Baptism in the name of Jesus

  (Redirected from Jesus' Name doctrine)

The Jesus' Name doctrine or the Oneness doctrine upholds that baptism is to be performed "in the name of Jesus Christ," rather than the Trinitarian formula "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." It is most commonly associated with Oneness Christology and Oneness Pentecostalism, however, some Trinitarians also baptise in Jesus' name.[1]

Those who ascribe to the Oneness doctrine believe that "Jesus" is the name of God revealed in the New Testament and that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three manifestations or titles of the one God.


Early ChristianityEdit

The first baptisms in early Christianity are recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. Acts 2 records the Apostle Peter, on the day of Pentecost, preaching to the crowds to "repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (or forgiveness) of sins" (Acts 2:38). Other detailed records of baptisms in the book of Acts show the first Apostles baptising in the name of Jesus.[2][3][4][5] The Apostle Paul also refers to baptism into Christ Jesus.[6][7]

Over time the Trinitarian formula from Matthew 28:19 became popularized. This was further supported by the Didache, which most scholars date to around the year 100.[citation needed] Although the Didache instructs the baptism to be done in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, in the portion that gives instruction of the eucharist it states "But let none eat or drink of your Eucharist except those who have been baptised in the Lord's Name." This could be a reference to early century "Jesus Name" baptism.

Modern ChristianityEdit

Charles Parham, one of the central figures in the development and early spread of American Pentecostalism, is recorded to have baptised new believers in Jesus name during the Azusa Street Revival.[8] The controversy occurred when R.E. McAlister preached just prior to a baptismal service to be conducted at the World-Wide Apostolic Faith Camp Meeting held in Arroyo Seco, California. He preached that pastors should stop baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and only baptize in Jesus’ name because that was what the Early Church did. This became known as "The New Issue". In 1914, a year after McAlister gave his sermon over baptism, Frank Ewart and Glenn Cook rebaptized each other in the name of Jesus. This led a number of adherents to a reexamination of the doctrine of the Trinity, birthing the modern Oneness Pentecostal movement.


Holders of the Jesus' Name doctrine assert that baptism in the name of Jesus is the proper method, and most (not all) feel that baptism "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" is invalid because Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not names but titles[9] Alternatively, the name of the Son is Jesus, so it is argued the actual name Jesus should be used; Jesus is the name of the Son, and arguably also the name of the Father and Holy Ghost.

There are a number of scholars who claim that the development of baptism "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" is a post-Apostolic interpolation and corruption and that the "Trinitarian" clause in Matthew 28:19 was added in the 2nd/3rd century.[10] They cite as evidence that no record exists in the New Testament of someone being baptized with the Trinitarian formula. While this view supports those who baptise in Jesus' Name, this point is not heavily contested. Those who assume the authenticity of Matthew 28:19, explain the command is correctly fulfilled by baptizing "in the name of Jesus Christ". Such adherents are generally Oneness Pentecostals who believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are not to be regarded as distinct persons in the Godhead, and that the name "Jesus" is the supreme revelatory name of the one God who is the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.[11]


The views of mainstream Christianity to Jesus' Name baptism is varied. The Roman Catholic Church states that only Trinitarian baptisms are valid. While it does consider other baptismal formulae to be acceptable, since they were accepted by theologians of the past, the key requirement is that the baptism must have been performed by a church which (or, a person who) believes in the Trinity. St. Thomas, St. Bonaventure, and Albertus Magnus held the view that the Apostles baptized in the name of Jesus only by special dispensation. Pope Nicholas I wrote to the Bulgarians that a person is not to be rebaptized who has already been baptized "in the name of the Holy Trinity or in the name of Christ only".[12]

Martin Luther in his Prelude on the Babylonian Captivity of the Church describes disagreements over the wording of the baptism as "pedantry" and argues for acceptance of baptisms in the name of Jesus if carried out with proper intent.[13]

  • In circa 254, Pope Stephen I[14] in the midst of the baptismal controversies with Cyprian declared that all baptisms in the name of Jesus are valid.
  • St. Gennadius in his work Lives of Illustrious Men states that in the 3rd century, one Ursinus the monk, during the Cyprian controversies, argued that "those who were baptized in the name of Christ [alone], even if by heretics, did not need to be re-baptized."
  • St. John Chrysostom argues for a literal interpretation of the Luke's records of baptisms in the name of Jesus, as accounted in Acts.[15]
  • St. Basil states[16] that, "the naming of Christ is the confession of the whole."
  • St. Ambrose, mentor to Augustine, argued for the validity of baptisms "in the name of Jesus."[17]
  • St. Augustine states that "those baptized into other names need to be rebaptized into Christ."[18] Elsewhere, he states knowledge of those who had been baptized into the name of Christ alone [outside the apostolic era].[19] and likewise argues for a literal interpretation of Acts 2:38 "in the name of Jesus".[20]
  • St. Thomas Aquinas[21] (while arguing for Trinitarian baptism), states that the apostles (Peter, James, John, etc.) baptized in the name of Christ alone by "special dispensation." (Whereas many modern scholars, by contrast, interpret the saying "in the name of Jesus Christ" figuratively instead of literally in an attempt to reconcile the two conflicting passages [Acts 2:38 & Matt 28:19]).
  • The Baptist Standard Confession of 1660[22] declares baptisms in the name of "Jesus Christ" to be valid.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-24. Retrieved 2014-10-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)>
  2. ^ Acts 8:16
  3. ^ Acts 10:48
  4. ^ Acts 19:5
  5. ^ Acts 22:16
  6. ^ David Guzik's Commentary on the Bible on Acts 19:1–7
  7. ^ Romans 6:3
  8. ^ Johnston, Robin (2010). Howard A. Goss - A Pentecostal Life. Word Aflame Press.
  9. ^ Patterson, Eric; Rybarczyk, Edmund (2007). The Future of Pentecostalism in the United States. New York: Lexington Books. pp. 123–124. ISBN 978-0-7391-2102-3.
  10. ^ Matthew 28:19 text, Baptism in the New Testament, G.R. Beasley-Murray, p 83
  11. ^ [1] Archived February 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Catholic Encyclopedia - see section on "form"". Retrieved 2014-05-15.
  13. ^ see section 3.14 Archived June 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Epistle of Cyprian # 72.
  15. ^ John Chrysostom.Homily on Acts X.44, 46 XXIV. Chrysostom, in Instructions to the Catechumens, makes several references to Acts 2:38, but does not reference Matt 28:19 a single instance. Additionally, in his Homily on Matthew, Ch XXVIII, he repeatedly quotes Matt 28:19 in what F.C. Conybeare called the "shorter Eusebian form", suggesting the potential that Chrysostom and Eusebius of Caesarea referenced a common, earlier source for the Gospel of Matthew.
  16. ^ Basil. On the Holy Spirit, Ch 12, #28.
  17. ^ Ambrose.On the Holy Spirit, Book I, Ch 3.
  18. ^ Augustine.To Petitianus, Ch 44, sect 104.
  19. ^ Augustine.On Baptism, Against the Donatists, Ch 28.
  20. ^ Augustine.On Baptism, Against the Donatists, Ch 52.
  21. ^ Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica, "On Baptism".
  22. ^ Sam Hughey. "The Baptist Standard Confession of 1660". Retrieved 2014-05-15.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2013-01-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit