Digest of terms

baptism

a water-based ceremony for entry into membership of Christian churches, washing in water seen as a symbol of purification, as in John the Baptist's ritual denoting repentance and renewed commitment. Whether available to children whose parents make anticipatory promises on their behalf (infant baptism), or only to those able and willing to make the promises for themselves (adult or believer's baptism), baptismal washing symbolises the freshness of spirit in which future life is to be lived.

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