by R. Nyman
As my husband and I continue to implement, train, and coach others in Disciple Making Movements among Unreached People Groups, one of the dividing lines of commitment among Muslims is obedience in the step of baptism.
In coaching others to implement this step, the first breakthrough came when God shifted our local partners’ paradigms as to who is able to baptize. They discovered through Scripture that there is no instruction that only ordained people can baptize. They then adopted the principle that the person who led another person to faith would do the baptizing after a brief baptism Discovery Bible Study.
These days, in what is the beginning of a Church Planting Movements, male and female, young and old baptize those who have made a commitment to follow Jesus in their DBS groups. Whether in a rice field, river bed, wash room, or the ocean, baptism is an outward commitment of the inward reality of followership of Jesus.
This story, taken from the book Stubborn Perseverance, shows what this process looks like.
The big day had arrived! Faisal and Fatima picked up Ahmad and his family and drove to the beach. The sun was coming up, and a light breeze blew.
The group stood near the water’s edge. Faisal opened to Matthew 28:18–20 and read:And Isa came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
“Baptism is one of the commands Isa gave His followers. Ahmad and his family have come to obey that command. Baptism has three primary meanings.
“First, baptism is a public statement that you have made Isa your Savior and Lord.
“Second, baptism is an outward symbol of the inner change in your life. You have become a new creation. Being immersed symbolizes that you have been washed and changed.
“Third, baptism joins you to every other person who has been baptized. You become members of one worldwide family in Al Masih.
“Finally, baptism doesn’t save us; faith does. Baptism is not a work to ‘earn’ salvation. It is a command to obey.”
“Now please share your personal salvation stories, starting with Ahmad.”
When they finished, Faisal asked:
Do you believe the Taurat, Zabur, and Injil are inspired by God and free from error?
Do you believe Isa Al Masih is the eternal Word of God who became a human being?
Do you believe Isa is the Messiah and the Son of the living God?
Do you believe Isa Al Masih shed His blood on a cross to cleanse you of your sins?
Have you confessed your sins, asked God to forgive you, and received Isa as your Savior and Lord? Are you willing to obey Him even to death?
Have you severed all ties with the occult, ancestor worship, and idolatry?”
They responded “Yes!” to each question.
Then Faisal prayed, “O God, we praise You for the way You have worked in this family.
“Thank You for calling them to be Your children, and for giving them the courage to obey You in baptism. Strengthen them so they will be faithful when persecution comes.
“Be glorified in their lives. In the name of Isa Al Masih, Amen.”
Together they waded into the sea.
Faisal stood in front of Ahmad and placed his hand on Ahmad’s head. “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Ahmad lowered himself under the water.
Ahmad then stood in front of his wife and placed his hand on her head and declared, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” She lowered under the water. Ahmad then baptized the rest of his household.
After they changed, food was spread out. All eyes turned to Faisal to bless the food.
“Hey, am I the only one here who can pray?” Faisal joked. “Let’s ask Ahmad to pray!”
This article was first published in Mission Frontiers and used with permission.
About the Author: R. Nyman and James Nyman serve with Act Beyond in SE Asia among Muslim UPGs. Their passion is to see God glorified in the launch of cascading movements to Christ among these peoples.