Baptism in the Name of Jesus

A Catholic priest in Arizona was chastised by his church because to them he invalidated the baptism of every person he baptized because he used the term “we baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” instead of saying “I” baptize you. His church told him that it is Jesus who does the baptizing and that is why they must say, “I” instead of “we.” Yet, Jesus is also one with the Father through the Holy Spirit. ...”but the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works” (John 14:10). Therefore because they are one Spirit and never separated, we can therefore say “we baptize you” and still be spiritually correct, as if it matters.

A person’s baptism can’t be invalidated just because of a misuse of a word. Baptism, as the Apostle Peter said, is; “the answer (or response) of a good conscience toward God” (I Peter 3:21). Baptism is the result of the individual’s inward response to the gospel which results in outward obedience to the ordinance of baptism. What legitimizes a baptism is not the words being said, but the commitment God sees in the heart of the person being baptized. I feel sorry for the poor priest who has been put under so much condemnation by His superiors, over their own misunderstanding of the issue.

When Jesus told His disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the scripture record shows us that they baptized in the name of Jesus.-

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).
    And he
(Peter) commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. … (Acts 10:48).
    When they heard this,
(from the Apostle Paul) they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 19:5).

The Apostles were not being disobedient to the Lord’s command. Instead, they correctly recognized that the Three are one; “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (II Cor. 5:19).God operates in Jesus through His Holy Spirit, therefore the apostles recognized that the one “name” (singular) of the Three is Jesus Messiah, who is the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). The early church followed the apostolic model up until around the time of Justin Martyr. Some denominations today and individual preachers and evangelists still continue to follow the example set by the apostles.

To me, it is an evidence of apostasy that the apostolic example is not followed. The church leadership who condemned their associate for the misuse of one word have been in just as much error by negating apostolic authority.

I call myself a “first Century Apostolic Christian” which means I follow Jesus and the founding apostles and reject any doctrine that was added during and after the first century that contradicts what they taught. I firmly believe that if the entire body of believers in Messiah Jesus was determined to follow the same pattern, then there would be much less division in the body of Christ. Most Christians follow their teachers without checking into the doctrines that are being taught, and as a result they don’t know which ones actually contradict scripture.

If we end up preferring man’s words over God’s words, then we risk coming under the judgment we are shown in Isaiah 29:14. –

“Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.”

This is why it is so hard to reach people who have been programmed by cults. The preferring of man’s words above the words of God causes the mind to be veiled which is a judgment from God.

There are no better expositors of God’s word than Jesus and His first century apostles. Their explanations don’t need explanation if they are taken at face value, and not twisted to fit someone’s agenda.

If you have been baptized in the religious tradition, you haven’t sinned and you don’t need to be re-baptized unless you want to. God knows the heart and He knows when a soul submitted to the waters of obedience to Christ, really belongs to Him.

Baptism represents the commitment that the believer makes to remain in the faith. The submission of the heart to God is the true baptism that needs to take place before a believer submits to the ordinance of baptism. A believer that obeys Jesus’ command to immerse Himself in the physical waters which are designed represent the Lord’s Spirit, arises into a new life in Jesus. Let’s not let that beautiful truth be diminished by man’s misinterpretations.

Copyright 2022 by H.D. Shively

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