By Talmadge French
The apostles baptized exclusively in Jesus’ name, in fulfillment of the Lord’s commission. The later, gradual alteration of the baptismal formula, and it’s replacement with the triune formula was, and is, without justification.
In exactly the same manner as the mode of baptism came to be altered, from immersion to sprinkling or pouring, and from adult baptism to infant baptism, the form of baptism was altered from the Apostolic practice of invoking the name of Jesus in water baptism.
Regardless of the historical or theological development leading to the practice of Triune baptism, it cannot stand on par with the teaching and precedent of scripture. The supplanting and exclusion of the Jesus’ name formula, in order to support Trinitarianism, or for any reason is an unwarranted violation of apostolic authority, and must be rejected.
Even Martin Luther admitted the truth of Jesus’ name baptism. He said, “Others, again, pedantic triflers, condemn the use of the words, “I baptize you in the name of Jesus Christ” – although it is certain that the Apostles used this formula in baptizing.”
A discrepancy does not exist between Matthew 28:19 and the preponderance of texts relative to the Jesus’ name formula or between Jesus and his apostles (Mt. 16:13-20; Jn 17; Acts 2:37, 4). The apostles in full agreement invoked the name in baptism intended by the Matthean phrase- by invoking the name Jesus.
Signifying a single reference, Mt 28:19, as the solitary formula, on the basis of divine titles, or a corroboration of Triune dogma, ignores the preponderance of texts which evidence the repeated and marvelous use of the Jesus’ name formula. Mt 28:19 was not a formula in use in the early church, nor a confession of triune faith, rendering “in the name of Jesus” nothing more than a reference to authority.
Baptism is an identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, and therefore, is to be administered in His name, and assuredly not in reference to Triune distinctions.