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A Pioneer Preacher Proves a Point About Infant Baptism

Many stories are told about pioneer preacher "Raccoon" John Smith. He was a man of strong conviction and clever wit. One of the better known incidents in his preaching work is related in this excerpt from a biographical sketch …

Noticing, one day, that a young Methodist preacher had sprinkled a howling infant, he afterward seized him by the arm, in full view of the Methodist gathering that was meeting on the banks of Slate Creek, and powerfully pulled him toward the water. When the man questioned John of his intentions, Smith informed him that he was going to be baptized. The Methodist protested that he had no desire to be baptized. When the protest had been heard by the assembly, John stopped to make his point clear: why had the baby been "baptized" against his will and before belief? A few laughed in admiration of John's witticism, but most were gravely touched by the seriousness of his argument.

While this account may bring a chuckle, it also teaches a vital point. Infant baptism is an erroneous practice brought on by a false doctrine.

  • Infants do not need baptism, for they are sinless (Ezekiel 18:20; Matthew 18:3).
  • Additionally, any baptism entered into without prior faith (Mark 16:16), repentance (Acts 2:38), and confession (Romans 10:10) is of no effect to the saving of the soul anyway.
The example of devoted men like John Smith encourages us to be ready to use every opportunity to teach and defend God’s truth.