beginnings of Oneness
The Pentecostal movement was from its inception Trinitarian. It was from the revival
at the Azusa Street Mission from 1906 to 1909 that the Pentecostal experience spread
throughout the world. When this modern day revival had first occurred with the baptism
of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues, it was upholding Trinitarianism.
Their message of Oneness was first delivered to the Pentecostals that fateful day on
1913 in a camp meeting in Arroyo Seco, California, where hundreds of preachers were
attending. The truth of the Oneness of God was given accompanied by the new revelation
of baptism in the name of Jesus. Evangelist R.E. McAlister was selected to preach on the
subject of water baptism. He began with the accepted baptismal message and spoke on the
different modes of baptism, mentioning trine immersion by which the candidate was
immersed three times face forward. He summed it up by they justify their method, by
saying that baptism is in the likeness of Christ's death, and make a point from
scripture that Christ bowed his head when he died. that to them, it was necessary to
baptize once for each person in the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). He concluded
his message abruptly by saying that the Scriptural answer to this was that the Apostles
invariably baptized all their converts once in the name of Jesus Christ. He ended by
stating the words Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were never used by the early church in
Christian baptism .
introduced in 1913 a new thing, a Jesus
name baptismal formula--
that had no mention of the Father and the Holy Spirit.
McAlister was taken aside at the time and told not to preach the this new theory
about the baptismal formula.
many hearing McAllister speak received the new revelation of the name Jesus.
Three important men attended and were influenced by this new revelation, these
were Frank Ewart, G.T.Haywood, Glenn Cook.
By the spring of 1914,Ewart
accepted the new found truth became one
of its leading advocates. Ewart reached the conclusion that the singular
name in Matthew 28:19 was Jesus Christ. He came to believe that the one true God
who had revealed himself as Father, in the Son, and as the Holy Spirit was none other
than Jesus Christ. To support this view, he pointed to Colossians 2:9, which states that
in Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
Ewart explained his discovery to other Pentecostal ministers, some of whom rejected
his teaching, but others enthusiastically embraced it. On April 15, 1914, Ewart
rebaptized Glenn A. Cook, his assistant and a veteran evangelist of the Azusa Street
Mission, in the name of Jesus Christ, and Cook rebaptized Ewart. This would set in
motion an issue that would divide the Pentecostal movement between the Trinitarians and
the Jesus Name only, or Oneness, believers. After Ewart and Cook were rebaptized, they
began to rebaptized thousands of Pentecostals with the shorter new found formula
in Jesus name. Claiming those baptized with Mt.28 were not valid, it must be in
the name of Jesus (only). Anyone baptized in the threefold name of Father, Son and
Holy Spirit, must renounce that baptism and be rebaptised with the right words said
over them, before they can be regarded as biblically baptised.
Today it is added one must speak in tongues to have salvation.
This evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit (i.e. speaking in tongues) must be present or
they are not born again, and they cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
Frank Ewart stated of this message it was the shot had been fired, and its sound
was destined to be heard around the world, as Christendom would soon be shaken by this new
doctrine (p.106) But it was hardly new, it was a revived ancient heresy of Sabellian.
Not unlike the Campellites and Kip Mckean, who also stated of his discovery in restoring
the ancient Gospel of salvation by water, what a revelation !
When the new baptismal formulae was promoted and accepted it opened the door to the
Sabellian heresy that was dealt with so long ago in the early Church. All these
conclusions were arrived by a method of
interpretation, that used only a part of Scripture not the whole
teaching in Scripture. In other words they
made the whole bible to fit the
new baptismal formula.
This movement began to sweep through the church's, especially the newly formed
Assemblys of God. The issue of baptism in Jesus name was debated at the general
council in 1915.Trinitarians within the Assembly of God stood their ground, opposing the
new doctrine and embraced the traditional formula. A
Statement of Fundamental Truths was drawn up adopting a Trinitarian statement in 1916
as a basis for membership. With this stand it severed 156 ministers from the 585 which
were in the organization. From this the Oneness denomination was formed. The Pentecostal
Church officially Incorporated in 1945 separating with the Assemblies.
In January 1918 the General Assembly of the Apostolic Assemblies merged with the
Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, a Pentecostal organization that be in Los Angeles
in 1906 (Golder, 1973, 31)
According to Oneness, they were promoting false doctrine and were not saved because
they did not follow the prescribed formulae of being baptized in Jesus name
only, nor did they renounce the Trinity. But Oneness wouldnt even know there
was a baptism of the Spirit or the gift of glossalia if it were not for those
Trinitarians who received it first. Considering the Oneness position that is held
today, we would have to believe that those who first had the evidence of the gift of
tongues (but were Trinitarians) were unsaved and practicing paganism.
So they trace their own beginnings to Trinitarian's, then turn around and claim they
alone have the truth, being the one true Church. So the Church was refound 85 years ago
by a new revelation and an experience. What started as a new baptism formula actually became a restoration of a lost
gospel -- salvation by water. It was not salvation in Jesus name but specifically
salvation by baptism in Jesus name. They then took the position of being the only
church who preaches the true Apostolic doctrine the same as the first
church. Up until this time all the people
that loved and served the Lord were all lost, not having the Spirit or truth, because of
an improper baptism and no tongues. The truth of the matter is that most agree it was
they who departed from historic Christian doctrine. By isolating themselves and thinking
that they alone hold to the true Apostolic doctrine apart from the Christian church,
they have joined with many others that have preceded them to lay their claim to
restoring the truth. The Mormons, 7th day Adventists, Jehovahs Witnesses,
Christadelphians, the Campellites ( todays Int. Churches of
Christ) and those who came afterwards like Iglesia ni Cristo, ad infinitum.
This is from Bob Ross' The Trinity and the
Eternal Sonship of Christ. a defense against Oneness attacks on Historic
(1) The baptism of the Spirit and speaking in tongues had been experienced
about thirteen years before the introduction of the new baptismal formulae
(2) Up until the new formula was introduced in 1913, the movement was Trinitarian in
doctrine and in its baptismal formula, except for Parhams abortive effort, if
in fact this was true [Foster, p.121].
(3) Following the acceptance of the new baptismal formula, changes were made in both interpretation
of Scripture and in theological concepts so as to fit the new baptismal
(4) The hermeneutic, or method of interpretation, was therefore
inductive, from a part to the whole. Or, in simple terms, they made
the whole bible fit their one theory on the formula for baptism, even to the denial
of the trinity.
(5) This interpretation not only revised their interpretation of every verse in the
Bible that has to do with the Godhead, so as to bring these passages into line
with the new baptismal idea, it also implied or expressly stated that all of the past
Christian history was paganistic in its doctrines, practices, and
interpretations relating to the trinity .
All of the denominations, such as Baptists, the Presbyterians, the Methodists
the Episcopalians, the Congregationalists, the Lutherans, the Reformed churches, and any
other Trinitarians, were wrong on the Godhead and their Confessions of Faith were filled
with the false doctrine of paganism. Outstanding Christian leaders, such as Martin
Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, the Puritans, John Wesley, George Whitfield, John Bunyan,
Jonathan Edwards, William Carey, Adoniram Judson, Andrew Fuller, C.H. Spurgeon and a
galaxy of other similar names were wrong and were advocates of paganism.
The men who translated the Bible, such as Wycliff, Coverdale, Tyndale, the
King James translators, and the like, were also wrong and were advocates of
The only people in history that the Oneness movement can identify with
are heretics such as the early post-apostolic Modalists-- like Noetus,
Praxeus, Sabellius, later on the heretic Servetus who was famed for his blasphemy of the
trinity, and clairvoyant, Emmanuel Swedenborg, none of which we covet for our own
theological family tree. They also are in the habit of quoting agnostics,
monotheistic [Christ-rejecting] Jews- - perhaps anyone- - who rejects the trinity
on some grounds.
(6) The fallacy, therefore, was not only one of basic doctrine, but the route
pursued in the arrival at the ultimate oneness theology was faulty. The proper
method of biblical hermeneutics (interpretation) is deductive - - that is, you
draw the truth from the text; you do not force theories upon or into the text. You
do not come to the Bible with a theory, an axiom, a principle, and force the entire
Bible to conform to that particular view. To quote an old, old saying, Let the
Bible say what it says.
Every heretical movement is marked by what might be called all kinds of fancy
twistings and turnings, as a gentlemen once said of a piece of hand-crafted
furniture. A great deal of hacking-and-hewing must be done to make the passages
fit the hobby-horse of its advocates. We see this in Campbellism, in
Russellism, in Adventism, in Romanism, and in all the sects and cults that have peculiar
notions to maintain. It calls to mind the idol of the Philistines, Dagon: the
creation of their own minds and hands becomes the predominant hobby of all their
energies, They read the Bible with this hobby constantly in mind, bending every
statement into a distortion to keep from decapitation the idol.
(7) The ultimate discrepancy of the Oneness movement is the fact that
their current baptismal formula calls for baptism in Jesus' name for the
remission of sins and baptism with the Holy Ghost, with the initial evidence of speaking
in tongues, yet when this gift was supposedly restored in 1901, none
of those who received it followed this immutable formula! The new
revelation did not arrive on the scene until thirteen years after the original
restoration (1913)! And it was even later still that the new
truth was finally developed into the full-fledged Oneness system that it is
today, represented by such writers as Bernard.