Voice of History
By: Elder Ross Drysdale
Trinitarians Correct when they insist there is not one “Shred of evidence” that the baptismal formula was changed? Do unbiased historians age> Did a so-called “Ecumentical Council” out law Jesus Name Baptism? Is Invoking Jesus Name the Same as using “magical Incantations?”
EARLY CHURCH HISTORY ON JESUS NAME BAPTISM
Dr. Boyd is in quite a hurry to sweep church history under the rug in order to get on with his multi-explanations of what “in the Name of” could mean. He unilaterally declares that there is not “one shred of evidence” over the introduction of a new baptismal formula in church history. He remarks that the early church “quibbled” about a good many issues, but the use of the Trinitarian formula was not one of them. Amazing how all these raging Godhead debates and Councils have now been reduced to a “quibble.” More amazing that he could write a book of 234 passages dealing with a “quibble.” Putting that aside, let us see if there are any “shreds” of controversy lying around in the dusty tomes of early church history.
CYPRIAN AND JESUS NAME BAPTISM
Quite a large controversy erupted in the third century between Cyprian, a theologian of North Africa, and the Bishop of Rome, Stephen. Cyprian insisted that “heretics” who were baptized in Jesus Name be rebaptized in the Trinity. Cyprian set off a controversy that drew in others. Firmillian, Bishop of Caesarea (in Cappadocia) wrote Cyprian and quoted Pope Stephen as saying that anyone baptized in the “the name of Christ., immediately obtains the grace of Christ.” Cyprian argued back against this saying even outside the Catholic Church, was invalid because it had not been administered by the Church’s jurisdiction. The Pope stubbornly insisted that baptism in the Name of Christ did indeed remit sin. I think an argument that involves three bishops, on three continents over a number of years and results in a decision from the See of Rome, certainly qualifies as a “shread” of evidence that there was some “quibbling going on.” (See, Cyprian, Epistles, 72.00, A.N.F. V, p.383)
A TREATISE ON REBAPTISM
Further evidence comes from an anonymous document of this time period entitled, A Treatise on Rebaptism,” in which the author (believed to be a Third Century Bishop) argues in favor of the validity of Jesus Name baptism, thus hurling another challenge to Cyprian’s view. Apparently, the debate was quite ongoing. The author concludes his presentation with the statement: “Heretics who are already baptized in water in the Name of Jesus Christ must only be baptized with the Spirit.” (see, A.N.F., V, p.665-78).
AMBROSE AND JESUS NAME BAPTISM
In the Fourth Century Ambrose (340-398) argued baptism in Jesus Name was valid, even though it didn’t mention The Name of the Whole Trinity.” (See, Ambrose, Of The Holy Spirit I,iii, p.43, The Nic e . 0 Post Nicene Fathers, Phillip Schaff, editor).
COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE
By 381, tolerance for the original Jesus Name formula came to an end. The Council of Constantinople condemned “Sabellian” baptism (as they called it) and in an addition to the “Constitutions of the Holy Apostles” the practice of “one immersion into the death of Christ” was outlawed and the triple immersion in the Trinity was declared the only valid one. (See, A.N.F., VII, p.513)
There’s more than a shread of controversy going on here. It certainly seems that “two formulas” are locked in battle – one “in Jesus Name,” the other in the name of the Trinity: one, the Trinitarian formula, is decreed the “winner” by imperial force; the other is outlawed. Why was all this passed over so hastily, if we can be that charitable, by Dr. Boyd? Could it be that the next most logical question to arise would be which formula was the first one? And as Trinitarians have long realized, the answer to that question is fatal to their contention.
EARLY WRITINGS AND JESUS NAME BAPTISM
Let’s look at some of the early writings and see if there is something among these “shreads” that could throw light on which was the original formula.
The earliest witness we have after the close of the Apostolic writings (which are all unanimous on the Jesus Name formula) is the “Epistle to the Corinthians” by Clement of Rome. This is the next generation after the Apostle John, and what does Clement say of the baptismal formula? He refers to it in these words: “Every soul over whom His magnificent and holy name has been invoked.” A comparison with Acts 15:17 and 22:16, shows this to be an obvious reference to the only name ever so invoked in Apostolic times
the Name of Jesus (Cycil Richardson, Early Christian Fathers , New York; MacMillan 1970, p. 73),
SHEPHERD OF HERMAS
The next early witness we have is “The Shepherd of Hermas” a very popular writing in the early Second Century Church. It was written in Rome (140-145) by an unknown individual. It was recognized in some churches as scripture and read aloud during the service. Here it is baptism in Jesus Name again and again. He speaks of Christians being saved “through water” and “founded on the word of The Almighty and Glorious Name” (Vis. 3:3); and of those who “wish to be baptized in the Name of the Lord” (Vis. 3:7); and “before a man bears the Name of the Son of God, he is dead” but when they are sealed by baptism “they descend into the water dead and they arise alive” (Sim. 9:16). He speaks of being worthy “to bear His Name” (Sim. 9:28); and no one enters into the Kingdom of God without the Name of Jesus, which they must receive (Sim. 9:12).
The Didache, or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, is another early Second Century document. It refers to Baptism in this manner: “Let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, but they who have been baptized into the name of the Lord (9:5). Another chapter (7:1) also referred to baptism in the “Name of the Lord” but was altered by a copyist who inserted the Triune formula instead, and references to “pouring” instead of immersion. That this was a latter mutilation of the text is substantiated by the fact that “pouring” was a much later Catholic innovation. The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics states that perhaps chapter 7:1 originally read “in the Name of the Lord” like chapter 9:5 (vol. 2, p. 378).
Iranaeus, a famous theologian and early father, who died in 200 A.D., writes, “We are made clean by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord” (A.N.F., I, p. 574).
Marcion who broke away from the church at this time baptized in Jesus Name and his followers continued to use this formula, (see A.N.F., p. 380).
ACTS OF PAUL AND THELCA
The “Acts of Paul and Thelca” written by an Eastern Presbyter in the second century also records an account of baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ (see, A.N.F., VIII, p. 490). “In the Name of Jesus Christ I am baptized on my last day,” is one statement that appears there.
RECOGNITION OF CLEMENT
The “Recognition of Clement” of late Second Century origin states: “Jesus instituted baptism by water amongst them, in which they might be absolved of all their sins upon the invocation of his Name (Recognition 1:39).
JESUS NAME THE ORIGINAL FORMULA
The early witness of the church, right after the death of the Apostles, indicates a continued practice of baptism in Jesus Name. It isn’t until the time of Justin Martyr that we begin to see another formula, a Triune one, creeping in. In the Second and Third Centuries the two formulas are in use (even as they are today). But it is quite obvious which one is the new kid on the block.” Trinitarian baptism is an un-apostolic innovation that eventually replaced the original Jesus Name formula. And that is precisely the reason why unprejudiced scholars and church historians, which we previously cited, are in agreement with our position.
CONTROVERSY ON MATTHEW 28:19
Some scholars have even gone as far as to say Matthew 28:19 was a later “interpolation.” Professor Harnack dismisses the text almost contemptuously as being “no word of the Lord” (History of Dogma, vol. I, p. 68). Dr. Peake says in Bible Commentary: “The command to baptize into the threefold name is a late doctrinal expansion. Instead of the words baptizing them into the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’ we should probably read simply ‘into My Name ‘”(p. 723). Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, states under the article, Baptism-Early Christian: “The cumulative evidence of these three lines of criticism (textual, literary and historical) is thus distinctly against the view that Matthew 28:19 represents the exact words of Christ.” R.R. Williams concurs: “The command to baptize in Matthew 28:19 is thought to show the influence of a developed doctrine of God verging of Trinitarianism. Early baptism was in the name of Christ.” (Theological Workbook of the Bible, P. 29). Black’s Bible Dictionary says: “The Trinitarian Formula (Matthew 28:19) was a late addition by some reverent Christian mind” (article, Baptism).
Most of the scholars mentioned above gather same of their evidence on Matthew 28:19 being altered from “my name” to “the Name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit” from the writings of Eusebius.
Eusebius lived between A.D. 264-340. He was a voluminous writer and compiled the earliest history of the ancient Christian Church. He had access to New Testament manuscripts that are much older than the ones we now have. Thus he had the advantage of being much closer to the original writing of Matthew 28:19. Yet he never quotes it in the Triune formula, but in all his citations (which number eighteen or more) he renders the text as: “Go ye and make disciples of all the nations IN MY NAME, teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I commanded you.” Only after Nicea does he alter this!
Conybeare, the church historian, informs us that Eusebius lived virtually in the greatest Christian library of his time, namely that which Origen and Pamphilus had collected at Caesarea, Eusebius’ home. In his library, Eusebius must have handled codices of the gospels older by two hundred years than the earliest unicals that we have now in our libraries. Dr. Wescott says it is owing to the zeal of Eusebius that we know most of what is known of the history of the New Testament. (Wescott, General Survey of the History of the on of the New Testament, p. 108), Certainly, as a witness, he cannot be ignored Perhaps the most compelling evidence we get from Eusebius is his visit to Constantinople and his attendance at the Council of Nicea, he changes his references to Matthew 28:19 and begins quoting it in the Triune formula! Thus he switches to the Trinitarian rendering immediately after Nicea, with its imperial threats of banishment to all who reject the newly officialized Trinity doctrine. He never knew or quoted any other fo but the “My Name” rendition until his visit to Nicea. Discretion appears to have become the better part of valor in his case!
MATTHEW 28:19 AND ONENESS ADVOCATES
Let it be pointed out that the UPCI and other Oneness organizations have no quarrel with Matthew 28:19 as it is found in the Authorized Version. Indeed, it forms an indispensable scriptural link in our revelation, not only of baptism, but of the Godhead also. For if the Name is one, the person is one. We have shown previously how a complete and enlightening reconciliation of Matthew 28:19 with the passages in Acts is possible, not only from a Oneness perspective, but from a Trinitarian one as well. We have included the textual discussion of Matthew 28:19 and the related witness of Eusebius simply to make the discussion complete and to expose our readers to this facet of the question. I know of no Oneness organization that endorses any other reading of Matthew 28:19, then what we have in the Textus Receptus. However, facts are facts and stubborn things at that, for they refuse to go away. Perhaps archeology or Biblical Research will yield more light on this interesting phase of the discussion in the future. The beauty of the Oneness position is that regardless of which rendering of Matthew 28:19 is the correct one, the conclusion is still the same – Baptism in Jesus Name. For to us, the Apostles, Christ’s reference to “the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” was just a longer way of saying “my name.” When people finally realize this, the textual conflict may resolve itself almost automatically. For Christ may have uttered both statements is on that mountain long ago.
Trinitarian scholars themselves have come up with no less than four different methods of reconciling Matthew 28:19 with the passages in Acts, resulting in a literal use of the name of Jesus Christ in baptism today. None of these men believe in the Oneness, but, all of them advocate baptism in Jesus Name as the proper way to obey Christ’s command in the last chapter of Matthew. We shall review them briefly with the understanding that they are being set forth as additional testimony. None of these four “reconciliations” is official Oneness doctrine, and their mention here does not imply endorsement. However, they all possess merit to some degree and are certainly worth our time.
THE NAME OF THE LORD METHOD
This is perhaps the oldest explanation for baptism in Jesus Name in modern times. It even preceded the Revelation given in 1913 in California. Willaim Phillips Hall popularized it in his book “Remarkable Biblical Discovery” or The Name of According to the Scriptures.” This book was originally published by the American Tract Society, and has been republished in abridged form by the Pentecostal publishing House. The author was a brilliant scholar, studied both Hebrew and Greek, and was well esteemed by Bible teachers of his day. His book received excellent reviews at the time of publication, and is quoted still. Hall feels his views about the baptismal formula being in Jesus Name were “imparted to him by The Glorified Lord Jesus Christ” (Remarkable Biblical Discovery, P.P.H., St. Louis, 1951, p. 5). Basically, the reconciliation is accomplished as follows: The Name of the Father is Lord (Mark 12:29-30, Isa. 42:8), the Name of the Son is Lord (Acts 2:36, l Cor. 8:6), and the Name of the Holy Spirit is Lord (11 Cor. 3:17). Hence, the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is Lord. But this name can only be used in conjunction with the name of Jesus Christ, who is the one mediator and the only way to God. Hence, the apostles always used the full expression “Lord Jesus Christ” which combined the Name of the Godhead (Lord) with that of the mediator(Jesus Christ); See for example I Cor. 5:4, II Cor 11:31, Acts 20:21, Acts 16:31, etc . Hall does a remarkable piece of research proofing that the original baptismal formula in Acts was consistently “in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ” according to the most ancient manuscripts and sources. The references we have today (Lord Jesus, Jesus Christ, Lord) are abbreviated forms of the original full name Lord Jesus Christ.
NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST METHOD
This interpretation was also used occasionally by Oneness expositors in the early days of the Movement. It is only rarely heard in oneness circles today, but is popular among some Trinitarians.
While visiting a very large Trinitarian church in Texas, I purchased the book entitled “The Name of God” by Kevin Conner, published by the author. It was being sold in their bookstore at the time and highly recommended. Rev. Conner’s book, carries an endorsement by Rev. K.R. Iverson, Pastor of Bible Temple in Portland, Oregon, a trinititarian church. The basic explanation is this: The Name of the Father is Lord (Luke 10:21, Isa. 42:8), The Name of the Son is Jesus (Matt. 1:21), The Name of the Holy Spirit is Christ (Col. 1:27); thus the one name of the father, Son and Holy Spirit is Lord Jesus
Christ (Conner, p. 115-116). And, of course, he reaches the same conclusions as Hall, namely that the original baptismal texts in Acts are all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
James Lee Beall, Pastor of Bethesda Temple in Detroit, Michigan, espouses the exact same interpretation in his book “Rise to Newness of Life” on pages 60-61, (Rise to Newness of Life, James Lee Beall, Evangel Press, Detroit, Michigan). Pastor Beall is also a Trinitarian and well known Bible teacher and author. He also baptizes in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
GODHEAD NAME METHOD
Basically this method teaches that seeing the “fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Christ” then his name must be the name of the Godhead. In other words, in the Trinitarian scheme of things the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are revealed and manifested in the second person Christ; therefore his name is also the name which reveals and manifests all three persons. In her book “The Exalted Name” Lucy Knott states: “In the Lord Jesus Christ dwelleth all the Fullness of the Godhead bodily. The Exalted Name must needs show forth the Father and the Spirit as well as the Son. While the Son bears the exalted name, the Father and Spirit are equally exalted for they are all one in essence” (The Exalted Name, Lucy Knott, Nazarene Publishing House, Kansas City, Missouri 1937, p. 226-227).
In response to a question on the correct baptismal formula, Dr. Pettingill, in his book “Bible Questions answered,” let loose yet another interpretation that results in a Jesus Name baptismal formula. This one is by far the most unusual, but it apparently satisfied the good Doctor, who was a firm believer in baptism in Jesus Name. He basically argues, from an extreme dispensational point of view, that the Matthew 28:19 command is part of the Gospel of the Kingdom. He therefore calls it the “Kingdom Commission.” Furthermore he adds: “of course, we are well aware that it is often spoken of as the Great Commission of the Church, but we are convinced that this is an error.” He feels Matthew is “Kingdom” territory and does not apply to the Church Age, but will take effect only after Christ returns. To prove this he says: “Let it be observed also that the baptisms of the Acts are not ‘into the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ but rather ‘into the name of the Lord Jesus’ (Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48,19:5). …The Name of the Lord Jesus is in this day and dispensation the name which is above every Name, and whatsoever we do in word or deed is to be done in the Name of the Lord Jesus…” (William L. Pettingill, D.D., Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1973, p. 106-107).
The subconscious desire of Trinitarians to conform to the obvious pattern of Jesus Name baptism in the Acts of the Apostles, coupled with their unwillingness to part with their Trinitarian Theology has led to this brood of hybrid and novel attempts at reconciliation. Though there is merit in all of them, and much merit in some of them, the simple explanation of our Lord (John 5:43, 14:26) as to what constitutes the one Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is to be preferred. And it is that light which is shinning brightly in the Oneness movement, which is now encircling the globe in preparation for the return of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!
MAGICAL INCANTATION OR BIBLICAL INVOCATION?
In his final attempt to discredit those of us who in “every place call upon the Name of Jesus Christ Our Lord,” he resurrects an old charge that was first leveled against the ancient Christians, namely that we practice “magic” and pagan “incantations” designed to manipulate . That a 20th Century Christian would find common cause with first and second century heathens in opposing the invocation of Jesus Name is as startling as
it is revolting!
On page 144 Dr. Boyd compares our invocation to a “magical formula said during an act.” He feels it presents a “return to a form of paganism in which it is believed that deities can be manipulated to behave in certain ways by the utilization of certain incantations and formulas invoked by devotees” (p. 145). “Magical incantations upon which God’s forgiveness ‘rests” is how he characterizes our doctrine of “in the Name of Jesus.”
How well does that sit with the thousands, yea millions, of Christians, who over the centuries have sent their earnest petitions heavenward “in Jesus Name?” How would the humble Christian mother, praying for the healing of her suffering child “in Jesus Name,” feel when informed by Dr. Boyd that her use of the “name above every name” was a “pagan incantation,” and that what she thought was “faith in that name” was actually an attempt at “manipulating the deity!”
And what shall we say of that “Magician” Peter who “verbally” repeated his Jesus Name “incantation” at the Gate Beautiful and “manipulated” the Deity to such an extent that the lame man immediately received strength in his feet and ankle bones and was healed! He himself was so happy with this “incantation” that he went leaping and walking and praising God. Peter’s explanation for “verbally” using the Name of Jesus differs somewhat from Dr. Boyd’s explanation. For when those first century haters of the “formula” asked him: “By what power or by what name” have ye done this, his response was: “ye rulers of the people and elders of Israel, if we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole: Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole ” (Acts 4: 7-10)- That was Peter’s explanation of both his “magic trick” and his “incantation!”
John Wesley’s converts were once accused by a detractor of suffering from “epileptic fits.” In this way he “explained” away the spiritual manifestations occuring in Wesley’s enthusiastic meetings. Wesley’s answer was: “Epilepsy? Sinners are converted, backsliders return, doubters are convinced, drunks become sober, and thieves become honest working men! If this be epilepsy then I say, Roll On, thou mighty Epilepsy, Roll On.” So if our use of Jesus Name be magic, then I would say in the tradition of Wesley, “Roll on thou mighty Magic, Roll On!”
TERTULLIAN ANSWERS DR. BOYDIS CHARGE
Tertullian faced the same charges in the early Christian Church from pagans, who viewed Christian Baptism as an attempt to gain eternal life through the “incanting” of a few words and a ritual bath in water. Anyone who sees only that in Christian baptism, or any other invocation of His Name, has very myopic vision indeed! And unfortunately, Dr. Boyd shares the same view point concerning our baptism in Jesus Name as those early pagans espoused, and the same answer Tertullian gave is still applicable: “yet what a miserable incredulity is this which leads you to deny to God His special properties” (Simplicity With Power, Tertullian, de Baptism, p. 2).
Jesus Christ forever negated the charge leveled against our use of the name, by Dr. Boyd and others, when he said: “If ye shall ask anything My Name, I will do it” (John 14:14). If that’s “incantation” and “manipulation” so be it! More on this so called “magic” formula is brought out in john 16:24. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” We ask in “His Name” and our joy is quite full. Christ had just previously defined the nature of this “incantation – manipulation” so called, when he said in verse 23 “whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, he will give it to you.” Dr. Boyd’s argument therefore is not with us, but with the Father!
TRINITARIAN GNOSTIC INCANTATION
If Dr. Boyd is serious about his aversion to “pagan incantations” in Christianity, he doesn’t have to look any further than his own Trinitarian faith. For the Nicene Creed, which is “encanted” in many Trinitarian churches as part of the liturgy, has a gnostic pagan phrase at its heart! I quote from “The Heretics” by Walter Nigg. Commenting on the phrase, “one in essence with the Father,” in the Nicene Creed, he writes: “of course, this had the defect of having been originally a gnostic phrase, and one which had no precedence in the Bible” (p. 127).
What logic is it that would bind on all Christendom a pagan gnostic phrase, repeated continually in a creed; and yet at the same time ridicule the verbal invocation of the name of Jesus Christ, calling it “pagan magic?” Why would anyone want to put himself in the same class as that bitter Christ hating Sanhedrin which ordered Peter “not to speak at all, nor teach in the Name of Jesus”” ( see Acts 4:18)9? That’s the real intent of all this nonsensical twaddle about “magic” and “incantation” and “manipulation.” It’s the same spirit that fuels their “no baptismal formula” heresy. It is an out right and undisguised attempt to silence the Name of Jesus from being verbally uttered. The devils of hell couldn’t be more pleased! And there can be no doubt as to who the real author of this theory is! Our response is the same as Peter’s and John’s, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” – (Acts 4:19-20). We too have a creed, but it doesn’t come from the Gnostics, it comes from Paul: “and whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col 3:17).
DR. KITTEL’S FINAL WORD
In G. Kittel’s “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament,” p. 255, he writes concerning the expression “calling on the Name”: “The Hebrew expression ‘calling on the Name of the Lord’ originally signified To invoke the deity with the name Yahweh’ and still bears traces of a magical constraint which can be exercised by utterance of the Name… In the Old Testament, of course, the invocation bears the weaker sense of ‘calling on Yahweh’ i.e., worshipping him… and the magical notion disappears. Indeed, misusing the Name of God in magic and incantation is expressly forbidden in the decalogue… Yahweh refuses to be conjured up by the utterance of his name. He promises his coming at the appointed shrines when he is called upon there… Thus the Name of Yahweh is not an instrument of magic; it is a gift of revelation. This does not rule out the fact that uttering or calling on. Yahweh’s Name implies faith in his Power…”
The Oneness Position Exactly!
TOYING WITH THE GREEK
In a desperate attempt to stifle discussion on Baptism in Jesus name, certain Trinitarians of late have taken to using the Greek in their argument. Though their error has been corrected repeatedly in the past, they will not cease employing it. These “lower lights” keep burning, but they send no gleam of truth “across the waves.”
Their basic contention is that the Greek expression rendered in the name” in Matt. 28:19, is different from the Greek expression in Acts 2:38, which is also translated into English as in the e.” Thus they contend that Matt. 28:19 actually says to be baptized “into” the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, whereas Peter’s command is merely to be baptized “in” the name of Jesus. Peter’s words are thus interpreted to only mean “by the
authority of Jesus,” while Christ’s words are said to be the actual formula.
Of course, any reputable Greek scholar would inform them that there is no difference between the two expressions; they are equivalent to each other. But if these so-called “Masters of Greek” had one their homework, they would have found that Paul commanded the Ephesian disciples to be baptized “into” the name of the Lord Jesus in Acts 19:6. The exact same Greek expression is used here as in Matt 28:19, “into the name.” This collapses their quibble entirely, and they should apologize to their reading public. They are without excuse, because John Paterson pointed this out to them in his book, The Real Truth About Baptism in Jesus Name, away back in 1950. Did they think enough time had elapsed and it was safe to turn this thrice resuscitated argument 1oose on their suspecting readers yet again? One can only hope that the lid is fina11y nailed shut on this nonsense.
I realize that subjective personal experiences, no matter how spectacular, cannot replace the Word of God as a doctrinal guide. However, such experiences, when support by clear Biblical precedent, should be taken into consideration as corroborating evidence. Having established the scriptural veracity of Baptism in Jesus Name, I would now like to recount two remarkable incidents which occurred in my ministry relative to the doctrine in question.
DIVINE GUIDANCE FOR JEANNE FOWLER
In the summer of 1976, I was teaching my Sunday School Class when a very frail woman entered the church and staggered down the aisle. She seated herself near the front of the church and waited patiently for the lesson to end. Finally she raised her hand, apologizing for taking up my time, and requested to say something. The woman seemed to be in earnest about something, so I consented. She informed me that she had cancer and could only live a few more weeks. She was greatly concerned about her soul and had been repenting asking to forgive her. She had read where you needed to be baptized to be saved in Mark 16:16 and so had packed a change of clothes, and with great physical effort, had driven to a nearby church. She mentioned the name of the church and I recognized it as a local Trinitarian assembly. She continued with her story and told how she had entered the church and had asked the pastor to baptize her. He agreed to do this after the service, and instructed her to be seated and join them in worship. Then something remarkable happened. While seated in that trinitarian church she heard the Lord speak to her very clearly and distinctly. He said to get up and leave the service at once, because they could not baptize her correctly there, and she must go somewhere else. Startled, but obedient, she quietly slipped out. She drove her car, not knowing where to go next. When she came near my church the same voice of the Lord told her to stop and go in and request baptism, for here she would be baptized in the proper way.
As we sat and listened to her most unusual story, a holy awe settled over the congregation. I myself was astonished at such an amazing recitation. But more was to come, With genuine sincerity in her eyes she looked at me and asked: “Pastor, what is the difference between your baptism and that other church’s? God would not let me be baptized there and I want to know why?
I explained that even though we both immersed candidates in water, our church did it in Jesus Name, which is the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The other church merely repeated the titles without mentioning the name. She readily saw this truth and then realized why God had led her to our church. “In all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee” (Exodus 20:24).
I baptized her in Jesus Name for the remission of sins. Shortly after that she passed on to her reward. I am confident that at this very moment as I write her testimony and her face comes up before me in memory, she is in heaven worshipping the One Personed God, our Lord Jesus Christ, whose Name she took on in baptism.
JOEY BRAYIS REMARKABLE DELIVERANCE
A second incident occurred while I was attending a Pentecostal convention in Houston. I met a young man who needed a job. I knew of an employment opportunity in Galveston and agreed to drive him there. I thought it would be a good opportunity to witness to him. On the way he began to speak in a very disjointed and incoherent fashion. He claimed to be able to understand the speech of animals and to get “revelations” from them. He asked me if that was of God. I told him he had a demon. He tried to flee the car but we were on a high bridge by this time and I refused to stop.
When we got to Galveston, about midnight, I stopped the car along side their famous sea wall. We both got out. I told him he was demon possessed and needed to be delivered. He agreed and fell down at my feet sobbing and holding me fast by the ankles so I could not leave. I began rebuking the spirit that was in him. The few remaining tourists that straggled past us that night gave us a wide berth! I’m sure it presented quite a sight.
The spirit came out of him and a great calm swept over him. I knew there had been a change. Next I led him in a prayer of repentance as he turned his life over to Christ.
His next remark caught me by surprise. He said: “Shouldn’t I be baptized?” I responded affirmatively, but told him I did not have a church in this city and therefore had no access to a baptistery. He pointed to the vast Gulf of Mexico that stretched before us on all sides, and like the Ethiopian of old; he asked why this would not be sufficient. (Acts 8:36) Somewhat embarrassed for not having realized what a mighty “baptistery” God had provided us, I told him it was indeed sufficient.
There was no one on the beach at this late hour and the tide was coming in. In the moonlight I caught a glimpse of his shirt. It had a Satanic symbol on it! I told him I could not baptize him with such an evil sign on him. He agreed and took the shirt off and threw it on the sand. We proceeded into the water and I immersed him in the saving name of Jesus. As he came out of the water he began speaking in tongues! What a wonderful time we had! When we returned to the shore, the shirt was not at the spot we had left it. It had completely disappeared. In its place lay a clean new white towel neatly folded, soft and dry. Just as if an angel had brought it down for him. He used it to dry off with, and both of us were convinced this was a miraculous sign from God: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new” (I Corinthians 5:17). And this apparently includes Tee-shirts (at least in one case anyhow).
We separated, but several months later I received a letter from him:
Dear Brother Ross,
I am in Chicago now. I have no place to live and I walk the streets looking for work. But I know God is with me. The wind here blows very cold sometimes, but I don’t mind. I just pray to God and talk to him in unknown tongues, just like I did in the Gulf that night, then I feel so much better. I know he is with me.
Later this same young man came to Florida and confirmed his testimony before my entire congregation.
Multiplied thousands of people around the world could add their testimonies to these two, as to how God led them into this remarkable truth of the one true name of God, revealed in water baptism. Soon the whole world will believe nothing else! “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of-the land, and they shall no more be remembered; and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name one.” (Zechariah 13:2, 14:9)
This article Voice of History written by Elder Ross Drysdale is excerpted from the book Enter the Neo-Trinitarians.