Does Matthew 28:19 Confirm the Trinity Doctrine

Matthew 28:19
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”

The following is a transcript from a sermon given by a very well respected Pastor who does not teach the trinity doctrine. This is one of his works whereby he discredits the interpretation of various scriptures that have been interpreted as confirming this doctrine.

Matthew 28:19 is one such Bible verse which is most commonly misinterpreted, and Nader Mansour gives an excellent presentation explaining how this verse is misrepresented using the Bible as his guide.

Nader does not deal with the widely accepted view of Bible scholars of the inclusion of certain words in this text as he had adopted the position that even if the text were original; and inspired, that it would still be entirely incorrect to interpret the trinity doctrine from them. (Of this point I agree entirely, I also believe that there are uninspired words added to the verse)

God willing I will be adding more information and pages to this website for the readers discretion regarding the voracity of the words which are believed to have been added to this verse.

For many people the baptismal formula is the ultimate evidence for the trinity; it is one of the foremost proof texts used by many preachers and teachers when advocating that God is three persons.

 

The famous words of Jesus are recorded in Matthew 28:19: Most people read these words and conclude that God must be more than one person; here are some examples of how popular this view is.

The following quote is taken from a sermon given by SDA Pastor Doug Batchelor.

“And so there’s a lot of terms that we use, theological terms to discuss various doctrines, and this is called the doctrine of the trinity, the three entities that compose the Bible God, and so that’s really what we’re discussing, and so there is no conflict in that.
Let me give you some examples in the Bible; Matthew 28. Some of the last words of Jesus after he sends the disciples into the world, he says in Matthew 28.
[Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.]”

 

The following quote is taken from a sermon given by SDA Pastor David Ascherick.

“God gives command to the disciples to go baptize: Guess who shows up? All three! Now I have a question; is the Father a person? Yes of course; of course He’s a personal being. Is the son a personal being? Well guess what the Spirit is then? A personal being!”

 

 

Nader Mansour

Is this really what Jesus meant, are there three entities that compose the God of the Bible; how did the disciples understand the words of Jesus, does this verse really prove a trinity, and if it doesn’t, then what does it actually mean?

 

Hi everyone I’m Nader Mansour and welcome to prove all things.

 

The instruction of baptism that Christ gave is often interpreted as a theological statement about who God is:

The verse in question is Matthew 28:19, which says.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

 

Jesus was not teaching his disciples about who God is: He was talking about baptism and how it was to be done.

What do we actually learn from the verse, without infusing any external meaning into it?

It tells us that there is a Father, there is a Son, and there is a Spirit: there is no question about the existence of any of them.

 

It’s important to note what a verse says, and in this case more important to note what the verse does not say; for example.

  1. It doesn’t say anything about their nature.
  2. It doesn’t tell us the relationship they hold to each other.
  3. It doesn’t tell us they are three entities, or persons.
  4. It doesn’t tell us that God is made up of three persons.
  5. It doesn’t tell us who the Holy Spirit is.
  6. It doesn’t say that these three make one God.
  7. The word God is not even mentioned in the verse.
  8. It doesn’t say this is the Godhead.

 

You see! It doesn’t say many things that people conclude from it.

The relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit, is not defined in this text. This is a key point; and to insist that this means God is three persons is a giant leap beyond the information provided in the text.

To define the relationship as three coequal, coeternal persons, or beings, cannot be proved from this passage; it’s simply not there.

Jesus actually said that teaching must precede baptism, the disciples were to teach the things that Jesus commanded. So what did Jesus actually teach when it comes to the Father the Son and the Spirit?

 

This verse doesn’t tell us: But previously Jesus had made it very clear, here is what Jesus taught about the Father.

  1. That He is the only true God. John 17:3
  2. That He is the Lord of heaven and earth.Matthew 11:25
  3. That he is the God of Israel.John 4: 21, 22

 

This is what Jesus taught about Himself.

  1. That He is the Son of God; that God was His Father.John 10:36 John 5:18
  2. That He came out from God; that is, begotten of God.John 17:8 John 3:16
  3. That His Sonship gave Him a divine inheritance. John 5:23 John 5:26
  4. His divine Sonship was actually recognized by friends and enemies.Matthew 16:16 Mark 5:7

 

And when it comes to the spirit this is what Jesus taught.

The Spirit is life: (John 6:63) His very own life, and His breath.

He demonstrated that by breathing on his disciples and saying; “receive ye the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22) As a matter of fact, when speaking of the coming comforter which many people today think is someone other than Christ, Jesus actually said: “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.” (John 14:18)

So when Christ spoke of the Spirit he was referring to His person, the divinity of His character, that’s His teaching when it comes to the Holy Spirit.

This is what the disciples learned from the lips of Christ when it came to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

 

So they did not hear His instruction on baptism and come to the conclusion that many people come to today; that is that God was three persons in one, making a trinity. You see Jesus had never taught his disciples that God was like that, so taking His words in Matthew 28:19 to mean the very opposite of what He plainly taught would be a major blunder.

The practice of the disciples in carrying out the instruction of Christ is proof of that. In every recorded instance of baptism in the New Testament we find that they were all done in the name of the Lord.

 

Here is a list of them:

  1. Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ.”
  2. Acts 8:16 “they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
  3. Acts 10:48 “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.”
  4. Acts 19:5 “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

 

The disciples understood the instruction of Christ by baptizing people in the name of Jesus; that’s because His name means authority.

Jesus carries all authority and power because it has been given to Him: His instruction on baptism has to be understood in harmony with His teachings, not in opposition to what He said.

 

Jesus never taught that God was more than one person, baptism is for those who have heard the gospel taught to them.

The heart of the gospel is that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16)

This essential belief on the Son is a vital requirement for baptism; it was this declaration of faith that convinced Philip to baptize the eunuch, the story is found in acts 8:3:

“And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

 

This vivid illustration helps us avoid misunderstanding the words of Jesus, when it comes to baptism, and what is taught in anticipation.

 

We cannot use the baptismal instruction to teach something that denies that Christ is the only begotten Son of God; that’s exactly what the trinity doctrine does, it denies the divine pre-incarnate Sonship of Christ.

 

Jesus is our only way to the Father, even in baptism, that’s why the disciples performed all the baptisms in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Paul summarizes that beautifully in Ephesians 2:18:

“For through Him (Christ) we both have access by one spirit unto the Father.”

Christ is the one who gives us this access; His spirit, not someone else, is what links us with His Father, the great source of all. And through baptism we affirm our faith in the only begotten Son of God, who alone is the way to the Father, that’s what the baptism instruction that Jesus gave, was about.

 

There are some interesting claims made about this verse, actually some people believe that there is historical evidence to prove that it was added to the Bible, whether that is true or not does not really change much, the verse that we have in our Bibles today cannot be used to support the doctrine of the trinity.

So in conclusion; there is a Father, the only true God, there is His only begotten Son Jesus, and there is the Holy Spirit, the personal presence of Jesus in the soul which gives us access to the Father.

 

This is what Jesus plainly taught His followers; Matthew 28:19 certainly does not prove a trinity, nor does it prove that the Holy Spirit is a separate person from the Father and the Son, and it emphatically cannot be used to deny the divine sonship of Christ; the essential belief required for baptism.

 

 

Matthew 28:19

See the following links for further information on the subject of the trinity and its origins

The Athanasian Creed Defined and Compelled by the Church

Theos: Searching for the One True God

Trinity Quotes by SDA Pioneers

The trinity doctrine was not accepted by the Early Christians

External Link: You will be directed to www.Worlds Last Chance Trinity

External Link: You will be directed to www.trinitytruth.org

Matthew 28:19