In Christianity, baptism (from the Greek noun baptisma; itself derived from baptismos, washing) is for the majority the rite of admission (or adoption), almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition. Baptism has been called a sacrament and an ordinance of Jesus Christ.
In some traditions, baptism is also called christening, but for others the word "christening" is reserved for the baptism of infants.
The New Testament reports that Jesus himself was baptized.
The usual form of baptism among the earliest Christians was for the candidate to be immersed totally (submersion) or partially (standing or kneeling in water while water was poured on him or her). While John the Baptist's use of a deep river for his baptism suggests immersion, pictorial and archaeological evidence of Christian baptism from the 3rd century onward indicates that a normal form was to have the candidate stand in water while water was poured over the upper body. Other common forms of baptism now in use include pouring water three times on the forehead.
Martyrdom was identified early in Church history as "baptism by blood", enabling martyrs who had not been baptized by water to be saved. Later, the Catholic Church identified a baptism of desire, by which those preparing for baptism who die before actually receiving the sacrament are considered saved. As evidenced also in the common Christian practice of infant baptism, baptism was universally seen by Christians as in some sense necessary for salvation, until Huldrych Zwingli in the 16th century denied its necessity.
Today, some Christians, particularly Quakers and the Salvation Army, do not see baptism as necessary, and do not practice the rite. Among those that do, differences can be found in the manner and mode of baptizing and in the understanding of the significance of the rite. Most Christians baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (following the Great Commission), but some baptize in Jesus' name only. Most Christians baptize infants; many others hold that only believer’s baptism is true baptism. Some insist on submersion or at least partial immersion of the person who is baptized, others consider that any form of washing by water, as long as the water flows on the head, is sufficient.
"Baptism" has also been used to refer to any ceremony, trial, or experience by which a person is initiated, purified, or given a name. (More...)
Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an African American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the American civil rights movement. His main legacy was to secure progress on civil rights in the United States and he is frequently referenced as a human rights icon today.
A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president.
King's efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. There, he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history.
In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means. By the time of his death in 1968, he had refocused his efforts on ending poverty and opposing the Vietnam War, both from a religious perspective.
King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004; Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a U.S. national holiday in 1986. (More...)