08 October, 2007

Family Disheartened After Watching Baptism Film

Newport News, Virginia - Recently the Chalmers family of Newport News mourned the death of the man they all called "Papaw." Papaw, whose real name was Douglas Chalmers, died three months ago at the age of 82 after a year-long battle with cancer. While the family was saddened about losing Papaw, they were confident about Papaw's eternal destination, that is until a recent film made them question that confidence.

The trouble began over the weekend when the family gathered together to celebrate what would have been Papaw's 83rd birthday on Saturday. Richard Chalmers, Papaw's son had managed to obtain a copy of a film showing Papaw's baptism at the Newport News Church of Christ over 40 years ago. It was what the family saw in the film that now has them scarred that Papaw may not have made it to the Pearly Gates.

"I had found the film in Papaw's cedar chest after he passed away" said Richard Chalmers. "I was able to find a machine and watch it. I then paid a guy to have it transferred to DVD so that we could always have it. I naturally decided to bring it to the celebration this past weekend for everyone to see."

The family watched with smiles on their faces, until daughter Cortney Contrell noticed something strange.

"Courtney said 'Did y'all see that? His right big toe didn't go all the way under!'" said Richard Chalmers. "We ran the movie back several times and watched it over and over again, and we all saw the same thing. As Papaw was being dunked in the tub of water, his right foot came up and his big toe came out of the water about an inch, which means that he was never properly baptized."

While such an issue might seem insignificant to some, to the Chalmers family it's an matter of eternal importance.

"In our branch of the Church of Christ we believe that baptism saves you" said Thomas Chalmers, the eldest son. "If you're not properly baptized, if you don't get completely immersed then your not really saved. You've got to get all the way under that water or you just won't make it to heaven. We're all scared now, because as far as we know that's the only baptism that Papaw ever had."

The family is disparately searching records to find if Papaw was ever baptized again over the course of his life. But they they fear that all of their searches will turn up empty.

"We're bracing ourselves for the worst, but we're not giving up hope yet" said Thomas Chalmers. "Papaw really loved to fish, and on a number of occasions he went with his pastor buddies. Perhaps on one of those trips he may have been re-baptized and we just don't know about it. We're currently trying to track down all of our old ministers through the years to see if they know anything."

The incident has since prompted the entire family to get re-baptized over the weekend.

"We're not taking any chances" stated daughter Elizabeth. "How terrible it would be to have to suffer in hell for all eternity because of a toe."


van walker said...

That church clearly needs a committee to oversee baptisms, because the idea that people are being lost for all eternity through faulty baptism is something that no true Christian should stand for!

How many hundreds (or thousands) of the saved have been taken out of God's hand and cast into hell by preachers with faulty hydrology?


Richard said...

This one hit a little to close to reality, Eric. In fact, I have to counsel a student later this afternoon for including this in his testimony paper: "confessing is the easiest part of salvation speaking out and believing in your heart that Jesus Christ is the son of God and died for our sins...then there is baptism, the washing away of the sins. I know with all I have in me [that] baptism is essential for salvation."

Again, I appreciate the humor in poking fun at senseless mis-interpretation of scripture...but we're dangerously close to making a mockery of a group of people that are going to hell short of someone else's intervention.

Just a thought.

Team Tominthebox News Network said...


Thanks for the comments. I wrote this story by the way, Tom.

I completely understand your concern. There is both humor and sadness to almost every story we do here at TBNN. Indeed, we poke fun at liberals, but they are in the same boat.

In one sense, yes, I am making a mockery of false doctrine. I don't necessarily think that's wrong. But in another sense, I would hope that by demonstrating the logical end to one's errant view will help them see just how ridiculous it is.


Richard said...

My apologies for mis-crediting the authorship. And you're right that all your blogs indeed have a touch of sadness with each 'reality' that is explored. I also agree that mocking false doctrine isn't necessarily wrong. Maybe being this close to it detracted from the humor I would otherwise appreciate. I dunno. Anyways, thanks for the reply. I hope you don't feel that I was blasting whomever wrote it.

By the way, logic is wasted on the COC. Believe me, I've tried. Showing them the error in their doctrine is like trying to tack jello to the wall.

Jason said...

I think the preacher should be held accountable by God. Because of his faulty actions this man is forever doomed to Hell. What a shame.

Anonymous said...

Can't be saved if you don't toe the line! Or the tub!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps he was saved, but has an amputated toe in heaven?

St. Lee said...

It think its obvious that the "christian" thing to do would be for the entire family to convert to Mormonism so they can do that "baptism for the dead" thing for poor old Pawpaw. Shouldn't be too much of a change since they share pretty much the same view on baptism.

pilgrim said...

Maybe--just maybe he went into heaven missing his toe(s)?

Better to enter heaven without your foot, so they say.

Actually this is a good comment on baptismal mode overall--most would not go to this extreme, but sometimes we need to examine the extremes and see why they are extreme. Satire tends to do that well in many cases.

Anonymous said...

It's a sad commentary on the state of Christendom that so many professing disciples of the Lord Jesus find this story amusing and use it as a tool for mocking the lost for their unBiblical beliefs. Where are those whose hearts are broken over these and myriad others, hell-bound sinners in need of a Savior not a ritual? Can we not look back to the time before we were regenerated by God's work and see that we were no better, no different.....and that these folks need what God in His grace has bestowed upon us? Surely, our time spent mocking would be better devoted to prayer.

Ed Franklin

Team Tominthebox News Network said...


First let me say I appreciate you actually using your real name. So many anons come on here, blast and then leave, thinking they've done their just deed.

Let me respond to you on two fronts with this.

First of all, you've made the assumption that I don't pray for these kinds of people, which is wrong. Yes I do pray for them, as well as for lost people from all kinds of backgrounds, muslim, jew, liberal, etc. So, just because I criticize their beliefs here doesn't mean I don't care about them.

Secondly, I could easily turn your argument back on you. You took the time to write something critical of what I said. Couldn't that time have been better spent in prayer for me?

Here at TBNN we use humor to highlight everything from the absurd to real heresy. In writing this article I in no way was saying "See look at these people, they're going to hell, ha ha ha!" Rather, I'm trying to say "When you take this false doctrine to its logical end, these are the conclusions you must reach." I'm highlighting error by showing how absurd it is.

Now, a number of things can be taken from this post. One who may, perhaps, be approaching someone with this belief apologetically may be able to draw an argument against it by asking a CoC friend "If Baptism is necessary for salvation, then how much water is enough?" One could legitimately ask the question, "What if someone's toe pops out of the water, what then?" It's a serious objection?

Furthermore, someone who might be CoC could read this and see the absurdity of their own beliefs, realizing the logical end of their own belief system.

So you see, what we do here at TBNN is a type of apologetic. Someone reads it and laughs and thinks "That's just silly" but then hopefully realizes that "This is what you get if you follow that line of thinking...silliness."


Anonymous said...

If thy right big toe offend thee cut it off.

Unknown said...

Scary thing is- This might be a story, but it's not made up! An old friend of mine finished their preachers' school at Freed-Hardeman, and he was all upset when I told him about a friend whose knee stayed up in a short baptistry tub. Knew for a fact that poor lad was bound to suffer for that knee!

There's more in that Bible than what will fit in a sermon outline, isn't there?

Malsteem said...

I have a COC background,and have yet to have anyone teach me abotu the big-toe problem.

As far as baptism goes it would be wise for people to look into the historical teachings of the church , not just the Reformation teachings of of Zwingli and Calvin.