In the earliest days of the Church after the resurrection of Jesus, one could be baptized simply by desiring to be. There was as yet no developed program of initiation. The story of the Ethiopian eunuch is an example of this. He accepted the teaching of the Apostle Philip and was immediately baptized.
Over the years as the Church grew, it developed layers of procedures, rituals, instructions, and hierarchy to address the needs of a church that had grown and spread far beyond its initial boundaries and membership. Catechesis and preparation for baptism was developed to help people understand and live their faith in the best way possible.
The value of stories like that of the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip is that they strip away all the layers of Church practice and structure and bring us back to the original, essential experiences of coming to faith and of ministry.
That vital, personal, and immediate connection with the person of Jesus and responding to Christ’s call to share the gift of faith with others is the base layer on which all of our spiritual practices depend. It is this connection with the person of Christ that is the relationship on which our personal faith is built.
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4)