Do Jehovah's Witnesses Baptize "In the Name of the Father, the Son and Jehovah's Spirit-Directed Organization"?

Many claim that Jehovah's Witnesses baptize using the words 'in the name of the Father, the Son and Jehovah's Spirit-Directed Organization'. Is this true? No, but only because those that think this do not understand what is really taking place during the baptismal talk when they ask if the baptismal candidates have dedicated themselves.

To understand what is actually taking place, let us look at the scripture text in which Jesus sent forth the apostles to baptize at Matthew 28:19. There we read: "Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you [all]."

When we look at that statement, there are actually only two, not three parts of that request. The first part of the request is "make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them." The second part of the request is "teaching them."

The Salvation Formula

As a whole, the first part reads, "Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit." Jesus was not telling them something that they were supposed to say by rote from baptismal candidate to baptismal candidate, saying "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the holy spirit." In fact, if you look at all the baptisms in the Bible, you never once see anyone recite that formula or even imply it. Go ahead, read all the various baptisms at Matthew 3:6, 11, 15, 16; Mark 1:4, 5, 8-11; Luke 3:3-17, 21, 22; John 1:26-34; 3:22-4:3; Acts 2:38-42; 8:12, 13, 36-39; 9:18, 19; 10:44-48; 16:14-15, 33; 18:8; 19:1-6; 22:16.

But now, Jesus said to baptize in their name, not to be baptized in their name. Thus, Jesus' statement can also be read as 'Go therefore, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the holy spirit, and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them.' Thus, when we baptize a person, it is because we were sent to do so and we are meant to represent the salvation message involving the Father, the Son and the holy spirit as we go about fulfilling that request.

That is because Jesus was not giving the apostles a statement to recite. We baptize in their name in precisely the same way that we preach and teach in their name. We are sent in their name, not being required to recite a phrase every time we preach or teach, so neither when we baptize. So it is we who are sent in their name from the moment Jesus spoke those words. We preach in their name. We teach in their name. We baptize in their name. As Christians, we represent their name, their reputation and their authority.

In Their Name

Now we know that God has a name, Jehovah, and that the Son has a name, Jesus, but the words "the holy spirit" is no more a name than "Father" or "Son". So what is the name of the holy spirit? The Bible never gives a personal name to the holy spirit. Note that the word "name" here is singular. Since the Bible never once mentions a proper name given to all three as a whole, this is not talking about a proper name, but a figurative name, just as one might say, "in the name of justice". This other type of name is used in the Scriptures, and in the world in general, as a representation of an ideal; this includes such things as what they are like, what their principles are and how reliable they are. Having a name in this way is different than, and even superior to, having an actual name. (Ecclesiastes 7:1)

This represents the three important aspects of the salvation message as a whole. Salvation comes from the Father, Jehovah, through the Son, Jesus Christ, as we are called by holy spirit, either to a heavenly or earthly resurrection. The "name" in this regard is the hope we have by means of these three. The Kingdom message is also intrinsically tied with these three, as it is the channel of authority. For through holy spirit we learn accurately about and give praise to the Son as King of God's Kingdom, and who himself will hand over the kingdom to his God and Father, subjecting himself to that one, thus bringing all things back under Jehovah's authority. (1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 John 4:2, 3) Therefore, it is not a "baptismal formula", but is the salvation formula.

The Baptismal Questions

Now, during the baptismal talk, we ask the candidates specifically, "On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?" And then, "Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization?" This is calling upon the candidates to make a public declaration of their own faith, not a declaration of our own role in baptizing them.
So why do we say "spirit-directed organization"? Because this is the channel of God's spirit within His organizational arrangement. Getting baptized is the way individuals make their dedication to the true God, Jehovah, as disciples of his Son, Jesus Christ, in subjection to Christ's direction through God's holy spirit to his earthly representatives.

By mentioning Jehovah, Jesus and God's spirit-directed organization, we are asking the baptismal candidates if they understand the way the spirit operates and if they are ready to be obedient to this channel of authority. (Compare Revelation 1:1) To reject obedience to Jehovah's earthly representatives is to reject Jehovah and his holy spirit, as well as the rule of Jesus Christ, as Jehovah's organization is being directed by holy spirit and represents the kingdom ruled by Jesus Christ now ruling in heaven. (Ephesians 5:21-27; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:5)

Could anyone ever have been permitted holy spirit in the first century if they rejected the authority of the apostles? Of course not. Likewise today, though the apostles are long dead, Jehovah is still using a spirit-directed organization. Really, how can one's life be guided by holy spirit if they are not willing to subject themselves to God's channel of authority? Just as the scripture says, "Therefore he who opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will receive judgment to themselves." —Romans 13:1-2; compare Romans 15:15-18.


Dismythed said…
Anonymous of September 30, 2015 at 4:14 PM

Simple answer: "You are mistaken, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God." (Matthew 22:29)

Acts 15:23, 28
Dismythed said…
The complex answer to each of your supposed refutations against my scriptures supporting an organization is this:

Ephesians 5:21-24 is discussing the order of subjection: that wives should be in subjection to their husbands. Husbands are not to be in subjection to their wives. (2 Timothy 2:12, 13) No, but the congregation is to be in subjection to Christ, and by implication, husbands are to be in subject to the congregation, that is the elders of the local congregation, just as is said at Hebrews 13:17 and 1 Peter 5:5, whose authority in turn is "the elders in Jerusalem" who are over the entire association of brothers in the world. (Acts 15:2, 23; 16:4; 21:17-18)

Hebrews 13:17 gives reason for subjecting ourselves to leadership, not those we choose to be our leaders, but to those appointed by a greater authority, the circuit overseer, as described at Titus 1:5.

You highlighted "for your benefit" twice, but "benefit" is not the benefit. It is simply saying that there is a benefit. The question being begged by your lack of considering it is, What is the benefit? At 1 Peter 5:5, it is so as not to be opposed by God. If you are opposed by God then you are most certainly working against his holy spirit. The word used in the Greek at Hebrews 13:17 literally means "disadventageous", meaning that it would not be in your best interest to fail to be obedient. Why? Because the elders are watching over the congregation as those who will render an account. Who are they rendering their account to? Jehovah, of course, by means of holy spirit. If they must render an account, how much more the one who rejects their authority.

Romans 13:1, 2 is referring to all of Jehovah's organizational arrangements or are we not in subjection to Christ's kingdom? We will be judged if we stand against the authority of the governments, how much more if we stand against the authority of God's arrangement for true worship. It is not the organization run by men that delivers the judgment, but Christ himself, with his holy ones, who will do so. (Psalm 45:4; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 6:2)

Romans 15:18 says, "For I will not presume to speak about anything except what Christ has done through me in order for the nations to be obedient, by my word and deed." In other words, the nations were to be obedient to Paul's words and deeds.

You made a valiant effort to take those scriptures into the context, but chose only to see what you wanted to see and failed to see the actual points being made. That is the very definition of spiritual blindness. What makes one an "opposer" is seeking to turn me and my brothers away from Jehovah or his organization. "Repent, therefore, and turn around so as to get your sins blotted out, so that seasons of refreshing may come from Jehovah himself and he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus." (Acts 3:19-20)
Robert said…
Indeed, CJ.

This accusation is made to further the lie that Jehovah's Witnesses dedicate themselves to do the will of an "organization", and not to Jehovah God, while hand-waving the very first question that says in part: "...dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?"

It amazes me how people don't bother to actually read...

Robert said…
I was just thinking about a question that was asked about the baptismal questions. The objection was simply: "In the Bible, there wasn't a session sitting with two elders discussing questions from a book, so why do witnesses do it"?

The passage normally quoted in support of this is Acts 8:36. An Ethiopian official appears to get baptized immediately after reading from Isaiah. If you don't read the surrounding verses for context, it seems as if this is the first time he learned of Jesus, and immediately was baptized with very little knowledge of the scriptures. Apostates use this to support the idea that Jehovah's Witnesses are doing something unscriptural, and that people should be able to get baptized based on a mere desire to do so.

The fact is, the official was already a worshipper of Jehovah long before encountering Phillip. (Acts 8:27) That verse states that he "had gone to Jerusalem to worship". So he was already familiar with God and his Word, but needed more help. Once he got the help, he took advantage of the opportunity to get baptized!

One of the reasons why we go over questions with soon-to-be baptized Witnesses is to make sure they fully understand the seriousness of the commitment, and have a basic understanding of the Bible (like the Ethiopian had) after all, they're "dedicating" themselves to Jehovah. That cannot be taken lightly.

Additionally, and this based on my personal observations, many former Witnesses have claimed that they should have their baptisms "invalidated" because they "didn't fully understand what they were getting into", or they were lied to or tricked.

Discussing those questions helps remedy that, and basically invalidates any claims that the full meaning of their dedication was hidden from them.

Bottom line, no worshipper of Jehovah made their dedication out of ignorance in the first century.
Dismythed said…
Nor in this century for Jehovah's Witnesses.

It doesn't matter what we say or do, apostates will lie and twist everything to justify their apostasy to others. We do it right, but they say it's wrong. We give people ample time to study and we even encourage independent study. We reason with them. We go over written information. We encourage them to ask questions, even training them to do so. We make sure it is their belief before baptism. We put them through rigorous questioning to make sure that at least most of what they understand is correct and that the primary tenants are absolutely correct and that there is nothing that they don't have down that would cause them any trouble.

But apostates lie and say we don't give people a chance to study on their own or they say that it was our responsibility to present all views on a scripture. They say we don't reason or that we indoctrinate, yet we have the book Reasoning from the scriptures and many articles clearly spelling out the reasoning. In fact, most of the world has come to know about Christmas's pagan origins because of our preaching and reasoning. They say we don't allow questions or they make it sound like they have innocent "questions" when they have already made up their minds and then complain when we reject their dissension. The fact is, apostates just come to realize that they do not want to live according to Jehovah's standards or think in a way approved in the Scriptures.

I didn't get baptized until a year and six months after I started studying, not because they would not let me, but because I was afraid of what dedication to God meant for me as to whether I could live up to that dedication or not. (In fact, we prefer to bring someone to baptism within six months if possible, but we work according to the needs of the individual.) How much time does a person need to ask questions and do personal study to find out if they've found the truth or not? In fact, I wore out my Bible teacher with questions and studied many of the world's commentaries and religious texts and found them deficient in their reasonings while finding the reasonings of Jehovah's Witnesses to be almost pristine. When I wanted to get baptized, the questions seemed daunting. I was afraid that I was going to be asked to study more, but come to find out, they weren't expecting my knowledge to be perfect, but only acceptable. (Could you imagine if any religion required one's knowledge of the Bible to be flawless? Egads.)

If we say "left", they say "right" and if we say "up", they say "down". There's no way to please an apostate. If we did baptize right away, they would claim hat we're just trying to bolster our numbers, or say we didn't give them a chance to learn the truth before committing to baptism.
Robert said…
Yep, exactly. This has paid dividends for Jehovah's Witnesses. People acknowledge our knowledge of the Bible is superior. Hence, religious leaders tell their members not to talk to us for this reason, because they will come back with questions those leaders don't want to answer, and they'll leave the Church. Seeing that most of their traditions are unscriptural anyway, it isn't shocking.

Yeah, they do act as if they were df'd for simply asking "questions". The issue with that is that the appeals process makes sure all congregational discipline of that nature is valid and scriptural, and if someone was df'd for simple innocent "questioning", it would surely get reversed.

Like you say, its really dissent that they're engaged in. And Elders are warned not to be quick to accuse someone of apostasy. Strong evidence must be produced. Its complete nonsense the lies their selling.

I was similar to you CJ. I was raised by a Witness mother. I didn't get baptized at all because I was aware of the seriousness of my dedication, and wasn't ready to live up to it at the time. When I was ready to live up to it, I was baptized within a year's time.

Honest people tend to see through their lies. Anyone who believes them very likely already wanted to believe it anyway.

When I was out in the world, I was fortunate to have a strong foundational knowledge of our beliefs, so when I ran into apostates, a few questions asking for verification quickly ended those discussions.

Evidence is the ENEMY of apostates.

Dismythed said…
To the foolish jlue:

"If any man thinks he is a worshipper of God but does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he is deceiving his own heart, and his worship is futile." —James 1:26

"Now I urge you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you should all speak in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you may be completely united in the same mind and in the same line of thought." —1 Corinthians 1:10

"All things are lawful, but not all things are advantageous. All things are lawful, but not all things build up. Let each one keep seeking, not his own advantage, but that of the other person. . . .

". . . I do not mean your own conscience, but that of the other person. For why should my freedom be judged by another person’s conscience? 30 If I am partaking with thanks, why am I to be spoken of abusively over that for which I give thanks?

"Therefore, whether you are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory. Keep from becoming causes for stumbling to Jews as well as Greeks and to the congregation of God, just as I am trying to please all people in all things, not seeking my own advantage, but that of the many, so that they may be saved.

"Become imitators of me, just as I am of Christ." —1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1

"Therefore, let us not judge one another any longer but, rather, be determined not to put a stumbling block or an obstacle before a brother." —Romans 14:13

"Then he said to his disciples: “It is unavoidable that causes for stumbling should come. Nevertheless, woe to the one through whom they come! 2 It would be more advantageous for him if a millstone were hung from his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to stumble one of these little ones." —Luke 17:1, 2
Bill said…
Is there a specific formula or statement made as a person is being immersed? Does the baptizer say something akin to, "I baptize you in the name of the Father..."?
Robert said…
Bill, thanks for the question. The answer is "no", as mentioned in the article, and I quote:

"Jesus was not telling them something that they were supposed to say by rote from baptismal candidate to baptismal candidate, saying "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the holy spirit." In fact, if you look at all the baptisms in the Bible, you never once see anyone recite that formula or even imply it. Go ahead, read all the various baptisms at Matthew 3:6, 11, 15, 16; Mark 1:4, 5, 8-11; Luke 3:3-17, 21, 22; John 1:26-34; 3:22-4:3; Acts 2:38-42; 8:12, 13, 36-39; 9:18, 19; 10:44-48; 16:14-15, 33; 18:8; 19:1-6; 22:16"

So there is nothing said.
Dismythed said…
The main key to that text is actually Acts 8:26, 29, which clearly show Philip being sent by an angel to find the eunich and being directly inspired by the holy spirit. This shows that in those days holy spirit was directly involved in the process of disciple-making and was the direct result of gifts of the spirit. But those spcific gifts were done away with. (1Co 13:8-12)

Thus, we only have the power of the message itself to go by, which is now completely understood. Therefore, we do not need the holy spirit to testify anymore, thereby the reason why it is no longer involved in the process. We have the Scriptures to inform us, but holy spirit is still required for the message to reach hearts. (2Co 3:3)

But we are not left without evidence of the calling through holy spirit. 1 Thessalonians 1:4-7 shows that the way the message gets delivered and how it affects a change in the lives of those who accept it is evidence of holy spirit. Any individual that does not undergo a change in their lives has no evidence of holy spirit and therefore was not called by holy spirit, but are attaching themselves to the truth for a different reason.

Reason alone is simply not enough for one to become a true disciple. (1Th 1:5a) Though it is not without proper thinking ability. (Ro 12:1) Thus, without holy spirit identifying to us who is ready for baptism, we only have observation of their knowledge, understanding and demonstration of a change in their life course through living a clean life and preaching, as with the Thessalonian congregation. (Paul had no idea about them, because he was forced to leave them abruptly, out in middle of nowhere, until he saw the evidence.)
Dismythed said…
To Anonymous of February 11, 2018 at 7:30 AM:

We do not allow persecutory posts. But if you wish to discuss those things with us in private, feel free to contact us using the contact form in the sidebar to the right. -.

If not, i'll just say that the things in this post are in line with 1 Thessalonians 5:23. To address your other concern, you can also read our post Waiting on Jehovah.
Anonymous said…
Thank you ! I have a question about the baptism blog since it’s not longer referred to “spirit directed organization” this makes your
Reason for that invalid? You state your reason for why it says this but the current view is the new light and your answer reflects old light ? This might be considered apostasy? I know it’s not but there are some really zealous elders trying to make a name for themselves. Perhaps further clarification or updated response to explain old information?? Thank you for your work once again. Have a great day.
Dismythed said…
I am having trouble understanding your question.

First, there has never been a time when we baptized "in the name of the Father, the Son and Jehovah's spirit-directed organization," so there is no change.

Second, if anyone is "trying to make a name for themselves," then they are blogging for the wrong reason. For a time, Dismythed became so popular that my writing partner and I agreed to remove our names because we are not trying to get popular.

Third, apostasy, as has been stated in other places on this site, is not in a teaching, but in the attitude of the individual.