Water Baptism, Pt. 1

Scripture: Acts 8:16, Acts 2:38, Matthew 28:19
This broadcast looks at the concept of baptizing people using specific terminology. Does a person need to be baptized with a certain phrase being used? What does the Bible say about this topic?
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our hosts Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw, speakers for the Amazing Facts Ministry as they now open the Bible and discuss themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi friend and welcome again to Bible Talk. I'm John Bradshaw. With me is Gary Gibbs. Hey, Gary.

Gary Gibbs: John, it's good to be here with you today and we are looking forward to studying in depth into some very interesting topics, aren't we?

John: We are, and I tell you what has prompted my thinking recently is this exchange I had with a gentleman not long ago. We were talking about his need for being baptized. He recognized that he had accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior. He wanted to give his life to him and so, he thought, "Yes, I need to be baptized." Then, he asked me a very interesting question, and upon the answer to this question, his whole baptism stood or fell. Are you ready for this?

Gary: Go ahead.

John: It had to be a big question because, if I didn't answer it correctly, he may choose that baptism wasn't the right thing for him to do, which is remarkable because we know that the Lord has said that believers ought to be baptized. Am I right?

Gary: That's right. In fact, he ties it in to salvation and baptism ties right in there in Mark 16.

John: It absolutely does. This friend, he said to me, he said, "I've got a question for you." "I'm all ears," I said to him. He said, "I want to know how you baptize." We had already talked about the biblical method of baptism which is baptism by emerging. He said, "What I want to know is whether you baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and Holy Spirit or whether you baptize in the name of Jesus only." Have you ever heard such a thing?

Gary: I have, John, because I've met people and I want to present here their point of view and challenge you. This might even take you back to that conversation that you had with this individual person. Let me take you to a Bible text.

John: All right.

Gary: Right here. Let's just walk through that. You can tell us maybe a little bit of what you told this person. But if you go to Acts, Chapter 8, it sounds like right here that baptism, true baptism that is bona fide baptism according to the Bible is in the name of Jesus Christ only. Look here in the Acts 8:16, "For as yet, he, the Holy Ghost was fallen upon none of them, only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."

John: No, stop right there. You see, he didn't want to get baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, nor did he want to be baptized in the name of, as you just read, the Lord Jesus. To him, he had to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. It could be no other way. If the officiating minister did not say those words in that formula at the time of his baptism, if he didn't say, "I baptize you now in the name of Jesus Christ," then, according to this man's perspective, he wasn't baptized and it wasn't even worth doing.

Gary: Then, what we're looking at then is Acts2:38. It says, "Peter said unto them, repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ."

John: Well, there it is.

Gary: There you have what a lot of people look at and they say, "If you're not baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, you've not been baptized."

John: I'm wondering why in the world someone would come off with this line of thinking. I guess because this is Pentecost and Peter is speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This is very definitely the New Testament Christian Church.

Gary: Um-hmm.

John: But my friend now has a dilemma. Is he to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ or is he to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus as it is over there in book of Acts 8.

Gary: He doesn't realize his dilemma because, John, here's really what's happening. I've met preachers that do this. They talk to people and they're really, what they're after, let's face it, a lot of pastors, they are evaluating not only on how good a sermon they preach on Sunday or whichever day they have their church services on and not only on if their church is growing but really, how many people are coming to Christ? That is signified by baptism.

John: True.

Gary: They want to count baptisms. Some churches, what they do is they go after people who may have already been baptized by immersion but they're told, these people are told, "Your baptism wasn't really valuable baptism because you're baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

John: I want to read that passage to you now because here, you've got Jesus in Matthew 28 saying one thing. Peter in Acts Chapter two saying another, the writer or Acts saying something else in the book of Acts 8.

Gary: Um-hmm.

John: In Matthew 28 and this was part of my answer to this friend, "Hey, if you're in a dilemma, follow what Jesus said. Follow what Jesus did. Follow the words of Jesus and you cannot possibly go wrong."

Gary: But I can tell you what he said to you after you read this text. You go ahead and read it.

John: All right then. While I'm doing that, you gaze into the future for me. Matthew 28, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations." And that means make disciples of all nations, the teach part. "Baptizing them," but he didn't leave it there. He said, "Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost."

Gary: But what do you think that text is saying?

John: Listen, I'll tell you very clearly what I think this text is saying and what Peter is getting at over in Acts Chapter 2.

Gary: Let's not go that far. What's this text saying?

John: All right, first thing's first. Jesus said, "Go out, make disciples, bring people to me, bring them to Christ, bring them to faith in the god of heaven and then baptizing them as you do baptize them in the name of," that is under the authority of, "that is accepting the Lordship of in your life, accepting the governance submitting to the god of heaven who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit." You could call this the trinity, the Godhead, put whatever label on it.

Gary: That's where you get in trouble with the name of the Jesus only baptism doctrine because here's what they'll say, they'll say, "But, it says the name, singular. It doesn't say the names of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. It's the name and that there's only Jesus only. He is the Father. He is the Son. He is the Holy Spirit."

John: Now, how can you read the Bible, and I respectfully suggest this because this is a Christian program, and I'm going to do my very best to maintain a Christian demeanor but how in the world?

Gary: That's your best take at being a Christian, isn't it?

John: I mean, Christian's going to ask these questions. The question being, how in the world can you read the Bible and come up with the idea that Jesus is the Father and Jesus is the Holy Spirit as well as Jesus being Jesus. You've got a picture there in Matthew Chapter three where Jesus himself is being baptized. You've got Christ Jesus in the water. The Father thunders his voice down from heaven above, the Holy Spirit descends upon him in the form of a dove. You have three individual persons in that picture. You can't suggest that Jesus has somehow dividing himself up, it's ventriloquism that he's practicing and throwing his voice down from heaven. I mean, how do you get around that?

Gary: But John, you're forgetting Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us, a child is born. Unto us, a Son is given. The government shall be upon his shoulder." Now, who's that talking?

John: That's thrown at Christ.

Gary: OK now, listen, so the verse said, "And his name shall be called wonderful, counselor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."

John: That's very interesting.

Gary: So Jesus is called the Father and He's also called the counselor. He's the Mighty God.

John: All right.

Gary: He is the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.

John: Jesus is called a lot of things in the Bible. There's no question about that. What you've got here, and this is something that people need to recognize is, you have a unity in the Godhead. You have the Father, the Son, the Spirit, three persons but not moving independently of each other. Not independent Adams that just get together on weekends or anniversaries. These are three therein, of one mind, of one thought, of one purpose. There is no question. Anything that Jesus does is all done with difference to and reference to the mind of the Father, the mind of the Spirit.

Gary: Jesus is not the Father?

John: No, Jesus isn't the Father.

Gary: There's a separate person. You have three gods.

John: We have one god and three individuals who comprise this god. We started to talk about baptism and now, we're talking about the nature of the Godhead but that's Bible Talk for you.

Gary: That's right.

John: Friend, if you've got questions about this, make sure you catch our number, get our address, get our email, whatever you like and contact us on this program.

Gary: At the end of the program, that's right.

John: And get further information on this. Now, you've proposed this conundrum and so, in doing so...

Gary: And let me tell you why, John.

John: You must have a good way out of this.

Gary: Let me tell you why. Because this Jesus only thing goes back to that because we're talking about preachers, I brought it up, who tell people, who've already been baptized in the biblical method by immersion...

John: Yes.

Gary: ...that they need to be re-baptized because they were not truly baptized if they were not baptized in the name of Jesus Christ only.

John: So somehow, the words.

Gary: Now, you come back to Matthew 28:19. The words take on magical meaning.

John: That's right.

Gary: And they'll say, "If you're baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost, you are baptized in a misinterpretation of this text because it says the name. It's singular. The name of the Father, Son, Holy Ghost is Jesus. Now, this whole argument transitions into how do you view the Godhead?

John: Um-hmm.

Gary: Won't you do two things for it, John? First, why don't you show us that the text that talk about baptize in the name of Jesus Christ in the book of Acts...

John: I'd love to do that.

Gary: Are not consistent and then, why don't you also, if we have time in this program, we may not but why don't you recap again the Godhead and how that plays into this?

John: You've got Acts 2, "Repent ye therefore and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ." Over there in Acts 8 and I'm turning to it in my Bible right now, Acts Chapter... I had the page up and what do you know? It says, "They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." You had someone in the name of Jesus Christ. Someone else in the name of the Lord Jesus and then, in Acts 19, I'm thinking we're right around verse five there. Acts 19:5, "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." It's not the same exact words. And then, let me suggest this to you before I forget where you were directing me a moment ago. We do not have a single instance in all of sacred scripture where the words uttered at a baptism are recorded. You don't have John the Baptist saying, "I now baptize you in the name of" anybody. You don't hear it.

Gary: You sure?

John: You don't have Peter saying anywhere, "I now baptize you in the name of."

Gary: But I thought I've heard it so many times. I thought it was right there in the Bible.

John: You would think it would be written on the cover of the Bible the way some people will go but it just isn't there. We can't afford as Christians to get a hung up on a formula, have faith in Christ, follow the Bible, be baptized. It's not like there's a magic phrase or a magic formula that makes you more baptized than others. Now, me, if Jesus said, "Be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit accepting them," and I may come to you in the name of the president of the United States. I'm here in the name of the president. You know what it means. We don't have to analyze that thing to death.

Gary: And Acts 10:48 says, "I'll be baptized in the name of the Lord." Your point is well taken. There is not a set consistent formula of words. what were the disciples then when they said they were baptizing in the name of Lord Jesus or in the name of the Lord or in Jesus Christ. Why didn't they say, the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

John: Let me do this in 60 seconds or so. Acts 2, feast of what? Pentecost.

Gary: Feast of the Pentecost, yes.

John: There are believers, Jewish believers, Jews.

Gary: From every nation, they said under heaven from all around.

John: Peter was preaching about, who?

Gary: Jesus Christ.

John: The fact that He had been put to death and then, He'd being raised from the dead. The people were pricked in their hearts. He was presenting to them Jesus as the Messiah. And they said, "Men and brother, and what shall we do?" He said, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ." In other words, be baptized accepting Jesus Christ as the Messiah." You get that in Acts 19 as well.

Gary: Verses 5 and 4.

John: You got that right there. Him being baptized in the name of Jesus was being baptized accepting Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

Gary: A lot of people need to recognize that Christ is not Jesus' last name. What Christ means is Messiah. It's the Greek version of the Hebrew messiah. It's saying, "I recognize Jesus is the promised Messiah."

John: Do we need to get hung up about exactly what the preacher says when a person is standing in the water?

Gary: Probably not but we need to take this up in our next program.

John: That's what we'll do. Friend, thanks for being here. We'll look for you again. Join us for more next time on "Bible Talk."

Male: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on this subject including information you want to know. To receive this free informative Bible study guide, simply call, write or email and ask for BT103, "Is There Anything Left You Can Trust?" The toll free number is 866-BIBLE-SAYS. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, PO Box 1058 Roseville, California 95678 or email us at bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. Bible Talk has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of the Life Talk Radio.

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