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“In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”

“In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”

By Paul R. Blake

            Recently, a brother was asked this question when he was teaching the adult Bible class at his home congregation. He passed it on to me, and I thought you might be interested in this study as well. Question: “Should we be baptized in Jesus' name (Acts 2:38), or in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19)?

            Answer: Acts 2:38 records the Peter’s words on the day of Pentecost, “Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This was a strong affirmation by Peter that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Being baptized in the name of Jesus indicates an understanding by the person being baptized that Christ is the Savior and that it is through Him that salvation in baptism is validated, that is, by means of Jesus’ authority and sacrifice.

            Baptism is also in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). Being baptized in this manner simply means we are identifying ourselves with Deity in recognition of Their authority and work in validating baptism. We belong to the Father Who loves us, we are saved by the Son Who died for us, and we are guided by the Holy Spirit through His revelation of the Gospel. This is similar to praying in Jesus’ name (John 14:13). When one prays in the name of Jesus, he is praying by Christ’s authority and asking God the Father to act upon our prayers because we come in the name of His Son (at His bidding and instruction). Being baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is being baptized in acknowledgement of Their authority over and in our lives and Their work and power in our salvation. Jesus said that baptism is in the name of (by the authority of, with the approval of -- Col. 3:16) “the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).

            In the Book of Acts, new believers were baptized in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; 8:12; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5). It is, however, the same thing; Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit are One (John 10:30; Acts 16:7). Something done by the authority of One is also by the authority of All. As Jesus instructed, believers are to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but as the Divinely approved examples in the book of Acts reveal, baptizing in the name of Jesus alone was also done. While some advocate that they must have baptized in the name of all Three, it is an assumption; the text does not state this. The bottom line is that the name or names in which we are baptized is not the focus of the instruction; instead, it is critical to recognize that baptism identifies us with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, our Savior, and that baptism is by the authority of Deity. We are buried with Him and raised to walk with Him in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).

            I do not believe that that Jesus was establishing a formula to be repeated upon the occasion of an individual’s baptism, but rather that He was commissioning His disciples to baptize by the authority and approval of all of the Godhead, Who were united in Their work to bring about the salvation of humankind. The fact that the apostles baptized in the name of Jesus in the book of Acts implies that they understood it this way, too. However, when I baptize a penitent believer, I say that it is in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, because that draws attention to all of their roles in salvation. The Father’s grace in sending Jesus to save us, Jesus obedience to the Father in offering Himself for sin on the cross, and the Holy Spirit as the Communicator of the Gospel which He revealed to the inspired New Testament writers. At the same time, it would be scriptural to baptize in the name of Jesus, as is evidenced by the apostles Divinely approved examples in the book of Acts.

            What I find unacceptable are brethren who divide over this question. If anyone is dogmatic, insisting it be only one way, he is ignorant of the truth and taking a stand without the authority of scripture. But, if a penitent believer with a tender conscience asks to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit or in the name of Jesus alone, I am happy to accommodate their tender conscience in this matter.

 

Be Still and Know

(Author Unknown)

 

It’s easy to whine when the road seems long, and rugged the hill ahead;

And you’d like to forsake the rocky path where the feet of men have bled.

But the task is yours, and the journey long, and the weary miles you have trod–

But a courage comes from the whispered voice

 Be still, and know that I am God.

 

It’s easy to quit when the storm beats down and you feel the stinging rain

Or your back bends low ‘neath a heavy load as your body writhes in pain.

On those dreary days, or the lonesome nights, when you meet with the chastening rod

A soft voice whispers weary one

Be still, and know that I am God.

 

It’s easy to fret when the path ahead held little of hope in store,

And you’ve prayed for light on the darkened trail as you’ve never prayed before.

Discouraged , despondent, ready to quit and you’ve yearned for the velvet sod

And a bit of rest on the valley breast

Be still, and know that I am God.

 

Yea, Calvary’s road was a rugged road, but He walked it all alone

And the load He bore was a heavy load for the cross was all His own.

Forsaken, rejected, He climbed the hill and friendless the road he trod –

But His heart was cheered by the whispered words;

Be still, and know that I am God.

 

GOD is from A to Z:

By Pam Jones

A – Able

B – Boundless

C – Creator

D – Deity

E – Eternal

F – Faithful

G – Glorious

H – Holy

I – Infinite

J – Just

K – Knowable

L – Love

M -- Merciful

N – Near

O – Omnipotent

P – Peace

Q – Quick to forgive

R – Rest

S – Spirit 

T – Truth

U – Unchanging 

V – Victorious

W – Wisdom

X – eXalted

Y – Yahweh

Z – Zealous

What words would you add?

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