trinity and baptism

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trinity and baptism

Post by email » Mon Sep 02, 2002 9:01 pm

If baptism is really essential to salvation then is it not important to address the apparent conflict of Matthew 28:19 vs Acts 2:38, and many other scriptures in Acts regarding baptism?

Why did Jesus use the singular Name and not Names? Why is there no mention of the Matthew 28:19 formula anyplace in Acts?

Here's a confounding question on the Trinity:

If God is really 3 separate and distinct individuals, can "They" sit around a table together and "have coffee" so to speak? IF they can, then that is 3 and not One.
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Post by m273p15c » Sat Sep 28, 2002 12:49 pm

I apologize for the delay. Things have been unusually hectic around here.

Thanks for writing. I would not have known the e-mail address was down, if you had not written. Thank you for your questions too. They are certainly thought provoking. I hope the answers will be significant to you. I look forward to hearing your response.

Regarding the conflict you have mentioned, it is unfair to the text of Matthew 28:19 to read "baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" as a formula or title. Notice that many times baptism is mentioned throughout the Bible without any reference to any member of the Godhead: Mark 16:15-16, Ephesians 4:5, Acts 16:15, Acts 16:33, Acts 18:8.

The phrase "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" is simply an adverbial phrase that describes how the disciples were to baptize, that is by the authority of these three beings. There is no more need to use this entire phrase than there is use "The Lord Jesus Christ, whom is blest forever" every time I would refer to Jesus. Do you talk or read anything else this way? Why is it that Jehovah is not found anywhere in the New Testament? Are we then to conclude that the New Testament was written by a different God? If you allow for multiple references to the same, in one case, why not the other?

Jesus certainly is the centerpiece of the gospel (I Corinthians 2:2), since He is the revelation of God (Hebrews 1:1-2) and the sacrifice for our sins (I John 2:1-2). In fact, He was the centerpiece of the first gospel sermon (Acts 2:36). The Jews gathered for Pentecost were clearly devout believers in God; otherwise, they would not have traveled so far to observe Pentecost (Acts 2:5-11). Although they believed strongly in God, they did not believe in Jesus. In fact, some Jews present were directly responsible for the very death of Jesus (Acts 2:36-37). It was Jesus name and authority that needed to be obeyed. They believed in God, but they did not believe in His Son. Because of their rejection of Jesus, it was necessary they realize that the baptism for forgiveness of sins was in His name. The Holy Spirit is also mentioned as being closely associated, but again the primary emphasis was on Jesus, because this was the focal point of their great error.

Regarding your confounding question, I think we must be careful trying to imagine problems difficult for God to work out and therefore reject them, although He states them as truth. Jesus answered the Sadducee's "confounding question" with "you therefore do greatly err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God" (Matthew 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27). The Sadducees rejected the truth because of their hypothetical question which they originated and nobody could satisfactorily answer previous to Jesus. They were ignorant of the Scripture and God's power to solve their confounding problems. We must be careful too ...

Trinity is no where found in the Scripture. I understand the idea about like I understand infinity. Somehow the 3 are said to be one, just like infinity is a number to which you cannot add one. We can grasp the ideas, but to comprehend it completely is beyond our experience. We must be careful that we do not try to bring such ideas down to our level of experience, and scoff at the ideas because we cannot.

Although we have no record of the Godhead drinking coffee, here are records of them having discussions with each other and exhibiting their separate identities:

"Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:26-27). This cannot include angels because angels did not create man, God did. This verse identifies God as the Creator (see also John 1:1-3).

"When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased" (Luke 3:21-22). Each exhibits their own personality. Moreover, in this verse Jesus was praying, surely not to the angels, so it must be safe to assume that He was praying to the Father. In fact, He prayed often to the Father. Was He talking to Himself?

The verse under question, Matthew 28:19, also details three separate beings.

The separate identity of each of the members of Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, can be exhibited in many more instances of Scripture, so let us now consider their oneness:
"I and My Father are one" (John 10:30).

"Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are" (John 17:11).

"Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one" (Mark 12:29)
Deuteronomy 4:35, Isaiah 43:10, and Isaiah 44:6 state that there is only one God. Yet, John clearly states that Jesus, "the Word" was also God from the beginning (John 1:1-3). In Him, all the fullness of Godhead dwells (Colossians 2:8-9).

Jesus deity is clearly stated by His reference Himself using the root word for Jehovah, eternal one, "I AM". Was Jesus ignorant of Scripture? Did He accidentally reference Himself as the "I AM", just as Jehovah did to Moses (John 8:58, Exodus 3:13-15)? Or, did Jesus answer their question deliberately?

Please look again more closely at John 1:1-3. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." The Word became flesh. Jesus, prophetically known as "Immanuel", which literally means "God with us", came to earth and revealed deity (Matthew 1:28, John 1:14-1. Now if Jesus, the Word, was not really God, but just a 'god', then how is it true for any point in time that, "'You are My witnesses,' says the LORD, 'And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, And besides Me there is no savior.'" (Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:6; Deuteronomy 4:35)? How can Jesus be a created 'god', if there was none formed before or after Jehovah?

I hope that this note has done more than answer your questions. It should have also left you with questions. What do you think? I look forward to your answers.

May God bless you in pursuit of truth with honesty, courage, and humility.

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