A sign outside a
large church building in Birmingham announced “Baptism every fourth Sunday.” I
wonder what Peter or Paul would have thought about baptism offered as a kind of
fourth Sunday “blue plate” special. Consider Peter’s
experience. On Pentecost, he told the gathered multitude, “Repent and be
baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of
sins” (Acts 2:38). Then just three verses later, Luke tells us that the same
day three thousand were added by being baptized for the remission of sins.
Daily church growth (Acts 2:47) must have meant daily baptisms. When Ananias came
to Paul and said, “And now why tarriest thou, arise and be baptized, calling on
the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16), he was baptized immediately. As prisoners in
Philippi, Paul and Silas prayed and sang at midnight, and the prisoners heard
them. An earthquake shook the jail, so that the jailer planned suicide,
thinking the prisoners had escaped. But after they taught the jailer and his
family, they were baptized “straightway,” “the same hour of the night” (Acts
16:31). “Baptism every fourth Sunday” just doesn’t
sound like God’s plan.
Prichard serves as an elder and evangelist for the Hillview Church of Christ in
Birmingham, Alabama, since 2016. In his forty-five years of preaching he has
served churches in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Alabama.