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Oneness Pentecostalism

Oneness Pentecostalism is a movement of Pentecostal Christianity that believes in the atoning death of Jesus Christ, His resurrection, His soon return, and the Word of God as contained in the Bible, but differs from mainstream Pentecostalism by following the doctrine of Oneness. Oneness Pentecostalism teaches a literal interpretation of the biblical teaching of salvation with emphasis on the teaching of Jesus Christ & His Apostles, citing "John 3:1-12 & Acts 2:38 experience" as necessary for salvation and places special emphasis on the direct personal experience of God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as shown in the Biblical account of the Day of Pentecost. It teaches that personal conversion is to be followed by holy living and exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5:22(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oneness_Pentecostalism). Oneness people are many and varied. The two main groups that hold to Oneness theology are the United Pentecostal Church International (the largest) and the United Apostolic church. There are others like the Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Bible Way Churches of Our Lord Jesus Christ as well as a host of independent Oneness churches scattered throughout the United States. The primary Oneness Pentecostal website is http://www.upci.org/.

The Oneness Pentecostal groups generally hold to the following points of doctrine.

Within the Historic Christian Faith

  1. There is only one God in all existence
  2. The Bible is God's inerrant word
  3. Jesus was born of a virgin
  4. Jesus had two natures.
  5. Justification by faith
  6. Baptism must be by immersion
  7. The elements of communion are bread and wine and are only for believers.
  8. Foot-washing (John 13:4-5), is a divine institution to be practiced by church members. (Pastors in The Evangelical Covenant Church literally foot wash their members).
  9. Abstain from joining secret societies (James 5:12; 2 Cor. 6:14-18).
  10. There will be a future rapture of the Church where the Christians will be transformed (1 Thes. 4:13-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; Phil. 3:20-21).

Outside of the Historic Christian Faith

  1. Denies the doctrine of the Trinity. (Makes them a cult)
  2. Denies justification by faith alone by stating that baptism is also required for salvation.
  3. Jesus is God the Father.
  4. Jesus is the Holy Spirit.
  5. The name of God is "Jesus."
  6. Baptism is necessary for salvation.
  7. Denies pre-existence of the Word as the Son. Teaches that the He existed as the Father.
  8. Being born again means repentance, baptism, and speaking in tongues.
  9. Baptism must be administered by an ordained Oneness minister to be valid.
  10. Baptism must be administered with the phrase, "In the name of Jesus" instead of the phrase, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19).
  11. Speaking in tongues is a necessary requirement to demonstrate that a person has been baptized in the Holy Spirit, and is, therefore, saved. It is claimed to be the initial sign of the infilling of the Holy Ghost.
  12. Restitution of all things, though the devil and the angels will not be restored.
  13. Women may be pastors. (Read 1 Cor 14, 1 Tim 2-3)
  14. Only Oneness people will go to heaven.

 
Doctrine #1 The Oneness doctrine of the Trinity

Quote from the United Pentecostal Church website:

In distinction to the doctrine of the Trinity, the UPCI holds to a oneness view of God. It views the Trinitarian concept of God, that of God eternally existing as three distinctive persons, as inadequate and a departure from the consistent and emphatic biblical revelation of God being one. The UPCI teaches that the one God who revealed Himself in the Old Testament as Jehovah revealed himself in His Son, Jesus Christ. Thus Jesus Christ was and is God. In other words, Jesus is the one true God manifested in flesh, for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (John 1:1-14; I Timothy 3:16; Colossians 2:9). While fully God, Jesus was also fully man, possessing a full and true humanity. He was both God and man. Moreover, the Holy Spirit is God with us and in us. Thus God is manifested as Father in creation and as the Father of the Son, in the Son for our redemption, and as the Holy Spirit in our regeneration" (http://www.upci.org).

If this is true, then can any Oneness Pentecostal answer these questions?

1. Who was Jesus praying to during his earthly ministry?

2. If God is only one person, why did Jesus say in John 14:23, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." If God is only one person, why does Jesus say, "we"?

3. Oneness theology teaches that God was in the mode of the Father in the Old Testament. God was seen in the OT (not as a vision or a dream or an angel in the following verses: Exo. 6:2-3; Gen. 19:24; Num. 12:6-8). But, Jesus said no one has seen the Father (John 6:46). If they were seeing God Almighty (Exo. 6:2-3) but it wasn't the Father, then who was it?

I have engaged some Oneness in debate on the Internet and on the phone, and all too often do they refuse to directly give an answer to one of my questions, or they make up theologies that the text clearly does not endorse. I was speaking with one Oneness follower and he was trying to explain that the apostolic sign gift of tongues was required of all believers to have. He was proof-texting John 3 among various passages in Peter to prove his point. The problem with his interpretation was that only he could see it. No one who looks at the text and reads it for what it says could come up with such a unbiblical thelogy.

 

Doctrine #2 Baptism is required for salvation & must be done in Jesus name only

Oneness Theology teaches that baptism is a necessary part of salvation. In order to be saved, one must be baptized by immersion. If you are not baptized you cannot be saved. Such a teaching is very contrary to the Biblical teachings on Baptism. No where in the Holy Scriptures is it taught that Baptism is essential for salvation. Many Oneness folk turn to Acts 2:38 to prove that Baptism can only be done in Jesus name.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The verse seems contrary to the instructions in Matt 28 that say to baptize in the name of the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit. Let's look at the CONTEXT of Acts 2.

Acts 2:5 (NKJV) And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

Go to a Greek dictionary or a Strong's concordance and look at this verse, and you will see what the word "devout" means in the original language. The CONTEXT of Acts 2:38 is with Peter speaking to Jews that already believed in God. They were not Gentiles, so there would be no reason for Peter to have mentioned the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38, as Jesus did in Matt 28. Many Oneness folk ignore the overall CONTEXT of Acts 2:38 to come to their conclusion that the Trinity is not Biblical.

Doctrine #3 Speaking in tongues is a necessary requirement to demonstrate that a person has been baptized in the Holy Spirit, and is, therefore, saved. It is claimed to be the initial sign of the infilling of the Holy Ghost.

Is this true? Well let's examine the scriptures to see.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 (NKJV)
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

 1 Cor 12:29-30 (KJV)
 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

The gift of tongues is not required for salvation, and was one of the several Apostolic Sign Gifts that ceased at the closure of the canon. Nowhere in the Bible is it ever stated that Tongues is a requirement for salvation, nor a sign of a fulfilling of the Holy Ghost. If tongues was a sign of salvation why would Paul ask the question if all had this gift? Itís obvious that Paul knew that people could be saved without speaking in tongues. How the Oneness cult gets around these clear plain teachings is beyond me.

I by no means am bashing the Oneness crowd with this message. For the most part Oneness people are kind, loving individuals. However an infamous leader within the Oneness movement named Steve Winter seems to be quite contrary to my normal experience with Oneness people.

Listen to What Apologist Hank Hanegraaf said about Steve Winter

Steve Winter on the Bible Answerman

Steve Winter has on a number of occasions publicly attacked me, and called me defaming names. Winter has not only attacked me but has harassed females as well. Below are some of his public statements against me and other Christians that have disagreed or strongly opposed his views.

Pastor Steve Winter public quotes

Quote #1
I am amazed at the audacity of some of the false Christian scum like the gutless anon John Wolf

Quote #2
Now common sense should make us aware that Satan is going to have his servants like John Wolf pretending to be Christian teachers

Quote #3
I guess that must really frustrate a Satanic devil like Jason Gastrich, eh?

Quote #4
Jason Gastrich is a false-Christian scum who is upset because he was shown to be a brazen liar in front of all of his buddies.

Quote #5
Amazing what liars these three-god false-Christian scum are! Is this that lying polytheistic slime Donovan Hill?

After reading these quotes can you see the love of Christ in any of Winterís statements? I sure canít! Winter seems to be teaching a different gospel in both his doctrinal statements and his life. John 13:35 makes it clear that men will recognize who is and who is not of God by their love, and Gal 5:22-23 makes the fruits of the spirit very obvious.

Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Winter does not have love, and this is very obvious with not only his website, but also his public attacks on those that disagree with him. While there are many Oneness pastors and ministers like Steve Winter in the cult, there are even far more that want nothing to do with Pastor Steve Winter. Only God can save Oneness, and I am Biblically convinced that the best way to evangelize to Oneness is to demonstrate the Christ-like love that Steve Winter and many of the others need.

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