Have You Ever Wondered About Oneness?
Oneness Pentecostals are among the most dedicated people of faith. These are Christians who have dared to differ from the religious mainstream and who hold the banner high – proclaiming that God is one – not two or three “Persons.” Their faith – and the understanding that God is one individual – are commendable.
Often known as “apostolics,” oneness believers have held to the understanding that the church today should be modeled upon the teachings and practices of the apostles of Jesus – particularly as we find them in the Book of Acts. This too is a worthy understanding.
Nevertheless, with love and respect, we are convinced that Oneness believers still have further to go to be truly apostolic. In arriving at the understanding that God is only one, they concluded that the one “Person” who is God – is Jesus. They determined that Jesus and the Father are one and the same. Said to be “a mystery,” this idea is actually inconsistent with the teachings of the apostles in the Book of Acts.
What is True Apostolic Faith?
A review of Acts chapters 2, 8, 10, 19 and on, clearly shows that the apostles were proclaiming “Jesus,” not as the Father, but rather as the Christ.
At the beginning of his message on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:22, Peter declared – not that Jesus was the God of the Jews come down to them – but rather that he was “Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as you yourselves also know.” Likewise, when Peter concludes his message in Acts 2:36, he does not say that Jesus was their God, but rather that he was the one whom God has “made Lord and Christ.” And, the entire message is consistent with Peter’s beginning and ending declarations about Jesus.
Perhaps the single most pivotal point in the apostles’ doctrine is found from the words “God has made him to be Lord and Christ” in Acts 2:36 to Peter’s command to be baptized in the name of Jesus “Christ” in Acts 2:38. The Greek word translated as Christ is “Christos” and refers to one who has been anointed. Peter declares in Acts 10:38 that God has “anointed” Jesus of Nazareth. To the apostles, Jesus is not God, but rather the Christ, God’s anointed one.
True apostolic teaching in the second chapter of Acts, as well as in the balance of Acts, finds not a single instance in which the apostles were teaching the people that Jesus was in fact the Father or God in the flesh.
So, let us be truly apostolic! Let us preach to the nations the true and complete apostolic message – not that Jesus is God Almighty – but rather that he is the one who has been made “Lord and Christ” by God. “Jesus” is the Messiah!
By Kermit Zarley
After the 1st century, almost all Christians have believed Jesus was God. But the New Testament (NT) reveals that the Apostle Peter could not have believed such a notion.
Peter is the most interesting and important character among Jesus’ chosen apostles. That is why, in the synoptic gospels, he is always listed first among the twelve apostles. And it was the same with Jesus inner core: Peter, James, and John. Moreover, Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom. Thus, he became the first to preach the gospel to Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles (Matthew 16.19; Acts 1.8; 2.14; 8.14; 10.34-43). What Peter said or didn’t say about Jesus is critical in knowing if Jesus was God.
Once, Jesus privately asked his apostles, “‘who do you say that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’” (Matthew 16.15-16). So, Peter acknowledged that what was most important to believe about Jesus is that he was the promised Messiah of Israel, the Son of God, not that he was God.
After Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, Peter became the spokesperson for the community of Jesus’ disciples, what scholars call the Jesus Movement. [Read More]
EDITOR’S CHOICE – VIDEO
LaBreeska Hemphill, author and gospel music great, shares with her audience some very personal thoughts on faith and the One God Message for which she and Joel Hemphill have become so well known. LaBreeska is the author of three books, is a singer, songwriter and an icon in Southern Gospel Music.