Essence of baptism

Veronica Gwaze
IN Christianity, baptism is an act of obedience which symbolises a believer’s death to sin. It’s a sign of being born again.

Different church denominations conduct baptism in different ways. Despite various ways in which churches baptise new believers, diverse opinions have been put up. Baptism, however, has almost the same meaning to all. It is a symbol of new life. Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Pastor Kaguru believes water baptism is beneficial to Christians.

Baptism does not, however, guarantee salvation. Different churches have different beliefs on how and when believers should be baptised.

“It is from the age of 12 upwards that one can be able to understand the essence of baptism. It is at this age that congregants will be immersed in water,” said Pastor Kaguru.

Grace Harvest Ministries International Prophet Tawanda Bondera said in baptism, one is buried in sin and the word buried means to be covered or immersed in water as they are baptised once in the name of Christ.

“It is our belief that we should wait until a child turns 12 and then the child can be baptised. Baptism is a sign of regeneration,” added Pastor Bondera.

Pastor Blessing Makwara of the Revival Ministries said baptism is a symbol of repentance and is conducted by immersing a person once in water.

This, according to Pastor Makwara, signifies that one has been wholly washed by the blood of Christ.

“Baptism is done in the name of the Lord, who came in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It signifies a new creation. It is the blood of Christ which washes away our sins, the water baptism is symbolic of the new birth as one dies to their past,” he said.

Ps Makwara added: “For the baptism of children, this may be done through the faith of the parents but it does not necessarily carry the same weight when being done by a repentant soul.”

“A baby cannot repent of what they do not know or what they have not done.”

African Apostolic Church (AAC) General Secretary, Bishop Richard Juru said at seven, a child should be baptised to cleanse some unseen spirits they believe haunt all mankind.

“Below the age of seven, we believe a child can still be protected by their parents’ cleansing but as they get to seven, they are old enough to be baptised for their own good.”

“We believe everyone has unseen family spirits or ‘mweya we ma dzinza’ that haunts them and that spirit can only be cleansed by baptism,” he said.

While some believe that there is no need to christen a child because they do not understand the meaning of the ritual, Bishop Juru asserted that doing so denies the chance for Christian virtues to grow and blossom within that child. Roman Catholic Father Reki Mashayamombe said in Catholicism, baptism is a sacrament of faith which has the risen Christ as its source of salvation for all.

“Baptism is linked to two sacraments which are confirmation and Eucharist and therefore a child is baptised in the faith of their parents, god parents and of the church. Parents should bring their child to the sacrament of Baptism as soon as they are born,” he said.

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