Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia

Baptism, Liturgical.

1. The 2 constituent parts of baptism, water and the “word,” or baptismal formula, are found in NT (Jn 3:5; Mt 28:19; Acts 2:38). Some scholars held that Baptism in at least some parts of the early ch. was “in the name of the Lord Jesus,” (Acts 2:38; 10:48). In any case, the trinitarian formula soon became universal. The Didache, 7, describes the duties of the candidates for baptism and the method of administering it (trine immersion or infusion). Tertullian (Adversus Praxean, 26; De Baptismo; De Corona Militis) gives elaborate descriptions. In the 2d to 4th c. baptism was normally administered only at Easter and Pentecost. Epiphany and other feast days were added later. While the clergy were the ordinary ministers of the sacrament, baptism could be administered at any time and by any Christian in cases of grave emergency, though some fathers and councils discountenanced administration of baptism by women. The laying on of hands (“confirmation”) or anointing (“chrismation”) was an integral part of the baptismal rite in ch.

2. The medieval ritual of Baptism, as it had developed by the time of Gregory the Great, combined what had originally been separate stages in the preparation of adults for membership in the ch.; it remained practically unchanged thereafter. According to the Mayence Manual (Agenda Moguntinensis) of 1513 the Order of Baptizing Children (Ordo ad baptizandum pueros) comprised an introduction at the door of the ch. This included: asking for the candidate's name, sign of cross, prayers, tasting of salt (gustus salis), greeting of peace, further prayers, the Great Exorcism, the Holy Gospel, the Lord's Prayer, Ave. Maria, the Apostles' Creed, the ephphatha ceremony, and the entrance into ch. The rite of Baptism proper took place at the baptistry, or font; Renunciation of the devil, the Creed, anointing the breast and back, an admonition to the sponsors, the 3-fold immersion (performed with child's head pointing to E, N, and S respectively), a prayer of thanksgiving, the putting on of the chrisom.* Other ch. orders prescribed kiss of brotherhood, the placing of a lighted taper into the hand of the child or a sponsor, and other ceremonies.

3. Luther's Taufbüchlein verdeutscht (1523) was essentially a tr. of the liturgy of Baptism then in use in Wittenberg. It included the lesser exorcism, the sign of the cross, prayers, the tasting of salt, the “Flood” prayer, the greater exorcism, further prayers, and the greeting of peace, the Holy Gospel from Mk 10, the Lord's Prayer, the ephphatha ceremony, procession into the church, renunciation of Satan, Creed, Baptism by 3-fold immersion, anointing (cross on head only), putting on of the chrisom, placing of the lighted taper in the hand of the child or sponsor. A simplification of this form published in 1526 became part of the Small Catechism in 1529 (Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelischlutherischen Kirche, 5th, rev. ed. [Göttingen, 1963], pp. 535–541); it underlies the normal Luth. baptismal rite, though the greater exorcism and clothing with the chrisom were often omitted. ACP

See also Exorcism.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

Stay Connected! Join the LCMS Network:

Contact Us Online
(Staff Switchboard)
(Church Info Center)
1333 S Kirkwood Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63122-7226 | Directions


Featured Publication

The Lutheran Witness

LCMS Communications

Interpreting the contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.
Visit TLW Online