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12 June, 2009 / theexpositor

The Heresy of Oneness Pentecostalism

I offer this link to an explanation of Oneness Pentecostalism because the effects of this false teaching effect me personally. I have numerous family members and friends who have been deceived by the heresy of the United Pentecostal Church and it breaks my heart to see what is happening to them. This false church draws people in with big smiles, upbeat music and fellowship, but when one makes the effort to examine what the UPCI teaches, in the light of Scripture, it is clear this churches teachings are contrary to the Word of God.

Watchman Fellowship offers a wonderful resource, including a great outline on the history and teachings of One Pentecostalism. I invite you all to make this website one of your regulars. In the profile of Oneness Pentecostalism, they outline the basics of this false teaching:

  • Denial of the Trinity-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.
  • Jesus Only Baptism- (The teaching that a convert baptized in the Names of the Father , the Son and the Holy Spirit are not biblically saved and that a convert must be baptized in the name of Jesus only, or they are not born again. ) 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.
  • Tongues-(The teaching that a convert MUST speak in tongues upon the moment of salvation, which coincides with water baptism in the name of Jesus only, or that salvation is wrong.)…..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.

I invite you to read the entire profile. Also, John Ankerberg produced a series of wonderful resources on the subject and are available at their website www.ankerberg.org.

Please do not be deceived by this false movement. Friendliness, good music and good food will not save you. We must pass this and all doctrine through the lens of Scripture. If a teaching is contrary to the entirety of God’s Word….it is error.

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23 Comments

  1. mike rockhold / Jul 27 2009 0 42

    I appreciate your work here. I was once an attendee of one of those types of churches you speak of here. I found them alltogether creepy

  2. wcwalters / Nov 12 2009 22 38

    Sounds like you have a lot of hurt and hatred for the truth and put only faith in your own doctrine.

    • theexpositor / Nov 16 2009 14 53

      wcwalters….i do have a hatred for error and the teachings of Oneness Pentecostalism is error; not because I say so, but because that fact is established in the light of Scripture. I challenge you to disprove my points, through the lense of God’s Word, and in maintaining the context of the entirety of Scripture. Are you a follower of this doctrine? Are you a member of a UPC or Oneness congregation? Are you willing to humble yourself and repent if God brings you to the point of revealing the error to you?

      • mark17 / May 5 2010 12 19

        Show me one place in the word of God where anybody was baptized using the titles Father, Son, and HolyGhost. You wont find it, but go ahead.

    • mark17 / May 5 2010 12 20

      Are you oneness? You believe in baptism in Jesus name, right?

      • theexpositor / May 5 2010 12 50

        Mark,

        I would have no problem in saying ‘I baptize you in the Name of Jesus Christ’. But my saying that would not go the route of Oneness Pentacostalism and deny the Trinity all together. I’m assuming you are leaning on the classic misinterpretation made by Oneness followers in quoting Acts 2:38, when the proper translation and context points not to the proper name of Jesus, but rather in the authority of His Name. Biblically, however, to do something in someone’s name means it is simply done in the authority and place of that person. This may or may not be accompanied by spoken words; Christians are commanded to do all things “in the name of Jesus Christ,” but we are surely not expected to say “in the name of Jesus Christ” whenever we do anything. If a person is baptized as a submission to the authority of Jesus Christ, they are baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ,” no matter what was spoken by the baptizing pastor.

        I offer for your consideration an article by pastor Dr. John MacArthur titled Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?

        Also John Ankerberg some years back moderated a great series of debates between Dr. Walter Martin and leaders of the United Pentecostal Church International. These are extremely informative. You can listen to the tnire series for free on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bl7ksIvgjU&feature=PlayList&p=F025BE7F2560A83F&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=13

  3. the Rev. Bryan Dabney / Nov 20 2009 12 52

    Well said, Brother Mike. We must contend for the faith (St. Jude, 3) if we be in Christ. And those who bear his name ought to abide in the sound doctrines of God’s word written. The Holy Trinity is one of those defining tenets which separate the wheat from the chaff. Nowhere in the New Testament will you find a nullification of our Lord’s words in St. Matthew 28 wherein he confirmed the method of baptism “in the name of the Father , and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. ” The Nicene Creed was simply an affirmation of a previously known fact of Scripture.

  4. willy / Feb 1 2010 2 32

    Amen! Good work on this vital issue. May the good Lord continue to bless you, your family, and your ministry.

  5. mark17 / May 4 2010 15 57

    Hey for all you “bible scholars” or so called theologians. 1st Timothy says this : ” And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. ” Now i dont know about you, but i only know of One person who was made manifest in the flesh as also stated in John 1:14. Jesus Christ. It plainly says in Timothy 3:16 that he was recieved up into glory. But believe what you you want to i guess. God Bless

  6. Bill Iskra / May 11 2010 6 19

    I appreciate your insight regarding the truth of what it means to be Baptized in the name of Jesus . The truth regarding that has aloways been known if people will study the Scriptures regarding Salvation and not just take the words of a Oneness Pentecostal as their basis of truth . It is very absurd for someone to believe that using the formula in the name of Jesus causes the water to remit sin wheras using the titles Father, Son, and Holy Spirit does not . It is a sad reality that many Oneness Pentecostals have been deceived by such a belief .

    I lost respect for my former UPC pastor who told a man who was then in his 70s that his late wife was not saved because she was Baptized with the Trinitarian formula . She was a Christian but in a Trinitarian church . I am certain that neither Jesus or the Apostles ever went around teaching Salvation based upon a formula . I have heard about the move of the Holy Spirit in my former UPC and how blessed they are but I am sorry to say that after spending 14 years there and knowing how they teach and how they reject people who teach contrary to their organization , their strength lies in having people who will submit to the pastor and leaders who he appoints without questioning anything . If that is the work of the Holy Spirit , I must be a very decieved person . If that is a church where only their people have received the remission of sins and been filled with the Holy Spirit , my community with its many churches must have missed something .

    • theexpositor / May 11 2010 14 33

      A wonderfully articulated comment Bill, thank you. I am encouraged by your faithfulness.

    • Willy / May 12 2010 1 34

      Amen, Sir Bill Iskra. I totally agree with you. I also have the same experience.

  7. Bill Iskra / May 18 2010 17 18

    When I first started in UPC , there was a Bible Study for new converts or potential converts called Search For Truth . It mentioned how the Devil saw to it that the truth of Baptism in the name of Jesus was done away with . It also mentions some other Oneness beliefs . However , Jesus said in the Book of Matthew , ” Upon this Rock , I will build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it . ”

    Surely Jesus spoke the truth . He was not promising that any particular church organization would not have some doctrinal error or that an individual congregation would never close their doors . He was promising that the true Gospel would go forward and nothing would stop it . Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ has always existed and despite claims of the Roman Catholic Church , Seventh Day Adventist Church , or whoever , the true Gospel is stil there .

    I am not a theologian or an expert in language translation but I made it a point to look at what the Scriptures have to say about Salvation and it is very clear that there is nothing that anyone can add to the true sourcoe of Salvation .

    I am very concerned about the many people who have put so much emphaisis on Oneness Pentecostalism to the point that they are convinced that the true plan of Salvation was lost for many centuries and was discovered in the early 20th Century . It is impossible for anyone who truly studies Scripture to fathom the very idea that people who have been living Christian lives for years in their church organization are now required to come out get rebaptized in the name of Jesus and to speak in tongues in order to be saved . There are of course other conditions in some churches such as UPC .

    In my area of Humboldt County Calif. since I left UPC in July 1995 , I have seen the Rio Dell UPC , the Arcata UPC , and the Eureka ALJC close . The Fortuna UPC is a very small congregation and is not growing . There is mainly the Eureka UPC which claims to have about 300 members . They are the only church with any maginitude to serve many people in other cities and unincorpoarated areas of the County . If they have truth , it seems to me that after 40 years , there should be congregations so that more people could attend services . There is a Scripture that says , ” Except the Lord build the house , they who build it labor in vain . ”

    I do not wish to discourage Oneness Pentecostals but I have observed over the years that it is many of the Trinitarian churches who have been successful in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ . What I have noticed that is inspiring is that it is not any particular congregation that prospers and many of these congregations treat one another as Brothers and Sisters in the Lord . One of the most memorable events in my church was when we had an Old Fashion Hymn sing . There was also a choir made up of people from different organizaions . One of the pianists is a Wesleyan pastor . Another was a Nazarene . It was so wonderful to see people sing together as one big happy family . I am certain that if Jesus would have come in in human form
    He would have exressed great pleasure .

    I hope that what I have said was nt to long for everyone but I have such a heavy burden for people who are expecting a revival of Oneness Pentecostalism . Many of them are wonderful people who are sincere but it is not going to happen nor has it ever been happening despite the many prayers and diligent labor . I spent 15 years of my life isolated from fellow Christians because the UPC did not allow worship with churches outside of its belief system . I was exactly where many Oneness Pentecostals are today , convinced that my understanding of the Bible regarding the Oneness Doctrines was correct and the Trinitarians was wrong . However , when I studied the Bible after leaving UPC , I saw that the answers were there all of the time . I realize that some people get offended in hearing that Jesus is not the Father , Son , and Holy Ghost but there are plenty of Scriptures to prove a distinction between the 3 . There is really nothing to argue about . I personally avoid arguments wih staunch Oneness Pentecostals because I am unable to dialogue with them since they have all of the answers . To me that is very sad .

    • Willy / May 19 2010 0 59

      Sadly, here in the Philippines, Oneness Pentecostals are characterized by their aggressive type of evangelism. But as the Bible says in the OT, “there are still some who have not bowed their knee to Baal.” I attended the Sunday school sessions of Oneness Pentecostals. After the class, I double-check their teachings upon a careful study of the Scripture. And most, if not all of the time, the Sunday school teacher is taking a verse out of context. Be steadfast, Bro. Bill Iskra, if staunch Oneness Pentecostals will ever persecute you. Jesus said in the Beatitudes, “blessed are you if you are persecuted…” Paul encourages us to “be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” Continue to be a wonderful testimony of someone who longed and searched for the truth of the Word of God. May God continue to bless you Bro. Bill Iskra.

  8. jon / May 19 2010 4 34

    Heres my thoughts having been involved in the UPC for a while. I attended one in here in west Kentucky for a year or so. But I do not now.
    Strange so called spiritual manifestations include, usually always women- forming a snake like chain and marching around the perimeter inside of the church.
    Pastor doing fake looking dances in the spirit.
    Giving up on preaching to let the people speak and cry in tongues.
    Letting manifestations take over, shaking and weeping.
    Women dominate proceedings in the church.
    overpowering drums/ loud instruments.
    Insipid seminary textbook preaching, nothing radical or relevant to the modern day event.
    Now I believe in tongues, miracles, baptism in Jesus Christs name. Signs and wonders, and the full gospel.
    BUT, the Word comes first to feed the people. and people NEED church order. Women must keep silent in church.
    advice- Find a good KJV preaching church with solid preaching and teaching ministry, that emphasizes the Word. The music and the rest comes after. AVOID UPC CHAOS.

    • Willy / May 19 2010 22 57

      Nice statement jon. Those were quite creepy experiences. It’s good that you aren’t with them now. Good advice at the end. May God bless you.

  9. Todd / Aug 20 2010 9 27

    “surely we’re not expected to say “in the name of Jesus Christ” whenever we do anything.
    How do you do something “in the name of” without saying what name you are referring to, especially when baptizing some. Baptism is certainly a deed. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. It’s telling you what name to do it in. Is it just too simple? Would you hand over a deed without putting a name on it? Why do wives take on their husbands name? ‘I just got married in the name of father, son, husband, brother,uncle’
    “”Sabellius was excommunicated from the Church for his aberrant teachings.” Who’s church? Who else did this church excommunicate?
    Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom and to bind and loose (forbid and permit) and Peter is the one who stood up and delivered what Christ told him to do; Baptize in Jesus Name. None of the other disciples with him had any problem with what he was saying.
    Now are you saying they all missed it?

  10. Bill Iskra / Aug 24 2010 12 38

    Todd ,

    I see what you are saying and it is certainly appropriate to use the name of Jesus in Baptism . However , there is no specific command to say the words to the effect of ‘ I Baptize you in the name of Jesus . ” That is a reaching that came from a 20th century private revelation which some misguided preachers erroneously traced back to the Day of Pentecost and used what they derived from Chruch History .

    I have listened to a variety of Baptisms and they all acknowledge the name of Jesus in the ceremony . For example , I watched and listened to a Baptism where the minister said ” Upon your prefession of faith in Jesus Christ , I Baptize you in the name of the Father , and of the Son , and of the Holy Spirit before immersing them . He then immersed them saying , ” As a sign that you have been buried and resurrected with Christ . ”

    In the Baptisms that have take place in my church , the minsiter asks the preson if they have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior . They of course answer yes . He then says as is common among many minsiters , ” Upon your profession of faith in Jesus Christ ‘ prior to immersing them while using the titles .

    It is Faith in Jesus Christ which is the source of Salvation and if that is mentioned , it is quite evident that the ceremony is a Christain Baptism . The reason that the titles are used is because Christians in the First Church understood the distinction of Father , Son , andHoly Spirit . Some ministers may mention the name of Jesus when mentioning the Son which I have heard in a Bptism over the raido .

    Since the word name comes from a Greek wod meaning authority , anyone who is Baptized after having placed their faith in Jesus Christ for their Salvation is Baptized in the authority of jesus . That is a truth that has always existed and never been destroyed . The people who are so adamant about the name of Jesus formula and oppose the Trinitarian formula are in reality denying the true God and Jesus mentioned in Scripture . Those who make the formula out to be a Salvation issue areessentially saying that the name of Jesus makes the water remit sin and the Trinitarian formula retain sin . That certainly was never taught by Jesus or the Apostles .

    There is actually some evidence that the Baptisms that took place on the Day of Pentecost and at the House of Cornelius were not performed by Peter or with a formula as the converts were Jewish and it was their custom to immerse themselves in water as a part of their pufication rites . In all llikelihood , they immersed themselves and called on the name of Jeshua . A study of the Jewish Culture will shed some light on this . One problem I have found among Oneness Pentecostals is that they claim that they only go by what the Bible says and yet they use sources out side of the Bible to prove what the Bible does not say . When someone outside of thie belif system uses a source outside of the Bible to prove what the Bible says, they do not want to hear it .

    I am not an opponent of Baptism in the name of Jesus but I find no Scriptural basiis fro going out and telling the world the the formula must be in the name of Jesus in order to be valid . There are many things that are to be done in word or deed in the name of Jesus . For example , visiting the sick in the hospital is done in both word and deed but certainly , it is not necessary to say the name of Jesus during the visit . I am trying to figure out why Baptism is singled out as am evemt that must have the formula in the name of Jesus in order to properly do it in word and deed . This is another matter where a study of the Jewish Culture ofers an understanding on what it means to do something in the name of Jesus .

    What you expressed was certainly very done well and I am sure that you sincerely believe what you do but I spent 14 years in UPC and 1 in ALJC trapped in the issue of the Baptismal formula to the point where I was afraid to leave when I got discouraged with the 2 Oneness churches . I was afraid that God was going to punish me if I went to a Trinitarian church . I also came to see that many people outside of UPC and ALJC had been living happy and stable lives for many years . Why ? Because they had placed their faith in Jesus Christ and frocused on what Scriptures actually teach rather than what only certain Oneness Pentecosal organizations teach . I was very sincere for many years and spent many hours praying for people to get saved . Today the same chuch I left has about the same number of people attending it and 2 of the UPC and the one ALJC churches in my area closed its doors . The whole movement is weakiening in my area and eventually one of the samller UPCs in my area may close due to a small attendance . If that happens , that will leave one UPC to serve an area of about 200 square miles That certainly is not God’s will . Christianity however is thriving very nicely in my area and many people are enjoying a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ . Having a healthy relationship with Jesus christ is so vital to Christianity . The people in the world who are lost need to see people focussing on essential elements of the Christian faith and not seeing people quarreling over issues such as the Baptismal formula . In my former UPC , some of the preaches and members projected a God that kills or severely punishes people who work against UPC or leave it . I actually heard a preacher say “Iif you don’t get all of the way in and serve the the Lord , the Lord is going to kill you . ” I seriously doubt that God is pleased with that church or honored by the Bptismal formula that they have used so faithfully as that church has lead many people away from Jeus Christ all of the way to the grave . May God have mecy on them .

  11. Rusty Richardson / Dec 13 2010 11 17

    There are so many things to say. To believe Jesus is the Father is to believe Jesus lied when he said he has a father and the father sent him. So often I hear the oneness saying “he was speaking from his human side.” He was fully man and fully God at the same time. He did not speak as a man sometimes and as God others. To believe in the oneness doctrine means you have to believe the church has had it wrong all these years. I have stopped debating oneness vs. trinity in Christian chatrooms. Christ told Peter that the revealation of who he was didn’t come from man but from God. You cannot argue with them. I just pray God opens their eyes before it is too late. Also, scripture says you can speak against the father and the son but blasphemy against the holy spirit is not forgiven in this life nor the next. So, if Jesus is the Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son, how can you blaspheme only the holy spirit and not be forgiven?

  12. Linda Duncan / Mar 31 2011 18 22

    There are many of us have been effected by the teachings of UPC. I too have close family members who are still involved and it breaks my heart that I cannot sit beside my 81 year old mother in church and worship my father without being thought of as an outcast and a sinner.

    I had been out of UPC for 36 years and never thought I could be saved without going back to their beliefs and strictly following their set of man made rules.

    There were so many times I wanted to call out to God but didn’t because of the stumbling blocks and the barrier that had been placed between me and God.

    But God took my Pentecostal blinders off two years ago and I am now rejoicing in this new life of freedom, serving a wonderful and loving God.

    I went from not wanting to wake up the next morning, to waking up with a ” Thank you Jesus”, and anticipating another exciting day with my saviour.

    Good to see you on here Bill.

    What an awesome God we serve !

    • theexpositor / Apr 1 2011 10 44

      May God continue to lead, guide and strengthen you Linda. To He be the glory!

      Mike

  13. Lalruata / May 27 2011 20 45

    Dear Jakes
    You do not love the word of God and you seem hates the people who loves the truth. If you really love the truth, the thruth will set you free. Trinity is not the Bible Doctrine. You donot know who commands the believer to be baptized. Jesus the only saviour is the one who commanded his deciples to go and preasch the gospel and be baptize people. If you read Matt. 28: 19 in its original language Hebrew you wil not see “In the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy ghost” phrase there. You will be able to have this Original Hebrew Version of the Gospel of Matthew from some book stores. Howar George translated in English.
    I will pray for you, so that you may know the truth that UPC teach.

    H.L.Ruata

  14. Linda / May 31 2011 8 54

    I’m not Jake and I have only been a believer for two years but it is my understanding that the book of Mathew is in the New Testement which was written In Greek not Hebrew.

    I don’t know Jake and have never met him, but if he is like most of us who have come out of UPC, he does not hate any member or certain church, but knows in his heart that It is Gods will to warn others of false teachings.

    My friend , I dearly Love the truth. The truth is not a doctrine, a set of rules, or any certain church. The truth is Jesus and he alone is who I love and worship.

    I’m sad to say but it is YOUR truth, which is UPC Only, kept me from having faith in Christ for over 36 years.

    But I thank God he spoke to me 2 years ago when I was sitting beside my dieing sisters bed two days before she passed. I responded to HIS call, not the teachings of any church and not from fear that any preacher tried to use to convert me with.

    My entire family is UPC and I have many UPC friends whom I love dearly but Christ is the one who saved me and Christ is the one who gets all my praise and worship, not my church and not my preacher.

    I heard a song on YouTube ” I am PROUD to be Pentecostal ”

    This is a prideful song and all about yourself. It is not a praise song for our savior. It is a song worshipping UPC and your believes. It is nothing more than a song of idolatry.

    I don’t know how long you have been UPC and I don’t know anything about you. But I pray that you study your Bible with an open mind from beginning to end. The wrong way is to only read scriptures to prove what UPC teaches.

    Dont dismiss a scripture if there is a question and don’t ask your pastor to explain it away for you. Ask the Spirit himself to teach you, that’s one of his Jobs.

    And another thing we should never do is to take a scripture that is unclear to explain away the ones that are very clear.

    You might also want to do a study on the history of UPC.
    Your church is really not that old.

    There is a book written by Thomas Fudge, ex UPC , entitled ” Christianity without the cross ” about the history of UPC.

    Thank you Jake for posting what you believe.

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