Explain the importance of baptism to Christian adherents and how this is symbolized in the baptismal service.
“He who believes and is baptised will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Baptism has been used since ancient times as a rite to mark purification, commitment and inclusion in the religion. It is one of the sacraments that celebrate an outward sign of an inner spiritual grace. For all Christians, baptism is closely related to the central belief of Christianity: the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus – “…having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12). Therefore, for the adherents the practice signifies their union with Christ. This is symbolically or ritually presented through diverse ways in the variations of Christianity. Through the use of water, symbols and rituals it is possible to see the different ways the practice of baptism is performed through the variations of Roman Catholic, Baptists and Greek Orthodox.
Water plays an important symbolic role in baptisms as it represents the death of the old sinful self and rebirth into a new life as an adherent of Jesus Christ. Essentially, it represents death and burial. Emerging from the water, regardless of how it has been applied, symbolises the new life that the believer has experienced as a result of becoming Christian. The basic three forms that baptism takes are: the sprinkling of the water on the head (aspersion), the submersion of the entire body in the water (immersion) and water poured over the head (affusion). For Roman Catholics the form of affusion is frequently used in which water is poured over the head three times. For Baptists submersion of a believer in water is the form used. In the Greek Orthodox service the infant would be immersed in water three times in the name of the holy trinity.
Other aspects of baptism include the symbolic meaning through...