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Matthew 28:19

Did Jesus tell the Apostles to baptise using the trinity formula?
Answering Robert Turkel, Alias James Patrick Holding On Behalf Of My Friend, Pastor A. Ploughman (deceased)

Pastor G. Reckart
Copyright 2001 All Rights Reserved
May Not Be Posted On Another Web Site Without Permission

Robert Turkel (2609 Greywall Ave, Ocoee, Florida 34761) is a self made apologist for the trinitatrian doctrine. He worked at a prison facility as a librarian until 2001 when he was laid off.  He then appointed himself an internet apologist to make money.  He was afraid to use his real name so he created an alias and goes by the name James Patrick Holding. Mr Turkel is herein identified by his other alias Mr. Turkey.

Mr. Turkey attempted to gainsay the research of my friend Pastor A. Ploughman.  I was asked to review Mr. Turkey's criticisms because they amounted to mocking and ridicule more then presenting historical facts.  Mr. Turkey should be ashamed of himself to present such an unscholarly response. His comments were more in defending the trinity doctrine then in a real professional examination of the Matthew 28:19 text.  He claims the text is not needed for the existence of the trinity doctrine, BUT IT IS!  It puts the trinity on the lips of Jesus which CANNOT be found in any other statements of our Lord Christ.  I have found him to be a cry-baby, a man whose ignorance compliments his arguments, and whose intelligence needs a little WD40.  

Having read Mr. Turkey's comments, I found them juvenile and novice.  He did not prove Pastor Ploughman wrong, he demonstrated however just how far trinitarians will stretch the truth to defend the falsehood of the Matthew 28:19 trinitarian statement.  Rather then do a line by line refutation of Mr. Turkel's comments, which would be easy to do; I felt it would better serve the public and seekers of truth to present to them quotations about Matthew 28:19 that Pastor Ploughman did not avail himself in 1962 when he published his great and unrefuted theological work. Let Mr. Turkel now deal with the quotes below and make a statement if Jesus said Matthew 29:19 or not.  That is the whole issue.  Don't attack Pastor Ploughman, answer his premise: that the original Matthew 28:19 DID NOT CONTAIN THE TRINITARIAN STATEMENT.

Now that Mr. Turkey knows this page exist, and has read it, you would supposed he could deal with each of the quotes below.  But alas, he could not because they refute his own claims.  Mr. Turkey is hereby ROASTED!

"The historical riddle is not solved by Matthew 28:19, since, according to a wide scholarly consensus, it is not an authentic saying of Jesus, not even an elaboration of a Jesus-saying on baptism" (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 1, 1992, page 585).

"It has been customary to trace the institution of the practice (of baptism) to the words of Christ recorded in Matthew 28:19. But the authenticity of this passage has been challenged on historical as well as on textual grounds. It must be acknowledged that the formula of the threefold name, which is here enjoined, does not appear to have been employed by the primitive Church, which, so far as our information goes, baptized 'in' or 'into the name of Jesus' (or 'Jesus Christ' or Lord Jesus': Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, 1 Cor. 1:13, 15) (The Dictionary of the Bible, 1947, page 83).

Matthew 28:19, "the Church of the first days did not observe this world-wide command, even if they knew it. The command to baptize into the threefold name is a late doctrinal expansion. In place of the words "baptizing... Spirit" we should probably read simply "into my name," i.e. (turn the nations) to Christianity, "in my name," i.e. (teach the nations) in my spirit" (Peake's Commentary on the Bible, 1929, page 723).

"On the text, see Conybeare, Zeitsch. Fur die Neutest. Wissensch. 1901, 275 ff.; Hibbert Journal, October 1902; Lake, Inaugural Lecture; Riggenbach, Der Trinitarische Taufbefehl; Chase, Journal Theo. Stud. Vi. 481 ff. The evidence of Eusebius must be regarded as indecisive, in view of the fact that all Greek MSS. and all extant VSS., contain the clause (S1 and S2 are unhappily wanting). The Eusebian quotation: "Go disciple ye all the nations in my name," can not be taken as decisive proof that the clause "Baptizing...Spirit" was lacking in copies known to Eusebius, because "in my name" may be Eusebius' way of abbreviating, for whatever reason, the following clause. On the other hand, Eusebius cites in this short form so often that it is easier to suppose that he is definitely quoting the words of the Gospel, than to invent possible reasons which may have caused him so frequently to have paraphrased it. And if we once suppose his short form to have been current in MSS. of the Gospel, there is much probability in the conjecture that it is the original text of the Gospel, and that in the later centuries the clause "baptizing...Spirit" supplanted the shorter "in my name." And insertion of this kind derived from liturgical use would very rapidly be adopted by copyists and translators. The Didache has ch. 7: "Baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit": but the passage need not be dependent on our canonical Gospel, and the Didache elsewhere has a liturgical addition to the text of the Gospels in the doxology attached to the Lord's Prayer. But Irenaeus and Tertullian already have the longer clause" (The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament; S. Driver, A. Plummer, C. Briggs; A Critical & Exegetical Commentary of St. Matthew Third Edition, 1912, pages 307-308).

"The disciples are further told to "baptize" (the second of the participles functioning as supplementary imperatives) new disciples. The command to baptize comes as somewhat of a surprise since baptism is referred to earlier only in chap. 3 (and 21:25) where only John's baptism is described (among the Gospels only in John 3:22; 4:1-2 do we read of Jesus' or his disciples' baptizing others). Matthew tells us nothing concerning his view of Christian baptism. Only Matthew records this command of Jesus, but the practice of the early church suggest its historicity. (cf. Acts 2;38, 41; 8:12, 38; 9:18; 10:48; 19:5; 22:16; etc.). The threefold name (at most only an incipient Trinitarianism) in which the baptism was to be performed, on the other hand, seems clearly to be a liturgical expansion of the evangelist consonant with the practice of his day (thus Hubbard; cf. Did. 7.1). There is a good possibility that in its original form, as witnessed by the ante-Nicene Eusebian form, the text read "make disciples in my name" (see Conybeare). This shorter reading preserves the symmetrical rhythm of the passage, whereas the triadic formula fits awkwardly into the structure as one might expect if it were an interpolation (see H. B. Green; cf. Howard; Hill [IBS 8 (1986) 54-63], on the other hand, argues for a concentric design with the triadic formula at its center). It is Kosmala, however, who has argued most effectively for the shorter reading, pointing to the central importance of "name of Jesus" in early Christian preaching, the practice of baptism in the name of Jesus, and the singular "in his name" with reference to the hope of the Gentiles in Isa. 42:4b, quoted by Matthew in 12:18-21. As Carson rightly notes of our passage: "There is no evidence we have Jesus' ipsissima verba here" (598). The narrative of Acts notes the use of the name only of "Jesus Christ" in baptism (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; cf. Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27) or simply "the Lord Jesus" (Acts 8:16; 19:5)" (Word Biblical Commentary, Vol 33B, Matthew 14-28; Donald A. Hagner, 1975, page887-888).

"It cannot be directly proved that Jesus instituted baptism, for Matthew 28:19 is not a saying of the Lord. The reason for this assertion are: (1) It is only a later stage of the tradition that represents the risen Christ as delivering speeches and giving commandments. Paul knows nothing of it. (2) The Trinitarian formula is foreign to the mouth of Jesus and has not the authority of the Apostolic age which it must have had if it had descended from Jesus himself. On the other hand, Paul knows of no other way of receiving the Gentiles into the Christian communities than by baptism, and it is highly probable that in the time of Paul all Jewish Christians were also baptized. We may perhaps assume that the practice of baptism was continued in consequence of Jesus' recognition of John the Baptist and his baptism, even after John himself had been removed. According to John 4:2, Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples under his superintendence. It is possible only with the help of tradition to trace back to Jesus a "Sacrament of Baptism," or an obligation to it ex necessitate salutis, through it is credible that tradition is correct here. Baptism in the Apostolic age was in the name of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 1:13; Acts 19:5). We cannot make out when the formula in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit emerged" (History of Dogma, Vol. 1, Adolph Harnack, 1958, page 79).

"The very account which tells us that at the last, after his resurrection, he commissioned his apostles to go and baptize among all nations (Mt 28:19) betrayed itself by speaking in the Trinitarian language of the next century, and compels us to see in it the ecclesiastical editor, and not the evangelist, much less the founder himself. No historical trace appears of this baptismal formula earlier that the "Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" (ch. 7:1,3 The Oldest Church Manuel, ed. Philip Schaff, 1887), and the first Apology of Justin (Apol. i. 61.) about the middle of the second century: and more than a century later, Cyprian found it necessary to insist upon the use of it instead of the older phrase baptized "into Christ Jesus," or into the "name of the Lord Jesus." (Gal. 3:27; Acts 19:5; 10:48. Cyprian Ep. 73, 16-18, has to convert those who still use the shorter form.) Paul alone, of the apostles, was baptized, ere he was "filled with the Holy Ghost;" and he certainly was baptized simply "into Christ Jesus." (Rom. 6:3) Yet the tri-personal form, unhistorical as it is, is actually insisted on as essential by almost every Church in Christendom, and, if you have not had it pronounced over you, the ecclesiastical authorities cast you out as a heathen man, and will accord to you neither Christian recognition in your life, nor Christian burial in your death. It is a rule which would condemn as invalid every recorded baptism performed by an apostle; for if the book of Acts may be trusted, the invariable usage was baptism "in the name of Christ Jesus," (Acts 2:38) and not "in the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." And doubtless the author (Luke) is as good a witness for the usage of his own time (about 115 A.D.) as for that of the period whereof he treats" (The Seat of Authority in Religion, James Martineau, 1905, page 568).

"It is clear, therefore, that of the MSS which Eusebius inherited from his predecessor, Pamphilus, at Caesarea in Palestine, some at least preserved the original reading, in which there was no mention either of Baptism or of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It had been conjectured by Dr. Davidson, Dr. Martineau, by the present Dean of Westminister, and by Prof. Harnack (to mention but a few names out of many), that here the received text, could not contain the very words of Jesus? This long before any one except Dr. Burgon, who kept the discovery to himself, had noticed the Eusebian form of the reading." "It is satisfactory to notice that Dr. Eberhard Nestle, in his new edition of the New Testament in Latin and Greek, furnishes the Eusebian reading in his critical apparatus, and that Dr. Sanday seems to lean to its acceptance" (History of New Testament Criticism, Conybeare, 1910, pages, 98-102, 111-112).

It is doubted whether the explicit injunction of Matt. 28:19 can be accepted as uttered by Jesus. ...But the Trinitarian formula in the mouth of Jesus is certainly unexpected" (A Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, J. Hastings, 1906, page 170).

"Feine (PER3, XIX, 396 f) and Kattenbusch (Sch-Herz, I, 435 f. argue that the Trinitarian formula in Matthew 28:19 is spurious. No record of the use of the Trinitarian formula can be discovered in the Acts of the epistles of the apostles" (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, James Orr, 1946, page 398).

Footnote to Matthew 28:19, It may be that this formula, so far as the fullness of its expression is concerned, is a reflection of the liturgical usage established later in the primitive community. It will be remembered that the Acts speak of baptizing "in the name of Jesus", Acts 1:5 +. But whatever the variation on formula the underlying reality remains the same" (The Jerusalem Bible, 1966, Page 64).

Matthew 28:19 "... has been disputed on textual grounds, but in the opinion of many scholars the words may still be regarded as part of the true text of Matthew. There is, however, grave doubt whether thy may be the ipsissima verba of Jesus. The evidence of Acts 2:38; 10:48 (cf. 8:16; 19:5), supported by Gal. 3:27; Rom 6:3, suggest that baptism in early Christianity was administered, not in the threefold name, but "in the name of Jesus Christ" or "in the name of the Lord Jesus." This is difficult to reconcile with the specific instructions of the verse at the end of Matthew" (The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, 1962, page 351).

Critical scholarship, on the whole, rejects the traditional attribution of the tripartite baptismal formula to Jesus and regards it as of later origin. Undoubtedly then the baptismal formula originally consisted of one part and it gradually developed into its tripartite form (The Philosophy of the Church Fathers, Vol. 1, Harry Austryn Wolfson, 1964, pg 143).

G.R. Beasley-Murray in his book, "Baptism in the New Testament" and a believer of the trinity doctrine, gives us some new insight on how the original text of Matthew 28:19 was structured:

"A whole group of exegetes and critics have recognized that the opening declaration of Matt. 28:18 demands a Christological statement to follow it: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me" leads us to expect as a consequence, "Go and make disciples unto Me among all the nations, baptising them in My name, teaching them to observe all things I commanded you." In fact, the first and third clauses have that significance: it looks as thought the second clause has been modified from a Christological to a Trinitarian formula in the interests of the liturgical tradition" (G.R. Beasley-Murray, Baptism in the New Testament, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962, pg. 83).

We now have absolute proof the Catholic Church fathers perverted the text in Matthew 28:19.  We now have the Hebrew Matthew Gospel, a manuscript that was preserved by the Jews from the first century.  In this Shem Tov MSS, the text at Matthew 28:19 does not contain the trinitarian statement.  Of course the Catholic Church and other trinitarian denominations who have defended the triune baptismal text, claim the Hebrew Matthew is false and a fraud.  This is self-serving so they can continue to practice a false baptism and deceive even more generations to believe Jesus said something HE DID NOT SAY!  We now have the Hebrew text in English thanks to Dr. George Howard, a Southern Baptist scholar.  You can buy the Hebrew Matthew at many Bible book stores.  If they do not have it in stock (which they will not stock for obvious reasons), they will order it for you.  Click here to go review an acutual copy of the page containing the true and accurate Matthew 28:19 text.  See for yourself how someone has made Jesus to say something HE NEVER SAID.

To read Pastor Ploughman's Research on this, printed in 1963, CLICK HERE.

To read James Patrick Holding's unprofessional response, CLICK HERE

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