Baptism “in the Name of Christ”

Brother Lipscomb: There is a people among us who deny the authority in Matthew 28:19, where Jesus says: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” They say this baptism is not in the name of Christ, and they claim all the authority we have to baptize was given by Peter on the day of Pentecost; that that was in the name of Jesus Christ, and not in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They say Christ is head, and we must be baptized in his name only; and in so doing we honor Christ first, and in honoring him we honor God and the Holy Ghost. They further say that Peter had power to bind and loose whatsoever he would on earth and it should be bound in heaven; and he nowhere bound baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Please give us your views through the Gospel Advocate. Please state if the baptism in Matthew 28:19 is in the name of Christ. Did Peter have power to bind or loose anything that Christ did not bind or loose?

 

Either our brother misunderstands the people of whom he speaks or they fail to understand very plain and simple matters. To do a thing in the name of a person is to do it by the authority of that person. To baptize in the name or by the authority of Jesus, one must have his authority. He must authorize them to do it. The apostles, as well as others, must baptize in the name of Jesus Christ. He must give that authority. In Matthew 28:19 there is no account of any baptism being performed. It only tells that Jesus authorized his disciples to go and baptize. They did this first at Pentecost. “All power [all authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore [by my authority], 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.” (Matthew 28:18-20.) In this Jesus authorizes the apostles to teach and baptize by his authority, or in his name.

On Pentecost, about ten days after his ascension, the Holy Spirit came, and the apostles did what Christ authorized them to do in Matthew 28:19. They, in his name, or by his authority, preached and baptized. The authority was Matthew 28:19. They acted on this authority at Pentecost; they preached in the name of Jesus Christ. The two scriptures stand related to each other as the giving of a command and the obeying it. Jesus, in Matthew 28:19, commands the disciples; on Pentecost, they obeyed this command. What Jesus commanded, the apostles did. One is doing what the other commanded to be done. Whatever is done in the name of Jesus Christ is done in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; for these three are one. Jesus commanded what he had heard of his Father, and the Holy Spirit was sent in the name of Jesus Christ, to call to their remembrance all things they had heard of Christ (John 14:26). “He will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of [or from] himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak” (John 16:13). Whatever is done in the name of one is done in the name of the three.

Again, a man must come into a house before he can live and act in it; so we must come into the names of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit before we can act in his name. Then persons must be baptized into Christ before they can act in him or by his authority. In Matthew 28:19 the proper translation as given in the Revision and in all late translations is: “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 Ghost.” They are put into the names of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit by baptism. They are then in condition to act in his name, as members of his body and as his servants; and when they were baptized into these names, the apostles were to teach them to do all that Jesus had commanded them, which included teaching and baptizing others, all people, of every nation. They are to be baptized into his name, then in his name, or by his authority, they are to baptize others, just as the apostles did. Jesus told the apostles: “But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Neither Peter nor the apostles were authorized to do anything save as the Holy Spirit guided them to do what Jesus had taught them.

David Lipscomb

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