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Is the title Christ necessary in baptism?

Submitted: 4/15/2008
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Question: This may seem to be a silly question, but I have wondered about this from time to time. Acts 2:38, according to the King James Version, says to be 'baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ.' What happens if a person is just baptized in the name of Jesus? Jesus is a popular name in different cultures, so wouldn't the inclusion of Christ be necessary to emphasize exactly in whose name the person is being baptized? There may be many named Jesus, but only one Jesus Chrsit. Also, what would keep a person, who has been baptized in the name of Jesus (not Jesus Christ - I just include this for clarity), from understanding that this is an essential part of the salvation plan (they may have been baptized due to pressure either from the church or other outside influences, which was not necessarily due to conviction). They still believe confession and faith is all that is required and basically by doing good one will make it to heaven. Furthermore, they never go on to receive the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

Answer: Jesus said that to enter the kingdom of God, a person must be born of water AND the Spirit (John 3:5). The water alone is not sufficient. Concerning the inclusion of the title 'Christ' in water baptism, we agree with Bro. David Bernard: The New Testament teaches that water baptism should be performed in the name of Jesus, typically adding the title of Lord or Christ or both to identify the Lord Jesus Christ specifically. As a study of the Greek text confirms, baptism in the name of Jesus means to invoke the name of Jesus orally upon the candidate. In this way, we express our faith in Jesus, our reliance upon His saving work, our devotion to Him, our entrance into His body (the church), and our exercise of His authority. The believer who repents and is baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ relies upon the power and authority of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and dedicates himself to Jesus Christ as his Lord. (from the book 'In The Name of Jesus,' page 82.)