IN WHOSE NAME ARE WE TO BE BAPTIZED?
In whose name is the Christian baptized? Many quote the great commission of Matt 28:19 to prove we are baptized into the Trinity, not into Jesus Christ alone.
Matt 28:19 – “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (NWT)
If we accept the translation as is, it does not prove that we are baptized into the Trinity, but merely the desperation of those who strive in vain to find support for this doctrine in scripture. This passage does not state that these three are one person, nor anything of the kind.
In conflict with this, six other scriptures refer baptism in the name of Jesus, not baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit of Matt 28:19.
Let’s look at these scripture that contradict Matt 28:29. Notice that in none of these texts was anyone baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38 – Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (NWT)
Acts 8:16 – "They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" (NWT)
Acts 10:48 – With that he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Jesus Christ" (NWT)
Acts 19:5 – On hearing this, they got baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (NWT)
Rom 6:3 – Or do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (NWT)
Some scholars of the 19th and 20th centuries believe that Matt 28:19 was altered.
An article from Beauties of the Truth (Volume 2, Number 1, January 1991) stated the following…
“Eusebius, a fourth century writer, had the greatest library of any early church scribe. It contained manuscripts of the new testament that were at least 200 years older than any existing today. Manuscripts copied by Origen, Clement of Alexandria, and others not available today gave him access to almost original material. Eusebius cites Matthew 28:19 eighteen times in his work, always in the same form: “Go ye and make disciples of all nations in my name, teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I commanded you”
When he comments on the verse, Eusebius places great stress on the phrase, “in my name.” Apparently his sources, Origen, Clement and Justin Martyr, excluded “father” and “holy spirit” from this scripture…
Aphraates, a Syriac writer of the middle-fourth century, cites the text in yet a different manner, “Make disciples of all nations, and they shall believe in me.” … Ironically, Pope Stephen used only one name, Jesus…”
Pope Stephen I served as Bishop of Rome from254 to 257 AD.
It appears doubtful of the authenticity of the phrase in Matt 28:19, “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” and think Eusebius was likely correct in quoting the text as saying, “make disciples of all nations in my name.”
There is no contradiction in the Scriptures. The mere fact that the accounts say believers were baptized in the name of Jesus does not mean they were not also baptized in the name of the Father and holy spirit too. Interestingly, in one of the passages quoted, namely Acts 8:16, the context states: "When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them; and these went down and prayed for them to get holy spirit.+ 16 For it had not yet come upon any one of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them, and they began to receive holy spirit."
Apparently, those disciples were literally baptized in the name of Jesus but were not anointed, due to the fact the apostle Peter had not used the keys of the kingdom to open that door to them. So, that demonstrates that merely being baptized in the name of Jesus was not all there was to it.
Basically, the reason the focus is on Jesus is because Jehovah was already well known. For example in the 15th chapter of Acts the apostle pointed out that people of the nations were going to become a people for God's name and that Jehovah was known from of old. Certainly, though, in the 1st century Jesus was not known from of old. That is why the focus back then was on Jesus. Today it is the opposite. Jesus has been exalted replace Jehovah in the minds of men. So, the focus of Jehovah's Witnesses has been on restoring the true understanding of the actual relationship between Jehovah and Jesus.