Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Correct Formula For Baptism Part Two

The Correct Formula For Baptism Part Two

The following thesis will attempt to answer the following questions. This time it is in my own words and thoughts. I hope you enjoy it!

A) What formula, or pronouncement should be made at baptism?
B) What was the historical and biblical process of the early church – apostolic and post apostolic?

The correct practice of baptism has long been debated between adherents of the Christian faith. Disagreements such as how one is baptized: sprinkling or immersion, what is pronounced during the baptism “in Jesus name” or “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost ”are a few that exist.
These disagreements have created quite a rift in the Christian church, most notably among those of the Pentecostal faith. In Fact adherents of the oneness doctrine assess and state that no one baptized in: “the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost”(Matthew 28:19) is saved, nor can they be until they are water baptized with the pronunciation of “in Jesus name.”

Here an attempt will be made to rightly divide the Word of God, to verify if such disagreements should exist and to what importance they actually bare on baptism.

What is the proper announcement or verbal formula for baptism?

Much debate and division has been waged over the proper formula of pronunciation at baptism. Some attest it is to be done in the name of Jesus while others insist it is to be done in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

(Matthew 28:18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
(Matthew 28:19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

The dominant formula spoken at baptisms in this day and for history by and large is derived from the above text. Such pronouncements would be:
“I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost”

I could include a variety of sources – but I think it is well beyond debate, that this is the most common of formulas. With great ease we could fill a page with such examples but for brevity I’ll include only a few

Irenaeus Against Heresies Book III a.d. 120-202.
A student of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John. Wrote 123 years before Nicaea

That is the Spirit of whom the Lord declares, "For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you."308 And again, giving to the disciples the power of regeneration into God,309 He said to them," Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost

Justin 1st Apology Chapter LXI.-Christian Baptism. 110-165 a.d. [160 years before Nicaea]

Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, "Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Tertullian The Prescription Against Heretics.1 a.d. 145-220
[105 years before Nicaea]

Accordingly, after one of these had been struck off, He commanded the eleven others, on His departure to the Father, to "go and teach all nations, who were to be baptized into the Father, and into the Son, and into the Holy Ghost."203

Tertullian-On Baptism.
105 years before Nicaea

For the law of baptizing has been imposed, and the formula prescribed: "Go," He saith, "teach the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

Now then, it is dully noted that church fathers as credible as they may be, are not bible – and in this manner – I will look then to the WORD – though I may draw a comparison to some wording that I see of interest down the road a bit!

The bible states the following regarding the pronouncement at baptism, this is the veru first instruction we receive, and it comes right from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ

(Matthew 28:18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
(Matthew 28:19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

With post apostolic/early church history well established we then must deal with biblical precepts such as:

Which is the most correct formula for baptism? Here is where we (you(the reader) and I) need to take a hard well deserved look at the formation of the “Jesus Name” doctrine.

Which is as followed:

A) the assessment of the apostles wording in Acts 2:38 is that “JESUS” is the one name subscribed to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

- In this manner the apostles then, understood the seemingly cryptic message of Jesus, that they where not to invoke the name of the Father, the Son and The Holy Ghost at baptism as Jesus said, but instead – this was a coded message to use his name.

I think we have to deal with this first – for this is the cornerstone of the view
1) Did Jesus ever speak in this code prior to this?

Mat 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Mar 9:39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

He uses freely “my name” in the above texts, so why now at such a crucial point of salvation does Jesus “mix it up” a bit? Why not be forthwith with it?


Another thought process could be – is their another meaning behind “in my name”?

2) Is the name of the Father, JESUS?

Here is the crux of the matter – We really have to determine this one issue. It is critical because this is where the doctrine makes its presumption. It states JESUS is the one name of GOD revealed to humanity by which to call – Hence the name of the Father is JESUS, and the Holy Spirit is JESUS .

The problematic scene we have – is biblically we do not see such a reality – this causes us a problem with the oneness interpretation of Acts 2:38.

There is no scriptural text to validate that the one name of JESUS is the one name ascribed to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. In fact scripture contains distinctions such as those noted in the greetings to the Romans See Romans 1:1-7

(Rom 1:7) To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Again in 2 John 3 (2 John 1:3) Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

Such greetings and statements are problematic for the oneness adherents; in fact in most cases such a greeting would not be welcome among oneness ranks, for its supposed Trinitarian implication.

Typically most of the text that is used to support this view are interpretational errors such as…

(John 5:43) I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible states…
John 5:43 - I am come in my Father's name,.... Power and authority; by his consent, with his will, and according to a covenant with him: Christ came not of himself, of his own accord, by a separate power and will of his own, but was called, and sent, and came by mutual agree meat; and brought his credentials with him, doing the works and miracles which his Father gave him to finish:

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible states…
I am come in my Father’s name - With all his influence and authority. Among the rabbins, it was essential to a teacher’s credit that he should be able to support his doctrine by the authority of some eminent persons who had gone before. Hence the form, Coming in the name of another.

The most accurate rendition of this is “I am come in my Father’s authority, power and consent” not that the name of the Father is JESUS. You’ll find few biblical scholars who assume the text to mean anything more than the commentaries above have noted. Much like David stated

(1 Samuel 17:45) Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

Meaning the power, authority and might of GOD, David was not implying that the name of the Father was DAVID!!! But under the exegesis of apostolics – we must assume this to be the meaning since they insist the same words spoken by JESUS to mean this very thing.

Another instance is seen here in (John 10:25) Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.

The greek word for “name” according to Strongs is:
G3686 ο
From a presumed derivative of the base of G1097 (compare G3685); a “name” (literally or figuratively), (authority, character): - called, (+ sur-) name (-d).

”Name” here could be figuratively or literally – but we see the two fold meaning
1) a “name
2) authority, character
It is scholarly assumed to mean: authority, character

Thirdly some assume the prophecy of
Zechariah 14:9 to be fulfilled by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ

It reads

Zechariah 14:9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

Insisting this prophecy has been fulfilled and that name is Jesus, oneness adherents often site this verse to establish the validity of their doctrine…

Lets look at the verse in context…

The chapter starts with this prophetic word

(Zechariah 14:2) For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

(Zechariah 14:3) Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.

(Zechariah 14:4) And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown

Zec 14:4 -

… The place of His departure at His ascension shall be the place of His return: and the “manner” of His return also shall be similar (Act_1:11). He shall probably “come from the east”…

John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Zec 14:1 - Behold, the day of the Lord cometh,.... Or the day when the Lord will come, both in his spiritual and personal reign; for this is not to be understood of his first coming in the flesh…

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

One Lord, and his name one - There shall be in those blessed days, only one religion, and one form of religion. There shall not be gods many, and lords many. All mankind shall be of one religion, the essence of which is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength; and thy Neighbor as thyself.”

Further the context states

Zec 14:11 And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.

Zec 14:12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.

Obviously this is a futuristic event and not a current reality! Therefore their use of Zechariah 14:9 is improper.

Seeing that we do not have the ability to attribute the name of JESUS CHRIST to the Father - we must then consider a possible variance in meaning...

One could from these thoughts parallel the phrase, "in the name of the Lord" is not so much a baptismal formula, but a reference to authority.

Consider the following using this phrase:

It is easily discerned that the phrase is used in a Biblical sense as an expression of authority.
Acts 16:18 above. "And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour."

If power and authority was not intended and simply just the name of “JESUS” was enough – someone would be hard pressed to convince the sons of Sceva of such a theology…

Notice in Acts, there is no occasion where one person says to another, “I baptize you in Jesus’ name.” Every time Acts mentions a baptism in Jesus’ name, the phrase characterizes the baptism; it does not record what the baptizer said. In this manner supposition is the only ally.

If instead it means the baptism was in Jesus’ name, under the authority that Jesus gave them. This flows more clearly with the words of Jesus, the apostles and the entire word of God… Making all three elements(Jesus, The Apostles, and the rest of the Inspired Word) in harmony, as opposed to using only two ingredients to derive at a doctrinal position.

The most common thought is it was the way they distinguished what sort of baptism was done. They were not performing a Jewish baptism for a convert to Judaism, nor were they performing John’s baptism for repentance, they were performing a Christian baptism into Jesus Christ, at the command and verbiage of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Correct Form Of Baptism

I did not write the following article, but I think it is excellent, and will helpful to those of you still in the Oneness Pentecostal movement. I wanted to share it with you all. I'll add a part two of my own thoughts later!

I hope you enjoy the article, and thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit the categories section as well for alot of other articles of similar subject matter! It should be noted: I do not agree with every thought expressed in this article... by and large though its a good article


For a sacrament to be valid, three things have to be present: the correct intention, the correct matter, and the correct form. With baptism, the correct intention is to do what the Church does, the correct matter is water, and the correct form is the baptizing "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19).

Unfortunately, not all groups use this form. Jehovah's Witnesses use no formula at all in their baptisms, and an even larger group, the "Jesus Only" Pentecostals, baptize "in the name of Jesus." As a result, the baptisms of these groups are not scriptural(edited) These groups are not orthodox Christians, but pseudo-Christian, religious organizations. "Jesus Only" Pentecostals note that Jesus told the apostles to baptize in "the name" (singular) of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, but they make the mistake of assuming that name is Jesus. In reality, the single name shared by the three is almost certainly Yahweh, the personal name of God in the Bible.

This name is applied to both the Father and the Son in the New Testament.

In Acts 2:34-36, Peter quotes Psalm 110:1, applying the term "Lord" to the Father, but in the Old Testament original, the term "Lord" is actually Yahweh.

In Philippians 2:10-11, Paul quotes Isaiah 45:19-24, applying a prophecy about the Lord to the Son. And in the Old Testament original, the term "Lord" in this passage is actually Yahweh. Jesus applied the name Yahweh ("I AM") to himself in John 8:58, and his audience understood exactly what he meant and tried to stone him. Since the Bible applies the name Yahweh to the Father and the Son, it is almost certainly possessed by the Spirit and thus is a name of all three Persons of the Trinity.

"Jesus Only" Pentecostals argue that the New Testament talks about people being baptized "in the name of Jesus," but there are only four such passages (Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, and 19:5); they don't use the same designation in each place (some say "Lord Jesus," others say "Jesus Christ"), meaning they were not technical formulas used in the baptism but simply on-the-fly descriptions by Luke. The four cannot stand up against the divine command of the Lord Jesus Christ to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19).

The phrase "baptized in the name of Jesus" is not a technical version of the baptismal formula, simply Luke's way to distinguish Christian baptism from other baptisms of the period, such as John's baptism (which Luke mentions in Acts 1:5, 22, 10:37, 11:16, 13:24, 18:25, 19:4), Jewish proselyte baptism, and the baptisms of pagan cults such as Mithraism. It also indicates the Person into whose Mystical Body baptism incorporates us (Rom. 6:3, Gal. 3:3).

The Church Fathers, of course, agreed. As the following quotations show, Christians from the beginning have recognized that the correct form of baptism requires one to baptize "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."


"After the foregoing instructions, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living [running] water. If you have no living water, then baptize in other water, and if you are not able in cold, then in warm. If you have neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Before baptism, let the one baptizing and the one to be baptized fast, as also any others who are able. Command the one who is to be baptized to fast beforehand for one or two days" (Didache 7:1 [A.D. 70]).


"Then said Jesus unto them, 'I have been given all authority in heaven and earth; and as my Father has sent me, so I also send you. Go now into all the world, and preach my gospel in all the creation; and teach all the peoples, and baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; and teach them to keep all whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you all the days, unto the end of the world'" (Diatesseron 55 [A.D. 170]).


"When the one being baptized goes down into the water, the one baptizing him shall put his hand on him and speak thus: 'Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty?' And he that is being baptized shall say: 'I believe.' Then, having his hand imposed upon the head of the one to be baptized, he shall baptize him once. Then he shall say: 'Do you believe in Christ Jesus . . . ?' And when he says: 'I believe,' he is baptized again. Again shall he say: 'Do you believe in the Holy Spirit and the holy Church and the resurrection of the flesh?' The one being baptized then says: 'I believe.' And so he is baptized a third time" (The Apostolic Tradition 21 [ A.D. 215]).


"After his resurrection he promises in a pledge to his disciples that he will send them the promise of his Father; and lastly, he commands them to baptize into the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, not into a unipersonal God. And indeed it is not once only, but three times, that we are immersed into the three Persons, at each several mention of their names" (Against Praxeas 26 [A.D. 216]).


"Why, when the Lord himself told his disciples that they should baptize all peoples in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, does this apostle employ the name of Christ alone in baptism, saying, 'We who have been baptized into Christ'; for indeed, legitimate baptism is had only in the name of the Trinity" (Commentary on Romans 5:8 [A.D. 248]).

Acts of Xantippe and Polyxena

"Then Probus . . . leapt into the water, saying, 'Jesus Christ, Son of God and everlasting God, let all my sins be taken away by this water.' And Paul said, 'We baptize thee in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Ghost.' After this he made him to receive the Eucharist of Christ" (Acts of Xantippe and Polyxena 21 [A.D. 250]).


"He [Jesus] commanded them to baptize the Gentiles in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. How then do some say that though a Gentile be baptized . . . never mind how or of whom, so long as it be done in the name of Jesus Christ, the remission of sins can follow-when Christ himself commands the nations to be baptized in the full and united Trinity?" (Letters 73:18 [A.D. 253]).

Eusebius of Caesarea

"We believe . . . each of these to be and to exist: the Father, truly Father, and the Son, truly Son, and the Holy Ghost, truly Holy Ghost, as also our Lord, sending forth his disciples for the preaching, said, 'Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.' Concerning whom we confidently affirm that so we hold, and so we think, and so we have held aforetime, and we maintain this faith unto the death, anathematizing every godless heresy" (Letter to the People of His Diocese 3 [A.D. 323]).


"You were led by the hand to the holy pool of divine baptism, as Christ was carried from the cross to this sepulcher here before us [the tomb of Jesus at Jerusalem]. And each of you was asked if he believed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. And you confessed that saving confession, and descended three times into the water, and again ascended, and in this there was suggested by a symbol the three days of Christ's burial" (Catechetical Lectures 20:4 [A.D. 350]).


"And the whole faith is summed up and secured in this, that a Trinity should ever be preserved, as we read in the Gospel, 'Go ye and baptize all the nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.' And entire and perfect is the number of the Trinity (On the Councils of Arminum and Seleucia 2:28 [A.D. 361]).


"Faith and baptism are two kindred and inseparable ways of salvation: Faith is perfected through baptism, baptism is established through faith, and both are completed by the same names. For as we believe in the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, so are we also baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; first comes the confession, introducing us to salvation, and baptism follows, setting the seal upon our assent" (The Holy Spirit12[28] [A.D. 375]).


"Moreover, Christ himself says: 'I and the Father are One.' 'One,' said he, that there be no separation of power and nature; but again, 'We are,' that you may recognize Father and Son, forasmuch as the perfect Father is believed to have begotten the perfect Son, and the Father and the Son are one, not by confusion of Person, but by unity of nature. We say, then, that there is one God, not two or three Gods" (The Faith 1:1[9-10] [A.D. 379]).

Gregory of Nazianzus

"But not yet perhaps is there formed upon your soul any writing good or bad; and you want to be written upon today . . . I will baptize you and make you a disciple in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; and these three have one common name, the Godhead. And you shall know, both by appearances and by words that you reject all ungodliness and are united to all the Godhead" (Orations 40:45 [A.D. 380]).


"Seeing that a man, baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, becomes a temple of the Lord and that while the old abode is destroyed a new shrine is built for the Trinity, how can you say that sins can be remitted among the Arians without the coming of the Holy Ghost? How is a soul purged from its former stains which has not the Holy Ghost?" (Dialogue Against the Luciferians 6 [A.D. 382]).

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I know it hurts but it’s good for you

Do you remember going to the doctor as a kid, and getting a shot! OUCH!! WAAAAAA!!! Oh the pain! I hated that. It made me angry, frustrated and sore… “Why?” I’d ask… The nurse would say… “I know it hurts honey, but it’s good for you”

I love that don’t you?

“I know it hurts but it’s good for you” …


But she was right. Pain at times though it hurts, does us good. I wish we never had to deal with pain, and the variety of methods it uses to inflict itself: betrayal, jealousy and meanness, among others. But it is a reality that we do. We have storms, and those storms are necessary because they have away of turning us to God.

In fact we are told:

(James 1:2) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

(James 1:3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

(James 1:4) But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Okay so here we are with the “inspired” Word! God is speaking to us about trials and temptations; the trying of our faith!!! Lets see what He says …. Okay, wait! “count it all joy”! What? Not only must I concede to the fact that it is good for me, but also I should rejoice about it? How can that be?

Look at the Message version of this text

(James 1:2) Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.

(James 1:3) You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.

(James 1:4) So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

A sheer gift… LOL… uh um…what? Oh wait You’re serious about that God?

Um, but what happens when people do me wrong? How about if someone connives behind the scenes against me, and their conniving works? Surely I should not have joy about that? What about when someone hurts me, or…. Oh I see… I have to count it all joy all the time…

Rejoice – that is the Word from God concerning our trials. That is His answer… that’s a tough one…

Don’t worry about tomorrow

(Matthew 6:25) Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

(Matthew 6:26) Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

(Matthew 6:27) Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

(Matthew 6:28) And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

(Matthew 6:29) And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

(Matthew 6:30) Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

(Matthew 6:31) Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

(Matthew 6:32) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

(Matthew 6:33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Don’t fear man

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Love your enemies

(Matthew 5:44) But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

These are the words that God gives to us about life, trials and battles. That the pain will do us good, the hurt will work something in us, the sorrow will be seed to some new sprout of blessing in our life!

There are a few others things to remember as well:

God will turn it for good

(Romans 8:28) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

He will fight our battles

(Exodus 14:14) The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

He sees the lie

(Acts 5:3) But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

Give it to God, I think is the key here… Let God have His way… And keep that joy unspeakable … In the sun and in rain – REJOICE – GOD HAS A PLAN Look for God to: split the seas, raise the dead and silence the enemy!