How long does the typical Baptist pastor wait after a sinner’s supposed conversion before the baptism takes place? Five minutes? Ten minutes? To what lengths will a Baptist Church go to make sure the person who is awaiting baptism has what seems to be a genuine, orthodox, Scriptural conversion testimony, one that doesn’t sound like a Mormon’s testimony, or a Church of Christ member’s testimony, or a Roman Catholic’s testimony?
Sadly, it has been Baptist practice for the last fifty or sixty years to get baptismal candidates into the tank as fast as possible. But what if the person you are trying to get into the tank isn’t converted? Do you not care whether the baptismal candidate is truly, or as nearly as you can tell, converted to Christ? And are you willing to put off the baptism for a couple of days to make sure, or as sure as you can be, that the hopeful convert is saved and is thereby qualified to be baptized?
Why is it that Baptist pastors, for all their professed concern about a regenerate membership, cannot see to it that their baptismal candidates have at least some comprehension of the born again experience? And I know that modern pastors complain that the press of ministry makes it impossible for them to deal with and verify the testimonies of baptismal candidates. But Charles H. Spurgeon dealt with each and every baptismal candidate in his huge congregation before immersing them. And that was in the days before automobiles, telephones, and all the other conveniences that enable a pastor to accomplish more by the use of labor-saving devices.
The fact of the matter is that for the most part pastors these days simply do not care about the spiritual welfare of those they are funneling toward their dip tank. They have set personal and Church goals for the numbers they want to baptize for the year, and anyone they can get into the tank (even if they get them into the tank repeatedly) is to be dipped.
Why else is it that pastors steadfastly refuse to consider asking the most basic questions of a baptismal candidate before immersing him? How else can you explain a pastor’s unwillingness to be careful about his obedience to Christ’s clear intentions that only converted people be baptized? And how else can you explain a pastor’s callus attitude toward someone who, once he has been baptized, may very well be permanently inoculated against the Gospel for the rest of his life, either because he wrongly thinks he is a Christian when he is not or because he thinks Christianity based on his sad experiences is not real?
 A pastor friend responded to my expressions of concern about baptizing unconverted candidates by insisting he was always very careful. He assured me that he always asked candidates “Are you saved?” as if anyone in the baptistery would ever say “No” or would understand what such a question actually meant.