Jesus Only Pentecostals

Jesus Only Pentecostals
   Jesus Only or Oneness Pentecostalism rejects Trinitarian ideas. It stresses the oneness of God, who reveals himself in three aspects; Jesus, the name of the One God, is the only name needed for BAPTISM and salvation. The movement arose as an extension of the Finished Work controversy, in which Chicago Baptist minister William Durham tried to reorient Pentecostalism toward a simpler emphasis on the complete saving work of Jesus Christ.
   Founder Frank J. Ewart (1876-1947) began developing a new non-Trinitarian theology that emphasized Jesus' name, after hearing a 1913 sermon by Canadian evangelist R. E. McAlister (1880-1953). McAlister equated the phrase "Lord Jesus Christ," which frequently appears in Acts, with "Father, Son and Holy Spirit," the baptismal formula in Matthew (28:19).
   Ewart came to view Trinitarian theology as advocating tri-theism (three gods). In contrast, Jesus Only believes that the one God reveals himself in three aspects or modes - as Father through creation, as Son through redemption, and as Spirit by empowering humans. Jesus is the name whereby humans can be saved (Acts 4:12), and baptism should be in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38).
   Ewart began to spread the doctrine through his periodical Meat in Due Season. Among his early converts was Glenn A. Cook (1867-1948), who in turn brought African-American leader Garfield T. Haywood (1880-1931) into the cause. The fledgling Assemblies of God became a major battleground as E. N. Bell (1866-1923) used his two periodicals, Weekly Evangel and Word and Witness, to defend Trinitarian thought. J. Roswell Flower (1888-1970) soon emerged as the leading voice of Trinitarianism.
   When the Assemblies approved a new statement of belief in 1916, including a strongly worded Trinitarian affirmation, "Jesus Only" believers formed a spectrum of new Oneness Pentecostal churches, some using the name "Apostolic" to distinguish them from the Trinitarian churches. The older Pentecostal Assemblies of the World emerged as the first significant "Jesus Only" denominational body.
   In 1924, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World split. Most white members withdrew and eventually formed the United Pentecostal Church in 1945 (now the United Pentecostal Church International). It is currently the largest "Jesus Only" church in the world. Over the years, both African Americans and whites have formed a host of "Jesus Only" denominations. The Apostolic World Christian Fellowship is an effort to bring these many churches into a common ecumenical association, though the United Pentecostal Church has declined affiliations.
   Further reading:
   ■ Arthur L. Clanton and Charles E. Clanton, United We Stand, Jubilee Edition (Hazelwood, Mo.: Word Aflame Press, 1995)
   ■ Frank Ewart, Revelation of Jesus Christ (St. Louis: Pentecostal Publishing House, n.d.)
   ■ Fred Foster, Their Story: 20th Century Pentecostals (Hazelwood, Mo.: Word Aflame Press, 1986)
   ■ James L. Tyson, The Early Pentecostal Revival (Hazelwood, Mo.: Word Aflame Press, 1990)
   ■ Andrew Urshan, The Almighty God in the Lord Jesus Christ (Portland, Ore.: Apostolic Book Corner, 1919).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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