Baptism Creates International Incident

By |2018-08-30T20:05:40+00:00February 2nd, 2016|Categories: Anglican Life|Tags: , , |35 Comments

A surprise baptism at the original site of the Lord’s baptism  (Mark 1) created an international incident yesterday…and a glimpse of the age to come.  Here is what happened.

I am leading a tour of 30 adults through the Holy Land. Our bus pulled up to the newly renovated site commemorating the Lord’s baptism by John.  It is also the place where Joshua crossed over the Jordan into the Promised Land. It is called Qasr el Yahud.

I led our group in a very Anglican-style service of the renewal of vows.  In other words, people only would get “slightly wet”; bits of the water from the Jordan would be sprinkled on their heads. I prayed over 29 of the 30 pilgrims words that would recall the vows and promises they made or that were made for them years earlier: “Remember that you are baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”  Then I would anointed their head with a dab of oil and say, “Remember that you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever.”


That is what was planned…and it seemed to be going very, shall we say, liturgically. But at the end of the proper service one man from our group came forward and said, “I want to be baptized; I have never been baptized and I want to be today.”

I looked at him and asked him if he could agree with the vows and promises of a Christian.  Would he renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil and turn to Jesus Christ as his Savior; and promise to follow and obey him as Lord?  He said, “Yes.” And I said, “Let’s do it!”

I told him to take off his shoes and his sweatshirt. As I took my off shoes he said, ‘Why don’t you just let me get in by myself? I don’t want you to get wet.”  I said, “No one is ever baptized alone. I’m going with you.”  And with that, the two of us got into the frigid, muddy water.

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Without hesitation, he broke the formalism of our Anglican style liturgy and rolled himself in under the cold water. He was totally immersed.  He sprung up from the water heaving in and out with deep breaths; he went ‘all in’ under the water.

The moment he came up, a group of nuns from Lebanon and Egypt who were standing on the opposite shore of the river…in Jordan…another country… not 10 yards away…began cheering and singing Amazing Grace.  We joined them in singing.  We all realized that we were part of a spectacle we would never forget. Christians from around the world separated into two countries by a river, but joined together in Christ over that same river as one brother came into the fellowship of our common Lord who had been also baptized in that same river. One man went under the water of baptism and when he emerged, a cloud of witnesses from across the nations and over the world gave thanks to God.


Canon David has over 35 years of local congregational ministry, diocesan and national involvement, leadership, and ministry experience and is the founder of Leaderworks. He was the founding Rector/Pastor, Christ Church, Plano and currently serves as the Strategic Leader and Dean, Diocese of C4SO.


  1. Dode Worsham February 2, 2016 at 1:29 am - Reply

    This truly warmed the heart of this “recovering Baptist, very happy Anglican.” What a beautiful example of God’s amazing grace.

    • Susan Seiring February 2, 2016 at 9:17 am - Reply

      Beautiful example of God at work in His followers. I got cold chills reading this piece.

  2. Jon Stalligns February 2, 2016 at 9:51 am - Reply

    What a beautiful story – A great celebration of a new life in Christ.

    • David Roseberry February 2, 2016 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      Thanks for reading!

  3. Brad February 2, 2016 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    I wonder how many there desired in their hearts to break tradition and follow Jesus in full immersion baptism. Wet once…revived forever into His life

    • David Roseberry February 2, 2016 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      So glad that this post spoke to you!

  4. Tammy Biggar February 2, 2016 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Brought tears to my eyes. I really needed to hear of God’s grace today. Thank you for sharing!

    • David Roseberry February 2, 2016 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your wonderful comment. I am so glad that it touched you…

  5. ken willis February 2, 2016 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    brought tears to my eyes. PRAISE GOD !!

    • David Roseberry February 2, 2016 at 2:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your reading the blog!



  6. Pamela Valentine February 2, 2016 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    When I read about the nuns cheering and singing Amazing Grace – across the river – well, tears flowed. What an astonishing surprise and a thrill in which you got to participate. The movement of the Holy Spirit – we know not from where the wind cometh or where it will blow – but we feel His power. Hallelujah!

    • David Roseberry February 2, 2016 at 10:46 pm - Reply

      It was an extraordinarily special day. Thank you for writing a great comment!

  7. Menachem February 2, 2016 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Infant baptism is not a Biblically sound doctrine to begin with. Glad you didn’t hesitate to do the proper form of baptism. This was truly a great story.

    • David Roseberry February 2, 2016 at 10:47 pm - Reply

      Well…your comment about infant baptism deserves a special article…but certainly this man’s story shows the joy of adult conversion!

  8. Dorothy Pearce February 2, 2016 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    I see the hand of our Father planning this baptism. He gathered all the players and set the stage with the planned baptisms. They he added his own personal touch: a new believe wanting to follow Jesus in baptism in front of a cloud of witnesses. Praise God for this wonderful ceremony which spoke volumes.

    • David Roseberry February 2, 2016 at 10:44 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your comment…and yes; the whole afternoon felt ‘choreographed’ by God!

  9. Mary February 2, 2016 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    Awesome! Praise God!

  10. Geraldine February 3, 2016 at 5:11 am - Reply

    I was baptized as an infant in 1936. At the age of 45, I felt the need of immersion baptism in a river. I have not been the same since. The other persons being baptized were inmates of a road prison where the person baptizing us was the pastor.

  11. Gary February 3, 2016 at 9:56 am - Reply

    Christians , from clashing earthly kingdoms, rejoicing together for the Kingdom of Gid. It strengthens my hope and faith.

  12. Sister Lara February 3, 2016 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    I was there really it was a bleesed moment.. We live the real unity with christ our lord and with each other…

    By the way The Jordanian soldiers ask us if we arrange that before… To praise the lord behind the Rever from the two sides…

    • David Roseberry February 3, 2016 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      I am so glad to hear from you! It was a blessed moment…and we will never forget it…or forget you! Blessings

  13. Tony Bleything February 3, 2016 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    Great Story! Thank you for sharing. I’m encouraged by your telling :).

    • David Roseberry February 3, 2016 at 10:29 pm - Reply

      Bless you! So glad to hear from you, brother.

  14. Caroline Arowo February 3, 2016 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful glimpse of heaven…saints singing and rejoicing together about the amazing grace.
    This also illustrates how inspite of our differences we are one body of Christ through our savior and Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that we will not forget that on this side of heaven; that we will endeavour to live in love and peace!

    • David Roseberry February 3, 2016 at 10:28 pm - Reply

      Everyone felt the same way!

  15. Tobin Gunn February 3, 2016 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    Speechless, other than “God is great!” Jesus is my Lord and shepherd. Thank you for the inspiring story, and God bless you.

    • David Roseberry February 3, 2016 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      Thank you for reading our blog!

  16. […] now, a bit of baptismal joy. Here’s a wonderful report of a recent baptism in the Jordan River from an Anglican […]

    • David Roseberry February 6, 2016 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the shoutout I followed you years ago…and now, once again!

  17. Jill February 9, 2016 at 11:03 pm - Reply

    When my grandparents visited the Holy Land some years ago, they came back and for a time were gifted with speaking in tongues …. The parents of this man were at my baptism in Taos 6 years ago … very nice that you, and they, could be there for their son when he was ready to make this choice! Your international incident has now reached the other side of the world from where it happened …

    • David Roseberry February 10, 2016 at 5:54 am - Reply

      How terrific! The parents are wonderful…

      • Jill February 10, 2016 at 9:32 am - Reply

        Yes they are, I consider myself lucky to know them!

  18. Owen February 10, 2016 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    This is not directly relevant to this story but associated with it – to add an element of humour. As a young curate I was teaching a boys confirmation class and we were covering the life of Christ. The previous week I had discussed John and his mission. So to do some revison I began by asking “What did JHohn theBaptist say to those who came to hear him at the River Jordan ? Deathly hush – they obviously had not been listening !
    Then one brave lad, thinking of total immersion which he did remember about, gave an intelligent answer to my question “Please sir ! “Hold your breath”‘

    • David Roseberry February 10, 2016 at 5:27 pm - Reply


  19. Smith Noland February 14, 2016 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    David, Toni told me the story still celebrating the “international incident”. I celebrate with you all the joy of Christ’s work in all of our lives. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow”.

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