By Frank J. Ewart
Among the many opponents of the Apostolic custom of baptizing believers into the Name of Jesus, back in the year 1914, when the writer first preached and practiced his revelation, was a very eminent Missionary Evangelist. His hostility led him to adopt many questionable methods of defending the orthodox view. He went from place to place where the truth had spread; like Saul of Tarsus, “Breathing out threatening’s and slaughter against the church,” whose chief characteristic was baptizing into and working miracles in the Name of Jesus, (Acts 3-4). “He has come here to bind all that call upon thy Name.” One of these methods that made a deep impression upon his audiences, was the use of a chart, on which all the titles of Jesus; such as, Prophet, Priest, King, Lord of Lords, King of Kings were printed. Jesus appeared, in small letters, at the bottom of the list. The irate preacher’s contention was that there was no difference between titles and names. When asked by a subordinate, who was administering baptism at the end of the service, how or in what Name he would baptize, he answered, “Oh, use the formula that the Lord Jesus gave us to use : Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” To the writer’s personal knowledge, eight of the twelve that were baptized that night have since been baptized into the Name of Jesus.
Now, here was a palpable case of confusing Names with Titles. Had the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Peter, commanded the penitent three thousand, on the day of Pentecost, to be baptized into the TITLES of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, there would have been no disparity between Matthew 28:19, which is universally recognized as, and called, “The Great Commission,” and Acts 2:38, which must be universally recognized as the complete fulfillment of that commission.
However, as everyone can ascertain, the most accurate and ancient manuscripts of the Scriptures have not altered the text of the Great Commission, in the sense in which it is now being considered. The place that the word “Name,” (not NAMES) occupies, involves the act of baptizing into a name or “The Name” which is “The Name” of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, in order to fulfill it. Now this is exactly what the Apostle Peter commanded. He never repeated the (nameless) formula of Matthew 28:19, and, in fact, that formula is never invoked over a candidate for baptism throughout the entire Book of Acts. Peter commands them to be baptized into the Name—Jesus—the Christ, (he had previously declared that “God hath made this same Jesus both Lord and Christ”). Or, in exact phraseology, God hath given to this man whom ye crucified, whose Name is Jesus, the titles of Lord and Christ.
When one dispassionately examines the word setting of the Great Commission in the light of Acts 2:38, (and be it ever so reverently said, that if it was not fulfilled literally and completely on the day of Pentecost, then, it never was or has been fulfilled by the early Christian Church) they will admit that this commandment could only be obeyed by baptizing people into a name, which is the Name of the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Peter again tells us, “Neither is there salvation in any other name; for there is none other name given under heaven among men whereby we can be saved.” (Acts 4: 12) Doctor Weymouth translates, “For there is no second name given under heaven among men, whereby we can be saved.” If there is no second, then it is certain there can be no third. However, when the writer asked an ardent advocate of the orthodox interpretation of Matthew 28: 19, “What is the Name of the Father?” He answered, “Father is His Name!” Now the title of father can only be achieved by entering into a parental relationship. Son designates a filial relationship, and Holy Spirit is the spiritual and invisible essence of the other two entities of the Godhead, so not one of the three designations can possibly be called a name. So, in the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the Great Commission, as given through Peter, we have a complete refutation of the theory being considered—namely, that repeating the three titles of the formula is the proper way to fulfill it. It also proves that the Name, Jesus, is the Name of the Godhead. It proves that the Apostles regarded and proclaimed the fact that Jesus came with His Father’s Name, as the supreme Biblical evidence of the absolute Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this is the very evidence that has been almost totally obscured to the minds of the church for upwards of eighteen centuries.
Mr. Hall, in the foreword of his masterly written book, says, “In view of the Biblical facts disclosed in this book, it appears that there never would have been any doubt whatever among Christians of the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ during the Christian era, had the original Apostolic interpretation of the words, “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matt. 28: 19, from the Greek text) as set forth herein, been closely understood and taught by men, from the Apostolic age until the present time.”
As incredulous as the above statement may seem at first sight, the writer believes it absolutely, and in toto. He believes, also, that any fair-minded person has only to peruse carefully Mr. Hall’s exposition of the Name of God, and his demonstration that this name was carried, manifested and perpetuated in all its august dignity by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, to become a convert to this worthy and wonderful truth Mr. Hall wrote me, reiterating a prayer that he had penned in his foreword, “I believe and trust that through the reception and application of the truth of the Name of God, as set forth in my book, the pure faith and power of the early church may be restored to us in this end time.”
The writer has already seen this beneficent result from the proclamation of this great truth, and other Biblical truths related thereto, consisting in a great and worthy missionary spirit. It has flooded the fields with ardent and consecrated missionaries, on almost every foreign field—men and women who, like Paul and Barnabas, “Have hazarded their lives for the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” An enterprise in the homelands, by those who have received the new truth, affected their giving and resulted in thousands of dollars being invested in missionary propaganda. Startling and Apostolic miracles are being performed in and by the use of the Name of Jesus, even to raising the dead. There have been revivals, after the Apostolic order, where people were baptized into the Name of Jesus, and immediately received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, with the same miraculous manifestations as happened on the day of Pentecost, and on to the end of the early church age.
Since it is recognized as true that “like causes produce like effects,” then the proclamation of these Apostolic themes will and do result in a rebirth of the Spirit, life and actions of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, if those Apostles were to suddenly appear among us, their methods and teachings would be so out of harmony with the spiritual status of all Christendom, as represented by and through the churches, that the introduction of their system would practically destroy our own (at least in its outward structure and manner of operation) ; it would have to be thoroughly revolutionized.
In the writer’s little brochure, “The Modern Rip Van Winkle,” he visualizes the Apostle Peter suddenly appearing in a great Protestant Church in America and being invited to preach. He tried to allow for the church’s methods and teachings being affected by modern conditions of life; but after the story, as he honestly visualized it, was revised to a threadbare skeleton, it presented incongruities that were so irreconcilable with the tenets and practices of the Apostles, that the thing seemed like burlesque.
It is a matter of fact that thousands of people, after reading Mr. Hall’s book, “A Remarkable Biblical Discovery—The Name of God,” were baptized into the Name of Jesus, the Christ, and not a few ministers among them; but it is also a fact that the vast majority of church ministers who indorsed his findings, never let the truth grip them so that it affected their ministerial practices and principles in the slightest noticeable degree. They continue baptizing in a formula, in place of “The Name.”
In the startling statement of Peter, as recorded in Acts 2:36, “God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ,” we have a clear distinction made between a name and a title. The writer disagrees with the thesis that the original Name of God is preserved in the word “Lord” in our language. Doctor Scofield’s Bible, which is considered by the best authorities to be accurate in his use of Greek and Hebrew, contains a note, in the margin, on Matt. I: 25, “Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew Jehoshua or Yahosua meaning Savior.” When that chapter is read carefully, we are introduced to the fact that God, Himself, told Joseph to call the Child that Mary was to bring forth, Jesus. If the above fact is right, as stated by Doctor Scofield (and it is conceded by scholars to be right) then every intelligent religious Jew must have recognized that the pretensions in that Name were that it carried the dignity and majesty and, hence, the reverence of the original unutterable or ineffable Name of God. Hence, when He declared, “I am come in (or with) My Father’s Name,” they knew the range of such an assertion. It was the worst kind of blasphemy if He were, as they supposed, “the Son of Joseph.” (Luke 3: 23)
Jesus, then, received His Name by God’s actual and direct interposition. The words amount to a command: “Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” God made Him both Lord and Christ or The Christ—meaning Messiah or Anointed. That is, He conferred these stupendous titles to Him, as consequent of His death and resurrection. In the same sense as Jesus declared, after the great event, “All power is given unto me both in heaven and on earth.” However, He was Lord and was so-called by the Holy Spirit at His birth. But our theme, in this chapter, being “Names and Titles,” we voice our judgment on the revelation which stirred the world back in 1914: that Jesus is “The Name,” and, as such, carries all that the original Name of God contained. In the four actual records of administering the Christian rite of baptism in the Acts, namely, (Acts 2; 38; 8: 16; 10: 48; 19: 5) the careful reader will note, that the real Name, JESUS, is in each record. In the first instance cited, the title of Christ, or The Christ, is associated with it; in the second, the title of Lord is associated with it; in the third we have, in the Authorized Version, the phrase, “In the Name of the Lord.” But we know, as Peter knew and has declared, that “The Name of the Lord,” was Jesus, and in the Revised we have it rendered, “In the Name of Jesus Christ,” or Jesus—the Christ or Messiah. In the fourth instance, we have the Name, Jesus, associated with the title Lord. In the only other instance of baptismal rite, namely, Acts 22: 16, we have the instructions to Saul of Tarsus, “Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the Name of the Lord.” Ananias, who gave Saul these instructions, had previously declared, “Brother Saul, the Lord even Jesus, who appeared unto thee, in the way as thou camest.” So Saul knew what the Name of the Lord was. Had he not cried out in astonishment, when the voice came from the glory cloud and rolled him in the dust on the roadside, “Who art thou, Lord?” And the Lord answered, “I am Jesus.”
We believe that the titles should always be coupled with the Name, in baptism; for God hath made Him both Lord and Christ—Jehovah and Jehovah’s Anointed, but let us ever re-member that the Bible record places the conclusion, as beyond dispute, that JESUS was and is “The Name of the Lord.”
The above article “Names And Titles” is written by Frank J. Ewart. This article was excerpted from chapter 13 in Ewart’s book The Name And The Book.
The material is copyrighted and should not be repainted under any other name or author. However, this material may freely be used for personal study or purposes.