Should I be baptized in Jesus name only?
Today’s Question: I am a Christian believer baptized in the name of Jesus. For many years I have noticed a division in the way baptism is done. Some baptize in the name of Jesus, some baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I have always wondered why when the bible states there is but one Lord, one Faith, and one baptism. I noticed in your statement of faith that you baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and I was hoping you could share your revelation for baptizing this way. Do you also baptize in the “name of Jesus” according to book of the Acts of the Apostles?
Bible Answer: The phrase “in the name of Jesus” has been twisted by the Oneness sect to narrow the formula of baptism to certain words. It is true Peter said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). This sect claims that Peter gave the formula. But no person had the power to authorize the formula except the Son of God. The phrase “in the name of Jesus” meant “by the authority of Jesus” you should be baptized. In other words, Peter was declaring that
Jesus commanded baptism; this is what is meant by the phrase “in Jesus name.”
For example a police officer may command a thief who flees the scene of the crime, “Stop in the name of the Law!” He is not saying this is the formula to use in stopping criminals, but rather, the officer is authorize to stop thieves because the Law gave him authority. Peter was saying the same thing: be baptized because Jesus authorized us to baptize you. Peter was not giving the formula for baptism but his claim of authority.
Who within the Godhead gave instruction to baptize? Jesus is the one who told us to baptize. The Father under the Old Covenant did not command it; it is a command given by Jesus in the Great Commission. So the question then is “how” did He tell us to baptize? Clearly in Matthew 28:19 Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This is the formula or manner of baptism. The formula or manner of baptism must come only from the One who authorized and commanded baptism—and that is Jesus. No one after Him can change the formula, and the book of Acts does not change the formula, but only clarifies Who authorized baptism.
Some argue that the names Father and Son are “titles” and thus are not "names". Those who argue the point miss the words of Jesus. He said to baptize in the “name” of the Father, Son and Spirit. He did not say in the “title” of the Father, Son and Spirit. The reason is simple; there is no distinction in ancient customs between a name and a title. They are one and the same. Consider this: most names come
from titles. For example, the name "Johnson" means "son of John." It is now shortened, however it is both a “name” and a "title”. Many names were originally titles: like Carpenter, Plumber, King, etc.
What tells us more about a person, his "title" or his "given name"? I am Pastor Tom Brown. What says more about me, Tom or Brown or Pastor? I think you can see that the title Pastor says more about who I am and what I do than my given name. The same is with the Father. It describes more who God is than any other name.
Bear in mind the baptismal formula—Father, Son and Spirit—this describes who God really is more than any other description. Jesus wanted to make sure that the foundation of our faith is the acknowledgment of the blessed Trinity—one God revealed in three persons. To deny this is to deny the foundation of our faith, and this is why Christians have rightfully declared heretical any teachings that deny the Trinity.
The problem with the "Jesus Only" group is they insist unless you are baptized in the formula of "Jesus name" only, you will not be saved. That is pure rubbish. They are divisive and in error because they have denied the Trinity.
They may argue that the term “Trinity” is not in the Bible, but so are other terms we take for granted like “rapture”, “sermon”, “incarnation”, “original sin” etc. But the doctrine of the Trinity is taught in the Bible. The baptismal formula in itself proves the doctrine of the Trinity. Everyone would agree that the Father is God, so if the name of the Son and the Spirit are also used in connection with the Father, they must both be
equal to God because it would make no sense to include the names of lesser beings with God the Father.
The Jesus only sect argues that the belief in the Trinity means people believe in three gods. This is simply not true. There is one God revealed in three persons. The three are eternally, existent and coequal. Someone may say, “But three persons equals three gods.” Not true. In math 1x1x1=1. You can have three numbers and still equal one. The “Jesus only” sect uses the wrong math formula to define the Trinity.
Let me illustrate the Trinity this way: H20 is the substance of water, steam and ice. H20 makes up the prosperities of these three. Now water is not steam, and steam is not ice. These three are separate forms but they are all the same as far as substance. This is a good, albeit, not perfect illustration of the Trinity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit share the same substance. The substance is God. Yet the Father is not the Son, nor is the Son the Holy Spirit. They are separate persons yet share the same substance. You cannot say water is steam, but you can say that both water and steam are H20. So you cannot say the Father is the Son or the Son is the Spirit, but you can say that the Father is God and the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. The Trinity coexist in the same way that water, steam and ice coexist. God is the substance of the Trinity.
It is interesting to note that Jesus in His baptismal formula used the singular word “name” not plural “names” of the Father, Son and Spirit. The reason is obvious, there is only one God! The Jesus only group however says there is only one name to God and His name is Jesus! So they teach that Jesus is the Father and He is the Holy Ghost.
This cannot be true, because when Jesus was baptized by John, the Father spoke from heaven and said, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased,” and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in the form of a dove. I often ask the “Jesus only” sect, Who spoke from heaven? They often try to evade the question, because they believe Jesus is the Father, so this would make Jesus testifying about Himself. Like a ventriloquist Jesus would be throwing His voice making it sound like He has a Father who testifies about Him. And then, like a magician, Jesus would turn into a dove and make it look like He descended on Himself. Can you see how ridiculous this view becomes? Jesus is not the Father, but the Son. The scriptures are quite clear on this. Precisely as the Trinity was involved in Jesus’ baptism, the Trinity should be involved in our baptism.
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