From CRI at www.equip.org
The United Pentecostal Church International teaches that there's only one God, and that Jesus is fully God. Can we therefore regard it as a Christian church?
Although there may possibly be individuals in the United Pentecostal Church who are indeed Christians, we believe that the church as a whole is heretical. Like other pseudo-Christian groups, the United Pentecostal flatly denies the doctrine of the Trinity. It would be inappropriate to argue that Jehovah's Witnesses or various other groups are non-Christian because they deny the doctrine of the Trinity, but that the United Pentecostal Church can reject the Trinity and still be considered Christian.
And while they claim that only they believe that Jesus Christ is God, the United Pentecostal Church actually teaches that Jesus is not a pre-existent divine Person, but was simply the fleshly body in whom God dwelled. They don't believe that the Son of God, as a person distinct from the Father, existed before His birth in Bethlehem (Prov. 30:4; John 1:1-2, 14). In fact, they hold that the Son was not a distinct person even while He was a man on earth. This implies that in John 17, Jesus the man was talking with someone dwelling inside Himself -- namely, Jesus the God -- which means that either there are two "Christs" or that Jesus was talking to Himself!
Besides rejecting the New Testament's central message -- that God the Father sent His divine Son into the world to die for us so that we might have eternal life (John 3:16; Gal. 4:4) -- the United Pentecostal Church is also plagued with various legalistic doctrines to which members must adhere in order to remain in good standing and be considered a Christian. For example, they teach that unless you're baptized using the correct formula (which they prescribe) you're really not saved. For these and other reasons, the United Pentecostal Church International cannot be regarded as an orthodox Christian church. We can afford to differ on peripheral issues, but not when it comes to the essentials of the Christian faith.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
CRI has available an article by Gregory Boyd entitled, "Sharing Your Faith with a Oneness Pentecostal" (DO077/$0.25) as well as his book, Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinity (B151/$17). These resources are available through CRI. For shipping and handling information, please call CRI or refer to our Resource Listing. To place a credit card order, call toll-free (888) 7000-CRI. To receive a free copy of our Resource Listing, fax us at (949) 858-6111 or write us with your request at PO Box 7000, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688-7000.