Friday, April 27, 2007

Oneness Doctrine

In the early 1900's, what is currently known as the Pentecostal movement was birthed. What began as a fairly minor disagreement about baptism(in the name of Jesus or of Father, Son and Holy Spirit), turned into a major doctrinal split around 1916. The Assemblies of God(primary pentecostal denomination) made a clear, decisive statement about the existence of the trinity a part of their official doctrine, and those not willing to acknowledge this were forced out of the denomination. These individuals and churches eventually formed the basis for what is now the current oneness doctrinal movement. This is the belief that Jesus IS the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with no personal distinction between the three.

The interesting thing about this doctrine that I found as I was researching for this post is that the United Pentecostal Church(one of the primary Oneness proponents) web site used many of the same scriptures that I would use to refute their belief. It seemed simply a matter of choice to believe this rather than based on any thoughtful scripturally based doctrinal stanse, and as I continued to dig I found this statement on, "During a camp meeting in Arroyo Seco, California in the late 1913 or early 1914 conducted by the Assemblies of God (AG), one minister by the name of John G. Scheppe revealed that during his night of meditation it was revealed to him that baptism must be done "in the name of Jesus only" and not "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."

RED FLAG! It is only through THIS type of a "revelation" that someone could read Matthew 28:19 and still hold to a oneness doctrine.

It states, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...."

Also, make no mistake this is FAR from the only Scriptural backing for the doctrine of the Trinity(three distinct persons within the Godhead).

Here are just a sampling: Philippians 2:9-11, Ephesians 1:17&22, Galatians 1:1, Colossians 1:3, Revelations 1:1, I John 1:3, I Peter 1:3, James 1:1, Hebrews 1:1-3, John 14:6, John 15:1.

The more I read from the UPC's web site, the more clearly it seemed to me that their thinking became centered around justifying their initial premise rather than genuinely seeking God for His Truth based on what the Scriptures say for themselves.

One interesting point made by is that many who are strongly devoted within the UPC and Apostolic(another big oneness name) have had a miraculous healing in their past that has caused them to link that with the denomination along with and perhaps even more than God.

I will certainly acknowledge that I do not claim to fully comprehend the mystery of the Trinity, but this is not a justification to actively defend a doctrine which is not only different than that of the Trinity but of Scripture. Doctrine should be the most accurate reflection of what the Bible teaches us whether we can fully comprehend every angle of it or not. I think this mysteriousness about the Trinity is what causes many to either accept or at least not be very concerned about Oneness doctrine. However, if we prayerfully consider all the ramifications of this basic split AS we read through the gospels and the epistles, I believe God will make clear to us its importance.


If you strongly disagree with me about this or any other of my posts about doctrine, please take the time to read my “Why I am writing about doctrine” post from April 14 before you respond. Thank You.

Next week, I'll begin discussing the Word of Faith movement.... :)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The sacred nature of the sabbath and "unclean" foods

These two points of doctrine are where I'll begin my doctrinal discussion. The Seventh Day Adventist church is an extremely fast growing denomination. As their name suggests, they place a very high priority on what the "official" day of the week that the church chooses as their day of worship and rest.

Before I make clear my understanding of what scripture has to say about this, let me begin by saying that I can understand why the Jewish peoples of the first generation church would have had difficulty not considering this to be a most important issue. It was after all an offense that could carry a death sentence if one did not "keep the sabbath holy." However, we as believers have had light shed upon WHY this command held such a place of seriousness and severity. It is because the sabbath is one of the more powerful symbols of who and what Christ is for the believer.

"Therefore, do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." Colossians 2:16&17

As Paul speaks of these issues in Colossians 2, he touches upon the second doctrine I'll write on for this post: Unclean foods.

In Mark 7:5-23, Christ has a dialogue with the Pharisees, the crowd, and His disciples. Read the whole passage for the most complete context, but the central point in regards to this doctrine is made in verses 18 & 19 when the disciples asked Him to clarify his teaching. "Are you so dull? he asked. Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body. (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods 'clean.')" This is not to say we should not use common sense about what and how much we eat, but according to Jewish law, certain foods were immoral to eat ever. Eating them made you SPIRITUALLY unclean, and this is no longer the case. The Bible simply teaches we are to eat with a thankful heart.

Next week--I'm going to discuss the Oneness doctrine (denial of the Trinity)


If you strongly disagree with me about this or any other of my posts about doctrine, please take the time to read my “Why I am writing about doctrine” post from April 14 before you respond. Thank You.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Why I am writing about doctrine

This is my offical disclaimer that is to go hand in hand with the next several posts in regard to doctrines I believe to be wrong.

First, I want to address a possible concern. Because I am choosing to speak negatively about doctrines and the groups or individuals most responsible for the promotion of those doctrines, does this mean that I do not believe it is possible I have some wrong doctrine filed away in my mental computer? No. As a matter of fact I actively pray the Lord will help me to be receptive when that is the case so that I may purge myself of it. It is almost a forgone conclusion in my mind that to some extent I do.

I understand perhaps now more than any other time in my life that wrong doctrine both REFLECTS a wrong understanding of God AND LEADS TO a wrong understanding of God. I want the Holy Spirit to lead us to as clear a vision of our Father as is possible in this life.

I will try to present my posts in a way that states firmly what I believe while trying to do so respectfully.

The primary reasons I am writing about these specific doctrines are as follows:

1. They are held by family, close friends, or, in some cases, have been promoted in churches I have attended. Therefore, I have felt the need to think and pray about these more thoroughly than some other doctrines that are perhaps also questionable.

2. I consider them to be important enough to merit thoughtful discussion.

In regards to my thoughts about all this stuff, and how I would prefer anyone responded..... of course, you may simply take them or leave them. However, whichever you do, do so prayerfully. Pray for me. Pray about what I've written, and, most of all, pray that the Holy Spirit will lead us both into all truth. Comments, as always, are not only welcome but highly valued.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Quote of the week...

"Images, images everywhere but not a thought to think!"
-Jesse M. Guy

Images and Ideas

Radio has been around less than 100 years, television for less than 50, cable for less than 30, and the internet for less than 20 years. The world we live in is being radically influenced by this new deluge of mass communication. We most certainly DO NOT appreciate the degree that these mediums will affect the very nature of our perceptions. Just one small example of this is the difference between how an idea impacts someone's mind and how images impact our minds.

Ideas drip into our consciousness one word, one sentence, and one paragraph at at time. We have the opportunity to weigh the concepts being presented to us, and if we choose to exercise discernment, we can simply pick and choose between ideas we believe to be true, good, and right and those we believe to be bad, wrong, and false.

When dealing with images, however, impact is probably a very accurate descriptive. Sounds can cause a physiological response. Audio and visual images simultaneously presented can especially provoke powerful chemical responses in our brains and bodies. Now more than ever we have the ability to present thousands of ideas, but it seems to me we are too busy drowning in a sea of millions of images. The more this is meditated on, the scarier it becomes to me.

In our culture images are more about amusement(no thought) than about musing(thought). This is because we've stumbled upon a lethal combination of a reckless pursuit of pleasure through ourselves by way of the infinite number of escapist fictional realities that are provided by our saturation of electronic media. Meanwhile, the cultures without this blessing/epidemic of media saturation face reality head on and deal with it because they are not given any other option than to do so. Anyone care to prophecy where this is leading us?