History Authenticates That the Early Church Baptized In The Name of Jesus: Part V
By Michael Trapasso
(Additional assorted articles by A.D. Urshan included)
Surely the majority of the denominational world has never considered the fact that nowhere in the Bible can it be found where anyone was baptized in the formula Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Not only is it firmly scriptural but it is also historical as well, that the church established by the Apostles who built upon the chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ, Eph 2:20) practiced baptism only into the Name of Jesus Christ.
Encyclopedia Britannica Vol. 3, p. 82, 1960 edition, ‘everywhere in the oldest sources, it is stated that baptism takes place in the name of Jesus.’ Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics Vol. 1-2, p. 380, ‘the obvious explanation of the silence of the N.T. in the triune name and the use of another formula’ (Jesus Name)’ in Acts and Paul, is that this other formula was the earlier, and that the triune formula is a later addition. It would require very strong arguments to controvert this presumption, and none seems to exist.’ p. 35, ‘Though baptism declined somewhat in importance after the 5th century, the point of view here obtained was never lost, it was held (1) that baptism is essential to salvation: (2) that baptism is valid if water and the true formula be used . . . Dictionary of the Bible by Hastings p. 83, ‘It must be acknowledged that the formula of the threefold name, which is here enjoined, does not appear to have been employed by the primitive church which so far as our information goes baptized in or into the Name of Jesus without reference to the Father or the Spirit.’ The New Schaffiherzog Ency. of Religious Knowledge Vol. 1, p. 435, ‘. . . The New Testament knows only baptism in the name of Jesus which still occurs even in the second and third centuries . . .’ A New Standard Bible Dictionary by Jacobus, p. 94, ‘. . . it was at first apparently only Jesus is the Messiah.
When exactly the Trinitarian form arose we do not know, the date of Mt. 28:19, Did 7, being uncertain.’ The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible Vol. 1, p. 349, ‘Sometimes the baptism is spoken specifically as in the name of Jesus Christ, or in the name of the Lord Jesus.’ p. 351, ‘The evidence of Acts 2:38; 10:48; (cf. 8:16; 19:5) supported by Gal. 3:27, Rom. 6:3 ,suggests that baptism in early Christianity was administered, not in the threefold name but in the Name of the Lord Jesus.’ The Interpreter’s Bible Vol. 9, p. 141, ‘In the Name of Jesus Christ: The most primitive formula later displaced by the Trinitarian formula.’ p. 49, ‘There is as yet no trace of the Trinitarian formula of Matt. 28 :19 . . .’
The Gospel of St. Matthew by Fenton p. 435, ‘The first disciples baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ, and not in the threefold name.’ The Beginning of Christianity by Craig p. 141, ‘Throughout the apostolic church, baptism was in the name of Jesus rather than according to a Trinitarian formula. Believers were placed under the protection of Jesus by baptism in his Name; demons were driven out by the same powerful Name.’ The International Standard Bible Ency. p. 392, Vol. I, ‘In every account of the performance of the rite in Apostolic times a much shorter formula is in use.’ A History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age by McCiffert p. 61, of the Trinitarian formula, into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which later became universal in the church, we have no trace in the N.T. except in the single passage, Matt. 28:19. It is difficult to suppose that it was employed in the early days with which we are here concerned; for it involves a conception of the nature of the rite which was entirely foreign to the thought of these primitive Christians and indeed no less foreign to the thought of Paul. When and how the formula arose, we do not know.’
The Early Church and the New Testament by Irene Allen p. 162, ‘Baptism in the primitive church, as we can see from Paul’s letters, was into the name of Jesus only. This would be inconceivable if Jesus himself had taught men to use the threefold Name.’ Peake’s Commentary on the Bible, p. 798, ‘This mission is described in the language of the church and most commentators doubt that the Trinitarian formula was original at this point in Matthew’s Gospel, since the N.T. elsewhere does not know of such a formula and describes baptism as being performed in the Name of the Lord Jesus.’ (see also p. 897, 889, 900, 916) For more historical evidence, see:
* The Rise of Christianity by Barnes, p. 271-2
* Dictionary of the Bible Revised Edition by Grant and Rowles p. 88
* Chamber’s Ency. Vol. 2, p. 112
* The Evolution of Early Christianity by Shirley Case, p. 223, 348
* The Early History of the Church by Du-chesne Vol. 1, p. 13
* The History of Christianity in the Light of Modern Knowledge p. 369
* From the Apostle’s Creed by O. Bar p. 173
* Student’s Handbook of Facts in Church History by S. C. McClain p. 19-22, 62
* An Ency. of Religion by Ferm p. 53
* The Popular Critical Ency. and Scriptural Dictionary by Fallows Vol. 1, p. 228
* A History of the Christian Church by Walker p. 24 95
* Earliest Christianity by Johnannes Weiss Vol. 11 p. 633-639
* A Dictionary of Life in Bible Times by W. Corswant p. 45
* The Young Church by George E. Ladd p. 63, 47
* Harper’s Bible Dictionary by Miller p. 60
* Acts of Apostles by McGarvey Vol. 1p. 38, 143
* The Book of Acts by Stagg p. 62, 105, 195
* The New Smith’s Bible Dictionary by William Smith p. 41
* Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume p. 441, 464, 610
* Shepherd of Hermas Sim. IX, 16:3-7
* Vis. 3, VII: 3 by Hernias, a disciple of one of the twelve
There are many more sources which could be quoted, but because of lack of space we will quote only one more. A Theological Word Book of the Bible by Richardson p. 28, 29. ‘Later usage, The command to baptize in Matt. 28:19 is thought to show the influence of a developed doctrine of God verging on Trinitarianism. Early baptism was in the Name of Christ.’
The reason that the usage of the Name of Jesus Christ at Baptism was changed is that after the apostles died, the church steadily lost the truths of God as it slipped into the Dark Ages with the rest of the world. In the latter epistles of the Bible one will note that there is a particular emphasis for the church to hold fast to the ‘faith which was once delivered unto the saints.’ (Jude 1:3) During the Dark Ages, not only did the church lose the value of the name of Jesus Christ, but even in some places used beer to baptize converts in. (see Catholic Ency. Vol. 2 p. 261 concerning the use of beer for water).
The denominational world, even today does not realize the seriousness of Paul’s statement to the Ephesian church as found in Eph. 4:5, in which he says, ‘One Lord, One Faith, one baptism.’ And as we have already seen, the Ephesians were ‘baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. (see Acts 19:1-6)
What Does John 17:11, 21, 22, 23 and 26 Mean? Can You Explain?
Andrew David Urshan
No, not fully, but I can see clearly the distinct identity of the Son from that of the Father and that does not necessarily make the Son a separate being or person from that of the Father, except as to the matter of office or manifestation in the flesh. We see this, just as our soul is neither our spirit nor our spirit our body, yet we are not three but one person with three distinct parts that are never separated until death. Since Christ’s Deity is the same divine substance of the Father and that spiritual substance (nature) of God is immortal and eternally unchangeable, there can be no death in the divine Being, therefore no separation. Where the Father is there the Son (divine) and the Spirit are; and where the Spirit is there the Father and Son are and where the Son is there the Father and Spirit are; three inseparable identities in one divine Being which is called the Godhead or the Deity.
When the Son prays to the Father that the believers may be one and in one, He simply prays that all may receive that Spirit of life of which the Father and Son are One. That believers, through many individuals, yet be one in Christ and in spirituality as Son and Father are One Spirit-Being. This is the prayer Jesus prayed while on the earth concerning the baptism of the Holy Ghost to be given to His followers, by which we really and truly are being baptized into one body of God, (the mystical body of Christ) and then we become the members of one another in the one Spirit; and then that blessed prayer of Jesus is literally being fulfilled. ‘The Father and the Son come in us by the same Spirit, then we all become identified with and in God’s own body as the wife is the one body with the husband.
This is the real truth because of the fact that all Spirit-filled believers have the same Christ in them all, hence one and the same Spiritual life in them all (eternal) though they are many. Beloved, the Christ in me which is the “hope of glory” is the very same Christ in you, if you have received the Holy Spirit. This same blessed Christ in us, is in the Father and the Father, is in Him, hence in us all, Hallelujah! The oneness of God is not as some men might think, the unity in will, in fellowship and in purpose only which is true as to the triune manifestation, but divine oneness is beyond this. Divine oneness is one in Being, one in Spiritual form and one in substance, therefore one in Personality, manifested in and through Christ. That is why Jesus said, “He that seeth me, seeth the Father.” Also in Heaven we shall see His face, not their three faces.
People of God are expecting to see the prayer of Jesus in this chapter fulfilled when we all see exactly alike, believe alike without any difference of opinions, and that will make us one in will, in fellowship and in purpose, hence like the Father and the Son are. But the fact of the matter is we became one in Christ as soon as we received the wonderful spiritual substance of God in us through the baptism of the Holy Ghost. This prayer was literally answered for the one hundred and twenty disciples on the day of Pentecost.
We will have a better feeling toward one another when we see this truth as we ought to and this will be a basis upon which our Christian fellowship will rest in spite of our human weaknesses and calls and different religious opinions. Therefore Apostle urges all those who are baptized into the one body by the same Spirit to keep the unity of (opinions? of believing? of human imaginations?) No, of the Spirit!
That is to recognize our one God-given and the same faith, one and the same body, one and the same Spirit, one and the same Lord and one and the same God, even the Father of us all, who is above all and through us all and in us all through Jesus Christ, though we being many particular members (or saved and sanctified individuals) having our different callings and offices. “Keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace, for there is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.” Now, if you prayerfully read John 17 with I Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4 you will see that just as we are one spiritual body, even so the Father and Son are one God and one spiritual Being with three mysterious and inseparable identities.
Now, friends, please remember what I say about this hard question. I do not claim this is the only scriptural interpretation of the above mentioned Scriptures (John 17), but I do believe and therefore speak that this is a part of the great truth concerning this question. May the dear Lord help us to see one another in Christ as God looks upon us in His Son, and as brethren having been born of one God and one Spirit through the WORD and by one name, so we will dwell together in unity, helping one another and cooperating with one another, as the members of our human bodies move together in harmony according to the dictations and thoughts of the heart and mind. “Till we all come to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” See also Verses 14, 15 and 16 of Eph., 4th chapter.
Wonderful mysterious ONE,
Though two, yet always ONE,
Son in the Father and Father in SON, The Spirit, the word, the Father, are the H-O-L-Y O-N-E.
But we can never be one in each other as the Father and Son are in one another. But we are one in Christ all together, and some day in the bosom of God will gather. Amen!
The Sixth Question Answered
Andrew D. Urshan
Someone may ask, please explain John 1:1 and John 17:5, etc. I can no more explain these to you than you can explain to me how Jesus Christ is the door of the sheepfold for His sheep, and yet He is their food. He at the same time is the Lamb of God and more mysteriously yet, He is God and the Shepherd of His flock.
Again it is said that He is at the right hand of God, yet before God making intercession and yet in God, still more mysteriously, the fullness of the Godhead in Him. Again He is the very right arm of God, yet the Son of God, still more mysterious, He is the throne of God and yet the slain Lamb in the midst of the throne, yet the Lion from the tribe of Judah. What a mystery! A Lamb, yet a Lion, a man, yet God Almighty.
Again it is said that He is the very temple of God and yet the sacrifice in the temple and also He is the High Priest of the temple. Still more mysterious, He is the Owner and the Builder of the temple, yet the very Shekinah glory in the temple. Again it is said that He is our elder brother, yet our Divine and Eternal Husband. Yet more mysterious, He is our very Life for time and eternity and yet He is declared to be our God and Father in the ages to come.
Can any man explain that the Lord Jesus being sent down on the earth by the father and while on the earth He said to Nicodemus: “And no man hath ascended up to Heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in Heaven.” John 3:13. Again, John the Baptist, speaking of Jesus as the Son of God though He knew Him to be on the earth, yet said: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father.” John 1:18.
How could He be in Heaven in the bosom of the Father when really He was on the earth? How could the Father be in the Son on the earth doing wonderful works and speaking through Jesus’ lips, yet He from Heaven speaks concerning His Son? How could the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit be really dwelling in the thousands of Spirit-filled believers on the earth and yet He is in Heaven?
We cannot explain these things though we may attempt to; the solution of the problem is that since God is almighty and everywhere (not in everything), but omnipresent. He can be a man on the earth and yet remain God to call Himself the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and yet at the same time be One Being and one God, and it is not our business to try to fully explain these wonderful, yet mysterious things that are hidden in the wisdom of God, but it is our duty and the glorious privilege to preach the word of Jesus Christ according to the whole Bible; not only His perfect humanity, but His full Deity also as it is revealed in the Scripture’s and as illuminated by the Holy Spirit to our hearts and minds.
The ministry of the true church should not be the establishing the human feeble conclusions on the Godhead, making Jesus Christ the second God and inferior to the Father in His Deity when He emphatically and truly says: “I am the first and the last, the Almighty,” but let us hide in Him and glory in His name and worship Him as our Lord and our God to the glory of the Father in Him. Amen. For it is beyond the human thought and explanations to make clear how the Lord Jesus is indeed the Word of God, the Son of God, with God and yet in God; in glory equal with the Father yet the servant of God and under the rule of God, yet the very God of Gods, the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings (supreme) and eternal. I for one put my hands on my mouth and keep still when such explanations are asked, yet I take my hands off and claim that Jesus Christ is not Second God to me but “The first and the Last.” my Lord God Almighty, yet my Father, Brother, Friend and Master (teacher), my eternal life, peace, joy, wisdom, righteousness, power, glory, hope and ALL! I am His unprofitable servant, His little brother, the child of His Deity and one of the members of His mystical Body. His, yes His for time and eternity.
If you think I am deluded and deceived to proclaim Him as such and daring to believe on His as such, then my religion is (if I am deluded) nothing more than human imagination and all the Scriptures are men’s words only (?) and I’m to be pitied by all men (?) though I am very happy and satisfied with Jesus my Lord. Well, amen, “I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded He is (my Lord and Savior) able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” I truly and humbly can sing such a song with Christ’s apostle, “For me to live is Christ,” now and forever. Amen.
Friends, since I have received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, I have read my Bible with tears, and a great longing for the knowledge of Him with a devotional life behind it. After reading and praying for many years, I cannot find in the Bible to substantiate the idea that I shall ever see three great supreme distinctly separate beings for my God. Nor do I ever expect to see three distinct faces of three separate persons of the Holy Trinity, but I do expect to see the Son, and in Him, through Him and all around Him the heavenly Father with the power and glory of the Spirit. Amen!
The Seventh Question Answered
Andrew D. Urshan
Is it proper to preach and say that Jesus Christ is the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost? No! Because there is no such a radical conclusion written in any chapter of the Bible. Is it wrong to preach and sing, “God in three persons, blessed trinity’?” Yes, for there is no such radical conclusion on the Godhead written in the Bible. It will be scriptural to say “God over all for time and eternity.” Rom. 9:5 or God in Christ Jesus, the Blessed Deity. Col. 2:9.
But why do you baptize into the name of Jesus Christ and not into the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost? When we baptize into the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Christ (the anointed one) is the dispensational name of the Deity, just like “El Shaddai.” Elohim was the name of the Deity for the dispensation of promise, and “Jehovah” was the name of the Deity for the dispensation of Law. So this being the dispensation of grace or salvation, the Deity’s name is Jesus, which means: He (God) shall save His people from their sins. So when we baptize converts into the name of Jesus Christ the Lord, we do not say to them, Jesus is the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost, but I say Jesus is the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. For this dispensation therefore I baptize them into the revealed name of God (the Deity). Also we baptize into Jesus Christ’s Name because all the apostles baptized both Jews and Gentiles into that name.
Should we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus? Yes, but remember always the Father in the name of Jesus, or pray to that Father which is always in His Son Jesus Christ, then you will get the answer, that the Father may be glorified, (not apart from, but) in the Son. John 14:13.
If we quit using the Old and New issue people’s terms concerning the Godhead, what shall we use when the occasion requires it? Use nothing more or nothing less than the Bible language, say what the apostles and our Lord said. He said: “He is the I AM,” you say amen. He declared Himself to be the Son of God and the Son of man, let us say amen. He said, “The Father is in me and I and the Father are one.” Reverently let us say amen. Jesus mentioned the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost having one name which He calls it the name, let believe and proclaim it. Matt. 28: 19. Acts 2:38.
The apostles call Him over the Son of God, yet the Great God, let us say amen. They said, “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” let us say again amen and quit forever splitting hairs of one another over that which not a conclusion has been made by Jesus Christ nor by His apostles and let us keep our eyes on Jesus who is our all and sing: “Praise God from whom all blessings, Praise Him all creatures here below, Praise ‘Him above, ye heavenly host, Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Amen”
They do me wrong who say I come no more when once I knock and fail to find you in; laugh like a boy at splendors that have sped, to vanished joys be blind and deaf and dumb; opportunity for every day I stand outside your door, And bid you wake, and rise to fight and win. My judgments seal the dead past with its dead, but never bind a moment yet to come.
This article “History Authenticates That the Early church Baptized in the Name of Jesus: Part V” by Michael Trapasso was submitted personally by the author. Used by permission. June 2009. This material may be freely used for personal study and research purposes.