Baptism in "Jesus Name"

"Baptized Into The Name Of ..."

Among the last words uttered by Jesus prior to His ascension were, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt. 28:19-20).

Baptism is a unique command. So far as revelation goes, it is the only act ever authorized to be done in the name of the Godhead, the three sacred deified Beings. Baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is without question important, else why would Deity be so uniquely linked with it? Why would the Lord have put the divine seal of the Holy Trinity upon this one act? There are obvious and clear scriptural grounds for it.

Baptism is predicated upon faith in God, faith in Christ, sincere repentance from a worldly life of sin. To be baptized is really nothing without faith in God Almighty and His Son, Jesus Christ. It is faith that pleases God (Heb. 11:6) and satisfies the demands of Jesus (John 8:24) that causes one to be baptized. One wonders why the majority of the religious world balk at such a simple act of faith. The denominational world regards baptism as an option, “an outward sign of an inward grace,” or as initiation into some church, but in no way essential to salvation from sin. Something that puts one into a right relationship with Deity is so lightly regarded by those who profess such deep reverence and piety for the Almighty. That is strange.

The late J.W. McGarvey wrote,

“The name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit means the combined authority of all manifestations of God. To be baptized into this is to be brought by baptism into actual subjection to it. He that is baptized is brought into subjection, by that act, to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; and in consequence to this subjection he receives remission of his sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). ‘Baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’ is the fullest expression of sincere and humble obedience from the heart.”

The American Standard Version reads, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The preposition is changed to “into” in the American Standard Version.

The original expression is “eis to onoma tou patros...” The particular preposition denotes direction toward its object. The “into” something and the something here in this verse is:

The Father
The Son
The Holy Spirit.

Baptism is the means by which this entrance into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is accomplished. It is impossible to find any other divinely authorized means to accomplish such. You are encouraged to try and find an exception to this.

The commission required the making of disciples. The King James Version reads, “Go ... teach” where the ASV reads “Go ... make disciples.” The verb indicates the process at work — changing sinners into disciples. The means by which it is done is explained by the participle “baptizing.” There is a rule of grammar that says, “when an active verb is followed by an active participle, the participle serves to explain how the results are achieved.”

The Lord’s order is, “Go make disciples.” How? “Baptizing them.” Disciples are made by baptism, according to this passage.

During the execution of this great duty, the apostles and early disciples went everywhere preaching the gospel. They made it possible for hearers to have faith by preaching the word of God (Rom. 10:17). Those who believed were told to “repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Elsewhere one reads of the apostles baptizing people “in the name of the Lord,” “in the name of the Lord Jesus,” or “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” They were doing what Jesus commanded, viz., baptize people into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Baptism “in the name of Jesus” is baptism by His authority and the only place anywhere in the Bible one finds the authority Christ gave others to baptize is Matt. 28:19-20.

 Some, who call themselves "Pentecostals," teach an error that misleads people into thinking they are not baptized correctly if at the time of their baptism the baptizer said, “I baptize you into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” They insist, albeit erroneously, one must say, “I baptize you in Jesus’ name.” They stress what the baptizer says at baptism, not the authority of Christ! If you ever happen to encounter this, ask the individual who believes it the following series of questions.

1. Do you admit that Matt. 28:10-20 is the only place where Jesus gave instructions to those who were to baptize others? (If you get a "no," ask for the passage where Jesus authorized others to baptize someone else. You won’t get it.)

2. When the apostles baptized others, did they obey what Jesus said in Matt. 28:19-20? (You have to get a yes answer here -- if not close the conversation -- you’re wasting your time.)

3. Is it right to say what you are doing when you do it? (Follow that with) Would it be right to say the words Jesus used in instructing His disciples in baptizing others?

Those who insist on some sort of baptismal formula ignore the only place in all the word of God where those who were to baptize others were given specific instructions on how to make disciples of all nations.

Baptism into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is a sacred and beautiful act. Baptism puts one “into the name of” the divine Three.

We stand ready to discuss this with anyone. Please let us hear from you. Questions about this article are welcome. Valley Church.

<Back to Religious Issues>