This particular church had preacher problems in the past and went preacher hunting again. Somebody mentioned that he knew a fellow who was a very nice guy. Their last preacher had been something else, so they called Mr. Nice Guy.
He was too. I went to see him one night to see if he could help me with 3rd Grade Camp. No, he told me, he was just preaching part time and wouldn’t be able to get off his other job to work in camp.
“OK,” I said. “Do you mind if I ask you some questions about your faith?”
“Of course not,” he smiled.
“Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God?”
“Do you believe in the virgin birth and the bodily resurrection?”
“I certainly do,” he assured me.
Good answers! I liked this guy! I had recently talked to a liberal preacher who laughingly denied both the virgin birth and the resurrection. This was more like it.
“Have you been baptized?”
“No? Did you say NO?”
“That’s right,” he replied calmly.
“What not?” I asked.
“I never thought it was necessary,” he said. “I’ve had the Salvation Army ‘flag baptism.’”
“But don’t you realize Jesus commanded baptism, immersion in water? Every Christian in the New Testament was baptized.”
“Was Paul baptized?” he asked.
“Yes, read Acts 22:16: Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord,” I quoted.
“I don’t know the Bible that well,” he explained.
“I’m sorry, but we wouldn’t be able to use you in camp even if you could come,” I said sincerely. “I’d like to talk to you about this some more sometime soon.” It was time for their choir practice to start.
I never got the chance. Some of the people at that church were very irate when they heard I had questioned him about his faith. After prayerful consideration, the camp directors sent them a letter stating that they could no longer be considered part of the camp because they had an unbaptized preacher.
It had a happy ending. One of the deacons started bugging the preacher about his lack of obedience. The preacher decided to search the scriptures to find proof that he didn’t need to be baptized. He was honest and sincere so when he found the truth, he obeyed it.
After his baptism, that church asked to be re-admitted to the camp fellowship. In their letter asking for re-admission, they thanked the directors for kicking them out in the first place. They are an active, supporting church in good standing now.