Denominationalism Onboard the Barry

The method or formulas associated with water baptism has always been a divisive issue for the Church. During the USS Barry Revival it was no different.

Around 1980 we received a new shipmate onboard who had been raised up in a large church in the United States. Because his church had an internationally known founder and pastor, this person’s voice gained tremendous acceptance among the believers. We would have enjoyed true spiritual leadership, but this man’s approach was divisive from the beginning. He told everybody that if they had been baptized in “the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” they would have to be re-baptized “in Jesus’ name.”

Egyptian Palace of Anwar Sadat Suez Canal June 6, 1979
Egyptian Palace of Anwar Sadat
Suez Canal
June 6, 1979

Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’(Acts 2:38; Acts 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27).

I have friends that baptize people one time; in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I have friends that baptize three times; one for the Father, one for the Son, and then one for the Holy Spirit (three baptisms in rapid succession). I have friends that sprinkle. I have friends that sprinkle or immerse. On the Barry, I didn’t see the need to draw a line in the sand and create a division over the method or formula for baptism, as long as the orthodox teachings of the Church were not being compromised. Our new shipmate, with his emphasis on re-baptizing “in Jesus’ name,” did not see it that way. He systematically indoctrinated the believers in his method of baptism, and a significant number of them began to follow him in a separate Bible study. This was the creation of two separate denominations onboard the ship:

  1. The “Jesus’ Name Only” denomination.
  2. The “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” denomination.

Doctrinal divisions are a common reason for the deterioration of a revival’s forward momentum. This was also the time when the USS Barry Revival began to experience a significant decrease in the Holy Spirit’s convicting power.

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