Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Ramzee Johnson Seeks Baptism


A California man who killed another man in a gunfight is looking to repent of his evil deed and be baptized. There’s only one problem – the local jail housing him is denying his request…

“I would like to do it before I go to prison,” Ramzee Johnson told the Bakersfield Californian, saying he’s getting daily death threats from gang members associated with his victim. “I might not make it to prison.”

Johnson has been studying the Bible recently with David Garner, a minister at the Oildale Church of Christ who thinks the Lerdo Jail’s refusal to allow the baptism is denying Johnson the ability to be saved.

…..Dale Scadron, the supervising sheriff’s chaplain and a Pentecostal pastor, told the paper he doesn’t agree baptism is absolutely necessary for a person’s salvation.

“My problem is that people here in jail with little hope are being told they now have no hope,” Scadron said. “Now their concern is that if I’m in jail and can’t be baptized and die tomorrow, I will go to hell eternally.”

He stresses the logistical problems at local lockup.

“We’re just not set up for it. Our chapels are multipurpose rooms. They’re being utilized by teachers and others. It’s not like prisons where they have an actual chapel,” Scadron said. “It’s a security issue.”

Ironically, while the Lerdo Jail is refusing Johnson’s request, baptisms are allowed at state prisons, which recognize five major faith groups: Christian Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims and American Indian religion adherents.

“Inmates can practice religion. So does that include baptism, praying, sitting in their sweat lodges or facing east to Mecca? Yeah, all of that is included,” California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton told the Californian. “Religion does have a beneficial effect on an inmate’s behavior and possible future behavior.”



It is certain that if we practice our faith, a world filled with evil and with error will certainly persecute us for our practice. “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12)

You will note the bias of the Pentecostal chaplain. It is interesting that the contention made by Johnson that he needs baptism for salvation is considered to be an attack on the religious beliefs of others. Why is it that other religions must be tolerated because they are an expression of an “individual’s” personal conviction, and the truth is not tolerated because of the objections of others?

It should not surprise us that even those who claim to be Christians are persecuting those who seek to name the name of Christ. After all, it has always been so. “…Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).