During the decade of the 1950’s, I was fortunate to make the acquaintance of Bill Gage. Bill had served on the mission field in the Barbados Islands and was one of the leaders in the movement to build Little Galilee Christian Assembly, a Christian service camp, in central Illinois. Since I was also helping in the establishment of this camp, I had close contact with Bill and heard many stories about his experiences as a missionary. Here is one of his stories that have stayed in the front of my memory for over fifty years.
Bill had preached the Gospel in those islands and a large number of people confessed Christ as Saviour and were instructed in the doctrine of New Testament baptism. Bill then described the large crowd that assembled for the baptismal service and his own amazement when he saw that every candidate for baptism was dressed in pajamas or nightgowns.
Now Bill Gage was a man who knew how to investigate situations and he set out immediately to find the reason for this. After all, this could not have been just a coincidence. He discovered that people were dressed in pajamas or nightgowns after their death in preparation for the funeral service and their burial. Bill had taught them that baptism was a burial into the death of Christ and a resurrection to walk in newness of life. Their own burial customs led them to dress accordingly. Bill’s exposition of Romans 6:1-14 had made them see the Scriptural connection between burial and baptism.