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


Were the Apostles Baptized?

I am requested to ask Brother E.G. Sewell to write a piece in regard to the proof of the baptism of the apostles.

Regarding John the Baptist it was said: “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:16f) John was to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. How did he do this? Answer: “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Luke 3:3.) Every man that heard and believed the preaching of John, repented, and was baptized by him, received remission of sins, and in this way was made ready, prepared for the Lord. But those that refused to be baptized of John, rejected the counsel of God against themselves. (Luke 7:30.) When Christ came and selected his apostles, they were from among his disciples, and his first disciples were assuredly of those baptized by John, and were thus made ready for him. Therefore, the apostles were baptized by John in Jordan.

To suppose that the Savior would select his apostles from among men that rejected the baptism of John, when John’s mission was to make ready a people prepared for the Lord, is preposterous, especially so when those that rejected John’s baptism rejected the counsel of God. And would Jesus have selected his apostles from those that rejected his Father? Impossible, because Christ says of the apostles in his prayer to his Father: “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” (John 17:12)

God gave the apostles to Christ; and can anyone believe that God – after sending John the Baptist before Christ to prepare his way, to make his paths straight, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord – would then give him the apostles from among those that refused John’s baptism, which means they had refused God himself? The man that could believe that is not to be reasoned with. Moreover, God required Christ, his own Son, to be baptized of John before he had showed himself to Israel and before he owned him as his Son in the presence of the people; and Christ recognized the authority and will of the Father in the matter of baptism when he said to John: “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.”

Thus it was the will of God that Christ should be baptized. Now, will anyone say that God, after requiring Jesus to be baptized, having also sent John before him to make ready a people for him, would then select the apostles out of a lot of men that had already rejected him in refusing John’s baptism and give them to his Son as rebels against himself, when he did not own his own Son in the presence of the people till he was baptized? A man that can believe this could very easily believe any error that has ever been taught by man, even down to the effusions of Robert Ingersoll. But surely these reasons are sufficient to convince anyone that believes the Bible that the apostles were baptized by John.

Elisha G. Sewell

How is Man a Free Agent?

We are challenged to take in debate the affirmative of the following question: “Resolved, That man is a free agent.” Please write us if we have the right side of the question; and, if so, will you be so kind as to give us your arguments on that side, and oblige?

In the ordinary acceptation of the expression, it is true, though not a Bible sentence. Men usually mean by this expression that man, as he is, can accept the gospel and be saved at any time that he will, or he can reject it and die. The language of the Bible is: “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” “Enter ye in at the strait gate.” “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”

These passages show that man can serve God and live, or refuse and be lost; and if that is what is meant by the expression that “man is a free agent,” then it is true. But in discussing religious subjects we think it would be best to use Bible language in stating what we affirm, and in this way all might soon be one.

Elisha G. Sewell