Is Oneness A Cult?
By: Elder Ross Drysdale
What Are The Real Identifying Marks Ofa Cult?
Are Oneness Believers Part Ofa Mind Altering
Cult, Or Maybe A “Performance Oriented” Heresy?
Is The Oneness Movement The True Church?
It is becoming increasingly popular in certain quarters to classify the “Oneness Movement” as a cult. This type of mud-slinging is designed to conjure up images of Jonestown or Rev. Moon and his Monies in the minds of the listeners. By this means they hope to “turn off” anyone to our message before they hear it. The idea being to strike fear in the hearts of any potential converts by raising images of “ensnarement” in a “mind altering cult.” Of course nothing could be further from the truth, but that does not matter to our opponents, just as long as our message goes unheard. Paul, a first century Oneness believer, was faced with the same charge. His response was: “After the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my Fathers” (Acts 24 :144). That answer will do for us also. When Jesus himself announced the Oneness he was accused of preaching a “cultic” message (John 8:48, John 10:33) and condemned to death as a blasphemer (Mark 26:65). The devil has always opposed the preaching of the truth of God in Christ and the Biblical New Birth.
Joining the chorus of those who chant “cult,” Dr. Boyd writes: “…this performance orientation tends to carry over into the social structure of many oneness groups as well. This is what gives many Oneness churches a “cultic quality” (Boyd, 194). By “performance orientation” is meant our insistence on obedience to Christ’s command for baptism (“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” – Mark 16:16), and the New Testament injunction to “mortify the deeds of the body” that we might “live” (Rom. 8:13). Our insistence on a “clean” church that does not tolerate members living in fornication, and in slavery to nicotine, alcohol and lewdness, is also considered a “performance orientation.” Strange definition of a “cult” is it not? To maintain Bible standards of Holiness, as laid down by the Apostles in the New Testament, is to have “a cultic quality” under this new definition! By that yardstick the Apostle Paul must have been trying to transform the entire Corinthian congregation into a “cult” for he wrote: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will received you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and my daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (I Cor. 6:18).
The real “earmarks” of a cult are quite obvious. And it is equally obvious that the UPCI, and the PAW, and other Oneness organizations have none of them!
The major cults in this country are Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Armstrongism, Seventh Day Adventists and Christian Science. All of them are characterized by the identifying “fingerprints” of a cult. These are five in number:
1. Extra Biblical Writings
2. Personality Orientation
3. Organizational Exclusiveness
4. Esoteric and dietary Holiness standards
5. Denial of Christ’s deity or impeccability.
These are the “cultic qualities” that the real “cult experts”, Paul and John, defined for us in the New Testament (I Tim. 4:1-3, Acts 20:28-30, I John 2:19-23, 4:1-6).
Let us examine each category and see if any apply to the UPCI or the PAW.
EXTRA BIBLICAL WRITINGS
All cults use other “divinely inspired” literature in addition to the Bible. The Mormons have their Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrines and Covenants; all of which they consider equally inspired with the Bible. It is in these nonsensical writings that the woman hungry Joseph Smith got his revelations about “extra” wives, and his subsequent revelation that his first wife “had better receive them”! Jehovah’s Witnesses have their Watchtower Magazine which they study in place of the Bible. In addition every publication and book is considered infallible if it rolled off of Watchtower Presses (at least until the next doctrinal blunder requires “adjusting”). “Pastor” Russel, the founder, bragged that studying his “Millennial Dawn” volumes would keep you in the “light” better than the Bible would! Christian Science has its “divinely inspired” Bible, namely “Science and Health with Key to the Scripture” written by “Mother Eddy.” They have no “preachers” in Christian Science Churches, just “readers.” at do they read? “Science and Health” of course! And their church services are by far the most boring in the history of Christendom because of it! The Armstrong cult has its “infallible” correspondence course, and the writings of Herbert W. Armstrong, their much deceived founder. Everything he wrote, no matter how false, is considered the Oracle of God. But no one seems to outdo the Seventh-Day Adventists in this department. Their “Prophetess” Ellen G. White wrote mountains of books. Every one of them is considered inspired. She herself said it was not “an erring mortal” that was speaking, but “God
Himself.” Everything she uttered, whether in letters, notes, magazine articles, “Testimonies”, etc. was and is considered divinely inspired and can not be contradicted. If she sneezed, someone was there and wrote it down; if she yawned, they sought for meaning in it! If you doubt her “inspiration” you will be promptly disfellowshipped. One young minister in Australia learned the hard way for daring to suggest she might have been “mistaken” in sole passages.
But where are the “extra Biblical” writings in the oneness movement? Where is the “inspired” and “infallible” prophet and his “new Bible?” Nowhere! Oneness believes in the Bible and the Bible only! We have no “additional” written guides, supposedly “sent down from heaven.” All our doctrine is derived strictly from the Word of God, and no other source. The Catholic Church, whose “fathers” Dr. Boyd is so fond of recommending to us, is fraught with extra Biblical revelations. Every doctrine that the Pope decrees “ex cathedra” is considered “infallible.” By these means they have bound “the faithful” to believe in’ such fictions as the Immaculate Conception, the Blessed Assumption, and Papal Infallibility. Why does Dr. Boyd not class the Catholic Church as a “cult” based on these “extra Biblical” and “inspired” additions to the Word of God? And talk about “performance oriented,” which Church is more so than the Roman Catholic? Even after death the faithful have others working to get them out of purgatory! Why are no epitaphs of “Cult” hurled at them? Instead he quotes their “fathers”, (Basil, Gregory, Augustine, and Aquinas) and their “extra Biblical” revelations like the “Perichoresis” theory in support of his Trinitarianism!
All cults gather around a Personality who is considered the “mouthpiece of God!’ Sometimes it is the founding prophet, or sometimes it is a living seer. This “Personality” is quoted, followed, and served as if he were Christ himself. Many times it is even a woman “prophetess!’ Christian Science has Mary Baker Eddy. Her followers stood in the freezing snow to catch a glimpse of her as she rode by in her carriage. Seventh Day Adventists have the aforementioned Ellen G. White, whose every sigh was considered God inspired. She wrote on every subject in the world and has thereby infallibly settled every issue for them for all time. They quote her as often as the Bible on any theme you can name. Her repeated failed prophecies have no effect on their credulity. The Mormons have Joseph Smith. If you don’t believe he’s a Prophet you can’t even get to heaven. He is their “St. Peter at the gates!” They “bear you their testimony.” And what is it? Joe Smith is a Prophet, Seer and Revelator, and writer of Scripture. Their current Presidents are also “divinely inspired prophets.” Every now and then they jump in the closet and pop out five minutes later with a “new revelation” (usually so thing to help them avoid federal prosecution). Herbert Armstrong in spite of charges of embezzlement and incest with his own daughter, was revered as an infallible Prophet to the “Worldwide Church of God.” Some are still waiting for him to rise from the dead! But it has been longer than “four days” and “he stinketh.” Jehovah’s Witnesses were founded by the self-styled “Pastor” Charles Russel with his “miracle wheat” fraud. He was considered “the faithful and discreet servant” appointed to give the faithful “meat in due season” as per the parable of Christ. The only at meat he ever provided was baloney, but try and tell them that. And of course the Catholics have their living oracle, the Vicar of Christ a/k/a the Holy Father, and Teacher of all Christendom, his Lordship the Pope. This man is worshipped and adored (they might deny it, but our eyes do not deceive us). They kiss his foot and any other part they can get a hold of! He gives revelations from the “Chair of Peter” that are as binding as the Bible to them. These include such gems as Pope Callixtus III excommunicating Haley’s Comet!
Now I ask, if Oneness is a cult, where is our Pope? Where is our “Founding Father” who could say no wrong? What inspired Prophet do we follow, who dispenses extra Biblical revelations to the “faithful.” There is no such Personality cultus in Oneness. We follow Jesus Christ and him only. For this we have even been ridiculed as “Jesus Onlys.” We have no Joe Smith or Ellen White; only Jesus Christ. Aquinas, Whom Dr. Boyd cites for authority, was a firm defender of the Pope’s Supremacy as the Successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ, even using forged documents to substantiate it! Augustine, another favorite of Dr. Boyd and other Trinitarians, summed up his confidence in the Pope in these words: “Rome has spoken, case closed.” Oneness invests no one but Christ with such authority.
All Cults teach you must belong to their “organization” to be saved. They tolerate no sister organizations or independent congregations. They are convinced their organization is the “one true Church.” They are “it”! Thus the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be “God’s theocratic organization”, directly guided by the “144,000” spirit rulers in heaven. All must come into it to be saved. Everything else is “Babylon the Great.” If you leave the Kingdom Hall you are an “evil slave.” Seventh Day Adventists are convinced they are “the Remnant Church” of Revelation 12. All others are “Babylon” (they have one too!). Soon the issue will be clearly revealed and Christ will return for his 144,000 (they have theirs also!), all of whom will be Seventh Day Adventists! Christian Scientists must all be connected to the “Mother Church” in Boston. This is God’s only established organization, of which Mother Eddy is the foundress. It is a religious octopus and just as deadly. The Mormons claim all of Christianity had become “Apostate” until Joseph Smith “restored” the one true Church and labeled it (with “divine inspiration” of course), “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” Outside of this organization and its “temples” one cannot be saved. Even members of the “Re-Organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” over which Smith’s own family presided, are considered “lost.”
Herbert Armstrong’s group is the same way. You either belong to the “Worldwide Church of God” or you are lost, Armstrong had planned to take the members of “his church” to the desert of Australia to escape the Great Tribulation he predicted for 1975. Needless to say neither arrived. And of course the Catholics always insist “Extra ecclesia, nulla sales, “outside the Church, none are saved.” And they mean the Catholic hierarchy by that. They claim to be the only organization that has the “earmarks” of being the one Christ founded. They make much of “apostolic succession” to prove this. And all of these cults do not permit local congregations to own their own “property.” All deeds are invested in the central organization. This is part of their control. You can leave, but they keep the property!
How different and “uncultic” is the Oneness Movement in contrast to the aforementioned groups? Neither the UPCI nor the PAW claim their organization is the “one true church.” No oneness group claims that their “organization” is the only “organization” and that all must belong to it to be saved. Besides the UPCI and the PAW, there are many other Oneness groups world wide, plus thousands of independent congregations. All of them are sovereign and for the most part enjoy good fellowship, one with the other. None claim to be the “remnant Church” or the “only organization,” without which one cannot be saved. Neither does the UPCI or the PAW own the local church property. The property is always invested in the hands of the local congregation, unlike cults who wish to own and control everything.
ESOTERIC AND DIETARY HOLINESS STANDARDS
Cults characteristically bind their members with “off the wall” requirements for salvation, or what they call “Holiness” or “perfection.” In other words they invent “new gospels” to take care of “new sins.” Jehovah’s Witnesses must “publish” to be saved. This is translated into selling Watchtower subscriptions and placing books. They are baptized as a “symbol of their dedication to Jehovah” –something about which the scriptures are deadly silent. Their “Holiness standard,” which oddly enough use to permit tobacco, and still permits alcohol, revolves around rejection of blood transfusions and flag salutes. Even though the Bible says nothing about either, failure to obey leads to loss of salvation. The Mormons have an elaborate gospel of works, leading to all kinds of after-life kingdoms, celestial, terrestial and otherwise. To be saved one must perform “temple endowments,” be married for “time and eternity,” submit to “baptisms for the dead” and so forth. Their Holiness standard consists of such bizarre requirements as wearing special “Mormon underwear,” and drinking nothing that is “hot” (coffee, tea, etc.). Anything that could be more unscriptural is hard to imagine: getting into heaven by your BVD’S! “Holiness” in Christian Science consists of refraining from any medical treatment or medicine, including an aspirin. Mrs. Eddy once taught that with enough “faith” one wouldn’t even have to wear extra clothes in the winter(or any at all!), and that it made no more sense to give an infant a bath in water, than to dry off a fish! For salvation in this religion, you read Science and Health and then do the best you can to kill yourself through medical neglect. Armstrong’s cult requires members to observe the Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, the new moons, abstain from pork, and rest on Saturday. Meanwhile he was gallivanting around with a bride forty years his junior and who tried to have him “committed:’
Seventh Day Adventists try to present an “evangelical image,” but they are not. Anyone found eating “swine’s flesh” at the coming of the Lord will be destroyed. Anyone worshipping on Sunday will find out it’s “the mark of the beast.” Their movement is laced with dietary “holiness” requirements. Ellen G. White would have everyone eating fruits, grains, and nuts. Meat is frowned upon as “unclean!” I was in a Seventh Day Adventist Book Store in Orlando, Florida near Thanksgiving once when the “faithful” were placing their orders for “soy bean turkeys!” What has this got to do with Christianity?
This is salvation and Holiness among the “cults!’ This contrasts sharply with the Oneness position. Our gospel is exactly that which the Apostles preached: repentance, water baptism in Jesus Name, and reception of the Spirit (Acts 2:38, Acts 10: 44-48, and Acts 19:1-6). What part of our Gospel message is “cultic”? Absolutely none! We have no “temple rites,” “magazine quotas” or “soy bean turkeys.” All is in strict accordance with apostolic preaching. Our Holiness Standards are also entirely based on the New Testament. Our hair standard was laid down under divine inspiration by the Apostle Paul (I Cor. 11:14-15). Our position concerning modest apparel, jewelry and adornment, was not “invented” by us, but decreed by the apostles in two places (both “didactic” if you please). Anyone can read them in the Bible; you don’t need any other “holy” book (I Peter 3:3-4, I Tim. 2:9-10). Our stand against the body defiling use of tobacco and alcohol, which inevitably leads to untold misery and death, is likewise scripture based (I Cor. 3:16-17, II Cor. 7:1, Rom. 13:13, I Cor. 5:11).What does Dr. Boyd advocate that we should do to shed our “cultic” image? Should we equip our pews with ashtrays as one “modern” church in New York did? Or should we open up a “bar” in the basement as another one did in Washington? One “very liberal” Church in San Francisco even helped to host a “prostitutes’ convention”! Once you depart Bible authorized Holiness and its enforcement, and start down the slippery slope of “cultural relativism,” All manner of wickedness will find a roosting place in the church house. We Oneness believers have no intention of going that “route,” regardless of who calls us a “cult.” So be it!
DENIAL OF CHRIST’S FULL DEITY
All cults tamper with the deity and life of Christ, and reduce Him to something less than what the Bible says He is. Jehovah’s Witnesses declare him to be a creature and nothing more. On earth He was a mere man, no divine nature at all. They teach his body may have been “dissolved” into gases in the tomb, and that His Second Coming took place invisibly in 1914. Mormons proclaim Christ as a god among a multitude of other gods that rule different planets. He was the spirit offspring of Elohim. What’s more, all Mormon males are destined to become gods equal to Jesus Christ. Brigham Young taught that Christ was actually Adam, and fell into sin that we might be blessed! They also believe that Jesus married Mary and Martha at the wedding of Cana! They propagate other blasphemies concerning our Lord to shameful to repeat. Christian Science teaches that the Christ was a “principle” or divine idea, separate from Jesus of Nazareth. They boldly declare that Jesus Christ did not “come in the flesh” thereby falling under the censure of John who declared: “And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of Anti-Christ, whereof you have heard that it should come…” (I John 4:2). Armstrong also taught that Jesus is one god among many and that all his followers will become “gods” equal to Christ. God is “expanding his family” is the way he put it. He also believes that Jesus’ body was “disposed of” in the tomb, and that only a “spirit” emerged on that first Easter morning. Seventh Day Adventists are working hard to cover up their former teachings about Christ. One of their early books, “Christ and His Righteousness,” by Elder Waggoner, which I have on my library shelf, taught the Arian heresy concerning Christ. Ellen G. White also taught that He had a fallen, corrupt and sinful human nature. They have performed linguistic somersaults to try and “re-interpret” her words, but to no avail. They wish they could “throw -them out” but they don’t dare; remember it was not “an erring mortal speaking, but God!” So they swallow hard and make the best of it.
How different is the Oneness view of Christ. We believe in his absolute deity, and his sinless manhood. We believe in his literal virgin birth and his bodily resurrection from the dead. We hopefully await his visible and glorious return. We fully accept his atoning work on the cross and his present intercession. Where do we have anything in common with the aforementioned abominations ‘propagated by the real cults in America? We are totally Biblical respecting the Person of Christ. Is it wrong and “cultic” to teach that in Christ “dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”? If it is then Apostle Paul was a “cult master” for he taught it in Colossians 2:9.
WHAT THE “DICTIONARY OF CULTS” SAYS
A new book by George a Mather and Larry A Nichols entitled “Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions, and the Occult” has a rather lengthy article on Oneness Pentecostalism. This book carries an endorsement and foreword, by Ronald Enroth, whom Dr. Boyd refers to as an “expert” on the subject (Boyd, p. 232). On page 216 the “Dictionary” has this to say about Oneness and their belief in Christ’s deity: “As has already been shown, however, its Anti-Trinitarianism is not an expression of bias against the deity of Christ. Ironically the opposite is true. A strong case is made for the absolute deity of Jesus as God. For this reason, some Oneness advocates are more willing to acknowledge Trinitarians as being true Christians then are most Trinitarians willing to return the favor” (Dictionary of Cults, p. 216).
Quite an admission, is it not? This so called “Oneness Cult” makes a “strong case for the absolute deity of Jesus as God”! Do the Jehovah’s Witnesses make such a “strong case” with their “creature doctrine”? Do the Mormons make a strong case with their “god among gods” doctrine? How about the Christian Scientists with their “phantom Jesus”? Are they making a strong case? This alone proves Oneness is in no way a cult; for what cult ever made a “strong case” for the absolute deity of Christ as God?
So under what possible justification are we listed in a “cult dictionary”? For not accepting “tradition” and the Creeds of the Fathers. Listen as they explain: “Because Oneness rejects the traditional Christian doctrine of the Trinity, and invests the Sacrament of baptism with a theology unlike any believed, taught, or confessed within the ranks of orthodoxy throughout the centuries, it must in the last instance be regarded as being a heretical sect by all Christian Churches that uphold the Ecumenical Creeds:” (Dictionary of Cults, p. 216). We are a heretical cult because we do not accept the “traditional doctrine of the Trinity” Tradition is now the yard stick of truth, just like the Roman Catholics have always insisted. Never mind that we made “a strong case for the absolute deity of Jesus as God.” That’s just “Biblical” and doesn’t count! We have dared to reject the tradition of Catholic “church fathers,” hence we are a sect. “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…” (Mark 7:7-8). We are also classed as a cult for investing the Sacrament with a theology unlike any “believed, taught, or confessed within the ranks of orthodoxy throughout the centuries.” We baptize for remission of sins. We did not “invest” baptism with this “theology,” Christ did in Mark 16:16 and Luke 24:47- Was He “outside the ranks of orthodoxy?” Peter preached baptism for “remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Was he outside “the ranks of orthodoxy” also? Paul also preached it (Titus 3:5, Acts 22:15-16). Was he “unorthodox” and “outside the ranks?” At this rate there is going to be more “outside” the ranks than “inside!” Perhaps however our use of the name of Jesus is the “unorthodox” investiture they are referring to. Again, we did not make this investment either. It was Christ who made his name a prerequisite for obtaining remission of sins through baptism (Luke 24:47). And to this all the prophets agreed (Acts 10:43). Peter employed the Jesus Name formula (Acts 2:38, 10:48), so did Phillip (Acts 8:16), as well as Paul (Acts 19:5-6). Were they all “unorthodox” and outside the ranks? History shows that Baptism in Jesus Name was continued for at least 200 years after the Apostles. All learned scholars of Church history admit it was the Original formula. The Encyclopedia Britannica says it was the original formula. The Catholic Church itself admits that the Jesus Name formula was the first and only one employed in the Apostolic Church age. Therefore; why should Oneness believers receive the label of “heretical sect” for following the oldest original baptismal formula? Is it “heretical” to conform to New Testament practice? And what is so heretical about employing the name of Jesus? It is the “name above every name” (Phil.2:9), the only name “given under heaven” (Acts 4:12), and the name in which we are to do all, “both word and deed” (Col. 3:17). If that be heresy, we are in good company.
But apparently our greatest crime that indicts us as heretics is that we do not “uphold the Ecumenical Creeds;” It would be easier to pin jello to the wall than to make that charge stick. Since when is it heretical not to endorse “extra-biblical” writings? I thought one had to conform to the Bible and the Bible Only. None of these so called “Ecumenical Creeds” were written by the Apostles, not even the one which bears their name. They have been “tampered with” as in the case of the Nicene Creed, to which the Catholic Church added the “filogue” clause, and thereby split Christendom in half. The councils that produced these creeds were anything but pious. They were rife with fights, disorderly brawls, screaming sessions, and even murders. One was dubbed the “Council of Robbers” by the Pope himself! Nicaea had its creedal statement dictated by an unbaptized Emperor who threatened with banishment all who would not sign. And then he reversed himself oh the whole thing a short time later. The Creed of Chalcedon calls Mary “the Mother of God.” Must we now “uphold the Ecumenical Creed” which contains that pagan blasphemy to avoid the stigma of heresy? We consider it an honor to be outside such creeds, and inside the Bible! The real heretics are the Neo Trinitarians which presume to teach the evangelical world such ideas as: the virgin birth was not related to Christ’s Sonship, that it isn’t a necessary belief; that the Father and Son are not literal, that they are only “like” a father and son; that God suffered and died; that “cultural relativism” takes precedence over the Word; that behavior, no matter how wicked, is not related to salvation; that doctrine is only in didactic portions of the Bible, etc., etc. These doctrines of demons are the real heresies. We in Oneness are proud to reject and oppose such Hell inspired notions. We condemn them, jot and tittle, in Jesus’ Name. We will hold to our apostolic heritage, regardless of what others wish to label it.
“Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her…Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot” (Jeremiah 12:9-10).
“Every plant which my heavenly father hath not planted shall be rooted up” (Matt. 13:15).
The “Dictionary of Cults” shows its bias by the fact that it completely omits any reference to the Seventh Day Adventist Church and their “inspired” Prophetess, Ellen G. White. This is a church which “forbids the eating of meats” which Paul labeled a “doctrine of devils” (I Tim. 4:1-3). It requires Saturday keeping or you’ll have the mark of the beast, and a host of other heresies like: no eternal Hell; soul sleep; investigative judgment; “remnant church,” etc. The whole thing was built on the false prophecy that Christ would return in 1844. Ellen White wrote more “inspired” bibles than they can read. Yet inspite of all these cultic trademarks, they don’t even get a mention, why? Could it be because they have left their earlier Godhead teachings, and are now “upholding the Ecumenical Creeds” like the good Trinitarians they are?
A recent publication by the Assemblies of God has brought to light some very significant and startling information concerning the Oneness issue. Edith Blumhofer in her fearlessly honest presentation of Early Pentecostalism entitled, “The Assemblies of God,” has disclosed a letter from her church’s archives that makes a remarkable admission.
ONENESS MORE SPIRITUAL, IN CLOSE TOUCH WITH THE LORD
I now quote from her book in which she cites a letter from John G. Lake, famous Trinitarian Pentecostal evangelist, to Charles Parham; Ms. Blumhofer writes: “Some years later, -when several of American Pentecostalism’s early leaders expressed disappointment about the Pentecostal movement’s general course, they considered the Oneness segment with favor. In spite of their in rejection of the central Oneness doctrine, they found among Oneness people “more genuine spirituality” than in any other segment of Pentecostalism: ‘The mere fact of their emphasis of Jesus that the other divisions of the movement regard as extreme has tended to bless them in that it has brought them into close `touch with the Lord’s life and Spirit’ (Edith Blumhofer, The Assemblies of God, p. 228, quoting John G. Lake to Charles Fox Parham, 24 March 1927, 2-3, Assemblies of Archives).
ONENESS MORE CHRIST CENTERED, MORE PENTECOSTAL
Ms. Blumhofer continues her analysis of oneness spiritual life through comparison with the Trinitarian wing of the movement. On page 238 she writes: “Although its doctrinal distinctives distanced it from the mainstream of classical Pentecostalism, from another perspective its adherents must be understood as participants in a valid expression of Pentecostal experience. And the doctrinal departure aside, if one admits the strong restorationist component at the heart of the definition of Pentecostalism, oneness proponents were more zealously restorationists, more doggedly congregational, and more Christ-centrically spiritual– in short, in some important ways more essentially Pentecostal than the mainstream” (ibid, 238).
ONENESS HAS EXPLICIT NEW TESTAMENT PLAN OF SALVATION
Even the oneness plan of salvation is reviewed very favorably and declared to be based on an explicit reading of the New Testament. She writes: “Their view of the salvation process (which incorporated speaking in tongues) was based explicitly on their reading of the New Testament. Radical restorationists before them who had appealed only to Scripture as the source of truth (like Alexander Campbell, or Barton Stone) had also been uncomfortable with Trinitarian language… In a sense, those who left the General Council were accusing it of forsaking the apostolic faith” (ibid, 238).
ONENESS HAS EXPLICIT NEW TESTAMENT PLAN OF SALVATION
Even THE Oneness plan of salvation is reviewed very favorably and declared to be based on an explicit reading of the New Testament. She writes: “Their view of the salvation process (which incorporated speaking in tongues) was based explicitly on their reading of the New Testament. Radical restorationists before them who had appealed only to Scripture as the source of truth (like Alexander Campbell, or Barton Stone) had also been uncomfortable with Trinitarian language… In a sense, those who left the General Council were accusing it of forsaking the apostolic faith” (ibid, 238).
IS THIS THE BODY OF CHRIST?
Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 that he would build his church. The word church is in the “singular;” He did not say He would build several churches or establish a series of denominations. The church is said to be the “body of Christ” (I Core 12:12) and of course Christ can have but one body (I Cor. 12:20). This body or church is also called “the Kingdom of God” (Rom. 14:17). The entrance into this body or kingdom is declared to be through baptism (I Cor. 12:13, John 3:5). Therefore somewhere in the world there must exist a people who constitute the true body of Christ and have entered it through a true baptism. Where amidst the hundreds of different denominations is it possible to locate the true church? Which, among all the claiments, is the rightful heir?
Jesus did not leave the honest seeker for truth in the dark concerning this matter. He gave definite identifying marks whereby we could locate His true body. He placed indelible prints on His true church that could not be removed, nor duplicated. Though there are many who claim to be the “true Church” only Oneness Pentecostals can produce the identifying marks. You may search your Bible from cover to cover, but you will find no other group of people that line up to the “ancient landmarks” as do Oneness Pentecostals. For this reason some have attempted to move the “landmarks” (Proverbs 22:28). Those is why you hear of groups claiming to be the rightful “Kingdom of God” because they keep the Saturday Sabbath, or go door to door, or have a Melchisedec priesthood, or honor the Virgin Mary, or have “Apostolic Succession.” But Christ never said any of these things were the signs that identify the church. Let us examine the Bible marks and see what people they describe.
IT MUST START AT THE RIGHT PLACE
The true Church was to start in the city of Jerusalem, in Israel, and no place else. Jesus said repentance and remission of sins would be preached among all nations “beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). If a group claiming to be the true church traces its founding to any other place, its claim is false. This eliminates many “aspirants” right from the outset. The Jehovah’s Witnesses began in Alleghaney, Pennsylvania. The Mormons began in New York State Christian Science had its founding in Boston, Massachusetts. The church of Christ was birthed in Kentucky. The church of God was founded in North Carolina. The Baptists trace back to Holland. Catholicism first saw the light of day at Rome. Methodism got off the ground in England, as did the Episcopal Church. On and on it goes. Check any unbiased encyclopedia as to these facts and you will see it is so. None of them began at the “starting line” of Jerusalem.
What about Oneness Pentecostals? I would like to quote from the well known reference work “Handbook of Denominations in the United States” by Frank S. Mead, sixth edition, page 211. The article is entitled “Pentecostal Assemblies of the World,”- and deals with the first group of organized Oneness believers in this country. Mead, who is not a Pentecostal, has this to say:
“Origin is traced directly back to Pentecost AD 33.” (And as every Bible student knows, that took place in Jerusalem).
The Minute Book of the P.A.W. substantiates this. The Preamble states: “The ‘Pentecostal Assemblies of the World’ is a continuation of the great revival that an at Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost AD 33, arils founded upon the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone (Acts 2:1-12, 2:19-20). Although the true followers have been little known yet from that time until now there have always been earnest contenders for the ‘faith which was once delivered unto the saints’ “(Minute Book of the P.A.W., Preamble).
The United Pentecostal Church International is the largest Oneness body in the World. They too trace their roots back to the Jerusalem Revival with the following statement taken from the Foreword of the Manual of the UPCI: “…On the day of Pentecost, while the disciples were in the upper room praying and worshipping God, ‘…suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them the utterance!” (Manual of the UPCI, Foreword).
IT MUST START AT THE RIGHT TIME
The true body of it is a first century creation. Christ said it would not only begin in Jerusalem, but it would begin there shortly after his Ascension. “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” He spoke those words in 33 AD.
The denominations in existence today did not have their origin at that time. The Baptists began in the 16th century as “Anabaptists” in Holland. The Methodists began in the 18th century. The Mormons and Church of Christ began in the early 19th century, as did also the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The late nineteenth century saw the emergence of Christian Science and Jehovah’s Witness. Although the Catholic Church claims a “fit century origin;’ history reveals that her peculiar doctrines and papal supremacy did not begin until the 5th century. Her sister, the Episcopal Church, split from her in the 16th century. It was in that century also that the Lutheran and Reformed Churches came into existence. First Century Origin cannot be attributed to any of them.
Oneness roots go back to the first century, to 33 AD, As previously cited: “Origin is traced directly back to Pentecost 33 AD”(Mead, Handbook of Denominations in the United States, 6th ed., p. 211). “The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World is a continuation of that great revival that began at Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost, Ad 33…”(Minute Book of the P.A.W., Pre le). The Manual of the UPCI, after mentioning the establishing of the true church at Pentecost 33 AD, adds this: “…approximately 36 years later, Jude noticed a falling away, and urged the people to ‘…earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.’ Through the centuries which followed there were only a few who received this wonderful experience of the infilling of the Holy Ghost. Truly it was a day that was neither clear nor dark. (Read Zech. 14:6).
“At various intervals throughout the past centuries, the followers of the Apostolic faith and doctrines have become prominent through great revivals that have appeared in Great Britain, United States and Canada.
“In the days of Tertullian (AD 207) Chrysostom (4th Century), Christians of the 13th Century, the early Quakers, Wesley, Whitefield and Irving, the gifts and manifestations of the Apostolic Church were much in evidence as the revival spirit swept over the country.
“During the last 21 days of the 19th Century, a band of earnest, hungry-hearted ministers and Christian workers in Bethel Bible College, Topeka Kansas, called a fast, praying earnestly for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which to their joyful surprise, came upon them in the early hours of the morning, on January 1, 1901. The people were heard speaking in other languages as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance, just as happened on the Day of Pentecost…” This is scripturally and historically the same revival that began at Pentecost 33 AD. (Manual of the UPCI, Foreword).
IT MUST HAVE THE RIGHT FOUNDATION
Jesus said if a house was not built on the right foundation, namely a rock, it would not stand (Matt. 7:24-27). He also said that “every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up”(Matt.15:13). What then is the “true foundation” upon which the “true church” is planted? Jesus must be the founder, for he said: “I will build my church”(Matt 16:18). The Bible also says we are “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20). The true church not only has Jesus for its founder, but is also Apostolic, that is, follows and obeys the teachings of the Apostles. And this includes the Apostle Peter to whom Christ said: “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church…” (Matt. 16:18)
The denominations were not founded by Christ; neither are they Apostolic in teaching. In fact most vigorously oppose and deny what the Apostles taught, especially as it pertains to water baptism, tongues, and Holiness. The Jehovah Witnesses were founded by Charles Taze Russell and hate the Apostolic teaching concerning water baptism in Jesus Na and Holy Spirit Baptism. Russel had been a haberdasher, and should have remained so! The Seth day Adventists were founded on the prophetic blunders of William Miller and the false visions of Ellen G. White. A teenage boy named Joseph Smith founded the Mormon Church after some trips to the woods in which he “saw” Christ, John the Baptist, Elijah, golden books (which “disappeared”), God Himself and an assortment of various and sundry angels! What would you think if your kid came home with stories like that! Both Seventh day Adventists and Mormons “claim” to believe in the Apostolic teaching on tongues, bit promptly disfellowship any one who does practice it! Sheer hypocrisy. They also fight against the Apostolic doctrine of Baptism in Jesus Name. Christian Science was founded by the much married Mary Baker Eddy, and is in “another world” as far as Apostolic teaching is concerned. Baptists were formed by Menno Simons, the Methodists by John Wesley, and the Episcopalians by Henry the Eighth, (who was “six times wedded, two died, two divorced and two beheaded!”).All of these humanly founded groups claim to be “lined up with the Bible;’ but they too will have nothing to do with the Apostolic foundation of Jesus Name Baptism or true Holiness, outward or inward! Most of them also oppose the Apostolic message of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, or if they do permit it, it must be on “off hours.” The Catholic Church claims Christ as founder, but history doesn’t bear them out. How could a church whose Pope is called “Holy Father:” be founded by Christ who said: “Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven” (Matt. 23:9)? Christ had nothing to do with the start of such a church as that.
DATE, ORIGIN, FOUNDERS OF VARIOUS CHURCHES
Name Year Founder(s) Origin
Apostolic Pentecostal 33 Jesus Christ Jerusalem
Lutheran 1524 Martin Luther Germany
Episcopalian 1534 Henry VIII England
Presbyterian 1560 John Knox Scotland
Baptist 1600 John Smyth Amsterdam
Congregational 1600 Robert Brown England
Methodist Episcopal 1739 John & Charles Wesley England
United Brethren 1800 Philip Otterbein Maryland
& Martin Boehm
Disciples of Christ 1827 Thomas & Alexander Kentucky
Mormon 1830 Joseph Smith New York
Salvation Army 1865 William Booth London
Christian Science 1879 Mary Baker Eddy Boston
Four-Square Gospel 1917 Aimee-Semple Los Angeles
ONLY ONENESS PENTECOSTALS CAN TRACE THEIR DOCTRINAL ROOTS BACK TO THE CHURCH THAT JESUS CHRIST FOUNDED.
The Oneness Church has Jesus Christ for its founder, and the Apostles for its foundation. In fact, we are often called “Jesus Only s! ‘ and “Apostolic The Preamble to the P.A.W. Minute book says: “The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World is the continuation of the great revival that began at Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost, AD 33, and is founded upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus is himself being the chief cornerstone” (PAW Manual, Preamble). There is no person, prophet, pope, or President, of any kind, that Oneness honors as its founding Father. We only have Christ for our founder. We have no “Ecumenical Creed” or “catechism” or extra biblical revelation from which we derive our doctrine. Our teaching is that which the Apostles gave us. We are the only group of people following the Apostles’ teaching concerning baptism in Jesus Name (Acts 2:38, 8:16, 19:5, 10:48, 4:12 etc) and Bible Holiness standards (I Cor. 11:14, I Tim 2:9, I Peter 3:3, I Cor. 5:11). If the other denominations are on “apostolic foundation” why don’t they follow what the apostles taught? Oneness is also the only body of believers that reconciles biblically the teaching of Christ on water baptism in Matt. 28:19 with the practice of his apostles in the book of Acts. For we know and teach from Scripture that “The Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” is “Lord Jesus Christ.” All other denominations are in a quandary about this. Only Oneness can accept both; that is why we are on the “foundation of the Apostles” and “Jesus Christ.” The Manual of the UPCI says the following: “With the coming of the Holy Spirit, the word of the Lord became a new book. Truths which had been hidden for many years were made clear. In the year 1914 came the revelation on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The pivotal doctrines of the absolute deity of Jesus Christ and the baptism in His name became tenets of faith. God marvelously confirmed our message as the Gospel was preached in its fullness. The power which was hidden in the Name of Jesus an to be revealed. Literally thousands were rebaptized into the name of Jesus Christ, and multitudes received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit while in the water’ (Manual of the UPCI, Foreword).
IT MUST HAVE THE KEYS
In order to get into a house, one must be admitted by someone who has the “keys.” In order to enter the true church, one must go in at the right door, and that door must be opened by someone who has the “keys.” Jesus said to Peter: “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). Further more Christ said: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19). This authority was later expanded to include all of the true church, not just Peter. (Matt. 18:17-20). Christ also gave his Spirit filled followers authority to “remit sin” (John 20:21-23).
On the day of Pentecost Peter used the “Keys of the Kingdom” to open the door of salvation to the Jews when he declared„”Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). The door was opened by Peter instructing sinners to repent and be baptized in Jesus Name. This would produce “remission of sins” and fulfill Christ’s words that “repentance and remission of sins” through water baptism, “should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:47). It is also the way the early church “remitted i.e. by baptizing repentant sinners in Jesus Name. It is not done through means of darkened confessional booths, but through open baptism. Peter used the same key when he came to Samaria and laid hands on them that they might receive the Holy Ghost, “for as yet he was fallen on none of them, only they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:15-16).Peter used the “keys” again at the house of Cornelius when he preached that through Jesus Name they could “receive remission of sins.” When Cornelius and his household heard those words, the Holy Ghost fell on them. Peter and the others were astonished “for they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God’ (Acts 10:43-46). Then Peter commanded them to be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ (Acts 10:48 RV). Thus Peter used the keys and opened the door of salvation to Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles. And they all came in the same way—repentance, baptism in Jesus Name for the remission of sins, followed by the Baptism of the Holy Ghost upon the cleansed vessel. Apostle Paul used the keys in the same way. A careful reading of Acts 19:1-6 will show this: “When they heard this they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus and when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.” Phillip the Evangelist also used these salvation keys in his Samaritan Revival: “But when they believed Phillip preaching the Kingdom of God, and the n e of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women” (Acts 8:12). Ananias used the same keys when he opened the door of salvation for Paul: “And now by tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord “(Acts 22:16).
And Oneness preachers today use the same keys that Peter, Paul, Phillip and Ananias used when they tell people to repent and be baptized in Jesus Name for the remission of sins and they shall receive the Holy Ghost. We are the only Church preaching the original “keyed” message. Others tell people to raise a hand, just come forward, sign a decision card, slip up a finger, swallow the wafer, sell the Watchtower, serve the Sabbath, or some other man made pseudo-salvation plan. The original Church has the original message!
The Articles of Faith of the UPCI says the following under “Fundamental
Doctrine “: “The basic and fundamental doctrine of this organization shall be the Bible Standard of full salvation, which is repentance, baptism in water by immersion in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the initial sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit give utterance.” (Manual of the UPCI).
The Discipline and Doctrine of the PAW states: “As members of the Body of Christ, which is the true church (Eph. 1:22,23), the Word of God declares but one way of entrance therein and that is by one Spirit are we all baptized into One body’ and that is a baptism of ‘Water and Spirit’ “(1 Cor. 12:12-27; Gal. 3:26-28; Rom. 6:3-4; John 3:5; Acts 2:38) (Minute Book of the PAW).
IT MUST BE SEALED WITH THE NAME
The true body of Christ consists of believers who have been sealed with the Name of Jesus. In Acts 15:14 we read: “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.” The church, which is the true bride of Christ (Rev. 22:17), must take the name of Christ her husband. How does one receive the name of Jesus Christ? It must be called upon them in water baptism: “That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon Whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things” (Acts 15:17). When a person is baptized in Jesus Name, the performing minister calls the name of the Lord Jesus Christ upon them when he pronounces the formula “in Jesus Name,” This makes them a member of the “people for his name.” Paul says the same thing: “As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.” (Gal. 3:27). It is this “people for his name” that God is going to “take out” (Acts 15:14). When will this “taking out” occur? At the rapture, for: “in that night there shall be two in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken; the other shall be left. Two men shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, the other shall be left ” (Luke 17:34-37). Who is the one “taken out”? It is the one “upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord” (Acts 15:14, 17). This same body of believers is seen in Heaven with the One Name of God and the Lamb in their foreheads; the name they received through water baptism: “And there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.; and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads” (Rev. 22:4).
This is why the devil will bring a great persecution upon the Jesus Name people just before the Great Tribulation (and this persecution is even now beginning). “But before all these they shall lay hands on you, and persecute you…” (Luke 21:12). Betrayal and death will occur: “And ye shall be betrayed—and some of you shall they cause to be put to death” (Luke 21:16). And what is the reason for all this persecution and killing? Jesus gave the answer: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake” (Luke 21:17). It is the stand that the one true church is taking on the “Jesus Name” issue that will stir the devil’s wrath against her. But Jesus has a wonderful promise to the true church, pictured under the code name “Philadelphia” in the Book of Revelation. He says: “I know thy works: behold I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it…” (Rev. 3:8). This is the door of the Rapture. (Rev.4:1, Luke 13:24, Matt. 25:10). This promise is given to the Oneness body because: “thou Nast not denied my name” (Rev. 3:8). “Because thou has kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:8,10). The church that has not “denied my name” is the church that is promised to be “kept from the hour,” a reference to the Great Tribulation. Jesus gave a similar promise to those who would be hated “for his name sake” when he said: “and when these things in to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh… Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 17:28, 36).
Jesus is coming back for the same church that he planted in 33 AD. That church baptized exclusively in the Name of Jesus, and did so for a number of years after the death of the apostles. The following is a true record of a baptism which took place in Rome AD 100 and was reproduced in Time Magazine, Dec. 5, 1955:
“The deacon raised his hand, and Publius Decius stepped through the baptistry door. Standing waist-deep in the pool was Marcus Vasca the woodseller. He was smiling as Publius waded into the pool beside him. ‘Credis?’ he asked. ‘Credo’ responded Publius. ‘I believe that my salvation comes from Jesus the Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate. With Him I died that with Him I may have Eternal Life.’ Then he felt strong arms supporting him as he let himself fall backward into the pool, and heard Marcus’ voice in his ear, ‘I baptize you in the Name of the Lord Jesus’ as the cold water closed over him.”
IT MUST HAVE THE SIGNS AND THE GIFTS
Jesus gave a very clear and unambiguous identifying “flag” whereby the true Church could be recognized. He mentioned certain “signs” that would follower believers, miraculous signs. These signs would accompany those who believe in His Name and who teach that baptism is necessary for salvation. The record of this is in Mark 16: 15-18 where Jesus defines the true Gospel and the signs that authenticate those who preach it: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe, in my name, shall they cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:16-18).
Now what church does this identify? If you were to go into any town .and ask any knowledgeable person where the Church was the believed in Jesus Name, practiced speaking in tongues, believed in casting out devils, and layed hands on the sick to be healed, would they point you to the Baptist Church? No, for they don’t have those signs. Would they direct you to the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses? Never! Would they send you to the Catholic Church? Of course not. One church and one church only fits that description, and that is the Oneness Pentecostal Church. But, someone says, the Assemblies of God and the Church of God believe in tongues, healings, and expelling demons; they might direct you there. That’s true. But when you got to the door and asked the usher if this was the Pentecostal Church that believed you had to be baptized to be saved, he would tell you no, and direct you to a oneness Church! Remember, Jesus not only gave a description of the signs, but He also defined the gospel they authenticated (“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”).
God also set certain gifts in the One true Church: “And God hat set so in the church, first Apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (I Cor. 12:28). Now God set them in the church; who dares to remove them? The Bible says the true church should “Come behind in no gift; waiting for the Coming of the Lord” (I Cor. 1:7). So these gifts will be part of the true body of believers till Jesus comes. I don’t read anywhere that God “removed” these gifts. In fact the Bible says they will not “cease” until we see Christ “face to face” in heaven when that which is “perfect” is come, namely our resurrection. (See I Cor. 13:8, 12 with Hebrews 12:22-24).
Outside the ranks of Pentecost there is a terrible dearth of spiritual gifts. They just don’t exist in other churches. When you ask if they have any of the gifts, they always respond in the natural, not the supernatural. You hear things like: “Bro. So-and-So has the gift of administering, he runs the men’s bawling team. And Sis. So-and-So has the gift of cleaning: she keeps the church spotless. And her son has the gift of transportation, he drives the church bus. Oh yes, old deacon What’s-His-Name has the gift of information, he’ll tell you anything you want to know about anyone in the church!” And so they too have their “gifts”!
IT MUST BE HOLY
Holiness is a hallmark of God’s true church. You would almost think “worldliness” was the identifying sign the way some churches preach it. We are living in an age when church members want no intrusion into their “personal life styles:’ They will not tolerate anyone, be it God or man, telling them what things they cannot do. They have their so-called “freedom in Christ” and will live how they please and go where they want. If anyone tries to tell them they need to marry the person they’re living with, they quickly snap “Judge not, lest ye be judged” and continue in sin. If they want to take an alcoholic drink, it’s for “their stomach’s sake” and down it goes. If they want to dress in their “thigh’s the limit” mini skirt, it doesn’t bother them for “God looks at the heart.” They have an excuse for every low standard they sink to.
But God’s true Church is not deceived by this false liberty, which is actually an enslavement to sin. The true church has separated itself from the world and its lusts: “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Almighty” (II Cor. 6:16-18).
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting Holiness in the fear of God” (II Cor. 7:1).
Because Oneness does cry out against immodest dress, unscriptural hair style, enslaving alcohol and tobacco, ungodly T.V. and movies, etc., it is branded “cultic,” “performance oriented,” and “works obsessed.” They say we are not in the spirit of the Protestant Reformation and cite the names of men like Calvin and Luther, knowing full well that these men held (and enforced!) extreme Holiness standards far in excess of what Oneness requires. None of these “free-in-Christ” easy believers would be able to survive ten minutes under the preaching of Calvin or Luther. They would be banished or burned for their “live as you Please” doctrines.
The Oneness Faith is defying all religious history by maintaining high Holiness standards in every succeeding generation. The Methodists used to disfellowship people for possessing a deck of cards in their home. Now they endorse abortion, gay rights, and “goddess” worship. What next? While they do that, we will continue “to follow peace with all men and Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).
Christ is coming back for his true church, and she is known by her high standards of Holiness, and will be so known throughout eternity: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints” (Rev. 19:8).
This article “Is Oneness a Cult?” written by: Elder Ross Drysdale is excerpted from the book Enter the Neo-Trinitarians.