Immerse in This Way

Based on an excerpt from the book The Way Of Life.

A crowd gathers around a lake. They’re either all women or all men. One of them walks out into the lake, says a few words, and submerges himself or herself completely underwater.

What just happened?

If you were a medieval Christian, you might have been unsure. Maybe you wouldn’t have known enough about Judaism to know what their immersion ritual looked like; you most likely wouldn’t have. You probably wouldn’t have thought that you had just witnessed a Christian baptism because adults going underwater had gone out of fashion centuries ago. It wouldn’t come back as a standard Christian practice until the Anabaptists came along with their dogged insistence that the ritual more closely resembled what they saw in the New Testament.

No one liked the Anabaptists at first; today millions of Christians follow their lead. Some churches still sprinkle infants (and adult converts); some pour water over them instead; but many completely immerse only those old enough to articulate their faith. Which one of these is closest to the way the earliest believers in Yeshua baptized?

We can find the answer in the Didache. The Didache preserves the specific method of baptism used by some of the earliest followers of Yeshua; this method is thoroughly rooted in Jewish tradition.


First Fruits of Zion