William Branham's Challenge on the Baptismal Formula

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This article is one in a series of studies on baptism - you are currently on the topic that is in bold:

William Branham invited people to prove him wrong when he stated in 1957:

Nowhere was we ever commanded to baptize, "In the name of the Father, and in the name of the Son, and name of the Holy Ghost," not nowhere in the Scriptures. It's a Catholic creed, and it's not for the Protestant church. I'll ask anybody to show me one Scripture where any person was ever baptized any other way than in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Come, show it to me, and I'll put a sign on my back, "A hypocrite, and a false prophet, a false teacher," and go through the streets. There's no such a thing. Never was anybody baptized that way. It's a Catholic creed, and not a Protestant doctrine.[1]

So there is the challenge laid down by William Branham - Find one scripture where any person was ever baptized any other way than in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Actually that challenge is quite easy to meet and we would challenge message believers to find us one scripture where anyone was actually baptized in the triune name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here are the relevant passages:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...[2]
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.[3]
...they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.[4]
So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.[5]
On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.[6]
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?[7]
for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.[8]

The Bible should be simply understood and therefore it seems quite obvious that William Branham has interpreted the scripture to say something that it clearly doesn't. The phrase "Lord Jesus Christ" appears 6 times in the book of Acts so it would have been very easy for Luke to have stated clearly that people were to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. But since he didn't, it is not possible to make that claim.

What is clear is that, from the historical record, there was no emphasis on the exact formula of baptism. thereby proving one of the fundamental doctrines of William Branham's message to be flawed.

Video Transcript

William Branham invited people to prove him wrong in 1957:

Nowhere was we ever commanded to baptize, "In the name of the Father, and in the name of the Son, and name of the Holy Ghost," not nowhere in the Scriptures. It's a Catholic creed, and it's not for the Protestant church. I'll ask anybody to show me one Scripture where any person was ever baptized any other way than in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Come, show it to me, and I'll put a sign on my back, "A hypocrite, and a false prophet, a false teacher," and go through the streets. (57-0825E, para. 202)

It is clear that message churches follow this teaching. I was at a baptismal service in a message church where a person was baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus and the pastor required the person to be immediately rebaptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Message pastors can’t tolerate someone disobeying the holy words of William Branham.

The challenge laid down by William Branham is quite clear… Find one scripture where any person was ever baptized any other way than in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ… if you do, William Branham has been proved to be a false prophet and a false teacher

Actually that challenge is quite easy to meet and I would challenge any message believer to find me a single solitary scripture where anyone was actually baptized in the triune name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Shockingly, there aren’t any.

Acts 2:38 requires baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. That’s how I was baptized when I was 13 years old. Acts 8:16 and 19:5 refer to baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 10:48 states that baptism should be in the name of the Lord. And finally, Romans 6:3 tells us of people baptized into Jesus Christ. Not a single baptism described in the book of Acts uses William Branham’s formula of the name of the “Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Bible should be simply understood based on the words written and it seems quite obvious that William Branham interpreted scripture to say something that it clearly doesn't say. The phrase "Lord Jesus Christ" appears 6 times in the book of Acts, so it would have been easy for Luke to have stated that people were to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since he didn't, it is not possible to make such a claim.

Let me make myself clear, I have no issue with someone being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ or Jesus Christ or the Lord Jesus. I also have no problem with people being baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit as we read in the Book of Matthew. This is the way the Christian church has baptized people from the first century.

What is clear is that, from the Biblical record, there was no emphasis on the exact words said during baptism… which disproves William Branham's claim. If I just say what the tapes say… which is what message ministers would love me to do… then by his own admission, William Branham was a false prophet.


Footnotes

  1. William Branham, Hebrews Chapter Two, Jeffersonville, Indiana, August 25, 1957
  2. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Mt 28:19.
  3. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ac 2:38.
  4. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ac 8:16.
  5. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ac 10:48.
  6. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ac 19:5.
  7. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ro 6:3–4.
  8. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ga 3:27.


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