Oneness Pentecostalism - Oneness Soteriology - The Oneness Baptismal Formula

The Oneness Baptismal Formula

Oneness believers believe that for water baptism to be valid, one must be baptized in the name of Jesus, rather than the mainstream baptismal formula in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This follows the examples found in the Book of Acts. "Jesus-Name" is a description used to refer to Oneness Pentecostals and their baptismal beliefs.

This conviction is mainly centered around the baptismal formula mandated in Acts 2:38: "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". Oneness Pentecostals insist that there are no New Testament references to baptism by any other formula—save in Matthew 28:19 which most hold to be simply another reference to Jesus-name baptism. Although Matthew 28:19 seems to mandate a Trinitarian formula for baptism, Oneness theology avows that the "name" in that verse is actually singular and refers to Jesus, whose name they believe to be that of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Oneness believers insist that all of the Bible's texts on the subject must be in full agreement with each other; thus, they say that either the Apostles disobeyed the command they had been given in Matthew 28:19 or they correctly fulfilled it by using the name of Jesus Christ.

Some Oneness believers consider that the text of Matthew 28:19 is not original, quoting the early Church historian Eusebius, who referred to this passage at least eighteen times in his works. Eusebius' text reads: "go and make disciples of all nations in my name, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you." However, most Oneness believers do believe that Matthew 28:19 is authentic and original due to divine providence and preservation of the Scriptures. Other Church Fathers are alleged to have not known of any triune formula in that text. The latter believe that Jesus is the name correctly applied to God as a whole: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that to baptize in the name of Jesus therefore fulfills the requirement of Matthew 28:19.

Oneness Pentecostals assert that of the five mentions of baptism in the Book of Acts, all were performed in the name of Jesus Christ, and that no Trinitarian formula is ever referred to therein. In addition, 1 Corinthians 1:13 is taken by Oneness Pentecostals to indicate baptism in Jesus' name, as well. Hence, Oneness believers claim that this constitutes proof that the "Jesus-name" formula was the original one, and that the Trinitarian invocation was erroneously substituted for it later. The Catholic Encyclopedia admits some theologians have considered in the past that the apostles baptized in the name of Christ only.

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