Baptism vs Confirmation
Religion serves as a foundation for human beings to establish their faith. Throughout history, there have been instances when a single religion has been divided into subcategories to accommodate the personal beliefs of its followers. In discussing religion, it is impossible to ignore the various practices associated with it. Baptism and confirmation are two such practices that have been connected with Christianity throughout time.
Baptism is a Christian rite of adoption and admission, performed using water. Its origins can be traced back to the canonical gospels, which state that Jesus was baptized. It is also known as a sacrament and an ordinance of Jesus Christ, and in some denominations, it is referred to as christening. However, in most cases, the term christening is reserved for the baptism of infants.
Early Christians typically practiced baptism through either total or partial immersion in water. Today, the most common form of baptism is called affusion, which involves pouring water three times on the person’s forehead.
Some Christian sects, such as the Quakers, Christian Scientists, Unitarians, and the Salvation Army, consider baptism unnecessary and no longer practice it. Among those who do practice the rite, many variations exist, with some baptizing in Jesus’ name only, while others baptize “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
In certain Christian denominations, confirmation is a rite of initiation carried out through prayer, the laying of hands, or anointing, with the purpose of bestowing the Gift of the Holy Spirit. Confirmation is seen as the sealing of the covenant created in Holy Baptism. In some denominations, confirmation grants the recipient full membership in a local congregation. In others, confirmation “renders the bond with the Church more perfect,” as a baptized member is already considered a member.
Prominent among those who view confirmation as a sacrament are Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Orthodox Churches. In the East, confirmation is conferred immediately after baptism, while in the West, it is performed when an adult is baptized.
- Baptism and confirmation are both Christian practices and are considered rites of initiation; however, they have distinct meanings and cannot be used interchangeably.
- Baptism is typically performed on infants and involves the use of water, signifying that the person is cleansed of all sin and reborn and sanctified in Christ. Confirmation follows baptism and is usually performed on adults, involving prayer, anointing, and laying of hands to strengthen the faith of those already baptized.
- According to Catholicism, baptism is considered strictly necessary for salvation, while confirmation is not strictly necessary for salvation but is considered necessary for Christian perfection.