Difference Between Baptism and Christening

Baptism vs Christening

Since baptism and christening are two religious rituals that are closely associated, it is good to know the difference between baptism and christening. Whilst explaining christening, it is believed that the two are one and the same though there is a little distinction between the two. In Christianity after the birth, a child has to be named and has to be introduced to the faith. However, there are instances where even adults want to adopt Christianity and therefore they require a ritual much like the infants to be welcomed to the new faith.

What is Baptism?

Baptism is a Christian ritual whereby ablution is performed on the one accepting the faith. This is a process necessary to welcome the new to the faith. In this procedure the person has water run over them, as an act of purity and submission to the newly adopted faith. After baptism, the person is announced to be a Christian by the church. There is a debate whether the person being baptized has to be fully submerged in water to perform ablution or as some pictorial representations from the history show, the baptism is said to be complete even if water is poured over the person. When infants are baptized, it is known as infant baptism.

What is Christening?

Infant baptism is considered to be a part of Christening. Christening is a ritual by which a newly born is said to be “introduced” or “brought” to Jesus Christ. In christening, though the child is named from before, the church has to announce the name of the child to make it known that the child is named so. Christening is also a means by which a church blesses the child. This is done so that the child is blessed by God throughout his life. Though christening is believed to be a ritual by which the child accepts the faith, this is not so. According to Christianity, it is up to the child to choose its faith and no church has the authority to forcibly make a child choose their faith.

Difference Between Baptism and Christening

What is the difference between Baptism and Christening?

• During the baptism, when an infant is being purified, it is in this ritual that the infant is christened.

• Because baptism is referred to an ablution and the washing away of sins, adults can also be baptized, however adults cannot be christened as they already have a name that they have been using. Therefore, whereas christening is a naming ceremony, baptism is a sacrament.

• In baptism, as the debate stands, the person can be fully submerged in water for ablution.

• However, in Christening, the priest simply sprinkles water on the baby to mark the ritual as being done.

• Also, because adults can be a part of baptism, it has more voluntary acceptance than Christening does.

Though both terms are used interchangeably, it is important to note that the distinction stands and therefore cannot be used as synonyms. Both maybe acts of commitment, however, the procedure of committing to the faith is different. Baptism is considered to be more of a commitment to God, and christening serves as a commitment to the church.


Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Baptism and Confirmation
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4ED6SKE22N7I7M7SXPIGNHWVGE emma

    This is an obviously Protestant view interpretation. Catholics call it Baptism and the giving of a child a Christian name is the Christening. 
    A Christening is a naming ceremony. A Baptism is the sacrament of becoming a Christian.