Recently, Brother Don Blackwell of the Christian television network Gospel Broadcasting Network and of Memphis School of Preaching posted a video on World Video Bible School answering this question. I appreciate his honesty in his answer, but I believe that it paints a picture of God that is totally contrary to the God Jesus reveals. Below is his video (watch it first) then my video in response. I made it a shot-for-shot remake to help you navigate both and compare the two.
His video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6FRVlmqsjY
Below is the manuscript of my video for your convenience.
What if you died on the way to be baptized?
You’ve learned the truth.
You’ve repented of your sins.
You’ve confessed your faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God And you’re ready to be baptized.
But on the way to the water your car is struck by an eighteen-wheeler and you die; you pass into eternity
What are the implications of such a tragedy as that?
Well, to answer this question I want to notice a few things the Bible says about God.
Number 1: appreciate with me that the Bible says that “Abraham our father was justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar” (James 2:17). Genesis 22:11-12, however, says that God stopped Abraham from going through with the sacrifice. So, which one is it? Did Abraham offer up the sacrifice or did he not? Of course, the answer is that the Bible does not contradict itself. It is both of these things. God stopped Abraham, but Isaac was considered offered because, had it not been for an act of God, Abraha, would have sacrificed his son.
Here is a second thing I want you to notice: the Bible says that the person who lusts after someone has already committed adultery with them in their heart (Matthew 5:28). And 1 Cor 6 says that adulterers have no part in the kingdom of God. So, lust makes me an adulterer and not fit to inherit the kingdom of God even if I never went through with the act.
Here is a third thing for us to notice: Romans 4:17 says that God calls into being that which does not exist. So God called Abraham a father of many nations before he ever had Isaac.
So what about the question: it’s not, as Brother Blackwell says at 1:35: “What if a man dies BEFORE he is baptized” but the question at the start of the video: what if a man who has
Learned the truth
Repented of their sins
Confessed their faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God
Dies on the way to the water because they are struck by an eighteen-wheeler?
Will that person burn for hundreds, thousands, millions, billions, and trillions of years in eternal conscious torment?
Friends, the answer is this. God, who recognizes the intentions of the heart and calls into being that which does not exist would never condemn someone to never-ending, conscious torment that purposes in their heart to obey Christ but dies on the way to the water because of something totally out of their control.
Brother Blackwell says that we never read of anyone waiting to be baptized, but this person in the example didn’t wait. He made every effort to immediately get to the water after reaching the conclusion he needed to be baptized.
Like in the example that Brother Blackwell appeals to in Acts 2:41, this man was seeking to be baptized the same day.
When the man in the example believed, he wanted to be baptized, but had to travel somewhere to get that done.
As soon as this man learned the truth, he got into his car and followed the preacher to the water.
This man attempted to be baptized within the same hour he reached the conclusion that he needed to be.
This man wasn’t waiting to get baptized. Brother Blackwell changed the question and the circumstances.
This man wanted to be baptized immediately but couldn’t because of lack of water. His desire was to be baptized as soon as possible, but his life was taken because of no fault of his own.
You never know what is going to happen, but aren’t we glad we serve a God who is patient, gracious, and loving?