For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. – Jude 1:4
Is your church a safe haven for false teachers? Although, it is likely that your pastor is not a false teacher, and he most likely adheres to the orthodox beliefs of the Christian faith; nevertheless, is your church giving false teachers a platform to speak and minister from the pulpit? If so, your church is in direct violation of the clear teaching of Scripture. One of the roles of an elder is to protect the sheep from false teachings. The best way to do that is to silence them. Put a muzzle on them. And how do we muzzle them? By denying them a platform to speak.
For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. (Titus 1:10–11).
The Bible continually warns us about false teachers who do not hold to the orthodox Christian Faith which was once and for all delivered to the saints. So, please bear with me while I contend for the truth.
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3)
In the below video Bobby Conway explains how the Bible teaches us to deal with false teachers. It does so by calling all Christians to study to show themselves approved, and to name names.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.” (2 Timothy 2:15-18)
In this post, I will deal specifically with Oneness Pentecostals who belive in Modalism.
Oneness Pentecostals a.k.a Modalism
For years churches have given a platform to Oneness Pentecostals by inviting them to minister during Sunday services. I have personally sat in such meetings where The Alexandria Sanctuary Choir – The Pentecostals of Alexandria, Geron Davis & Kindred Souls, Lanny Wolfe, The Goodines, David and Nicole Binion, and Philips, Craig, and Dean, to name a few, have ministered during Sunday services. And yet, they all are affiliated with Oneness Pentecostalism that denies the Trinity, and believes that one must be baptized in water and in Jesus name in order to be saved. This clearly falls outside of orthodox Christianity.
(Some of the above people might have claimed to renounce their Oneness Theology. Unfortunately, we do not have a definitive statement from them stating that Oneness Pentecostalism is a heresy. And the current churches that they are now affiliated with do not have a definitive Trinitarian Statement of Faith)
So what’s wrong with that? Well, for most churches, nothing at all. Most seeker-friendly, entertainment driven churches are ill-equipped and inadequately trained in doctrine, theology, Bible, and Church History, and therefore, they are unable to discern false doctrine for themselves. Yet, there is nothing new under the sun, for most modern-day heresies are just old heresies dressed up in new clothes. And since the majority of Charismatic churches have created a culture of anti-intellectualism, Christianity has been all but reduced to a mindless religion based on subjective personal experience. This is a problem with the modern day Charismatic church at large. In 2006, Assemblies of God missionary Rick M. Nanez wrote an article entitled Our Anti-Intellectual Heritage.
Many of the early Pentecostal leaders lacked education. This, of course, did not disqualify them from laboring for the Master. It did, however, set the standard for those who became their followers, for seldom will a student rise above his or her tutor. Several early Pentecostal leaders spoke openly of their disdain for education. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to us that most of these had little formal education themselves. It seems to be our nature (no matter how saintly we are) to place little value on what we do not possess.
Nanez touches on something that is prevalent in most Charismatic churches today. Pastors who never received formal training seem to show disdain for those have. And ironically, they show the fruit of their lack of training by appealing to the Twelve Apostles. They claim that the Twelve were uneducated men. But is that really true? Acts 4:13 records the account of Peter and John preaching before the Jewish Council:
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”
It’s true that they were not trained in the best Rabbinical schools of the day. But that does not mean that they were uneducated. They spend 3 1/2 years sitting at the feet of the greatest teacher and theologian that ever lived, Jesus Christ. Jesus spend time teaching and shaping these men for ministry. But let’s take it a step further. Which Apostle had the greatest impact on spreading the Gospel throughout the Mediterranean region and beyond? A former seminary student who studied under the greatest professor of his day. The Apostle Paul received what would be equivalent today to a Doctorate in Theology. He studied under Gamaliel, one of the greatest Rabbi’s of Paul’s day as stated in Acts 22:3. So, to appeal to Acts 4:13 to justify the anti-intellectualism, is a very weak argument. The bible is replete with verses calling us to study and to rightly divide the word of truth. And God has given pastors and teachers as gifts to the church to train believers and educate them (Ephesians 4:11). It would serve Pentecostals and Charismatics well to read Nanez’s article. When one of your own admits there’s a problem, it might be a good time to listen.
Too many Charismatics are more interested in experience than in the knowledge of God. Let’s face it, most Charismatic churches are not known for their robust Christian Theology. Instead, they are known for their choirs, plays, and extravagant holiday musicals. And thus, the main reason why so many false teachers, as Jude, wrote, have crept in unnoticed. The church has become drunk on entertainment and has embraced anti-intellectualism. Voddie Baucham explains the effects of anti-intellectualism on modern day Christianity:
And this is exactly why Oneness Pentecostals are able to creep in the church. Because feelings and emotions are now determining what is true rather than sound doctrine. Where are the Bereans who will confront their leadership for giving false teachers a platform in their churches.
So what’s wrong with Oneness Pentecostals? Well, for starters, they deny the Trinity. You can read an in-depth critique of Oneness Pentecostalism on the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board website (here).
Unfortunately, for too many Charismatics, church history only goes as far back as Azusa Street, or to the last “move of God” that they might have experienced. Yet, the old adage rings true, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” It only takes a little delving into church history to understand that Oneness Theology is a heresy that has been condemned by all orthodox Church leaders, councils, and creeds. Listen to what some of the early Church Fathers had to say about Oneness Theology:
- Cyprian wrote – “…how, when God the Father is not known, nay, is even blasphemed, can they who among the heretics are said to be baptized in the name of Christ, be judged to have obtained the remission of sins? 
- Hippolytus (A.D. 170–236) referred to them – “And some of these assent to the heresy of the Noetians, and affirm that the Father himself is the Son…”
- Tertullian states – “He commands them to baptize into the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, not into a unipersonal God. And indeed it is not once only, but three times, that we are immersed into three persons, at each several mention of their names.” 
Modalism (a.k.a. Sabellianism) was soundly condemned by the orthodox church—even before the doctrine of the Trinity was defended at the Council of Nicaea. For example, second and third-century church leaders like Tertullian (160–220), Origen (184–254), Dionysius (3rd century), and others clearly denounced it.
Since the Councils of Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (381), modalism has been universally understood by every major branch of Christianity as heretical—falling outside the boundaries of theological orthodoxy. The Council of Constantinople, for example, explicitly condemned and anathematized “the Sabellians” in both Canon I and VII. The Athanasian Creed adds this:
Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic [universal] faith; which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
(Importantly, as a side note, the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople did not invent the doctrine of the Trinity; rather, they defended and articulated what orthodox Christians had always believed, from the time of the apostles. It is critical to remember that the doctrine of the Trinity is established in Scripture, not church history. The early councils merely affirmed the biblical teaching in the face of heretical attack.) (source)
Bobby Conway on the heresy of Modalism
If every pastor, church, denomination, and institution that cares about sound doctrine has declared Oneness Pentecostalism or Modalism to be heresy. And every orthodox church father, church council, and church creed that has ever addressed modalism, condemned it as heresy. Why doesn’t your church and leadership condemn it as heresy?
Oneness Theology is nothing more than modern-day Sabellianism and it is the responsibility of the elders at your church to protect the souls under their care, and teach them to recognize soul-damning heresies like this.
The Case of Philips, Craig and Dean
Although Phillips, Craig, and Dean recently signed a statement affirming the Southern Baptist Statement of Faith, they still have not denounced the Oneness heresy, nor have the clearly affirmed the orthodox view of the Trinity. (source)
Those who debate Oneness theologians testify that they use the term Trinity very loosely, and it’s not in line with the Athanasian Creed which clearly outlines and defines the orthodox position on the Trinity. Read the history of the Athanasian Creed. (source)
Just go to Phillips, Craig, and Dean’s statement of faith listed on their respective websites and you will find they avoid using orthodox language to define their belief in God. They avoid words like Persons and Trinity. Instead, they use modalistic language, or simply affirm the Apostle’s Creed which never addresses the Trinity. Here is a screenshot of Sean Craig’s Statement of Faith.
To the discerning eye, the problem lies in the word “revealed”. One God who reveals Himself as Father, other times as Son, and other times as the Holy Spirit is language that is consistent with Oneness Theology.
Randy Philips served along-side his father for many years as a pastor at Promise Land Church in Austin Texas during his tenure with Philips, Craig and Dean. Promise Land has posted a downloadable study guide entitled The Enquirer’s Handbook on the Resources page of their website. Here are some excerpts from that handbook:
Here, Randy Philips affirms the heretical Oneness Pentecostal teaching that water baptism is required for salvation.
‘Just as the two elements, water and spirit, are vital to the natural birth, the Bible teaches that they are also vital to the Spiritual birth. The only scriptural way to be born again is to be properly baptized in water and to be baptized, or filled, with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).” – Enquirer’s Handbook, pg. 26
“The baptism of water is necessary for every person’s sins to be washed away (Acts 22:16), and the baptism of the Holy Ghost is man’s vital link with God.” – Enquirer’s Handbook, pg. 26
Here, Randy Philips affirms the heretical Oneness Pentecostal teaching that Jesus is the name of the Father and the Holy Spirit. In Oneness Theology there is only one God. Therefore, Jesus is just another name for the Father as well as the Holy Spirit:
“Jesus is not only the name of the Son (Matthew 1:21) but the Father as well. This is consistent with all scriptures in the Bible.” – Enquirer’s Handbook, pg. 39
“The apostles understood that the name of the Father and of the Son was Jesus, and they also understood Jesus to be the name of the Holy Ghost….The Holy Ghost is actually the Spirit of the Lord (Romans 8:9) and always bears His name – Jesus.” – Enquirer’s Handbook, pg. 39
Here, Randy Philips clearly affirms Modalism, the teaching that God is One and that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the same person who are basically wearing different masks and performing different roles. For Randy Philips, the concept of a Triune God consisting of three distinct Persons simply does not exist:
“The Bible does indeed speak of a Father, a Son and a Holy Spirit; but a closer look at the Scriptures will reveal that the fullness of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost dwells totally and completely in the person of Jesus Christ (John 14:10-11). “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9); and “Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Mat. 28:18).
This is the reason that John saw only one person on one throne and not three persons. In Jesus dwells the fullness of God, and all the power of heaven and earth is resting in Him. Since the death of John and the other eleven original apostles, many concepts and teachings have arisen that do not necessarily coincide with the “one God” teaching of the early church. In the year
A.D. 180, Tertullian began using the term “trinity” from which was born the Catholic doctrine of three Gods, co-equal, co-existent and co-eternal. The Roman Emperor Constantine in the year A.D. 325 incorporated the “doctrine of the trinity” into the Catholic Church where it has remained ever since, and most Protestant churches have accepted this doctrine without thorough examination. The “trinity”, however, generates confusion and is not in total harmony with the Scriptures. To say that there are three separate persons who somehow comprise “one God” is like trying to connect opposing sides of two magnets. When you add 1+1+1, it must equal three; and there cannot, under any circumstances, be more than one God.”
One of the primary sources of confusion in this matter is related to the word “persons.” The doctrine of the trinity states that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three “persons” who make up one God.
In actuality, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three manifestations of one God. This word manifestation means “to appear”, and it is quite scriptural. The Bible tells us that, “God was manifest in the flesh . . .” (I Timothy 3:16). In other words, God appeared in the flesh (as a son).” – Enquirer’s Handbook, pg. 60
Download Enquirer’s Handbook (here) and read for yourself. Any discerning Christian will immediately see that the Jesus portrayed by Randy Philips and his father at Promise Land Church is not the Jesus of the Bible. And the Gospel that is portrayed by Randy Philips and his father at Promise Land Church is not the Gospel that Jesus, Paul, or the rest of the New Testament Authors preached. In fact, it is a different Gospel.
Although, both Randy Phillips and Dan Dean simply affirm the Apostle’s Creed, does not mean that they adhere to orthodox theology. Roman Catholics also affirm the Apostle’s Creed. Even Mormons affirm most of the Apostle’s Creed. Listen to how Donny Osmond, a devote Mormon responds to a question regarding the Apostle’s Creed:
“If we were to insert The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in place of “The Holy Catholic Church”, it would define our beliefs about God and Christ very well.” (source)
Would you invite a Roman Catholic priest, or the Mormon Donny Osmond to minister at your church? If not, then why would you invite Oneness Pentecostals just because they affirm the Apostle’s Creed and believe in Jesus Christ? The Apostle’s Creed, although soundly orthodox, and beloved by the church, is not sufficient enough to filter out all of the heresies attacking the Christian faith. For instance, it does not address the doctrine of salvation is by grace through faith alone. Therefore, Roman Catholics can affirm it — and they do.
As Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries states in the below audio clip, simply believing in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit does not make one a Christian. Listen to Dr. White as he reads an email from Randy Phillips confirming his Oneness Theology.
Phillips, Craig & Dean and the Trinity (Dr. James White)
In the below videos, John MacArthur and Erik Thoennes also explain why Oneness Pentecostals are not Christian:
Erik Thoennes – “When we lost the Trinity we lose everything”
This is not just some secondary doctrinal issue, such as are all the gifts of the Spirit available today, this is an essential doctrine that must be embraced. If we get the Trinity wrong, we get everything wrong!
Christ Tabernacle, a church in Queens, NY, is just one of the many churches that have become a safe-haven for Oneness Pentecostals. Philips Craig and Dean, and David and Nicole Binion have ministered there many times.
A review of Covenant Church posted on City Search states the following:
“With our own ears, my wife and I heard the top pastors and a couple elders first-hand say that they didn’t believe in the doctrine of the Trinity (an Essential Christian Doctrine. They do like to hide this fact not wanting to lose gobs of giving people, but they do teach UPC styled Oneness doctrine in smaller group settings. Well, when we were there, the entire board of the church had come out of the UPC Cult even though they shed the religious dress, hair and makeup codes).” (source)
Geron Davis also ministers at Christ Tabernacle. He and his wife came out of The Pentecostals of Alexandria, a UPC Church in Louisiana. And although they shed their religious dress, hair, and makeup codes, they are attending Christ Church in Tennessee that does not affirm the Trinity. They simply list the Apostle’s Creed as their Statement of Faith. Yet, if you download their brochure you will find that they dedicate chapter 4 to explain away the historical and orthodox position of the Trinity. (source)
Instead of giving these people a platform to minister in your churches, why don’t your elders instead confront them and care for their souls and call them to repentance?
Christian, don’t you understand that if they die clinging to their Oneness Theology, they will spend eternity in hell? And your church is inviting them to entertain you. Speak to your elders and ask them what they are doing to fulfill their role as pastors who are called to protect God’s sheep from heresy and false teaching? Ask them if God called them to provide entertainment for the people, or to teach God’s people to be sound in faith?
Closed Bible = Open Door
So how did this happen? How did the church, which Paul called in 1 Timothy 3:15, “the pillar and foundation of truth” become an open door to heresy? Whenever you close the bible you open the door to error. Unfortunately, doctrine has become a bad word in many churches today. Some churches advertise the prayer meeting as “the most important meeting of the week” instead of the preaching of God’s Word. And they do so based on a misunderstanding of the passage in Matthew 21:13, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer”. They undermine the importance of preaching and teaching by telling the congregation that Jesus did not say, “my house shall be called a house of preaching or teaching”. It is extremely dangerous when a preacher pulls one verse out of context and then uses it to refute dozens of other texts that state otherwise. It only takes a quick survey of the Pastoral Epistles to see that Paul placed equal, if not greater emphasis on preaching and teaching than he did on prayer. And yet, Paul was not downplaying the importance of prayer. Neither was he elevating it above the need for sound preaching and teaching. Pastors who downplay the importance of preaching and teaching in the Sunday service are not getting their message from God’s Word but from their own imagination.
When Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer”. Do you think for a moment that he was undermining the importance of preaching and teaching? Absolutely not! In the Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28:18, Jesus said:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
In one of the most important statements that Jesus made prior to his ascension was the Great Commission. And yet notice that Jesus did not mention prayer. So are we to believe for a minute that Jesus was downplaying the importance of prayer? Of course not. And in the same way are we to believe that Jesus was downplaying the importance of preaching and teaching when he said “my house shall be called a house of prayer”? Of course not. Preachers who pit prayer against teaching are unskilled in the handling of God’s Word. Nevertheless, Jesus seemed to emphasize the importance of teaching and The Great Commission leaves pastors with the mandate to teach all that Jesus commanded. Unfortunately, these churches that have become safe havens for Oneness Pentecostals do not preach and teach the full counsel of God. They do not faithfully expound on the scriptures and teach God’s people all that Jesus commanded. You will not hear verse by verse exposition of God’s Word. And you will never hear in-depth preaching on Biblical doctrines such as the Deity of Christ, the Hypostatic Union, the Trinity, the Attributes of God, Inerrancy of Scripture, Total Depravity, Regeneration, etc. But instead, you will hear personal stories about the life of the preacher. At the end of the day you will know more about the pastor and his family than you do about the Word of God.
With such a low view of preaching and teaching, is it any wonder that these same churches have become safe-havens for Oneness Pentecostals? I argue that the prayer meeting is not the most important meeting of the week, although prayer is vital to the Christian life. Instead, it is the preaching of God’s Word that is the most important meeting of the week. This is the time when God’s people come together to hear the Word of the Lord. God still speaks and does so through His Word. When preachers faithfully expound and preach God’s Word, and not just their favorite pet doctrine, God’s people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of God. In order for us to pray biblically, we first must believe biblically. To place prayer above God’s Word is not only unbiblical, but dangerous.
And unfortunately, when we set aside the primacy of preaching and teaching, the church door swings wide open to heretics and wolves in sheep’s clothing. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was absolutely correct when he stated:
“The primary task of the Church and of the Christian minister is the preaching of the Word of God.”
But unfortunately, many churches today have become nothing more than a spiritual entertainment center where theology and doctrine are set aside and replaced by choirs, gospel singers, and dramatic presentations.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” 2 Timothy 4:3
Christian, I will leave you with these famous words that were published in Charles Spurgeon’s Sword and Trowel:
Feeding Sheep or Entertaining Goats
“An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.
From speaking out as the Puritans did, the church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.
My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church. If it is a Christian work, why did not Christ speak of it? “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). That is clear enough. So it would have been if He had added, “and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.” No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to him.
Then again, “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers .., for the work of the ministry” (Eph. 4:11-12). Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused? The concert has no martyr roll.
Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all his apostles. What was the attitude of the church to the world? Ye are the salt” (Matt. 5:13), not the sugar candy—something the world will spit out not swallow. Short and sharp was the utterance, “Let the dead bury their dead” (Matt. 8:22) He was in awful earnestness.
Had Christ introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into his mission, he would have been more popular when they went back, because of the searching nature of His teaching. I do not hear him say, “Run after these people Peter and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow, something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it. Be quick Peter, we must get the people somehow.” Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them.
In vain will the Epistles be searched to find any trace of this gospel of amusement! Their message is, “Come out, keep out, keep clean out!” Anything approaching fooling is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.
After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the church had a prayer meeting but they did not pray, “Lord grant unto thy servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are.” If they ceased not from preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution, they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). That is the only difference! Lord, clear the church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods.
Lastly, the mission of amusement fails to effect the end desired. It works havoc among young converts. Let the careless and scoffers, who thank God because the church met them halfway, speak and testify. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment has been God’s link in the chain of the conversion, stand up! There are none to answer. The mission of amusement produces no converts. The need of the hour for today’s ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.”
For a more detailed explanation of the errors of Oneness Theology see my post entitled:
- The Pentecostals of Alexandria (Alexandria Sanctuary Choir) Statement of Faith (source)
- Geron Davis and Kindred Souls. The Davis’ came out of The Pentecostals of Alexandria and now attend Christ Church in Nashville, TN. Here is there Oneness Statement of Faith which tries really hard on page 9 to explain away the orthodox teaching of the Trinity, which they refuse to affirm (source)
- David and Nicole Binion are music pastors at Covenant Church in Texas (source)
Here is a City Search review of that church (source)
- Lanny Wolfe is a famous Oneness Pentecostal Musician (source)
- Wayne and Elizabeth Goodine . Wayne Goodine’s Employment History on Zoominfo listing the following Oneness Pentecostal Colleges: International Bible College, Christian Life College, Jackson College of Ministries (Source)
- Phillips, Craig, and Dean has been well documented as being modalists who deny the Trinity. Here are a few articles:
- Blurring the Dividing Line: Legacy of Philips, Craig and Dean