Matthew 28:19, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, ESV
"We can therefore say that early Christian theology is in reality almost exclusively Christology...If we are to avoid the danger of seeing the Christological problem of the New Testament in a false perspective from the very beginning, we must attempt first of all to disregard these later discussion...it was necessary for the Church at a certain period to deal with the precise problems resulting from the Hellenizing of the Christian faith..."(1)
"in the name"
The participles "make disciples" and "baptizing" are followed by a prepositional phrase which begins with "in the name..." This is similar to what we see in Acts 2:38 and other places (e.g. Acts 8:16) although in Matthew 28:19 a different Greek preposition is used to translate "in". Oneness scholar Talmadge L. French notes, "The use of varying prepositions, and the lack of of the precise wording accompanying the name "Jesus," can hardly be said to mitigate against the formula which the text appears to be intentionally establishing."(2) The use of different prepositions then, in no way, blunts the formula which includes the name of Jesus. For example, in Acts 19:5 we have "in the name of the Lord Jesus" and there the same preposition is used as is used in Matthew 28:19.
Richard Bauckham: "The formula, as in the phrase `calling on the name of the Lord' which New Testament usage takes up from the Old with reference to baptism and profession of Christian faith, requires precisely a divine name. `The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit' names the newly disclosed identity of God, revealed in the story of Jesus the Gospel has told...The Old Testament phrase means to invoke God by his name YHWH," but the early Christian use of it applies it to Jesus. It means invoking Jesus as the divine Lord who exercises the divine sovereignty and bears the divine name."(5)
Spiros Zodhiates: "These believers are to be baptized "in the [one] name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," that is, the Triune God. The single name embraces Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in one distinct Deity; otherwise, Matthew would have said "names."(6)
Psalm 80:18, Then we shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call upon your name! ESV
Isaiah 12:4, And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. ESV
Joel 2:32, And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls. ESV
Zephaniah 3:9, “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord. ESV
Zechariah 13:9 They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” ESV
"Note that "name" is singular, although there are three persons included...Yet another direct linking of the three names is the Pauline benediction in 2 Corinthians 13:14..."(9)Erickson recognizes that the Scriptures teach one name in Matthew 28:19 but a few sentences later he continues referring to Father, Son and Holy Spirit as "three names" on the same page. Jesus is called Lord, given the name Jesus, and title Christ. None of these three references however muddy the notion that Jesus is the One Immanuel. Notice the conclusions of Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica in reply to objections about baptism:
Now Christ commanded the sacrament of Baptism to be given with the invocation of the Trinity. And consequently whatever is lacking to the full invocation of the Trinity, destroys the integrity of Baptism...Nor does it matter that in the name of one Person another is implied, as the name of the Son is implied in that of the Father, or that he who mentions the name of only one Person may believe aright in the Three; because just as a sacrament requires sensible matter, so does it require a sensible form.(10)
Although there are three personal names of the three Persons, there is but one essential name. Now the Divine power which works in Baptism, pertains to the Essence; and therefore we say, "in the name," and not, "in the names."(11)
Matthew gives a richer identity, character, description and function to the one named--Jesus. Since Matthew indicates the name is singular however we still must ask which name does the singular referent refer? The disciples of Jesus would have understood him to mean that they were to baptize into the name of the one person, who is God, and is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The context clearly demands a Christological interpretation that points to the name of Jesus--not Yahweh. After all, the person whose power and authority we are told to reference is named Jesus.
While maintaining a Christological interpretation Oneness Pentecostals conclude the name to be pronounced in baptism is Jesus. The name above every name is Jesus! (Philippians 2:10-11) This is an important and fundamental distinction. The earliest community of believers were exclusively devoted to Christ and invoked His name in water baptism. To be baptized, while calling on that worthy name, was to identify the believer with Christ and His resurrection. With a cry of reformation Oneness Pentecostals urge this same practice today.