Matthew 28:19

 Matthew 28:19 is not original and is an interpolation  according to Biblical scholars

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

  I’m sure many of you have come across avid Trinitarians who use this verse time and again to prove the Trinity. However, even if one were to accept the verse as true and authentic for the sake of argumet it does not in any way prove the Trinity doctrine. Mr. James Patrick Holding from tektonics.org in his response to Pastor A. Ploughman(who wrote on the issue)admits:

“I would begin by noting that our own study of the Trinity makes absolutely no use of Matthew 28:19. This verse is not particularly useful for Trinitarian defense as it theoretically could support any view — modalism, even tritheism, could be permitted from this verse, for it only lists the members of the Triune Godhead with absolutely no explanation as to their exact relationship. Verse 18 would indicate that the Father is in a functionally superior relationship to the Son, but that says nothing about an ontological relationship; though one may justly argue that it is very unlikely (but not impossible) that all three would be named together if there were not an ontological equality, lest God’s glory somehow be compromised.”

The volumnuous book What Did Jesus Really Say? provides a good explanation for the verse that does away with the Trinitarian argument that because the verse uses the word name in the singular form to describe three names this means that the three are one like 1 John 5:7. Unfortunately(for Trinitarians), as how What Did Jesus Really Say has illustrated such an argument does not hold much weight:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
If ex-President George Bush told General Norman Schwartzkopf to “Go ye therefore, and speak to the Iraqis, chastising them in the name of the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union,” does this require that these three countries are one physical country? They may be one in purpose and in their goals but this does in no way require that they are the same physical entity. [1]

According to the New Testament scholar J.B. Philips in his Translation of the New Testament into Modern English:

“The modern view is that Mark’s Gospel came first, and that both Matthew and Luke based theirs on Mark and other collections of material about Jesus.” [2]

This view is shared by numerous other Biblical scholars. One would think that if the author of Matthew(whoever he was) based his writings on Mark the Trinitarian formula would be seen in the latter. The truth is of course this so called baptismal formula is never to be found again anywhere in the New Testament after Matthew 28:19. The fact that Mark, Luke and John never mentions it is sufficient reason to place the verse under suspicion.

Krister Stendahl Ph.D, Theol.D. who’s Assoc. Professor of New Testament Studies at Harvard University in his commentary of Matthew writes:

“1 19. This mission is described in the language of the church and most commentators doubt that the trinitarian formula was original at this point in Mt.’s Gospel, since the NT elsewhere does not know of such a formula & describes baptism as being performed in the name of the Lord Jesus (e.g. Ac 2:38, 8:16, etc.). Neither Mt. nor any of the other synoptics describes Jesus as practising baptism;…” [3] (emphasis added)

The New International Standard Bible Encyclopedia writes:

“Matthew 28:19 in particular only canonizes a later ecclesiastical situation, that its universalism is contrary to the facts of early Christian history, and its Trinitarian formula (is) foreign to the mouth of Jesus.” [4]

The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary says:

“…the baptismal formula of Matt. 28:19 (perhaps a development from the simpler formula reflected in Acts 2:38; 8:16; and elsewhere…” [5]

In a footnote to the verse in the 1966 Jerusalem Bible we read:

“It may be that this formula, so far as the fullness of its expression is concerned, is a reflection of the liturgical usage established later in the primitive community. It will be remembered that the Acts speak of baptizing “in the name of Jesus”, Acts 1:5 +. But whatever the variation on formula the underlying reality remains the same” [6]

In The Five Gospels we read:

“Teach and Baptize. The great commission in Matt 22:18-20 has its counterpart in Luke 24:47-48 and Acts 1:8(both Luke and Acts were written by the same author). In John 20:22-23, Jesus bestows the holy spirit on the disciples and confirms their authority to forgive and bind sins. These commissions have little in common, which indicates that they have been created by the individual evangelists to express their conception of the future of the Jesus movement. As a consequence, they cannot be traced back to Jesus.

The commission in Matthew is expressed in Matthew’s language and reflects the evangelist’s idea of the world mission of the church. Jesus probably had no idea of launching a world mission and certainly was not an institution builder. The three parts of the commission-make disciples, baptize and teach- constitute the program adopted by the infant movemen, but do not reflect direct instructions from Jesus.

These commissions do not rest on old tradition, as their variety and divergence show. They are framed in language characteristic of the individual evangelists and express their views of how the mission of the infant church is to be understood.” [7] (emphasis added)

Eminent New Testament scholar Professor Raymond Brown writes:

“I have not added Matt 28:19 where the risen Jesus tells the eleven disciples, “Going therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,”  a passage found nowhere else. Since other evidence points to a simpler baptismal formula “in the name of Jesus,” we probably have here a liturgical formula used at the end of the 1st century in Matthew’s church…” [8]

Finally, we read in The Gospels and Jesus :

“The command to the disciples to baptize ‘in the name of’ the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ‘ is quite without parallel in the New Testament. Elsewhere baptism is spoken of as being in or through the name of Jesus( for example, see Acts 2:38, 10:48; Rom 6:3, 1 Cor 1:13,15 and 6:11) Matthew’s use of the threefold name in baptism is a later development which quickly became the standard Christian formulation.” [9] (emphasis added)

Out the window goes yet another Biblical verse! Numerous other scholars have also suggested that this verse be discarded from being attributed to the lips of Jesus. However, the scholars that have thus far been quoted sufficiently satisfy our point. If you are not interested in a course in miracles , then you have already missed a lot.

Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say:”This is from Allah,” to traffic with it for miserable price!- Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby. (Qur’an, 2:79)

References:

[1] Misha’al ibn Abdullah(1996). What Did Jesus Really Say?. United States: Islamic Assembly of North America. p. 26

[2]Retrieved from http://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/CN201BOOKIntros.htm#matthew

[3] Stendahl, Krister. Peake’s Commentary on the Bible, p. 798

[4] The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 2637

[5] The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary(1996). pp. 1179

[6] The Jerusalem Bible, 1966, p. 64

[7] Funk, Robert W. , Hoover, Roy W. , & the Jesus Seminar. The Five Gospels.  p. 270

[8] Brown, R. E. (1994). An Introduction to New Testament Christology. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press. pp. 89-90

[9] Graham N. Stanton(1989). The Gospels and Jesus. New York: Oxford University Press. p.76

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18 Responses to “Matthew 28:19”

  1. hikmah1288 says:

    Assalam Alikum Ibn!

    This is Hikmat212 from paltalk. My article has been posted on my blog. It can be found here: http://hikmah1288.wordpress.com/

    If you want, you can post it on your site as well. Moreover, i think we should link up. Inshallah.

    Wassalam Alaykum

  2. Ibn Saad says:

    Salam,

    Ibn Anwar, very good article. Bro we should work on trinitydebate.wordpress.com. A site dedicated to the trinity, what do you think?

    BTW, add my other blog to your blogroll: islamicarchives.wordpress.com

  3. Ibn Anwar says:

    Assalamu’alaikum,
    Hey bro..how are you? I hope you are in good health. Insha’Allah, we shall work on your site. I am however still trying to boost this site and maintain a steady stream of visitors. To achieve that I have to costantly update the material : p. Apart from that I also have my classes to worry about. So, I do sort of have my hands full. But, we shall see what we can do bro ; ).

    All right, I will add that site to the link section ; ). Wassalam

    Ibn Anwar

  4. ibnsaad says:

    Fine, can i compile my trinitydebate stuff on ur site? Add me as User

  5. Mansoor_ali says:

    Does Matthew 28:19 prove Trinity?

    Taken from http://www.biblicalunitarian.c.....038;pid=77

    Matthew 28:19

    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. (NIV)

    1. Eusebius (c. 260—c. 340) was the Bishop of Caesarea and is known as “the Father of Church History.” Although he wrote prolifically, his most celebrated work is his Ecclesiastical History, a history of the Church from the Apostolic period until his own time. Today it is still the principal work on the history of the Church at that time. Eusebius quotes many verses in his writings, and Matthew 28:19 is one of them. He never quotes it as it appears today in modern Bibles, but always finishes the verse with the words “in my name.” For example, in Book III of his History, Chapter 5, Section 2, which is about the Jewish persecution of early Christians, we read:

    But the rest of the apostles, who had been incessantly plotted against with a view to their destruction, and had been driven out of the land of Judea, went unto all nations to preach the Gospel, relying upon the power of Christ, who had said to them, “Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in my name.”

    Again, in his Oration in Praise of Emperor Constantine, Chapter 16, Section 8, we read:

    What king or prince in any age of the world, what philosopher, legislator or prophet, in civilized or barbarous lands, has attained so great a height of excellence, I say not after death, but while living still, and full of mighty power, as to fill the ears and tongues of all mankind with the praises of his name? Surely none save our only Savior has done this, when, after his victory over death, he spoke the word to his followers, and fulfilled it by the event, saying to them, “Go ye and make disciples of all nations in my name.”

    Eusebius was present at the council of Nicaea and was involved in the debates about Arian teaching and whether Christ was God or a creation of God. We feel confident that if the manuscripts he had in front of him read “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” he would never have quoted it as “in my name.” Thus, we believe that the earliest manuscripts read “in my name,” and that the phrase was enlarged to reflect the orthodox position as Trinitarian influence spread.

    2. If Matthew 28:19 is accurate as it stands in modern versions, then there is no explanation for the apparent disobedience of the apostles, since there is not a single occurrence of them baptizing anyone according to that formula. All the records in the New Testament show that people were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus, just as the text Eusebius was quoting said to do. In other words, the “name of Jesus Christ,” i.e., all that he represents, is the element, or substance, into which people were figuratively “baptized.” “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins’” (Acts 2:38). “They had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:16). “So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:48). “On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5). We cannot imagine any reason for the Apostles and others in Acts to disobey a command of the risen Christ. To us, it seems clear that Christ said to baptize in his name, and that was what the early Church did.

    3. Even if the Father, Son and holy spirit are mentioned in the original text of this verse, that does not prove the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity states that the Father, Son and “Holy Spirit” together make “one God.” This verse refers to three, but never says they are “one.” The three things this verse refers to are: God the Father, the Lord Jesus and the power of holy spirit (We say “holy spirit” instead of “Holy Spirit” because we believe that this verse is referring to God’s gift of holy spirit that is born inside each believer. It is lower case because it refers to the gift of God and not God. The original Greek texts were all written in what scholars call “uncial script,” which uses all capital letters. Thus, although we today make a distinction between “Spirit” and “spirit,” in the originals every use was just “SPIRIT.” Whether or not it should be capitalized is a translator’s decision, based on the context of the verse. For more on the form of the early texts, see the note on Heb. 1:8).

    It should be clear that three separate things do not make “one God.” Morgridge writes:

    No passage of Scripture asserts that God is three. If it be asked what I intend to qualify by the numeral three, I answer, anything which the reader pleases. There is no Scripture which asserts that God is three persons, three agents, three beings, three Gods, three spirits, three substances, three modes, three offices, three attributes, three divinities, three infinite minds, three somewhats, three opposites, or three in any sense whatever. The truth of this has been admitted by every Trinitarian who ever wrote or preached on the subject.”

    4. It is sometimes stated that in order to be baptized into something, that something has to be God, but that reasoning is false, because Scripture states that the Israelites were “baptized into Moses” (1 Cor. 10:2).

    5. It is sometimes stated that the Father, Son and spirit have one “name,” so they must be one. It is a basic tenet of Trinitarian doctrine not to “confound the persons” (Athanasian Creed), and it does indeed confound the persons to call all three of them by one “name,” especially since no such “name” is ever given in Scripture (“God” is not a name). If the verse were teaching Trinitarian doctrine and mentioned the three “persons,” then it should use the word “names.” There is a much better explanation for why “name” is used in the singular.

    A study of the culture and language shows that the word “name” stood for “authority.” Examples are very numerous, but space allows only a small selection. Deuteronomy 18:5 and 7 speak of serving in the “name” (authority) of the Lord. Deuteronomy 18:22 speaks of prophesying in the “name” (authority) of the Lord. In 1 Samuel 17:45, David attacked Goliath in the “name” (authority) of the Lord, and he blessed the people in the “name” (authority) of the Lord. In 2 Kings 2:24, Elisha cursed troublemakers in the “name” (authority) of the Lord. These scriptures are only a small sample, but they are very clear. If the modern versions of Matthew 28:19 are correct (which we doubt, see above), then we would still not see this verse as proving the Trinity. Rather, they would be showing the importance of the three: the Father who is God, the Son (who was given authority by God [Matt. 28:18]) and the holy spirit, which is the gift of God.

    6. In reading the book of Matthew, we note that there is no presentation of the doctrine of the Trinity. Some prominent Trinitarians doubt that the apostles were even introduced to the doctrine until after they received holy spirit. It would be strange indeed for Christ to introduce the doctrine of the Trinity here in the next-to-last verse in the book without it being mentioned earlier. [For further study on the subject of baptism, read “Two Baptisms: Which Is Which?”]

    Morgridge, pp. 13-15, 28, 98-101

    Norton, pp. 215-218

    Racovian Catechism, pp. 36-39

    Snedeker, pp. 109-115

  6. Polycarp says:

    I see that you’ve compiled a great deal of information here, so I’ll try and respond to the main points. Moving to the first quote, Pastor A. Ploughman is sort of correct in saying that. However, its easy to prove Modelism false by showing the Father and the Son interacting together at the same time in various areas of the Gospels i.e. Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist; where you see the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost independently, yet at the sametime. Thus, it only proves Modelism to those who prefer proof texting techniques. Even if we would accept a Modalistic view of God, while interrpreting this verse, it still means Jesus was divine and was revealed as divine, since thats what Modalism declares. So using Pastor Ploughman’s quote as a counter of the Trinity really doesn’t do anything for the issue at hand….Jesus’ divinity. Recognizing Jesus’ divinity is a foundational step in recognizing the Trinity. So once you couple Matthew 28:19 with other verses in Matthew and the other Gospels, it becomes clear that Modelism does not work with that verse. Thus dealing a death blow to that idea…as the verse couple with the other verses would point out, Jesus is divine, Jesus shares the name of the Father and the Holy Spirit, and all three exist independently at the sametime; thus, you have the Trinity. As far as J.B. Philips’ quote… I’m not sure of J.B. Philips’ view on the Q Gospel, but it most certainly has gained popularity in the last twenty years after his death. Scholars in the 19th century had began to notice that Matthew and Luke contain information not found in Mark and thus speculated a possible earlier source. With that being said, not only does Matthew and Luke contain information that they share not found in Mark, they also contain information independent from each other. So what you have is a sort of three way split of various information going on here. Which would naturally occur in documents independently written by different sources that record similar ideas, we see that in history all the time. However, the kicker is that this Matthew 28:19 is actually apart of Matthew, as its apparent in the earliest sources we have. The primary reason it’s suspect is its coming from a resurrected Jesus telling the disciples to preach to the nations. So the question should be raised, why do these scholars, i.e. the Jesus Seminar, throw this verse away as not being originally quoted by Jesus? The answer is because supernatural works cannot be done, thus anything written from the mouth of a resurrected Jesus (which would be supernatural) was put in by later Christians and any miracles performed throughout the Gospels were not true. In other words, the scholars you use to paint the Gospels false, if you used their standard on the Qur’an, the Qur’an would be thrown out the window instantly, because, as you know in accordance to Islamic tradition, the Qur’an is a miracle in itself. To summerize my ponits, saying that this verse could support various non-Trinitarian ideas does not do anything to Jesus’ divine nature, as these ideas hold him to be divine, and the only reason its thrown out the window by some scholars, is because it came from the mouth of the resurrected Jesus, thus its supernatural.

    • Ibn Anwar says:

      Okay ..through all that we cam surmise your contention to the following,
      “The scholars i.e. Jesus Seminar reject the verse as coming authentically from Jesus because it took place after the resurrection which is within the domain of the supernatural something which they can’t possibly accept.”

      This contention of yours is totally baseless. Let us reproduce the testimony of Funk and Hoover from the Jesus Seminar,
      “Teach and Baptize. The great commission in Matt 22:18-20 has its counterpart in Luke 24:47-48 and Acts 1:8(both Luke and Acts were written by the same author). In John 20:22-23, Jesus bestows the holy spirit on the disciples and confirms their authority to forgive and bind sins. These commissions have little in common, which indicates that they have been created by the individual evangelists to express their conception of the future of the Jesus movement. As a consequence, they cannot be traced back to Jesus.

      The commission in Matthew is expressed in Matthew’s language and reflects the evangelist’s idea of the world mission of the church. Jesus probably had no idea of launching a world mission and certainly was not an institution builder. The three parts of the commission-make disciples, baptize and teach- constitute the program adopted by the infant movemen, but do not reflect direct instructions from Jesus.

      These commissions do not rest on old tradition, as their variety and divergence show. They are framed in language characteristic of the individual evangelists and express their views of how the mission of the infant church is to be understood.” [6] (emphasis added)

      Nowhere in their rejection of the verse did they say that it’s due to what you claim to be ‘supernatural’ but rather they say it is because, “These commissions have little in common, which indicates that they have been created by the individual evangelists to express their conception of the future of the Jesus movement. As a consequence, they cannot be traced back to Jesus.” So they say that the commissions are in conflict of each other which logically brings a critical analyst to the conclusion that Jesus could not possibly have said every single one of them(or any of them for that matter) but, rather they were created by the individual authors(who were anonymous). Further more they say, “Jesus probably had no idea of launching a world mission and certainly was not an institution builder. The three parts of the commission-make disciples, baptize and teach- constitute the program adopted by the infant movement, but do not reflect direct instructions from Jesus.” This is probably based on the fact that Jesus in two places explicitly forbae the disciples to preach to other than the ‘lost sheep of Israel’. I’m sure you know the so called longer ending verses of Mark. In that interpolation we also find a global commission attributed to Jesus. Today we know for certain that that is nothing more than a later fabrication. If something like that was fabricated and attributed to Jesus is it not possible, nay likely that the same had occured with Matthew?

      You mention that in the earliest sources the verse is found so it is a part of Matthew. What does this mean exactly? Mark 16(the longer ending) is found in many manuscripts IN Mark. One would say that it’s in Mark, but just because it’s a part of Mark in many manuscrpts and even in many Bibles today does not mean that it is authentically the words of Jesus. In like manner, jut because the verse is found in your earliest ‘witnesses’ does not necessitate its credibility and authenticity. In fact, scholars today admit that the words in the gospels are not true to historical facts but, are rather subjective reports that are really propaganda as the four scholars declare in the ‘Cambridge Companion to the Bible’. Raymond E. Brown informs us in 101 Questions on the Bible that the words attributed to Jesus and the other words as well are neither literal nor verbatim historical reports. Now, if they were paraphrases and not exact reports from Jesus as the scholars have admitted then how can you be certain that what you find in your gospels are true in meaning? Your claim that the basis for the rejection of Matthew 28:19 is because it’s ‘supernatural’ makes no sense. You conveniently ignored the other testimonies that do come from CHRISTIAN scholars unlike the Jesus Seminar(just because they’re not conservative Christians does not negate the scholarship of the Jesus Seminar by the way). So we have the testimony of Dr. Krister Stendahl,
      Krister Stendahl Ph.D, Theol.D. who’s Assoc. Professor of New Testament Studies at Harvard University in his commentary of Matthew writes:

      “1 19. This mission is described in the language of the church and most commentators doubt that the trinitarian formula was original at this point in Mt.’s Gospel, since the NT elsewhere does not know of such a formula & describes baptism as being performed in the name of the Lord Jesus (e.g. Ac 2:38, 8:16, etc.). Neither Mt. nor any of the other synoptics describes Jesus as practising baptism;…” [3]

      The New Interational Standard Bible Encyclopedia,
      “Matthew 28:19 in particular only canonizes a later ecclesiastical situation, that its universalism is contrary to the facts of early Christian history, and its Trinitarian formula (is) foreign to the mouth of Jesus.” [4]

      The 1966 publication of the Jerusalem Bible and also The Gospels and Jesus by Graham N. Stanton.

      So, it’s not just the Jesus Seminar that says it’s a later addition, but even Christian scholars themselves admit this. So your contention is totally unsound. By the way, the initial quote isn’t from Pastor Ploughman. It’s from James Patrick Holding who’s an apologist at tektonics.

  7. Polycarp says:

    I would not disagree that Matthew wrote these words in his own language, because thats what people do when they write something. However it does not mean Jesus did not say these words or words very similar. If you notice, Funk and Hoover base this on, “Jesus probably had no idea of launching a world mission and certainly was not an institution builder,” what this means is exactly what I stated above, the Jesus Seminar throws out much of what Jesus says because it would have to leap into the realm of the supernatural. Let me further expound, if Jesus is prevented from seeing the future by the Jesus Seminar, these words that were stated after a supernatural event, like the resurrection and because of supernatural causes (seeing the future) would not of happened unless its placed there by someone later down the line. Which makes sense if there were no supernatural entities; however, if supernatural entities do exist (like you and I both believe) and Jesus was truly the Son of God, the statemet I quoted above would be meaningless, as Jesus would have an idea of his launching of a world mission.

    It has long been awknowledged that each author had their reasoning for writing their particular Gospel. Luke and John most clearly identify their reasoning for their Gospels, and Matthew’s has long been thought to have been written for a Jewish audience. That already paints that there was probably a twist on what each author may have emphasized. If you notice in Luke 1:2 it states, in referencing to many accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry, that “they (the authors of the accounts, Luke 1:1) used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples.” With that being said, just because each author has a different take on the commission, as the commissioning instances themselves vary in description, it is very possible Jesus said all of these things with each Gospel author putting emphasis on what they felt fit their case the best. What makes this possibility even greater is the fact that Jesus walked on the earth 40days after his resurrection, so there is a strong possibility in preparing the disciples for the future of “the Way,” he had several commissioning talks with them. The reason we know the ending of Mark may not be legit, is because of the earliest source documents for Mark, they do not contain the second ending. Matthew 28:19 is an original to the Gospel of Matthew, and I have yet to see otherwise. If there was a possibility that this was added in their later, the Jesus Seminar would have jumped all over it in the statements above. However, the dispute is with whether or not Matthew captured a real quotation from Jesus. So to answer your question, “you mention that in the earliest sources the verse is found so it is a part of Matthew. What does this mean exactly?” We know its Matthew because there is no other source manuscripts that dispute otherwise, not to mention the Jesus seminar just said in your above quotation that “the commission in Matthew is expressed in Matthew’s language,” ….where as Mark, the second ending started showing up in the manuscripts a couple hundred years after Mark was written and also that second ending starts off after the Gospel was clearly closed at verse 8, making it an awkward start up in verse 9. You state, “your claim that the basis for the rejection of Matthew 28:19 is because it’s ’supernatural’ makes no sense,” where do you suppose Funk and Hoover got the idea that Jesus could not possibly have known where his movement would go? I do not dismiss everything the Jesus Seminar states, infact, the biggest thing and perhaps the only thing I have in dispute with them is some of their criteria for determining what Jesus really said and did. One criterian was anything Jesus did that violates the laws of nature was not a legit Jesus action, which is why they throw out good portions of what Jesus said or did. As far as the other two commentators, Krister Stendahl and The New International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, they both bring up good points that should be considered. I do disagree with the NISBE in its statement that early Chrsitianity wasn’t universal and believe that to be a weak point in proving this verse to not be uttered by Jesus. As far as the initial quote issue, I stated it was from Pastor Ploughman because I believe thats who you quoted as saying that, but I miss read it. Either way, I believe pointing at other verses in the Gospels would reveal that if one accepts Jesus as God, one cannot have a Modalistic view of God. However, the main point to take away from that is even if God fits into Modelisms view, Jesus is still considered divine as there is no way of getting around that, and thus this verse still reveals him as God. As far as those other links, I’ll have to look at those later when I have more time.
    If it appears some subjects overlap in these two paragraphs, its because I dealt with sections at a time.

    • Ibn Anwar says:

      Assalamu’alaikum and Greetings,
      First of all I’d like to thank you polycarp for your continued participation and my apologies for the delayed response. I’ve been very busy lately, especially these past few days with exams. Anyway, let’s have a look at some of the things you’ve mentioned in your reply.
      You said, “I would not disagree that Matthew wrote these words in his own language, because thats what people do when they write something. However it does not mean Jesus did not say these words or words very similar.”

      I hope you are aware of the fact that Matthew did not write Matthew in the first place. There was no Matthew writing a gospel “according to Matthew”. For more on this please proceed to my article on the total anonymity of the gospels http://unveiling-christianity......r-gospels/

      “However it does not mean Jesus did not say these words or words very similar”
      The highly acclaimed Bible scholar(an expert in form criticism) Prof. Raymond Brown mentioned in 101 Questions on the Bible that the things recorded in the gospels were not accurately written and do not really in most cases contain the literal words of Jesus. Further more, he had dedicated an entire discussion on what may have truly caused Jesus to die on the cross, a subject that has been debated for a very long time in academic circles due to the fact that people did not die very quickly on the cross and that wasn’t the point of the execution either. Historically, the crucifixion was to let the victim rot to death, rather than an immediate death. This is also alluded to in the gospel when the news reached Pilate and he was surprised. So according to the analysis of Prof. Raymond Brown who is or was(as he passed away several years ago) on the passion narratives there is hardly any clear indication of what really killed Jesus and the piercing story in John may well have been the INTRODUCTION of the author to eliminate any doubts that may have circulated regarding the alleged death of Jesus. A point of interest is that that story is nowhere to be found in any of the other gospels just like the verse under discussion i.e. matthew 28:19. So, it does not mattare whether the verse is really written in the style and language of the anonymous author because that author may very well have CREATED that verse due to his theological background. Oh and by the way, the piercing story is found in all the so-called ‘best’ manuscripts, yet its historicity is very much doubted.

      You said, ” If you notice, Funk and Hoover base this on, “Jesus probably had no idea of launching a world mission and certainly was not an institution builder,” what this means is exactly what I stated above, the Jesus Seminar throws out much of what Jesus says because it would have to leap into the realm of the supernatural. Let me further expound, if Jesus is prevented from seeing the future by the Jesus Seminar, these words that were stated after a supernatural event, like the resurrection and because of supernatural causes (seeing the future) would not of happened unless its placed there by someone later down the line.”

      You conclusion is off the mark. They never claimed anywhere in the interpretation given that it is due to supernatural elements that Jesus could not have been an institutional builder. Since when does it require supernatural phenomena for a person to become an institutional builder or start a world mission? WHO is a world mission, isn’t it? What supernatural phenomenon started that great orginisation? lol..your reasoning is totally baseless. However, that is not to say that supernatural elements cannot be the impetus of a worldwide programme. As Muslims we do believe that prophets were encouraged and chosen supernaturally, but not all of them were given world missions. The reason why Hoover and Funk descredits the verse is because elsewhere as I pointed out we find explicit verses from Jesus demanding the disciples to generally not preach to other than the ‘lost sheep of Israel’ and Jesus himself said that he was not sent, except to the house of Israel. Further more, if you remember the Samaritan woman, what did he call her? The poor woman comes to a doctor and the doctor calls her a dog. What kind of a doctor is this? If your doctor said that to you and only after you had bent over backwards and licked his feet did the doctor offer some help, what would you say about him? You’d probably report his to the medical board to get him fired from his job. These are most probably the reasons why Hoover and Funk said that Jesus himself was not an institutional builder with a world mission.

      You said, “It has long been awknowledged that each author had their reasoning for writing their particular Gospel. Luke and John most clearly identify their reasoning for their Gospels, and Matthew’s has long been thought to have been written for a Jewish audience. That already paints that there was probably a twist on what each author may have emphasized. If you notice in Luke 1:2 it states, in referencing to many accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry, that “they (the authors of the accounts, Luke 1:1) used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples.”

      Thank you for admitting that the Gospels are based on the theological and personal leanings of the anonymous gospel writers. Indeed, in the scholarly arena it is almost an axiom that the writers were writing for separate audiences with separate agendas. For this reason, it is intellectually dishonest and ahistorical to approach the apparent discrepencies and contradictions between the gospels as merely being the authors choosing to convey which suits their belief better, the implication of which is that the other information found in the other gospels are equally true. So you said that, “it is very possible Jesus said all of these things with each Gospel author putting emphasis on what they felt fit their case the best.” This is a common apologetics tactic which Prof. Dr. Bart Ehrman exposed and refuted in his debate with Dr. William Lane Craig on the historicity of the gospels. I suggest you watch it. It’s available on youtube. The fact of the matter is that a rising number of scholars testify that the authors of the gospels invented things to suit their personal agendas for their specific audiences. Why do I feel like I’m repeating myself again and again? haha..anyway, let’s look at what the Cambridge Companion to the Bible by four Bible scholars who say,
      “The primary sources of our knowledge of Jesus, therefore, are the gospels: the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But as the title “gospel” (good news), implies, and as the opening word of Mark makes explicit, they are not objective reports but propaganda.”

      The further state,
      “Since Mark is the shortest of the three synoptic gospels, it has sometimes been assumed that it is an abbreviation of Matthew. Careful comparison among the synoptic Gospels(Matthew, Mark, and Luke) shows, however, that both Matthew and Luke presuppose the contents and the order of Mark, though each of the other writers modifies Mark in order to fulfill hiw own special aims… Passages in Mark that the church later found difficult are either omitted or basically modified.”

      You also mentioned that, “If you notice in Luke 1:2 it states, in referencing to many accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry, that “they (the authors of the accounts, Luke 1:1) used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples.” It would appear that the author of Luke had lied, or was not telling the entire truth in Luke 1 claiming that he had looked into everything carefully and had perfect understanding of the things as we find in the next chapter a fatal blow to the credibility of the author of Luke. For details on this proceed to http://unveiling-christianity......y-of-luke/

      You said, “reason we know the ending of Mark may not be legit, is because of the earliest source documents for Mark, they do not contain the second ending. Matthew 28:19 is an original to the Gospel of Matthew, and I have yet to see otherwise. If there was a possibility that this was added in their later, the Jesus Seminar would have jumped all over it in the statements above.”

      Unfortunately, you failed to grasp the point that I was trying to make. Perhaps I should have made myself clearer. But, allow me to explain it and hopefully you’ll understand. The reason why I brought up the longer ending of Mark 16 and how it is an interpolation was not to show that the problem that that passage suffers is exactly what Matthew 28:19 does i.e. in manuscript evidence. I know very well that the text is absent from Aleph and B, codex bobiensis, sinaitic manuscripts etc. That is one of the reasons(there are a few others) why textual critics reached an agreement that it’s a later interpolation. In fact, there are several ‘versions’ for the endings(longer ending, shorter and freer logion)! This compounds the problem further. My point was rather to show that it is not without precedent that verses and even entire passages attributed to the so-called “Word of God” got forced into the text. If it was possible to interpolate something which basically means to fabricate something and put it in the texts of the Bible just several hundred years after Jesus, circulated possibly even in the time of Justin Martyr, a time when there were already professional scribes to transcribe the ‘sacred texts’ why is it far fetched that a similar occurence may well have happened in the first century when most Christians then were illiterate and uneducated? When you think about it, it is not just possible, but likely! Let us remind ourselves that the writers were NOT honest to detail.

      “The primary sources of our knowledge of Jesus, therefore, are the gospels: the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But as the title “gospel” (good news), implies, and as the opening word of Mark makes explicit, they are not objective reports but propaganda.” (The Cambridge Companion to the Bible)

      You said, ”
      “As far as the other two commentators, Krister Stendahl and The New International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, they both bring up good points that should be considered. I do disagree with the NISBE in its statement that early Chrsitianity wasn’t universal and believe that to be a weak point in proving this verse to not be uttered by Jesus.”

      Thank you for admitting that Prof. Krister Stendahl and the NISBE brought up good points. Good points that should be considered as you suggested, but have not actually been rebutted by you. So, their commentaries stand. Why do you disgree with the NISBE on its claim that easyly Christianity was not universal? You must read Ehrman’s ‘Early Christianities’ and ‘Lost Gospels’. Didn’t you know that historians tell us that the Church of Jerusalem did not accept gentiles and staunchly advocated adherence to the Law?

      ” However, the main point to take away from that is even if God fits into Modelisms view, Jesus is still considered divine as there is no way of getting around that, and thus this verse still reveals him as God. As far as those other links, I’ll have to look at those later when I have more time.
      If it appears some subjects overlap in these two paragraphs, its because I dealt with sections at a time.”

      Well, there you have just admitted, or at least conceded that the text can be used by modalists in which case Trinity is moot. But, then you said either way it shows Jesus’ divinity. I totally disagree. In fact, in the article you must have seen the explanation by a Muslim scholar that I quoted. The verse may very well be talking about unity in purpose, rather than unity in divinity which does not go well with so many verses that I have discussed in the articles of Jesus’ alleged divinity. Let’s reiterate the links agains shall we?

      http://unveiling-christianity......e-trinity/

      http://unveiling-christianity......ats-jesus/

      http://unveiling-christianity......o-saviour/

      http://unveiling-christianity......s-not-god/

      http://unveiling-christianity......mes-white/

      Let’s have a look at some other commentaries on the verse also,
      “Modern critics claim this formula is falsely ascribed to Jesus and that it represents later (Catholic) church tradition, for nowhere in the book of Acts (or any other book of the Bible) is baptism performed with the name of the Trinity…”(New Revised Standard Version)

      The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 2, p. 263,
      “The baptismal formula was changed from the name of Jesus Christ to the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by the Catholic Church in the second century.”

      The Tyndale New testament Commentaries, I, p. 275,
      “It is often affirmed that the words in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost are not the ipsissima verba [exact words] of Jesus, but…a later liturgical addition.”

      In fact, Eusebius attended the council of Nicea and actively debated the Arians. Had the verse been authentic and original surely Eusebius would have used and quoted it, but rather he quoted the version, “in my name”. This formula as indicated by Stendahl and others is never to be seen again anywhere in the books of the NT. If it was truly a commandment of Jesus surely the disciples would have practiced it, but they DISOBEYED(that is if Matthew 28:19 as it stands is true) Jesus by baptising in a different way as shown in Acts 2:38, Acts 8:16 and Acts 10:48. The fact is your case is flimsy. Thank you and I hope to see your words again.

  8. Polycarp says:

    Part 2 of My Response:
    To sum up the 2nd angle you attack Matthew 28:19 from; first, it could not have been said by Jesus because the other Gospels containing similar formulas do not contain this one. Second, Jesus had no idea that he was going to launch a world mission, thus it was not said by him. Third, this is more of a summary of the first two ideas, but it states that because of the differences in the formulas and the fact it is written in the language of the particular evangelists, it probably isn’t from the mouth of Jesus.

    First, I think it’s a rather giant leap to assume Jesus did not say these phrases because each Gospel has something different, the Gospels simply do not portray each event as being one in the same. One has to keep in mind that Jesus spent forty days on the earth after his resurrection, according to the text. So it’s extremely probable Jesus had a few of these sessions with the disciples where he shared his plans for the future of this movement. It appears that Luke differs from Matthew, in that it seems to take place in Jerusalem, right before Jesus’ ascension. Matthew’s and John’s takes place in Galilee, but John’s is along the Sea of Galilee where as Matthew’s is on a mountain. Not to mention, John’s really isn’t a commissioning at all like the other two Gospel’s (which would seem unlikely if it was a legendary build up of the account). So I think it’s very possible all three events happened, just at different periods in the forty days (with Luke’s obviously happening at the end of the 40days). To assume otherwise, unless one can add to the statement, “the Gospels contain something different,” seems to allude to a pre-biased assumption. Second, I think Jesus had an idea he was going to launch a world mission. If Jesus had a divine self-understanding and was truly divine, he would, without any doubt, know how he was going to perceive his mission, as he would obviously be able to see the future. Some verses to indicate a world ministry or a Gentile inclusion are Matthew 21:43, 8:11-12, John 3:16, Mark 12:9, Mark 11:17, Luke 13:29-30. I’m sure the list could be added to, but the point is simple, Jesus taught a world ministry and to assume otherwise one would have to build a case that goes beyond simply stating, “Jesus did not know he was going to build a world ministry.”One would actually have to argue against Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and his divine self-understanding to do this. As far as the third argument, I don’t think that’s much of an argument at all… of course it’s going to be in the words of that specific evangelist. I’ve written a few narratives on events that took place in real life, where another had to do the same thing, and one could easily tell the narratives had different authors, yet the narratives pointed to the same event. So the question that I asked in my response to “Unveiling Polycarp” could be asked here; why do these scholars truly think these events did not happen? In other words, I want you to branch further out then just merely quoting them, I want you fully understand their position, because once you do so, you’ll see that many of their theories would be on the opposite side of how you would interpret and critique the Qur’an. I’m not saying one should not read what these scholars have to say, but it’s important to balance the studies and it’s important not to use scholastic hypocrisy.

    Another addition to the brief statement on Eusebius’s “Church History,” despite how or why he quotes Matthew 28:19 like he did, Eusebius still holds Jesus to be God, as Book 1 section 2 reveals.

    Allah Maek

  9. Joe W says:

    Salaam brother,
    I’m a recent convert to Islam from the so called man made Pauline Christianity religion of human sacrifices. I would like to include my view on this verse of Matt 28:19. We know that God almighty is called the father metaphorically in the Jewish tradition and all Jewish religious scholars and prophets (even Adam) are called Sons of God metaphorically again. So, we can look at Matt.28:19 as an article of faith at the time of the Jewish Messiah Jesus in the following format:
    You must believe in God(The father metaphorically), believe in the Messenger of God Jesus(son of God metaphorically), and believe in the holy spirit (the angel that helped Jesus perform miracles by the permission of God Only). You can apply that to the Islamic article of faith as well : You must believe in God(The father metaphorically), believe in the Messenger of God Muhammad (the son of God metaphorically), and believe in the holy Quran (The most outstanding miracle given by God Almighty to Prophet Muhammad). Please let me know if you see it that way or not because I don’t see how modern day Christian can pull the “trinity” concept from this verse. It just didn’t make any sense for me just like all the bible never made any sense for me.
    Salaam

  10. CewunowdedRek says:

    Phat post, great looking weblog, added it to my favs!

  11. civitate dei says:

    If the baptismal formula is not authentic and is a later addition explain to me why the didache dated to by scholars as early as 70 AD contains the same true trine baptismal formula?

  12. civitate dei says:

    If the baptismal formula is not authentic and is a later addition explain to me why the didache dated to by scholars as early as 70 AD contains the same true trine baptismal formula? Also produce 1 manuscript which lacks the verse

    • Ibn Anwar says:

      First of all, dating the didache has been a difficult task for scholars (see Cheung, A. T. (1999). Idol Food in Corinth: Jewish Background and Pauline Legacy. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd. p. 211). Yes, I will grant you that some scholars date the Didache to the mid or later mid first century i.e. 50-70 CE. This however is a minority position in Biblical scholarship. Most scholars date the Didache to the late first century up to the late second century. Discussing the Didache James Monroe Barnett writes:
      “Although the date of the Didache is uncertain, its section of Church order, chapters 5 to 15, seems to reflect the rural churches of Syria in the sub-apostolic age. It probably was originally a separate document dating from the late first century, which was then placed with the first section and the last chapter and edited by a scribe in Alexandria, c. 150.” (Barnett, J. M. (1995). The Diaconate – a Full and Equal Order: A Comprehensive and Critical Study of the Origin, Development, and Decline of the Diaconate in the Context of the Church’s Total Ministry and Renewal of the Diaconate today with reflections for the Twenty-First Century. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International. p. 47)

      The baptismal formula that you refer to is found in seventh chapter of the Didache which means that it is belongs to a document dating from the late first century and could possibly have been added by the Alexandrian scribe in 150 CE as the above quotation indicates. Most scholars agree that the Didache comes after the gospel according to Matthew. Scholars have concluded that the Didache made use of Matthew’s Gospel and reduces the radicalism in it. The eminent New Testament scholar Professor Raymond Brown and John Meier writes:
      “Simply from the theological slant of some of the Didache material parallel to Matthew, it seems more likely that the Didache, at least in its final form, is later than Matthew’s gospel and uses the gospel. In some of the material paralleling Matthew, there is a falling away from the intense, uncompromising radicalism of Matthew’s moral vision… Rubrical concerns and expansions have grown up around Matthean liturgical material: the triadic formula of baptism (Matt 28:19, “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, of the Holy Spirit”) is followed by a discussion about what sort of water to be used (Didache 7:1-2: preferably cold, running water, though other water may be used when necessary). The Matthean form of the Lord’s prayer (Matt 6:9-13) is concluded with a doxology and a command to recite the prayer three times a day (Didache 8:2-3). From such internal considerations, it seems that the moral and liturgical material, at least in its redacted form, is later than Matthew and represents a decline from Matthew’s radicalism.” (Brown, R. E., & Meier, J. P. (1993). Antioch & Rome: New Testament Cradles of Catholic Christianity. Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press. pp. 83-83)

      Commenting on the Didache verse in question, David Kemball-Cook writes:
      The Didache is particularly relevant because it contains the first so-called trinitarian formula for baptism outside the New Testament, using the words of Matthew 28:19
      “…to baptise into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’

      Some trinitarian scholars have claimed that the Didache is as early as AD 35-60, and therefore predates some New Testament writings. If true this would give support to the view that the apostolic church was trinitarian in belief. However, most scholars place the Didache in the period AD 70-110. Bernard quotes other studies which question the reliability of the document as a guide to apostolic beliefs and practices, mentioning the likelihood of changes in the 900 years between its date of writing and the only surviving copy dated 1056, and also the mention of practices (such as fasting before baptism) which are not biblical. The prayers are addressed to the Father, not to the Father, Son and Holy spirit. In any case, the use of the baptismal formula based on Matthew 28:19 is not conclusive for trinitarian belief for this period. The Didache itself (Bernard notes) also refers to baptism into the name (singular) of the Lord, and the same passage refers to the Lord as Jesus.” (Cook, D. K. (2006). Is God a Trinity?. n.d. : David Kemball-Cook. p. 24)

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