Baptism is a Christian ritual which has been practiced as long as there were Christians. There is the story of Jesus being baptized by a man named ‘John the Baptist’ in the river Jordan in Israel.
During the past centuries, the practice of baptism has changed in many ways. For example, from around 400 onward, the practice of adult baptism changed to infant baptism. Today, this is the case in the Roman-Catholic Church worldwide and in the protestant territorial churches in Germany. During the past years, there have been growing numbers of adult baptism in Germany. Most protestant free-churches practice adult baptism only.
Baptizing a small child is an expression of the parents’ desire to include their child in a tradition which is meaningful to them. Learning about faith will take place at confirmation class at the latest. Confirmation class is ended by the confirmand’s own, free-will affirmation of his or her baptism.
Adult baptism means the end of a time of preparation for it and the beginning of a new life:
Normally before adult baptism there is a longer period of curiosity about bible and Christian faith. During this period the desire is often awakened to believe and live as a Christian. For that way of life baptism is the visible sign. Baptism is followed by the task to live as a Christian. Martin Luther once famously wrote: ˮTo lead life as a Christian means nothing else but daily baptism, started once, and forever walking in it.”
The visible side is belonging to the world-wide communion of the baptized and membership in a church (protestant territorial church, roman-catholic diocese, protestant free-church or others.)
The invisible side, accepted by faith, is the promise that all people who are baptized are ”God’s beloved children”, and that they have been baptized ”into death and resurrection of Christ”.
God’s promise: ”I am there for you” is answered by those, who want to be baptized with the words: ”I believe in you, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”