FORTH WORTH, Tex. (BNc) by Richard Stevens, III — A man looking for denominational information accidently called me while I was at the church office Thursday, Mar. 28. Realizing the mistake, he apologized, and was about to hang up when I introduced myself and inquired into the reason for his search.
After an exchange of names, he said he wanted to know more about the Bible and asked if I knew of a seminary school in which he could attend and learn. Politely, I questioned if he was ready for that by asking, “What would you tell someone about saving their soul?” He responded, “Believe the Bible and go to church.”
I then took the opportunity to discuss water baptism (John 3:5, 22-23; Acts 8:35-39; 10:47-48; 22:16; Heb. 10:22; etc.), eternal salvation (Ro. 1:16-17; 6:17-18,23; 2 Ti. 1:9-10; 2:10; etc.), and the one church of the New Testament (Mat. 16:18; Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:22-33), over the phone.
As we began, the man put me on hold so he could retrieve his Bible (commendable; Mat. 4:4). We talked for a while, both of us sharing our convictions, and then I invited him to personally study the Bible with me on Sunday morning. He accepted and said he would also bring his wife.
The following Sunday morning at 8:30 am, the man and his wife met me at the building and we studied together as he had promised (commitment; Mat. 5:6). That morning the two came bearing one old Bible with missing pages which they shared between them. I gave them another and we initiated the study with prayer.
After studying and discussing what the New Testament teaches about water baptism, I asked them if they believed baptism was necessary in securing eternal salvation. They looked at one another, then at me, and both said yes, while nodding their heads in agreement (conviction; Mat. 7:21). This was real progress, since they both entered the study believing that one could be saved without being baptized. Or, in other words, they did not believe that baptism was for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Now they did.
Our study ended that morning on the subject of the differences between denominational baptisms and the one baptism of biblical Christianity (Eph. 4:5), since they had both been denominationally baptized before. After looking at Acts 19:1-5, we concluded with a final thought and question for our future study, “Is it possible for one to be taught wrong and baptized right?” We then dismissed with prayer, shook hands, and hugged.
The wonderful couple also stayed for the worship service. They, along with our other visitors, were acknowledged at the end of our services. They smiled and said how happy they were to be with us. Before leaving, they told us how much they enjoyed the study, our services, our friendliness, and vowed to continue coming and studying the Bible with us.
I guess this was one time when a wrong number was actually the right one. Because a connection with Bible truth is never wrong. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32; cf. Eph. 4:21).
Please say a prayer for them and for us.
Richard preaches with the Beckley Heights congregation in Dallas, Tex.
Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. He enjoys his new home office. http://randal.us