LEAVING THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS #15-2

In The Name Of”:

Matthew 28:19 Vs. Acts 2:38

Texts. Is there a contradiction between (A) Matthew 28:19 baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit(the Trinity) and (B) Acts 2:38 be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ?

Definition of “contradiction.According to Aristotle's law, "One cannot say of something [A] that it is and [B] that it is not in the same respect and at the same time.i ii If it is possible to harmonize any two statements then there is no contradiction.

If these passages are meant to be two exclusive formulas to be recited when baptizing someone, there is a contradiction. What if the traditional recitations are directed from a man’s creed and not the Bible. Would there be a contradiction? What if each Biblical verse actually complements the other; would they contradict?

Formulas For Baptizing Originated With Pharisaic Type Creeds (Mark 7:5)

Denominations have made Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19 a verbal formula which must be recited in order for the baptism to be a sacrament and/or valid (to the respective denomination). As a result, the baptisms of Jehovah Witnesses and “Jesus Only” Pentecostals, who do not use this verbal formula, “are invalid; thus, they are not Christian, but pseudo-Christian.” iii

In 1975 [the Roman Catholic Church and the United Church Dialogue of Canada] entered into an agreement with Presbyterians, Lutherans and Anglicans in Canada whereby each church would accept as valid the baptisms of the others administered according to established norms (i.e., with water and the use of the traditional Trinitarian formula).”iv Other denominational creeds also assume as valid baptisms that are only performed with the Trinity formula and by their clergy; i.e., “baptism with water into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Hence, here comes an opposing creed formula developed and based on Acts 2:38. A “Jesus Only” teacher objects to the Trinity formula, and writes, “In spite of the numerous direct commands to baptize in Jesus Name (Acts 10:48; 2:38) . . .”v His contention is that Matthew 28:19’s formula contradicts Acts 2:38’s formula and therefore Matthew 28:19 must not be inspired. Actually, his assertion is not true; there is no command recorded to baptize “in Jesus name” in his references or elsewhere in the Bible. These passages command to the audience to submit in baptism. The only passage that could be interpreted as a command for the baptizer is “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). And yet, this also does not say to say this verbally while baptizing.

Matthew 28:19 versus Acts 2:38.

I can perceive a possibility for there to be a contradiction if both commands said that this is what the baptizer must say while baptizing. Neither one says this. Rather, the Matthew account has Jesus commanding the apostles to do something “in the name of”, not say it. Acts 2:38 has Peter commanding subjects to have something done to themselves. Neither commands saying anything while baptizing. This is where the creeds usurp the Scriptures in this matter.


Misdefinition Of “In The Name Of”

Doing something “in the name of” according to an English dictionary means,

1. By the authority of: [illustration] “Open up in the name of the law!”

2. For the reason of; using as a reason: [illustration] “grisly experiments performed in the name of science.”vi


What Does It Mean?

Doing something “in the name of” in the Bible means the same as #1. According to Thayer’s Greek Dictionaries, the expression means "by one's command and authority, acting on his behalf, promoting his cause."vii An example of a king’s authority is in Esther, “Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse” (Esther 8:8). “In the king’s name” indicated that it was the law (hence, the authority) of the Medes and Persians. Daniel 6:8 tells us that the law of the Medes and Persians, “altereth not”; this is the same as the “may no man reverse.” It is the authority of the law of the king. Another example is Jezebel using the name of Ahab to do her wickedness (1 Kings 21:8).


The rulers asked Peter and John about the Temple miracle, “By what power, or in what name, have ye done this?” (Acts 4:7)? Now Peter defined “the name” as “The Person” of Jesus whom they had crucified (4:10). Temple leaders asked Jesus, By what authority viii doest thou these things? And who gave thee this authority?” Jesus said their question about authority would be answered if they answered an equivalent question: “The baptism of John, whence was it? From heaven, or of men?” They refused to answer the question (Matthew 21:23-27).ix The authority for John baptizing was given to him from Heaven.



Acts 19: “Unto John Versus Unto Jesus”.

In Acts 19:1-5 Paul deals with both baptizing unto John and baptizing unto Jesus. Paul explains that in or unto John” means John’s message. Now, “unto John” would be a paradigm for “in the name of the Lord Jesusfor Paul subsequently (re)-baptized those disciples in the name of Jesus. Although John did not say orally I baptize you in the name of John” when he baptized in Jordan, it still was baptizing unto John. The subjects confessed their sins in obedience to his message for baptizing in anticipation of Jesus coming (Matthew 3:6; Mark 1:5). Would not “in the name of Jesus” then mean to be baptized in subjecting oneself to Jesus’ message (which the apostles were obliged to preach)?

The Name” Points To The Person In Authority. In Acts 19:13 the sons of Sceva said, “We adjure you [i.e., the evil spirit] by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.” “By Jesus whom Paul preaches should prove that the authority of the Person of Jesus was understood “in the name of” for miracle of exorcising. The sons did not have the authority of Jesus and the man attacked them.

So the expression “in the name of” can and does mean “by the authority of.” The apostle Paul wrote, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). Everything must be authorized by Jesus as Lord in our lives. We are not required to declare verbally “in the name of Jesus” for words we say or what we do. Likewise, being baptized would not mandate any audible statement. “Scripture does not point people to a prescription or to a magic mantra, but rather to the very person of Jesus Christ.”x The person of Jesus has commanded us to observe whatsoever He commanded the apostles (Matthew 28:20, Codex Sinaiticus, Greek, early 300 A.D.).xi


Can one be baptized in the authority of both the Trinity and Jesus? In order for there to be a contradiction, the Trinity and Jesus would have to be opposites or radically different. This is important for the prophet of God, Elijah, accused the people of contradiction, “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). Are the “Jesus Only” saying that the Trinity is like Baal?

Next: Matthew 28 Versus Rome Plus A Hierarchy Of Authority


Gaylon West

Throw Out The Lifeline





i https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contradiction

ii ‘"A is B" and "A is not B" are mutually exclusive.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_noncontradiction/

iii https://www.catholic.com/tract/trinitarian-baptis. 08/12/2017.

ivhttp://www.cccb.ca/site/Files/In_Whose_Name.html

v http://www.godglorified.com/matthew_2819.htm

vi American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

vii http://www.thebiblewayonline.com/Active/Baptism-Formula.html

viii G1849 exousia “authority”

ix http://truthmagazine.com/archives/volume44/V4407060010.htm

x http://www.equip.org/article/baptism-formula/

xi http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscript.aspx?book=33&chapter=28&lid=en&side=r&zoomSlider=0