Thursday, August 21, 2008

Did Jesus Tell Us To Use His Name At Baptism?

The existence of the Apostolic Oneness Pentecostal belief system typically centers around one central verse: Acts 2:38, of which they interpret the entire Word of God through this one verse. This style of biblical interpretation causes great error, of which is clearly evident in their theology.
As time allows over the next few weeks I am going to deal with each "Oneness Pentecostal Misunderstanding" at a time and try and better clarify the true meaning of the verse and verses they have through the years distorted and abused for personal gain...

The assessment of the Oneness Pentecostal is that the Apostle Peter's wording in Acts 2:38 is that “JESUS” is the one name subscribed to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Apostolic believe that that Jesus spoke a cryptic mysterious riddle and the apostles understood the 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 the actual name "Jesus"!

Okay one issue at a time

1) Did Jesus ever speak in this code prior to this?

Matthew 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.

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

Mark 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.

We can see that Jesus uses freely “my name” in the above texts to indicate that we are to use His actual name - so why now at such a crucial point of salvation does Jesus “mix it up” a bit? Why not be forthwith with it? Why all the code?

2) Is the name of the Father, JESUS?

Here is the crux of the matter – What we really have to determine is this one issue. Is the name of "Jesus" the name of the Father? It is critical because this is where the doctrine stands or falls. Jesus Name people/Oneness Pentecostals state 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, and of course Jesus is JESUS.

The problematic scene we have – is biblically we do not see such a reality, the bible never tells us the name of Jesus is the one name of God

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 VERY 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 ὄνομα
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 and one I often heard when I was a Oneness Pentecostal was the poor usage of Zechariah 14:9. 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.

Oneness adherents have a real problem now, since we do not have the scriptural ability to attribute the name of JESUS CHRIST to the Father! In fact thier entire theology is debunked in this one little article!

Interestingly enough the bible actually tells us that Jesus Himself we receive a new name

(Revelation 3:12) Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Oneness proponents for years have insisted that Jesus is the one name discussed in Zechariah and that Jesus spoke cryptically in Matthew 28:19 - the unfortunate reality is the rest of the bible does not support such a premise - Error results in any fringe group when a single verse becomes the cornerstone of their movement, and not the unchanging Word of God - the bible reminds us to take the WHOLE COUNSEL - not just a few pet verses