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II. INITIAL EVIDENCE FOR CHANGING MAT 28:19

 

The beginning of this appendix goes back many years, when I was searching for ways to explain how Matthew 28:19 was in agreement with Acts 2:38; and that the correct baptism was to be done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I do not remember when this happened but it was a few years before 1999, when I stumbled upon an article by a Pastor A. Ploughman.

When I first read Pastor Ploughman arguments many years ago, at first I was skeptical, but something in his arguments made sense. I pondered and thought about this issue for a couple of years, the issue kept nagging at me so I then decided to dig in a little deeper, I looked at the evidence and researched the Bible for myself for many years before I became fully convinced that Ploughman was indeed correct, about the traditional text of Matthew 28:19 being a fabrication.

 

Some early pioneers of “in my Name”: Pastor A. Ploughman who did much research and looked at the evidence, in 1962 wrote a pamphlet against the validity of Matthew 28:19. He thus says:

“Examining the context, we find that in the AV the sense of the passage is hindered, but if we read as under, the whole context fits together and the tenor of the instruction is complete:

All power is given unto ME ... go therefore... baptizing in MY name, teaching them... whatsoever I have commanded... I am with you...”

 

In his pamphlet, Pastor Ploughman presented many quotations from ancient sources and arguments that led to the conclusion that the traditional reading of Matthew 28:19 was not in the original text, but was a forgery.

Pastor Ploughman is now deceased but the copyright to his article is maintained by the Apostolic Bible College. For anyone interested the pamphlet sells for $5.95 and can be received by requesting it from

Apostolic Bible College

7911 N. 40th Street

Tampa, Florida 33604

 

What really begun convincing me that Ploughman was right was my own studies into Luke 24:47 and Mark 16:16-17, I eventually saw that it was the text in Luke and Mark that were correct and the text in Matthew that was incorrect. I got my initial confirmation and understanding of this belief from studying Luke 24:47 and Mark 16:16-17, everything else that I found out later only served to strengthen my belief. I only hope that others may also compare these Great Commission passages and see the revelation that I see in them regarding the name of Jesus.

Ploughman made very strong arguments and I would like to expand on a few of his arguments and add my own arguments as well to his. The reason I decided to take up his banner, is that I believe it is important for people to really know what the actual words of Jesus most likely were.

 

Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare (1856-1924), Professor of Theology at Oxford, was one of greatest critic of the traditional text of Matthew 28:19 and supporter of the ending “in my name”. Professor Conybeare says: “In the course of my reading I have been able to substantiate these doubts of the authenticity of the text, Matthew xxviii. 19, by adducing patristic evidence against it so weighty that in the future the most conservative of divines will shrink from resting on it any dogmatic fabric at all, while the more enlightened will discard it as completely as they have its fellow-text of the three witnesses.” The Hibbert Journal, Oxford, Vol. I, No. 1, October 1902, p. 103, 104.

When he was accused of making a false accusation by calling Matthew 28:19 an interpolation he defended himself in the following way: “This is just the opposite of the truth, and such distinguished scholars as Alfred Loisy, J. Wellhausen, Eberhard Nestle, Adolf Harnack, to mention only four names, do not scruple to recognize the fact.” History of New Testament Criticism (1910) p. 77

 

Doctor Frederick John Foakes Jackson and Doctor Kirsopp Lake wrote:

“A convert knew perfectly well that when he said that he had been baptized in the name of Jesus he meant that someone had said ‘I baptize you in the name of Jesus’ or something similar, and that in consequence he had attained the way of Salvation.”

“There is little doubt as to the sacramental nature of baptism by the middle of the first century in the circles represented by the Pauline Epistles, and it is indisputable in the second century. The problem is whether it can in this [Trinitarian] form be traced back to Jesus, and if not what light is thrown upon its history by the analysis of the synoptic Gospels and Acts.”

“If the Lord himself had commanded them to use the formula of the Church? On every point the evidence of Acts is convincing proof that the tradition embodied in Matthew xxviii. 19 is late and unhistorical” The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles Vol. 1, Prolegomena 1: (1920) pages 124, 335-337 The Jewish Gentile, and Christian Backgrounds.

 

Hans Kosmala (1903-1981), one of the greatest Christian experts in the study of Judaism. In his article “The Conclusion of Matthew”, Annual of the Swedish Theological Institute, 4 (1965) pp. 132-147 writes; “‘go out make all nations disciples in my name.’ This variant reading will be found in the critical apparatus of NESTLE’S and KIRKPATRICK’S editions. It looks as if texts with the shorter version of 28:19b still existed round about 300 A.D.” He argued that the original ending of Matthew 28:19 was “in my name”, he also said: “There are many points in favor of the Eusebian conclusion of Matthew, far more than for the traditional conclusion.” , “We have seen that this formula is late beyond any doubt and this alone makes its appearance at so early a stage a historical impossibility. The only explanation we can give is that it has been inserted here by the later Church, because it needed it in that Gospel which was the most widely used in its liturgy.”

 

David Flusser (1917-2000) Professor of early Christianity in his article “The Conclusion of Matthew in a New Jewish Christian Source,” Annual of the Swedish Theological Institute, 5 (1966-7), pp. 110-119 (note on Matt. 28:19, p. 86), takes the view that “in my name” was the original text and the Traditional text is a later development.

 

From Ploughman pamphlet we knew about two old works that supported our conclusion. The Eusebius citations and about a certain Greek Testament published by the British and Foreign Bible Society published in 1960. Also we read somewhere about some ancient translations by Dr. Wallis Budge, that is what we had to begin with, but it took us a while to find those texts.

 

The Eusebius citations: The following is a citation from Eusebius a bishop who owned a library of ancient early manuscripts. Demonstratio Evangelica (The Proof of the Gospel) Bk 3, ch 3:6 (300 AD),

With one word and voice He said to His disciples:

 

"Go, and make disciples of all the nations in My Name,
teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."

And He joined the effect to His Word;

It is clear from his writings that Eusebius is quoting from a gospel in his possession. It is known that the library of Caesarea had a copy of the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew or perhaps the original text itself. Jerome a scholar of high reputation around 382 AD said “Matthew…composed a Gospel of Christ in Judea in the Hebrew language and letters, for the benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed, who translated it into Greek is not sufficiently ascertained. Furthermore, the Hebrew itself is preserved to this day in the library at Caesarea which the martyr Pamphilus so diligently collected.”

 

This is the library that was begun by Origen and then greatly expanded by Pamphilus; which then was given to Eusebius by his teacher Pamphilus. Eusebius wrote over 100 citations which linked the Great Commission with the name of Jesus. There are 18 exact quotations like this in his writings. Later on we will show those 18 exact quotations, then over twenty similar quotations and 10 more allusions. The complete list of all the Eusebian citations is in the web page www.apostolic-bible.com

 

The Gospel of the Hebrews: Sir Ernest Alfred Wallis Budge (1857-1934) who was a curator at the British Museum was a scholar, translator and collector of ancient manuscripts. Budge was an expert in Semitic languages. Here is a translation of what is most probably a reading from “The Gospel of the Hebrews” and a nearer original reading of Matthew 28:19. The great scholar Jerome mentioned this “Gospel of the Hebrews” many times. The manuscript describes events around the early 5th century, for we do know that Cyril lived from 376 to 444 AD, E. A. Wallis Budge, Miscellaneous Coptic Texts in the Dialect of Upper Egypt, 1915, p. 637: Homily on the Dormition (Discourse on Mary Theotokos by Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem):

“And that monk [Annarikhus] said unto him [Cyril], 'The Christ said,

'Go ye forth into all the world, and teach ye all the nations in My Name in every place.

 

When questioned where did he got his doctrines, the monk Annarikhus, who was an Ebionite, mentions “The Gospel of the Hebrews.” as the source of his doctrines. The Ebionites only accepted “The Gospel of the Hebrews” for the life and ministry of Christ.

 

In 1960 The British and Foreign Bible Society published a Greek New Testament (3rd? Edition of the Nestle Greek text), and at Matthew 28:19 in apparatus is given the phrase ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου (en tō onomati mou), “in my name”, as an alternate reading. This highly respected society has access to many ancient Greek manuscripts and has well educated biblical scholars. I contacted the society and their response is that they do not have a copy of that particular edition. Although we have searched for such New Testament so far in all these years we have not been able to find it; so the only way we are going to get one is from a collector. (If anyone knows where we can get a copy of this version, we will be very grateful)

 

I have presented the initial evidence of my case, but I shall proceed to show much more evidence discovered thru years of research. Sometimes I will deviate into subjects that do not deal directly with Mathew 28:19; but those subjects do have a relevance to the Matthean text.

 

Principles of Argument: I will base my arguments in five main principles. (1) The principle of usage, (2) the principle of repetition, (3) the principle of consistency, (4) the principle of credibility, (5) the principle of reliability. The abundance of evidence in the biblical text itself should convince most Christians, of the correctness of this position.

 

1. The principle of usage is about what was used by the Apostles and the early church. People only use those ideas or precepts that they know, if something is not used it is often because it is not known. The fact that none of the Apostles or any of the early Post-Apostolic Christians ever used that phrase or anything similar is strong evidence that they did not know such phrase and if they did not know it, it is because Jesus never said that phrase.

 

2. The principle of repetition is that if some phrase is repeated more often than another is, then the repeated phrase is usually the most reliable. The phrase in “my name” is widely repeated in various ways and in different books, while the traditional phrase is never repeated anywhere. When different writers repeat the same phrase it establishes a clear pattern and anything outside of that pattern tends to be highly suspect of being a fabrication.

 

3. The principle of consistency dictates that people tend to behave and speak in a consistent manner. Writers and speakers quite often develop and establish a clear and recognizable personal style. Every person has a distinct pattern of speaking and writing. Even regional accents tend to identify a person’s origin, much like Peter was recognized as a Galilean by his speech pattern. Likewise Jesus tended to speak in a certain manner; when we take all the other sayings of Jesus and compare it to the traditional text in Matthew, then we see that this phrase is not consistent with his usual manner of speaking, but the Eusebius & Annarikhus citations fit perfectly with Jesus’ speech pattern.

 

4. The principle of credibility dictates that when two conflicting statements are made, the statement with the highest witness agreement tends to be taken as the most credible account of an event. That is why the credibility of the witnesses is often attacked by lawyers in the courts. So we must weight which one of the “Great Commission” texts has the most credible witness testimony; the one traditional text in Matthew or the text recorded by Luke in his gospel and confirmed by the other books of the New Testament. We must compare all these commissions and determine which of the two conflicting statements has more credibility.

 

5. The principle of reliability is how reliable were the Apostles to follow Jesus’ instructions exactly as Jesus commanded them. Were they the kind of people who would disobey a direct commandment of Jesus or would be faithful to his commandments? We must look at the Apostle’s character and actions and ask if the Apostles were the kind of persons that would change a direct commandment of Jesus? Could Jesus trust the Apostles to transmit to others correctly his teachings?

 

Keeping these principles in mind let us read on.

 

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