published Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Chickamauga church baptizes 177 in a day

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    Staff photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press - Aug 22, 2010 Dr. Darrell Henry prepares to baptize a man while Joseph Hardin adds water to the baptismal pool at the Oakwood Baptist Church's satellite campus at the Gateway mall on Cloud Springs Road, where hundreds of people have participated in "spontaneous baptism".

CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. — For once, said Darrell Henry, the Baptists didn’t beat the Methodists to the restaurants after Sunday services.

Instead, on a recent Sunday at Oakwood Baptist Church, the congregation held fast to its pews and applauded after 177 people came forward in two services to be baptized.

“It was amazing,” Henry, the church’s longtime senior pastor, said of the Aug. 15 services. “People have continued to talk about it. I’ve never seen God move like that.”

Henry said the mass baptism was accomplished, in part, by making things easy on people who wanted to be immersed.

Forgot a change of clothes? No problem. The church provided gym shorts, sports bras and underwear.

Worried about getting wet hair? Solved. The church bought blow dryers.

Fretful that family members were not present? Not to worry. The church had a professional photographer to capture the moment.

Last Sunday, Henry baptized 95 more people at the church’s Gateway campus, bringing the total for the church to 302 in eight days. This Sunday, he will conduct a similar service at the church’s Germantown Road campus.

The Oakwood pastor said his 3,000-member church usually baptizes 90 to 110 people a year.

Jud Davis, chairman of biblical studies at Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn., said while a planned mass baptism wouldn’t be his way of doing things, the mode and method of baptism have been debated for 2,000 years.

“It’s an issue where there is Christian diversity,” he said. “I would feel it is a little manipulative” to say one way of baptism “is right” and that those who don’t follow it are “not in the favor of God.”

In the final analysis, Davis said, the mode and method of baptism are a nonessential issue.

Christians are like families, he said. They may argue tooth and nail over specific issues, but at the end of the day they’re still brothers.

Nicki Brooks, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Baptist Convention, said it doesn’t keep records for one-time baptisms by individual congregations. Rebecca Morris, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Baptist Convention Historical Archive and Museum, said records don’t exist there for baptisms in one day by an individual congregation, either.

However, 228 people were baptized on Feb. 1, 2009, in five services at 7,700-member Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., according to The Christian Index, a biweekly newspaper of the Georgia Baptist Convention.


Earlier this year, the Southern Baptist Convention reported a slight increase in baptisms for 2009 after four straight years of declines.

Dr. Eddy Rushing, associational missionary for the Northwest Georgia and Lookout Valley Baptist Associations, said evangelism is vital for Baptist churches.

“There’s always a push to get people baptized,” he said. “If someone accepts Christ, that’s the next logical step.”

Henry said he first heard of a spontaneous baptismal service about four years ago at 4,500-member Hebron Baptist in Dacula, Ga. Some 50 people came forward to be baptized, he said.

At first, he said, he didn’t think it was something Oakwood would do. But eventually, he warmed to the idea and determined it was supported by the Bible. Only a lack of belief in Christ, he contended the Scriptures said, should separate someone from being baptized.

To prepare for the service, Henry said he wanted to do everything possible to eliminate common excuses for failure to be baptized. He even sent some staff members to Johnson Ferry to get advice.

Henry said he told those who desired to be baptized that they need not feel obligated to join Oakwood officially as members.

“We made it where everybody could be comfortable,” he said.

Henry said he figured the early service might yield 25 baptisms and the second service 50.

The response [44 in the early service and 133 in the late service] was overwhelming, he said. “It exceeded our expectations.”


Henry said the recent baptisms included many first-time immersions and others who had been baptized as children but who wanted to repeat the act as adults.

“I made the gospel real clear,” he said. “The New Testament speaks of believing and then being baptized.”

Those who came forward ranged in age from pre-teenagers to those in their 70s. Among those who were immersed in the church’s baptismal pool were the senior pastor’s sister, son-in-law and several Oakwood deacons.

Kenny Hale, 51, a deacon in the church, was the first one to respond. He said had been baptized when he was young, had heard Dr. Henry talk before about the importance of a repeat “believer’s baptism” and had been considering coming forward for several years.

“I wanted to do it to make sure it was right,” said the Rossville resident, who wound up helping the senior pastor with the baptisms. “It was a pretty awesome day.”

Henry’s sister, Dale Donaldson, of Chattanooga, 53, also was baptized. She had been baptized by her father, also a Baptist pastor, 45 years earlier.

“I felt like it was time to do it again,” she said. “I’ve had some things happen in my adult life, [and] I wanted to reconfirm my baptism.”

Henry said 302 baptisms are heartening to a pastor, but the number is secondary to the outpouring of faith.

“It’s really great to see what it means to the people being baptized [and] to the congregation,” he said, “and to see the sense of revival that swept over the place.”

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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Tax_Payer said...

Easy-believism at its finest moments.

August 25, 2010 at 2:20 a.m.
enufisenuf said...

Brain washing and cult worship en masse. How much money did all the new sheep brimg in? After all Oakwood is about money.

August 25, 2010 at 6:15 a.m.

They must be preparing for the resurrection of Bush/Cheney.

August 25, 2010 at 7:38 a.m.
olhoazul2 said...

Slow news day?? Sheesh...

August 25, 2010 at 7:39 a.m.
eeeeeek said...

seems appropriate to post here too.

Give yourself a 10%* raise... stop going to church.

*financial gains may vary on whether you are giving away the proper 10% tithe

August 25, 2010 at 8:01 a.m.
eeeeeek said...

saved thru the blood of the burger smirk

August 25, 2010 at 9:16 a.m.

The purveyors of filth, with what's left of their drug-indoctrinated 'minds' have no life, so feel the need to envy and hate others lives. I see dewby with his false and racist-hate filled diatribes has been deleted here. Typical Leftists. They spew hate and false info about people they know nothing of, while trashing their Book and misquoting it.

Hey atheist Cowards, now let's hear you trash and hate the Muslims and their prophet, like you do the Christian Conservatives, while drawing a few 'cartoons' of him. What's wrong? Got a case of the tremblies at the thought?

Here's some real news, take it, go worship at the altar of Obama and Thugs in DC and have a sweet justice kinda day.

Aug 25, 9:07 AM EDT

Weak US data shakes markets once again

By PAN PYLAS AP Business Writer

LONDON (AP) -- World stock markets fell again Wednesday as worries over the global economic recovery continued to weigh on sentiment and after another disappointing piece of U.S. economic data.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 59.90 points, or 1.2 percent, at 5,096.05 while Germany's DAX fell 47.24 points, or 0.8 percent, to 5,888.20. The CAC-40 in France was 51.49 points, or 1.5 percent, lower at 3,439.62.

Wall Street was also poised to open lower - Dow futures were down 63 points, or 0.6 percent, at 9,960 while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 futures fell 8.1 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,041.70.

August 25, 2010 at 9:54 a.m.

Sentiment towards the U.S. open turned decidedly negative after durable goods data came in worse than anticipated.

The Commerce Department said the sale of big-ticket items, such as aircraft, rose by only 0.3 percent in July from the previous month, way down on expectations of a 3 percent monthly rise.

Though big swings in commercial aircraft and defense sales make such statistics particularly volatile, investors were spooked about how paltry the monthly increase was.

"Not only was this report weaker than expected, but it also exacerbated the markets' current sense of heightened uncertainty," said Michael Woolfolk, an analyst at Bank of New York Mellon.

The durable goods figures came ahead of another housing report, which analysts said could have a major impact on the markets over the rest of the day.

Figures Tuesday showing that existing home sales in the U.S. tanked in July to their lowest level in 15 years hit sentiment hard, and at one stage the Dow dropped below the 10,000 mark for the first time since early July.

Because the U.S. housing market was the catalyst behind the financial crisis and the ensuing global recession, its failure to stabilize is stoking renewed concerns about the sustainability of the U.S. recovery and reigniting talk that the Federal Reserve will have to pump more money into the economy to stave off a double-dip recession.

Following the existing sales disappointment on Tuesday, investors will be looking at the equivalent reading for new home sales during July.

With U.S. economic data consistently underperforming market forecasts, there are mounting expectations that the Fed will have to do more to get the U.S. economy back on track and....

August 25, 2010 at 9:55 a.m.
eeeeeek said...

I participated in 'everybody draw muhammad day' and continue to draw one on a weekly basis to toss post on a pole somewhere along with other posters.

I may not be able to draw well.. but it doesn't matter when comes to muhammad, or any of the other gods.

Free speech is more important than anything... if your gods can't hold up against a little reasoned thought.. then what good are they?

August 25, 2010 at 10:14 a.m.
Veritas said...


I couldn't agree with you more, with sodomizing, child molesting priests, and cross dressing, publicly urinating, soliciting preachers on the loose it's amazing that anyone wants anything to do with religion. A God who can create the wonders of nature and the universe can certainly handle a little criticism of His most foolish creation, humans. Deism, the religion for thinking minds @

August 25, 2010 at 10:36 a.m.

"sodomizing, child molesting priests, and cross dressing, publicly urinating, soliciting preachers on the loose"..

veritas, what a misnomer, you speak no truth whatsoever. You also mention people who most definitely are not Followers of Christ, yet use the mantle "christian", just as there are deceivers/rapists/murderers in any religion or ideology including Marxism, Atheism, Communism (3 of the worst in History btw-murdering over 100 million souls in the last 100 years alone). Add to that the fact that Islam in the last 1000+ years (which Fact gets no mention in the biased far-Left MSM) has murdered tens of millions more-to this day. And what do you have? Evil. You all follow evil? That's your choice and your death bubs.

"A God who can create the wonders of nature and the universe can certainly handle a little criticism of His most foolish creation, humans. Deism, the religion for thinking minds.."

Handle criticism? Look in the mirror. You guys think you can trash others with impunity? Your thin skins never have been able to hear, read or taste the other side of the aisle as many of us have done. That's the real indoctrination mantra Bub and that's the real tragedy with you all.

August 25, 2010 at 11:41 a.m.

"Where were you when I founded the earth? Tell me if you know so much...

Then the earth is changed like clay under a seal, until its colors are fixed like those of a garment. But from the wicked light is withheld, and the arm raised to strike is broken...

Have you gone down to the springs of the sea or explored the limits of the deep? Have the gates of Death been revealed to you, the gates of death-like darkness? Have you surveyed the full extent of the earth? Say so if you know it all. Which way leads to where light has its home? and darkness, where does it dwell? If you knew you could take each to its place and set it on its homeward path.

You know of course, because you were born then; by now you must be very old! Who put Wisdom in people's inner parts? Who gave understanding to the mind? Who by wisdom can number the clouds? Who can tilt the water-skins of heaven, so that the dust becomes a mass of mud and its clods stick together..." Job 38, ancient Covenant Scripture

August 25, 2010 at 11:45 a.m.
Veritas said...

Would the canary care to sing about the "other side of the aisle", whatever that is? And BTW what's a bub? Please illucidate us but perhaps in a less ranting and raving manner. It gives you the appearance of being a rather "thin skinned canary". However, I wouldn't want to distract you from your career in the coal mine. How are the fumes down there?

August 25, 2010 at 11:55 a.m.
Veritas said...

AMEN, AMEN, Wawatoosa!

August 25, 2010 at 12:11 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Canary is a liar and would love a theocracy and the 10 commandments in place of the constitution. I have to assume that he does NOT speak for a lot of people in the Chattanooga area. If he does, then the situation is dire. I'm not sure a city can contain that level of stupid.

August 25, 2010 at 6:48 p.m.
hambone said...

I have never seen so much hate balled up in one person. Old big bird feathers sure are ruffled tonight.

August 25, 2010 at 10:47 p.m.
hotdiggity said...

Listening to the Police while reading the bird's latest rant, with special emphasis on the third verse.

              Canary in a Coalmine

First to fall over when the atmosphere is less than perfect Your sensibilities are shaken by the slightest defect You live you life like a canary in a coalmine You get so dizzy even walking in a straight line

You say you want to spend the winter in Firenza You're so afraid to catch a dose of influenza You live your life like a canary in a coalmine You get so dizzy even walking in a straight line

Canary in a coalmine

Now if I tell you that you suffer from delusions You pay your analyst to reach the same conclusions You live your life like a canary in a coalmine You get so dizzy even walking in a straight line

Canary in a coalmine

First to fall over when the atmosphere is less than perfect Your sensibilities are shaken by the slightest defect You live your life like a canary in a coalmine You get so dizzy even walking in a straight line

Canary in a coalmine

-Sung by The Police

August 26, 2010 at 1:05 a.m.
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