Join Us Today!

Join our non-denominational community with 10,000+ members and more than 50,000 monthly visitors today. Engage in bible discussions, studies, prayer support and friendly fellowship.

A Journey Out of the UPC

Discussion in 'Bible Chat' started by Coconut, Jun 10, 2008.

Random Thread
  1. A Journey Out of the UPC

    This testimony is not about individual members of the United Pentecostal Church. I deeply care for my Pentecostal kinsmen and I believe that most of them love Jesus deeply. I simply hope that my testimony will encourage others to take a closer look at how the United Pentecostal Church misrepresents the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    My mother was born, 1920, into a Oneness Pentecostal family. When she married at age 15, she left the world of the Pentecostal. Mom never ceased to have the fear of the Lord in her life. My earliest childhood memory is of my mom kneeling beside me, as I prayed, "Now, I lay me down to sleep." It was as a child that I called upon the name of the Lord. It would be many years later before I would meet Him personally.

    Although I was not raised in my formative years in a Pentecostal home, my family roots through both sides of my grandparents, as well as my wife's roots, go back to the early Oneness Pentecostal movement before there was a United Pentecostal Church. The UPC arrived on the scene in 1945. I became a UPC preacher in 1964, at the age of 24.

    I was formally introduced to the world of the Pentecostal in 1949. I was nine years old. For a child who had never been in a church of any sort, it was almost overwhelming. People were falling out, and shouting, and dancing. The preaching and singing was filled with passion. In my childlike way I dearly fell in love with all that was happening. It was an amazing world to me. And so Pentecostalism became my religion of choice.

    Let me first skip forward to a crisis moment that set the stage for my departure out of the UPC. It was in 1971. I had been preaching about seven years. My wife Betty and I had pastored a UPC Church and afterwards entered into the fulltime evangelistic ministry. We then decided to move to Los Alamos, New Mexico, to establish a UPC home mission work. It was there that we became acquainted with some non-Pentecostal believers.

    These non-Pentecostals helped us get settled in our new mission town. Yet they did not actually attend any of our services. In a short time I took note of how these non-Pentecostal people truly loved the Lord. It was obvious that they were living a Spirit-led life. I thought to myself: How could these people who did not speak in tongues know Jesus? It was their spiritual composure and their genuine love for others that left me troubled. Something was wrong. I wanted to know what it was.

    Perhaps I should point out that this is a real problem area for people of the United Pentecostal faith. UPC people are so secluded from other Christians that they know very little about the greater body of Christ. UPC people are pretty much led to believe that they are the truly saved ones. Other so-called Christians are unsaved people.

    Back to the testimony - The Lord knew I was being misguided in a system that did not present the message of salvation properly. He used these non-Pentecostal people to LOVE me to my knees. It was peacefulness that sent me on a quest of the Scriptures. Where were we missing it? Soon I realized that the gospel we UPC ministers preached was not the same gospel the apostles preached. The doctrine of having to speak in tongues to be saved was never preached by the early Christians. It arrived on the scene in the early 1900s. It is pure Pentecostalism.

    The Lord began to open my eyes to how we are truly saved. It is by faith alone. The more I studied the unhappier I became. I began to feel that my mentors had deceived me. What was I to do? I couldn't continue the mission work. Yet I had a call on my life. Of course this was only the beginning of a new future for my family. God had a plan for us. It would come together in due time.

    Betty and I and our two sons left the mission work and evangelized for a short time. Our last revival saw twenty-five people baptized. Often as the altars filled, I would go to a back room and weep before God. Seekers were begging God to save them. It wasn't a situation where you could kneel by a seeker and explain how true salvation works. The seekers had largely been brought up under the influence of Pentecostal teachings. In fact in many of my revivals you would find the same people back in the altar again, trying to get saved again.

    In God's providential care, the next three years found us in a local congregation. It was a UPC church, but the pastor was a gentle and compassionate man. So August 1971 through August 1974 became our season of healings. I still preached out from the local church but my major need was to get my thinking fully in accord with God’s word.

    An interesting thing happened. The church we now attended had recently went through a split. The pastor asked me to help him rebuild. When I told him of my beliefs, what he shared surprised me. He said that when the UPC was first formed, one of the forming groups believed the way that I believe, that is, that a person did not have to speak in tongues to be saved. Over time this belief disappeared under the stricter, 'you-must-speak-in-tongues-to- be-saved', teaching of the other forming group. This bit of history is unknown to most UPC members. Anyway, we agreed to disagree. I worked with this godly man for three years.

    [Note: I encourage any UPC person to secure the book, ‘Christianity Without the Cross: A History of Salvation in Oneness Pentecostalism, by Thomas A. Fudge. It is an eye opener for those who do not understand the real history of the UPC.]

    Back to the testimony - During this time the Lord gave me a work-over of life. God's love began to replace any anger I had towards my mentors. When it came time for my departure, I could do so with no anger left. I only felt great sorrow for my Pentecostal kinsmen, and perhaps a deeper love for them than I had ever felt. I formally left the UPC in 1974. It was simple enough; just a matter of letting my ministerial credentials drop.

    I should point out that anyone coming out of the base teachings of the United Pentecostal Church will have need of spiritual repair. Oneness Pentecostalism has a deep effect on the psychological and spiritual make-up of its members. The repair work takes place as the believer comes to grips with the true gospel of Jesus Christ. The believer just needs to keep in mind that time is always on the side of truth.

    This is also where truth needs to be understood. Truth is not a church, an organization, a movement, a revelation, a group, a denomination, or even a doctrine. Truth in its spiritual essence is a Person. His name is Jesus Christ. Until we come to grips with this reality we will always drift about looking for truth in some religious setting. Certainly I am not discounting the flocking of God's people. I am speaking to what Biblical Christianity is really about. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6)

    Over the years I have been able to help a great many UPC people get their hearts and minds together. Once a UPC person's eyes are opened to the truth of our completed salvation in Christ, the misapplied gospel of the UPC no longer has a hold on them. The Biblical doctrine of our completion in Christ Jesus is a major bondage breaker for any person who has been under a works-righteousness system of religion.

    Before I share more about the world of Oneness Pentecostalism, let me share how I actually came to know Jesus Christ personally. It was 1963. I had just gotten out of the Navy. A Pentecostal cousin kept insisting that I go to church with her. So I did. It was in church that I first saw my wife to be. In short order I fell in love with this beautiful Pentecostal girl. We married that same year. (That was nigh 43 years ago.)

    It wasn't too many months afterwards that I entered the world of the Pentecostal altar. Night after night, and revival after revival saw me in the altar. The longer this went on the more discouraged I became. One Sunday afternoon I am sitting in our living room with my Bible in my hands, reading from the book of John. When I came to John 14, I saw that the questions being asked of Jesus were my very own questions. It seemed I was being pulled into the setting. My deepest struggle was over who Jesus really was.

    Philip asked the Lord to show them the Father. It was at that very moment that Jesus spoke to my heart. He said, "Have I been so long with you Buddy, and you don't know me? He who has seen Me has seen the Father." Tears flowed down my cheeks. I could not speak. I was so aware of the divine presence. That was when the peace of Jesus entered my heart. It has been that peace of heart that has sustained me these many years. Years later I would come to understand that that moment was the moment of my birth into God's kingdom.

    But there was a problem. I was still in the world of the Pentecostal. And so, I kept attending the altar. Some months later I actually spoke in tongues. But I also remember thinking to myself, "Is this all? I've had this all along." Of course I did not share these thoughts with anyone else. I was too happy that the battle was over. I could now be accepted as being saved. What a relief!

    Sometimes it takes years for a person who has been under the influence of Oneness Pentecostalism to sort out truth in his life. It can be difficult to discern what may have been a psychological experience from that which was truly of the Lord. It is likely that much speaking in tongues today is learned behavior. It has been through all this that the Lord has educated me to the pitfalls that are found in the world of Pentecostalism.

    And here is where I must speak to the world of the Pentecostal altar. The UPC has such a strong stress on the necessity of speaking in tongues for salvation that an altar service can appear to be a total frenzy. It is common to hear seekers crying and begging God to save them. You can also hear people shouting, "Just say, 'Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,' over and over, real fast." Or, "Say 'hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah' over and over real fast." Some are saying, "Turn loose!" Still others are saying, "Hang on!" The person in the altar is being drawn into an emotionally charged atmosphere.

    It doesn't end there. Sometimes a circle will form around the seeker. He finds himself being moved around. His eyes are often tightly closed. The very moment the seeker makes any sound that seems not to be English, some of the people start shouting and jumping about, "He's got it! He's got it! He's got the Holy Ghost!" In turn he gives in to all his emotions. He is relieved! The battle is over. Is it really?

    Where is the problem? The problem is summed up in what happens at the end of the altar service. The seeker is often told something like this; "Tomorrow morning when you wake up, the devil is going to tell you that you did not get anything. You just tell him that he is a liar." While this sounds like a good thing to tell a person, it is really another part of the Pentecostal pattern.

    Why do they need tell the seeker this? The reason is because the next morning the emotions will have subsided and the questions begin. Where is the excitement? Where is the joy? Why am I having such doubts? It was so real last night. Why is it not real now? Was I really saved? This isn’t something the devil is telling him. These doubts are coming from within him. And believe it or not, this new Pentecostal has entered into a religious world where doubt and fear are going to be pretty much the norm.

    The point is that there is no need to tell a person who has truly received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, that the next morning they'll wake up feeling like nothing has happened. True salvation is not a worked up thing of the emotions. While it certainly affects our emotions, salvation is an issue of a heart-exchange. When the Holy Spirit enters the heart of a believing one, which can even happen in a quiet moment of faith, the Spirit will be there tomorrow, and the next tomorrow, and the next tomorrow. This is called the testimony of the Spirit. The apostle calls this the seal of the Spirit.

    Yet I am not saying that the Lord is unable to save us because of bad doctrine. I was saved in spite of Pentecostal teaching. What I am saying is that this is one reason you find so many UPC people still struggling over their salvation. It all comes back to how the UPC preaches that a person must speak in tongues to be saved. And the 'keep yourself saved' will continue to play itself out with battles of the mind.

    The real issue is that no person can be born again until they have been presented with the message of the cross, and have taken to themselves Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The apostle said, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to be children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” Pentecostal people are never taught that salvation wraps itself around the confession of Jesus Christ. Paul said our walk of salvation is built around a simple devotion to Jesus.

    Back to the altar. Some may say, "All that doesn't take place at our UPC church!" My answer is that your church is rare indeed. I have yet to see a UPC church where these kinds of altar experiences do not happen. From all the personal correspondences that I receive, it appears that the Oneness world has made little to no change.

    What I have been describing is very real and very common. I've been there. I've done everything that any passionate Oneness Pentecostal would do. How could I know any difference? The preaching and teaching that I had been exposed to, was geared to produce this atmosphere.

  2. cont`d...

    I have often thought of why the Lord allowed me to undergo my experience in the UPC. Was there a plus side to this? Yes, I think so. I came to realize that only a Pentecostal can know the heart need of another Pentecostal. I speak the language. I know the thinking. I know the arguments. I've been able to help a number of Pentecostals with the help that I received from the Lord. Many Pentecostals have contacted me with regard to their struggles. Sometimes they are so afraid of being found out that they ask that their conversations with me be kept secret. Eventually they take courage and find themselves making their own departure out of Pentecostalism.

    In all this it is important not to 'bash' Pentecostal people. When you are trapped in a religious system such as the UPC, you don't know anything else. Everything a Oneness Pentecostal person is taught revolves around a single Scripture, where Peter said, "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." (Acts 2:38 KJV.) This Scripture is always distorted beyond its setting. It should go without saying that no apostle ever preached that a person had to speak in tongues to be saved.

    Was I innocent in the fact that I could study the Scriptures for myself and find the truth? I could not claim innocence in that regard. No Pentecostal preacher should ever think that he is not accountable for what he preaches and how he ministers to others. James said that the teachers will receive a stricter judgment. Yes, I was responsible for studying the Scriptures for myself. Yet until a Pentecostal is willing to question the teachings of the UPC, they will remain locked into a system that is spiritually unhealthy. After all, Jesus said that the 'Truth' would make us free.

    I need to point out that those who leave the UPC often enter a time of culture shock. The world they find themselves in is unlike anything they are use to. Oneness Pentecostalism is a sub-culture with its own peculiar distinctive control factors, where fear itself is the primary control factor. Fear of leaving is deeply ingrained in them. Yet for many there is a constant ache in their heart. As a young preacher, I use to say to my wife, "Honey, I feel like I'm caught in a net and I don't know what it is." At the time I was unable to recognize that the net was the untrue doctrines of the UPC.

    Those who may be seeking to leave the UPC need to understand that the UPC is just another religious system. It is no more than that. It is a system designed by men, and controlled by men. Jesus Christ did not come to give us a system of religion. He came to give us a relationship with Him. The ancient writer said that the fear of man is a snare. The apostle said that perfect love casts out all fear.

    Here is some statistical information with regard to Pentecostalism. According to statistics the Pentecostals have the highest rate of divorce, and the highest rate of emotional disturbances of any Protestant group. A few years back I did research on issues of mental health to better educate myself for the purpose of pastoral ministry. During my research I came across an article on mental patients in California. It stated that the largest religious groups of patients in mental institutions in California were from a Pentecostal background.

    In picking up my research again [recent] I came across a major study by K. G. Meador and others. It was reported in 'Hospital and Community Psychiatry,' a monthly journal of the American Psychiatric Association. Having researched several thousand cases, Meador concluded that there was a greater rate of major depression in Pentecostals than in any other religious affiliation. (5.4 vs 1.7%) Here is the quote: "[The] rate of major depression in Pentecostals was three times greater than for any other affiliations."

    [Note: The term Pentecostal is a broad term and takes in far more than the United Pentecostal Church. The statistics above are not simply reflective on United Pentecostals.]

    Let me mention one other item that is important to understand. The ones who generally suffer the most under the UPC yoke are the women. This is always the case with repressive religions. The rules largely apply to them. Without naming all that is required of the women, let me simply say that much of what the UPC calls 'standards' have little and often no real Bible base. Paul speaks of these rules as having only the appearance of worship. He says they are really self-made religion.

    To any UPC person who is struggling over any of what I have shared, I can simply tell you that the Lord knows exactly where you are. He knows what you need to hear. He knows what your next step needs to be. God has a plan for your life. Don't be afraid to trust Him with all the details. He will show you what to do at the proper time.

    If any of this fits your world and you need someone to talk to, feel free to contact me by email. Your communication will be held in confidence. Our web site is Christian Challenge.

    Christian Challenge has a support group for people with a United Pentecostal background who are seeking counsel about leaving the organization, or who may be questioning certain UPC doctrines. Go to: DepartingUPC: Safe Haven for Departing Pentecostals.

    I also extend an invitation to any of our UPC friends to subscribe to an educational and open dialogue email study group that Christian Challenge sponsors. It is for Christians of all persuasions. This is not a debate forum. Go to: Hebraic Foundations.

    Finally, I strongly encourage any UPC person to check out another web site by a former UPC minister, Lois Gibson. This site has a wealth of information concerning spiritual abuse that can be found in Bible based churches. Go to: Spiritual Abuse: With a Secondary Focus on the United Pentecostal Church.

    The Lord bless you,


    Posted April 19, 2005 - Revised June 30, 2005 & May 18, 2006
  3. Good post Coconut, this was a good read.

    No matter what religious sect or denomination a person is in this is the way out, Jesus. The Greek word ekklesia means "called out ones". Everyone is being called out of something but more importantly in the same process we are all being brought into the same something which is a someone, Jesus the Christ.
  4. What a great testimony! And what a reminder that Jesus can find us no matter where we are, if we search for Him with all of our heart.
  5. #5 Hisalone, Jun 11, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2008
    Great testimony posted here sister

    Sadly, like stated before, this is the typical state of affairs within many religious systems with their own man-made pet doctrines.

    I came out of Catholicism, and it is almost like reading the same basic testimony. Certain aspects are quite the same.

    For instance, like the UPC rallies around the tongues doctrine, the Catholics rally around the Petrine and Marian doctrines citing one Scripture for each as the foundation of that doctrine. If you do not hold fast to these doctrines, you cannot really be a member of the "One True Church." :shock:


    Thanks for posting, brother.

  6. Yes and amen. The problem with the "one true church" statement is, there is none of mans oceans of ink, or words, or work, or approval, that can do anything for me. There is only ONE Lord, and only HIS seal, that can complete my [or any] adoption and make me truly ONE with Him.

    Imagine my being a child in an orphanage in a foreign country, and thinking theres something I can do that will get me adopted, or to complete that foolish...Oh I know, I must learn my adopting Fathers language before He will adopt doubly foolish...

    Rom 8:14 Those who are led by God's Spirit are God's children.
    Rom 8:15 For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God's children, and by the Spirit's power we cry out to God, "Father! my Father!"
    Rom 8:16 God's Spirit joins himself to our spirits to declare that we are God's children.

    Gal 4:1 But now to continue---the son who will receive his father's property is treated just like a slave while he is young, even though he really owns everything.
    Gal 4:2 While he is young, there are men who take care of him and manage his affairs until the time set by his father.
    Gal 4:3 In the same way, we too were slaves of the ruling spirits of the universe before we reached spiritual maturity.
    Gal 4:4 But when the right time finally came, God sent his own Son.

    [can I pause here to say THANK YOU JESUS!]

    He came as the son of a human mother and lived under the Jewish Law,
    Gal 4:5 to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might become God's children.
    Gal 4:6 To show that you are his children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who cries out, "Father, my Father."
    Gal 4:7 So then, you are no longer a slave but a child. And since you are his child, God will give you all that he has for his children.
    Gal 4:8 In the past you did not know God, and so you were slaves of beings who are not gods.
    Gal 4:9 But now that you know God---or, I should say, now that God knows you---how is it that you want to turn back to those weak and pitiful ruling spirits? Why do you want to become their slaves all over again?

    Eph 1:12 Let us, then, who were the first to hope in Christ, praise God's glory!
    Eph 1:13 And you also became God's people when you heard the true message, the Good News that brought you salvation. You believed in Christ, and God put his stamp of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit he had promised.
    Eph 1:14 The Spirit is the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised his people, and this assures us that God will give complete freedom to those who are his. Let us praise his glory!
    Eph 1:15 For this reason, ever since I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God's people,
    Eph 1:16 I have not stopped giving thanks to God for you. I remember you in my prayers
    Eph 1:17 and ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you the Spirit, who will make you wise and reveal God to you, so that you will know him.
    Eph 1:18 I ask that your minds may be opened to see his light, so that you will know what is the hope to which he has called you, how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises his people,
    Eph 1:19 and how very great is his power at work in us who believe. This power working in us is the same as the mighty strength
    Eph 1:20 which he used when he raised Christ from death and seated him at his right side in the heavenly world.
    Eph 1:21 Christ rules there above all heavenly rulers, authorities, powers, and lords; he has a title superior to all titles of authority in this world and in the next.
    Eph 1:22 God put all things under Christ's feet and gave him to the church as supreme Lord over all things.
    Eph 1:23 The church is Christ's body, the completion of him who himself completes all things everywhere.

    2Ti 2:19 But the solid foundation that God has laid cannot be shaken; and on it are written these words: "The Lord knows those who are his" and "Those who say that they belong to the Lord must turn away from wrongdoing."

    Praise God's glory!
  7. This has brought something home to me Coconut.
    'It stated that the largest religious groups of patients in mental institutions in California were from a Pentecostal background.'

    A Pentecostal church was my first church I attended straight after I was saved as I hadn't been attending any before it, I say shamefully.

    It wasn't an 'United' one, don't know if that makes any differance, dare say not.

    I had a very bad experience while attending there, mentally, it ended with me spending 6 weeks in a mental hospital, at the time I didn't connect it with any thing to do with the church, although I had been pushed into taking Sunday School which I felt was out of my bounds as I had only just got saved, I knew nothing of the Gospel. I needed taught not me teaching.
    My family mostly my husband forbid me to return there after I was discharged.

    It was a horrible experience let me tell you, and it ended with me being afraid of Jesus, yes afraid, imagine, I couldn't even pray for long enough after I had been discharged.

    I am thankfull to the Lord I had a full recovery, these past 4 years I have had a sound mind, my relationship with Jesus is awesome.

    Thank you for sharing such an in depth story and experience and awakening to just what does go on in the name of Jesus. I know there are many cults and religions out there doing the same sort of things and how it must break His heart.
  8. #8 rizen1, Jun 26, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2008
    This is only towards Oneness. I've never in my 23yrs heard anyone tell me I needed tongues to be saved. UPC itself is a cult not because it's "Pentecostal" but because of its Doctrine.

    I didn't get anything but, personal experience, so I took the liberty of getting facts about the church and its doctrine. It was a moving piece but I'm not sure if the author is putting all pentecostal churches/non denomination churches in the same boat. As I said before UPC is a cult, and my 23yrs of having fellowship with Pentecostal/non denomination, never once did anyone condemn a person who didn't speak in tongues

    Cult Watch.
    Oneness Pentecostalism
    By Jason Barker
    Founder: Frank Ewart
    Founding Date: 1913
    Structure: Numerous denominations and independent churches.
    Official Publications: Harvestime radio program, The New Birth, The Oneness of God.
    Unique Terms: Apostolic, Jesus Only, Jesus Name baptism, prophecy wheel, emphasis on Acts 2:38.
    Groups: United Pentecostal Church International, Apostolic World Christian Federation, Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ, Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Pentecostal Assemblies of the World.

    The founding date of the Oneness Pentecostal movement can be traced to a specific event: a revival meeting in Los Angeles on April 15, 1913. The culmination of the meeting occurred when Canadian revivalist R.E. McAlister baptized converts not according to the Trinitarian formula of the historic Christian Church, but in the name of Jesus only.1 While many at the meeting were shocked by this action, the burgeoning evangelist Frank Ewart spent many hours with McAlister following the service and was converted to the practice. According to many Oneness Pentecostals, McAlister taught Ewart that baptizing in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, as stated in Acts 2:38,2 was the fulfillment of the Trinitarian creed in Matthew 28:19.3 The passage from Matthew is fulfilled because Jesus, the Son, is simply the ultimate expression of the monotheistic God (rather than the Son being a distinct Person within the Trinitarian Godhead).
    The next significant date in the development of the movement occurred exactly two years later, on April 15, 1915, when Ewart gave his first sermon on Acts 2:38. David Reed believes that, despite the claims of Oneness Pentecostals that Ewart preached the message given to him by McCalister, Ewart did not actually develop his modalistic theology until after this sermon.4 Nonetheless, the approximate date for the development of Ewart's teaching regarding the necessity of baptism in the name of Jesus only can be traced to this period.

    Also on this date, Ewart rebaptized supporter Glenn A. Cook according to the Jesus only formula; Cook then rebaptized Ewart.5 This was the beginning of the rebaptism of thousands of Pentecostals. The Oneness movement quickly spread through Pentecostal churches, particularly the Assemblies of God. The AG debated the issue of baptism in Jesus' name at their 1915 general assembly, and in 1916 defeated the movement in their denomination by requiring adherence to Trinitarian theology in the Statement of Fundamental Truths.6 156 ministers subsequently left the AG to form an independent Oneness denomination. In January, 1918, the General Assembly of the Apostolic Assemblies merged with the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, a denomination affiliated with the original Pentecostal revival on Azusa Street in Los Angeles.7

    A particularly significant event in the history of the Oneness Pentecostal movement occurred in 1945, when the Pentecostal Church, Incorporated, merged with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ to form the United Pentecostal Church International. Beginning with 617 churches in 1946, the UPCI currently has 25,283 churches with a membership of over 2.6 million.8
    Numerous individuals who are accepted within mainstream Evangelicalism are affiliated with Oneness Pentecostalism. The Christian musical trio Phillips, Craig, and Dean are all ministers in the UPCI. T.D. Jakes has roots in the Oneness Pentecostal movement,9 and his doctrinal statement currently proclaims his belief in three "dimensions" or "manifestations" of the one God;10 not surprisingly, doctrine is one of the two areas with which people typically express disagreement with Jakes.11 Also, the popular worship choruses "Holy Ground" and "In the Presence of Jehovah" were written by UPC songwriter Geron Davis.12

    In contrast to this popularity, Steve Winter, an allegedly defrocked Oneness Pentecostal pastor,13 is a particularly unpopular representative of Oneness Pentecostalism. He refers to both mainstream Christians and other Oneness Pentecostals on the Internet as "false Christian scum," and runs a web site from which he charges Christians with adhering to "sub canine morals."14 The extremity of his behavior motivated Oneness apologist Mark Bassett to tell him, "You imbecile.YOU [have] habitually and regularly been involved in the disemination [sic] of inflamatory [sic] and defamatory material. matter [sic] of fact, this IS your universal reputation, in spite of the fact that you cranked a "Rev" in front of your name by personal whim."15

    One of the two most distinguishing beliefs and practices within Oneness Pentecostalism (along with Jesus Only baptism - see below) is modalism. Oneness Pentecostals deny the Trinity, believing instead that the monotheistic God simply "manifests" Himself in the offices or roles of the members of the Trinity. For example, one statement of Oneness beliefs claims:

    God is absolutely one, with no distinction of persons. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:8; 45:5-6, 21-23; 46:9 Romans 3:30; Galatians 3:20; James 2:19). In order to save sinful humanity, God provided a sinless Man as a sacrifice of atonement - Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In begetting the Son and in relating to humanity, God is the Father. In working to transform and empower human lives, God is the Holy Spirit. Thus, for our salvation, God has revealed Himself as Father (in parental relationship to humanity), in His Son (in human flesh), and as the Holy Spirit (in spiritual action). (Malachi 2:10; Luke 1:35; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 1 Timothy 2:5).16
    David K. Bernard, one of the most significant Oneness apologists, elaborates: "The term 'God the Father' is biblical and refers to God Himself.[The Bible] also clearly teaches that Jesus is the one Father. The Spirit that dwelt in the Son of God was none other than the Father."17
    In other words, the Godhead does not consist of three distinct Persons with one substance. Instead, the single Person performs various roles to which He assigns the titles of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When the monotheistic God acts as the Creator, He is performing as the Father. When He provided the atoning sacrifice to enable humans to be saved, He was performing as the Son. Finally, when He works to transform redeemed humans, He is performing as the Holy Spirit.

    Theophilus of Antioch, a second-century Christian, is widely recognized (according to available evidence) as the first individual to use the word "Trinity" in explaining the biblical teachings about God.18 The lack of earlier documentary evidence for the word "Trinity" leads many Oneness Pentecostals to assume that "power hungry bishops" in the early conciliar period devised the doctrine in order to accommodate Greco-Roman traditions.19 They allege that the doctrine was developed further at the Council of Nicaea to accommodate the combined theological and political aspirations of Emperor Constantine.20

    This belief system displays three misunderstandings: a misunderstanding of the bases for conciliar proclamations, a misunderstanding of the origins of modalism, and a misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches regarding the Trinity. Properly understanding all three points is vital for accurate Christian theology.

  9. Conciliar Proclamations: Many Christians inaccurately believe that the seven Ecumenical Councils of the early Church were occasions on which new doctrine was developed. Instead, the councils clarified the consensus fidelium (consensus of the faithful, or the "mind of the Church"), and defended it from heretical attacks. For example, the Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.) did not "decide" that Jesus Christ is of the same substance as the Father. Similarly, the Council of Constantinople (381 A.D.) did not "decide" that the Holy Spirit is also God. Instead, these councils, in reaction to heresies afflicting the Church at the time, clarified the biblical teachings for the faithful by creating pronouncements that would teach the biblical doctrines in ways that could be easily understood by the Church. Thus, the Nicene Creed was written at the Council of Nicaea in order to clearly promote the core doctrines of Christianity (including the belief that Jesus Christ is a distinct Person who is of one substance with the Father).

    Modalism: The doctrine of the Godhead taught by Oneness Pentecostals, rather than having its roots in the Bible, can instead be traced to the heresy of modalism taught in the third century by Sabellius (although it was first taught in 190 by Theodotus of Byzantium). Sabellius taught that the monotheistic God (called a monad) progressively revealed Himself through the offices of the Trinity. Significantly, Sabellius was excommunicated from the Church for his aberrant teachings. The Oneness Pentecostal teaching that God "manifested" Himself through the offices of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit comes directly from Sabellius, who even used the term "manifesting" to define his doctrine.21

    Biblical Teaching of the Trinity: A Oneness teacher wrote, "To say that God is three persons and find substantiation for it in the Scripture is a work in futility. There is literally nothing in the Bible that supports God being three persons."22 On the contrary, however, the passages at the end of this Profile clearly show that the concept of the Trinity can be found in the Bible. Oneness Pentecostals are correct in pointing out that the God of the Bible is monotheistic. Nonetheless, because the Bible also teaches that there is a Person called God the Father, a Person called God the Son, and a Person called God the Holy Spirit, it is clear that the Bible teaches that within the nature of the one God there exist three separate and distinct Persons.

    Jesus Only Baptism

    As stated in the "History" section of this Profile, the Oneness Pentecostal movement started when R.E. McAlister baptized respondents at a revival in the name of Jesus only. Modern Oneness Pentecostals continue the practice because they believe, as did McAlister, that Acts 2:38 was the fulfillment of Matthew 28:19. David K. Bernard states, "[Matthew 28:19] teaches the titles of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost identify one name and therefore one being. The church correctly carried out the instructions Jesus gave in Mt.28:19 when the apostles used the name of Jesus in water baptism."23 The UPCI elaborates: "The word name is used here in the singular, and it is the focal point of the baptismal command. The titles Father, Son, and Holy Ghost describe God's relationships to humanity and are not the supreme, caving name describe here, which is Jesus."24 In other words, the apostles baptized in the name of Jesus alone, and in doing so perfectly carried out the instructions of the Lord.
    Furthermore, Oneness Pentecostals claim that Christians must be baptized according to the "Jesus Only" formula in order to be saved.25 The "Jesus Only" understanding and practice of baptism is thus tremendously significant to the spiritual state of Oneness Pentecostals.

    The "Jesus Only" formula reflects an egregious decontextualization of Scripture. For example, examining Matthew 28:18 clearly refutes the Oneness understanding of Matthew 28:19. Jesus claims in verse 18 that all power was given to him by the Father; this claim would be meaningless, and would perhaps even be an indication of schizophrenia, if the Father and Son were actually the same person. Thus, just as he claimed in verse 18 the authority given to him, in verse 19 he commands the apostles to go forth and to baptize upon that authority (i.e., the command of Jesus).26 Such an understanding is confirmed by Acts 10:48, which similarly expresses the authority by which baptism is performed.

    The Oneness understanding that salvation depends upon Jesus' Name baptism is similarly refuted by Scripture. Oneness Pentecostals use Acts 4:12 as evidence that salvation comes through this baptismal formula.27 If salvation comes only through being baptized by the sacred name of God, and if the Son is simply a manifestation of God the Father, then baptism would therefore need to be performed in the name of Elohim or Yahweh (provided in the Old Testament). Since even Oneness Pentecostals would dispute this understanding, the necessity of baptism in the name of Jesus only is easily refuted using their own logic.


    Many Oneness Pentecostals believe that Christians must receive the gift of tongues, or glossolalia, in order to be saved. It should be pointed out that such Oneness Pentecostals do not believe that the gift of tongues in itself will save individuals; however, any individual who has received the Holy Spirit, and thus will be saved, will also receive and exhibit the gift of tongues. David K. Bernard explains,

    Tongues in and of themselves do not save. Nevertheless, the relationship between the Spirit baptism and tongues is similar to that of faith and works. We are saved by faith, not works, yet works always accompany genuine faith. Likewise, tongues cannot save us, yet the Spirit baptism produces tongues as the initial sign.A Spirit baptism without tongues is a nonbiblical concept; the Bible does not discuss this possibility. We should always expect speaking in tongues when someone receives the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
    It is not the purpose of this Profile to argue for or against glossolalia. Nonetheless, it is necessary to point out that the Oneness belief in the gift of tongues as a necessary evidence of having the Holy Spirit (as opposed to the gift as an evidence of the fullness of the Spirit, as some Pentecostals believe) is unbiblical. Even Bernard admits that many of the biblical accounts of conversions do not describe receiving the gift of tongues. Therefore, Oneness Pentecostals are erroneously attempting to argue that something that occasionally occurred should therefore always occur; it is impossible to argue this point when the Bible does not make such a claim
  10. I believe I understand something of what the author, and you speak of Maureen, concerning the mental anguish religion breeds. It eventually leads to a 'dark night of the soul' that can only be banished by the light of Jesus Christ. I wish I could impart to every man woman and child the true love, the rest, the peace, and calm assurance that Christ alone can give.

    Luke 1:73 "With a solemn oath to our ancestor Abraham he promised to rescue us from our enemies and allow us to serve him without fear,
    so that we might be holy and righteous before him all the days of our life.
    ...Our God is merciful and tender. He will cause the bright dawn of salvation to rise on us and to shine from heaven on all those who live in the dark shadow of death, to guide our steps into the path of peace."

    I was born and raised on a United Pentecostal Church pew, and spent several months in a UPC seminary at age 18, I know this particular religion from the inside out, and all the striving that goes hand in hand with it, including the condemnation that no amount of 'dancing to the piper' can seem to drive away.

    Mat 11:16 "Now, to what can I compare the people of this day? They are like children sitting in the marketplace. One group shouts to the other,
    'We played wedding music for you, but you wouldn't dance! We sang funeral songs, but you wouldn't cry!' When John came, he fasted and drank no wine, and everyone said, 'He has a demon in him!' When the Son of Man came, he ate and drank, and everyone said, 'Look at this man! He is a glutton and wine drinker, a friend of tax collectors and other outcasts!' God's wisdom, however, is shown to be true by its results."

    I wont hesitate to say I was more zealous than anybody I knew during my time in seminary. While my peers were out entertaining themselves with other pursuits, I would be shut up alone in my room, weeping and praying to know God. It occurs to me, that maybe some of them knew Christ as I know Him now, and thats why they could rest, whereas I had a restless spirit, I`d love to go back and ask that question. This is a 'knowing' that all my Sunday School teachers, all my years spent in 'Church', and the countless sermons, all the great 'moves of the Spirit', all the emotionalism, and all the theology I was studying, and all that I was doing 'right', and all the 'wrong' I was shunning (because I was told it made me 'unholy') never satisfied my soul. As one young man put to me, "all my life I have felt that I was`nt ever good enough, acceptable enough, righteous enough, religious enough, no matter how hard I tried."

    Is`nt that the pivotal point of the good news Christ brings tho, that we, even the most devout Jew, Catholic, Pentecostal, what have you, are never going to be righteous enough (the OT canon of scripture, and all the worlds religious history books are full of men who have so strove) ... the message Christ still proclaims is, it is not about our 'doing' but what He has already done, praise His goodness!

    Mat 11:28 "Come to Me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light."

    (It is noteworthy here, that the more one entrenches themselves in religion, the heavier its yoke gets - study more, pray more, go more, do more of this thing, dont do that at all, wear this, dont wear that, consume this, but dont consume that...none of these have to do with Christ, or His commands, if I must ref to Act 15:28 here friends thats not the cross which Christ says you must carry, thats just the old dug-up yoke of the law someones put a coat of holy paint on!)

    John 7:37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" (this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive)

    The Spirit will flow! We got the rocks on the river bed trying to be the river here!

    Read Paul`s 5th letter of Romans, and find there the essence of the message of faith Christ spent His entire earthly ministry proclaiming. Then turn to 1st Timothy 4, and find there the essence of mens religion, (the departure from this faith) making specific note at the beginning of "who" is speaking. "Now the Spirit expressly says..."

    Joh 5:1 After this, Jesus went to Jerusalem for a religious festival...then speaking to the most devoutly religious ; (who were trying to find a reason to kill Him)

    John 5:39 "You study the Scriptures, because you think that in them you will find eternal life. And these very Scriptures speak about me!
    Yet you are not willing to come to me in order to have life.
    "I am not looking for human praise. But I know what kind of people you are, and I know that you have no love for God in your hearts. I have come with my Father's authority, but you have not received me; when, however, someone comes with his own authority, you will receive him.
    You like to receive praise from one another, but you do not try to win praise from the one who alone is God; how, then, can you believe me?"

    1Jn 2:7 My dear friends, this command I am writing you is not new; it is the old command, the one you have had from the very beginning. The old command is the message you have already heard.
    1Jn 2:8 However, the command I now write you is new, because its truth is seen in Christ and also in you. For the darkness is passing away, and the real light is already shining.
    1Jn 2:9 If we say that we are in the light, yet hate others, we are in the darkness to this very hour.
    1Jn 2:10 If we love others, we live in the light, and so there is nothing in us that will cause someone else to sin.
  11. #11 rizen1, Jun 26, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2008
    Any comments on my post ?

    I'm trying to figure out if this is a warning towards the oneness church or all Pentecostal/Non denominational churches ?
  12. Hallelujah!!!!! The Truth shall set us free!!!

    Another point I would like to add is that one religion or denomination is not any better or closer than another. Religion is an enemy of spiritual life no matter what it looks like on the outside, inside it is carnal and corrupt.

    Thus sayeth the Lord " religion stinketh"!!! Mathew 23:1-36 NJP
  13. Coconut
    I am well since healed of all that went on in me and have remained so with the help of God ever since, 4 years now.

    I would not have said the Pentecostal church I attended at that time was so out landish as what you describe being a 'United Pentecostal' they did use the speaking in tongues but no-one was condemned for not having that such gift, or that you weren't saved least you could.

    It all does seem very extreme indeed.
    We must be so very careful what we are taught, and discern all things.

    Be thankful to Jesus for wisdom, and guidence.
  14. #14 Fellowservant, Jul 4, 2008
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2008
    Hi sister Maureen, the O.P article is referring to U.P.C.I and not Pentecostal assemblies in general.
    Sister rizen1 should have an answer to her above question here as well.

    The doctrine of U.P.C.I teaches that if you don't speak in tongues then you have not received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, therefore you don't have the spirit of God in you unless you do. Men and woman spend years trying to receive the spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues at their UPC church altars. Imagine feeling unsaved for years? this has to be hard on their converts.

    Then they have a doctrine based mostly on the conscience called holiness standards, and if you don't meet these standards, you can be expelled from their fellowship, or not be able to take part in ministry, or just basic rejection from most. You will basically be judged as unworthy by their conscience. Ie: having a beard or mustache or goatee is forbidden, with most if not all for ministry, that is just the start.

    Not all UPC ministers hold to their own doctrines or statements of faith, thats another problem as well, and men can be lead into something that is not quite transparent at first, and appears to be holy and right and true. But sooner or later it will transform you into its image, this is how this church seems to work.

    It should be all there in their statement of faith. If your going to join a church system, Catholic, Jehovah Witnesses, UPC, Mormons or whatever, be sure to read the fine print first, and compare it with scripture, or you will lose a lot of your God given liberty joining these groups.

    Don't get me wrong there are some real good people here, or in this organization, it to me is that they have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. So ill let God be the judge here, as many don't know what they are into. Id say the same thing about JWs or Mormons, this is in Gods hands not mine, and may he reward them according to their works.

    God bless
  15. That all seems very severe.
    Not at all what Jesus has taught in His word.

    It is sad too, these people really believe in what they are preaching so too do the J.W's and Mormons etc.
    but they are all sincere but are sincerly wrong but like you say God will be the judge not us.

Share This Page

Users Who Have Read This Thread (Total: 0)