Rethinking Baptizing in the “Name” of the Father, Son and Spirit.

Posted: July 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

I was moved Sunday night by Sojourn Community Church’s baptismal service and it sparked a line of thought about how I have approached baptism over the years. 

For some time,  I towed the Restoration Movement line that Baptism is an act of obedience that is part of the process of salvation but I now think it is much, much more than that. 

For example, why does Jesus tell his disciples to baptize in the “name” of the Father, Son and Spirit? We seem to approach this almost in a superstitious way as if the words had magical qualities but in the ancient near east a person’s “name” was intimately tied up with the very essence of their person.  Thus, in the Old Testament, Nabal is named fool and acts that way (or vice-versa!). 

So, if we are baptizing new believers into “the name” then we are baptizing them into the essence of who God is, which means, we need to unpack this for baptismal candidates. It seems to me that we need to teach them about God’s love as well as his justice and his very mission and how we are called to be a part of it. 

May we teach our baptismal candidates that there is more to this then just one-act of obedience but is the beginning of a life of conforming oneself to the person of God.

Grace and peace,

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Comments
  1. lawdawg23 says:

    Great point Matt. I always wondered if there were more people interested in Peter’s message on Pentecost than the 3000 who were actually baptized into Christ that day. After all, it was only after he spoke “many other words”, exhorting them to save themselves from their crooked generation, that those who received his word were baptized. I suspect his “many other words” were exactly what you are describing here-a more in-depth look at what it would mean for them to follow Jesus in His kingdom. Perhaps after hearing all the details some of them opted out.

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