Sunday, April 29, 2012

In Defense of Trinitarian Baptism: Part 2

Here is Part 2 of my response to Steve Welborn's comments in refutation of Trinitarian baptism and his defense of speaking in tongues as the sign of authentic baptism. Also see Part 1. Like before, his words will be indented and italicized.

Go to Acts of the Apostles:

If you read Acts 2:14-36, there was such an uproar at Pentecost because everyone was speaking in tongues, hear me though, not everyone was speaking a different earthly language. This is why some said 'they were drunk with new wine' because they were speaking in something that no one understood (1 Corinthians 14 explains). After Peter stood up and preached to them Christ, (37) They were pricked at the heart - which means they believed and they asked the 64 million dollar question - What must we do to be saved!?

Now Peter could of said so many things here, but remember he was filled with the Holy Spirit - so as God promised, God will give Peter words to speak.

Peter could of said 'Just say a sinners prayer and you will be saved!' or 'Just ask Jesus into your heart and you will be saved' or 'Just believe that I am 3 distinct people in one and you will be saved' OR 'be baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost and you will be saved'

But he didn't - He said exactly what was told of them at the Great Commission: "Repent (Luke 24:47) and be baptized everyone of you in the Name of Jesus Christ (Luke 24:47) for the remission of sins (Luke 24:47 - remission of Sins in HIS NAME), and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (thus fulfilling John 3:5)"

As you can see, how the Apostles baptized leans more towards Luke than Matthew. But why? Because Matthew knew who Jesus was, so he was saying what he understood Jesus to be - Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
First of all, nowhere in Mt 28 does Matthew say that Jesus IS the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You're pulling this interpretation of yours out of thin air b/c it's the only way you know how to reconcile Mt 28 with your preferred method of baptism. Worse than that, you have distorted who Jesus is and who God is. You would benefit greatly from seeing the biblical defense of the distinction in personhood that exists within God. This particular debate is not the best place to get into it, but perhaps you will read my blog posts on this subject:
Secondly, what Peter said on the feast of Pentecost in no way contradicts the use of the Trinitarian formula for baptism. Like I said in the original post that elicited your responses, Peter is not determining the formula that should be used. Jesus already did that! What Peter is doing (and what Luke, the author, is doing elsewhere in Acts) is emphasizing by who's power it is that we receive salvation -- by the power of Christ, by the power of the man who the Jews put to death but the Father raised from the dead (cf. Acts 2:22-24). There were many different kinds of baptism being performed at that time, and many men saying they were the way to salvation. Peter is singling out Christ and HIS baptism as the way. Jesus told the apostles to baptize using the Trinitarian forumla. There's no way on earth that Peter would preach against that.

Again I stress this No one in Scriptures were baptized in the Titles! you MUST have His Name upon you to be saved - you Must have His Name upon you in order to be 'Dead in Christ'
It is true that in the Book of Acts the actual Rite of Baptism -- the formula for baptism along with any other prayers or gestures and postures that were used -- is not given to us. But, since Jesus told the Apostles to baptize using the Trinitarian formula, the only safe assumption is that this was in fact how they baptized.

I feel like I'm repeating myself now, but I don't really know what else to say. You choose to reconcile Mt 28:18-20 with the "baptism in his name" passages (cf. Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5) by destroying the tri-personality of God. I think the safer approach, the one that is less hostile to Scripture and to God Himself, is the one I used to conclude my last post. Perhaps stating it as a syllogism will be helpful:
  1. To do something "in the name of Jesus" is to do it by His power and authority, or to be able to do it because of what He has done for us (allowing us to be reconciled with God through the application of the grace He won for us by his Passion, Death, and Resurrection).
  2. Trinitarian baptism is performed by the power and authority given to the minister of the Sacrament, and is able to be done because of what Jesus has done for us.
  3. Therefore, Trinitarian baptism is performed in the name of Jesus.
Beyond that, I can only reiterate what I said in the original post: We know that the Book of Acts is not establishing a formula for administering baptism because:
  1. the words you mistake for a forumla are not the same in every instance (in 2:38 and 10:48 it is "in the name of Jesus Christ," in 8:16 and 19:5 it is "in the name of the Lord Jesus."), and
  2. Jesus gave them a formula from which they would not have deviated.
You have yet to really refute this.

So Jesus' "Final will and testament", as you call it, is wrong. If His will was for everyone to be baptized this way, knowing that those who were baptized will be saved and those that didn't wouldn't be saved - then I am 500% positive the Apostles would of obeyed Him. Not only that - it would of been written in the other two books as well.
For your sake, I'll assume you meant that I am wrong about Jesus' final will and testament, NOT that Jesus is Himself wrong. That said, I'm 500% positive that the Apostles would have obeyed him too (we finally agree on something!). The difference is that you have to destroy the Trinity in order to reconcile Acts with Mt 28 and I don't.

So let me leave you with this:

Luke 10:16 - "He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me."

And finally

Galatians 1:6-9
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 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 accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

History shows, and the catholic church is admitting, to not only creating the doctrine of the trinity; but also changing the baptismal formula to fit this trinity. Based off of just Matthew 28:19 they created a doctrine and forced people to be baptized this way. Which is a different doctrine, a different way then the Apostles taught..even Paul.
Now we're finally getting to the heart of the matter! Your real beef is with the Trinity. To say that the Son and the Holy Spirit are simply "manifestations" or "modes of being" of the One God simply does not follow from Scripture at all. Yet you bring this confusion to bear upon the Word, which forces you to come up with novel ways of interpreting even the simplest of passages.

But, while I want nothing more than to refute your claim that the Catholic Church "created the doctrine of the Trinity" and "changed the baptismal formula", that's not quite the topic at hand, now is it? If you would like to debate the merits of the dogma of the Trinity, then let me know. We can start a new conversation. I've linked you to some blog posts of mine that you can read, if and when that time comes. Until then, you still have a long way to go before you can say that you've really proven your initial claims: that baptism in the name of Jesus is an actual formula we're required to use AND that speaking in tongues is required of every truly baptized believer.

From here you may proceed to Part 3 of the debate.

Pax Christi,


  1. The other problem Steve has to deal with is Christian History:

    And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before. - The Didache, Chapter 7

    The Didache is an Early Church manual and, as we can see, it spells out in meticulous detail how baptism should be performed.

    This document most likely comes from the mid-First Century. Whatever the specific date, it's early...*very* early.

    I wonder how Steve accounts for this....

  2. Good point, I decided to mention this in Part 3.


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