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Baptism vs. Christening: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 9, 2023
Baptism is a Christian sacrament of admission and adoption, while christening is the act of naming a child and sometimes, but not always, baptism.

Key Differences

Baptism represents a deliberate act of identification with the person of Jesus Christ and his teachings. It's a public confession of faith and a renunciation of sin, often involving immersion in water. In several Christian traditions, it holds significant importance as it marks a moment where an individual is spiritually reborn and cleansed of original sin.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023
Contrastingly, christening is traditionally associated with naming a child. It's often a ceremony in which a baby or a ship is given a name and, in the case of a child, traditionally it often includes baptism, but it doesn’t have to. In many Christian traditions, particularly in Anglican and some Protestant denominations, the terms baptism and christening are used interchangeably, although technically they do have different primary implications.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023
In baptism, an individual is submerged or sprinkled with water in a symbolic gesture of purification and admission into the Christian faith. This act is profound and meaningful, emphasizing a person's choice (or the parental choice in some denominations) to follow Christian teachings and acknowledge the salvific acts of Jesus.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023
Conversely, christening refers primarily to the naming ceremony, often used to indicate the giving of a Christian name to a child. While many people associate it with the baptism of infants, it’s crucial to note that christening can occur without baptism, especially in a secular context where it’s more about naming than any religious admission or purification.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 09, 2023
Baptism is predominantly an event that pertains to an individual's spiritual life and their relationship with the divine. It symbolizes redemption, the washing away of sin, and the individual’s acceptance into the church community. It's a practice rooted deeply in theological beliefs and can be administered to individuals of various ages, depending on the denominational beliefs.
Sara Rehman
Oct 09, 2023
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In contrast, christening, when related to infants, is often viewed as a social event as well as a religious one. Families gather, names are conferred, and there is generally a celebration involved. While it possesses a spiritual aspect, especially when coupled with baptism, it leans heavily towards being a familial and social celebration, involving godparents, family, and friends in welcoming and naming the child.
Janet White
Oct 09, 2023

Comparison Chart

Primary Purpose

Admission and adoption into the Christian faith.
Naming a child, often alongside a baptism.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023

Symbolic Act

Immersion, submersion, or sprinkling of water.
Naming and sometimes sprinkling of water.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023

Age Consideration

Can be performed at any age.
Often performed on infants.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023

Spiritual Emphasis

Strong, focuses on rebirth and purification.
May be more social and familial.
Harlon Moss
Oct 09, 2023
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Universal

Generally accepted across Christian denominations.
Views and practices may vary significantly.
Janet White
Oct 09, 2023

Baptism and Christening Definitions

Baptism

Baptism as a Community Welcome.
The community joyfully welcomed the new believers through baptism.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023

Christening

Christening as a Celebration.
Family and friends gathered to joyfully commemorate the christening.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 09, 2023

Baptism

Baptism as a Public Profession of Faith.
Through baptism, Lisa made a public profession of her Christian faith.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Christening

Christening as a Formal Introduction.
Through the christening, the infant was formally introduced to the community.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Baptism

Baptism as Redemption.
Believers embrace baptism as a symbol of redemption through Jesus Christ.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 09, 2023

Christening

Christening as an Appointing of Godparents.
The christening also served to appoint the baby’s godparents.
Sara Rehman
Oct 09, 2023

Baptism

Baptism as Spiritual Rebirth.
John received baptism, feeling a profound spiritual rebirth.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023

Christening

Christening as a Naming Ceremony.
The baby was smiling throughout her christening.
Harlon Moss
Oct 09, 2023

Baptism

Baptism as a Sacrament.
Baptism, for many, stands as the first sacrament to enter the Christian faith.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023

Christening

Christening as a Blessing.
During the christening, the priest blessed the child, praying for happiness and health.
Harlon Moss
Oct 09, 2023

Christening

The Christian sacrament of baptizing and naming an infant.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 17, 2017

Christening

An inaugural ceremony in which something is declared ready for use, as when a newly built ship is named and launched.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 17, 2017

Christening

The Christian sacrament at which someone, usually a child, is baptized and given a Christian name.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 17, 2017

Christening

Any instance of someone's or something's being christened.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 17, 2017

Christening

Present participle of christen
Sumera Saeed
Dec 17, 2017

Christening

Giving a Christian name at baptism
Sumera Saeed
Dec 17, 2017

FAQs

Is baptism a universal Christian practice?

While widely practiced, beliefs and methods regarding baptism can vary among Christian denominations.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023

Is christening synonymous with baptism?

Not always. While often associated, christening primarily pertains to naming, and baptism pertains to spiritual rebirth.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023

What is the main purpose of baptism?

Baptism symbolizes purification, rebirth, and admission into the Christian faith.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023

Does baptism require full immersion in water?

Practices vary; baptism can involve immersion, submersion, or sprinkling, depending on the denomination.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023

Who can be involved in a christening?

Parents, godparents, relatives, and friends are commonly involved in a christening ceremony.
Janet White
Oct 09, 2023

Can baptism be performed at any age?

Yes, baptism can be performed at any age, depending on denominational beliefs.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

What are common symbols used in baptism?

Common symbols include water, a white garment, and sometimes oil or a candle.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 09, 2023

How is the name chosen in a christening?

Parents typically choose a name, sometimes considering religious or familial significance.
Janet White
Oct 09, 2023

Are baptisms typically public or private events?

Baptisms are often public, occurring during regular worship services, but can be private.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023

Can a christening ceremony be secular?

Yes, christening can be secular, focusing on naming and celebration without religious aspects.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 09, 2023

Does every christening involve baptism?

No, christenings can be purely naming ceremonies without involving baptism.
Sara Rehman
Oct 09, 2023

Is a party or gathering customary after a christening?

Yes, it's common to have a gathering or party following a christening to celebrate the occasion.
Harlon Moss
Oct 09, 2023

Can an adult be christened without being baptized?

Yes, an adult can be christened, i.e., given a new name, without baptism, especially in non-religious contexts.
Janet White
Oct 09, 2023

What is the significance of water in baptism?

Water symbolizes cleansing, rebirth, and the spiritual transition in baptism.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023

What do godparents represent in a christening?

Godparents often pledge to guide and support the child in their spiritual and life journey.
Janet White
Oct 09, 2023

What happens during a baptism ceremony?

Rituals like water immersion and prayers occur, symbolizing purification and admission into the faith.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 09, 2023

What do participants wear during a christening?

Infants often wear christening gowns, while attendees wear formal or semi-formal attire.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023

Can non-Christians be invited to a baptism?

Yes, non-Christians can be invited to witness and celebrate a baptism.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 09, 2023

Can a person be baptized more than once?

Generally, baptism is a one-time event, but practices can vary among different denominations.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023

Who usually performs a baptism?

Ordained ministers, priests, or bishops typically perform baptisms within a religious congregation.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 09, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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