Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by bwallac2335, Jun 10, 2019.
What forms of Baptism are commonly used and does water have to actually flow to be valid?
I saw a baptism last fall in my ACNA parish. The priest dipped his hand into the water and used it to make the sign of the cross on the recipient's forehead. That was the extent of the water usage in that baptism. I am pretty new to Anglicanism, though, and don't know a lot about it but I think there may be variations. Others will reply with more complete info, I'm sure.
Being immersed in flowing ("living") water was the preference in the Didache as I recall, though I think that ancient document also preferred warm water over cold, or something interesting like that. As for us, as long as the candidate gets wet with the water intended for him or her, it's good. In my opinion, the wetter the better, as the washing and burying/rising symbolism is more vivid that way. I know a few infant baptisms that have been full immersion; my two kids were placed on or over the water and pretty well-soaked from a triple pouring over their heads.
I suspect a lot of the variation has to do with the facilities available. If you've only got a baby-sized baptismal font then an adult is just going to have lean a head over it and make do with a splash or something
I was Baptized in prison.
A standard sized garden inflatable swimming pool was brought into the Chapel and filled with water using buckets, it sat overnight ready for us who were being baptized the next day. I had oil on my forehead at the start of the ceremony in the form of the cross and we each spoke and received blessings. We were then one by one sat in the pool with our Pastor kneeling in the water behind us, he told us to sit down legs laid out in front of us and I crossed my arms across my chest, I was flung back and fully submersed into the freezing cold water.
It's fair to say it was freeeeezing cold, but, a moment I will cherish forever. - 17/12/17
Shaun, its great to hear that you were baptised and saved in prison. May the LORD continue to bless you as you walk in his ways.
Every baptism I have ever witnessed was in a stone font and involved pouring a small quantity of water over the subject. In one parish a seashell was used for this purpose, but sometimes the priest simply scoops up some water with their hand. I think that is what the bishop did at the Easter Vigil. I was personally baptised as an infant so I couldn't say exactly how it was done!
I was Baptized as an infant and once when joining a Baptist Church for a few years before I went back to my home church. My son was Baptized as an infant also. I am not sure if the water flowed on his head or not though and I have read that the water has to flow to be legit. If I remember well the preacher at our Methodist Church twice put his hand in the Baptismal Font and then put it on his head and Baptized him in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The form was right but was not sure if enough water moved or was used.
There is a line in the Didache which references 'living' (or flowing) water. The next line says if it is not available use the water you have.
I was baptized by full immersion; not in an Anglican church. My daughters have both been baptized by pouring water from the font over their head three times. I had a little disagreement with the REC priest who performed my older daughter's baptism. I tried to convince him to do an immersion in the manner that the Orthodox perform infant baptisms. He was terrified of the thought and refused to do it. I was a deacon by the time the younger one was baptized. She was baptized on the feast day of the Baptism of our Lord. I preached the homily that day and the bishop also happened to be in attendance. The rector did the baptism though. That reminds me, he still hasn't prepared a baptismal certificate and she's well over a year old now.
Thank you Peter.
Most babies do not enjoy their baptism. She was okay with the first two pours of water but the third was too much to take. Also, I don't think she was fond of the little bonnet.
Being raised Baptist, I was baptized by full immersion with the Trinitarian Formula. The pastor lost his footing and almost dropped me. I went way deeper down than I was supposed to. He regained his footing and got me back to an upright position. But it got the water to sloshing so much that some it spilled over the glass and onto the carpet. Took them a while to dry it up. So I had a memorable baptism for more than just one reason. Heh, heh.
Our Parish uses a marble pedestal baptismal font with three small dashes of water over the forehead with the Trinitarian Formula. Not sure if it's a seashell though.
You reminded me of a story that one of my instructors told me years ago when I was attending a Church of Christ training program. You probably know a lot of the full immersion baptism churches keep a pair of hip waders around. Well, this place had a rank amateur to do the baptizing and a candidate. They put the hip waders on the candidate, which promptly flooded when they flipped him over. They nearly drowned the poor guy because he was suddenly super heavy with all the water in the waders.
I was raised Baptist (full immersion around the age of 9) then, when I converted to Orthodoxy, I was re-baptized (some Orthodox re-baptize, some don't) by having water poured over my head from the large font normally used to baptize babies. That particular Church had no other provision for baptizing adults. In the five years I attended that parish I witnessed a number of infant baptisms, but never saw another adult baptized.
The usual ancient CofE fonts, (which were originally Roman Catholic fonts), were large enough to contain many gallons of water. Certainly plenty enough to baptise both infants and adults. Adults are instructed to stand and place their head over the font itself while water is poured over their head from a container, (usually a scallop shell, a significant symbol in protestantism; or the baptisers cupped hands or hand, or even a dish or bucket), the superfluous water hopefully falling back into the font.
An interesting point not so far mentioned is the fact that ancient fonts like these always drain into the foundations of the church, never into a drain where the water might be collected and purloined for nefarious purposes by nere do well occultists. (Check it out in any pre reformation parish church). The font was always placed at the main door of the church, signifying baptism as the universal means of entry into the assembly of the church.
It is of course possible for the ritual of baptism to become embroiled in superstition to the degree where the kind of water, or the quantity of it becomes inappropriately important in the minds of those receiving baptism, those witnessing it or those performing the rite. Water is required merely because without it there is no symbolism of either drowning of 'self' or cleansing from sin, (both being symbolised in many scripture references, with references to cleansing being the more numerous.) Thus the primary requirement of nature of the water is that it should be clean water, prefereably fresh water rather than sea water, (but sea water would still be OK, so long as it is clean). If the Israelites did actually cross the Red Sea, rather than the 'Reed Sea' as the Hebrew OT would seem to actually indicate, then baptism in sea water would be legitimate since we refer to the deliverance of God's People through the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea waters in the baptismal liturgy, as symbolic of the deliverance of the individual by the atonement of Jesus Christ.
We should not let the mechanics or ritual of baptism become of greater importance than the things symbolized by them, namely death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who never baptised with water, John. 4:1-2, but with The Holy Ghost and Fire. Luke 3:16, Luke 12:49,