(Re-)Visiting an Old Heresy

My wife and I decided to visit some different congregations’ services on Sunday nights. I have no doubt that this will only reinforce my opinion that Lutherans just about* have everything right! My wife comes out of a non-denom background, and so she misses the clapping and raising hands. (I don’t really have a problem with either of those things, they’re both Biblical. It’s the songs with which they’re associated that are problematic!) To be clear: we’re not church-shopping, just getting first-hand experience of different denominations.
So anyway, we decided to visit this huge church, First Pentecostal, just off the highway here in Little Rock. If you ever come into Little Rock via Highway 40 east, you cannot miss it.
I thought it was going to be very strange when we came in. The lights were down and there was a large group of people standing down in front kind of humming and making other noise. I’m still not sure what that was about. After a little while, they turned the lights on and some children’s choirs began singing songs like “Soon, and Very Soon.” Nice and cute.
I was looking around at the church, and on one of the arches in the ceiling it said, “Repentance, Jesus Name Baptism, Holy Ghost.” That’s when I knew what kind of Pentecostal church this was.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, how about this line from one of the songs, called something like “Let me tell you who Jesus is”: “I know Jesus is the Father, I know Jesus is the Son, I know Jesus is the Holy Ghost, and all these three are one!”
Later, before another youth choir began singing, the director “testifies” about a wedding of one his friends. During the wedding, “the priest, or whatever he was” was apparently attempting to get the groom to say “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” This was making the choir director “mad.” But the testimony was that the groom finally said, “loudly,” “In the Name of Jesus!” That got everyone going.
There were some other weird, non-theological, things: like, after one guy testified about being healed, some guys started running around and down the aisles. Anyone know what that’s about?
If you didn’t know, United Pentecostalism/Oneness/Jesus’ Name is simply a reworked heresy from the second and third centuries called modalism (more info than you wanted; see number II. Some of the leaders of various forms of this heresy are here and here). It has the twist of Jesus being the one God rather than the Father, but it’s basically the same.**
As far as I can tell, from here, Jesus is the one God and he presents himself as the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Ghost at various times. (Although, First Pentecostal is not associated with the UPCI, I cannot tell that there is any difference.)
The whole experience was kind of surreal, actually experiencing an openly heretical church. It is sad that they believe they are worshiping the real Jesus, but, then, so do Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I put my name and address on a visitors’ card (they were very friendly); perhaps they’ll call. I did not, however, mark the box that said, “Would you like to study the Word with someone?”


*Actually, as far as I can tell, Lutherans have everything right (if you don’t think your denomination has things right, why are you in it?). But we’re not God, so I also have no doubt that God will tell us we got something wrong. I’m just not sure what.

**Chemnitz on these heresies: “Third, the Praxeans, the Sabellians, and the Noetians recognized the true divine nature in Christ, but because they taught that there is only one person in the Deity, they asserted that God the Father Himself had become incarnate and was crucified. Hence they are also called Patripassionists or Patripassians.” It seems that these new groups are not Patripassian, but, as I said, they put the new twist on it of Jesus being the One God.

8 thoughts on “(Re-)Visiting an Old Heresy

  1. I’ll have to do that. Actually, there’s a Catholic church just up the street from us, St. Edward’s.

    I did go the Easter vigil last year in St. Louis, at the Basilica. Very impressive. Met the Archbishop.


  2. Well, I don’t think she ever went to a church like that! She was into the first few songs, but then I nudged her when they sang a couple songs clearly portraying their modalistic theology. She stopped clapping. She said, “At least they have all their main theology in the songs they sing.” She was a little put off by the running part, too. Seriously, I must have missed the part in the Bible that talks about “running in the Spirit.”
    She had apparently missed it, or not heard me, when I pointed out the words on the front arch.
    At any rate, she hadn’t had any historical theology classes, so I read her some stuff about modalism.
    Good fun, and enlightening. Also made me wonder, because most of the Pentecostal churches listed in Little Rock seem to be United Pentecostal. Is that a southern thing, anyone know? Why is it so big down here?


  3. The message of Repentance, Jesus Name Baptism, with speaking in tongues as the INITIAL sign of the infilling of the Holy Ghost is the absolute only way of salvation.

    Read the book of Acts. That is the door to the church. Every book written after the book of Acts is written TO THE BELIEVER, not to the unsaved.

    NOT ONE PLACE in the entire Bible did anyone EVER get baptized in the titles Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. NEVER.

    “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
    Context…..Isaiah 9:5-7

    How can the son be the everlasting father? How can the son be the might God? He is God in the Flesh. There is only one person in the Godhead. It’s Jesus.

    “And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.”
    Context….Revelation 4:1-3

    There were not three thrones in heaven. The doctrine of the trinity of three persons in the Godhead is flawed.

    After getting the doctrine correct, we can move on to the praise to God.

    “And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”
    Context…Acts 3:7-9

    This man had just been healed and the offered praise to God in the temple by leaping, walking, etc.

    If you have any further questions, please feel free to visit the web address above of call my pastor.

  4. I see no one has tried to comment after the last post. Interesting…

    Just goes to show that spiritual things cannot be discerned without the infilling of the Holy Ghost.And God will not reveal something to someone who is not hungry.

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