What Did Luther, Melanchton, Zwingle,Calvin, and Wesley
Have in Common?
These reformers and church leaders had many theological and ecclesiastical disagreements. But they had at least two points in common: each of them began or belonged to churches that practiced sprinkling or pouring for baptism, yet each of them believed there was evidence that the early Christians practiced immersion as baptism. (Later, one or more of the individuals reverted to their former practice.) Read their comments:
Martin Luther: “The name baptism is Greek; in Latin it can be rendered immersion, when we immerse anything in water, that it may be all covered with water. And although that custom has now grown out of use . . . yet they ought to be entirely immersed, and immediately drawn out. For this the etymology of the name seems to demand.”
Melanchton: “Baptism is immersion into water, which is performed with this accompanying benediction of admiration: I baptize thee etc., . . . Plunging signifies ablution from sin and immersion into the death of Christ.”
Zwingle: “When ye were immersed into the water of baptism, ye were ingrafted into the death of Christ; that is, the immersion of your body into water was a sign that ye ought to be ingrafted into Christ.” (Comments on Rom. 6:3)
Calvin: “The very word baptize, however, signifies to immerse; and it is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.”
Wesley: “Buried with him, alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion.” (Comments on Rom. 6:3)