I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, for now no one can say they were baptized in my name. (Oh yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.)
It is worth remembering that baptism was one of the key practices in the early Church. Paul even links it in his series of important unifying matters in Ephesians 4 ‘For there is one body .. one Spirit, … one glorious hope for the future … one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.’ And we know too that baptisms did take place in Corinth – Acts 18:8 mentions the baptism of Crispus and his family.
To be baptised IN (literally ‘INTO’) the name of someone, whether Paul or Christ, was to have one’s life signed over to that person, to come under his authority and to be at his beck and call. Paul was making the point that the Corinthians had, in baptism, become the possession of Jesus Christ – and of nobody else. This fact was one of the foundation principles of unity – you were all baptised into the same Name, you all come under the authority of the same Jesus, and you are all therefore part of the one church family. Baptism into Christ was therefore an outward mark of submission to His will and purposes. It marks a turning point in life; the baptised believer acknowledges that life is no longer her or his own, it is fully Christ’s. Baptism is a sign that you are committed to Christ and His Church. (If you have not been baptised and are committed to following Jesus maybe it is time to consider being baptised and showing openly that you are united with other believers in your desire to follow Jesus!)
The identity of the one who baptises you however is irrelevant; your unity is not centred on the baptiser but the one into who’s name you are baptised.