IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, THE SON AND THE HOLY GHOST,
IN THE NAME OF JESUS ONLY?
The Question is frequently asked by an anti-trinitarian:
"What is the name of the Father, or of the Holy Spirit, if we are to baptize in their NAME?"
The question I like to ask any son or daughter is this…what do you call your natural father? If you love him, and honor him, and respect him, though you may know him to be named Bill or Fred or John or Joseph, to you, his name will always be "father", or dad, or pa, or papa, or daddy, or some other term of intimacy.
The Son is Jesus Christ. And the Holy Spirit is Holy Spirit. Just as we have seen in our previous study, "God" is not just a title for the One True God. It is also His Name. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not merely titles for the one true God, they are Who He is... They are His Names.
See how Jesus personalized the Holy Spirit by saying "he" and "himself", instead of "it":
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (KJV)
He proceeds from the Father just as Jesus does…They are ONE. Of the same substance, co-eternal and co-equal with one another. See another place where the word "He" is used in describing the Holy Spirit, denoting personality, instead of some impersonal active forc:
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (KJV)
So when we baptize in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we can see that this is the correct formula. It is important to note how Jesus commissioned the disciples:
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (KJV)
Notice that He said that they were to teach them to observe all things whatsoever He had commanded them. My question to those who baptize in the NAME OF JESUS ONLY is this: did not our Lord just command His disciples to baptize in the NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST? It seems that those who insist in baptizing in the Name of Jesus only are in direct violation of the commandment of Jesus recorded in Matthew 28:18-20.
The next question would be "if all this is true, then why do we not see this formula used in the book of Acts, or any where else?"
The classic argument for baptism in the Name of Jesus Only is that in Acts 2:28, Peter told the people to be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. He did not say to be baptized in the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (KJV)
There are other passages that seem to support the argument for the baptism in the Name of Jesus only, and I intend to deal with each one that I am aware of, but I will address them one at a time. There is a common thread to be seen in each of these passages.
First, we need to know who it is that are being spoken to here. The Bible tells us that they were devout Jews:
5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. (KJV)
According to Thayer's, "Devout" is translated thus:
1) taking hold well a) carefully and surely b) cautiously 2) reverencing God, pious, religious
So we can see that those whom Peter was addressing were already those who had reverenced God. They knew the Father. But they did not know Jesus, and they did not know the Holy Spirit.
It is important to be mindful that the occasion for
Peter's preaching was that the Holy Spirit had just been poured out on the
disciples, and these devout Jews were wondering what had occurred. See what
those in the upper room had been told by Jesus, prior to this taking place:
1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (KJV)
In this passage, we see the Father (verse 4), the Son (verse 1), and the Holy Ghost (verse 2, and verse 5) all mentioned. The disciples had been baptized by John in the waters of repentance toward the Father, and they had received Jesus for the remission of sins…The only person of the Triune God these in the upper room had yet to receive was the Holy Ghost. This was done in Acts 2:1-4.
The sermon Peter preaches to these devout Jews is about the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. They already knew the Father. In verse 16-21, Peter addresses the issue of the Holy Spirit, showing that it was the prophecy of Joel which had come to pass. Verses 22-32 tell us of the role of the Messiah, Jesus according to the fulfillment of prophecy. Again, in verse 33, we see the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost all mentioned at once:
33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. (KJV)
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. (KJV)
They worshipped God. But they needed to know Who the Christ was. Here, in Peter's discourse, they learn that God made Jesus both Lord and Christ. The proof of it laid in the fact that the Holy Spirit had fallen upon these disciples, and the Jews who were present witnessed it. Having heard and received the Truth spoken by Peter, we read that they were pricked in their heart:
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (KJV)
Though we read relatively little concerning John the Baptist, we do know that his ministry was a ministry of baptism of repentance. Through considering that which was written about him, we can tell that his ministry was one that impacted Judea and the area around it. Multitudes were baptized by him:
4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. (KJV)
28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. (KJV)
It would be safe to assume that these devout men who were witnesses of this phenomenon in Acts chapter two had also been baptized by John's baptism. It remained for them to be baptized into Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I believe that as we study the various passages concerning those who had been baptized in the book of Acts, that we will find this common link...that they were devout people who knew the Father…It only remained for the Son and the Holy Spirit to be introduced to them.
Phillip preached Jesus in Samaria. If the reader will recall the dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, we see that the Samaritans worshipped the God of Jacob (John 4:12). So again, we see that it was Jesus Who needed to be preached in Samaria. No doubt because of the woman at the well, some seeds had already been planted regarding this man called Jesus, causing the Samaritans to be open to Philip's preaching concerning Jesus Christ. According to the Word of God, John baptized those who were in Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan (Matt. 3:5) If you look at a map, you can see that this would have included Samaria.
So we see that in our account in Acts chapter 8, the people of Samaria were baptized in the Name of Jesus (the Son), but the baptism was still not complete…they needed the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is not done with water:
15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. (KJV)
Next we see the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch. Obviously, the eunuch was already a believer in the God of Israel. He was studying Isaiah's prophecy of the coming Messiah in Isa. 53:7. Philip then revealed to him Jesus, and the Eunuch understood his need for baptism.
36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (KJV)
Notice the requirement that Phillip gave the eunuch was that he must believe that Jesus was the Son of God. The eunuch already knew the Father. He needed to know the Son. Not the Father, nor the Holy Spirit. The eunuch's profession of faith was that Jesus Christ is (present tense) the Son of God. Not was the Son of God.
Jesus had died, was buried, and rose again, and now the Son of God sits on the right hand of God the Father.
Again, in Acts chapter 10, we see another account of baptism in the Name of Jesus.
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. (KJV)
Who were these who were baptized? In verse two of Chapter 10, we read that Cornelius was a devout man, and one who feared God with all his house. Obviously, he already worshipped the Father. He already knew the baptism of John (repentance toward the Father):
37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;(KJV)
He was a devout man, so we can be safe in deducing that he had been baptized with John's baptism already. The Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius and his house as Peter spoke, and then they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus.
Again, in Acts 19:1, we see that they found disciples who had been baptized unto John's baptism (repentance toward the Father). They still needed to be baptized in the Name of Jesus (the Son), and in the Name of the Holy Ghost. After they had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, they then received the baptism of the Holy Ghost through Laying on of hands.
2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. (KJV)
I believe that in each instance of baptism in Jesus' name, we can see that those who had been baptized were already believers in the God of Israel. I believe that they had already been baptized into John's baptism, and the only thing that remained was to be baptized in the Name of Jesus, and of the Holy Ghost.
Those who insist on baptism in the Name of Jesus Only are anti-trinitarians, yet I believe tha Bible shows ample evidence for the Trinity.
Those who preach Jesus Only say that Jesus was the Son only while He walked the earth. But remember the profession of faith made by the Ethiopian eunuch. He said "I believe that Jesus IS the Son of God." Acts 3:13,26,
After Paul's conversion, he preached that Jesus Christ IS (not was) the Son of God:
1 Cor 1:9-10
9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (KJV)
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (KJV)
14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. (KJV)
I Jn 1:3
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (KJV)
I believe that the "Baptism in Jesus' Name Only" doctrine is a doctrine which creates division and strife. Taking it even a step farther, I would even go so far as to say that biblically, it is a doctrine which stems from a spirit of Anti Christ.
The Word declares that God loved the world so much that He sent His Only Begotten Son…This is the Truth of the Christ, the messiah. Not that the Father died for us, but that He gave His only begotten Son. It would be far easier for me to give my life in place of my son. But to give my son so someone else may live?
Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, according to the gospel which is preached in the Word of God. The only way around this for Jesus Only teachers is to allegorize it.
I Jn 2:22-24
22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. (KJV)
HE IS ANTICHRIST, THAT DENIETH THE FATHER AND THE SON.
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