Skeptics Annotated Bible A Response

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#41 - In whose name is baptism to be performed?

Response by Dave Marr

The skeptic's embroilment

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Matthew 28:19

In the name of Jesus.
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ." Acts 2:38
"... the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." Acts 8:12
"They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." Acts 8:16
"And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." Acts 10:48
"When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." Acts 19:5

Jesus Christ is the “name” which is “of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” To believe in Jesus Christ is to believe in the Trinity. In His ministry, Jesus stated that Jehovah was His Father many times, and told His disciples that He would be with them through the Comforter, the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is part of God the Father and Jesus the Son. These verses from John express these truths beautifully:
“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. ... And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” John 14:10, 16-18
Therefore, baptizing in the “name of Jesus Christ” indisputedly implies the effectual seal of “the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”. All three are in Jesus Christ, even though He is separately known as “the Son”. To baptize in the “name of the Son” is not quite the same. To use Jesus Christ’s name, you must believe in Jesus Christ and be His follower: which means believing His doctrine. The “name of Jesus Christ” represents His identity outlined in His teachings.

On a somewhat related note, demons will demand that a believer in Christ be specific of His identity when exorcising them; he/she must say “Jesus” and “Christ” together, and oftentimes “of Nazareth” must be included. The Name of Jesus Christ carries the power of His Word.

When only “Lord” is mentioned in Acts 10:48, it means Jesus Christ; the writer(Luke) is referring to the same apostle(Peter), preaching the same doctrine as when the Jesus’ name was specifically stated previously. Luke knows that his readers will understand who it is when he just says “Lord” at that point.

Response by Wendell Leahy

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 28:19
In the name of Jesus. Acts 2:38, 8:12, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19)

People's New Testament:
The end or result of baptism is also given. Converts were to be baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. It is a positive affirmation of the Old Testament that where the name of the Lord is recorded there will he meet his disciples, or there will be his presence (see Exod:20:24).

The Lord declares that the three names, that of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, are recorded in baptism. In this rite, then, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit meet the believer; the Father to receive him as a child, the Son to welcome him as a brother, and to cover him with the mantle of his own purity; the Holy Spirit to endow him with that Spirit by which he can say, "Abba, Father." "Into the name of" is equivalent to "into the presence of," or "into the Father, and into the Son, and into the Holy Spirit."
Exodus: 20:24
An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.
John Gill:
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;
by the authority of these three divine persons, who all appeared, and testified their approbation of the administration of this ordinance, at the baptism of Christ: and as they are to be invocated in it, so the persons baptized not only profess faith in each divine person, but are devoted to their service, and worship, and are laid under obligation to obedience to them, Hence a confirmation of the doctrine of the Trinity, there are three persons, but one name, but one God, into which believers are baptized; and a proof of the true deity both of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and that Christ, as the Son of God, is God; since baptism is administered equally in the name of all three, as a religious ordinance, a part of divine instituted worship, which would never be in the name of a creature.

This is the first, and indeed the only, place in which the Trinity of persons is expressed in this order, and in the selfsame words. Galatinus F6 pretends, that the ancient Jews used the same way of speaking. It would be well if proof could be made of it: he asserts it to be in Zohar on (Deuteronomy 6:4) , and in the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel on (Isaiah 6:3) . In the former he says, it is expressed thus, "hear, O Israel; the Lord", he is called "the Father; our God", he is called the Son; "is one Lord", this is "the Holy Ghost", who proceeds from both; and again, by the same R. Simeon, it is said, "holy", this is (ba) , "the Father"; "holy", this is (Nb) , "the Son"; "holy", this is (vdqh xwr) , "the Holy Ghost": and in the latter after this manner, "Holy Father, Holy Son, and Holy Holy Ghost"; but no such words are now to be found in either of these places. He affirms, that he himself saw a copy of Jonathan's Targum that had these words. The Jews often speak of the Tetragrammaton, or name of four letters, the name Jehovah, which they say is not lawful to be pronounced; and also of the name of twelve letters, which the above writer F7 makes to be "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost"; and of forty two letters, which from a book called Gale Razia, he says is,
``Father God, Son God, Holy Ghost God, three in one, and one in three;''
which in the Hebrew language make up so many letters; but this wants better authority.

Jay C. Treat, School of Arts & Sciences, University of Pennsylvania
Jewish Encyclopedia

Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament:
Baptism in (eiß, not into) the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in the name of the Trinity. Objection is raised to this language in the mouth of Jesus as too theological and as not a genuine part of the Gospel of Matthew for the same reason. Matthew 11:27, where Jesus speaks of the Father and the Son as here. But it is all to no purpose. There is a chapter devoted to this subject in my The Christ of the Logia in which the genuineness of these words is proven. The name of Jesus is the essential part of it as is shown in the Acts. Trine immersion is not taught as the Greek Church holds and practices, baptism in the name of the Father, then of the Son, then of the Holy Spirit. The use of name (onoma) here is a common one in the Septuagint and the papyri for power or authority. For the use of eiß with onoma in the sense here employed, not meaning into, see Matthew 10:41ff. (cf. also Matthew 12:41).
Matthew 28:18
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
In the name of Jesus. Acts 2:38

Jamieson, Fausset, Brown:
For the promise--of the Holy Ghost, through the risen Saviour, as the grand blessing of the new covenant.

John Gill:
in the name of Jesus Christ;
not to the exclusion of the Father, and of the Spirit, in whose name also this ordinance is to be administered, (Matthew 28:19) but the name of Jesus Christ is particularly mentioned, because of these Jews, who had before rejected and denied him as the Messiah; but now, upon their repentance and faith, they are to be baptized in his name, by his authority, according to his command; professing their faith in him, devoting themselves to him, and calling on his name. The end for which this was to be submitted to, is,

Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament:
and be baptized every one of you (kai baptisqhtw ekastoß –mwn). Rather, "And let each one of you be baptized." Change of number from plural to singular and of person from second to third. This change marks a break in the thought here that the English translation does not preserve. The first thing to do is make a radical and complete change of heart and life. Then let each one be baptized after this change has taken place, and the act of baptism be performed "in the name of Jesus Christ" (en twi onomati Ihsou Cristou). In accordance with the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19 (eiß to onoma). No distinction is to be insisted on between eiß to onoma and en twi onomati with baptizw since eiß and en are really the same word in origin. In Acts 10:48 en twi onomati Ihsou Cristou occurs, but eiß to onoma in Acts 8:16; Acts 19:5. The use of onoma means in the name or with the authority of one as eiß onoma prophtou (Matthew 10:41) as a prophet, in the name of a prophet. In the Acts the full name of the Trinity does not occur in baptism as in Matthew 28:19, but this does not show that it was not used. The name of Jesus Christ is the distinctive one in Christian baptism and really involves the Father and the Spirit. See on "Mt 28:19" for discussion of this point. "Luke does not give the form of words used in baptism by the Apostles, but merely states the fact that they baptized those who acknowledged Jesus as Messiah or as Lord" (Page)

"And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." Acts 10:48

John Wesley:
In the name of the Lord - Which implies the Father who anointed him, and the Spirit with which he was anointed to his office. But as the Gentiles had before believed in God the Father, and could not but now believe in the Holy Ghost, under whose powerful influence they were at this very time, there was the less need of taking notice, that they were baptized into the belief and profession of the sacred Three: though doubtless the apostle administered the ordinances in that very form which Christ himself had prescribed.

Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament:
In the name of Jesus Christ (en twi onomati Ihsou Cristou). The essential name in Christian baptism as in 1 Corinthians 2:38; 1 Corinthians 19:5. But these passages give the authority for the act, not the formula that was employed (Alvah Hovey in Hackett's Commentary. See also chapter on the Baptismal Formula in my The Christ of the Logia). "Golden days" (aurei dieß, Bengel) were these for the whole group.

"When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." Acts 19:5

Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament:
The name of the Lord Jesus (to onoma ton kuriou Ihsou). Apollos was not rebaptized. The twelve apostles were not rebaptized. Jesus received no other baptism than that of John. The point here is simply that these twelve men were grossly ignorant of the meaning of John's baptism as regards repentance, the Messiahship of Jesus, the Holy Spirit. Hence Paul had them baptized, not so much again, as really baptized this time, in the name or on the authority of the Lord Jesus as he had himself commanded (Matthew 28:19) and as was the universal apostolic custom. Proper understanding of "Jesus" involved all the rest including the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Luke does not give a formula, but simply explains that now these men had a proper object of faith (Jesus) and were now really baptized.

John Gill:
they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus;
not the disciples that Paul found at Ephesus, but the hearers of John; for these are the words of the Apostle Paul, giving an account of John's baptism, and of the success of his ministry, showing, that his baptism was administered in the name of the Lord Jesus; and not the words of Luke the Evangelist, recording what followed upon his account of John's baptism; for then he would have made mention of the apostle's name, as he does in the next verse; and have said, when they heard this account, they were baptized by Paul in the name of the Lord Jesus: the historian reports two things, first what Paul said, which lies in (Acts 19:4,5) then what he did, (Acts 19:6) where he repeats his name, as was necessary; as that he laid his hands upon them, which was all that was needful to their receiving the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, having been already baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus: which sense is the more confirmed by the particles (men) and (de) , which answer to one another in verses 4 and 5, and show the words to be a continuation of the apostle's speech, and not the words of the historian, which begin in the next verse. Beza's ancient copy adds, "for the remission of sins".

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary: God
The New Testament. From the Christian point of view, the God of the Old Testament is the same God as in the New, except he manifests himself in different ways, most importantly in the incarnation. Yet the basic attributes of God are the same as those of the Old Testament. In one sense, the study of God in the New Testament is a study of Christology, even though that is not the focus of this article.

The generic term for God in the New Testament is theos, but kurios, the Greek rendering of the Hebrew YHWH, is frequently used instead of the generic term. Long before the Christian era, the Jews had stopped pronouncing the divine name so as not to disrespect of defame it. Instead, they gave to this four-consonant name (YHWH) the vowels of another Hebrew word, Adonai, which means "my Master" or "my Lord." Rather than pronouncing it, they pronounced the loan word, Adonai. When the Old Testament was translated into Greek, the name YHWH or Adonai was rendered by the Greek word kurios, which means "Lord." So the God of the New Testament is frequently called kurios or Lord, as is Jesus.

The New Testament, like the Old, does not try to prove God's existence. Rather it declares, also like the Old Testament, that he exists and manifests himself in various ways, but finally he speaks through his Son Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1-4), who is superior to angels, priests, and all other manifestations of the divine Word.
Jesus Christ, Name and Titles of