Jeff Jaco, New Castle, IN — We mainly teach the Oneness in our Foundations Program, which is our basic Bible class offered every year in two semesters. I often sprinkle the Oneness into my preaching but not directly or in confrontation. I train my ministers to absolutely never use the word Trinity from the pulpit and I do the same (it is addressed much more directly in our Foundations Program). To call the Trinitarian doctrine fallacy in a general service always puts those who know nothing else on the defensive in a setting where they are without ability to ask questions. That simply disenfranchises them and pushes them away from truth.
The Foundations Program addresses it very directly. When we address it during a general preaching service, we are significantly more subtle. I rarely teach it from the same direction. I may use church history as an approach, or an expository approach, or use parables and illustrations. I’ve found that using church history as a supplemental support is very effective. I’m always on the hunt for new material, but since Oneness teaching is found in a limited number of resources, we use the same information from Word Aflame Press that most Apostolic brethren will use. David Norris has written what is the first scholarly Christology from a Oneness Apostolic perspective, which is excellent. If we can get truth into the hearts and spirits of our churches, there rarely will be a doctrinal falling away. People may leave for other reasons, but the truth will always be there.
Reginald Reese, Mobile, AL – When I teach the Godhead, I compare it to a lot of other doctrines. The Trinitarian doctrine is not the only other doctrine out there when it comes to Christianity. There’s a church in this area that believes in two gods: the Father and the Son — and they baptize in Jesus name. They might have the Holy Ghost, but they don’t have the truth. The Bible says, “Thou shalt worship Him in spirit and in truth.”
If anyone believes in two, three or more gods, they are in violation of Deuteronomy 6:4. If we deviate and go to two or more gods, based on our finite understanding, we violate God’s rule that “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
We need to teach the Oneness and drill it. I’m Apostolic to the bone!
Theodore Brooks, New Haven, CT – A guy goes through four years of college and four years of medical school to get his doctoral degree to practice medicine. What he has to do is continue to work under someone. Every year doctors have to do something to demonstrate that their skill level has risen with the technology. If anyone is going to a doctor who is not going through a rigorous testing once a year, they need to run for their life. It’s critical, too, that pastors go back. Periodically, there has to be something taught that identifies with the Oneness. Not only should we teach it, but we should preach it. The worse thing we can do is have saints that are ill-equipped to deal with the variables that come against them because we failed to teach them and put the Word into them.
You can infuse Oneness teaching into your course study in many different ways. In order to teach it, you have to show why what others believe and where they went wrong. We have an elective class in our Sunday school that utilizes Dr. David Bernard’s books on Oneness.
I also have a new book coming on what the Trinitarians believe and what we believe. The problem we have today is that people believe anything, but we are not the same as Trinitarians. Unless a person is baptized in Jesus name, filled with the Holy Ghost and living a holy life, we are not the same.
Jason Ramsey, West Monroe, LA – Books I’ve enjoyed on the subject are A History of Christian Doctrine Vol 1-3 (David K. Bernard), Essentials of Oneness Theology (David K. Bernard), The Oneness of God (David K. Bernard), I Am: A Oneness Pentecostal Theology (David S. Norris) and The God Of Two Testaments (Robert Brent Graves).
Rather than confronting the faultiness of the Trinitarian doctrine, I simply focus on teaching the Oneness so clearly that people see the flaws in the Trinity for themselves. About 4-5 times a year, I like to teach/preach messages dedicated specifically to the Oneness doctrine. These can be individual messages, but I lean toward a series on the subject.
A church with a strong understanding of its doctrines contributes to it being a confident church. A confident church will be effective at evangelizing and discipling. Churches that are effective at evangelizing and discipling are growing churches.
Everett Hudson, Gautier, MS – Bishops Morris Golder, T. F. Tenney, J. T. Pugh and James Kilgore are among the mentors and authors I hold in high Apostolic regard. I follow their holistic stance against being inclusive to modern-day Pentecost.
A strong Oneness stance will keep us from having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, having fellowship with charismatic preachers with no convictions, keep us from engaging with preachers who are not of the faith and guide us away from weak preachers who yield to the secular outlet. It keeps us from easy believism that Christ is more impressed with a crowd and not a real move of God.
I see Oneness throughout the Bible — all 66 books. And I teach and mention it every service. There’s only one throne in heaven.
David Huston, Carlisle, PA – Anyone who believes God is three persons is worshiping a false God. Jews and Muslims are smart enough to recognize that.
We teach a Bible study specifically on Oneness two or three times a year. But many of our teachings and preachings have Oneness concepts sprinkled in. I really like Gerry McLean’s book called Judgment Against the Gods. I have also always enjoyed William Chalfant’s book Ancient Champions of Oneness and Brent Graves’ book The God of Two Testaments. Of course, Bro. David Bernard’s book, The Oneness of God, is a great resource for teaching.
Having a strong understanding of the Oneness of God is not just a benefit, it is a necessity. As was stated by the one God Himself, “If you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).