Baptism: A Change of Allegiances

“In baptism, a human individual is transferred from the world to the church. The world registers a loss in loyalty; the church registers an advance in loyalty. . . . Because of this shift, baptism marks a definite realignment of power. . . . If the church grows through the initiation of one member at a time, it seemingly shrinks through an equivalent but opposite process. The world attempts to regain its lost members, to secure its former loyalties, and to establish its earlier power. In this way, baptism is an overtly political act. Like the burning of draft cards, baptism declares a switched identity, a refusal to be one thing and a determination to be something else.”

– Crag Hovey, To Share in the Body
(quoted by Richard Beck in The Slavery of Death, p. 81)