Raccoon John Smith on Baptism

John “Raccoon” Smith was a (pioneer) gospel preacher from Wayne County, Kentucky, near Albany. He was completely converted to Christ and to the idea of restoring religion to nothing more than one finds in the New Testament. He was ardent in opposing the practice of baptizing infants. He had a practice of digging steps down to the water’s edge at the place where he immersed those who desired to obey the gospel. A Methodist preacher happened to be in the crowd on a particular day when Smith was baptizing people. Smith learned of his presence and came up out of the water and forcibly took the Methodist preacher by the arms and led him toward the water. The Methodist preacher strongly protested. “What, in the name of sense, are you doing Sir!” “Why, I intend on baptizing you, Sir”, Smith replied. “But I do not want to be baptized by you, Sir.” Smith responded, “You believe in the Lord, do you not?” “Of course, I do.” Then, come along, Sir. Believers must be baptized. ” “But it is against my will. I do not want to be immersed. It will be of no value at all. Please let me go,” the reluctant preacher begged. At this point, Smith held his victim firmly and with a voice loud enough for the entire crowd to hear said, “Did you not, this very last Sunday, baptize a helpless baby against its will, although it shrank from your touch and kicked against your baptism? Did you get its consent first, Sir?” With a powerful grip he pulled the preacher closer to the water’s edge. The preacher’s protests grew more frantic until at last, Smith released the poor man. Smith then said, “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 to be the unwilling subject, you say it is wrong and will do no good. You may go for the present. But, (addressing the audience) 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 cannot possibly do any good.

Taken from a book titled: Life of Elder John Smith