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THE IMPORTANCE OF BAPTISM

From the June 1949 issue of The Christian Science Journal


When the pure and immaculate Christ Jesus came to John for baptism, the amazement of John was unfeigned, and he hesitated to comply with Jesus' request, declaring that he needed to have Jesus baptize him instead. According to the third chapter of Matthew, John had declared, previous to his baptism of Jesus, that one would follow him who was greater than he and would use a different type of baptism, a spiritual baptism, which would purge and purify human consciousness as fire consumes dross. Human consciousness thus purified would be better prepared to receive the Holy Ghost. On page 588 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy gives the following definition of the Holy Ghost: "Divine Science; the development of eternal Life, Truth, and Love."

Although Christ Jesus submitted to the rite of baptism at the hands of John, because he considered it wise to conform to what was deemed an act of righteousness, we have no record that he ever baptized with water a single individual. Throughout his ministry he lovingly labored for, patiently taught, and practically demonstrated the truth of being in order that all mankind in all time to come, as well as his immediate followers, might experience a purification from all evil.

Baptism is an essential part of the teaching of Christian Science. It is, however, radically different from the general theological concept of baptism, which accepts the sprinkling of water on the body or the immersion of the body as a sign of inward purification on the part of the individual and of God's forgiveness of sin. In Christian Science, baptism is the actual purification of human consciousness and the gaining of the understanding that God's forgiveness of sin means the destruction of sin in all its phases. Mrs. Eddy defines baptism in its true meaning and brings out the practical sense of it in Science and Health where she writes on page 35, "Our baptism is a purification from all error."

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