Raccoon’ John Smith on Infant Baptism

Raccoon’ John Smith on Infant Baptism

Pioneer preacher ‘Raccoon’ John Smith (1784-1868) openly preached simple New Testament Christianity throughout his life.  This excerpt from his biography teaches an important lesson . . .

Soon after this, he went out on Slate Creek and began to preach the ancient gospel among the Methodist and Baptist of that region. An itinerant of the Methodist church was already on the grounds and the attention of the people was soon divided between the two . . .

One day a mother brought her infant into the Methodists that he might receive baptism at the hands of the preacher . . . no regard being paid to the cries and struggles of the child that with all its strength resisted the ordinance.

On the next day Smith, in the presence of all the people, led ten persons, one by one, into the water, and immersed them for the remission of sins. Seeing the Methodist preacher in the crowd, Smith walked up from the stream . . . seizing the preacher by the arm he pulled him gently but firmly along toward the water. Resistance would have been in vain, for ‘the Dipper’, as the people now began to call him, was a man of powerful muscle.

"What are you going to do, Mr. Smith?" said the man. "I am going to baptize you, sir!" said Smith. "But I do not wish to be baptized," said the man, trying to smile at what he deemed to be a rather untimely jest, If, indeed, it was a jest at all.

"Do you not believe" said Smith. "Certainly I do," said the preacher. "Then come along sir" said ‘the Dipper’ pulling him nearer the water. "Believers must be baptized!"

"But," said the man, now uneasy at the thought that possibly it might not be a joke at all, "I'm not willing to go. It certainly would do me no good to be baptized against my will."

Smith raised his voice so all the multitude could hear, "Did you not yesterday baptize a helpless babe against its will, though it shrunk from your touch, and kicked against your baptism? Did you get its' consent, sir? Come along with me for you must be baptized!"

The preacher loudly and earnestly protested and ‘the Dipper’ released his hold . . . "You think, sir, that it is all right to baptize others by violence, when you have the physical power to do it; but when you yourself are made the unwilling subject, you say it is wrong and will do no good. You may go for the present; but, brethren and friends, let me know if he ever again baptizes others without their full consent; for you yourselves have heard him declare that such a baptism can not possibly do any good.”

 from The Life of Elder John Smith by John Augustus Williams

What saith the scriptures?

"…He that believes and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16).

"But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women" (Acts 8:12).

"…And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized" (Acts 18:8).

 “10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions” (Colossians 2:10-13)

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3–4)

 Think on these things… have YOU been baptized INTO CHRIST? 

Hugh DeLong