The roots of Oneness Pentecostalism can be traced in the North American Pentecostal movement during the early 1900s. During a camp meeting in Arroyo Seco, California in the late 1913 or early 1914 conducted by the Assemblies of God (AG), one minister by the name of John G. Scheppe revealed that during his night of meditation it was revealed to him that baptism must be done “in the name of Jesus only” and not “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Several AG ministers including R.E McAlister, Frank J. Ewart, Glenn A. Cook, and Garfield T. Haywood, began teaching this “new issue.” While this “baptismal formula” began as a friendly debate it developed into a fierce controversy over the nature of Godhead. This “new issue” made a rift between the AG movement that prompted J. Roswell Flower to oppose Oneness theology and baptismal formula in their Third General Council in 1915. In their Fourth General Council in 1916, the AG ministers adopted a “Statement of Fundamental Truths” that forcefully maintained the Trinity doctrine, that banned the 156 of the 585 AG ministers.
Formation of Oneness Organizations
- General Assembly of Apostolic Assemblies (GAAA) was formed in January 3, 1916 by Howard A. Goss, H.G. Rodgers, and D.C. O. Opperman.
- GAAA merged in January 1918 with Pentecostals Assemblies of the World
- (PAW) composed generally of black fellowship that begun in Los Angeles, adopting PAW’s name and charter. PAW produced two offshoots composed mostly of white pastors due to racial tensions in the early 1920’s which are the following:
- Emmanuel Church in Jesus Christ (ECJC), based in Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana, and a loose-knit group from St. Louis area, later merged in 1927 to the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ (ACJC).
- Pentecostal Ministerials Alliance (PMA) was formed 1925 in Jackson, Tennessee later change its name in 1932 to Pentecostal Church, Inc. (PCI).
- ACJC and PAW merged in November 1931 forming Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ (PAJC)
- Racial tension rocked PAJC which prompted several ministers to revived PAW as a separate organization in 1937.
- PCI and the remaining PAJC ministers, composed mostly of whites merged as the United Pentecostal Church (UPC). Beginning with 1,800 ministers and >900 churches, it has become the largest and, through aggressive evangelism and publishing efforts, most influential Oneness organization. Presently called United Pentecostal Church, International (UPCI), adding the word “International” in 1972. They are at present the most dominant Oneness organization in the world.
Source of Authority
- Does not agree with biblical revelation of the Triune God .
- Jesus Christ is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (there is no distinction).
- Jesus Christ manifestation as Father is God.
- Jesus Christ manifestation as Son is man.
- Believes a person must speak in tongues as an initial evidence of the Holy Spirit in him.
- Believes that a person is saved through water baptism.