|Question or Topic|
|In view of the implications of a Trinitarian approach, why do we use the expression "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?"|
This seems to be a question regarding the practice of most Christadelphians who say that a baptism is being done in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This practice is outlined in the Ecclesial Guide, along with some clarifying statements that remove any connection with a belief of the Trinity. We will look at this later in our study.
The false teaching of the Trinity is not supported by the use of this wording; it is not taught in scripture, and therefore not by the Christadelphians. The doctrine of the Trinity is a confusing doctrine to say the least; it is totally a myth of man's making. It dates not only from the rise of modern Catholicism, but existed in the pagan doctrines of ancient Babylon, where many of the modern worship practices of so called "Christianity" originated. The book, "The Two Babylons" by Alexander Hyslop, published in New York by Loiseaux Brothers, Inc., brings this out very clearly.
Bible Teaching is clear
The Bible is so clear on this matter it is a puzzle as to how anyone can conclude anything about a godhead consisting of three beings, acting independently of each other yet still together, as one single being. The idea that the three were co-existent as well as co-equal and each a part of the Supreme Being destroys the beauty of the Father/Son relationship that is so emphatically detailed in the Scriptures. The statement by Christ that he and his Father are one (John 10:30) declares just how close they had become in their relationship and purpose; they were in absolute unity in accomplishing what was necessary to bring about the fulfillment of God's purpose. In John 17: 22 Christ prays for this same closeness between God, himself, and his Body of believers. This in no way indicated that they were to actually become one person in a literal sense. If Christ had been co-equal and co-eternal with God how could the statement that he had come to do the will of God have any meaning? (See Heb. 10:7-9)
The only place in the Scriptures that may appear to support the Trinity is found in1 John 5: 7-8. The confusing language in these verses has been proven to be spurious. These passages were not in any of the manuscripts until the 5th Century AD; they were authored and added by a Latin writer of no reputation.
The Apostle Paul plainly teaches: "But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." (1 Corinthians 8:6)
His thoughts are simple and pure. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"(1 Tim. 2:5)
Paul's words to the Ephesians show without any doubt his belief in the one God. "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians (4:4-6)
We should also consider the clear statement by Christ: "Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God." (Luke 18:19) Another verse showing that God and Christ are two separate persons is John 3:35, "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand." This follows vs. 34, which states: " For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." How could one coequal give a second coequal to a third coequal?
Hopefully this brief review of Bible teachings on this subject will remove from the mind of anyone that any reference to the Trinity is implied in the use of the words; "the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
Our doctrine of baptism is as found in Acts 10:48, "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord..." and in Acts 19:5: "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." Our belief is that we are baptized into the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. The use of the words, "the Father and the Holy Spirit" helps to show the authority by which it is done. One brother who is now deceased used these words: "Baptized in the name of the Father who was manifested in the Son through the power of the Holy Spirit."
The Ecclesial Guide suggests the following form: "Upon this public confession of your faith, you are baptized, by God's commandment, into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, for the remission of your sins," and then let the act of immersion be performed."(Par. No.8)
Paragraph No.9 of the Ecclesial Guide offers the following thoughts:
"As regards the form of words, it is better to say, 'baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,' than simply 'baptized into the Lord Jesus,' for this reason; the first form of words keeps the truth concerning Christ in the foreground - that he is the manifestation of the Father by the Holy Spirit and that what he did, he did not of himself as a man; whereas the latter leaves the way open for the idea to grow up that Jesus came in his own name, (which he expressly says he did not) and not in his Father's name (which he expressly says he did)."
Another paragraph in section No.8 of the Ecclesial Guide says:
"Nothing depends upon a set form of words. It is the believer's submission to the commandment of God that is counted to him for righteousness and union with Christ. Still, it is more seemly that a Scriptural and appropriate description should accompany the act performed. The use of the form suggested secures the exhibition of some features of the institution easily lost sight of; and that are important always to hold in view: (1) that it is from the commandment of God, and not from the officiation of the immerser, that the act derives its validity; (2) that the essence of the act is the submission, to burial on the part of the baptized, and not the performance of the burial by the immerser; (3) that there is, in the act, a public profession of the name of Christ: (4) that, until that moment, a man is "in his sins"; (5) that after immersion his sins are forgiven, and that he is called to newness of life."
The Man, Christ Jesus
The immersion process used by the Christadelphians, with references to the Father and the Holy Spirit, in connection with Jesus' name shows that we do not believe in the false doctrines that are currently being taught in "Christendom Astray." Christ was born as a man with like nature as all of us. He achieved exaltation to the divine nature only after the most terrible sacrifice that a man has ever made. When our understanding of the nature of the man Christ Jesus is consistent with Bible teaching, there will be no confusion with the fallacious teachings of the Trinity.
The Holy Spirit- God's power
To teach that the Holy Spirit is a person is another error of grave magnitude. The Holy Spirit is the concentrated power of God that He uses to do things beyond what we refer to as the norm. It is ridiculous to even think that one person (Holy Spirit?) could have entered into the angels, the prophets, and even into Christ himself, as the false teachers suggest. The Bible teaches that God granted the Holy Spirit to them, so that they would have special power, to allow them to do certain works necessary to the carrying out of His plan and purpose.
Through the use of this Holy Spirit power these people were able to carry out works otherwise impossible for anyone other than God to do. These works, being so above the norm, became referred to as miracles, ("unusual events" according to the dictionary) and only a limited number of Gods' chosen men were allowed to perform them.
There are two forms of God's spirit. The free spirit that makes up our atmosphere, by which all creation lives, moves, and has its being, is the common form. The other form of His spirit is the Holy Spirit of which we have speaking above. This is a very simple arrangement and it is unfortunate that man has chosen to complicate the process through his own ignorance and superstitions.
Hopefully this discourse will help to answer our subject question, as well as help us to understand a little more Bible teaching about the true relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.