Q. My pastor had a sermon the other week and stated a person should get baptized by the name of Jesus Christ not just by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He says the Bible states this and that a man changed it. I was baptized by the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit not by Jesus Christ. Should I get baptized again?
A. Some believe only a baptism done in the name of Jesus is proper. (Most are of the Oneness Pentecostal movement.) Others say using the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is correct. Surprisingly, both use Matt. 28:19 to support their positions.
The issue hangs on one word, name. Oneness advocates say if Jesus meant to include all the Trinity He would have said “in the names …” rather than “in the name … ” But this is not a matter of interpretation or even application. It’s simply a matter of properly understanding the grammar of the text. Even though it’s singular it’s correct to apply “name” to all three members of the trinity.
In my opinion, this debate really misses the point of baptism. And that is, what’s the motive of the person’s heart in being baptized? If it’s to make a public declaration of faith in the Lord’s death as the sole basis for one’s salvation, then it really doesn’t matter which form is used.