Does being Oneness Pentecostal make me a member of a cult?
I read a post labelling me a member of a cult because I am an Apostolic Pentecostal, or as some like to say, ‘Oneness Pentecostal’. It’s a strange feeling to be called a member of a cult, what I would expect is that as a member of a cult I live on a special compound, am devoted to an authoritarian leader (who claims to be God), that I’ve cut off ties with my all my family and follow a set of non-biblical writings of some form (think, ‘Book of Mormon‘ etc). However, none of this is true.Then why are Oneness Pentecostals labelled as members of a strange cult? According to the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry we are a cult. They accuse Oneness Pentecostal Christians of the following…
As a Oneness Pentecostal
- Yes, I don’t believe in the Trinity. However, I do believe in God. I do believe in the Father, Son & Holy Ghost. However, I don’t use the term Trinity to describe God as it is not a biblical phrase neither did the Apostles use a creed such as the Nicean to define God. Their faith in God was based upon Judaism. The God of Judaism is One, His Holy Spirit is not a person but God Himself in action. And as a Christian I believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate (Jhn 1:1, Isa 9:6). He is not a second or third person He is the very fullness and totality of God (1 Tim 3:16, Col 2:9). The result of my faith is the exaltation of Jesus Christ and worship of God… is this cultic?
- I do believe in baptism as a part of salvation. The bible teaches that all who believe should be baptised (Mark 16:16), Jesus Himself taught baptism as part of the ‘new birth’ (Jhn 3:5). The Apostles baptised on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:28), Paul teaches that we are ‘buried with Him’ in baptism (Rom 6:1-3). Likewise, I also believe that salvation is a result of God’s grace toward us (Eph 2:8), that salvation is freely given by God and is received through faith (Eph 2:8). Peter himself said ‘baptism doth save us’ (1 Pet. 3:21) – is he also a member of a cult?
- The accusation of legalism is also not relevant to most within Oneness Pentecostalism, we are as dependant upon God’s grace as any other man who calls upon Jesus’ Name. It is no suprprise then that one of the most popular songs sung are ‘amazing grace’, ‘your grace and mercy brought me through’, ‘I know it was the blood’… I have never heard anyone sing: ‘I know it was my praying 3 times a day’.
- “They do not preach the true gospel”. All that I and those within the Apostolic faith preach is the Bible, ‘sola scripture’, we do not preach Creeds, Traditions or other extra-biblical dogma. Therefore, I find it offensive to be labelled as not preaching the true gospel. I believe in His death, burial and resurrection. I believe He died to save me from sin and is coming back to earth again… I believe in salvation through His Name (Acts 4:12).
Does holding to the primitive faith of Christianity as found in the New Testament above the teachings of the Church Fathers and later councils make me a cult follower? Couldn’t the same be said of the Anglican Communion who started to allow Henry to divorce and re-marry? Isn’t that more of a cult?
I shall now take a deep breath…