Some time ago, during my online scouring of information about particular religious denominations, I stumbled across a video on YouTube labeled “Why are Oneness Pentecostals often nasty, proud & aggressive?“. Lately, I’ve thought about this question a lot. And not in criticism but in an attempt to understand the mentality I have rejected, after being ‘that’ for 15 years. In that 15 years, I never purchased this idea of militant recruiting and aggressive methods.

By way of example, I have been labeled by people in the church I left as a ‘Godless Alcoholic’ (yes I have a few drinks sometimes). What was my best friend no longer speaks to me, because I exposed his Pastor lying on the stand of a Court of Law, looking at the actual court depositions. The right-hand #2 man in the church literally ignored my presence just last week, standing 5′ from me when I tried to speak to him, and the ‘bishop’ ignored me completely in front of a mutual acquaintance, even when I, trying to be friendly, waved and said hello.

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-2So how does this mentality become justified? How does someone decide, that as for those who disagree or choose not to be like us, they are not worthy of their attention or friendliness? Is having a different way of thinking or a different way of worship worthy of shunning and disfellowship? When do you feel approved of by Jesus, to adopt the hateful attitude, “I’m not even going to try to be nice to anyone involved in talking about Scripture.?

Perhaps, it is true that I am vocal in my arguments against the legalism practiced by some churches and for that, I am a threat and an aggressor. So I’ve taken myself out of the equation – rather, I’ve considered the stories, history, and accounts of others who have had the same treatment due only to deciding ‘not to attend’ this particular church system.

And yet I feel compelled to mention, that these types of religious systems (Such as Oneness Pentecostals) often practice a dogma known as Sacerdotalism, which expresses that God will only work through the local pastor/bishop. You cannot be saved without that pastor. You can’t choose another pastor without the original pastor’s permission, which locks your salvation into a single living man. If God wants you to do something, only the Pastor can approve of it. This removes Christ from the people (reversion to Law) and puts back the rent veil of the temple and re-establishing the Priesthood.

This is heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic dogma whereby they name the Pope the Vicar of Christ and believe that he, being the representative of Christ, has all authority to create church doctrine and dogma.

This is NOT an attack on Christians!

anne-lamott-author-quote-you-can-safely-assume-that-youve-created-godPhew – had to get that out of the way – I’m talking about sects of Christianity that feel it their mission to only love other people so long as they accept their way of thinking, and to gossip about, ignore and judge any who do not.

I’m talking about those ‘Christians‘ that make it their goal to troll others online social media. Protest gay weddings and funerals of military personnel. It is their mission to interrupt church services to proclaim that they have the only truth and your church is teaching false doctrine.

I’m talking about those ‘Christians‘ that will cut themselves off from family and friends who do not live their way and ensure that every conversation must involve their proclamation that you must conform, or suffer eternal damnation.

And most interesting of all is the wresting of Scripture to support this militant way of serving Christ. For instance, a commonly misquoted verse is Matthew 10:34-36;

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword [of division between belief and unbelief]. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his[own] household [when one believes and another does not]. (Amplified Bible)

The followers of these hyper-aggressive systems will take this Scripture and say that even JESUS promoted dividing families and made the point that He didn’t come to be ‘friendly’.

Yet for all that, they miss the central purpose of this passage. It was not the followers of Christ turning against each other for dressing differently, having a different order of service or method of worship, or even *gasp* doctrines. Christ’ message was simple. He knew that the result of His message was that people who choose to follow him would be hated by those who rejected him.

The central message of Christ was an abounding LOVE and Kindness to ALL Mankind, even those who disagreed!

Christ specifically told His disciples, ‘preach this message – if any reject you, they do not reject you personally, but they are rejecting me. Simply dust off your feet and keep going.

For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39, Amplified Bible

192597-blessed-are-the-peacemakersThe Fruits of having His Spirit is, according to Galatians 5:22,23 is Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, and Temperance. If this is to be believed, then those practicing hyper-aggressive, militant methods to convert people to their doctrines and who shun those that do not accept it, are not filled with the Spirit of Christ and do not practice Christianity.


 

Advertisements

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!

3 Comments

  1. Given I am one of those awful Oneness Pentecostals, I felt it my right and responsibility to respond to some of the accusations which have been made in this article. At the risk of being labeled a “troll”, I submit to you the following for your prayerful consideration.

    First, it is a sad thing that there are Christians who condemn those who take the teachings of Jesus and the pattern of the Apostolic Church on evangelism seriously. It seems an easy thing to hide behind our keyboards and criticize those who have far more courage and conviction than us when it comes to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in obedience to Christ’s command when he said “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them….teaching them all things whatsoever I have commanded thee” (Matthew 28:19-20) and after the pattern of the First Church. You see, when I read my Bible, I find that it was the proud and religious false teachers of the day that were trying to shut the mouths of the preachers of Truth. It is said of these false teachers “Being grieved that they [the Apostles, the First Church] taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold…” (Acts 4:2-3). We do not see the Apostles encouraging Christians to refrain from evangelism on the basis that they might not be “loving enough”. In fact, it sure seems they thought the right response to the love of God expressed to them and the right way to express God’s love to a lost and needy world was to tell them the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And, that is exactly what they did when they preached that “God commands all men everywhere to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained (Jesus Christ)” (Acts 17:30-31). Paul says the same thing in different words in one of His epistles: “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my Gospel” (Romans 2:16). Now, of course, we know that Paul’s Gospel was none other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the “faith once and for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). This is proven by one more Scripture – “…the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thessalonians 1:7-9). They believed and preached that unless you obeyed the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be judged. Wouldn’t it be the most loving thing you could do to tell people these truths if they haven’t obeyed the Gospel, even if at the risk of offending them or looking like a fool? And, conversely, wouldn’t it be the most unloving thing to do, and cowardly I might add, to refrain from speaking the truth because we don’t want to offend people or look like a fool? Paul said – “If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (I Corinthians 3:18-19) & “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God…for after that in the wisdom of God they world by wisdom knew not God, it please God by the foolishness of preaching to save…” (I Corinthians 1:18, 21). I will gladly be called a fool to preach the Gospel of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). It seems that, while we may take offense at the particular methods people use in their evangelism, we should at least acknowledge and commend their zeal and obedience to Jesus’ commands. Those who aren’t actively evangelizing the world and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ who then criticize and condemn those who are doing so seem to be guilty of the hypocritical judgment described in Matthew 7:1-5 and should first “…cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” They are “straining at a gnat, while swallowing a camel” – that is to say, getting stuck on the particulars while ignoring the more important. I wonder who is more Christlike, since this is the tenor of the article, the one who throws stones at the particular methods people use in evangelism, or the one who is passionately trying to follow Christ’s commands?

    Second, disfellowship of those who forsake the Truth, especially if they were once followers of the way of Truth, is entirely Biblical (II Thessalonians 3:6, 11-15). If you take the Bible seriously, you cannot seriously condemn the practice of disfellowship, only the criteria. That is to say, the only qualm you should have with a particular person or church that disfellowships someone, if you believe the witness of the Scriptures, would be the grounds on which they disfellowship. This is a very tricky thing and very hard to get right. It requires the leading of the Spirit of God to handle such situations. It would be very easy to get this wrong and to mistreat people who are disfellowshipped. I’m sure mistakes are made. They need to be addressed and delt with through counsel, study, and prayer. However, the bigger mistake would be to disobey the clear commands of Scripture to disfellowship.

    Third, the force of Jesus’ statements in Matthew 10:34-36 & in Luke 12:51-53 needs to be reckoned with. Any thought process that castigates a group of people who is doing its best to use the Bible for its doctrine and practice on the grounds that their doctrine and practice causes “division” among families should at once be given pause by the words of Jesus. A mark of His Gospel is that it will cause division amongst families. That is the point of what He is saying in these passages. This is not to say that God and God’s people are seeking or pleased with such division. But, it is to say that such division is inevitable. I must condemn in the strongest terms this quote from this article – “The followers of hyper-aggressive systems will take this Scripture and say that even JESUS promoted dividing families and made the point that He didn’t come to be ‘friendly”. This may be true of some systems, but this article specifically lumps the Oneness Pentecostals in with these ‘hyper-aggressive systems” and so I condemn this because the author of this article knows very well that we do not use this verse to “promote” division as if division is something we are seeking. We quote this verse to recognize that “division” is inevitable and in fact a mark of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the truth of which statements is evident when one reads the words of Jesus.

    Fourth, this article accuses the Oneness Pentecostals of being “hyper-aggressive” and “militant” and in fact as not being “Christlike” and as not being “filled with Spirit of Christ”, saying we “do not practice Christianity.” Very, very strong words. Surprisingly strong words given the tenor of Christ’s message being “loving” and “peaceful” and “non-judgmental” according to the author. I’m not sure if this was the intention of the author, but he in essence claims that the Oneness Pentecostals are not saved, because Paul said – “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Christ’s).” Let’s suspend the question of whether or not the author is right or not on his characterization of the Gospel and Message of Jesus Christ for a moment. I hope the author quickly sees how his statements are, at their core, divisive, judgmental, and condemning. If the basis of his judgments are sound, I have no reason to be critical of his judgmentalism in this article. I simply wish to expose the double-standard so often found among those who criticize the Oneness Pentecostal movement. They will condemn us as the ones who are divisive and judgmental and then will, out of the same mouth, say such things of us as are found in this article. Suffice it to say on this point, truth is truth and when it is spoken it is divisive and judgmental because the presence of truth automatically condemns error. Now, the question then becomes, “What is the truth?” This is another topic for another time, but I hope my point is clear.

    Finally, I must come to the natural conclusion of this discussion, which is the specific methodology of evangelism. I am not going to be so brash as to claim that all of the Oneness Pentecostals are always led by the Spirit of God in their evangelism. (I would encourage the author to likewise refrain from such brashness as castigating an entire group of people as not being Christlike because of the unwise actions of a zealous few). Some of the specific things that were brought up – “online trolling”, “protesting gay weddings”, “interrupting church services” – are things I strive not to do and wouldn’t encourage others to do. I can personally attest to the fact the Oneness Pentecostal Church I am a part of would never encourage these things and in fact has strongly encouraged against them. We can agree such actions are unwise. Would the author please provide sources showing the Oneness Pentecostal churches and individuals who have engaged in such activities that caused him to accuse them of being “hyper-aggressive” and not being “Christlike”? These people, if there have been some of the Oneness Pentecostal movement who have done such things, are probably very few and far between, certainly they are not indicative of the actions or attitudes of the majority, and simply need to pray and ask God for wisdom to be more careful and to represent Christ’s name better in the world.

    I pray God would guide us all on the path to eternal life,
    Tre Brickley

    Like

    Reply

  2. It should be known that when anyone states the following, “You see, when I read my Bible”, it is singular, as so many people do not interpret scripture the same. Which causes me to question why 1 singular individual feels it is okay to project his or her interpretation of scriputre onto others? I have personally experienced and seen the culture of this religion embrace peacocking, gossiping,and judgemental behaviors and actions. Wisdom is severely lacking when dealing with people. Its sad to see genuine people looking for God to be ran off and never to return over legalistic man made agendas. The author is simply stating the facts. It is what many people have sadly experienced. It is okay to quote scripture, but that does not make the hurt or offended feel any better. It only proves the point that people are quoted at rather truly loved and spoke to.The word is “HUMAN” and that word is very much forgotten many times. Hence why so many individuals that realize they are only human leave. When does the scripture quoting wars cease and the gentle dialogue begin?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s