@Mohembo Thank you for your thoughtful dialog!
With all due respect, there is no mention of water in Matthew 28: 19-20.
True, but how would you say the church has received this commission?
If we discuss two forms of baptism one being by water and one being in Spirit. Which of those would we, as humans, be able to perform?
Maybe we could consider the reasons behind each baptism. Since we know scripture is clear that we are not saved by any good we do:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Baptism by water is not a saving action, but a public declaration of belonging to Christ and agreeing with His Kingship and salvation. It is an act of obedience and admission. It expresses our death to old self and our being raised in the likeness of Christ to new life as He was raised from the dead after conquering sin.
John did not baptise in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps, but we know from scripture that the Trinity was present at Jesus’s baptism.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17
So we have the Son (Jesus), the Spirit (Dove) and the Father (Voice from Heaven).
Jesus was baptized by John in water not because He needed to repent, but to express obedience to the Father, and model obedience for us. It also took place near the very beginning of His ministry.
I think it’s extraordinary that Jesus left baptism by water to His disciples, apostles, followers (however you want to refer to them).
Can you imagine what it would be like if He had insisted on baptizing everyone and then He ascended to Heaven? We’d all be in a brawl of who can offer legitimate baptism.
Instead He multiplied His message by giving his disciples and members of the NT church permission and anointing to go out to the world.
To me it’s helpful to keep in mind that JTB was considered the last “Old Testament” prophet. He was preaching and baptizing of the One to come.
For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. Matthew 11:13-14
Jesus’s death and resurrection was the launch of modern day Christianity that looks back on His finished work.
In Acts, the apostles baptised new converts in the name of the Lord Jesus - not the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! (Acts 2:38; 8:12; 10:48; 19:5; Note also Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3; Gal.3;27)
It’s interesting in the Acts 19:1-10 passage, the men say they had received JTB’s baptism (19:3). So they were operating in the way of the Old Testament message of what was to come. Paul helps them understand the finished work of Christ, and they receive that baptism.
I think in keeping with the New Testament church, as it was in its infant stage, these are expressions that they were baptized as commanded by and through Jesus rather than JTB’s baptism. I don’t think it’s that they didn’t obey the Great Commission.
I also suspect that on Pentecost, the disciples did not understand that what happened to them was the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
It is possible, but Jesus does give pretty clear instructions to expect the Holy Spirit in Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5,7-8. And there was a rather dramatic entry of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is where the inner person is transformed. Baptism by the Spirit is an essential saving action by God because we have invited and received Him to dwell in our very being. I love the promise in Ephesians, that the Holy Spirit marks us and seals us as an eternal promise!
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14