Revelation In The Parking Lot
By Elder Ross Drysdale
Copyright 1994, Apostolic Truth Press
This is the story of two teenagers, whose hunger for God led them on a search for the Truth that eventually brought them into the Oneness Pentecostal Faith. Gregory Boyd was one of them and I was the other. Both of us were baptized in Jesus Name and both of us learned the Apostolic Doctrine and embraced it fervently. But from that point on, our stories head off in radically different directions. For Gregory Boyd departed and I remained. He has told his story in “Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinity.” Now I will tell mine.
I MEET THE “HOLY ROLLERS”
I was not raised in the Pentecostal Faith. My family had all been members of the Baptist Church, and I had assumed I would be a Baptist “til I die.” But in the year 1962 a small Pentecostal mission was opened in my neighborhood in an old abandoned Methodist Church. I was curious about the new sign in the yard which announced the church as “Pentecostal,” but did not give it too much thought. In my high school PE class I met a young man named Tony, who witnessed to me and invited me to attend his church – the aforementioned Pentecostal congregation. I asked him if he was a “Holy Roller?” He smiled and answered yes! I began visiting his church on occasion to see if all the Pentecostal rumors were so. I was not disappointed. I saw for the first time people praising God in tongues, dancing in the aisles, slain in the Spirit, praying in concert, and generally speaking, having a wonderful time about “religion.” I was an “onlooker” but not a “partaker.” Whenever it was prayer time they would remove my eyeglasses. When I asked why, they would always respond that the Holy Ghost might fall on me, and I wouldn’t want to lose them in the excitement. Rather than argue, I acquiesced.
BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST
On the 15th of September 1962, at about 7:30 p.m.., I made my way to the Rehoboth Christian mission for what I thought would be my last time. I has absolutely no idea of the extraordinary event which was to take place. When it happened, I could not have been more surprised if someone had walked up and handed me a million dollars. I persuaded two of my friends to accompany me that night, Billy Edkins, a Methodist, and Gene Miller, a Baptist. I had Billy to sit on one side of me and Gene on the other. We were in the first row and Tony was in the row behind us. I figured with a Baptist on one side and a Methodist on the other, I would be quite insulated and cushioned against any of the strange occurrences in this Pentecostal place of worship. It was during the singing of the choruses that it happened. We were all singing “I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me.” They were singing it in English rather than Spanish, and I imagine this was in deference to the visiting “American brothers,” as they referred to us. I was not even clapping my hands at the time. I was simply too Baptist for such things. Suddenly, my attention was drawn to my right. What I saw I shall never forget as long as I live and indeed thereafter. Bill’s face was a bright red and it looked as if it were glowing. I wanted to ask him what was happening, but there was not enough time. All of a sudden, he put his hands up to his face and began rubbing it as if he had a washcloth in his hands. Quickly he began to rise out of his seat. Astonished at
what I saw, I immediately turned to my left to where Gene was seated. Gene was already on his feet and staggering under the power of God. Suddenly, I heard Tony behind me say something to the effect, “I think I’m going up to Heaven,” and with that he shot up into the air, heading in the direction he had just announced. Then it happened. Dear reader, I am treading on Holy Ground, but what I am about to relate is fixed in my memory and as fresh as the day it happened, although it has been over thirty years. In an instant, I felt a hot cloud descend from heaven and completely envelope my body. It seemed like a split second. It just surrounded me with its intense warmth and I was completely aware of the presence of God. A voice spoke to my soul and said, “Ross – receive the Holy Ghost.” Immediately, I felt this hot cloud pass through my body and take up residence inside me. The Comforter has come. He was now inside the temple! The glory of the moment is indescribable. As soon as the Spirit of God had entered me, He lifted my helpless body off the bench into the middle of the air, unaided by human hands, but accomplished by the same Great Power that translated Enoch and swept Elijah off the earth. The Spirit then began to toss me high into the air over and over again, as the glorious billows of love and power crashed over my body like the sweeping of ocean waves. I had absolutely no control over my body at this time, but I was completlely aware of the fact that I was totally and completely being exercised by the Holy Ghost. It was as if I was on a giant invisible trampoline that kept tossing me higher and higher. Just as I could never have started the experience, likewise I could not stop it. It was as if every cell and fiber of my body was being inundated with power, as indeed it was. I can remember thinking to myself that this was God in the most convincing and real way imaginable. I would never doubt him again. I could also hear myself shouting and praising God, but it seamed like I was listening to my own voice from a
distance. My body, not under my control whatsoever, went in every direction, flipping, tossing, ascending. How long this continued, I do not know.
But as I began to come out of this blessing, I noticed I was on the floor and there were feet all around me. The church had gathered to the front to behold this thing that had came to pass. When I was finally together enough to speak, I told those assembled that I received what the Apostles received on the Day of Pentecost. They agreed. Billy was still rejoicing and Gene was on the floor still speaking in a tongue. I was now a Pentecostal according to Acts the second chapter and would remain so for life. And so I have.
At this time I did not have a lot of “doctrinal knowledge” about the Pentecostal experience. I had spoken in the “unknown tongues” and realized this was “part and parcel” of this great Baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire, but beyond this I had little knowledge. Every thing had cane to me so quickly, and changes were still occurring in rapid order. I immediately began to devour the Word of God. I searched its pages day and night. I started to hear terms I had never heard before, words such as “rapture,” “tribulation,” “divine healing,” “initial evidence,” “spiritual gifts.” I wanted to know what all these things meant. My sister also began visiting a Pentecostal Church in another neighborhood. She brought me a copy of their magazine. Eager for anything “Pentecostal” in the way of literature, I immediately began to study it. For the first time I came across the term “Oneness Pentecostal.” I pondered what this could mean. I knew very well what a Pentecostal was, for I was one of those myself! But what on earth (or in heaven!) was a “Oneness Pentecostal?” I laid aside the magazine and did not give it much thought. In less than a year, I would be very familiar with that term also; and in a way I never would have imagined.
The months following my Baptism of the Holy Ghost were days of “heaven on earth.” I attended church five or six times a week, prayed sometimes all night, witnessed in my high school, fasted, and expected Jesus at any moment. Friends who opposed my sudden “change” told me I had been “brain washed.” I responded that my brain had been in need of serious washing for a long time! Others said I had “lost my mind.” I told them it was a small loss anyhow, and not to worry, for now I had “The mind of Christ.” Being a “Pentecostal” was for me an exciting way of life. I was glad I was “in.”
THE “JESUS ONLYS” ARE HERE
I continued with the saints at the Rehoboth Church for about a year. About this time I began to hear of a strange sect of Pentecostals known as Jesus Onlys. On occasion they would visit our church. I was instructed to shake hands, greet them, and leave. They had a “dangerous doctrine.” This only prompted my curiosity so I began to investigate their teachings.
I quickly found out what the “danger” was. Our Pastor said they believed in “baptizing in Jesus Name” and could “take you to the Bible and prove it.” I thought that was an odd remark. I decided to became The New Defender of the Faith and fight them single handedly. I fulminated against them constantly, wrote tracts, engaged them in debate, even going to their hones to “straighten them out.” I visited the local United Pentecostal Church just to prove I could “resist” their Apostolic influence. Yet deep inside me I had nagging doubts about my own doctrine and baptism. At this time also Rev. Nathan Urshan was beaming into New York City airways with the Harvestime Broadcast. I would listen to it in solitude and ponder the straight forward message he preached. Why don’t our preachers sound so Pentecostal, I would ask myself? Why are we so reticent to mention water baptism, tongues and Holiness? Will the Jesus Onlys wind up being the only true Pentecostals after all? All these thoughts swirled in my mind, while I simultaneously tried to push out the ever mounting evidence for baptism in Jesus Name. By October of 1963 it had came to a head. The die would would soon be cast.
BAPTISM IN JESUS NAME
It was October 29th, the year was 1963. I had a raging debate going on within me over the issue of being baptized in Jesus Name. Every time I read the book of Acts, I felt like I was half a Pentecostal. I had the
mighty baptism in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues as recorded in the 2nd, 8th, 10th and 19th chapters, but I did not have the baptism in water in the Name of Jesus recorded in the very same chapters. I had read every excuse devised to explain away the baptism in Jesus Name and had even invented a few of my own. Nothing seemed to satisfy me. I prayed that night that the Lord would show me and guide me into the truth.
I had no idea of the remarkable miracle that was about to take place. I will recount it exactly as it occurred.
As I laid down on my bed to sleep an unusual sensation immediately began. The only way to describe it is to say that a whirlwind began to swirl around me, starting at my head and working towards my feet. I became absolutely immobile. Suddenly I felt my soul lift out of me and it began to ascend. My body felt like dead weight on the bed. I was convinced I had died. Presently I arrived at a place where all was white and brilliant; a very relaxing feeling came over me. This must be heaven I thought. I sensed the presence of the Lord and asked him why I could not see his face? The response was immediately imparted to my soul: “Will you be baptized in my name?” Then the whole strange process resumed again, only in reverse. I felt my soul descend downward to earth. Soon my body began to regain sensation and the whirlwind effect left me. When I regained complete use of my body I sprang from my bed and went for the Bible. I said, “Lord, I rejoice in signs and wonders, and I believe them, but I must have the word for all that I do.” I opened my Bible and there was Acts 2:38 staring me in the face: “Then Peter said unto them, 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.” I did not seek this verse; it sought me!
I called the Pastor of the local United Pentecostal Church and informed him that I had received the “revelation” and wished to be baptized in Jesus Name. It had occurred to me, as to the disciples of old on the Mount of Transfiguration: “And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only” (Matt. 17:7-8).
I requested baptism for Saturday night. The Pastor told me he had no service scheduled for that night. I responded, “you do now!” So on October 31, 1963, a chilly Halloween night, I was baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. As I made my way home that night amidst all the “goblins” and “ghosts” of the Halloween festivities, the words of the Pastor kept ringing in my ears: “Upon the confession of your faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord, I now baptize you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”
Like the Apostle Paul, “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth” (Acts 26:9).
But on that long ago October night Christ stopped me and revealed himself to me, for the purpose of making me “a minister and a witness both of these things which I have seen, and of those in which He will appear unto me” (Acts 26:16). Whereupon, dear Reader, “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:17).
This was my experience on an October night in 1963. But there is another young man who also had an October night experience, this one in 1976. His name is Gregory Boyd and he wishes to tell his story also. It is recounted in his book, Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinity, published by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“THEY WENT OUT FROM AMONG US”
in his book, “Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinity,” Gregory Boyd gives his unusual testimony of why he left the Oneness Faith. He views it as a deliverance of sorts from bondage – and he wants to deliver others! How did this come about? He tells us: “My honeymoon with the oneness faith, however, was quite short-lived. I quickly discovered that the ‘holiness standard’ (the community life style rules) which initially seemed freeing to me, became very burdensome. I discovered that even the threat of hell, spoken of so often from the pulpit, was not enough to motivate me to change permanently certain aspects of the sin-character that I had acquired in my pre-UPCI life.” (Boyd, P. 22).
REVELATION IN THE PARKING LOT
Whatever these “certain aspects of the sin-character” were, he does not inform us. But then something unusual happened in a parking lot one October evening. He tells us, “standing in a church parking lot one October Sunday evening in 1976, feeling hopelessly sinful and lost, having just heard yet another powerful ‘live-holy-or-go-to-hell’ sermon, I ‘happened’ to open up my Bible to Romans, chapter 8.
“As I read the first verse, “There is therefore now no condemnation to then which are in Christ Jesus…’ (KJV), my spiritual eyes were opened in a way they had never been opened before. The words NO CONDEMNATION reverberate in my mind like a thousand church bells chiming at once. That moment I knew I was saved, for I knew I was – because of Jesus’ sacrifice alone – loved just as I was. I was accepted unconditionally.” (Boyd, p. 23).
This experience in the parking lot was the “beginning of the end” of his sojourn in Oneness. Soon he repudiated the Baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of tongues; and of course Holiness, which he now classes as “legalism,” lost it’s grip on his mind. Next to be discarded was baptism in Jesus Name for remission of sins. And the last domino to fall, with the aid of “educated trinitarians” he met in seminary, was the oneness of the Godhead.
Gregory Boyd’s October night experience proved to be very decisive for him, even as my own earlier one had been for me. And for this reason it deserves closer investigation. Though his account is sketchy, and the details are omitted, there is still something very intriguing in his recounting of the event. Something that I feel unlocks the mystery as to the real source of this “revelation” which just “happened” when he opened up his Bible.
THE MISSING HALF ,
As I read Gregory Boyd’s testimony, something I learned years ago came to my mind – when anyone quotes half a verse you better look it up! There’s usually something in the second half they don’t want you to know. Those three little dots… are a flashing signal that something has been left out. I didn’t have to look up Romans 8:1 for I knew it! Shall we hear the whole verse, including the half Dr. Boyd failed to mention? “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Quite a difference isn’t there? The “no condemnation” promise is qualified; it only applies to those who are walking after the Spirit, living holy. There is no promise of security for those who walk after the flesh. In fact, there is another promise for those who live after the flesh, or as Dr. Boyd puts it, not sufficiently motivated “to change certain aspects of the sin-character.” It’s found in the 13th verse: “For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die.” Why is this? Because, “they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (v.8). I wonder had Gregory finished reading his text, and the rest of the chapter as well, if quite so many church bells would have reverberated and chimed in his head that night? For the whole text says just the opposite of what he wants it to say. He was looking for “unconditional” acceptance and approval without a change of “certain aspects of sin-character.” Paul was teaching on the other hand just the opposite: to be carnally minded is death (v.6) and that we should therefore “mortify the deeds of the body.” In fact, mortifying the deeds of the body is an absolute pre-requisite to live “but if y through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” If someone told me I had to take this medicine in order to live, then I have a condition to meet if I’m going to live.
So Dr. Boyd’s entire denunciation of the oneness faith stems from half a text, taken out of context, and made to mean the opposite of what it says. If this is the foundation, what will the structure be like! Giving Dr. Boyd the benefit of the doubt, I will conjecture that perhaps the wind was very strong in the parking lot that October of 1976 and blew the Bible shut before he had a chance to finish the verse. Or maybe he was so pre-occupied with those thousand church bells going off in his head that he forgot to read the second part -The part which applied the promise only to those who are living holy. But surely he has had time to read it by now? There’s plenty of condemnation in Romans 8 to go around for any and all who insist on walking after the flesh, preferring to be carnally minded, which is death (v.6).
“A half a loaf is better than none” was never meant to apply to the Word of God! Revelations built on “half texts” are always dangerous. When Satan came to Jesus during the Wilderness Temptation, he three times presented “half texts” in an attempt to deceive Christ. In each case Christ finished the text and silenced Satan’s arguments (Matthew 4:1-11). Dr. Boyd’s so-called “deliverance” from oneness began with just such a half text. It should be apparent who the “real author” of such an “enlightenment” is.
PATTERN OF HERESY
Many heresies and departures into apostacy have started, not with a doctrinal objection, but with an attempt to circumvent a requirement of the Word. Often times it is a moral failure that leads a person to “discover” a marvelous revelation that turns that “failure” into a virtue, and relieves than of all responsibility for dealing with it scripturally. Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, feared because of his life style that he was going to Hell. Instead of mortifying the deeds of the flesh, he got a “revelation” that there was no Hell! Joseph Smith was caught with other mens’ wives, so he got a “revelation” about polygamy and celestial marriage. Seventh-day Adventists preached Christ was caning in 1844. When this was shown to be a lie they wouldn’t repent, but got a “revelation” in a corn field about the “investigative judgement.” And now we have Dr. Boyd’s “revelation” in the parking lot of “no condemnation – no conditions.”
But there are conditions to remain in God’s favor; and holy living is absolutely necessary, whether your “aspects of sin character” were acquired in your pre or post UPCI life! Let’s consider what the Bible says on the subject, with or without reverberating church bells!
THE DOCTRINE OF THE MASTER
“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (John 14:21).
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love” (John 15:10). “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14). “If a man love me, he will keep my words” (John 14:23).
“And shall cone forth: they that have done good unto the resurrection
of life” (John 5:29).
“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:20).
“Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know then. Not everyone that saith unto me, lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:1921) .
“If any man will cane after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24).
“But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17).
There are certainly conditions to be met: deny yourself, take up the cross, keep the commandments, do good, do what is commanded, bring forth fruit, be righteous, do the will of the Father. All the “half texts” in the world can’t set this aside. Now let us hear from the Apostles:
“Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell severity: but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou shalt be cut off” (Ran. 11:22).
“But I keep under my body, and bring it unto subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway”. (I Cor.9:27).
” If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy: for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (Cor. 3:17).
“For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them” (II-Peter 2:20-21).
“He that saith I know him, and keepeth not his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:4).
“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother” (I John 3:10) .
“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17) .
“But wilt thou know, o vain man, that faith without works is dead” (James 2:20).
The whole Apostolic Voice is united in the conviction that there are conditions to be met if the child of God is to remain in a standing of “No Condemnation.” ” Certain aspects of sin-character” must be overcome or one will lose favor with God eventually. “Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to fall short of it” (Heb. 4:1) . “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a fearful looking for of judgement and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Heb. 10:26-27).
I have taken quite a bit of time to expose the fallacy of Gregory Boyd’s Parking Lot Revelation, for it must always be borne in mind that this was the motivation for his subsequent denials of Apostolic doctrine.
If this can be shown to be false, and it has, then we can easily discern who its’ author must have been. For he has opposed holiness from the beginning, and he too “abode not in the truth” (John 8:44).
HOLINESS OR HELL
Holiness preaching is never popular. It’s not designed to be. But it is necessary. The worldly, powerless condition of today’s churches prove that. Every sinful life style is overlooked or glossed over in todays so called “evangelical” churches. The preachers don’t dare tell them to “clean up their act. They’d be fired! Gregory Boyd says he was feeling the aftereffects of a Holiness sermon when he received his Parking Lot Revelation: “.., feeling hopelessy sinful and lost having just heard yet another powerful ‘live-holy-or-go-to-hell’ sermon, I ‘happened’ to open my Bible to Romans, Chapter 8.” I have no way of knowing what was in that “liveholy-or-go-to-hell” sermon he heard way back in 1976. But I do know the contents of another one I read, preached way back in 33 A.D.: “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, then having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell- fire, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For everyone shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt” (Mark 9:43-49),
I wonder how Gregory Boyd would have felt if he had been in church with the Master the day that “live-holy-or-go-to-hell sermon” was delivered! It would take a pretty big Parking Lot in which to find a text to set that one aside!