea. It was perfectly round, ten cubits in diameter, five in depth, and thirty in circumference; below the rim a ring of figures of oxen encircled the sea, ten to the cubit, all the way around; there were two rows of these cast in the same mold with the sea. It rested on twelve oxen, three facing north, three west, three south, and three east, with their haunches all toward the center; the sea rested on their backs. It was a handbreadth thick, and its brim was made like that of a cup, being lily-shaped. It had a capacity of three thousand measures. Then he made ten basins for washing, placing five of them to the right and five to the left. Here were cleansed the victims for the holocausts; but the sea was for the priests to wash in. (2 Chronicles 4:2-6)
The Mikvah is what John the Baptist was doing. John was performing Mikvah purifications in the living water of the Jordan River. The people realized according to the prophecy of Daniel that the Messiah was coming soon, and so people were coming from all over Judea to the lowest spot on earth, out in the middle of the Judean wilderness, to confess their sins and undergo a Mikvah purification bath.
At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. (Matthew 3:5-6)
When the Bible says that Jesus was "baptized", they are talking about a ritual Mikvah purification bath. Jesus also went into the wilderness to undergo the Mikvah, and in undergoing the Mikvah of the old covenant, Jesus elevates it to supernatural status - to sacramental status of the new covenant.
After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. (Matthew 3:16)
The Christian sacrament of baptism was the new sacramental form of the Jewish Mikvah, and it was done by immersion in the earliest Christian communites. The OP's friend is correct that the earliest Christians preferred baptism by immersion in in "living water".

Some Catholic Churches Churches have fountains and other ways to produce living or running water and still practice baptism by immersion. Catholics also pour the water, thus fulfilling the requirement that it be running water.

If you read the requirments of the Mikvah in the article linked, you will see that it has to be water from a natural source - rain water or taken directly from a stream or river. It cannot be tap water so both Catholics and non-Catholics don't really fulfill the basic requirements of the Mikvah upon which baptism is based and which Jesus underwent. But that's not really the point.

Catholics believe that the Catholic Church was established by Christ and given the authority of Christ, and so we believe the Church gets to decide what constitutes a valid baptism. Pouring of water and trinitarian form meets the basic requirments for baptsim according to the Church.

The earliest known worship guide is called the Didache. The Didache was written in the late first or early second century, within 100 years of Jesus' ascension into heaven, and it records some of the basic ideas held by the earliest Christians as well as some basic instructions on Christian worship including how to properly baptize.
Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.
So the earliest Chrisitans understood baptism by pouring water on the forehead to be valid. The Didache is actually fascinating to read. The whole thing is at http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-roberts.html.


Peace

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  #9  
Old Apr 18, '12, 7:53 pm
martininthefiel martininthefiel is offline
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Default Re: Baptism 'Immersion'

An interesting aside:

I go to a large Catholic parish, which has a Baptismal pool with running water, rather than a simple font. The vast majority of adult Baptisms here are performed with the Catechumen kneeling in the pool. The priest, usually the pastor, himself, rolls up his pants cuffs, and kneels in the pool with them. He pours water over them three times from a large ewer and pronounces the Baptismal formula as he does so. (This is not done if the candidate is disabled in some way.)

This is pretty close to immersion.

I have also seen infants dipped naked in the font.
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  #10  
Old Apr 18, '12, 8:54 pm
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Question Re: Baptism 'Immersion'

I don't know how to quote just a portion of a post so please refer to the TimothyH post. In discribing the Mikvah purification bath, it was stated the person was nude. Did women also get baptized in this way or was this only for men?? Was there a different ceremony for women who wanted to confess their sins & receive the purification?? Does anyone know what "formula" John the Baptist used?? If it was merely a purification, did those people need to later be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, & Holy Ghost??

Thanks,
mouse
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  #11  
Old Apr 19, '12, 2:03 pm
fbl9 fbl9 is offline
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Default Re: Baptism 'Immersion'

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Batism at the time of Jesus and shortly after would have been based on the Jewish Mikvah purification bath.

A Mikvah purification bath would have been done with living water, that is to say running water as opposed to stagnant water. -Tim-
"Living water" that is why the water is poured on the recipiatant at baptism.
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  #12  
Old Apr 19, '12, 2:54 pm
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Default Re: Baptism 'Immersion'

This passage is taken directly from the Didache, the oldest authentic non-Biblical Christian document we have. It's so old, it was written even before parts of the New Testament, such as Revelations. (It dates probably to about 70 AD.) The reason it wasn't included in the canon of the Bible had NOTHING to do with it's accuracy or authenticity. It was simply because it discussed traditions here on Earth, and it was not deemed to be *inspired*. In other words, it was mainly a procedural document, rather than discussing our eternal salvation. Historians widely regard it as an true document of that era. Now that said... look at what it says about baptism:

7:1 But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water;

7:2 but if thou hast not running water, baptize in some other water, and if thou canst not baptize in cold, in warm water;

7:3 but if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

This document, and other historical documents like it, CLEARLY demonstrate that in the early church, baptism by pouring or sprinkling was allowed and practiced. It wasn't the *preferred* method, but it was perfectly acceptable. So, why was it allowed at all, and why did it become so common? Remember, that many people at that time lived in large urban areas like Rome, and you wouldn't want to go baptize people in a river, since the river was also your sewer. That continued to hold true (sewage wise) until relatively recently in history, I might add.
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Old Apr 19, '12, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: Baptism 'Immersion'

Bible verses on the forms of Baptism:

Forms of Baptism


Pretty good summary of bible verses on related Baptism issues:

Baptism: Born Again

Baptism of Infants

Baptism Saves
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Old Apr 24, '12, 9:04 am
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Default Re: Baptism 'Immersion'

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it was seen as the New Covenant equivalent of circumcision - bringing the infant child into God's Covenant.
Awesome!
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Old Apr 24, '12, 9:07 am
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Default Re: Baptism 'Immersion'

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Originally Posted by Rolltide View Post
This passage is taken directly from the Didache, the oldest authentic non-Biblical Christian document we have. It's so old, it was written even before parts of the New Testament, such as Revelations. (It dates probably to about 70 AD.) The reason it wasn't included in the canon of the Bible had NOTHING to do with it's accuracy or authenticity. It was simply because it discussed traditions here on Earth, and it was not deemed to be *inspired*. In other words, it was mainly a procedural document, rather than discussing our eternal salvation. Historians widely regard it as an true document of that era. Now that said... look at what it says about baptism:

7:1 But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water;

7:2 but if thou hast not running water, baptize in some other water, and if thou canst not baptize in cold, in warm water;

7:3 but if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

This document, and other historical documents like it, CLEARLY demonstrate that in the early church, baptism by pouring or sprinkling was allowed and practiced. It wasn't the *preferred* method, but it was perfectly acceptable. So, why was it allowed at all, and why did it become so common? Remember, that many people at that time lived in large urban areas like Rome, and you wouldn't want to go baptize people in a river, since the river was also your sewer. That continued to hold true (sewage wise) until relatively recently in history, I might add.
I had a hangup about not being immersed but researching here and talking to the RCIA team helped to resolve my fears. Logistically, everyone couldn't have been baptized in a river.

Recently, my mother said my baptism wasn't "real" and although it was very hurtful to me, I just decided to not dwell on her comments. I know there's been a change since Easter Vigil.
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