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Thread: Difference between Baptism and Christening

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mildlycurly View Post
    The ritual of baptism derives from the Jewish practice of mikveh, which entails full-body immersion and is required for conversion by most denominations. So they're not so much "taking the Greek literally" as taking the traditional route.
    While I understand your point vis-a-vis the connection to mikveh, the Christian practice of pouring in place of full immersion is also an ancient practice. The Didache, one of the oldest non-canonical Christian texts gives the following instructions:

    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, Matthew 28:19 in living water. But if you have not living water, baptize into other water; and if you can not in cold, in warm. But if you have not either, pour out water thrice 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 whatever others can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.
    The practice of pouring was embraced fairly quickly in the West (even though it was allowed rather than encouraged the Didache). From a pragmatic point of view, baptism by full-immersion in "living" (i.e. "running") water was a much colder experience in Germany than it was in Syria. From a spiritual angle, it nicely evoked the language of the New Covenant in Jeremiah and Ezekiel etc., especially this passage, Ezekiel 36:25-27:

    I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
    The East still prefers immersion as do many of the newer post-reformation churches. The traditions that have grown up around it remain diverse, although among the historic churches there is a common understanding as to what baptism signifies and realizes in the life of the baptized.

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  3. #12
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    There really is no difference. The two words essentially mean the same thing.

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    Alexander Campbell would beg to differ with you. (Actually, he would differ with anybody at the drop of a hat, so don't take it personally.) As the son of a minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) -- called "Campbellites" by many other Protestants of one stripe or another -- I couldn't help absorbing some of the immersionist propaganda. For instance, Campbell's not-very-popular rewrite of the New Testament. I have an 1832 copy, in which the chapter introducing "John the Immerser" is pretty pertinent:

    P1015989.jpg

    P1015990.jpg

    So, not quite the same as christening, as widely practiced in the C of E and elsewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by razyn View Post
    Alexander Campbell would beg to differ with you. (Actually, he would differ with anybody at the drop of a hat, so don't take it personally.) As the son of a minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) -- called "Campbellites" by many other Protestants of one stripe or another -- I couldn't help absorbing some of the immersionist propaganda. For instance, Campbell's not-very-popular rewrite of the New Testament. I have an 1832 copy, in which the chapter introducing "John the Immerser" is pretty pertinent:

    So, not quite the same as christening, as widely practiced in the C of E and elsewhere.
    From a genealogical point of view they're still the same thing, whatever Campbell might have thought.

    Similarly, from a theological and ecclesiological point of view, the definition of baptism doesn't stand or fall on Alexander Campbell's interpretation of the text. He isn't alone, and he isn't the first to try to restrict baptism to full immersion (the anabaptists were the first to do that back in the 16th century). The historic churches have always recognized the different forms of baptism as valid, though, including those who typically favor immersion, such as the Eastern Orthodox.

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    I was raised Lutheran; the "official" term was baptism but oddly enough christening was used outside of the actual rite. I have my dad's baptism date, but I also have his christening gown--never heard it called a "baptism gown'.

    I think what might be germane regarding a christening or baptism date re genealogy might be knowing what religion the person was. Some practice adult baptism and might cause a little confusion if that isn't known.

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    Quote Originally Posted by razyn View Post
    Alexander Campbell would beg to differ with you. (Actually, he would differ with anybody at the drop of a hat, so don't take it personally.) As the son of a minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) -- called "Campbellites" by many other Protestants of one stripe or another -- I couldn't help absorbing some of the immersionist propaganda. For instance, Campbell's not-very-popular rewrite of the New Testament. I have an 1832 copy, in which the chapter introducing "John the Immerser" is pretty pertinent:

    P1015989.jpg

    P1015990.jpg

    So, not quite the same as christening, as widely practiced in the C of E and elsewhere.
    Have you read William Maxwell's book Ancestors? You might find it interesting. It's basically a literary fiction writer doing a memoir of his family based on family history research (so that's why I read it, I'm interested in other people's family history research and also liked some of his fiction), but a significant portion of his family were early Campbellites, so he goes into that.

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    Just wondering whether languages other than English have more than one term?

    I would translate baptism and christening into the same Welsh word - bedydd.
    All 32 3xgreat grandparents were Welsh. Two 6xgreat grandparents from England and a few Irish or English surnames before 1800. Paper trail shows several C11th to C14th Anglo-Norman lines and C11th Norse-Irish lines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoebe Watts View Post
    Just wondering whether languages other than English have more than one term?

    I would translate baptism and christening into the same Welsh word - bedydd.
    Looks like it may be one of those things that occurred due to the Normans and then English adopting French terms.

    Etymology says Old English had the word cristnian (make Christian), originally from Latin deriving as one would expect. German for baptize or christen is taufen.

    Etymology of baptism is from Middle French (baptesme), deriving from Greek as discussed above, and that entered Middle English as baptism. In French either to christen or to baptize seems to be translated as baptiser.

    So English has both words, like we have mutton and sheep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Mc View Post
    among the historic churches there is a common understanding as to what baptism signifies and realizes in the life of the baptized.
    and
    The historic churches have always recognized the different forms of baptism as valid, though
    There are those who think that those who think they are historic, and others are not, are kind of full of themselves. But I didn't post that to argue with anyone; I just think Alexander Campbell was funny, and not enough people realize it. You should see his hymn book.

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