Saturday, January 20, 2007

Christianity by Total Immersion

Come and Walk with Us as We Follow Christ

In this post, I am going to attempt to answer the question, “What are we really trying to do in our faith community?”. The best answer to this question is that we want to be able to call people out of the world and into the kingdom way by saying “come and walk with us as we follow Christ”.

Last night, we had a meeting at our home. There was a nice sized group of people including a family who was visiting for the first time. I am sure the visitors went away thinking “that is a pretty nice group of people” BUT...that is no where near enough. As a community, we still lack the daily rhythm to call people out of the world and into the kingdom by simply saying “come walk with us as we follow Christ. Walk with us and you will come to know what it means to walk in the kingdom of God. You will come to know freedom from sin and true happiness….”

Baptism into a Daily Way of Life
As a good evangelical, I was taught that baptism really means immersion. The application of this etymological truth was that the proper mode of baptism was total immersion. It is true that baptism best symbolizes our life in Christ when we totally immerse new converts as opposed to sprinkle them, but we throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water if we miss the real point of baptism by total immersion. The application is that discipleship into the kingdom only comes through total immersion in the new language of the kingdom life. When we are baptized, this event is a symbol of our commitment to total immersion into the body of Christ. If the church is to honor the baptism of the new convert, we must be able to offer them Christianity by total immersion.

What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander
To be able to offer the kingdom to those we meet obviously takes a very “all in” lifestyle. We often say in our community that we minister as much for us as for those we minister to. When we realize that discipleship is by total immersion it is we who must go through the change of lifestyle so we can call others to come walk with us. The every day discipleship immerses our community in the language of the teachings of Jesus. Daily encouragement makes the insecure confident. Daily immersion in discussion makes the biblically illiterate biblically literate pretty fast. The point is to be able to call others into the process, or so we are told. But the benefit we reap ourselves is so great it is hard to say what is greater the benefit we bring others or the benefit we receive ourselves.

We often ask ourselves, “should we wait until we are very consistent and strong in our meeting frequency before we start doing outreach to others?” I think the answer to this is no, not really. It is in the asking others to join us that we are forced to be more consistent. When we say, “Meet me at my house every night at 6:00pm”, we are pretty “all in”. Now we have to play the hand all the way out. We have to start being consistent because we have commitments to others that we need to honor. This boldness spurs us on to being more and more daily.

The end of it all is that total immersion is the biblical mandate. It is the meaning of our being immersed in the body of Christ in baptism. So many find they cannot find the kingdom and yet they have no total immersion model to follow and no total immersion community to join. If we find ourselves in this situation, risk is needed. Where ever two or three are gathered is church. Find one friend and challenge each other to live out discipleship by total immersion. Once we take this first step, we will find we are not far from the kingdom.

God Bless,

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