From Pentecost to the Triune God: A Pentecostal Trinitarian Theology

By Steven M. Studebaker | Go to book overview

5 Charismatic Trinitarian Theology

What is the place of the Trinity in Pentecostal theology? Though a controversy over the Trinity divided the early Pentecostals in North America, the doctrine received little attention thereafter, at least by Classical Pentecostals.1 Like evangelicals, Pentecostals are mainly confessional

1. Oneness Pentecostalism began at a camp meeting in Arroyo Seco, California (near Los Angeles), in April 1913. The key issue was a new understanding of the nature of and formula for water baptism. Based on Acts 2:38, the Oneness Pentecostals baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ rather than following the Trinitarian pattern of Matthew 28:19. By 1916, the Oneness insistence on baptism and rebaptism in the name of Jesus and its nontraditional Trinitarianism led the Assemblies of God (Trinitarian Pentecostal denomination) to include a clear Trinitarian confession in its Statement of Fundamental Truths — and thereby to exclude Jesus’ Name ministers and congregations. For a thorough investigation of Oneness Pentecostalism, see David A. Reed, “In Jesus’ Name”: The History and Beliefs of Oneness Pentecostals(Blandford Forum, UK: Deo Publishing, 2008).

Oneness Pentecostalism derives its name from its rejection of Nicene Trinitarian theology. Oneness theology affirms that the terms Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are titles that Scripture uses to indicate the different roles of the one God in salvation history. Trinitarian language, therefore, applies only to the distinct redemptive roles of the one God and not eternal distinctions or persons within the one God. The critical point is that the titles of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not names of divine persons; God has one personal identity. Consequently, the one God has one name, the name of Jesus. According to Nicene Trinitarian theology, Oneness Pentecostalism is a modalist approach to God that sees God as one eternal being without internal distinction of persons. For their part, Oneness Pentecostals see Nicene theology as a corruption of monotheism that implies polytheism or subordinationism. I favor a Nicene view. Though they are ultimately beyond human conception, the names of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit refer to eternal distinctions in God. For a

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From Pentecost to the Triune God: A Pentecostal Trinitarian Theology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Pentecostal Manifestos i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments viii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - A Pentecostal Approach to the Trinity 11
  • 2 - The Holy Spirit and the Trinity 53
  • 3 - Eastern and Western Trinitarian Theology 101
  • 4 - Reformed Evangelical Trinitarian Theology 147
  • 5 - Charismatic Trinitarian Theology 187
  • 6 - The Spirit of Pentecost and Theology of Religions 208
  • 7 - The Spirit of Pentecost and Creation 240
  • Epilogue 269
  • Index of Names 271
  • Index of Subjects 275
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