Archive Message - 1995

From braintree!uunet!!!!jeb Thu Nov 2 15:56:44 1995 Path: braintree!uunet!!!!jeb From: (JEB) Newsgroups: alt.christnet,,alt.religion.christian,,christnet.christianlife,christnet,evangelical,talk.religion.christian,alt.usenet.kooks,alt.religion.scientology Subject: Re: Steve Winter is a $cientologist! Followup-To: alt.christnet,,alt.religion.christian,,christnet.christianlife,christnet,evangelical,talk.religion.christian,alt.usenet.kooks,alt.religion.scientology Date: 21 Oct 1995 15:13:04 GMT Organization: Ingress Communications ( Lines: 414 Message-ID: <46b2m0$> References: <45bacb$> <45jtea$> <45p2n1$> <460er0$> <462g7f$> NNTP-Posting-Host: X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL2] Xref: braintree alt.christnet:47720 alt.religion.christian:58795 christnet.christianlife:1729 alt.usenet.kooks:25009 alt.religion.scientology:119969 Steve is actually a member of this sect. (although he will not admit it) jeb THE UNITED PENTECOSTALS AT A GLANCE... * History: The United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI) began in 1945 as a result of a merger of the Pentecostal Church, Inc. and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ. * Organization facilities: The UPCI has as its headquarters a three-story building located in Hazelwood, Mo., in the northwestern St. Louis metropolitan area. This building also holds its publishing house, Word Aflame Press, which produces the church's tracts, books, Sunday School materials and other church related items. * Educational facilities: The UPCI supports nine Bible colleges throughout the United States and Canada. * Missionary Efforts: The UPCI has a foreign mission division, which sponsors and oversees the work of more than 400 missionaries and national workers in more than 100 countries. The church's foreign mission budget was about $12 million in 1987. Domestically, the denomination sponsors an orphanage, a rehabilitation center for boys, and a ministry for alcohol and drug addicts. * Membership: The UPCI claims a worldwide membership in excess of 1.4 million. In 1988, the sect reported 400,000 members, 3500 churches, and over 7,000 ministers within the United States and Canada. The denomination's organizational structure is congregational, with the local churches being autonomous in their conduct of business. * Doctrinal distinctives: The UPCI insists that water baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38) must be performed for the remission of sins. The UPCI also holds to a non-trinitarian view of God. The church maintains that there is only one person in the Godhead, Jesus Christ. This one-person God has revealed Himself as the Father in creation, as the Son in redemption and as the Holy Spirit in regeneration. Because of this latter doctrine, the sect has, at times, been nicknamed "Jesus Only." The denomination also emphasizes the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Finally, the church stresses a strict social behavior and holiness code. (Sources: Dictionary of Christianity in America, Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, and Encyclopedia of Ameri can Religions, Vol. 1.) THE ONENESS DOCTRINE: FULL GOSPEL OR FOOL GOSPEL? by Edgar L. Havaich Christians occasionally encounter people who appear committed to Jesus Christ but profess some beliefs about the nature of God that are radically different from those of traditional Christianity. These often zealous individuals come under a variety of names: Apostolic Pentecostals, Oneness Believers and Jesus Only's. Christians would do well to take a second look at the underlying belief structure of the Oneness adherent. Oneness teachings are much like those of a man named Sabellius, a third-century figure who was labeled a heretic by the Christian Church. Believed to have been born in Libya, North Africa, his ante-Nicene unitarian doctrine spread both in Rome and Egypt and has been refined, amplified and propagated down through the centuries. Unlike the Church's belief that there is one God expressed in a unity of three distinct persons all having the attributes of God and claiming to be God, Sabellius taught that the Godhead was one person revealed in three different manifestations. Furthermore, Sabellius believed that the Godhead was expressed through its operations: The Father was revealed in creation; the existence of the Son was limited to the period of His earthly redemptive work; once He had returned to heaven, God was revealed as the Son no longer but as the Holy Spirit in his operation of sanctification of the Church. This teaching is called modalism. Because of his beliefs, Sabellius was excommunicated from the Church. Yet the idea of modalistic monarchianism, the belief that God reigns while manifesting Himself through different modes of operation, is perpetuated today through the Apostolic Pentecostal Church. Today's Oneness movement got its start at a 1913 camp meeting for the relatively young Pentecostal Church. In Arroyo Seco, near Los Angeles, a message was given noting that in the days of the apostles baptism was performed in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38) instead of using the Trinitarian model given by Christ, who instructed Christians to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19). After deliberating for one night over the message he had heard, a man by the name of John C. Scheppe revealed his "new insight" into what he saw as the true nature of the Godhead. His "revelation" was the beginning of the modern Apostolic Pentecostal Church. Modern Oneness Pentecostals believe that Jesus is the Father or the Son-Father (hyiopator), that is Jesus is the physical manifestation of the Father who is Spirit. The Holy Ghost is not considered a part of the Trinity but merely the spirit and power of the Son-Father. Oneness theology also embraces the teaching that salvation comes through repentance and baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus only. The question posed by many apostolics, "Have you been baptized in the name?", is one way they determine if the person they are conversing with meets their criteria of a "true believer." One further proof of a "legitimate" conversion is whether the individual has been baptized in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. The basis for Oneness doctrine lies with a group of key scriptures that have been misinterpreted or misunderstood by apostolic adherents. One such verse is Colossians 2:9, "For in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." In considering the title of Oneness, author Gordon Magee's booklet, Is Jesus in the Godhead or is the Godhead in Jesus?, it would appear that we must make a choice as to who is dwelling in whom. Since God is Spirit (John 4:24) we realize that this cannot refer to all three persons residing within the body, or being incarnate within the earthly body of Jesus. Yet if, according to Oneness theology, the Godhead is in Jesus, but Jesus is not in the Godhead, we find a contradiction when Jesus Himself says "the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father (John 10:38). The more plausible explanation of Colossians 2:9 is that the divine nature of the Godhead was totally revealed through the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus also went on to state that we, too, share this unique union when in John 14:20 he said, "I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you." In other words, being made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26) and having Christ living within us (Colossians 2:20), we also have a part in revealing the loving nature of our God to a lost and dying world. To maintain the apostolic position that Colossians 2:9 means the Godhead resides in Jesus but Jesus does not reside in the Godhead would force us to go one step further when considering John 14:20 and come to the blasphemous conclusion that we, too, are a part of the Godhead. Isaiah 9:6 is another verse that Oneness theology uses to substantiate its doctrine. Referring to Christ's title, "everlasting Father," the apostolic feels justified in drawing the conclusion that scripture has affirmed his position that the Father and the Son are one and the same. However, the word "Father" is merely the tool used to address Christ's deity, just as the word "Son" depicts His humanity. Moreover, the Hebrew word for Father 'ab' is used in accordance with a custom usual in Hebrew and in Arabic, where he who possesses a thing is called the father of it. Thus Abialbon (II Samuel 23:31), "father of strength," means "strong"; Abiasaph (Exodus 6:24), "father of gathering," means "gatherer"; Abigail (I Chronicles 2:16), "father of exultation," is a woman's name meaning "exulting"; and so forth." Therefore, in keeping with the Hebrew custom the title "everlasting Father" or as it has also been translated, "Father of eternity" would simply be stating that Christ is eternal. (Albert Barnes, Notes on the Old Testament and Practical: Isaiah, Vol. I, Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Book House, 1950 reprint, pg. 193, as quoted in Robert M. Bowman, Jr., "Oneness Pentecostalism and the Trinity", Forward, The News and Research Periodical of the Christian Research Institute, Vol. 8, Number 3, 1985, p. 23-24.) Trinitarians have been accused by Oneness writers of believing in three gods. Oneness writer Thomas H. Weisser even went so far as to state "The theologians with their babblings will be brought to their knees before the One God in Jesus Christ. Their trinitarian beliefs will do them no good as Christ tells them to depart from Him because they are workers of iniquity. He will remind them of the scripture they know so well: 'If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins (John 8:24).'" (3 Persons? From The Bible or Babylon, pg. 43) In spite of numerous articles by Trinitarians declaring their belief in the one God as defined by the Bible, Oneness adherents persist in their accusations that we believe in three Gods and are only paying lip service to the Bible. Such statements lead us to believe that those who issue them are either uninformed as to true trinitarian doctrine, or have deliberately ignored this position in an attempt to make their point. True trinitarian doctrine is substantiated throughout scripture. It states first and foremost that there is only one God. See the following: Deuteronomy 4:35 - Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him. Deuteronomy 6:4 - Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: II Samuel 7:22 - Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. Isaiah 43:10 - Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. Isaiah 44:8 - Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? Ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God: I know not any. Mark 12:32 - And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he. Galatians 3:20 - Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. I Timothy 2:5 - For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Apostolics and other anti-Trinitiarians seek to support their theology on the basis of many of the above verses. However, these verses do not limit the number of persons contained in the Godhead, but only emphasize that there is one God. This in no way contradicts Christian theology. It should be noted also that within the Shema, the great Jewish confession of faith (Deuteronomy 6:4), the Hebrew word for "one" is achid. Achid means a united one, whereas the Hebrew word yachid means absolute one or only one. While the word yachid would have much better fit Oneness theology, God Himself declares that He is achid (united one). (See further, Genesis 1:5 and 2:24 for other uses of achid in compound unity.) Yet within the nature of the one God there are three beings: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. scripture designates each one as being God as the following passages show: The Father is called God I Peter 1:2 - ... elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. II Peter 1:17 - For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Isaiah 64:8 - "But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand." The Son is called God John 1:1-3 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 10:30 - "I and my Father are one." (Jesus is speaking.) John 20:28 - And Thomas answered and said unto him, "My Lord and my God." Hebrews 1:8 - But unto the Son He saith, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." The Holy Spirit is called God Job 33:4 - "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." Job 26:13 - "By his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent." Acts 5:3,4 - But Peter said, "Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? While it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." The fact that there is only one God and that we acknowledge the Bible differentiates between the three persons making up the Godhead does not mean we believe in three Gods. The question we need to be asking is not "is there one God or three Gods?" but "is there distinction within the Godhead?" Cal Beisner makes this observation: "The great Presbyterian theologian at the turn of the century, Dr. Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield, pointed out that when we say these three things: 'That there is but one God,' 'That the Father;, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit is each God,' and, 'That the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is each a distinct person,' then we have enunciated the doctrine of the Trinity in its completeness." (The Trinity or "Jesus Only," What Do The Scriptures Teach? transcript from "The John Ankerberg Show,") Beisner further observes that the need for definition is crucial in the event of a debate because it defines the boundaries of the debate. Most debates over this doctrine waste much time arguing points already agreed upon. The definition B.B. Warfield has given makes clear that there are two important points on which we and Oneness adherents are totally agreed -- namely that there is but one God and that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is each God. The disagreement comes entirely from the trinitarian declaration that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct persons. Here is where any debate should be centered. While Trinitarians see three distinct persons within the Godhead, Oneness believers see three different manifestations in the Godhead. The following quote from Oneness author David K. Bernard helps illustrate the point: "It is necessary to distinguish clearly between the deity and the humanity of Christ. While Jesus was both God and man at the same time, sometimes He acted from the human viewpoint and sometimes from the divine viewpoint. As Father, He sometimes spoke from His divine self-consciousness; as Son He sometimes spoke from His human self-consciousness. Only as a man could Jesus be born, grow, be tempted by the devil, hunger, thirst, become weary, sleep, pray, be beaten, die, not know all things, not have all power, be inferior to God, and be a servant. Only as God could He exist from eternity, be unchanging, cast out devils by His own authority, be the bread of life, give living water, give spiritual rest, calm the storm, answer prayer, heal the sick, raise His body from death, forgive sin, know all things, have all power, be identified as God, and be King of kings. In an ordinary person, these two contrasting lists would be mutually exclusive, yet the scriptures attribute all them to Jesus, revealing His dual nature." (Essential Doctrines of the Bible, by David K. Bernard, pp. 9,10) Trinitarians see the use of plural pronouns as identifying distinct persons. Oneness adherents see the use of plural pronouns as showing the dual nature of Jesus Christ, as another apostolic writer explains: "All we have to do when we read our Bibles is to keep in mind this simple thought: Is Jesus acting as a man now or is He acting as God? - because He was both God and man, In him deity and humanity were fused but not confused. He could speak from two separate standpoints, He could talk as Almighty God - He could talk as a human. For instance, when He walked on the sea He was acting as God. When He walked beside the sea He was acting as man. When He sat down on the wall and was weary in every limb, He was weary as to His humanity, but Isaiah 40:28 says that everlasting God - the Creator - faints not nor is weary. Jesus was not weary as to His deity; He was weary merely as to His humanity. To understand what a scriptural passage says about Jesus, then, we must ask the question, Is He now taking the part and place of God or is He taking the part and place of man? There we have a wonderful key, and unfolding key to the Jesus of the four Gospels." (Is Jesus in the Godhead or Is the Godhead in Jesus?, by Gordon McGee, pg. 14) When plural pronouns and terms such as "both," "another" and " not alone" are used in reference to the Father and the Son, distinction is evident. To state, as do Oneness believers, that this is the Father speaking from two different points of view or modes, is eisegesis in its most pronounced form. The following scriptures illustrate the distinction of persons. Both: John 15:24 - "If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father." II John 9 - "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." We and Our: John 14:23 - "Jesus answered and said unto him, '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.'" Another: John 14:16 - "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." Not Alone: John 8:16 - "And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me." John 8:29 - "And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him." John 16:32 - "Behold the hour cometh, yea, in now come, that ye shall be scattered, everyman to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me." Nothing in the texts quoted implies that there is a unipersonal God, manifesting different roles or modes. It would be more logical and more scripturally sound to conclude that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are separate and distinct individuals. It would also be more judicious to allow scripture to speak of the nature of the Godhead rather than relying on man's "revelations" of what they believe the Godhead to be. Scripture speaks clearly on this issue when it states clearly and concisely in Proverb 30:6: "Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." God is stern in His warning regarding His nature, for "such is the antichrist - he that denies the Father and the Son." (I John 2:22)


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