Oneness Doctrine

Oneness Pentecostalism (doctrine)

This list of basic Oneness Pentecostal doctrines is an overview. These doctrines are UPCI specific, and can be interpreted more conservatively or liberally with respect to individual and church specific views. These doctrines are accompanied by references to most, but not all, scriptures officially used by Oneness Pentecostal churches in defense of their doctrines.

Oneness Pentecostal theology is essentially rooted in the following fundamentalist beliefs:

  • God exists and is perfect.
  • The Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God.
  • The absolute inerrancy of the Holy Bible (not necessarily including any or all translations).
  • Sola Scriptura (Scripture interprets Scripture), which also leads to the following assertions by Oneness Pentecostalism in framing its theology:
    • The Bible is the final authority on all doctrine.
    • Doctrine and Theology must take the entire Bible into consideration, using Scripture to interpret other Scripture.
    • Any apparent contradictions between Scriptures is a result of faulty interpretation of one or both Scriptures.
    • Any doctrine, theology, or person that contradicts the Bible is in error.

God

Oneness Doctrine Churches hold to a conservative monotheistic view of God and stress Jesus Christ as the self revelation of God in the New Testament, who was known as Jehovah in the Old Testament. The Christian Monotheist Oneness doctrine rejects all concepts of a duality, trinity, pantheon, or other doctrines they see as representing multiple personalities of God. It rejects all concepts of Jesus Christ as anything different than being both fully God and fully man. This rejection includes views that would place the Son as only part of God, views that the Son is only a high priest and not God, or that the Son was not fully human. It declares that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. Oneness also rejects the view that any person can "obtain" the status of God either by works or by grace, maintaining that Jesus Christ did not "obtain" His status, but rather that he is God manifested in the flesh (1st Timothy 3:16).

Oneness specifically maintains: God is One : God is absolutely and indivisibly One. God is an Invisible Spirit : God is not made of a physical body, but is an invisible spirit that can only be seen in Theophanies (eg. the burning bush) that God creates or manifests or as the incarnate Jesus Christ.

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

The Father : The title of God in Parental Relationship The Son of God : The only begotten Son of God and the One God incarnate in man. The title "Son" refers to both the man and the deity of Jesus Christ with specific emphasis on the man, but never God or the man only. The Holy Spirit : The title of God in activity as Spirit. The Father Is the Holy Ghost : Oneness maintains that the titles Father and Holy Ghost refer to the same being.

The Deity of Jesus Christ

Jesus is God Incarnate : Oneness maintains that Jesus is fully God. From the Beginning of His Human Life : Oneness maintains that Jesus is fully man, and had birth, death, and resurrection. Oneness denies doctrines that state that the Son was eternally begotten, maintaining that the man was begotten on a specific day. The Divine Nature of Jesus Is the Father : Oneness maintains that the deity of Jesus is the Father. The Divine Nature of Jesus Is the Holy Spirit : Oneness maintains that the deity of Jesus is the Holy Ghost. Jesus is LORD (the LORD in the KJV) : Oneness maintains that LORD and Jesus refer to the same God who is also known as the Jehovah to "some" modern day Christians. . Some believe Jehovah to be a false guess name with "hovah" in Hebrew meaning ruin or destruction, hence Je-hovah meaning God of ruin or destruction

The Name of Jesus (Emmanuel, God with us as Savior)

Supreme Revelation of God in the New Testament : Oneness maintains that God revealed Himself as Jesus Christ. The Saving Name : Oneness Pentecostal theology is based primarily on "the saving Name" of Jesus Christ and recognition of Jesus as the revealed, supreme, and One True Name of God.

Salvation

Oneness Pentecostal doctrine and theology maintains that salvation comes by a specific set of commands and requirements in the New Testament. It maintains that each set of requirements, as summarized by faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, water baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ, and the gift of the Holy Ghost baptism, are all necessary for salvation. Each that is deemed a requirement, or necessary, is noted by their doctrine with Scripture that maintains that each was commanded for salvation and/or explained that the lack of them would result in not having salvation. Individual church interpretation can impact how these are carried out. Most Oneness Pentecostal churches maintain that the use of Jesus, Lord Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ of Nazareth all refer to the same name, and reference the variety used in the Book of Acts. This allows room in their doctrine for personal preference of the specific utterance of the name of Jesus Christ, though officially the full name "Jesus Christ" is advocated. Universal Need for Salvation : Oneness Pentecostals believe that all men are sinners and lost without salvation. The Atoning Work of Jesus Christ : Oneness Pentecostals maintain that the man Christ Jesus made atonement, or payment, for the sins of all people. Salvation Is by Grace : Oneness Pentecostal theology holds that salvation is impossible to obtain without God's grace.

Salvation Is through Faith

Only Through Faith in Jesus Christ : Faith must be in Jesus Christ. This theology holds that there is no salvation in faith in any name, god, being, or work other than Jesus Christ. This contradicts liberal interpretations of scripture that salvation was given automatically by the atonement of Jesus Christ. Oneness Pentecostals maintain that those without faith in Jesus Christ have not received salvation. That salvation is a gift and must be received. Saving Faith Includes Obedience : Oneness Pentecostals maintain that true faith is followed by obedience and a willingness to do the Will of God. Examples of Insufficient, Mental Faith : Oneness Pentecostals reject that salvation is obtainable by what they refer to as "mental faith". Mental faith is best described as faith that has no accompanying actions other than the barest definition of believing. Mental faith is often characterized by Oneness Pentecostals as faith without any life changing repentance or obedience. This doctrine is often used to refute groups who practice salvation by the "Sinner's Prayer". Oneness Pentecostals have no issue with the "Sinner's Prayer" itself, but would dispute that it alone is sufficient saving faith. They often argue that upon questioning, a significant portion of the US population might say they believe in Jesus Christ, but that "belief" and "faith" are not necessarily synonymous, pointing out in James 2:19 that even "the devils also believe, and tremble". Saving Faith Includes the Acts 2:38 Experience : Oneness Pentecostals affirm a position that "true faith" includes acts of faith and obedience to faith. They specifically point out Acts 2:38 which says, "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." They maintain that if a person has true faith, they will act on it.

Obeying (Applying) the Gospel

New Testament Teaching : To obtain salvation, a person must meet the requirements set forth in the New Testament. Old Testament Typology (Blood, Water, Fire or Oil) : The requirements set forth in the New Testament are based on the teachings of the Old Testament, and that the New Testament teachings fulfill the teachings of the Old Testament.

Repentance

Necessity of Repentance : Oneness Pentecostals maintain that salvation is not possible without repentance. Elements of Repentance : Oneness Pentecostals define repentance generally as confession and forsaking of sin. Confession is the admittance of sin and asking of forgiveness. Forsaking of sin is the conscious decision to abstain from sinning again.

Water Baptism

Significance and Necessity : The majority of Oneness Pentecostals believe that baptism is absolutely essential to salvation. A small minority believe that baptism is symbolic in nature.(Reference Global Network of Christian Ministries) For Repentant Believers : Oneness Pentecostals believe that one must have faith and repent before being baptized. This would contradict a view that salvation could come through a baptism by force. The Baptismal Mode - Immersion in Water : Oneness Pentecostal theology maintains the literal definition of baptism, being full immersion in water. They often point out that other methods have either no biblical basis, or are based inexact Old Testament rituals, and that their mode is the only one described in the New Testament. This view contradicts the use of any other substance other than water for baptism. This view contradicts any reduced amount of water in baptism, such as sprinkling or head-only immersion. The Baptismal Formula - In the Name of Jesus : Oneness Pentecostal theology in the use of "the name of Jesus" as the baptismal formula is universal among its believers by definition of Oneness Pentecostalism. The One Name in Matthew 28:19 : Many Oneness Pentecostals recognize "the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" in Matthew 28:19 as being that of Lord Jesus Christ. Oneness itself is often explained (in simplistic terms) as the recognition of the three titles as the singular name of Lord Jesus Christ (Father=Lord, Son=Jesus, and Holy Ghost=Christ). Some Oneness reject the triune Lord Jesus Christ representing the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and baptize in the name of Jesus Christ only. These are called "Jesus Only". They note that in their own 20th century history, the baptismal name recognition and Oneness theology go hand in hand. Similarly, they note a universal use in the Book of Acts, and with the support of other historical texts of the time, maintain that proof of Oneness theology by the early Christian church was widespread and universal among the leading members. Also of note is that by their doctrinal basis that no Scripture contradicts, that Matthew 28:19, and all of the Acts accounts, including Acts 2:38, must be in full agreement with each other. They state that the only two explanations would be that the Apostles all disobeyed the command in Matthew 28:19 or that they correctly interpreted and fulfilled it, when they used the name Lord Jesus Christ.

The Baptism of the Holy Ghost

Promise and Command : Pentecostals maintain that the baptism of the Holy Ghost is both a free gift and is commanded to be accepted. The Holy Ghost is explained by Pentecostal doctrine as the Spirit of God (also known as the Spirit of Christ) dwelling within a person. It is further explained as the power of God to edify (build up) the person, help them abstain from sin, and to anoint them with power to exercise the gifts of the Spirit for edification of the church in the Will of God. This differs from the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, in that the incarnation is explained as "the fullness of the Godhead" in the body of Jesus Christ inseparably linking the deity and man, that is Jesus. Believers, according to this doctrine, can only receive a portion of the Spirit and are not permanently bonded with God as Jesus is. This doctrine explained most simply, it is God dwelling within an individual, communing with the individual, and working through that individual. Oneness doctrine maintains the Holy Ghost is the title of God in action, so they also maintain that the Holy Ghost in an individual is God in action in and through that individual. An Experience for the Church Founded on Pentecost : Pentecostals, both Oneness and Trinitarian, maintain that the Holy Ghost experience marks the formation of the Christian Church. Significance and Necessity : Pentecostal churches maintain that the Holy Ghost is necessary for salvation, and that he carries with him power for the believer to accomplish the Will of God. Speaking in Tongues Is the Initial Sign : The majority of Oneness Pentecostals maintain that the initial sign of the Holy Ghost is speaking in tongues. They recognize that reception of the Holy Ghost was evidenced, when documented in the New Testament, by the minimal requirement of speaking in tongues. They also recognize a biblical basis that the gift of tongues is a sign to unbelievers of the power of the Holy Ghost and is actively to be prayed for and practiced, especially in prayer.

References

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