Pentacostals and the Trinity


Hi y’all! Today at work, while talking in the breakroom with one of my Catholic co-workers (a CCD teacher) and asking her how does she explain the Trinity, another co-worker of mine who overheard our conversation told me that growing up Baptist, she was taught to believe in the Trinity. She has then converted-over to Pentacostalism (I’m not sure which one), and I was surprised to hear from her that since they did not believe in the Trinitarian formula of her first baptism, she had to be re-baptised in the Pentacostal faith because they do not believe in the Trinity!:eek:

Is this true? Any one out there who knows about Pentacostals and their belief in the Trinity? Thanks :slight_smile:


Pentecostalism is more of a “movement” than a denomination. In other words, there are many denominations under the Pentecostal movement, and each has it’s own doctrinal parameters, so you can’t really lump them all together as non-Trinitarian, I don’t believe that the majority actually are non-Trinitarian.

This poor woman has wandered into the wrong Pentecostal church! Most of these people have no idea what the consequence of this heresy really is, they have unfortunately never been taught these things. Sheep are sooooo vulnerable!


From what I have learned Oneness Pentecostals do not believe in the Trinity. My fil’s side of the family is Oneness. They have lots of self-appointed preachers in his side of the family too. They baptize in the name of Jesus only. Other Pentecostals, like the Assembly of God, do believe in the Trinity. Sounds like your co-worker might have converted to Oneness Pentecostalism. One thing I see in a lot if not all Oneness Pentecostals is that the women all wear long skirts, the younger ones always seem to wear denim skirts, and their hair is always either in a ponytail or a bun. Most seem to keep theirs in a bun. Their hair is always long too. They have a very strict form of dress.


There is another pentecostal group that baptizes in the name of Jesus only. Ironically they call themselves Apostolics.


A friend of mine calls herself a Pentecostal (she goes to a church called “First Apostolic Church” (sounds Catholic to me :D).

Anyway, they believe in the Trinity, but baptize only in the name of Jesus. :confused:


Maybe this is what she was talking about because she said that it was the Trinitarian formula of baptism that her church rejected, and that she was re-baptized “in the name of Jesus” only. I should clarify if that is the case, and if they actually believe in the Trinity.

I don’t think she’s a Oneness Pentacostal - she wears slacks/jeans all the time to work, her hair is short, and though she dresses modestly, she doesn’t go to extreme on it.


This sounds like the United Pentecostal Church, of which I was a baptized member for about a year while I lived in San Francisco. There are other “oneness” branches of pentecostalism, so I’ve been told, but I am not aware of them. I am not thoroughly familiar with all of UPC teachings with regard to “oneness” but, it is very likely that those teachings are extremely simplistic. UPC does not accept as valid any baptism done in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, so converts are required to be re-baptized. They also do not accept anything less than a full immersion baptism. Their baptismal formula is “In the name of Jesus” as they regard all NT baptisms to have been performed in that manner. They claim that the “Baptism of the Holy Ghost” is a requirement for salvation, and that the sign of it is a public manifestation of tongues. They issue a baptismal certificate for this Holy Ghost Baptism, once it has been attested to by witnesses. They regard the idea of Trinity to be a perversion of the Gospel foisted upon the world by the evil RC Church. They tend to be decidedly anti-Catholic. They also have some interesting practices with regard to clothing. The women generally do not cut their hair, but rather wear it in public tied up in a big bun. Many of the older women have hair length well below their waists. They wear dresses that cover every inch of skin except the hands and faces. The men will not wear beards or mustaches, as these are a sign of “vanity.” The denomination appears to be dying out. I recently read that their membership is in decline. Last spring I visited a local UPC Wednesday evening church service and noticed that it was very thinly attended. BTW I do NOT claim to be an authority on UPC, so I may have some of this a little wrong. UPC people I’ve known are deeply faithful people, hard-working, love the Lord, and live their faith out in their daily lives in very sacrificial and loving ways. They just tend to be what I call “firebreathers” as, when they worship in church, they give definition to the term “holyroller.”


My grandfather is a pentacostal and we recently had a discussion about this. I explained the trinity as Catholics see it is three parts, one God, and he explained the way his church saw it was Jesus was God and those other parts were all in him. He thinks anybody that believes in the trinity is worshiping three gods instead of the one we’re supposed to worship. He also doesn’t believe in the trinitarian baptism, and I think his reasoning was somewhere in Acts it says baptise in the name of Jesus.


Some denoms are apparently worshipping three separate gods, as with the Mormons, who believe in a plurality of gods, teaching that the Trinity are three distinct gods. My Mormon girlfriend has a real stumbling block with regards to the orthodox Trinitarian concept, ie one God in three persons. I’ve explained it to her in many different ways, but she still cannot see it any other way than the Mormon way. I’ve told her that the Mormon view of the Trinity is one reason Mormons can’t be considered to be Christians, and I fear that this may also apply to at least some of those “oneness” sects. Trinity is THE defining feature of Christianity which, it seems to me, would naturally be most subject to attack by those who would destroy Christianity. BTW the UPC wouldn’t accept a Catholic baptism given in the name of Father Son and Holy Ghost, but when I converted, our Catholic Church had no problem accepting my “oneness” UPC baptism as valid.


If you haven’t tried these ways, the might help:

  1. Picture an egg. It has three component parts - shell, yolk, and white. In order to be an egg, it must have those three parts. While all 3 parts are “egg”, and can be used separately, they are best and most meaningful when together. (Yes, it has other parts, too, but they are all sub-components of shell, yolk, and white.) Eliminate one of the parts and it may resemble an egg but is missing a necessary element. The part we see revealed to the world is the shell, which we can compare to Jesus - God presented to us in a way we could touch. The part hidden from us is the yolk which we can compare to God the Father, the procreative portion and origin of new life, dimly visible through the shell (Jesus). The part inbetween, nearly invisible in a cracked or uncreacked egg, is the white, which can be compared to the Holy Spirit - we may not see it right away, but we can easily feel it and observe it’s effects.

  2. You could always try St. Patrick’s shamrock - a single complete plant with three distinct leaves independent and interdependent, united on one stem. Pull one leaf off and it is no longer a complete shamrock.


That analogy, while admirable, would not convince a hardline non-trinitarian. While the Father, Son and Spirit are each fully God, the problem is that shell, yolk and white are not complete eggs in themselves. The shamrock analogy in my opinion is slightly better, although no analogy can fully account for the mystery of the Trinity.


True enough on the latter point. If I were trying to explain life on a mountaintop to an intelligent-enough dolphin, I would be unable to fully do so because the dolphin has no frame of reference to understand. But I could give the dolphin a general idea. And we will not fully understand the nature of our triune God until we actually join Him in heaven.

One of the points of the egg analogy is to illustrate the interdependence of our triune God. Jesus is fully God, but not all by His lonesome. Same with the Father and the Spirit. You can ignore one or two of the three, just as you can imagine that the eggshell has no contents worth examining, or look only at the yolk and ignore the rest. What you are looking at is still “egg”, not peas and carrots or anything else. The Father is still God, even if you don’t believe in Jesus. But you have an incomplete picture unless you acknowledge all three.


He also doesn’t believe in the trinitarian baptism, and I think his reasoning was somewhere in Acts it says baptise in the name of Jesus.

Acts 2:38
Peter (said) to them, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit.

I think this is the verse he is talking about. I know there’s another verse that specifically states “The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” I’m still looking for it unless anyone here knows where it is.

I believe in a Trinitarian baptism only.


No offense intended

My parish said the Catholic Church only counts trinitarian baptisms as true baptisms. That was also what I found out in various official Catholic publications. Its probably in the CCC as well but I don’t have one to reference.


Hmmmm, interesting. That seems reasonable to me, and frankly, when I converted back in 1985 I was a little surprised that they didn’t require a baptism. That oneness baptism was my one and only baptism ever. The priest who oversaw my formation was familiar with the oneness theories, and told me that a re-baptism would not be required, though I would gladly have done it. That parish, in New York, didn’t have an RCIA program. Rather, the pastor, an elderly and very nice man, held a series of evening meetings with me and my wife, over a period of about 4 months, during which we worked thru what I recall as being the Dutch(?) Catechism. Maybe I will ask about this of my pastor tomorrow…


Thanks for the ideas, Nan. I will try them. One that I heard somewhere else, and which I’ve used with her, and which I like very much, is the one about water and its three forms: liquid, gas, and frozen. Anyways, she’s coming along. While she didn’t really get completely immersed in Mormon theology, she did absorb a fair amount of it, so it is going to be a long journey home for her. FWIW I think the Trinity is a pretty mysterious thing for most people. I tell her that, in the final analysis, Trinity is always going to be unfathomable to us, until be behold Almighty God as he is, rather than as through a glass, darkly, the way we do now.


Gospel of Matthew 28:19

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