When the judge pronounces, “You are guilty,” he is not simply communicating a message. He is transforming the defendant into a criminal. When the minister says, “I now declare you husband and wife,” he changes the social, legal, and for us, religious status of the persons from single to married.
Then about conversion: Now baptism often occur much later and in church mark admission into church membership. Conversion has become a private, individual matter, a change in heart in which there are few outward social and public symbols.
Hiebert, 2008, p. 323