As I understand it, Steve is actually making two arguments:
- Authentic baptism is in Jesus' name, not in the Trinitarian formula
- You know someone has been authentically baptized b/c they speak in tongues afterwards (I'm assuming he believes this should happen immediately, until he says otherwise)
There are a few things I would like to address in this blog post that I find misguided.Well, in all fairness, I didn't say it was the only book that contained the Great Commission. I simply cited Matthew's gospel as a place where you can find Jesus' final words to His apostles. I have no doubt that similar exchanges take place in the other Synoptic Gospels.
You quote just Matthew 28:18-20 as the only book that speaks of the Great Commission. I find that this is the most over used Scripture in not only defending a trinity, but also on how to baptize someone.
You are correct in saying that the Apostles baptized in the Name of Jesus. Notice too that everyone that was baptized this way received the Holy Ghost with evidence of speaking in tongues (John 3:5).Everyone did? I don't see how that follows. When the 3,000 from Acts 2 were baptized (cf. vs. 37-41), there's no mention of them speaking in tongues. Yes, Peter said they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2:38), but it's a great leap to assume that he's referring to the charism of speaking in tongues. When the people of Samaria were baptized by Philip, there's no mention of them speaking in tongues (cf. Acts 8:12). When the eunuch was baptized by Philip, no tongues then either (cf. Acts 8:38). When Saul was baptized, no tongues (cf. Acts 9:18; 22:16). When Lydia and her household were baptized, no tongues (cf. Acts 16:14-15). When the jailer and his household were baptized, no tongues (cf. Acts 16:33). When the Corinthians were baptized, no tongues (cf. Acts 18:8). I'm starting to see a trend!
Even when speaking in tongues does appear in the vicinity of baptism it does not prove your point. In Acts 10:44-48, Cornelius and the Gentiles with him began speaking in tongues before they were baptized, as a way of confirming Peter's message that salvation was as much for the Gentiles as it was for the Jews. In Acts 19:5-6, the disciples in Ephesus began speaking in tongues when Paul laid his hands on them (what Catholics would call their Confirmation), not when they were baptized.
The reason I'm pointing this out is because Christians like Steve are fond of saying that a person's baptism is ineffective if it is not accompanied by speaking in tongues, or a person is not saved until he speaks in tongues. But, "Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?" (1 Cor 12:30). Obviously not. Why then must every Christian speak in tongues before their baptism, or their salvation, or their faith can be considered genuine? This requirement of yours is man-made and anti-scriptural.
What I don't understand is why someone would desire to get baptized in a way that was never done in Scriptures? You do realize that not one single person in Scripture were ever baptized in the Titles right? No one. So why do it?How about because Jesus said so? Seems like a good enough reason to me. At any rate, in Acts, where we see people being baptized, there is no record of the formula that was used. Instead, we only see the type of baptism that was being administered. The only safe assumption is that the Apostles would have went out and did what Jesus told them to do.
You are right in saying the Apostles were not disobedient when they baptized that way.I never said they used the Jesus-only formula when they baptized, nor did I say that such action would be okay. Instead, I said that it is nonsensical to assume that they baptized in any other way than in the Trinitarian formula that Jesus instructed them to use.
However, those that baptize in the titles ARE being disobedient. Here is whyFirst of all, if Jesus tells the Apostles to go out and baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and then the apostles go out and baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, I really don't see how in the world that can be considered disobedient.
We know that there are TWO other accounts in Scripture of the Great Commission, lets see what they say:
turn to Mark 16:15-17
15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;"
We see here that Jesus told the Apostles to preach the Gospel to every Creature. To those that believe, are to be baptized.
To those that are baptized here are the signs that will follow those - They shall cast out devils, in MY Name (whos Name? Jesus). They will speak in new tongues - Now this doesn't mean I'll be speaking German after baptism - For God said that He will speak to His people with stammering lips and a new language (Read 1 Corinthians 14 on this).
So we know we are going to be doing things in His Name, who is Jesus.
Secondly, all Mark is saying here is that believers will speak in tongues. He's not saying that this gift will be received immediately upon their baptism. He's also not saying that all believers will speak in tongues. He's simply saying that the people who evidence this charism will be believers. If I say, "Girls will play with dolls" does that mean that all girls will play with dolls? Of course not. It just means that the ones you find playing with dolls will be girls. As we have already seen, Paul refutes any notion that every Christian will or should speak in tongues.
Finally, no formula for baptism is actually given here. They will cast out devils in His name, but there's no mention of how baptism should be done.
Lets look at Luke 24:45-49Now you've completely gone off the reservation. Jesus is the Father? Jesus is the Holy Spirit? Yes, the apostles knew who Jesus was ... but you don't seem to know him at all! I see now that the only way you can reconcile Mt 28:19 with your preferred practice is to completely confuse the inner-life of God, to destroy the distinction in Personality that exists within God. Yet, the bible is clear that such a distinction exists. How can Jesus send the Holy Spirit if he IS the Holy Spirit? How can the Father send the Son into the world if the Son IS the Father? Absolutely none of the Biblical data about who God is makes any sense once you blur these distinctions. I'm afraid your problems go much deeper than the formula for baptism!
45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
The first thing Jesus did before giving the Apostles direction was open their understanding. Upon opening their understanding they KNEW not only everything Jesus had said and taught them - but also WHO Jesus was.
Jesus said in 47 repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
What I am trying to point out is that upon their understanding being opened they knew who Jesus was - Matthew knew who Jesus was and that is why He wrote it the way He did. Jesus is the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit - He is the Fullness of the Godhead bodily. Matthew knew this, which is why it says Name and not plural for Names.
Matthew 28, Mark 16 and Luke 24 all say the same thing; That we are to do all these things in HIS Name - which is Jesus.Instead of destroying the inner-life of God, there really is a much simpler way to reconcile all of this. Baptism with the Trinitarian formula is in the name of Jesus insofar as it is in or by His power that anyone baptizes. That's what it means to do something "in the name of" Jesus: You're doing it in or by the authority and power you have received from Him.
Catholics believe that when a person is baptized, it is actually Christ who is doing the baptizing. He is the great High Priest and celebrant of all the sacraments of the Church. The priest (or in times of urgency, the lay person) is acting in persona Christi ("in the person of Christ"), as if Christ Himself was there, in that moment, pouring water on the sinner's head. In this light, the Catholic baptism is very much "in the name of Jesus Christ" (2:38; 10:48) and “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (8:16; 19:5) even though it is performed using the Trinitarian formula.
From here, you may proceed to Part 2 of the debate.