Oneness, Baptism and the NAME of God

Oneness, Baptism and the NAME of God

MF Blume

(The following study can be found in more detail in the book _In the Name of Jesus_, by David K. Bernard, Word Aflame Press, Hazelwood, MO, ISBN: 0-932581-95-1).

The use of God's name in Scripture indicates the character of God.

I [am] the LORD: that [is] my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
Isaiah 42:8

"Jehovah" means "He is." It is a reference to God's the name which He revealed to Moses:

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
Exodus 3:14

Knowing the name of God was to know a characteristic of God. When people knew His name they new what He was like, so it was easy for them to TRUST Him. His name inferred a character of trustworthiness:

And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Psalm 9:10

A good example of the Name describing God is found below:

For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name [is] Jealous, [is] a jealous God:
Exodus 34:14

God had many names in the Old Testament. Each new name gave a progressively greater understanding of God's nature. He became known as Provider:

And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said [to] this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
Genesis 22:14

He became known as a Healer (which, by the way, indicates that if His name is Healer, and He is the ever I Am, then He will ALWAYS HEAL):

And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I [am] the LORD that healeth thee. [Jehovah-Rapha].
Exodus 15:26


God's name was given to people and angels as indicative that God POSSESSED such people and places as His own people as His SPECIAL representatives:

Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee to the place that I have prepared. Be careful in his presence, and hearken unto his voice: do not provoke him, for he will not forgive your transgressions; for my name is in him.
Exodus 23:20-21

It was serious thing for a person or even an angel to be called by God's name.

Note that THIS TREND IS CONTINUED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT REGARDING JESUS' NAME. This proves that God's name is JESUS. Common people's names are never used in this manner.

Simon has related how God first visited to take out of [the] nations a people for his name. (Darby Translation) After these things I will return, and will rebuild the tabernacle of David which is fallen, and will rebuild its ruins, and will set it up, so that the residue of men may seek out the Lord, and all the nations on whom my name is invoked, saith [the] Lord, who does these things
Acts 15:14-17

The Church in the Book of Acts was a group well known as "Jesus' name" people. Look at the amount of evidence proving that they STRESSED JESUS' NAME above everything else they preached.

But Peter said, Silver and gold I have not; but what I have, this give I to thee: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazaraean rise up and walk.
Acts 3:6

And, by faith in his name, his name has made this [man] strong whom ye behold and know; and the faith which is by him has given him this complete soundness in the presence of you all.
Acts 3:16

Then Peter, filled with [the] Holy Spirit, said to them, Rulers of the people and elders [of Israel], if *we* this day are called upon to answer as to the good deed [done] to the infirm man, how *he* has been healed, be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazaraean, whom *ye* have crucified, whom God has raised from among [the] dead, by *him* this [man] stands here before you sound [in body]. *He* is the stone which has been set at nought by you the builders, which is become the corner stone. And salvation is in none other, for neither is there another name under heaven which is given among men by which we must be saved.
Acts 4:8-12

But that it be not further spread among the people, let us threaten them severely no longer to speak to any man in this name. And having called them, they charged [them] not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
Acts 4:17-18

saying, We strictly enjoined you not to teach in this name: and lo, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and purpose to bring upon us the blood of this man.
Acts 5:28

They ACTUALLY "PREACHED" JESUS' NAME. They preached it more than anything other topic. They weren't so much known for their baptisms, or their faith as much as they were know as preaching THE NAME OF JESUS. And THAT NAME is the stone, in the context of Acts 4:8-12, which people CONTINUE to set aside today! They will baptize people, and marry people in a church, but they refuse to do it while invoking the name of Jesus Christ. The Trinitarian formula, "in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost," is insisted upon as replacing the biblical Jesus' Name formula. The early Church had the reputation of being people who preached "the NAME".

Peter gives us the NAME in His discourse as He preached it in Acts 4:8-12.

Notice the context of that passage. He is saying that the stone is the NAME. In many circles it is a note of degradation to be labeled "Jesus Only." I take that as a compliment! For the early Church were reputed to always speak of the NAME.

Philip was known to preach TWO THINGS:

But when they believed Philip announcing the glad tidings concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Acts 8:12

Paul was converted and he, too, preached the NAME.

But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles, and related to them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.
Acts 9:27

and speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. And he spoke and discussed with the Hellenists; but they sought to kill him.
Acts 9:29

it seemed good to us, having arrived at a common judgment, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have given up their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 15:25-26

And this became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who inhabited Ephesus, and fear fell upon all of them, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
Acts 19:17

And certain of the Jewish exorcists also, who went about, took in hand to call upon those who had wicked spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, I adjure you by Jesus, whom Paul preaches.
Acts 19:13

But Paul answered, What do ye, weeping and breaking my heart? for *I* am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
Acts 21:13

Jesus' name, Jesus' name, Jesus' name! It was their greatest sermon! So much so that they had the reputation of preaching in Jesus' name! Does the Trinitarian dogma encourage Jesus' name preaching? Not like the Oneness doctrine.

If you want to be a believer in the same manner they were in the early church you had better be a Jesus' name believer! Uplift that NAME more than anything else you uplift.

Look at the Church in the Seven churches of Ages that had no rebuke, and is often classed as the greatest of all seven:

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
Revelation 3:8

That was the great Church of Philadelphia which had no rebuke from the Lord!

The saints in this Church so preached that name, too, that Jesus commented upon it specifically. In what manner did they preach it? Look at the Acts of the Apostles again, and see how they preached it. So much was their love for the NAME OF JESUS that Jesus said the following:

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name.
Revelation 3:12

Jesus, being the highest and supreme name of God yet revealed (Jesus - JEHOVAH-SALVATION - Since salvation is far greater than healing - Jehovah-Rapha - and than providing - Jehovah-Jireh) God honoured Philadelphia and said He would give them HIS NEW NAME. There is a name YET to come that is indicative of an even greater revelation of who God is. But that is after the Church Age is over. Can you wait? Oh, to be sure, you must stress JESUS name now in order to know that name to come!!


We said earlier that the trend of God in putting His name upon PEOPLE indicated His POSSESSION of them as His own. It was a serious thing to touch that which had God's name upon it. This trend continued in the New Testament, only with Jesus' Name.

Look now at how the name of God also was given to PLACES.

An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.
Exodus 20:24

But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, [even] unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come:
Deuteronomy 12:5

Wherever he put His name, He said HE WOULD BE THERE. And he encouraged people who wanted to live for Him to go to those places. Look at the New Testament version of such actions:

Instead of a physical temple the CHURCH is the temple of God. Therefore, fittingly, God said He would be present wherever His name was, as follows:

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Matthew 18:20

That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
Acts 15:17

Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
James 2:7

JESUS was that name. See Acts again to prove this out.


And in very deed for this [cause] have I raised thee up, for to shew [in] thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
Exodus 9:16

The Old Testament tells us that God would manifest His power by reason of His name. The New Testament uses a name in this same context, but that name is JESUS.

Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places], Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
Ephesians 1:20-21

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;
Philippians 2:9-10


Some will say that the references to baptism as being administered in JESUS' NAME merely refer to the fact that the authority of Jesus was intended, and not the actual invoking of that name in speech as a formula. Well, Jesus gave Apostles authority to cast out devils, and notice how they did so.

Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
Luke 9:1

And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
Acts 16:18

The same can be said about healing, as Luke 9:1 indicates. They were given authority to heal. How did they implement that authority?

Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Acts 3:6

Clearly, having authority ALL THE MORE MEANS WE SHOULD ACTUALLY INVOKE JESUS' NAME. This is the way the apostles handled the AUTHORITY Jesus gave to them. They literally SPOKE THE NAME OF JESUS in using His authority. So if Jesus' authority is given to people to baptize, then it is only biblical to actually say, "I baptize you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins."


Many believe that water baptism in Jesus' name was only intended for the Jews since they already knew the Father and the Spirit of God from their Judaic upbringing. Therefore, Trinitarians reason, they need not baptize Gentiles in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Jews required recogniztion of the Name of Jesus, so they concentrated only on that name with the Jews, say some Trinitarians. Such critics admit that Peter indeed did inform the Jews in Acts 2:38 that the name that was actually spoken over the candidate for Baptism was "Jesus" and not the titles, "Father, Son and Holy Ghost." But they argue that in the case of Gentiles, using the words "in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost" was required, since Matthew 28:19 noted ALL NATIONS (gentiles). The Book of Acts throws this thought out the door in the following instances:


Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
Acts 8:14-16


And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
Acts 10:45-48

Not only do these instances prove that Jesus' name was actually invoked at water baptism for the Gentiles and other Non-Jews, but we find a reference to indicate that it should be administered to everybody who ever is baptized.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Acts 2:38-39

Not just Jews, but ALL WHO ARE AFAR OFF. And that includes "as many as the Lord our God shall call." Are you called of God? If so, you must be baptized in Jesus' name having the minister actually INVOKE the name over you in words.


Those who continue to argue that the name is not actually mentioned, need to hear the following:

Many believe the TITLES of Father, Son and Holy Spirit are indeed not titles but names. Well, they are incorrect on one count since Jesus said, "In the NAME [singular] of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." If the terms "Father", "Son" and "Holy Ghost" were names then Christ would have told them to baptize in the "NAMES". But he did not use that plural term. He said "NAME." It was not a plurality of "names" to coincide with the thought that Father is a name, and Son, etc. And if He meant for the disciples to baptize using His very words, He would have said, "baptizing them in the titles of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." But He did not say that!


To those who say HOLY GHOST is not a title, please note.

God is the Holy One. He is Holy.

For thy Maker [is] thine husband; the LORD of hosts [is] his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
Isaiah 54:5

And God is a Spirit.

God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.
John 4:24

So, you have "Holy Spirit". This is not a NAME, but a descriptive TITLE of God.


The word "FATHER" is also a TITLE.

Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?
Malachi 2:10

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
Hebrews 12:9

Notice how FATHER is used to describe the fathers of our flesh in the context that God is described as Father of Spirits. Father is not a name any more than the name of your earthly father is actually "father."


"Son" is the title referring to the incarnation when GOD was manifested in flesh. God's Spirit literally caused Him to be conceived miraculously:

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Luke 1:35

The only reason we are given for the term "Son of God" being applied to Jesus Christ is given by the angel who explained He would be called so due to the reason that He was born of the woman Mary. Nowhere else in the entire Bible do we have an explanation as to why He was called "Son of God."

The Son was begotten on a certain DAY.

For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
Hebrews 1:5

"SON" NEVER refers to deity alone, but always to God in humanity.

He was made of a woman.

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Galatians 4:4

The Son DIED.

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Romans 5:10

The DEITY which dwelt in the Son was the FATHER.

I and [my] Father are one.
John 10:30

But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father [is] in me, and I in him.
John 10:38

Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.
John 14:9-11

This opposes Trinitarian thought which says the Son was eternal and was deity in itself. The Son only existed before Bethlehem as the Word that had not as of that time yet been made flesh. Note again: The word SON never implies deity alone, but implies God manifest in humanity.

After seeing these scriptures and understanding them properly we see that Matt. 28:19 speaks of TITLES of ONE God whose NAME is One. These titles focus on three roles ASSUMED FOR OUR REDEMPTION. And since JESUS means Jehovah-Salvation, we know the NAME of these three titles is JESUS.

If you were Matthew or Luke, and you never heard the Trinitarian terminologies and concepts, since they had not been formulated until 200 AD, you would not think in those trinitarian categories. If you heard the words...:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Matthew 28:19 would not consider three persons. These people were devout Jews, trained from birth to believe God is absolutely ONE. No comments are made in the New Testament to correct the view of Ancient Judaism of the absolutely single personage known as God. No Orthodox Jew today will ever recongize anything to do with a plurality of persons within God due to the fact that the Old Testament stressed beyond refute the absolute singularity of God's Person. The thought of God actually being three persons as being true would have been enough to cause the Disciples and Christ, Himself, to necessarily explain the thought of such a plurality due to the overwhelming stress in the Old Testament of ONE GOD. ANd the truth would be that Christ purposely confused the Jews having told them He was the "I Am," if He were truly not the Father incarnate. And due to the total lack of explanation of anything different than an absolute singularity of person in the Godhead, we can safely say that God indeed is not comprised of two, three or any greater number of "Persons". He is One in every sense of the term. Christ and the disciples felt no need to talk of any plurality of persons since all that was correct and right about God's singular characteristic of Person was already known by all devout Jews. Multiple persons in the Godhead is simply untrue.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9

These disciples already confessed that Jesus was SON:

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Matthew 16:16

Jesus taught them that He was the FATHER INCARNATE:

Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
John 14:9

And Jesus taught them that He was the Spirit in another form:

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
John 14:16 -18

He was WITH THEM IN FLESH, but would return in SPIRIT and BE IN THEM.

Thomas, the disciple, confessed that Jesus was God before all the others:

And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.
John 20:28-29

All these things were fresh in the disciples' minds when they heard Jesus utter the words of Matthew 28:19. They weren't trained up in any Trinitarian terminologies which had not yet been formulated. Who understands the trinity without reading the formulated sophistry of the 200's? What would YOU think of Matt. 28:19 if YOU had only heard the statements made as quoted from the Bible, which the disciples heard?


And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Mat 28:18-20

A Baptist scholar, G.R. Beasley-Murray wrote:

"A whole group of exegetes and critics have recognized that the opening declaration of Mt. 28:18 demands a Christological statement to follow it: 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me' leads us to expect as a consequence, 'Go and make disciples UNTO ME among all the nations, baptizing them in MY name, teaching them to observe all I commanded you.'" (G.R. Beasley-Murray, _Baptism in the New Testament_, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962, pg. 83, emphasis in original).

Eusebius lived in the 300's and quoted verse 19 using the phrase, "in my name." He did this many times before the Council of Nicaea, but never afterwards. (See Beasely-Murray's book on pg. 81). Beasley-Murray also states that many scholars believe that Matthew 28:19 ORIGINALLY contained a JESUS' NAME formula that was changed by postapostolic Christianity. (Page 83-84).

No extant texts show this, as many were lost, but Eusebius gives us evidence that it was standard for the early church to see Matt 28:19 as a reference to Baptism in Jesus' name.

Even if the words were indeed as we read them, the CONTEXT of verse 18-19 give us the demand for the inference of JESUS' NAME as the intended inference.


Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and Acts 1 each give us a parallel passage where, in each case, Jesus commanded the disciples to preach the Gospel everywhere. In each case he promised that His presence and power would be with them and that the "NAME" was to be stressed in their ministry, according to the three Gospels. Matthew and Mark both name out baptism directly. Luke indirectly refers to it.


And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.
Matthew 28:18-20


And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Mark 16:15-18


And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued woth power from on high.
Luke 24:47-49

(Note the indirect reference to BAPTISM in Luke 24:47 - "remission of sins should be preached in his name" - See Acts 2:38)


And, being assembled together with [them], commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, [saith he], ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Acts 1:4-8

ALL THREE GOSPELS MENTION A NAME which the disciples must preach the Gospel in.

Matthew 28:19 - "In the NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

Mark 16:17 Jesus said, " my NAME"

Luke 24:47 - "in his NAME.

The only way to HARMONIZE these references is to see that the NAME of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is JESUS.

Grammar, Harmony and context have shown many Trinitarians that Matt. 28:19 teaches water baptism invoking the name of JESUS CHRIST. (See James Lee Beall, _Rise to Newness of Life_, Detroit: Evangel Press, 1974, pg. 60-62 & J. Davidson Pawson, _The Normal Christian Birth_, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1989, pg. 93-99).