Q: If a person has been baptized in another church with the formula ‘in the name of the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier,’ would we advise the individual to be baptized ‘again’ when joining one of our churches?”
A: Jesus gave us the words to use when he instituted the Sacrament of Holy Baptism: “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). The use of these words is not to be taken lightly, for in them God has empowered life-giving strength for the sinner’s soul. Any genuine Trinitarian congregation or church body will not purposefully seek to undermine or change the meaning of Christ’s words of institution. Churches today which use the expression “Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier” as a substitute for “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” often do so in order to cater to the agenda of the feminist movement in removing the male references to God found in Holy Scripture.
Some point to the phrases found in Acts 2:38 (“in the name of Jesus Christ”), Acts 8:16 (“in the name of the Lord Jesus”), or Acts 10:~8 (“in the name of the Lord”) as justification for permitting the use of other baptism formulas according to the Christians’ discretion. But these expressions are in no way presented in God’s Word as formulas intended to replace or overturn the words of Jesus ill Matthew 28. Having said this, we must also acknowledge that the Christian church has regarded baptisms as true and valid when performed with the essential sense of Christ’s institution; for example, the use of the words: “in the name of the Triune God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” A situation like this will be rare. And when it occurs it dare not be for the sake of trying to avoid the full meaning of what Christ intended. Political expediency or sexual “sensitivity” should never be the utmost concern. Being true to God’s Word is foremost. He is the only one in whom there is salvation for both males and females.
Since many yield more to the god of “politically correct speech” than the verbally inerrant words of the one and only I AM, and since there is a proliferation of non-Trinitarian cults in our society, our own church body must always be vigilant in this matter. It is the opinion of this writer that the advice to baptize “again,” given the circumstances, would be warranted. A pastor will, at the same time, wish to be careful not to plant any seeds of doubt in the heart of a professing Christian where none previously existed. The fact that such a question would come to the pastor’s attention might well indicate a personal questioning of the validity of one’s baptism. And when in doubt, to baptize “again” is clearly appropriate.