Is There A Baptismal Formula?
Question: Is there a set “formula” that must be verbalized at baptism for one’s baptism to be valid (such as, “I baptize you in the name of Jesus” versus “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”)?
If there were a formula, then one would have to logically conclude that the Bible contradicts itself and therefore contains falsehoods (which it does not, John 8:31-32; 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:25). There are at least 4 variants of “in the name of” with reference to baptism:
“in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19 (no mention of the name "Jesus" here)
“in the name of Jesus Christ,” Acts 2:38
“in the name of the Lord Jesus,” Acts 8:16; 19:5
“in the name of the Lord,” Acts 10:48 (no mention of the name "Jesus" here)
If saying the name "Jesus" over the one being baptized is the only formula that makes the baptism valid (which is the position of many Oneness Pentecostals and others), then...
1. Jesus is a liar because He said to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (without mentioning the name "Jesus"). Do you mean to tell me that if I say the exact thing Jesus said at someone's baptism, that quoting Jesus exactly as He said it is a sin and the baptism is not valid?
2. The apostles/evangelists disobeyed Jesus because He said to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, yet they baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (adding the word “Christ”), Lord Jesus (adding the word “Lord”) or Lord "only" (not even mentioning the name “Jesus”)
3. Persons cannot save themselves/wash away their sins because their salvation is dependent on what the baptizer says (Acts 22:16)
If "in the name of Jesus" means a person must verbally say something exact before the act is valid/acceptable to God, then everything you say and do must be followed by "in the name of Jesus"; otherwise, all you say or do is no good, according to Colossians 3:17.
"In the name of Jesus" or "in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit" means the same thing. "Name" stands for the person(s) in Hebrew culture. It also can stand for the person in America culture. For example, when officers say, "Open up in the name of the law", they are not looking for someone to recite a verbatim formula, but they are looking for someone to take action based on the authority of the state of Alabama, etc. "In the name of" means "by the authority of.”
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