Reading the section on Baptism in J. L. Dagg’s Manual Of Theology, I came across a quote that struck me kind of funny. He wrote:
The commission of Christ to his apostles reads thus: “Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:19-20) It is not expressly stated in these words that water must be used in the baptizing which is enjoined; but so common is the use of water, that a command to immerse, wash, or sprinkle, naturally implies the use of it, unless something in the circumstances of the case, or connection of the word, suggests the use of some other liquid.
I wonder what Dagg meant by “some other liquid?” It seems almost silly to consider any other liquid. I had to chuckle when I read the words. My mind flooded with all sorts of ludicrous possibilities, but I’d probably be labeled sacrilegious if I mentioned them here.
My friend Mike Stike of WDAC in New Providence, PA, told me an interesting story that makes Dagg’s remark seem not so out of place. Mike attends the oldest Southern Baptist Church in the state of Pennsylvania. In the early days of the church (1930’s), dairy farming served as the staple industry in the area. One of the first pastors, along with a traveling evangelist, went to visit one of the local dairy farmers one morning. When sharing the gospel, the man fell under such conviction that he got saved on the spot. Much like Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-38), the dairy man expressed an interest to be baptized immediately. The pastor tried to get him to wait until Sunday. The zealous evangelist, not wanting to quench the spirit, stepped in. He asked if the man had a creek on the property. He didn’t. He did have a fresh tub of non-pasteurized, non-homogenized milk. Pointing to the tub, the man asked, “Will that work?” “Absolutely!” replied the evangelist. The sheepish pastor dutifully baptized the new convert in the milk.