Abstract: Why do recent converts in new evangelical churches desire to be re-baptized by immersion despite their previous infant baptism in mainline churches? This article addresses this question through a discussion of the observed shift in baptism practices from that of ‘sprinkling’ infants (in Protestant mainline churches) to full bodily immersion of adults (in new evangelical churches) in the Netherlands. Based on an ethnographic comparison of these two baptism practices, I demonstrate the performative effect of rituals as well as the importance of connections between material forms, embodiment and doctrines. The call for different baptism practices, I suggest, illustrates a broader shift in Dutch Protestantism from a didactic to an experiential form of Christianity in which the encounter with the sacred is increasingly located in the body. At the same time, it demonstrates how religious authority has moved from institutions to individual believers.
Abstract: The body is one of the most discussed topics in current studies of religion and society. Pentecostalism displays a remarkable sensorial and experiential form of religion and is therefore a most interesting domain to study the intersection of religion and embodiment. To avoid the pitfall of taking the feeling body for granted as a prime phenomenological reality, this thematic issue elaborates on the explicit strategies through which the religious body is formed in different societies. The dynamics of becoming and remaining a religious convert are displayed through a focus on the three specific interrelated issues of time, spirits and the subject.