Vol.XII No.III Pg.6
May 1975

Baptized Into The Name

Robert F. Turner

Several months back we came upon a little book: The Commission Given By Jesus Christ to His Apostles; by the Scotch Baptist, Archibald McLean. It was edited by Horatio P. Gatchall, and published in 1848 by The Christian Book Concern. But McLeans treatise on the Commission was first published in 1786, and is a good example of the independent, non-sectarian thinking that spawned the Glassite and Haldane movements in Scotland. These, in turn, had their effect upon the Campbells — and are hence a part of the Restoration history, and of early N.T. preaching in the U.S.A.

This is the second in a series of quotes from McLeans comments on the Great Commission. Read last months, if you missed it, and coming issues — for early Restoration exegesis.


THE NAME — Matt .28:18 -20

Our Lord here commands his apostles to baptize the disciples (eis) into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The phrase, in the name, sometimes signifies for the sake of, in the strength of, by the. authority of, invoking the name of, etc., and doubtless baptism ought to be administered with a view to Gods authority, depending on his assistance and blessing, and calling upon his name for that purpose. But here, I apprehend, the expression into the name, chiefly signifies into the faith of the gospel.

All Israel was said to have been baptized into Moses, in the cloud and in the sea (1 Cor. l0:2); that is, into the religion established by the ministry of Moses. So Christians are said to be baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27); that is, into the faith or religion of Christ; and this is frequently called his name. Philip preached the things concerning the name of Jesus Christ; the apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name; Paul thought he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus; he was a chosen vessel to bear his name before the Gentiles, (Acts 8:12; 5:41; 26:9; 9:15) etc. In these passages it evidently means the faith or the doctrine of Christ. So he himself explains it: Thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith. Thou hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. (Rev. 2:13; 3:8) Here his name signifies the same thing with his faith or word; which may very properly be called his name, as it makes him known, or reveals his true character. Agreeably to this, he addresses his Father, saying, I have manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gavest me out of the world. And he shows how he did so; for I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me (Jn. 17:6,8).

To baptize, therefore, into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is to baptize into the faith or doctrine of the gospel, which is testified by the Divine Three, who are one; which reveals them in their distinct and relative characters, and manifests their glory as acting their respective parts in the economy of redemption; the gospel being a revelation of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ (1 Jn. 5:7 Col. 2:2).