Come together -- over what?
We have watched Rev. Moon move into the Christian fundamentalists camp and unite with many churches on the basis of moral issues. So its not hard to understand how others who claim to be spirit filled can also unite with those who deny the Trinity.
Because many Charismatic's and Pentecostal's having neglected to teach the Trinity or no longer think it is a doctrinal essential for the church to hold, many can easily shift over into a unity with those who do not hold to the triune nature of our God.
Oneness Pentecostalism began with the issue of baptism in Jesus name (reinterpreting Mt.28 as all three-Father- Son-Holy Spirit being Jesus) at the general council in 1915. Form this doctrine they formulated the belief there was no trinity. Trinitarians within the Assembly of God opposed this new doctrine and embraced the traditional formula in Mt.28. After a statement of Fundamental Truths was drawn up adopting a Trinitarian statement in 1916 as a basis for membership. Thy severed 156 ministers from 585 which were in the organization. From this severing the Oneness denomination was formed. The Pentecostal Church officially Incorporated in 1945 separating with the Assemblies.
Today they hold that unless you are baptized in Jesus name only, you are not saved. Some claim you must speak in a tongue to show the reception of the Holy Spirit (even though the 3,000 on Pentecost did not). And still others fight vehemently against the trinity doctrine calling it paganism because most have not taken the time to understand spiritual teaching on the nature of God.
Today we have numerous Oneness and those who have Oneness affiliations and leanings as popular speakers in the Trinitarian Churches. Tommy Tenney, T.D. Jakes, Creflo Dollar.
Musicians are pointed out in an article in Charisma magazine (June 1997) "most popular praise anthems sung in charismatic and evangelical churches today were composed by Oneness believers." The article gave these examples --Dottie Rambo, who was raised in a Oneness church, wrote "Behold the Lamb" and other songs. Joel Hemphill wrote "He's Still Working on Me."Lanny Wolfe wrote "Greater Is He that Is in Me." Songwriter Geron Davis wrote "Holy Ground" and "In the Presence of Jehovah." The contemporary Christian recording group Phillips, Craig and Dean is composed of three Oneness ministers. The song "Mercy Seat," which is sung nightly at the Brownsville Assembly of God "revival" in Pensacola, Florida, was written by United Pentecostal Church (a Oneness group) worship leader Mark Carouthers.
Recently in Charisma news Andy Butcher wrote on a Historic Gathering that Bridged Pentecostal and Charismatic Divides. June 05, 2002 edition
Leaders of America's major Pentecostal and charismatic movements had a secret meeting with the intension to build bridges between different groups that have been at odds with each other for numerous years.
The gathering named Together 2002, had almost 30 senior figures that represented Word of Faith, charismatic, traditional Pentecostal and Oneness Pentecostals met for three days at a Washington, D.C.-area hotel to seek a move toward unity and a possible a combined church-planting effort in a major city.
Some of the participants were TV preachers Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, International Foursquare President Paul Risser, Assemblies of God General Superintendent Thomas Trask, International Pentecostal Holiness Church General. Superintendent James Leggett, and United Pentecostal Church (UPC) International General Superintendent Kenneth Haney. Billy Joe Daugherty, pastor of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Okla.; Church of God of Prophecy General Overseer Fred Fisher; Lamar Vest, general overseer of the Church of God Cleveland; Bishop George McKinney of the Church of God in Christ; and Ted Haggard, pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. Francis McNutt, and Haney and Nathaniel Urshan from the UPC.
Together 2002, was convened by Robert Fisher, director of the Center for Spiritual Renewal (CSR) in Cleveland, Tenn.
CSR described the meeting as "the first time ever, top leaders from all the streams of Pentecost-classical, charismatic, Oneness, Word of Faith, Third Wave-came together in a spirit of unity, not to discuss doctrinal differences, but to rejoice in their common spiritual heritage."
This bewilders me, what is the common heritage, they were severed in 1916 because at the time those in the Assembles saw there was no common ground but division. Well since the new millennium we have a whole new perspective on things that took place in history and today.
Vinson Synan, dean of the School of Divinity at Regent University, Va., who is aware of the different held views on the nature of God and reason for the split said "The Oneness brethren were warmly received and participated equally in all the discussions."
Daugherty found the meeting "especially significant in bringing the streams of the Pentecostal-charismatic believers into a mutual appreciation of one another." He added: "People work together when they know and trust one another. We know each other now, and trust was built. There are no limits to what God can do when we come together."
Haney said that he appreciated the opportunity to meet with others he had only known from a distance or met briefly. "I found them to be sincere, caring men and women," he said. "We have varied agendas and some theological differences but share a common bond as advocates of the Pentecostal experience that is being poured out in unprecedented measures around the world, and must not allow focus on this great experience to be derailed."
Notice that experience becomes the glue that binds.
Jeff Farmer said it was "the most empowering, encouraging and affirming" meeting he had been in during six years as president of Open Bible Churches. "There was no bottom line other than that God was among us and that we would meet together again and keep listening."
What does this all mean? Well the trinity that was held and defended by the early church against those who were teaching heresy no longer matters. The sky is the limit once the Triune nature is removed.
Who will be next, the Mormons? After all the word faith Charismatics certainly believe many of the same things, such as about becoming gods. Maybe we can affiliate with new agers who are slowly reforming? While these examples are extreme they are no less with error.
Yes this was an unprecedented move to unity but the wrong way. But with the people who were involved; many of them who hold to aberrant doctrines this is not surprising but expected. And I expect to see even more of this kind of false unity.
A great preacher Gresham Machen once said, "We are told that our theological differences will disappear if we just get down on our knees together in prayer. Well, I can only say about that kind of prayer, which is indifferent to the question whether the gospel is true or false, that it is not Christian prayer; it is bowing down in the house of Rimmon. God save us from it!"