I’ve landed in Las Vegas for 5 days (mostly) work and on my flight I received four messages, two from this blog and two from our YouTube channel. The primary content of all these messages (some of which I’ll share anonymously later in this short article) has been saying encouraging, and sad all at the same time.

A lot of my work is focused on the United Pentecostal (Oneness) Church and it’s devestating affect on the lives of people it coerces, controls and extorts. Of course, there are people who don’t feel coerced (brain washed in my opinion, as I was for 15 years), and I’ve even heard rumors of pastors withing the UPC system that aren’t domineering, controlling, legalistic etc.

To those pastors who don’t follow the party lines, I say God Bless You! You probably won’t be a Oneness Pentecostal preacher for long.

But most of the time, the Oneness/Holiness movement has at it’s core a belief set that the”Man of God’s” position isn’t only to guide (oversee) the flock, but also to enforce and police their people. Calling them in for ‘counseling’ if they break the dress standard rules or their tithing dries up, if they miss a service, etc.

This has happened in my own personal life. After leaving the church I attended for 15 years, the pastor ‘encouraged’ my son to move out of my home (he did) and to disconnect from me. He (son) left the church also shortly then went back and has proceeded to block me on Facebook.

I spoke with the mother of another young man from the same church who has done worse to his mother. He went far enough to say “If you don’t come talk to my pastor and attend our church I don’t want to be around you. And when I have kids I don’t want them around you.”

Back to my point…the four contacts I received withing four hours all had the same underlying message. They thanked me for my work, one responded saying “I needed to hear this! I still struggle with losing everyone after leaving the church.” But the most common message has been, “I’m free!!”

One person said she started attending a UPC church and it was confusing, and frustrating. After realizing it was just a legalism system she ran and felt far better after getting out. Now, anyone could say these things, but the reality of it sinls in after receiving hundreds of messages, emails and phone calls.

People, you must trust in the knowledge that you ARE FREE in Christ. Not free to sin, free to abuse, but free to live your life for Christ as you see fit! Romans 14:22 says “As for the faith you do have, have it between yourself and God(those convictions you hold).” In fact, the entire chapter is about not judging people for their choices, and lifestyle, what they eat/drink, what days they worship, etc.

This is the problem in legalistic systems like the United Pentecostal Church – they ignore the fact that we have been released from that yoke of bondage and strap people back in to the cart. Paul warned against this when he said “If I build again the things I once destroyed (legalism, dependance on the Mosaic Law) I make myself a transgressor.”

I’ve literally heard Pentecostal preachers use this verse to say, “See, if you start watching TV again, or cussing, drinking, you’ll be a transgressor.”

Here I sit, sipping a margarita as I write this to you, fully convinced in my faith and freedom in Christ. We are not bound to man made religion, we are bound to Christ if you call on His name. You answer only to Christ. Not to me, not to a pastor, deacon, bishop, whatever they choose to call them selves. Flawed men making flawed systems and overriding the words of Christ in order to keep you subjected to their system and their control.

To this I say “Get there behind me Satan!” Be Free in Jesus today my friends.

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Posted by dividinghisword

I am the father of two, husband of one, and lover of Christ! I simply seek to spread the Word of God unadulterated, not filtered by denominational interpretation. I have a degree in Theology from Texas Bible College but more so I have His Word!

8 Comments

  1. Hi brother, good mornin to you.

    I had something happen to me that you can probably relate to.

    I was once in a legalistic church. And when I heard that all alcohol was forbidden, I had a private meeting with the pastor. Both of us swapped scripture about alcohol usage, neither side agreeing. His position is that it is entirely forbidden, and my position is that light consumption is permitted, (except for people with a history of alcoholism).

    Do you know what happened?

    I started drinking again.
    I’m not saying it was his fault, because I ultimately made the choice to drink again.
    But when a person is put under legalism…it naturally fuels rebellion against it.

    When I took up drinking again, I hadn’t had a drop of alcohol in several years.

    But praise God, He got me back off alcohol. That stuff was killing my testimony and witness, both because of the frequency of my usage, and from my track record of drinking in my past.

    No matter how you slice it, legalism is a killer. It’ll compel you to do stuff that you probably wouldn’t have done without its motivation. Not to mention the joy it robs you of, because your existence becomes measuring up to rules, rather than enjoying who you are in Jesus.

    I even have this written in some of my bibles on the inside cover incase I ever forget…”legalism is the killer to be shunned.”

    So whatever you’re doing in Vegas, have fun, but don’t give the tempter any licence in your life to do things that you’d be ashamed of later.

    Your friend,
    Lee

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    1. Thank you for sharing your testimony Lee!

      I love your point, and yes, my itinerary is clean! Here for work.

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      1. That’s a big ole 10-4.

        And I wasn’t implying that you having a drink was sin. It was the blending of the topic of legalism and alcohol that made me think about my experience.

        That’s a big ole 10-4!
        (I don’t know your name though).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hey Ralph,
        I love reading your articles.
        Man they are spot on brother!

        I was in charismaticism many years ago, and legalism in more recent years…and both approaches to faith infuriate me.

        It’s kina like when a person looks up to someone or something, and one day you realize that you were duped… It’s hard to feel anything other than rage.
        And I have close kin who’s former UPC, and even many years later, the damage from that cult still harms their view of God.

        God bless ya buddy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Faith and Love are only true if they can include doubt. The ABSOLUTE sure thing that I see in fundamentalist churches and teen relationships is a total sacrifice of yourself to someone else’s control. It looks like a cult, a break from reality, or both.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. I felt this way when I put on a pair of pants for the first time in 2016. It felt good to hike in comfotable clothes in the mountains. It saddens me that I missed out on so many outdoor adventures all those years. Heres to looking forward.

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