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Accompanying Thread - 1/2

These messages from the AR-talk list provide some context for the articles by David Bernard and Calvin Beisner.


Originally from: webmaster@apologeticsindex.org (Anton Hein)
Originally dated: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 17:46:05 GMT

On Thu, 18 Sep 1997 17:13:48 GMT, you, ar-talk@xc.org (Mark Bassett),
wrote:

>>	United Pentecostal Church 

>I do not know whether this is an appropriate way of initiating
>conversation, as I am quite new to this list. Having read the list for
>a number of weeks now, my best judgement is that it would be
>acceptable to respond in this way.

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the information you provided.  I've seen your on-going
interaction with Steve Winter in various forums, so you're not an
unfamiliar "face."

Two things to keep in mind re: AR-talk:

a)	Purpose of the list

As the "Welcome to AR-talk" message (which Rich kindly sends
to new subscribers) shows, the purpose of AR-talk is:

===Begin Quote===
	AR-Talk is a moderated discussion of Christian apologetics 
   resources, particularly those covered in Apologia Report. If you 
   are interested in finding and sharing new information on 
   apologetics resources, this discussion group is for you.
===End Quote===

More specifically:

===Begin Quote===
*  Stay on topic. AR-Talk-L has been set up to promote the 
         awareness of new resources in the field of Christian 
         Apologetics. The field of apologetics is notorious for 
         endless argument.  AR-Talk is not the place for such 
         dialog.  AR-Talk provides the opportunity to discuss 
         apologetic resources with regard to their content, their 
         affiliation and their availability -- but not the merits 
         of apologetic resources, pro or con. To include the 
         latter would invite a volume of discussion group traffic 
         that could compromise the discussion group's mission.
===End Quote===

In a later message to the list, Rich wrote:

===Begin Quote===
The subject line that leads off this message reads "The 'real' AR." I 
suppose some or most AR-talkers assume "AR" stands for apologetic 
resources. I like the dual application, but it was not intentional. It 
has been interesting to me to see that, by far and away, most posts to 
AR-talk concern apologetic resources in general and not Apologia Report.

I originally set up AR-talk to help off-load the correspondence traffic 
I get as a result of being the editor of Apologia Report. Another reason
I try to steer people to AR-talk instead of myself is because, frankly, 
there are a lot of people on AR-talk who are more gifted than I. Chances

are there are better answers available on AR-talk than you will get just

from me.
===End Quote===

Thus, while AR-talk was originally meant to primarily discuss the
resources provided in the Apologia Report newsletter, it turns out the
general focus has been a bit wider.

Nevertheless, it is primarily a place to share Christian apologetics
resources and to discuss them "with regard to their content, their 
affiliation and their availability -- but not the merits of apologetic
resources, pro or con." (as per the welcome message.)

That brings me to the second point:

b)	Electronic road signs.

When I list resources, they're simply electronic road signs.  I may add
my comments, and those comments will reflect my opinions.  It is always
good to hear what others - such as yourself - think about the "content,
their affiliation and their availability."

We must also realize that AR-talk is open to Christians and
non-Christians of many different persuasions.  We don't all agree with
each other...   

Thanks for providing the article.

Anton
-- 
The Apologetics Index - http://www.xs4all.nl/~ahein
Promoting balance within renewal and revival movements.
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Subject:     Re: AR-talk Questionable references in Ex-Cult Archive 
To:          AR-talk, ar-talk@xc.org

Originally from: "Steve McLeroy" 
Originally dated: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 14:08:57 -0400

Hello All,
It is interesting that this topic should come up at this moment. I have
been studying cults and world religions for about 20 years and have run
into many different concepts of the Godhead. I have one specific question
(and dozens in general of course). 
My question is this:
If God has revealed Himself as a trinity  then is it acceptable to worship
Him in any other way? Is it not equal to idolotry to say of God that which
is not true? I believe that it is. The question of God's revealed person 
is
one that has been in discussion for a long time and I do not hope to solve
it here. I see critisim of Dr. Martin but no refutation of his points. If
we are to discuss this then we must stay with the Scripture as the final
authority as God's revelation of Himself to us. What does the Scripture
say??
Gal 1:6-9 says that there is "another Jesus", "another spirit, and 
"another
gospel". It is the testimony of Scripture that judges the doctrine of
anyone that goes by the name of Christian. Can the Mormons and JWs be
Christian?? After all, they just have a variation on the concept of the
Trinity too don't they.
As much as I love any person that is seeking God and fellowship with I 
must
say that any group or person that holds a doctrine of the Godhead that is
NOT Scriptural cannot be called Christian no matter what pulpit they are
in. If you wish to dialog it would be a pleasure and please remember that 
I
do love you as Jesus commanded that we love all. I am but one of the
redeemed by the Blood of Jesus my Lord.
Yes, since the doctrine of the Trinity is denied by the UPC in general (I
have had many friends that were and are) then I believe that they qualify
as one of the cults.
It is always to be remembered (as Dr. Martin alsways said) that they and
all cultists are those that Jesus died for and loves.
In Jesus Servcie and Love,
Steve McLeroy
apologia@negia.net 
"Unless the Lord builds the house, 
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
In vain you rise early and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat-
for while they sleep 
He provides for those He loves."
                         Psalms 127:1-2         
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Subject:     AR-talk Re: Oneness Pentecostals Saved Until They Study?
To:          AR-talk, ar-talk@xc.org

Originally from: "Robert M. Bowman, Jr." 
Originally dated: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 17:05:40 -0400

On a September 18 post, Mark Bassett presented an article by David 
Bernard,
a Oneness Pentecostal author.  Among Bernard's several points is the
following reference to me:

>     Several years ago, Robert Bowman, one of Walter Martin's chief
researchers, acknowledged to me in a telephone conversation that most UPCI
converts truly have faith in Christ and receive salvation, but when they
progress in doctrinal study and consciously embrace the Oneness view then
they lose salvation. It is an unusual cult indeed that leads people to
salvation but then gradually takes it away from them! Would he say the 
same
of any other group he considers cultic, such as Mormons or Jehovah 
Witnesses?

Just for the record, I do not believe I said any such thing.  I do 
remember
talking with Bernard on the phone.  Here is what I think I said (and what 
I
would still say):  It is possible that some people raised in a Oneness
church might come to a saving knowledge of Christ in that context, but if
so, once they acquired adequate understanding of the issues they would
eventually renounce the Oneness doctrine and embrace an orthodox faith.
Indeed, I would say the same thing can and has happened among Mormons and
Jehovah's Witnesses.  By no means would I have suggested that a saved
member of a Oneness church could lose their salvation, since I believe in
the Reformed doctrine of the perseverance of the saints!  Anyone 
adequately
informed of the issues who rejects the historic Christian faith (not just
the Trinity, though that is a major component of it) must be regarded by 
us
as having embraced heresy.  That is not quite the same thing as claiming
that we know where they will spend eternity -- a claim I would not make
regarding individual Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons, either.

I hope this information clarifies the matter; I invite dialogue on the 
matter.

-- Robert M. Bowman, Jr.

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James White
Subject:     Re: AR-talk Questionable references in Ex-Cult Archive 
To:          AR-talk, ar-talk@xc.org

Originally from: 
Originally dated: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 17:28:19 -0400 (EDT)

(Psalm 119:18)  Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your
law.

In a message dated 97-09-18 13:15:16 EDT, you write:

> I do not know whether this is an appropriate way of initiating
>  conversation, as I am quite new to this list. Having read the list for
>  a number of weeks now, my best judgement is that it would be
>  acceptable to respond in this way.
>  
>  For the record, I am a United Pentecostal Church pastor. Charges of
>  "cultism" against the fellowship to which I belong have been
>  escalating recently, by appearances. Some time ago, D.K. Bernard
>  addressed some such charges. 
 
< snip >

A few comments:

1)  Mark and I go back a long way (anyone remember Fidonet?).  We've 
debated
Oneness many times.

2)  Bernard is the best Oneness theologian going (which is why I tried to
interact with him extensively in my paper on this topic:
http://www.aomin.org/CHALC.html).

3)  However, the arguments posted to this list have many serious flaws.  
You
may have noted that most of the arguments could have been used (and in 
fact,
are regularly used) by Mormons in the exact same context.  Demonstrating 
that
some evangelicals are inconsistent in their use of the term "cult" does 
not,
in and of itself, relieve the UPC of the stigma of denying the historical
doctrine of the Trinity so that one cannot have and honor both the Father 
and
the Son.

At the very least, the resurgence of Oneness apologetics (aided, no 
doubt, by
CT), *should* cause Christians to again consider the centrality of the
confession that we worship the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

   +-------<<<<< Orthopodeo@aol.com >>>>>-------+
   +                                            +
   +                James White                 +
   +            http://www.aomin.org            +
   +                                            +
   +-------<<<<<<< Sola Scriptura! >>>>>>-------+

        Whatever they may adduce, and wherever they may quote from, let
        us rather, if we are His sheep, hear the voice of our Shepherd.
        Therefore let us search for the church in the sacred canonical
        Scriptures (Augustine, De unitate ecclesiae, 3).

[To AR-talk@xc.org on 09-18-97]
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Subject:     RE: AR-talk Re: Oneness Pentecostals Saved Until They Study?
To:          AR-talk, ar-talk@xc.org
CC:          'Kirk Van Ooteghem', vanoo@ecicnet.org
             'Clifford Readout' 	, readout@earthlink.net

Originally from: MW Bassett 
Originally dated: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 12:53:46 -0400

>Originally from: "Robert M. Bowman, Jr." 
>Originally dated: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 17:05:40 -0400
>
>On a September 18 post, Mark Bassett presented an article by David Bernard,
>a Oneness Pentecostal author.  Among Bernard's several points is the
>following reference to me:

 [...]

Thanks for your comments, Mr. Bowman. Of course it does invite 
discussion of the potential of a difference between eternal 
damnation through a failure to embrace truth, and the eternal 
salvation of a heretic. 

I am going to be very careful at the outset of participation in this 
list, as these discussions can quickly become hydra. I cannot at the 
moment find an apologetics resource which can become the center of 
that discussion, so it would be best to remain focused on the 
Bernard article.

Going back to that, Bernard had made the point that critics would 
allow for the salvation of a person joining the church on the basis 
of the faith they embraced in the United Pentecostal Church would be 
saved, by the critic's own criteria. 

Reviewing Bernard's own testimony "typically they hear a simple 
evangelistic message about the death, burial, and resurrection of 
Jesus Christ, believe that Jesus is their Savior, decide to accept 
the offer of salvation, and come to the altar of repentance. For 
example, I repented of my sins, believed on the
Lord Jesus Christ, and received the Holy Spirit at age seven."

While no one is asking another to declare where Bernard will spend 
eternity, we are interested in what precisely is envisioned as 
transformation in such an individual from a place of genuine 
salvation (in the view of modern Protestant orthodoxy), to the 
condition of apostasy or heresy.

Undoubtedly scholars, with a passion for the debate and perhaps for 
the doctrines should and do attempt to bring consistency to their 
own expressions, and life to the words of the scripture through 
exposition, most would say that the condition of salvation is 
another matter. If a person who having had that experience retains 
his faith in Jesus Christ, diligently studies the scriptures and 
arrives at convictions that separate him from orthodoxy, it is hard 
to pinpoint the crime which brings the charges of heresy. 

Protestant tradition is rich with the notion that the orthodoxy 
expressed by the majority can actually be contrary to the faith 
which saves. The reformers, on the continent and in England, felt 
the heat of such charges. Ultimately it was not their experience of 
faith in Jesus Christ which was in question but the inconsistency of 
their expressions with that of the ecclesiastical leadership. We 
would mostly all look back on the reformation period as a work of 
God. Perhaps it is valuable to review what we know about the 
condition of salvation before the pejorative term "cult' is loosely 
applied.

Under United Pentecostal Church pastors, people are led to faith in 
the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Much is said about the adequacy of 
Jesus Christ as savior. People hearing evangelistic sermons will 
understand that He is the Creator, and the God from whom Adam and 
Eve walked as they progressed into transgression, condemnation and 
separation. They will understand that Jesus Christ is the heavenly 
friend of sinners whose arms are stretched out, from the says of 
Abel, alongside a multitude through the Red Sea, and finally 
standing alongside the invalid at the pool. They are taught that 
salvation was ALWAYS by faith, with obedience, and by blood, and 
that the blood that was shed, unless it represented the blood of 
God's only son, was not efficacious unless it was with faith in the 
God who proposed the sacrifice, to receive it as a substitute.

Everything that is taught regarding the Christian approach to God, 
and the life of salvation centers on Jesus Christ. Whereas the cults 
deny the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, the United Pentecostal 
Church recommends Jesus as Savior because He is Eternal God and well 
able to mediate between God's holiness and man's imperfect state. 
Jesus is recommended as Passover Lamb, for his unique suitability. 
The Love of God is emphasized in Jesus' own sacrifice, as a man, 
subject to the will of God unto self-denial, and thereby a perfect 
example for the child of God. While the antichrist spirit intruding 
into pseudo-Christian circles, and wanting recognition as 
"Christian" denies that Jesus was come "in the flesh", the United 
Pentecostal Church rehearses and declares Paul's trumpet blast 
saying that God was manifest in the flesh, and there ought to be 
every eye and ear turned to believe and respond to that visitation 
of God.

Furthermore, under United Pentecostal Church pastors, people are 
encouraged to repent of sin, and spiritually experience the presence 
of God with, or without emotional expression, allowing God to work 
in that individual's life. Many of these people receive the Holy 

Ghost with the evidence of speaking with other tongues at this 
point, with no theological, or soterilogical coaching. Some are 
encouraged to worship God, who otherwise would be socially 
inhibited. Unlike Pentecostal cults, we do not instruct people how 
to speak in tongues, dance in the spirit, or any other work of the 
Spirit, but it does very often happen without further instruction. 

Progressing only from a foundation of faith in Christ Jesus, 
believers are encouraged, and sometimes even commanded to be 
baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for remission of 
sins. This is demonstrated from scripture as something which the 
Apostle's did practice, evidently without exception. Though we hope 
it would not be regarded as cultic to instruct from the pages of 
scripture, most often, this is not accomplished in the lively 
moments of a church service. People are typically baptized in 
response to the preached word of God, not unlike the Acts of the 
early church.

Again, I would like to emphasize Bernard's statement: " It is an 
unusual cult indeed that leads people to salvation but then 
gradually takes it away from them!"

The only conclusion that is possible to my thinking, without further 
comment, is that Mr. Bowman believes that Oneness Apostolics by in 
large have a salvation that is for some reason not a "good 
salvation".

Thank you, Mr. Bowman,  for the opportunity to inquire

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