I am a member of the church of Christ and have a question for you. My mother-in-law recently started attending the church, and I am concerned about her baptism being scriptural. She was baptized in a non-denominational "Jesus Only" church for the forgiveness of sins. What I mean by "Jesus Only" is this church believes that Jesus is the Son, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. This concerns me as I am not sure if her faulty beliefs about the Godhead at the time of her baptism would interfere with her baptism being scriptural. My concern stems from these two verses:
"Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 3:21).
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).
In both of these verses, it says God is involved. If you are in the Jesus-Only church, you would think that God is actually Jesus in I Peter 3:21, and in Matthew 28, it would be saying "baptizing them in the name of Jesus, Jesus, and Jesus" in my opinion.
I have one minister telling me yes her baptism would be scriptural, and another minister telling me no, it would not be scriptural, so I would really like your opinion on this.
Thank you very much for your time!
We need to make sure some terms are understood. "In the name of" means "by the authority of." See All in a Name. Thus, when Matthew 28:19-20 says to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, this is exactly the same as being baptized in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5). The Godhead is completely unified, so the authority of one is the same as the authority of all. Thus, I agree that "Jesus Only" fails because it makes Mathew 28:19-20 redundant.
The second point to be clear is that Jesus is God, just as the Father is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.
You haven't mentioned anything that was done wrong other than that those involved in the baptism did not have a good understanding of who God is. Yet, perfect understanding is not required to be baptized or required of the person doing the baptism.
As your mother learns more about the Bible, she will realize that the group she was with is far off from the truth, and she may decide that she doesn't want her baptism connected with that group. Or she may decide that she did what was right even though the group was wrong in its beliefs.
Thank you, Jeffrey. I really appreciate your timely response.