"Oneness Doctrine" (Jesus Only) vs. Trinitarianism
Part 7: Jesus Command In Matthew 28:19

Oneness folks often claim that Matt. 28:19 says that the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is "Jesus." They base this assertion on the fact that "name" is singular in the Greek text.

Matt 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 singular use of "name" does NOT indicate a single name for all three, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It indicates a singular name for each one!

The Greek reads:

"eiV to onoma tou PatroV kai tou Uiou kai tou Hagiou PneumatoV"
"in the name the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost."

The definite article "tou" (the) before Son and Holy Ghost indicates that they are all different things or persons. The grammatical rule in Greek for determining whether a single thing or person is meant, or different things or persons is meant, when "and" appears, is called the "Granville Sharp rule." The basic rule is as follows:

"If two nouns of the same case are connected by a "kai" (and) and the article (the) is used with both nouns, they refer to different persons or things. If only the first noun has the article, the second noun refers to the same person or thing referred to in the first." {Curtis Vaughn, and Virtus Gideon, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament" (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1979), p. 83.}"

The presence of the article "the" before Son and Holy Spirit where all three are connected by "and" indicates three separate persons. The singular use of "name" implies that each has a separate name.

If Oneness folks were correct, the Greek text would normally read:

"eiV to onoma tou PatroV kai Uiou kai Hagiou PneumatoV"
"in the name the Father and Son and Holy Ghost."

In that case the singular "name" would indicate one name for all three, and also imply that all are the same person. But, the way it is written with the definite article before each indicates a separate name for each. In other words, the Granville Sharp rule indicates that the passage be read as follows:

"baptizing them in the name (of) the Father, and (in the name of) the Son, and (in the name of) the Holy Ghost." We have three (masculine) nouns, the first noun (Father) has the article (the), then in the Greek we have "and the" Son, "and the" Holy Ghost.

Furthermore, had Jesus used the plural (names), the grammar would indicate a plurality of names for each individual one! ("the names of the Father, and the names of the Son, and the names of the Holy Ghost.")

Following is another verse where Granville Sharp applies:

1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

The last line in Greek reads:

"o arnoumenoV ton Patera kai ton Uion."
"that denieth the Father and the Son."

If "Father" and "Son" referred to the same person, the definate article "the" should not be included with "Son," as follows:

"that denieth the Father and Son."

There is one exception to Granville Sharp's rule:

"Except distinct and different actions are intended to be attributed to one and the same person; in which case, if the sentence is not expressed agreeable to the three first rules, but appears as an exception to this sixth rule...the context must explain or point out plainly the person to whom the two nouns relate."

The exception is basically what the context actually names a single individual to whom the other nouns are attributed. The best example of this exception is Thomas' exclamation to Jesus, "My Lord and My God." (the Lord of me and the God of me). But, it is clearly stated in the context that Thomas is referring to Jesus. Matt. 28:19 does NOT qualify for the exception, since no one else is named in the context to whom the titles "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" point directly too.

Oneness Pentecostals try to avoid the force of this by claiming that "name" actually means "person." (In this case God). However, that is not a ligitimate exception to the rule, which states that the context must point PLAINLY to the person to whom the nouns relate. Furthermore, as A.T. Robertson points out, the use of "in the name" here means "by the authority," and therefore CANNOT mean "person" (God). The bottom line is this verse does not qualify for the exception, and therefore MUST refer to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as separate persons.

Please, check out the Greek grammar yourself, and draw your own conclusions.

Here is a site that lists the grammatical rules for two nouns connected by "kai" (and) in easy to understand language.
<A HREF="http://www.net-magic.net/users/bmj/and.html">10. RULES FOR NOUNS CONNECTED BY THE CONJUNCTION "kai" AND EXAMPLES</A>

Here is a scholarly presentation of Granville Sharp. This is a large PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file. Matt. 28:19 is discussed on page 16.
<A HREF="http://www.atlantaapologist.org/SharpsRule.PDF">Sharp's Rule And Antitrinitarian Theologies</A>

Here is one paragraph from the above file, written by Robert M. Bowman Jr, PhD.

"In the first edition of his Exegetical Fallacies, Carson also argued that two substantives joined by kai which both have a definite article do not necessarily refer to two distinct entities.36 Here Carson was actually challenging the uniform validity of Sharp´s sixth rule, according to which two or more substantives connected by kai refer to distinct persons if they each have the definite article preceding, unless the text explicitly applies them to a single person.37 In Carson´s example text, Revelation 2:26, the two substantives are explicitly applied to one person: “And he who overcomes, and he who keeps my deeds, I shall give to him (autô) authority over the
nations.” In texts where such application is not made, the substantives refer to distinct persons, as in Matthew 28:19 (“the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”)."

(The above was taken from a forum message by Tim Warner.)

Part 1: The Early Church Fathers Declared "Oneness" (Sabellianism) Heresy
Part 2: The Early Church Fathers In Support Of The Triunity of God
Part 3: The Early Church Fathers And Genesis 1:26
Part 4: God As A Tri-unity In The Old Testament
Part 5: The New Testament Shows Jesus IS NOT The Father
Part 6: God As A Tri-unity In The New Testament
Part 7: Jesus Command In Matthew 28:19
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