The Trinity is one of the core doctrines of Christianity. It’s also a controversial belief to non-Christians. Christians believe, as the doctrine states, that there is one God, and that the Father, Son, who is Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit are each fully God. Do Pentecostals believe that the Bible teaches this?
Orthodox Pentecostal Christianity, such as the Assemblies of God, affirms the doctrine of the Trinity. They believe that God is one and that the Father, Son, who is Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit are each God. However, there are organizations with the word “Pentecostal” in their name that reject the Trinity.
Who are the Pentecostals that reject the doctrine of the Trinity? What do they believe? Do Pentecostals that believe in the Trinity have fellowship with those who don’t? How does the largest Pentecostal denomination, the Assemblies of God, explain its beliefs about the Trinity? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.
The Trinity in Pentecostal Christianity
What are the origins of Pentecostalism? Historians date the origin of the modern-day Pentecostal movement to the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, California, which started in 1906.
Is Pentecostalism a denomination? Strictly speaking, Pentecostalism isn’t a denomination, though certain denominations and churches have the word in their name. Rather, Pentecostalism is a belief system that certain denominations affirm. Two of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the world are the Assemblies of God and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.
What do orthodox Pentecostals believe? Orthodox Pentecostals affirm the same core tenets of Christianity as other followers of Christ do, such as the Trinity, original sin, the inspiration of Scripture, and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
What about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues? In relation to secondary theological matters, Pentecostals believe that baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs after conversion (most non-Pentecostal Christians believe it occurs at the time of conversion) and that speaking in tongues is the evidence for it.
Do Pentecostals believe in miraculous gifts? Pentecostals also believe in the so-called “miraculous” gifts, like healing, which many non-Pentecostal Christians believe were only for the establishment of the church in the first century.
Do orthodox Pentecostals have fellowship with other Christians? Yes. Despite their differences, orthodox Pentecostals have unifying relationships with Christians in all historic denominations like Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans and Episcopalians, and even non-denominational churches. All parties recognize that what unites them doctrinally is greater than what divides them.
Do some Pentecostals reject the Trinity?
Certain organizations with the word “Pentecostal” in their name reject the doctrine of the Trinity. These organizations, and the people that belong to them, don’t believe that the doctrine is taught in the Bible.
Are Pentecostals that reject the Trinity Christians? Orthodox Pentecostal denominations and churches contend that non-Trinitarian Pentecostals aren’t Christians. Rejecting the Trinity is heretical in their view.
It doesn’t matter if non-Trinitarians use the word “Pentecostal” or agree with them on issues like baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. Rejecting the nature of God as it’s revealed in the Bible is a fellowship-breaking offense.
Which Pentecostal organizations reject the Trinity? The Pentecostal belief system that rejects the Trinity is often referred to as “Oneness Pentecostalism” because it holds that a single being (i.e., “one”) manifested himself in three different ways: first as the Father, second as the Son, and third as the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes people refer to these churches as “United Pentecostals” because that’s the name of the largest organization with this belief system.
|United Pentecostal Church International||5.2 million|
|Pentecostal Assemblies of the World||2 million|
|Apostolic Assembly of the Faith in Christ Jesus||2 million|
|Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith||500,000|
When did Oneness Pentecostalism originate? In general, modern “Pentecostal” denominations and organizations trace their roots to the Asuza Street Revival in Los Angeles, California, in 1906. Though the majority of leaders and participants in the revival believed in the Trinity, small factions separated from the primary movement because they didn’t.
What is Modalism? Modalism is the name of a heresy that the early church refuted and condemned as non-biblical. Modalism, from the word “mode,” taught that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were different modes or forms of the same person like Oneness Pentecostalism teaches. Orthodox Christians contend that Oneness theology is a revival of Modalism, which the Church has rejected for 2,000 years.
The Assemblies of God belief statement on the Trinity
The Assemblies of God is the largest orthodox Pentecostal denomination in the world with over 70 million members.
The denomination’s belief statement, called The 16 Fundamental Truths, reflects the convictions of all orthodox Pentecostal Christians, no matt their denomination or church. One of the 16 biblical truths expressed in the doctrinal statement (#2) concerns the nature of God. It consists of multiple explanatory paragraphs, which can be read below.
There is One True God
The one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent “I AM,” the Creator of heaven and earth and the Redeemer of mankind. He has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 14:16-17)
God is a Trinity
The terms “Trinity” and “persons” as related to the Godhead, while not found in the Scriptures, are words in harmony with Scripture, whereby we may convey to others our immediate understanding of the doctrine of Christ respecting the Being of God, as distinguished from “gods many and lords many.”
We therefore may speak with propriety of the Lord our God who is One Lord, as a trinity or as one Being of three persons, and still be absolutely scriptural. (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 14:16-17)
The Trinity is Beautiful and Mysterious
Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead: Christ taught a distinction of Persons in the Godhead which He expressed in specific terms of relationship, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but that this distinction and relationship, as to its mode is inscrutable and incomprehensible, because unexplained. ( Luke 1:35; 1 Corinthians 1:24; Matthew 11:25-27; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 John 1:3-4)
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are United
Accordingly, therefore, there is that in the Father which constitutes him the Father and not the Son; there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Spirit which constitutes Him the Holy Spirit and not either the Father or the Son.
Wherefore the Father is the Begetter, the Son is the Begotten, and the Holy Spirit is the one proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty and His name one. (John 1:18; John 15:26; John 17:11; John 17:21; Zechariah 14:9)
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are Unique and Cooperative Persons
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are never identical as to Person; nor confused as to relation; nor divided in respect to the Godhead; nor opposed as to cooperation. The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son as to relationship. The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son, as to fellowship.
The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father, as to authority. The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son proceeding, as to nature, relationship, cooperation and authority. Hence, neither Person in the Godhead either exists or works separately or independently of the others. (John 5:17-30; John 5:32; John 5:37; John 8:17,18)
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