Acts 2 NIV
“38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
Now why should we desire to be baptized or rebaptized in the name of Jesus Christ vs. the traditional “Catholic” origin of baptism which is in the name of the Father, Son and Holy ghost?
There are three main areas that I am prepared to defend why Acts 2:38 is vital to a believer’s rebirth.
- Historical: Evident written text references where the Christian baptism was changed from the name of Jesus Christ to the current Trinitarian baptism of “Father, Son and Holy spirit.”
- Scriptural: Remember, like it was in Eden, it was never about what was right or wrong, but order. God permitted ALL the “trees” in Eden for a reason, however there was a divine order which creation should live by and that was placing God first via FAITH. Second, there was NOBODY in the Bible that was ever baptized literally in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- Revelational: I would say that this area is what I call the “uncommon sense”. We have to ALLOW God to connect the dots for us and to simply refrain from leaning on our understanding of things.
When we were exiled from Eden, “sin” began to be defined and a disconnect between The Creator and His creation began to grow.
And as our knowledge of good and evil grew more than our faith in God, our years on earth had significantly decreased along with the purity of God’s creation.
However, throughout the Old Testament, God did NOT remain distant for long, His love and presence remained with a few, yet God had to exhaust all of mankind’s ideas and beliefs on fixing our relationship with God and each other by external means. And during this era, God made it evident that the “name” of God should never be taken for granted.
God had many “names” or what I call “titles” of the Old; He was called the “I AM”, The Lily of the Valley, The Bright Morning Star, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Horn of Salvation to name a few. In fact, there are 956 names that the Bible speak of yet all were made obsolete when The Word finally became flesh in Jesus Christ.
At this time, the name of Jesus Christ became the “Name above ALL names.”
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,” Philippians 2:9
“This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.” Hebrews 1:4
This “name” was so crucial that even Moses asked God what this name was?
“Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” Exodus 3:13
Now keep in mind that although I can present to you all the knowledge and data of this particular topic, it still requires your faith to believe it. Jesus came to be a witness of God’s love and to make it evident that He was the Son of God, yet we still crucified Him.
The deception is that “knowledge” is power, however “faith” is where the true power resides because faith always comes before there is any desire to learn.
“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed–a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17
“You still need faith to solve for ‘x’.”
So that being said, we can end this debate simply on where you place your faith. If you believe that the Word became flesh, then by what name did it come by? And if we believe that the Word of God is totally literal, then Acts 2:38 should not be perplexing to you. Because it literally says to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. I believe this was given to complement and clarify what Jesus said in Matthew 28. But if you still believe what is traditional, then let us look at exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 28.
“18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
So lets look at that statement. “baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,”. So let me ask you plainly, what is that name? Because anyone can tell you that the words Father, Son and Holy Spirit in this context are NOT names but TITLES. It also says a singular “name” and not the plural “names” which can lead to some grounds to believe that God desired us to use the traditional Trinitarian method.
I am also a father, and a son and I also have one cardinal spirit that was given to me at birth, yet those are NOT my name. My name is Raymundo Evangelista and it is important to identify who I am when you speak of me. It shows that you have a personal relationship with me and that you can identify me by my name.
“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” John 16:24
Now if you still have unbelief, let us proceed to the Historical data.
Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol. 2, p. 377, 389, says Christian baptism was always administered using the words, “in the name of Jesus”, …until the time of Justin Martyr.
Schaff – Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 263, reads that the New Testament knows only the baptism in the name of Jesus.
Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, p. 88, acknowledges “the primitive church baptized ‘in’ or ‘into’ the name of Jesus, Jesus Christ or Lord Jesus.”
A History of Christian Thought; Otto Hieck; Vol. 1, p.53 says ” at first baptism was administered in the name of Jesus, but gradually in the name of the Triune God.”
New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 59, states “..baptism in the name of Jesus was still accepted in the age of scholasticism. An explicit reference to the Trinitarian formula (Father, Son & Holy Ghost) cannot be found in the first centuries.”
John 3:27 NIV
“To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.“