“Is the United Pentecostal Church a Cult?”

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Is the United Pentacostal Church a cult, theologically speaking? And if so, why? What do they believe?

The doctrine of the UPC is definitely heretical; they deny the Trinity in favor of what is called the “oneness” doctrine. Heresy makes groups a cult. Here’s a good article on that from Watchman Fellowship: www.watchman.org/cults/upc.htm

Happy reading!

Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries

Sue Bohlin

Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 40 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Engage Blog. In addition to being a professional calligrapher, she is the wife of Probe's Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.

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10 Comments
  1. Graden Hurd 3 years ago

    Is UNPI a cult or not? You didn’t answer the question.

  2. Sue Bohlin Author
    Sue Bohlin 3 years ago

    The answer is yes.

    Doctrine of UPS is heretical (They deny the Trinity) –> Heresy means a group is a cult. So yes.

  3. MaximRecoil 2 years ago

    “Doctrine of UPS is heretical (They deny the Trinity) –> Heresy means a group is a cult. So yes.”

    In reality, the trinity doctrine is heretical, and according to your own definition, that means you belong to a cult. The word “trinity” certainly isn’t in the Bible, nor is the concept. The concept of the trinity is inherently self-contradictory.

    Trinity: the Christian Godhead as one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    If there are three persons, it can’t be one God; it is three gods by definition of the term “person,” which means that trinitarians are polytheists. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate manifestations/roles/titles of God, not three separate persons.

    Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    The funny thing is: trinitarians simply repeat those instructions when baptizing someone, instead of actually following them. The instructions say to use the name (singular), yet you folks just repeat the instructions which only mention titles, never actually saying the name. So what is the name? We find out in Acts 2:38:

    Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    We find out here that the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is “Jesus Christ,” thus proving that they can’t possibly be three separate persons.

    With the UPC doctrine, Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38 are in harmony with each other. With the trinitarian doctrine, they are at odds with each other.

  4. Michael Gleghorn
    Michael Gleghorn 2 years ago

    We agree (of course) that the term “Trinity” is not in the Bible, but the concept is there all the same. The doctrine of the Trinity is not self-contradictory.

    If the doctrine taught that there was only one God while also claiming that there are three Gods – that would be contradictory. Similarly, if the doctrine alleged that there was only one person in the Godhead (a Unitarian position) while also claiming that there are three persons in the Godhead (a Trinitarian position) – that would be contradictory.

    But the doctrine teaches neither of these contradictory views. Rather, the doctrine states that there is only one God (i.e. a monotheistic position), while also maintaining that the Godhead subsists as three distinct, though inter-related, persons. It is thus Trinitarian monotheism. There is no contradiction here and one would need an argument (instead of just as assertion) to that effect.

    The author seems to claim that the definition of “person” is equivalent to the definition of “God.” But this is incorrect, for there are many “persons” who are not God (e.g. purely human persons, for example). The reason the doctrine claims that there are three distinct, though inter-related, persons is that it is driven to this by the teaching of Scripture.

    Consider, for example, the baptism of Jesus (Matt. 3:13-17). At one and the same time, the Son is incarnate on earth, the Spirit descends from heaven upon Jesus (the incarnate Son), and the Father speaks from heaven, declaring Jesus to be his beloved Son, in whom he is well-pleased. But the Father who speaks is not also the Son who is spoken of, nor is He the Spirit who descends upon Jesus. The Father sends the Son to be the Savior of the world, but the Father himself does not become incarnate (nor does the Holy Spirit). Only the Son becomes incarnate to die for the sins of the world. When the Son prays to the Father, He is not praying to Himself.

    In light of this, what about Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38? First, Matthew 28:19 is clearly a Trinitarian formula, taught by Jesus himself to his disciples. Geisler and Rhodes point out that historically, “the Trinitarian baptism (Matt. 28:19) was certainly dominant from the second century” (When Cultists Ask, 197). The singular “name,” followed by references to “the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” is actually significant for a Trinitarian view of God. The singular “name” would refer to the one true God (monotheism), while references to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, would refer to the three persons of the Godhead. This would well express the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity.

    What, then, of Acts 2:38? To cite Geisler and Rhodes again, “The phrase ‘in the name of’ in biblical times often carried the meaning ‘by the authority of'” (When Cultists Ask, 196). In this sense, Peter is urging his Jewish audience, who had previously rejected Jesus as their promised Messiah, to “repent” (i.e. change their minds) and publicly identify with Messiah Jesus through baptism. Indeed, this was to be done (as we previously saw in Matt. 28:19) “by the authority of Jesus Christ.” Jesus, after all, had commanded his original disciples to make more disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Peter now urges his Jewish audience to repent of their rejection of Jesus, receive him as their promised Messiah, and be baptized according to his commandment.

    Hence, there is really not a conflict between these two verses (i.e. Matt. 28:19 and Acts 2:38). Not only do the verses harmonize with one another, this interpretation also allows us to do justice to the very clear biblical distinctions which are repeatedly made concerning the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

    • Robert 1 year ago

      I’m confused about the trinity even more.
      This explanation sounds very man made!
      It sounds very much like a pagan idea that the Catholic church has come up with like all the other rubbish they introduced like bunny rabbits at easter, praying to Mary ect…
      I like the Bible answer better, Acts 2:38 Explicitly tells how and why we should be baptized in Jesus name!! For the remission of sins for there is no other name whereby we must be saved.

  5. Joe Marchese 11 months ago

    It is exceedingly sad that people determine a Christian group by a human standard and not a scriptural standard. If a person determines the veracity of a Christian group’s theology by a doctrine was developed in 275 AD by Tertullian, then the standard can change by the whim of human emotion, changing times and erroreous thinking. Trinitarian standards are hardly the standard anyone should use to determine Biblical heresy or Truth; rather use Biblical standards to determine a cult or not!

  6. Dr. Michael Gleghorn
    Dr. Michael Gleghorn 6 months ago

    I’m not sure if Robert and Joe actually read my previous post. Robert complains that my answer sounds “very man made” and that he likes “the Bible answer better.” Did he fail to notice the biblical evidence that I both cited and interacted with? He references Acts 2:38. This is great, of course. But the question is, “How does this verse fit in with the rest of Scripture?” As soon as we attempt to craft a coherent, consistent, systematic theology that takes account of all of Scripture, then we have to deal with all the biblical material that speaks to, and informs, the doctrine of the Trinity (some of which was cited in my previous post). Indeed, even Acts 2:38 speaks of both Jesus and the Holy Spirit – – and I cited biblical evidence for the conclusion that these are distinct, though certainly inter-related, persons.

    In a similar manner, Joe refers to “a human standard” and “a scriptural standard” – – implying that the standard adopted in my previous post was a merely “human standard.” But again, this simply ignores the biblical evidence which I cited. Joe mentions Tertullian, who was (apparently) the first person to use the term “Trinity.” But did Tertullian invent this term on “the whim of human emotion”? Or was it not rather the case that Tertullian coined the term precisely in order to talk more carefully and intelligently about the very biblical material that Joe suggests he is (personally) concerned about? Joe writes, “Trinitarian standards are hardly the standard anyone should use to determine Biblical heresy or Truth; rather use Biblical standards to determine a cult or not!” This sort of statement completely fails to recognize that Trinitarian terminology arose from a careful reading of the Bible. It was precisely in order to take account of the biblical material describing the deity and personality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (all while upholding a strictly monotheistic doctrine of God) that the Church Fathers were inevitably led to develop Trinitarian terminology.

    Trinitarian theology is not some foreign and unbiblical notion that has been forced upon the biblical text by devious and unscrupulous Christian theologians. Rather, it arises from a careful reading of the biblical text itself. And Trinitarianism most definitely does distinguish a Christian view of God from those which are not Christian. Every major branch of Christendom (i.e., Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant) embraces and teaches a Trinitarian doctrine of God. Any doctrine of God that is not Trinitarian is not truly Christian. This doctrine is found in the early ecumenical creeds of the Church (e.g. the Nicene Creed in 325 A.D. or the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381 A.D.), and is more importantly derived from the teaching of Scripture itself. The doctrine of the Trinity represents a very careful attempt to craft a coherent and consistent doctrine of God that is both grounded in, and faithful to, the full and explicit teaching of Scripture.

    • Robert 6 months ago

      Hi Dr. Michael Gleghorn
      Hope all is well with you.
      First I want to say that I truly love and seek his ways.
      You mentioned the ecumenical creed the Nicene creed 325AD and Niceno constantinopolitan creed 381AD
      My question is aren’t these teachings un biblical, when in light of the teachings of the apostles and scripture ? My bible warns me that if we (the apostles) or an angel from heaven, come preach any other Gospel unto you then that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed Galatians 1:8…
      To me this trinity teaching is a later teaching.
      A new revelation??? Did our Lord fogot to mention this teaching?
      Would love you to pray and let me know what God’s word says about this ,and your thoughts?
      Kind regards Robert.
      Ps I truly desire truth

  7. Bill Iskra 3 months ago

    I am a former United Pentecostal . I came to see that the true God identified in Scripture , is God the Father , Jesus Christ , and the Holy Ghost . They are who Scripture says that they are . They exist eternally with clear distinction from one another , they have a personal relationship with one another and with Christians . Jesus Christ spoke about God the Father and the Holy Ghost as someone distinct from Himself and God the Father as someone distinct from the Holy Ghost . The Apostles either wrote or spoke about Jesus Christ as someone distinct from God the Father and the Holy Ghost , and God the Father as someone distinct from the Holy Ghost . Regardless of how the doctrine of the Trinity originated , the concept has always existed in Scripture and has been the doctrine that is accepted by most of the world’s Bible believing Christians . No one can change what is in Scripture . It is wrong to call the Trinity a pagan doctrine when in fact Scripture does reveal that God the Father , Jesus Christ , and the Holy Ghost , are one God and they exist eternally . I am very familiar with many of the oppositions to the doctrine of the Trinity , and all that I can say is that people who oppose the doctrine are people who try to rewrite Scripture to fit their own theology .

  8. Mara Sours 2 months ago

    Thank you Bill. I appreciate your conclusions.

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