by John Wilson29 Police Accept Christ After Officer's Dying Testimony
Chattanooga (TN) Police Sergeant John A. Baker made his final pitch for his faith to his fellow police officers on Dec. 15-the day of his funeral. At his funeral at Grace Baptist Church, a tape was played of a Sept. 27 sermon Baker delivered to some 250 officers at a local restaurant. Baker knew he had a cancer "death sentence," and the message he delivered resulted in 29 police officers accepting Jesus Christ.
Friend and fellow officer Paul Lee said Baker "has successfully accomplished his last mission. He has accepted his transfer. He is now pounding his new beat on the streets of gold." Lee said Baker "loved to laugh and he loved a well-placed practical joke. But his ultimate mission was to tell others about his commitment to Jesus Christ." Baker, 36, died Dec. 12 after a short bout with cancer in his pancreas and liver. Police Chief Jimmie Dotson said Baker "refused to take any medication. He said he wanted to remain alert so God could use every ounce of him every moment he had left on earth." He is survived by his wife, Zina, and two small sons.
Chief Dotson said Baker "will best be remembered as being true and honest to God's calling." Dotson recalled Baker's mission trip to Romania where he helped form an international chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers. "But his greatest concern was for you"-that his fellow officers would join him in heaven, Dotson said. Then the tape was played of Baker's sermon, in which he said, "I can stand up here and be happy because I know where I'm headed. I love you guys too much to let you go to hell on my watch." The tape concluded with Baker singing, "It Is Well With My Soul."
"There were a lot of tears," said fellow officer John Stuermer. "It was a very powerful moment."
Editor's Note: This story first appeared in The Chattanoogan and is used here with permission.