When the Baptist Preacher Took His Baby To Be Baptized

“J. B. Jeter’s third wife was a Presbyterian. A baby was born in that home. His wife said something about like this: “Mr. Jeter, you knew I was a Presbyterian, when you married me. As an honest Presbyterian I believe that our baby ought to be baptized.” He consented on condition that she would consent to his holding the baby while the ceremony was performed. She thought it would be a feather in her cap to have the most prominent Baptist preacher in Virginia and one of the best known Baptist editors in the South to hold their baby, while a Presbyterian preacher baptized it.

So she consented. J. B. Jeter announced in his church in Richmond, that he would be out of his pulpit to be present at the Presbyterian church and why. That church was jammed and packed. The scholarly and dignified Presbyterian preacher preached and then announced that those who had babies to be baptized would please bring them forward. Bro. Jeter and his wife arose and he took the baby in his arms and they walked to the front. He was careful to get at the end where they were to begin. Quite a number of other parents had children present for that purpose. Just as the honored pastor of that Presbyterian church raised his hand to say the baptismal formula and baptize Bro. Jeter’s baby, Bro. Jeter said something like this: “My brother, you and I have been good friends for many years. My wife has been a member of your church for years and I have never tried to proselyte her to my faith. But as a Baptist I believe that we ought to be able to give a thus saith the Lord for all that we do. This is my baby as well as my wife’s. Before you sprinkle my child, I want you to take your Bible and read out of the Book your authority for what you are about to do.” The scholarly, old-school Presbyterian preacher slowly raised his hand and pronounced the benediction. Mrs. Jeter soon became a Baptist. She said that her pastor was one of the most scholarly Presbyterian preachers in all the South. If he could not find infant baptism in the Bible, then it must not be there. If infant baptism was not in the Bible, she had never been baptized, for infant baptism was all she had ever had. With an open Bible she soon was led to the truth and obeyed her Lord in baptism.”

(J.B. Jeter was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia, and was one of the greatest Southern Baptist preachers of the nineteenth century.  The following true story is taken from H. Boyce Taylor’s book “Why Be A Baptist“, page 19-20.)

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