The Bible way of baptismal formula

Published on April 27, 2008

By Paogin Mangte


April 28, 2008: The subject of water baptism has long been called a great issue by many.  Water baptism is an ordinance instituted by Jesus Christ.  If it is not important in the plan of God, why did Jesus command it in St. Matthew 28:19? And why did Peter follow up by saying, “be baptized everyone of you,” and by commanding the Gentiles to be baptized (Acts 2:38;!0:48)?


Peter explained, “baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 3:21).  According Luke 7:30, the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized.


According to the scripture, the proper mode of baptism is immersion.  “And Jesus said, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water” (Matthew 3:16).  “And they went down both into the water, both Phillip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” (Acts 8:38).  “Therefore we are buried with Him into death” (Romans 6:4). 


A corpse is not buried by placing it on top of the ground and sprinkling a little soil on it, but by covering it completely.  Repentance identifies of with the death of Christ, and baptism identifies us with His burial.  Coming forth from the watery grave of baptism and receiving new life in the Holy Ghost identifies us with His resurrection.


Jesus commanded His disciple to teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19).  He didn’t command them to use these words as titles, but he commanded them to be baptized in “the name”.  The word name is used in the singular, it is the focal point of the baptismal command. 


The title Father, Son, and Holy Ghost describes God’s relationship to humanity and are not the supreme, saving name described here, which is Jesus.  “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is non other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  The Bible says, “she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). 


Jesus said, “I am come in my Father’s name” and, ” the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, the Father will send in my name” (John 5:43; 14:26).  Thus by baptizing in the name of Jesus, we honor the Godhead.  “For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).


It was necessary that the disciples understanding be open.  Then Jesus said to them, “thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.” The disciples had their understanding open so that they could grasp the importance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Verse 47 describes the commission that Jesus then gave: “and that repentance in remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”


Peter was one of that number to whom Jesus had spoken and whose understanding had been open.  After having listened to these instructions, a few days later he was inspired by the Holy Ghost to preach on the Day of Pentecost.  The hearts of hearers were pierced and, feeling condemned, they cried out to Peter and the other apostles, “men and brethren what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). 


Peter boldly answered, “repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).  “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day were added unto to them about 3000 souls” (Acts 2:41).


Some say that Peter told them to be baptized in Jesus’ name because they were Jews.  But let us go with Peter to the house of Cornelius several year later.  Cornelius and his household were Gentiles, yet there again Peter “commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48).  If Peter was wrong on the Day of Pentecost he surely had ample time to be corrected before he went to Cornelius’ house.


Was Peter wrong on the Day of Pentecost? When the hearers were pricked in their hearts, they spoke to Peter and the rest of the Apostles (Acts 2:37). This included Matthew, who wrote Matthew 28:19.  Moreover, when Peter preached, he stood up with the eleven (Acts 2:14). 


Matthew was there, yet we find no words of correction from him.  He surely would have spoken up if Peter had disobeyed the Lord.  But all the apostles understood and carried out the Lord’s commission. The Samaritans who were not Jews, were also baptized in the name of Jesus. 


“Then Phillip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them . . .. But when they believed Phillip’s preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women , , ,.  And they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus ” (Acts 8:5,12,16).


Let us see how Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, baptized.  He went to Ephesus many years after the day of Pentecost and found some disciples of John the Baptist.  “he said unto them, have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? And they said unto him, we have not so much heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.  And he said unto them, what then were you baptized?


And they said, unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him, which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:2-5).  Although these disciples had already been baptized, the name of Jesus was so important as to cause them to be rebaptized in His name.


The church is “built upon a foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone ” (Ephesians 2:20).  The apostles not only preached baptism in Jesus name, but they practiced it.  No where we can find that they were baptized using the words “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”.


Instead, we find them baptizing in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In baptizing in Jesus’ name, they fulfilled the command on the Lord in Matthew 28:19. Paul said “but though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be a curse” (Galatians 1:8).


Some say that they will accept the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:19 but no those in Acts 2:38.  But Peter spoke on the Day of Pentecost under the anointing of the Holy Ghost.  Peter was one of the apostles, and to him had been given the keys of the kingdom, so we have no right to discredit his words.


“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19). 


Paogin Mangte is the founding Pastor of India-based Oneness Pentecostal Christian Church Inc. (Independent Oneness Biblical Church).

Related Posts


Share This