Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

1969 - Vietnam - Baptism 01

In 1969 my father, Kenneth A. Warford was an Air Force Chaplain serving in Vietnam. Baptist Chaplains rarely perform the baptism of soldiers and airman. Baptist Chaplains normally may only baptize a soldier or airman with the permission of, and in conjunction with, a local Baptist Church. Obviously there were no local Baptist Churches in Vietnam and making arrangements with a local church back home could take months. Communication with preachers and congregations back home were far more difficult than today. This put Chaplains like my father in the position of denying baptism to new believers for months or even years. Baptist do not believe that baptism is necessary for salvation but most new believers have a strong desire to be baptized. Some chaplains, including my father, were also concern that denying baptism to new converts sent a message to other soldiers and airmen to put off getting their lives right with God until they got home. On most occasions the young men were encouraged to wait until they got home for baptism but there were times when some Baptist Chaplains felt led to bend the rules. In the winter of 1969, Chaplain Kenneth A. Warford baptized Airman 1st Class Robert E. Douglas off the coast of Tuy Hoa Air Force Base in the South China Sea. There were other such baptisms in Vietnam but as far as I know this is the only picture and record of one.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20

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