Baptisms take place at the Sunday Masses throughout the year.
When contemplating the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, it is good
to examine the rite, as contained in the 1928 Book of Common
Prayer, beginning on page 273. If you do not have a copy
available, one can be purchased HERE,
or a PDF of the rite can be download at the following URL:
The Baptism liturgy we use came into its present form serveral
hundred years ago, and the following is offered as an explanation
not only for some of the marvelous words used, but also in order
to portray to you what the Church believes about the Sacrament
of Marriage. The italicized questions and answers that follow
are taken from an old classic book entitled "THE PRAYER
BOOK - REASON WHY" by the Rev. Nelson R. Boss. (Note: the
reader should have a copy of the service in your hands while
you read the following.)
The Prayer Book, Reason Why
The Rev. Nelson R. Boss
(prayer book, pages 273-282)
What is Baptism?
(1) An outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace
given unto us. (2) A covenant or agreement whereby one is made
a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the Kingdom
What does the first rubric at the beginning of this office direct
the Minister to do?
Admonish the people that they do not neglect to bring their children
to Baptism as soon after their birth as possible.
Why is this direction given?
(1) In order that children may be brought into covenant relations
with God, as He commanded in the Old Testament, Gen 17:10-23.
(2) Lest through sudden sickness the child die unbaptized.
What do we learn from this rubric?
That the Church looks upon Baptism as a matter of exceeding importance,
and therefore takes every precaution to guard against its neglect.
Why does the Church look upon Baptism as a matter of such great
Because Christ has declared that none can enter the Kingdom of
Heaven without it. St. John 3:5.
What does the rubric Next
That, except for urgent cause, parents procure not their children
to be baptized at home in their houses, but that they shall be
brought to the church?
Why is this rule laid down?
(1) Because the Church is God's house, the place especially set
apart and consecrated for the public ministration of His Sacraments;
(2) In order that others seeing this sacrament publicly administered
in the Church may be instructed by the service and be led to
follow this Christian example; (3) Because greater decency and
solemnity may be had then in any private house.
On what days does the rubric say that this service for baptism
is to be used?
On Sunday or some Holy Day or Prayer day, or, if necessity require,
on any other day.
At what time in the service is the Baptism to be administered?
Immediately after the Second Lesson, at Morning or Evening Prayer,
or at such other time as the Minister may appoint.
How many Sponsors are required by the rubric?
Three, where they may be had.
Why does the Church require Sponsors for infants to be baptized?
(1) Because infants are not able to act and answer for themselves.
(2) In order that children may have the benefit of Christian
care and training.
May persons who have not themselves been baptized act as Sponsors?
No; the nature of the transaction is such that no one but a Christian
believer could consistently fulfill the obligations.
What three promises are the god-parents required to make on behalf
of the child?
A promise of renunciation, a promise of obedience, and a promise
Are the Sponsors or God-parents required to see that the children
fulfill their promises?
Yes; so far as they reasonably may; but if children refuse to
do so in spite of care and admonition, the Sponsors are not to
be held accountable.
What does the rubric require when the persons to be baptized
are older, and able to answer for themselves?
That they be instructed and prepared.
In what does the rubric at the beginning of this service say
that people are to be instructed before they are baptized?
In the principles of the Christian Religion.
Where are these principles of the Christian Religion laid down
In the Catechism.
How are people directed by this rubric to prepare themselves
for Holy Baptism?
By prayer and fasting.
Why by prayer and fasting?
Because prayer and fasting are both spoken of in the Bible as
means of Christian grace.
Why does the Minister first ask whether the candidates have been
Because no person may be baptized more than once.
Why may a person never be baptized more than once?
(1) Because Baptism is our new birth into the Church and family
of God, and as there can be but one natural birth, so there can
be but one spiritual birth; (2) To repeat it would imply that
God had not fulfilled His promises at the first.
What is done if there is a reasonable doubt of the fact of the
He is baptized conditionally. See Prayer Book p. 282.
What does the Minister Next
He bids the congregation to pray for those about to be baptized.
What follows this prayer?
A lesson from the Gospels.
Why are there three different Gospels provided for Baptism?
The first (St. Mark 10:13) assures us of the right of children
to a place and share in the Kingdom of God, and is therefore
more appropriate for use when all the candidates are infants.
The second (St. John 3:1) is more appropriate when those to be
baptized are adults.
What does this passage teach?
(1) The necessity of a new birth by water and the Spirit. (2)
The necessity of an humble faith.
What does the Saviour say to Nicodemus in regard to the necessity
of being baptized?
Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter
into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Do we infer from the language of this text that all heathen people
and those who die unbaptized shall be lost eternally?
No. It only applies to those who have heard the Gospel and understand
it and yet from sinful motives of pride or stubborn self-will
refuse to obey it.
What are we taught in the exhortation preceding the questions
to the candidates?
That a persons coming rightly to Holy Baptism receive three great
benefits: (1) The remission of their sins; (2) The gift of the
Holy Ghost; (3) the blessing of eternal life.
What must persons promise to renounce before they can be baptized?
The devil and all his works, and vain pomp and glory of the world,
What do you mean by the devil?
The spirit of evil, by whom we are enticed to do wrong.
What are some of the works of the devil?
Pride, malice, lying, blasphemy, slander, cruelty, hypocrisy,
unbelief, and whatever is contrary to God's Word.
Why are these called the works of the devil?
Because it is the evil spirit who entices men to do them.
What do you mean by the pomp and glory of the world?
Ostentatious display of dress or wealth or equipage calculated
to draw away our hearts from God.
Is all pomp and display sinful?
No; only such as fosters human pride and selfishness.
What are some of the sinful lusts of the flesh?
See Gal 5:18-21.
What else is required of persons to be baptized besides this
vow of renunciation?
That they shall believe all the articles of the Christian faith
as contained in the Apostles' Creed.
Why does the Church make this Creed the standard of belief for
all persons desiring Baptism?
(1) Because it is the briefest and simplest statement of the
fundamental truths of the Christian religion; (2) Unless we accept
these truths we could not be baptized in this faith.
What else does the person baptized promise to do?
To keep God's holy will and commandments.
Where do you find a summary of God's holy will and commandments?
In the Church Catechism.
How can infants be asked to make such promises?
Their Sponsors make the promises for them.
Is not this unfair to the children?
No; nothing is given up but what is definitely harmful, and in
exchange the children receive the great benefits coming from
What promises do the Sponsors make in their own name?
To see that the child is properly taught the Christian religion,
and that as soon as he is sufficiently instructed they will take
heed that the child is brought to the Bishop to be confirmed
Why do not the witnesses make a similar promise at the Baptism
of an adult?
Because the Minister, if he obeys the Prayer Book, will already
have instructed the candidates sufficiently to entitle them to
What is the duty of the witnesses or God -parents to the persons
To call upon them to use all diligence to be rightly instructed
in God's Word, and to put them in mind of their baptismal promises.
Why does the Minister bless the Water?
Because the gift of Baptism comes not from water but from God,
and this prayer asks God to ratify and make effective our act
Why does this blessing contain the command "Lift up your
Baptism is of equal importance with Holy Communion in the Christian
life, and it is fitting that the outward sign should be dedicated
to its purpose with equal devout recollection and attention.
Why is the person's name pronounced?
Because he is entering into a personal relation with God in Christ.
What is the essential part of Christian Baptism?
The application of water to the person baptized, and the use
of the words, "In the Name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost."
Where does Christ enjoin the use of these words?
St. John 3:5; and St. Mat 28:19.
How does the rubric say the water is to be applied?
By pouring or dipping.
What sign is used by the Minister after he applies the water,
The sign of the cross, to symbolize our allegiance to Christ.
What does the Minister say respecting the person after he is
That he is regenerate.
What does regenerate mean?
Re-born, or born a second time.
In what two senses may the baptized be said to be re-born or
(1) As he is brought first by natural birth into the world to
live and move among men, so by this Sacrament of Baptism he is
brought into the Church, which is in a special sense God's family,
to live and move among the children of God; (2) As children receive
from their human parents their physical endowments, so through
this second birth they receive from God spiritual endowments.
After the candidate is baptized, for what does the Minister return
That it hath pleased God to regenerate this person with His Holy
What right have we to suppose that God has done this?
Because this is what we asked Him to do in the prayer used just
after the selection was read from the Gospel. If we believe what
Christ says in St. Mat 7:7-11, we cannot doubt that the person
baptized has received the blessing which we prayed for, i.e.,
the gift of the Holy Spirit.
What is directed by the rubric following the blessing?
That every adult thus baptized should be confirmed by the Bishop
as soon as conveniently may be.
(Prayer Book, page 281)
What does this service consist of?
The absolute essentials of Baptism, with no further ceremonies.
Why are the questions considered essential in the case of an
Because anyone capable of doing so should express his faith and
his penitence before being baptized.
By whom may this office be used?
By any baptized person, if an ordained clergyman cannot be procured
What further duty has a layman performing such a Baptism?
To report the fact to the Minister, or if there be none to the
Wardens or other parish authority.
THE RECEIVING OF ONE PRIVATELY BAPTIZED
(Prayer Book, page 281)
What is provided in the rubric?
That if the child or person privately baptized live he shall
be brought to the Church, where the required promises shall be
made, and the omitted portions of the service be said as in the
office of public Baptism.
(Prayer Book, page 282)
For what is this office intended?
For all in whose case there may be a doubt either of the fact
of Baptism or of the sufficiency of the manner by which it was
What procedure is directed?
The same as for public or private Baptism, but with the statement
that the sacrament is administered only in case the candidate
is not already baptized.
What reason have we for knowing that God intends children
to be members of His Church?
Because He directed expressly that they should be made members
of His Church under the old covenant (Gen 17:10-23); and says
the new covenant is for children also (Acts 2:39).
What other reason?
The Apostles were commanded to go and baptize all nations, and
children are as truly a part of the nation as older people.
What other reason?
The example of the Apostles, who baptized whole households and
families (Acts 16:15,33; 1Cor 1:16). It would not be true to
speak of baptizing households unless the children were also included.
Is there any text in the Bible showing conclusively that children
as well as adults are to be baptized?
Yes; our Saviour said to Nicodemus, "Except any one be born
of water and the Spirit, he cannot see the Kingdom of God."
Why do you say "any one" here, when in the Bible the
language is "a man" ---"except a man be born of
water and the Spirit"?
Because the word used by our Lord in the original Greek means
"any one," whether man, woman, or child.
Is there anything to guide us in this matter outside of the bible?
Yes; in almost all the writings of the early Fathers, Infant
Baptism is spoken of as one of the established customs of the
Why do we look upon the writings of these early Fathers as authority
on this subject?
Because some of them had been instructed by the Apostles themselves,
and would certainly know what the Apostles believed and practised.
What does St. Clement say upon the subject of baptizing children?
He says, "Baptize your infants, and educate them in the
knowledge and admonition of God."
Who was St. Clement?
He was Bishop of the Church at Rome in the time of the Apostles,
and is spoken of by St. Paul (Phil 4:3.)
What does Irenaeus say?
"Christ came to save all persons who by Him are born again"
(i.e., baptized), "unto God, infants, and little ones, and
children, and youths, and elder persons."
Why would Irenaeus be likely to know about this?
He was a pupil of St. Polycarp, who says that he had conversed
with St. John. Being so near to the Apostles he would know, of
course, what they had taught.
What does Origen say?
He says, "The Church received an order from the Apostles
to give Baptism even to infants."
If it was the will of Christ that infants should be baptized,
why do we not find some express command on the subject in the
Because at the time the New Testament was written it was already
the established custom of the Church, and therefore there was
no need of any command.
Do you mean to say that the Church existed before the New Testament
Certainly. The Apostles and their co-laborers established the
Church in obedience to Christ's instructions (St. Mat 28:20;
Acts 1:3); but the writing of the books of the new Testament
was occasioned by circumstances which subsequently arose.
Why are the writings of the Fathers accepted as conclusive on
certain matters which the New Testament leaves indeterminate?
Because the Christian world receives the books of the New Testament
on the testimony of the early Fathers of the Church, who certify
that these books had been transmitted to their times by the Churches
which had originally received them; thus, in settling the question
of the genuineness of the books of the New Testament, all Christendom
regards this testimony as conclusive. The same Fathers who testify
as to the matter of fact regarding the New Testament also testify
as to the matter of fact regarding the Baptism of infants. If
their testimony is accepted as authoritative and conclusive on
so important a matter as the genuineness of the Bible, it must
certainly be accepted as authoritative and conclusive in other
matters pertaining to their time.
What great Council of the Church settled the matter of Infant
Baptism beyond dispute?
The Council of Carthage, about 264 A.D.
What do we learn from the decisions of this Council?
That infant Baptism was the universal custom in the Church from
the days of the Apostles. If that is true, there can be no doubt
that it is in accordance with the will of Christ.
TO INFANT BAPTISM
What objections do people sometimes make to Infant Baptism?
They say that according to the words of Christ (St. Mark 16:16)
belief is necessary to Baptism, and as infants cannot believe,
they should not be baptized.
How do you answer this objection?
If this text teaches that infants cannot be baptized, it also
teaches that they cannot be saved; for it says "he that
believeth not shall be damned." Another passage (2Thess
3:10) tells us that "if any one will not work, neither shall
he eat." It is evident, therefore, that these texts which
speak of believing and working do not refer to infants, but to
What other objection is sometimes urged?
That there is no command in the Bible to baptize children.
Is this a valid objection?
No; if the absence of a direct command is equivalent to prohibition,
it would be wrong to keep the Lord's Day holy, or to have family
prayers, or to admit women to the Holy Communion, for there is
no express command to do either of these things.
What other objection do people sometimes make to Infant Baptism?
They say that they cannot see what good it will do, for a little
water poured on the child cannot cleanse the soul.
What reply can we make to this objection?
No one claims that the water does this. Water is but the outward
and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace given to us
through this act of obedience. It was not the water that cleansed
Naaman, and yet had he not washed in the water of Jordan, as
the prophet commanded, he would not have been cleansed.
What other common objection do people make?
They say that Baptism can do no good, because many persons baptized
in infancy grow up to be bad or ungodly people.
What reply can we make to this objection?
(1) If it is a duty which God's Word enjoins upon us, our business
is to obey, whether we can see the good of it or not. (2) Many
persons born into this world misspend their lives, but that does
not prove that the gift of natural life to mankind is useless.
If we say it is wrong to baptize children because some of them
become bad, we might as well say that it was wrong for God to
create mankind because some of the human race become bad.
What other reason do people often give for not having their children
They say that they wish to leave their children free to choose
for themselves when they grow up.
What reply do we make to this?
(1) If it is God's will that children should be made members
of His Church through Holy Baptism, parents ought to see that
it is done. (2) If parents choose and act for their children
in matters of worldly interest, much more ar they bound to choose
and act for them in spiritual matters until they come of age
to act for themselves. (3) If Infant Baptism was an Apostolic
custom, and was universally practised in the Church for the first
fifteen hundred years, it seems incredible that any Christian
could object to it now as contrary to God's will.
MODES OF BAPTISM
Did our Saviour ordain any particular method of applying
the water in Baptism?
He did not.
What may we infer from this?
That the quantity of water used and the method of applying it
are matters of indifference.
What different methods have been used?
Pouring, sprinkling, and immersing.
Why is "pouring" the method now generally practised
in the Church, instead of other methods?
Because in our climate and other circumstances it is most convenient
and it appears to be in harmony with the language of Scripture,and
has been the general custom of the Church in all ages.
Why does the Church not insist upon immersion?
(1) Because the Bible nowhere teaches that it is necessary: (2)
Because the application of water is a symbolical act, and therefore
the quantity of water used is not important; (3) If immersion
were insisted on as essential to Baptism, delicate children and
invalids who could not be immersed would be excluded from the
What passage of Scripture is often quoted to prove that immersion
The passage in Acts 8:38, which speaks of Philip and the eunuch
both going down into the water.
Why does not this prove that the eunuch was immersed?
(1) Because one may walk down into a stream without going far
enough to be immersed; and (2) Because the Greek word eis, here
translated "into," frequently means nothing more than
"unto," as in St. John 20:4.
What other passage is sometimes quoted to prove the immersion
St. John 3:23, where it is said that John was baptizing in Aenon,
because there was much water there.
Why does not this text apply?
Because it is wrongly translated. In the Greek it is not "much
water," but "many waters," i.e., springs.
Does not the expression "buried with Christ in Baptism"
(Rom 6:4), imply immersion, i.e., a literal burial in the water?
No; the expression is figurative, like that which speaks of our
being "crucified with Christ." It does not mean literal
crucifixion, but a mortification of our lusts, which is also
the meaning here.
Does our Lord anywhere rebuke this tendency to rely upon the
quantity of water used?
Yes; St. John 13:10.
What may we infer from this?
That the use of water in Baptism is symbolical, and outward and
visible sign and pledge of what takes place within, and therefore
a small quantity answers the purpose as effectively as whole
Do not the words "bapto" and "baptizo," in
the original Greek, mean "immersion"?
The word bapto means in two or three instances to dip or immerse,
but when the Saviour speaks of Baptism He almost invariably uses
the word baptizo, which means either to pour or dip.
What do we infer from this?
That in administering the sacrament of Baptism it is proper either
to pour or dip.
How was our Lord baptized?
We do not know, but the earliest known picture, and all Christian
art since the third century represents Him as standing in the
River Jordan, and John the Baptist pouring water upon His head.
Is there any place in the New Testament where the act of Baptism
is described as to its mode?
Yes; our Saviour promised His disciples that they should be "baptized
with the Holy Ghost." When that promise was fulfilled, we
read that the Holy Ghost was "poured out upon them"
What then do we infer from these foregoing facts?
That the Church is wise and tolerant in allowing different modes
of applying the water in Holy Baptism. It is not the manner which
she looks upon as most important, but the matter. So long as
one is baptized with the water, in the name of the Father, and
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, as Christ commanded, she is
willing that every one shall exercise his liberty as to the mode.
Telephone the church, and talk directly with Bishop McMannes.
He can be reached at the Church at: 1.928.282.7366, or via E-mail. [Click HERE for the Baptism
Information Form, which will need to be filled out with information
regarding the "to be baptized" individual(s)]