Question: In the book of Acts when they baptized, they simply stated: “In the Name of Jesus” and in some cases no name at all is mentioned but just merely states that they were baptized. Now why did Jesus say plainly “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” and then in the Acts it is not specified that way and no explanation is given? Do you think that in the actual baptizing ceremony they used the name of Jesus only?

Answer: No, I do not believe that the men who administered the ordinance of baptism in the Acts used the name of Jesus only in their ceremony for the following reason. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus Himself gave the commission to His apostles in these words: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” When Jesus says anything, that seals it forever as a positive truth. This was the last thing He said to them before ascending to heaven. About ten days later the New Testament Church was born and set in operation on the Day of Pentecost and numbers were being converted through the preaching of the gospel, and were baptized. The history of that first church began about ten days after Jesus issued this command and approximately 3,000 souls who were born again and became the first converts and members of the Jerusalem Church were commanded by the apostle Peter, who was one of those who received the commission direct from the mouth of Jesus Himself, in Acts 2:38, “…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ….”

It seems to me an incredible thing to suppose that within this short time this apostle who remembered the command of Jesus to baptize believers of the gospel would have forgotten how He said to do it. So it is to be assumed that all who participated in that baptismal service included the “Father, Son and Holy Ghost” in their ceremony. Again this same apostle, Peter, in Acts 10:48, commanded the household of Cornelius the centurion, “…to be baptized in the name of the Lord….” Note that in Acts 2:38 he said, “…in the name of Jesus Christ…” and in Acts 10:48 he said, “…in the name of the Lord….” Then again, in Acts 19:5, referring to the disciples that Paul found at Ephesus on one of his missionary journeys, “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” It seems evident to me that the terms used in the above three scriptural references: “In the name of Jesus Christ, in the name of the Lord, and in the name of the Lord Jesus,” could not be a part of any commonly accepted baptismal ceremony as there is no uniformity in them. The question then, would naturally arise, “Which is correct?” Then in Acts 8:12 and Acts 8:38, it merely states that the people were baptized, with no name mentioned.

Now there is a reason for this. The sender of this question stated that he had been giving out the answer that these “name terms” were to emphasize Jesus in contradistinction to John the Baptist who had been baptizing people before Jesus came on the scene. This is exactly right as I see it. John the Baptist baptized with water unto repentance (Matthew 3:11) and Jesus came to Jordan to be baptized of John Himself (Matthew 3:13-17). John was the forerunner of Jesus Christ to prepare the way for him. But now John has passed off the stage of action and Jesus has ushered in the gospel day and He is the principal One and all the work of God is being carried on in His Name.

This is made clear in a careful reading of Acts 19:1-6. In this case Paul has encountered twelve disciples at Ephesus and as he talked with them they told him that they had been baptized unto John’s baptism (verse 3). Then Paul explained to them that they should believe on Him which should come after John; that is, on Christ Jesus (verse 5); that is, in the name of Jesus instead of in the name of Paul.

Here is a thought that makes the point clear to me. In II Corinthians 5:20, Paul declares that the ministers of God are ambassadors for Christ and that we beseech people in Christ’s stead. We know that an ambassador is a government man sent by the government of one nation to another nation to represent their nation in all its dealings with the nation to which he is sent. He is commissioned with certain powers and authority to do business in the name of the government that sent him. It is a similar case here. Jesus is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and King of the saints in the kingdom of God. He sends forth His ministers as ambassadors to represent Him to the people of this world in preaching to them the gospel of the kingdom, baptizing believers, healing the sick, casting out devils, etc. This is all done through the power and authority He gives and everything, including baptism, is done in His Name in the same sense that an ambassador sent by a nation to another nation does all his business in the name of the nation that commissioned and sent him; that is under the authority of the commission given him by those who sent him. In this case the baptizing was all being done under the authority of the commission given them by Jesus Himself. Therefore it is said to be done in the name of the Lord Jesus but the proper terminology in the baptismal ceremony is forever the one that Jesus Himself gave: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

 

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