Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The day I was Baptized against my will, to the enjoyment of everybody.

Years ago I worked at an interdenominational ministry in the inner-city of Pretoria. This was one of the best times of my life. I really enjoyed the honesty, the energy and the people.

I met Enrico at a local pool table arcade, where we became friends. Over the next three years he made his commitment to God, and started to live a life that was a inspiration to all around him. He joined the local Baptist Church, where he started serving in the youth ministry.

One day he came to see me about his Baptism. He had decided that the time was right for him to get baptized. He had spoken with his local congregation and they agreed that I would be allowed to baptize him the following Sunday. This was something new for me, but I could see that this would mean a lot to him. Since I had clearly seen what God had been doing in his life, baptizing him was a real honor.

Come Sunday morning, I pitched up with my Sunday Suit and my Leather Shoes. I immediately realized that I had made a mistake: the local pastor was clothed in his Baptismal robe.
The Church was packed!
In the front, there was this absolutely amazing, beautiful Baptism bath. It was like a small swimming pool. It was situated at the centre of the stage, with glass sides, so that everyone could see each person fully as they were immersed in the water. The service was beautiful, and it was an almost perfect day.
Then it was time for the baptisms. The local pastor got into the Baptism bath, and three people were baptized. Then it was Enrico’s turn. I was introduced to the congregation, and the pastor announced with a smile that the neatly dressed Reformed Pastor would be baptizing Enrico.

I went forward, and at the baptism bath, I took of my nice leather shoes, amidst some audible snickering emanating from the congregation. I got into the bath and only then realized how deep it was. The water reached up to the side pockets of my jacket, and I realized that by the time I had immersed Enrico, I would be completely wet, all over. It also struck me that I did not have a dry change of clothes with me and that I would have to walk, sopping wet, the three city blocks to where I lived. When Enrico climbed into the bath, I could see that this was a very special moment for him. I baptized him in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, immersing him each time. When he came up the last time, he hugged me, and I found myself thanking God for that moment.

Enrico climbed out of the bath, and I followed. I still had my socks on my feet, and as I stepped onto the upper step, I slipped! I fell back into to the baptismal bath, in what probably looked like a bad attempt to do a back flip. A tidal wave suddenly emerged, spilling over the edges of the bath --- to the utter amazement, and then amusement, of the congregation.

Well, there simply is no dignified way to pull yourself up out of a baptism bath in front of a church rolling around on the ground with laughter! To add to their amusement, the local pastor dryly commented that our Reformed brother is now also duly baptized as adult, even if it is against his will, adding mischievously, “God works in mysterious ways.”

Wisely he ended the service at this point. Not only because of the funny chaos I was responsible for, but also because all the musicians were running around frantically, unplugging all the electric equipment on stage, afraid of any problems or damage my tidal wave might have caused.

Till this day, Enrico's baptism counts as one of the most memorable ever done in that church.


  1. Enigste "wederdoopte" NG dominee wat ek ken en steeds in die NG kerk is :) Dis 'n mooi storie die Paul. - Jean Oosthuizen

  2. Thanks Jean, nou vir die besnydenis