It is no longer the case that the majority of parents have their children baptized. On the other hand, it may well be that among those children who are presented for baptism there is now a greater incidence of commitment and preparation on the part of their parents. At the same time, however, there is a small but steady increase in the number of adults presenting themselves for initiation. Some of these adults are unbaptized. Others were baptized as children but either received no subsequent Christian nurture or abandoned Christian practice at some earlier stage in their lives. In addition there are adults who are practising Christians, but wish to change their denominational allegiance. These varying groups require different types of preparation, and perhaps also different rites of initiation. The various facets of adult initiation raise a variety of questions, theological, liturgical and pastoral. Is there a consensus today on the theology of baptism, and, for that matter, of confirmation? What view should be taken of a candidate who regards his own baptism in childhood as meaningless or void? Are there circumstances in which a candidate can be re-baptized or have his baptism renewed, or is the only option open to him a renewal of baptismal vows? What justification is there for confirming an adult a few minutes after he has been baptized?
Donald A Withey