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It has been good to see many express their desire to turn their lives around through jail ministry. The greatest power to change hearts is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The book of Acts tells that those who crucified Jesus were cut to the heart when they realized what they had done. They were desperate to learn what they must do to be forgiven and make their lives right. They found peace only when they obeyed the words of Peter: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). The sad truth of working with the prisoners in the Hardin County Detention Center is that when they come to the same knowledge, through study of the word, they are not allowed to follow this command.
When they ask the same question as the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:36, “What hinders me from being baptized?” instead of Philip’s answer, “If you believe with all your heart, you may,” they must hear, “If the jailer thinks it is important, you may.” If the apostle Peter uttered his question from Acts 10:47, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized?” the resounding answer would be “Yes!”
Romans tells of this great “rehabilitation” that we undergo when we obey the commands of God. Romans 6:3-4: “Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” And yet the policy of the local jail is to deny the greatest rehabilitation process and opponent of recidivism the world has ever known.
Can the jailer please honestly answer why he would deny the requests of those who desire to “walk in newness of life” and “no longer be slaves to sin” by submitting themselves to the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Selecting appropriate response to jail baptism issue
Your Easter Sunday editorial concerning the baptism ban at the county jail very adequately and appropriately responded to this subject.
Jail inmates, of all people, should not be dragged through a controversial issue of spiritual versus water baptism. Such an issue could be a distraction rather than an attraction for all of Christianity.
If this becomes a legal issue, God forbid, a solution could be for the appealing church to post bond comparable to the crime for which the inmate was charged plus pay for transportation and security costs involved.
Meanwhile, all concerned should consider that Christianity may become a casualty. In addition, this could reflect on the popularity of some denominations.
Remember, God is watching.