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A few definitions will be helpful to some, especially to younger believers. Thus, the following is a list of words, with definitions provided, that you are likely to encounter in reading many dissertations on baptism. It is hoped that this little dictionary will prove helpful to you as you read the many article links from this web site. If there are other word meanings that you think should be added to this glossary, please send me a post. My e-mail address is at the bottom of this page (and every page) on the Baptizo website.

Affusion (pronounced uh-FYEW-zhin): Intended as a baptism — considered by many to be a legitimate alternative "mode" of baptism, and by others the only legitimate "mode" — it is the pouring or sprinkling of water onto the would-be subject of baptism.


(pronounced BAP-tizm): A transliteration of the Greek word Baptisma, meaning an immersion (baptizo means "baptize" or "immerse"). Every known instance of the use of baptisma and its cognates found in first century literature either demands or permits the word to be understood as "immerse." It is not unequivocally provable that the word ever allowed for anything less than immersion in the period in which the New Testament was penned. Nevertheless, many churches pour or sprinkle water over would-be subjects of baptism, and call that pouring or sprinkling by the term "baptism."


(pronounced CAM-buhl-izm): In connection with consideration of Christian baptism, this word refers to the doctrine that believers' baptism is a necessary prerequisite to salvation. It comes from the names of Thomas and Alexander Campbell, two of the fathers of the American Restoration Movement of the 1700s, from which have sprung many denominations, including the Churches of Christ (big C), the churches of Christ (little c), the Christian Churches, and the Disciples of Christ. Campbellism is a form of sacramentalism, and those who adhere to this doctrine are often referred to as Campbellites.


(pronounced SARErih-MOH-nee): The observance of either of the two formal occasions ordained by Christ for the New Covenant, baptism and the Lord's Supper.


(pronounced Kris-in): The immersion or affusion of an infant or adult, for the purpose of bringing him into the church or assembly. Sometimes also used of the uscriptural practice of some churches of dedicating infants to the Lord.


(pronounced KRAY-doe-BAP-tizm): Baptism that allows only for confessing subjects to be baptized; it does not permit infants to be baptized, because infants cannot confess or otherwise demonstrate faith.


(pronounced EHFih-KAY-shis):Capable of creating a desired result. Used of religious ceremonies that are viewed as being intrinsically capable — or which are viewed as being made intrinsically capable by or through faith — of causing a spiritual result (e.g., salvation of the soul). The view that baptism is efficacious, or made efficacious through faith, is contrary to the New Testament's teaching that salvation of the soul (regeneration, justification, positional sanctification, forgiveness of sins) is through faith alone.


(pronounced ORdn-ints): A rite or ceremony ordained or decreed by Christ. In the New Testament there are only two ordinances given by the Lord: Water Baptism and the Lord's Supper (a.k.a., Communion, the Lord's Table, and the Eucharist).


(pronounced ih-MER-zhin): The plunginng, dipping, or burying of the subject of baptism briefly beneath the baptismal waters. It is a submersion.


(pronounced just like the word right): One of the two customary solemn or formal procedures of the churhes of the saints ordained by the Lord Jesus Christ: Immersion in water and the Lord's Supper.


(pronounced SAS-ir-DOTEl-izm): The view that priests, "magic men," or other specially revered individuals are required to perform the ceremonies of one's religion. Baptism is connected with making disciples and teaching them to obey everything that Christ has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20); so, ostensibly, whoever makes a disciple may also baptize him, and if one is not permitted to baptize, then ostensibly he has no authority to teach, either. Sacerdotalism is an Old Covenant concept, but it has no part in the New Covenant and is taught nowhere in the New Testament.


(pronounced SAY-krul): This is a term that seems to be used in opposite ways (either refering to the sacralist view, q.v., or to the sacramentalist view, q.v.).


(pronounced SAY-kruhl-ist): The view that ceremonial acts (e.g., baptism and the Eucharist) are not efficacious, even when combined with faith, in changing the nature of those who participate in them. The sacalist view of baptism is that it signifies spritual realities, but does not cause them. Those who hold to this view may be termed "sacralists."


(pronounced SACrih-mint): an ordinance viewed as being an intrinsically effective (or made intrinsically effective through faith) means of grace. Many people who do not hold to this view still use this term, albeit ignorantly, to refer to baptism (they eroniously believe it is a synonym for the word "ordinance," q.v.).


(pronounced SACrih-MENtuhl): Ceremonial acts that are done with the belief that they can effectively change the nature of one's spiritual condition. Sacramental baptism is a baptism which is viewed, either by itself or when combined with faith, as being efficacious in causing regenertion and/or granting forgiveness, and/or providing justification. The view that baptism (or the Lord's Table) is efficacious, as well as one who believes in this view, may be termed "sacramentalist" or "sacramentarian."


(pronounced PEE-doe-BAP-tism; sometimes spelled pedobaptism): Baptism that includes or allows for the baptizing of infants. Often the "baptism" is not a baptism at all, but merely a wetting of the hair or forehead.

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