Quite an interesting discussion is going on as to whether Mr. Lincoln was a believer in the Bible and in Jesus Christ. One of his biographers, an intimate, personal friend, pretty clearly proves that he was an infidel and ridiculed the Bible and the claims of Jesus to be the Christ until the end of his life. Others present pretty conclusive evidence that he did acknowledge a change in his opinion about Christ, before his death. He often, after the forms of public rulers, expressed a reliance on God and Christ in his public proclamations.
Gospel Advocate, July 24, 1873, 691.
There basically are two stories told about Lincoln and his invitation to be immersed. One takes place in Springfield, IL, and the other in Washington, D.C.
There is a tradition among Illinois Disciples that John O’Kane, when state evangelist, discussed the state of Lincoln’s soul with him on several occasions; finally he was convicted and wished to be immersed. He reportedly knew that his wife, who had strong Episcopal and Presbyterian social obligations in Springfield, would be greatly embarrassed if it were known that a “Campbellite” evangelist had baptized him. But one night, Lincoln slipped away from the house with proper garments for baptism, met O’Kane and was immersed in the waters of the Sangamon River.
Christians Only, Standard Publishing, 1962, p. 155.
The other story was submitted by W.R. Lowe:
W. H. Morris told me that in 1862, while his regiment was in Washington, or just across the river in Arlington Heights, he held a protracted meeting of about two weeks, during which he baptized many of the soldiers of his regiment. Mr. Lincoln and his Cabinet attended his meeting. Mr. Lincoln and Secretary Stanton attended nearly every night and, near the close of the meeting, Mr. Lincoln came to him and said, “Morris, do you think it necessary for every person to be baptized?” He replied: “It is not a matter of think-so with me! It is a matter of revelation. Jesus said, ‘Go and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.’ And Peter, by the Holy Spirit, said, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins.’” When he had made these quotations from the old Book, Mr. Lincoln said: “Well, Morris, I look at this matter just as you do, and I intend to attend to it.” Bro. Morris says he thinks from what he saw that Secretary Stanton and other members of his Cabinet persuaded him to defer the matter for the time being, and he never had a favorable opportunity after that, or, at least, he never attended to it.
W. R. Lowe, “An Interesting Incident,” Christian Standard, January 21, 1911.
I doubt a biography will ever be written about me. But if one is written, just for the record, I was immersed on October 21, 1984, at the Central Christian Church in Tampa, Florida, by evangelist Edgar Harris.
We should have confidence in Christ!
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