“One Man’s Response To The June 1997 Chrisma Article”
By Ron Knott
Subject: “The Other Pentecostals” a recommended solution to the problem.
Dear Brother Grady:
Thanks for your revealing article in the June 1997 issue of CHARISMA about “The Other Pentecostals.” In response to your request for feedback on this study I am sending my thoughts and researched Scriptures on this faultfinding subject. I am only a sincere layman who is concerned about my Christian friends that are passing judgment on each other. I am not for or against the Assemblies of God, nor am I for or against the United Pentecostals. However, I am in total support of Jesus Christ and His church.
My story is not much different from many others who are seeking truth. Being the only survivor of my Navy Pilot graduating class I have a lot to be thankful for. More than 200 of my pilot friends, who I trained and flew with aboard several U.S. Navy Attack Aircraft Carriers are now dead. God spared me when I was so unworthy. I needed salvation loud and clear. Thank goodness some one was praying for me during those years. God started to deal with me big time soon after I left the Navy. My new job as an airline pilot gave me much more time to read and think for myself. The Bible became very interesting reading. Soon I was filled with the Holy Ghost and started my new Christian life.
When I first became a Christian I was shocked to learn of the hateful fighting between Christian denominations. And I was surprised to see and hear of the many controversies within denominations. These contentions appeared to be brought about by private interpretation of the Scripture and by man made rules. There seemed to be little or no unity between Christian organizations. Could God be pleased with this attitude of His children?
When I was an officer in the U.S. Navy it was understood that there would be differences between the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and the Coast Guard. We would tease these other branches of service and they would josh back about our group. But, when war came, when the enemy attacked, we laid down our differences and fought as a team to defeat the adversary. We would risk our lives for those other comrade, and they would fight for us as well. Why? Because we had the same Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, namely the president of the United States. In other words we were all under the same commander. Our uniforms were different, our mission was different, and our name was different. But we were a united force to deal with when war came. We even jointly practiced in unity, or had maneuvers together, in order to
sharpen our skills and tactics against the enemy. History has proven that individually we may win a few battles, but loose the war. Collectively we were in better shape to win the battles and the war. We had to keep the lines of communication open between these different forces to maximize our combat potential against the real adversary.
Why can’t Christian denominations join together to defeat the enemy? We all have the same Commander-in-Chief. We all have one Father. Yet, we are different in many ways. I have four children and they are all different, but they love me and I love them. Why is this simple act of love so hard to maintain between Christian groups? Are we not all Brothers? Could it be that the organization and its rules and regulations get more attention than the Commander? An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it. Adding a label to the name Christian only diminishes that most holy name. Some are quick to say in a judgmental way that I am Baptist, or I am Pentecostal, or what ever. I had rather be known as a Christian. It just don’t get any better than that.
There needs to be a situational awareness or a spiritual awakening among the children of God. Has the superstructure of human establishments and man-made dogma caused confusion between Christian brothers? The crisis appears to be that the pure Word of God has been overlaid with so much human ballast, burdensome rules and regulations, that it has become extremely difficult to make heads or tails about what is right or who is right. Doctrines of man produce division among saints. They become ununited by throwing holy darts at each other. These righteous Rambos cause division and judgment. Bible doctrines produce unity, love, and promotes growth. The following Scriptures are just a few of the many commands found in the Holy Record on this subject.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:35)
Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These area smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom… (Isaiah 65:5-6)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
“….Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?…Or why do you look down on your brother?…Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another…Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to do mutual edifcation…So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.”(Romans 14)
When the “god” (organization) served by the people demands more loyalty than the Almighty, then there is “idol” worship. When the “god” served by the people is placed ahead of the instructions of God, by man’s instruction, there is “idol” worship. When the “god” served will not allow their ministers or members to associate with other Christians then the “idol” status is loud and clear. No, I am not against Christian Organizations. Many have accomplished great works for the Lord. I am only trying to sound a wake-up call for those who judge others. We are commanded to be witnesses, not judges. Judgment by man only produces holy hate, in a holy huddle, by holy hypocrites. A man’s judgment is no better than his information. Few people seek to discover truth; most of us seek to confirm our errors and perpetuate our prejudices.
Brother Grady I said all of the above to address the problems that you encountered between the AG’s and UPC, namely the Godhead and water baptism. First, let me say that there are many sincere Christian in each group. I have been a member of both organizations and have many friends on both sides of the fence. The division appears to be caused by a few hard liners who are not willing to enter into a dialogue for the purpose of understanding and acceptance of each other’s point of view.
Please let me give an example of what I encountered as a new Christian. After receiving the Holy Ghost I studied the Bible with an intense hunger for more truth. I noted that many Christians did not read their contract (Bible) with God. They let others tell them what it said. As a combat fighter pilot I had to know my handbook for survival. Instructors were needed, but I had to save my self in battle.
At this time I had not been baptized, but I noticed in the New Testament many verses concerning water baptism. I told my Assembly of God pastor that I wanted to be baptized. He told me that water baptism was not necessary. He said, “It is only an outward profession for an inward possession, but I will honor your request.” I was excited about the fact I was following Christ in baptism. But, when I asked if he was going to baptize me in the name of Jesus as I had read in the Bible he got very upset. In a rage he told me in no uncertain terms that if he was going to baptize me it would be using the words, in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. In fact he said that his organization would not allow any of their minister to baptize in the Name of Jesus. As a new Christian I was obedient to my pastor and was baptized in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. However, the more I studied the Bible, the more I understood about baptism in water. Please consider the following instructions found in the Word of God.
Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) Those strong words by my Savior got my attention. Then I read I John 6:7-8, For there are there that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one. Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” (Mark 16:16)
Peter preached, ” Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)
Paul told in his testimony about his conversion that baptism washed away his sins. We read in Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Peter recorded, The like figure whereunto even baptism cloth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: (1 Peter 3:21)
Jesus, Paul and Peter made some strong statements about the act of baptism. As recorded above Jesus stated that believing and baptism was required to be saved. Peter said it was for remission of sins in one place and to wash away sins in another place. Paul said, “Be baptized and wash away thy sins calling on the name of the Lord.”
Three thousand others obeyed the baptism command as recorded in Acts 2:41 on the day of Pentecost. The Ethiopian eunuch obeyed the command of baptism when he was instructed by Phillip. Cornelius and his servants were baptized in the name of the Lord. Paul even re-baptized disciples of John in Jesus name as we find in Acts 19.
This brings up a important question. What is the purpose of baptism? Again we go to the Holy Scripture for the answer. We read in Romans and in Colossians that we are buried with Christ by the act of baptism. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3 4) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:12)
It does not take a rocket scientist to understand who the above Scriptures are referring to in death, burial and resurrection. It is recorded that we are buried with him, not them. Even if you believe in three Gods, which one died? Of course we know that it was Jesus who rose from the grave. God the Father did not die, nor did the Holy Ghost, so why take on those titles in baptism? Paul preached to the Galatians that, “….For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:27) After much prayer and reading of these and many other verses, about baptism, I had to be re-baptized in the name of Jesus. The only group in my area at that time who would baptize me in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ were the United Pentencostals. Thank goodness that many Assembly of God churches, many Methodist churches and many others are now baptizing in the name of Jesus. Even secular reference books proclaim that the early Christians baptized in Jesus name.
The following are just a few references on baptism through the Centuries. The Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 3, page 82 states, “Everywhere in the oldest sources it is stated that baptism takes place “In the name of Jesus.” Dr. Marvin M. Arnold, D.D., Th. D. recorded in his book, “APOSTOLIC HISTORY OUTLINE” evidence that Jesus name baptism was practiced in all generations since the day of Pentecost. (He is not a member of UPC.) Francis Cornwall, an early English Baptist, who obtained a Master of Arts degree from Emmanuel College, and was vicar with the Church of England, taught baptism in Jesus name. In AD 1553 Michael Servetus (1511-53), a Spanish doctor, lawyer and preacher, was put to death in Geneva for baptizing in Jesus name. The Albigenses in the 12th century taught that Jesus was God and took on His name in Baptism. Menno Simons (1496-1561), a Dutch religious reformer, from whom the Mennonites takes its name preached the divinity of Christ and baptized in His name. And so did many others. No, the UPC organization did not start this holy ordinance. They and more than 130 other Pentecostal groups in the USA just obeyed the command that started on the day of Pentecost. It has been obeyed by many ever since. You will find that the practice of trinity baptism starting at the Council of Nicea 325AD. It was adopted by the Catholic Church at the Council of Constantinople 381AD. Is the recorded method of baptism in the New Testament wrong, or is the Pope wrong? The Pope also commanded infant baptism and changed the method of baptism from immersion to sprinkling. Of course we know that these man-made commands are not found in the Word of God.
Is there a conflict between what Jesus said in Matthew 28: 19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” and the many commands that were given and baptism applied in the name of Jesus Christ? Absolutely and positively not! The disciples, and millions of others, understood and obeyed Matthew 28:19 when they baptized in the name of Jesus. The command that Jesus gave was a preparatory command and the command of execution was given on the day of Pentecost. Another example of a prophetic command given by Jesus is recorded in John. He said, “….Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” (John 20:23) Yet they did not receive the Holy Ghost until the day of Pentecost. In the military were given the preparatory command “Forward” and the command of execution “March.” Other commands were “About” (preparatory) “Face” (execution). The preparatory command only said get ready for the command of execution. Jesus said get ready for the greatest gift ever given to mankind. That was the in-filling of the Holy Ghost and Baptism in his Name. There is no record in the Bible of anyone ever being baptized by only using the preparatory command. But there are many recorded events where candidates were baptized, and even rebaptized, in Jesus name, thereby obeying the command of execution. The Bible record is very clear on this fact.
Was Peter (who holds the keys to the kingdom of heaven), Paul (the great preacher and apostle of Christ), Phillip (the great evangelist), Cornelius (a military leader who prayed for truth), the disciples of John (who were obedient and were re-baptized) and other Christians for the first 300 years of the church age wrong in their method of baptism? The devil took a part truth, as he did in the garden, and confused man on the important ordinance of baptism. History records that millions of Bible believing Christians were massacre during the dark ages because of re-baptism. “Renaissance Reformation” by William R. Estep, “After the Way called Heresy” by Thomas Weisser and “Book of Martys” by John Foxe are just a few documented books on this subject.
To resolve the conflict between the two groups in your article, and many others, all that would be necessary is a slight modification to the words spoken during baptism. By saying I now baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is Jesus Christ would completely obey both commands without conflict. Of course this would take away the “candy stick” of conflict that some have enjoyed on both sides for too many years. But it would totally obey the commands of the Scriptures. In fact many AG churches and Independent churches are now using those Bible terms in baptism.
It is recorded in “Our l6 Doctrines” of the Assemblies of God Church, under ordinances of the church, the subject of baptism in water. In addition to Matthew 28: 19, Romans 6:4 is listed as one of the references for baptism. This is the same reference that I listed above referring to being buried with Christ in baptism. Surely they would not have a problem obeying one of their own doctrines by being buried with Christ in baptism. Another verse listed in their doctrines is Acts 10:47-48. “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” What is the Lord’s name? They pray in His name but they will not baptize in His name! Why?
The other big conflict you exposed is the question of the godhead. I ask is there more than one God? What is the name of God? Is there a “Trinity?” What is “Oneness?” It is interesting to note that neither
the word “Trinity’ or “Oneness” is in the Bible. Yet, these are the terms that divide many sincere saints. Lets review the Bible again for the correct answer. Brother Isaiah recorded a statement that should settle the conflict without question. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) Isaiah had the revelation that the child who was to be born was also the “Mighty God” and “The everlasting Father” and “The Prince of Peace.” That one verse
of Scripture explains Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38 without conflict. Any serious student of the Bible will readily agree that Isaiah 9:6 is prophecy about Jesus Christ. He is the Son and the Father and the Holy
The following are just a few Scriptures that identify God:
O1d Testament: Who is the Savior? Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior. (Isaiah 43:10-11)
New Testament: Who is the Savior? And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Matthew 1:21-23)
O1d Testament: Make a highway for who?The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way of our LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:3)
New Testament: Make a highway for who? He said I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord as said the prophet Esaias. (John 1:23)
O1d Testament: Who is the Creator? Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.
I have made the earth and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded. (Isaiah 45:12) For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it: he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:18) Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us? (Malachi 3:10)
New Testament: Who is the Creator? All things were made by him: and without him was not any thing made
that was made. (John 1:3) He was in the world, and the world was made by him and the world knew
him not. (John 1:10) For by him all things w ere created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (Colossians
Old Testament Who is the first and the last? Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first and I am the last: and beside me there is no God. And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them show unto them. Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no
God; I know not any. (Isaiah 44:6-8)
New Testament: Who is the first and the last? I am Alpha and Omega the beginning and the ending saith the Lord, which is and which was and which is to come the Almighty. (Revelation 1:8) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Revelation 22:13)
Old Testament: Who will we bow to? I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow every tongue shall swear. (Isaiah 45:23)
New Testament: Who will we bow to? That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth: (Philippians 2:10)
Again I ask who is God? Who is Jesus? Who is the Holy Ghost? Jesus had a dual nature when He was here on earth. He was God and man. He was man when He wept, when He fasted, when He prayed, when He slept and when He did all the other things that are natural to the flesh He was our perfect example without sin. He was God when He performed the many miracles; such as walking on the water, turning water into wine, and when He raised Himself from the dead. He told His disciples, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19) In other Scriptures it says that God the Father raised up Jesus. Is there a conflict in the statement Jesus made? Not when one understands that He was man and God. If Jesus did not raise Himself from the dead how can we expect Him to raise us from the dead? This is the primary difference between Him and the other gods such as Buddha. These others are still in the grave. Not only did He raise himself from the grave it is recorded that many saints were also raised when He was crucified. “The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” (Matthew 28:52-53)
It is a mystery and a revelation about who Jesus is. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angles, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.” (I Timothy 3:16)
Jesus said, “All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father, and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” (Luke 10:22) I am
thankful for that revelation.
Most sincere Christians of all faiths know and understand that Jesus is the Almighty as He said He is. In fact this is the primary reason the Jews killed Him. Because He did things that only God was allowed to do. Yes, most believe that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost as three manifestations of one God. The book of Revelation refers to the seven Spirits of God. Does that mean that there are seven God’s co-eternal, co-existent and co-equal? Of course not. This only describes an attribute of one God. There are very few Christians who believe m three separate Gods. The Southern Baptist will tell you very quick that there is only one God. The devil believes m one God. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shutter. (James 2:19)
Again I refer to “Our l 6 Doctrines” of the Assemblies of God Church, Doctrine #2 THE ONE TRUE GOD. There is listed two very strong one God Scriptures for reference. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, is one LORD. (Deuteronomy 6:4) also listed is “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior. (Isaiah 43: 10-11) Also listed is the following statement under the heading “The Adorable Godhead.” “….Unity of the one being of Father, Son and Holy Ghost…” “There is but one Lord God Almighty and His name is one.” This is the same verses and statement that UPC uses to prove one God. So what is the big difference. Is the division only to keep the fight going?
In order to resolve the above conflict about God there needs to be Christian (Christ like) dialogue between group leaders. I was surprised to read in “The Other Pentecostals” that Brother George Wood of the Assemblies of God said his denomination’s policy on Oneness Pentecostals would discourage any reconciliation effort. Also, recorded in your article was the statement that no one at AG headquarters seems interested in building a bridge, even midway. Is this the same group that the book, “DON’T CALL ME BROTHER” exposed so vividly a few years back? Did not many of their super stars fall? I don’t make that statement to be vicious, or judgmental, but only to remind them that they too are carnal men saved by the grace of God. I am encouraged to know that this attitude is not practiced or preached by most of their pastors or layman. There is a beautiful kindred Spirit between me and all the AG’s I know. They love the Lord and so do I. Jesus gave a beautiful and easy command in John 15:12. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” He also said, ” By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
UPC needs to clean up it act as well. Many sincere pastor and members have departed that organization because of the ever increasing attachments of legalism placed on their members. Spiritual abuse under the name of religion is out of control is some of their camps. Some place a tax on salvation. They say salvation is free, yet they mandate a tariff and say it is invalid unless one obeys their rules. Some try to live a spiritual life by using physical tools. Yet, there are many sincere pastors and members who are going back to God’s Word to find out what holiness is. Holiness is not an external show but an internal glow. “….”God does not judge by external appearance…” (Galatians 2:6) “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your minds not to put any stumbling block, or obstacle in your brothers way.” (Romans 14:13)
The wonderful mystery of both the Assemblies of God and the United Pentecostals’ is the fact that God is working mighty miracles within both groups where they will let Him be in control. This undeniable fact is established world wide in both groups. Great revivals, and undisputable miracles are breaking out all over. It is interesting to note that where the greatest miracles are taking place is where the organizations put Jesus Christ first and leave the dogma and judgment of man behind. In fact some of the greatest works are not under the banner of AG or UPC. In Galatians 5:15 it is recorded, “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed be each other.”
One of the most important accomplishments of mankind is to lead a hungry soul to Jesus Christ. It is recorded, “….I tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10) If we want to cause excitement in the grandstands of heaven just lead one person to repentance. Not only do the inhabitants of heaven want us to witness for Jesus, but the residents of hell also want us to go and tell their families about our Savior. It is also recorded in Luke that the rich man in hell wanted someone to tell his family about the Lord. “….I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” (Luke 16:27-28) Heaven and hell are crying for us to fight for the soul of man, not to fight each other. What a responsibility we have!
AG’s and UPC’s lets remember we are in service for the Lord and not for the glory of an organization. The Lord is our Commander-in-Chief. Your faithful troops my look different, they may act different and operate under a different name, but they all are under the same Supreme Commander of the Universe. You have fought battles individually. Some were won and some were lost. Collectively you might have won the battle against abortion, prayer in school and evolution that is being crammed into our young generation. Friendly fire is as deadly as any enemy ammunition, but somehow it inflicts much more pain and grief. These misplaced deadly daggers should be directed toward the enemy, not a brother. You may remember the first order of battle in the Gulf war was to break the line of communications in order to weaken the enemies response. And so it is with Christians Soldiers. Collectively you can win the war for Jesus. Or you can keep the fight going and let Satan win the lost and confused souls. Pray about it.
Thanks again Brother Grady for the opportunity to respond. Please note that I am sending a copy of this to the leaders you indicated in your publication. My whole purpose for this letter is for unity of my brothers on both sides of the fence.
May God bless you and yours,
Copies to: Rev. Thomas E. Task; General Superintendent of the Assemblies of GodRev. Nathaniel Urshan; General Superintendent of United Pentecostal ChurchRev. George Wood; Assembly God Official Rev. Tom Tenny; District Superintendent of Louisiana United Pentecostal ChurchRev. Anthony Mangun Pastor Rev. T.D Jakes Phillips, Craig and Dean; Christian recording group
“Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16)
The Above Material Was Written By Ron Knott In Response To The June 1997 Chrisma Article. This Material Is Copyrighted And May Be Used For Study & Research Purposes Only.