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.
So 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!
Phew – 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
The 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.