James Boyce on Alien Immersion

“As to those of us who oppose the reception of alien immersions, we certainly ought to be satisfied when the number of professors of our views in the Seminary is greater in proportion to the ones understood to hold a contrary opinion” James P. Boyce

(James P. Boyce {1827-1888} was one of the founders of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, now in Louisville, KY, where he served as president from 1859 until his death in 1888. He was also president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1872-1873 and 1888. Boyce was strongly opposed to receiving alien {non-Baptist} immersions and was glad that a majority of the professors at Southern Seminary agreed with this view. The above quote is from T.A. Patterson’s 1944 dissertation “The Theology of JR Graves and Its Influence on Southern Baptist Life”, page 204.)

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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.)

What Is Scriptural Baptism?

“A reader writes with the inquiry which heads this articles. Thanks for your letter!

First, let’s take the baptism of Jesus as our standard. He is, after all, the pre-eminent Christian.

His baptism was by a man sent from God (John 1:6) to immerse in water (John 1:33). It required a proper candidate, and Jesus was certainly that; a child of God, who was ready to fulfill all righteousness (Matt. 3:15). The all-righteousness of God was already in Jesus before His baptism. On the other hand, John refused to baptize those who gave no evidence of new life (Luke 3:7-9). Imputed righteousness, brought by God’s action, is fulfilled (brought to its fruitful purpose) when we act in obedient accord with it.

It required a proper method: burial (Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12). There is little disagreement among scholars as to the New Testament mode.

And it required a proper authority. Here is where even some Baptists raise an eyebrow, but consider:

1) Others, such as the Essenes, were immersing; Jesus went to a man sent from God.
2) Truth is the ultimate authority for religious activity. False doctrine invalidates the actions of those who proclaim it.
3) We are not to receive those who bring any other doctrine (II John 1:9-11)
4) Correct authority is necessary in any significant action – marriage, business, education, and so on. Why would it be less so in baptism and church membership.

In summary, scriptural baptism is the burial, in water, of a believer who is already in Christ, into the fellowship of a like-minded community called a church. Jesus’ baptism placed Him in the gathered fellowship of disciples assembling around John, and from that group He took the material to build the first church. Congregations like that one, with those doctrines, still assemble by His authority, and baptize in His name (authority) today, and will till He returns (Matt. 16:18, Eph. 3:21).
We trust this answer is helpful.”  – R. Charles Blair

(R. Charles Blair is the pastor of the Poplar Grove Baptist Church in Hickman, Kentucky and the Director of Missions of the West Kentucky Baptist Association.  He previously served as as vice-president of Mid-Continent Baptist Bible College in Mayfield, Kentucky.  He has written several booklets, as well as numerous articles and tracts.  The following article first appeared in The Herald, the weekly newsletter of Mid-Continent in the 1960’s. This short article is the perfect size to fit on the front of a weekly church bulletin.)

The Meaning of “baptizo”

“In Greece, where the Greek language is still spoken, only immersion is practiced for baptism, and the Greeks laugh at the idea of “baptizo” meaning sprinkle or pour. If the Greeks do not know the meaning of a Greek word – who does know?” T.T. Eaton

(Thomas Treadwell Eaton {1845-1907} was a very influential Baptist pastor and editor. Besides pastoring large churches in Tennessee and Virginia, he pastored the predominant Walnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He also edited the Western Recorder newsletter, the leading newsletter for Southern Baptists, for 20 years. The following quote is from his book “The Faith of the Baptists”)

Influence of a Scriptural Baptism

“The following incident connects with a certain church in the State of Kentucky, where I was once pastor. During my pastorate the members gave me the details as follows. In that community lived an infidel who had not darkened a church door for more than forty years. Two young ladies, of both culture and wealth, were converted and united with the church; and the time set for them to be baptized. The place for baptizing was a pond not far from where this infidel lived, that became somewhat stagnant and filthy in the hot season. This infidel quizzed in his mind: “Will these beautiful, refined, and wealthy young women go down into that filthy mud-hole?” He doubted it. So when the time came he slipped down to the pond and sat down on the opposite side of the pond, from where the baptizing would take place, to watch the proceedings. Soon a little band of devout worshipers assembled and among them the two young women clothed in snow-white robes. The man of God made a few remarks in regard to the design of baptism, then led a fervent prayer, after which they sang “Am I a Soldier of the Cross,” etc. He then led the two young ladies into the pond and baptized them. Their clothes were soiled with the mud. The infidel stood and watched them as they walked to the shore with bright and glad faces, and fell into the arms of loved ones. He heard the sound of rejoicing as he walked away toward his home. The question: “What made those girls do that?” A few steps further. “What made them girls do that?” “I don’t know.” A few steps further: “What made them girls do that?” “I don’t know and I don’t care.” But that one quetion stayed with him. He couldn’t eat supper. Finally he said: “I am going to bed, go to sleep and forget this thing.” He did go to bed, but sleep would not come to his relief. He rolled until about two o’clock when he said to himself: “I must have relief or I will die.” Out of the bed he came, and on his knees he went, and confessed that “them girls have something I haven’t.” He confessed his sin and begged for light. The light shone in and the matter was settled. The matter remained between him and the Lord until the next business meeting of the church when he came to church and presented himself for membership and related his story essentially as it is recorded here. He stated that he wanted to be baptized right where those girls were.”  J.H. Grime

(J.H. Grime {1851-1941} was a noted Baptist pastor in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas. In Kentucky he pastored in Barren and Warren Counties. He was an associate editor for the Tennessee Baptist and Reflector newspaper and authored a number of books, including “A History of Alien Immersion and Valid Baptism.” The above story is from his book “Recollections of a Long Life.”)