"oneness" pentecostalism

My Mom believes, (and I might have brought this up before but can’t remember details) in the idea that baptism must be literally done “in Jesus’ Name”. She thinks God is triune. I of course to to help her explain there is a trinity doctrine. She doesn’t buy it. But we believe that like the Didache says, baptize in the name of the persons. Where did this quote like Acts 2:38 com from? Some think it’s contrary to Matt 28:16. There must be an answer to this that makes sense. Can anyone help me to explain? I tell her there are 3 persons that share a oneness. And she says the 3 are one. She seems to have this idea that’s not realistic that the Catholic church was some kind of “offshoot” of the original church.


Did you see Fr. Vincent Serpa’s answer on Catholic Answers?

In Matthew 28:19 Jesus explicitly commands his apostles to baptize in the name of the Trinity. This is where the Church received the Trinitarian formula. It wasn’t some pope’s idea. In Acts 2:38 the author is not presenting a liturgical formula. He is concerned with distinguishing Christ’s baptism from John the Baptist’s. The practice of the early Church was thoroughly Trinitarian.

As to proof that the early Church baptized the Trinitarian way, see the Catholic Answers Tract on this question, which quotes early sources including the Didache.

And ask her for historical proof that our Church is the one that split off.

This might help.


This might help.


I must say this in a shameful way. My mother really doesn’t know and I don’t think she cares anything about history. I try to explain such things(history) to her. She just comes up with stuff and kind of makes her own history and historical events up in her head. So we are not dealing with any rationality here. It’s just I’ve always heard it this way so if need be history can be re-written as need be to accommodate what I believe. She thinks the church believed in a “triune” God. I said that’s very much not what the church has ever taught. And told her the 3 persons are separate and distinct and are one God. It’s sola Scriptura all the way. And the church must teach her definition of things. It’s not what one looking for any truth would do. She claims the Bible says all she needs.

Now mind you myself I am completely different. To learn something I will look at it in unorthodox even non-Catholic ways to get a point. I can always come to the Catholic view. Or learn from the Jewish View. so on.
Thanks much for your answer.

That sounds really frustrating. But in the end it has to be God who makes us see anyway.

By the way, “Triune” is a perfectly acceptable term for a Catholic to apply to God – though I understand that your mother defines the word differently than we do. Our Catechism states (no. 254), “The divine Unity is Triune.” But it explains what that word means, three distinct persons in one divine being, etc. Not three gods, and not one Person.

I myself I guess just like to use the term “the doctrine of the trinity”. Just her term from triune would be different than ours. I am going to tell her there is a difference in an instruction on how to do something like Matt 28:19 and “not an instruction” as per Acts 2:38. I don’t quite know what or how things are being said there.


Seriously, is your mother my mother-in-law! :o My mother-in-law believes the same way and is Pentecostal. My husband is a convert. Here are some things we learned from talking to her and some scriptures to use.

When Peter says to baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ in Acts 2:38, it is not an exact code like in Mt 28:19 where Jesus himself says to baptized in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit. If baptizing in the Name of Jesus Christ was the formula, why change it every once in awhile. There are two times in Acts where it says to baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 8:16, Acts 19:5). Like someone had said above, they had said it like this to differentiate which baptism they were doing since baptizing. Acts talks about John’s baptism a few times, one being in Acts 19:3.

Now if she is like my mother-in-law, she will say in reaction to Mt 28:19: “Well who is the father? Jesus. Who is the son? Jesus. Who is the holy spirit? Jesus. Jesus obviously meant to baptized in Jesus’s name.” This is interesting to me since it does not make sense with other scriptures. In Mt 3:18 it God says after Jesus is baptized by John, "
And a voice came from the heavens, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’" How could that have happened if there was only God is Jesus? Many times in the bible it states that Jesus will be or is seated at the right hand of God (such as Lk 22:69). How could that be if they are only one? Finally in Mark 13:32 it says, “But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” How does the Father know and not the son? There is also many instances that Jesus is praying to God like in John 17. They are three persons in one and it is a mystery on how it works. What sort of helped with his mom of recently is using an egg as an example. I don’t know if it is actually theologically sound, but we said it is like God being the yoke, Jesus being the egg white, and the holy spirit being the shell. Three distinct parts in one.

Well, that is all I have for now! Let me know if that helps.:slight_smile:

My Mom says the exact same thing. Who is father? Who is son? and who is holy spirit. It gts mucky and a mess sure does come from it. I never heard Jesus call himself God. But he calls himself son of Adam or (man). He is compared to the “Son” in the trinity as the Word is the Son from the Father. But that might be getting into the hypostatic union which I don’t fully get myself at this time.

Yes she sounds very much like her. But I explained it to her today and she said, “And you really believe that.” Like it was some effort. Your mentioning of the voice from heaven is a good thing to mention I never thought of.

The Divine Persons are one God, but each is a separate Person. Jesus is not the Father, he is the Son. The Holy Spirit is not Jesus, he is the Holy Spirit. Yet they are consubstantial with the Father. This is the mistake your Mother is making. She is not admitting to the separate Personhood of each member of the Trinity. Jesus never claimed to be the Father or Holy Spirit, but he did claim to be Divine (He said "I and the Father are One, but not I Am the Father). He never said he was the Holy Spirit, either, but that He would send the Holy Spirit. They are of the same substance, all are God, yet each is a separate person. So when one is baptized they need to be baptized in the name (note–it is not “names”) of each person. That acknowledges both the unity and Divinity of each member of the Trinity.

I am no theologian, but this is my understanding. The late Fr. Benedict Groschel has a teaching on this that can be found (or it used to be) on EWTN’S website that is very helpful.

I don’t think you are going to change your mother’s mind. You have stated what orthodox Catholic Christian teaching is which is accepted by a majority of Christians. The best thing for you to do is pray for her. No matter how well you can explain it, her mind right now is closed.

I sounds very much to me what Catholic Christology teaches. Yes she would interpret from no real teaching except what she likes his saying “I and my Father are one.” As he saying he is the father. Totally off base from what we are taught. To me that sounds like more of a “mystical union”. There’s no point in me hitting into hypostatis which she can’t understand trinity and simple baptism. Last time I tried to say something she mumbled something like “I don’t want to hear that Cathlolic stuff.” Of which she knows nothing of. “I’ve known Catholic before” She says and I replied “Evidently not very good ones. Christmas Catholics or something.” She’s very much alone and into “her own thing”. I do find such ignorance and refusal to seek very embarassing.


I’m former Pentecostal, but I was trinitarian Pentecostal (Assembies of God), and never was very familiar with the “oneness” doctrines.

It’s easy they just pick out Jesus for everything. Forget the persons, they’re all Jesus. And God is Jesus and Jesus is God. Other than that it’s not much detail. The answer for everything is just Jesus!


They wouldn’t argue with you there! :wink:

I grew up in this kind of church, which also applied the labels ‘Holiness’ and ‘Apostolic’ to itself. They are really passionate about the Oneness/Trinity thing, which is just bizarre to me. I’d be interested in some practical replies, as well…since my family is very Pentecostal and likes to bait me.

“Oneness Pentecostalism” is a non-Christian religion, denying as it does the identity of the Christian God and worshipping another god.

I grew up the same way with the oneness pentecostalism. I decided when I was old enough I was going to go to the original church. The only church that possibly might be slightly older could be the copts. But there’s not enough of a deference to even raise an argument. In my studies there are a very few things I might not agree with Catholicism on but the sacraments certainly aren’t among them. As I said I was going to go to the Catholic church :slight_smile:

They are passionate about it because they’ve made it their defining doctrine. There are a lot more Pentecostals and Holiness churches who do teach the Trinity than those that don’t, so these Oneness Pentecostals are pretty marginalized. Their rejection of the Trinity means they are not accepted by (Trinitarian) Pentecostals, Holiness, and evangelical churches (groups with which they have much in common).

You have to be pretty passionate about a doctrine that causes you to be rejected by almost every other Christian church in the world.

Some Catholic authors in the past conjectured that the Apostles baptized with the formula, “I baptize you in the name of Jesus.” Thomas Aquinas gives that opinion in his Summa Theologiae, to name one example. And these were good Catholics who recognized the correctness of the Trinitarian baptismal formula and had no bones about the Trinity. My point is not to cast doubt on the Catholic teaching–the Church has ruled decidedly against it–but to illustrate how easy it is for people lacking guidance and firm grounding to fall into error.

Here’s a source that might be helpful. In the beginning of Book Four of the Summa Contra Gentiles, St. Thomas describes a pretty wide span of Trinitarian and Christological heresies, giving the heretics’ arguments and then refuting them from Scripture. Hope it might be helpful. Look particularly at the parts about Sabellius.


I do not always (or often) agree with Indifferently, but this is right on the money!

Oneness Pentacostals are not in any Christians in any shape or form. They simply seem to like Jesus (yet ignore his teachings on God).

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