Upon This Rock by Talmadge French
Upon this rock I build my church. I’m going to build upon the thought that the truth is built upon a firm foundation. When God said He would pour His spirit out upon all flesh that’s exactly what He is doing.
Expanding and Emerging
I just got in from Europe, and I’ve been doing research. I’ve been doing studies for a number of years on the way the Oneness church is expanding and emerging all over the world. I’m trying to get through with the research I’m doing on the Oneness movement. Oneness Pentecostalism is international, and it’s interracial. There’s no such thing as the idea that it’s just about us. It’s always about souls, it’s about other people. It’s about everybody, no matter color, stature, language you speak or what nation you’re from. I want to go down several avenues to tell you how awesome it is to me that we are living in what I believe to be the last days and when God said, “I will pour my spirit out upon all flesh,” that’s exactly what He meant, and that’s exactly what He is doing. There are thousands of wonderful missionaries; they do a great job. They come from all over and I believe anybody can touch the world. This is not a revival of a bunch of well-educated, well-organized people who just know how to do it. No, He said, “I will pour out my spirit and upon this rock I will build my church.”
Not About Dusty Learning
Matthew 16:18 says, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” We weren’t real good as a movement about saving our history so most of the early papers and the early historical records are long gone. But over a process of years we’ve been able to collect a number of early Oneness papers from a hundred years ago. In fact, what the university asked me to do was to demonstrate the fascination in the church. This university has the largest Pentecostal research center in the world.
There’s a tremendous fascination in the church that we are a part of. There are a lot of people that are startled by the fact that holiness people, who are usually emotional, are part of one of the fastest growing churches in the world today. People are quite startled by that. Years ago, I started thinking that some people don’t know the details and they don’t understand so maybe representing it in a better fashion or showing it a little more accurately will help people to begin to see that this is not about a dusty library or dusty learning. It’s about a God that’s as real today as He was yesterday. He’s real. He’s real in my life. He’s got to be real in our lives.
The Truth Is the Truth
I don’t know what we’re afraid of; the truth is the truth. We can’t say it any other way. The truth is the truth. I’ve had such a great time thinking about how God has touched people, and I hope we don’t lose it as a movement. I hope we don’t lose the fact that it’s international, it’s interracial, it is for everybody. There isn’t anybody that God isn’t reaching out for. He’s reaching for everybody. I believe God is revealing good things to people; He’s revealing truth. We serve a God that is bigger than our sickness, He’s bigger than our condition, and He’s bigger than our circumstances! There was a time a while back that I was asked to go back to the church I was raised in and explain to the group why I got re-baptized. I wasn’t raised in an Apostolic church like my wife. They wanted me to do this in two days (four lessons) and address the entire faculty. That says a lot to me. That says that things have changed. I remember a time not that long ago that people wouldn’t get an invitation back to explain why they got re-baptized. I was willing to do this, but I was sort of reluctant. I wanted to know first why I was asked to do this. So I asked them if they wanted me to come speak about my baptism so they could try to prove me wrong. They said, “Oh no, we don’t feel that way.”
He’s Got to be Real In Our Life
Is it wrong for others to put us under a microscope and say, “Why did you do that?” There have been times in my life when I have felt like I was put under a microscope. People are using a microscope whether we realize it or not, and whether we like it or not. Sometimes they don’t even realize they’re doing it. What do we want them to see? He’s got to be real in our life. He’s got to be real to us personally. There isn’t a place where there aren’t Oneness people. There are Oneness people in every nation in the world, every geographical area of the world, all the way from Iceland to any remote area you can think of.
You cannot find a place where people are not getting a revelation of Jesus name. When I say revelation I don’t mean something like, “Okay God speaks to me and it’s not in the Bible.” I see revelation like illumination. Somebody seeks truth and wants truth, then all of a sudden they receive an understanding of the truth of the Word of God and their soul is opened up to it. They may be Hindus, Buddhists or whatever. But all of a sudden they receive this mighty revelation. Thank God for revelation.
People want proof, and we say, “Okay, here are the numbers. Here are how many people we can demonstrate are baptized in Jesus name right now that we know of.” To date I have cataloged 676 Oneness organizations. That means in various parts of the world groups of Oneness people are organized under various names. That’s how many I personally am studying. What’s happening right now is there’s been an interest, a question of “Okay, what is really happening? What is causing this to happen?” It’s exciting to me to be thinking about what God is doing. There are millions of people in China with the revelation of the Oneness movement. It’s amazing to me that God is doing it. He doesn’t wait to say, “Were they born in America, were they part of this group or that one?” No, He just touches their heart. He doesn’t care where they’re from; He cares about their heart. He says, “I’m going to reveal myself to them,” and He does it.
transcribed by Susan Thomas