Uppercase or lowercase baptism?

Well, today is the last day for this year’s seniors to work on their ELCA Approval Essays, because they’re due tomorrow. Since the Gospel text for this year is Matthew 3.13-17 (Baptism of Our Lord, Year A), I’ve found myself writing the word baptism a LOT. So, should it be capitalized?

If you’re looking for the official ELCA directions on this, look no further than the ELCA Style Guide. Rather than make you flip through 52 pages of it, though, here’s the one minute version, taken straight from the Style Guide:

  • baptism/Baptism – baptism is the celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism; capitalize when referring to the Christian sacrament or rite: “Holy Baptism,” “Sacrament of Holy Baptism”; lowercase when used as a general term: “baptism by fire,” “remembering my baptism,” “Jesus’ baptism”
  • baptismal, baptismal candle, baptismal garment – any such adjectival usage of “baptismal” is lowercase
  • sacrament/Sacrament – capitalize when used in a title: “the Sacrament of Holy Communion”; otherwise lowercase

Now you know!

And don’t forget to remember your baptism during the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, where baptismal promises are made by the whole assembly.