Vol.VII No.VI Pg.7
August 1970

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

In one section we know the question of private vs. walking down the aisle baptism is being rolled about. We were asked to comment.


As regards what is scriptural, surely no Bible student would contend that either had an exclusive claim. Acts 2: pictures no invitation song sort of doings (nor do I know of such in the scriptures) but the baptism of 3,000 people in one day, in Jerusalem, beginning with the preaching of the twelve to the multitude, was certainly no private thing. Nor was that of Acts 3: 4: 1-4.

An orderly process, such as the preaching of the Word, and then the exhortation (invitation) to sinners to heed the Lords invitation and obey, is in keeping with the spirit and tenor of the N,T., (1 Cor. 14:40). It violates no teaching known to me. Even the question regarding ones faith, and the public acknowledgement of such faith, is right. (Rom. 10:10)

But I say even because traditional procedure has a way of clothing itself with authority — until some brethren seem to think that the apostles preached, sang an invitation song, took the confession, and then retired to the dressing room to don the robes for baptizing. There is nothing in the scriptures to justify this conclusion.

On the contrary, Acts 2: indicates an interruption of the sermon when certain ones were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? (v.37) Years ago I had concluded a sermon preached on the bank of a small creek, and was waiting for several to change clothes for baptism, when I heard a loud sob. Before I could turn, a man fell across my shoulder, shaken with emotion, and said, I have rejected Jesus long enough — I want to obey Him now.

I started to tell him to wait, and he could be baptized with the others, but he was not waiting. He walked, shoes, watch, wallet and all, right out into the water. I followed, and baptized him into Christ. What doth hinder me to be baptized? If you believe with all your heart, there is not a thing that can rightly hinder; even on a deserted road, with only a traveling party and a preacher present. (See Acts 8: 26-39)

Perhaps some have objected to so — called private baptisms, thinking it shows a lack of courage, and faith to stand up and be counted. Some think baptism is a church ordinance needing official sanction. But Baptism is not of the church, it is between the subject and Christ. We are baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27) not into the local church. If the subject lacks faith in Christ he/she must be taught the word of God more perfectly. The necessary faith will not be supplied by forcing a church tradition upon the subject.

A properly taught subject will understand that he now accepts the obligations of service to Christ, and with other saints. He should appreciate their interest, and their desire to share with him this new joy.