An incident occurred in the Texas country years ago, the story of which I remember. The preachers of a small town proposed a union meeting in which all of the preachers of the town would take alternate turns to preach. There was a certain Gospel preacher in town, who had not been consulted on the arrangement. When he called on the other preachers to request his turn to preach, and asked to have a time assigned to him, he was informed that an agreement had been made that the subject of baptism would not be mentioned — that they had agreed to preach Christ and say nothing about baptism. To their surprise this preacher promptly accepted the conditions, and agreed to preach without the mention of the word “baptism.” A night was assigned for his sermon, and he announced in advance the subject: “What Must I Do to Be Saved?”
The people wondered how that kind of preacher could preach on that kind of subject under that kind of agreement and not mention baptism. They came from the necks of the woods and forks of the creeks to hear him preach that kind of a sermon.
He preached with much animation and eloquence on salvation, the love of God that brought salvation to man through Jesus Christ. Reaching the point of the question — “what must I do to be saved” — he turned to Mark 16:15-16 and read the words of Christ: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth” — and doeth that thing I promised not to mention — “shall be saved.” He then read Acts 2:38: “Repent” — and do that thing I promised not to mention, “for the remission of sins.” As he read every verse in the New Testament on baptism, he called it that thing he had promised not to mention.
It is a strange thing that denominational people will detour around such a plain and positive command, so simple to be understood and performed, so easy to accept and obey — and so much emphasized in the New Testament.
When Phillip preached Christ (Acts 8:5-12), he preached the kingdom of Christ, he preached the all prevailing name of Christ, and he preached “baptism into Christ.”
~ Foy E. Wallace, Jr.