ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM
Testimony of Lynda Allison Doty
I am persuaded that God has brought you and me together. Our paths are crossing on earth for the first time, perhaps, but His timing is never off. It’s always perfect. Maybe the time is perfect also, for me to share my testimony with you. God has done so very much in my life–where do I begin!
I was raised in the strict Southern Baptist tradition, always involved in everything, because, in retrospect I see that my soul was hungrily searching to fill that void deep within my being. That’s the
void each of us has until we come to know the Lord.
In my late teens I drifted from the church and began a worldly life. I am not proud of the things I did, I sank really, really low. All this time, of course, I was still stretching towards that nebulous
lifeline, joining one church after another. I was a part of most of the mainstream Protestant churches, and finally joined the Catholic church. My two children were even baptized catholic. For several years I attended mass at least once a day, still searching. I eventually went on to become a leader in the humanistic New Age movement, still searching for the God of my childhood.
It was in 1978, in northern California…after my entire life had crashed down around me…that I found I no longer had cigarettes …alcohol …marijuana …sex …prescription drugs…or even
suicide…to help me cope. I finally came face to face with myself. And I hated what I saw. I spent a solid week repenting to the God of my childhood–somehow I knew this was the God who could save me, even though I had found the Baptist church to be dead and lifeless. Somehow, my soul had a knowledge that this same God knew how to lead me into life if I could just somehow touch Him, tap into His power.
During that week of repentance, it was only God and me, confined inside my little car because, as I said, all outside props had been withdrawn. That week culminated in my receiving the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. I didn’t know at the time what had happened to me. All I knew was that, for a solid week, I went around proclaiming that I was “drunk with it,” and feeling intense compassion for every man, woman, child, tree or flower I saw. No one understood. Some people warned me to control myself. Others were worried that I’d gone off the deep end. But as for me, my life was totally transformed in that one afternoon on the banks of Willow Creek.
From there, circumstances led me into evangelistic preaching back and forth across the country, and finally, back to California. I had just been asked to take over a small church, and was praying about this, when it happened. My search suddenly and finally ended. I never took over that church, because I found another church–the church I’d been looking for! There was something about this other church that was like a magnet. I knew–I just knew–that I was to become a part of it.
Part of me thrilled at that knowledge; part of me balked, because I wasn’t really ready, I thought, to forsake my worldly life of preaching and smoking and being “charismatic,” and “led by the Spirit.” I wasn’t ready for the disciplined life that I’d seen in the pages of the Bible, but had chosen to spiritualize, to “explain away. “But when we get hungry enough, we’re willing to forsake everything. The Christian walk is progressive. God gives us enough light to take a step at a time.
When we’re faithful in the light He’s given us, it’s time to move on to bigger, more fertile grounds. It seems that God always has something more–something better–for us, even when we might be content with what we have.
My second time at this church, I asked one of the ladies, “How do I go about joining this church?”
“You don’t really join it,” she said. “But you need to be baptized in the Name of Jesus.”
I felt smug. “Well, I’ve already done that,” I said, remembering my two baptisms. If anyone had ever been baptized, I had! I had been immersed in water in the Baptist church, and sprinkled in the Catholic church.
She just looked at me. “You’ve been baptized in Jesus’ Name?
But there was something about the way she asked the question that caused me to doubt my experience. We began to talk about it and I found out that I had only been baptized in some of God’s titles, not His Name. I grabbed my Bible and searched frantically for Matthew 28:19. I pointed to the scripture, my chest held high in pride. “See?” I said, “Look at that.” She looked, unimpressed. I rushed on, “Jesus said to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.”
“Yes, that’s what He said,” she agreed. “He said be baptized in the Name.”
I grabbed the Bible back and stared at the scripture. It did say Name. It didn’t say names, plural. What was His Name? Jehovah? Yahweh?
I embarked on a search that led me through the entire Bible, to discover that the Name of the Father was Jesus (John 5:43); the name of the Son was Jesus (Matt 1:21); and the Name of the Holy Ghost was Jesus (John 14:26). I learned that there was salvation in none other name, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
I learned that “believing” was only the first step! We have to obey Him (Acts 5:32). Cornelius was a tremendously devout man (Acts 10), but he had to receive the Holy Ghost and be baptized in the Name. In fact baptism was commanded in verse 48. Jesus said “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:16).
Jesus Himself set us the EXAMPLE of submitting to baptism. We must follow His example in every detail, including baptism. All through the Book of Acts, where the Church was founded, believer after believer was baptized in the Name of Jesus. The believers in Acts 19:1-7 were, like me, re-baptized. The devils believe and tremble (James 2:19) and they certainly aren’t saved. Jesus said we must be born again. By water and the spirit (John 3:5), and further down in verse 18, He says that we must believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God. In the name… “Whatsover ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” I recalled that, as a charismatic, I prayed in the name of Jesus; I did healings in the name of Jesus; I rebuked demons in the name of Jesus; I did all things in the name of Jesus. Right? No, wrong. I did not baptize, nor was I baptized, in the name of Jesus. Why is it, I wondered, that we all stop short right there? Why is it that we did everything in the name of Jesus EXCEPT baptize? The Bible was clear. Why did we overlook it?
This revelation led me to question my previously held belief in the so-called trinity. It was becoming apparent that the word PERSONS was so defective in its use, that little progress had been made in the knowledge of the Godhead by the followers of that concept, since the injection of it into a dogma 1600 years ago. The word persons has misled many people into a dead-end street, as to knowing God in a Biblical sense. Even many trinitarians say that this notion is above reason, and is a mystery to be accepted by faith. The truth is: the insertion of terms like THREE PERSONS and SUBSIST, and SEPARATE and DISTINCT is not an explanation, but a conclusion reached by professed Gentile Christians in Europe almost 300 years after the apostles died, whose dogma was drafted by men who were steeped in the paganistic philosophy of the Greeks, including Socrates and Aristotle. There is only One God. All through the Bible, there was only one God. Isaiah
43:11 tells us that beside the Lord of the Old Testament, there is no savior. Jesus, then, as savior, could not possibly be anyone except that same God of the Old Testament, wrapping human flesh around Himself. Not a separate person, but a BEGOTTEN son. Begotten not made.
The flesh is the Son. The flesh is what died for us. God cannot die. Neither is God some fraidy-cat who didn’t have enough courage to die, but would send a son in his place. If He and His Son were separate persons, He would have come Himself. No. The only explanation is that they are One and the same. One God. Manifested in three, but THESE THREE ARE ONE (I John 5:7). You are a Mother. You are a wife. You are a Daughter. But your name is KAY. If you signed your checks with “Mother,” or “Daughter,” the bank would not honor them. You have to use your NAME, not a role or a title. Jesus said in Matt. 10:22, “Ye shall be hated of all men for MY NAME’S SAKE; but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”
Baptism is not a work. All action takes energy, but all action is not classified as work. The commandments of Jesus and the Apostles were not “works.” (Acts 1:12; 10:48). I have never read that either John the Baptist, Jesus, or any of the Apostles defined or described water baptism as a work, nor that anyone who insisted that believers must obey God is a legalist. The Bible speaks of the obedience of faith.
Water baptism is identified as an EXPRESSION OF FAITH (Colossians 2:12). I’ve found that most trinitarians who listen to me, just for awhile, find out that their description of the Godhead is not the same as they previously thought. When the truth is explained, many trinitarians say, “You explain it like I have always believed it, but did not have the words or terms to express it.” In short, their theological ties seem to be with the Reformation and with their denominational church, more than with the Apostolic period of the first one hundred years of the church. What were the original Apostolic doctrines? I had to read the New Testament in a brand new, open way, so God could teach me. “Trinity” is a Roman Catholic invention.
We have to do more than just “accept the Lord as our personal savior.” That’s just the start. When we receive Him, we receive power to BECOME the sons of God (Acts 1:12), we are not AUTOMATICALLY His children. We have to be born into the family according to John 3:5. What an eye opener! I had thought I’d received it all, as a charismatic preacher-woman! Wow! What a revelation! Even so, I must confess that, when I went under the water in the name of Jesus, it was BEFORE I had the revelation. I did it purely out of FAITH, because at that time, I wasn’t all that sure we HAD to be baptized in His name. But I reasoned: “The Bible DOES say it–in many places. Maybe I don’t fully BELIEVE it, yet, but I’d rather just OBEY…I’d rather be safe than sorry….It
sure can’t hurt anything, and–if it’s really, really true, then the Lord will honor my obedience and reveal it to me fully…” On that basis, I was baptized. And, as I had reckoned, He did honor it by
leading me into His beautiful, wonderful Truth.
Acts 2:38 commands it. It is a sin to disobey God. Water baptism is NOT done for the FORGIVENESS of sin. God forgives us when we repent. If one of your children smears finger paint all over the wall, and you scold him…and he’s really sorry and asks you to forgive him, of course you forgive him. But the paint is still on the wall, even though you’ve forgiven him. Out comes the water! In water baptism, our sins–already forgiven–are now washed away and forgotten forever by our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! That’s remission, as described in Acts 2:38 (KJV). Oh praise His wonderful name! We have taken His glorious name upon us when we were buried with Him in a watery grave!
In Acts 8:16 and 19:5, people were baptized in His name. There is no Bible record anywhere, nor is it implied, that the Apostles merely repeated Jesus’ command in Matt. 28:19. I could say to you,” go open the door.” You might look at me funny and look at the closed door, and continue to stand still. “Go open the door.” This time you merely repeat what I said, you say, “Go open the door.” Again I say to you, “Go open the door.” Again you repeat what I said, “Go open the door.” Well, needless to say, this kind of thing does not get the job done: the door does not get opened! You would have to DO what I asked, not merely REPEAT it. So it is with baptism. All the Apostles DID what Jesus said in Matt 28:19. They did not merely repeat His words. They already knew the Name! Matthew himself, who wrote 28:19, was among the apostles in Acts chapter 2. Why on earth, then, didn’t he correct Peter in 2:38, if Peter was in error? Why didn’t he stand up and say, “Hey, Peter, let’s step aside and discuss this, you’re telling the people wrong.” Because Matthew also knew the name. Jesus had so fully taught the Apostles and they understood His words. But today many misunderstand Peter and Paul (Acts 19:5); Romans 6:3-5, etc.; and what the Apostles DID about the commission Jesus gave them.
Well, that’s it in a nutshell. This is my own testimony about how our dear Savior brought me into His wonderful truth. I am asking you to read it with an open mind, and prayerfully. I am asking you to consider what I’ve said, with the attitude that it could just very well be that the Lord wants you to consider it at this time. When we have given our lives to the Lord, I don’t really believe in “coincidences;” so it could very well be that it is your time…. And I am asking that you take the time to look the scriptures up, because it’s God’s Word that talks to you; not I. Not really. If you’re like me, you need to read it in the Bible; I had to see for myself that that was what GOD said.
The Holy Ghost is like a divine magnet inside our earthly bodies which will get us out of here when He comes for us! We have to have the Holy Ghost. I’m not sure, exactly, how far your beliefs are from mine, that’s why I’ve gone into so much detail. I only know where the Lord brought me from. And I love Him with all my heart. I have prayed, I have fasted, I have waited on the Lord, and I believe it is His will that I share this testimony with you. I will be interested in hearing your response. Join me, won’t you, at your local United Pentecostal Church.
Love and prayers,