Pray Tell reader Max Johnson of Notre Dame University writes the following:
The earliest use of the baptismal formula as formula for the actual conferring of baptism appears in mid-third century Syrian texts, where it reads, “WE baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit of Holiness.”
Obviously the early Syrian Christians were not really baptized.
Further, Rome did not use a baptismal formula at all for centuries, with its earliest “form” being the three-fold question and answer, “Do you believe…I believe” (dip, dunk, or pour).
A little history still goes a long way to alleviating even canonical ignorance!
Featured image: Ethiopian Coptic baptism