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
Many in the religious world today say that infants are born sinners and must be baptized so that they may be saved. Those same people will tell us we inherit sin from our ancestors all the way back to Adam. Yet, God says in Ezekiel 18:20, “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity…” God tells us that children do not inherit sin from their parents, grandparents, or any of their forefathers, all the way back to Adam. God says, “The son will not bear the punishment for the Father.” Each person is responsible for his own sins.
So, what is sin? I John 3:4 says, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” We do not inherit sin. It is something we do. And we commit sin when we commit lawlessness. An infant has not broken any law of God and thus has not committed any sin. How is sin committed? In James 1:14-15 we read, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” A baby cannot be drawn away and enticed into lustful sin.
One error leads to another. Men say since infants have inherited the sin of Adam, they must be baptized or they will be lost. Not only are infants not lost but they are not suitable candidates for baptism, since they cannot believe. Jesus says in Mark 16:16, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved…” Here He shows one of the prerequisites of being saved is to believe, which is impossible for an infant to do. Also, one of the prerequisites of being baptized is one must repent. The apostle Peter told a group of people to “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…” (Acts 2:38). Can an infant repent? It would be absurd to think an infant could believe or repent, but it is just as absurd to think an innocent infant, who is without sin, must be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, which he does not have.
Parents who have their infants “christened” are being deceived by the false doctrines of men. Satan has many ways through his lies in fooling people into being lost. When a person who was baptized as an infant becomes accountable, he doesn’t think he needs to be baptized again so he can be saved. Satan knows infant baptism accomplishes nothing. Satan knows when people who were baptized as an infant become accountable, at that time they begin to sin and will be eternally lost in the burning fires of Hell if they don’t obey the Lord. When a person becomes accountable he must “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38), not before. If a person misses Heaven by believing the lies of Satan, he will only have himself to blame.
Some teach the all men will be saved by God, regardless of rebellion or righteousness. It seems they believe God is so loving He simply will not punish anyone.
When considering the scriptures, we find many places which indicate this is not true. One such place is Genesis 7:17-24, where the writer says, “Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days, and the water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it rose above the earth. 18 The water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. 20 The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered. 21 All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; 22 of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. 23 Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. 24 The water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days” (NAS95).
While I realize that the death and destruction portrayed here are physical, this section of scripture continues God’s teaching regarding the consequences of disobedience. This is a shadow of judgment to come (implied by Peter in 1 Pet. 3:20-21). Moses shows the children of Israel that when God says he’ll punish, that that punishment is sure. 2 Thess. 1:7-9 gives a promise of future destruction and vengeance on the disobedient. Matthew 25:46 warns that this punishment is eternal.
When looking at what God can do, we should stand in awe of the absolute power of the Almighty in this passage. His destructive power is matched only by His creative power. His will is indomitable. Yet man chooses to challenge His law. As the rebellious are crushed in the depths of the water in our passage so the rebellious of all time will be cast in to a vast lake of fire, a flood of God’s wrath (Rev. 20:15).
As Noah and his family did, and were safe from harm because of obedience, I urge the reader to accept God’s terms. Peter uses Noah as an illustration showing us how baptism is the that which now saves us (1 Pet. 3:21).