Thoughts on Mark Driscoll’s YouTube Video – Should They Leave Their Church Because It Denies The Trinity?

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Today I came across a video by Mark Driscoll talking about oneness Pentecostals. A viewer emailed him saying that they were attending a Pentecostal church that teaches the oneness doctrine (God is one who manifests himself as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) and wanted some insight on this teaching verses the doctrine of the trinity.

I would like to share my thoughts on his video which you can find on his youtube channel.

The Title

The title of this video is “Should They Leave Their Church Because It Denies The Trinity?” Mr. Driscoll goes into explanation on why Coral (the viewer with the question) should leave the Pentecostal church, believing that this is a “closed handed issue” that should not go ignored. He explains that he believes that there are Jesus loving Pentecostals, but that they are in error of scripture. As a oneness Pentecostal we also believe the same about those who believe in the trinity. In fact we would agree with Mr. Driscoll that the identity of God is very important. My problem here is not that Mr. Driscoll and the oneness believers disagree on the identity of God, but that Coral simply asked for insight, and Mr. Driscoll goes on to immediately explain the reasons the viewer should leave the church and then proceeds to title the video in the same manner.

I would also note that the United Pentecostal Church is not a denomination. It is instead a fellowship of ministers.

The Trinity vs One God

To quote Mr. Driscoll on his definition of the trinity he says “one God in three persons, eternally, and simultaneously existing. Father, Son, and Spirit. Sharing all the divine attributes and living in perfect harmony as the first loving community.”

Mr. Driscoll explains the doctrine of the trinity is three things.

  1. God is three persons.
  2. Each person is fully and equally God.
  3. There is only one God.

He even goes on to give the explanation that I have heard often from trinitarians, which is that our minds cannot comprehend the trinity. I concur with this statement because you will not find anyone in the Bible that believed in a trinity. Let’s compare the doctrine of the trinity with the doctrine of One God (Pentecostals).

  1. There is only one God.
  2. God has revealed himself as the Father in creation, the Son in redemption, and the Holy Ghost in regeneration.
  3. Inside of Christ Jesus dwelled the fullness of the Godhead. (Colossians 2:9)

I have spoken with several friends who are trinitarians who have said that they do not like the term “persons” because it sounds like they believe in three gods. However we can see throughout scripture how God has manifested himself to humanity in different ways.

Baptism

Mr. Driscoll uses Matthew 28:19 as a point of reference to defend the trinity. I would like everyone reading this blog post to carefully read this scripture and notice a word that I have bolded.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” KJV

Jesus instruction is to baptize in the name. I would challenge Mr. Driscoll to answer the question of “what is the name?” Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not names. In fact Father and Son are both titles. So where can we go to find out the name? I say that we go to scripture.

The apostle Peter was standing there when Jesus spoke this commandment to the other disciples. After Jesus ascends into heaven we see the apostles in action in the Book of Acts. So with that, what did Peter command concerning baptism?

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38

So, we see here that the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is Jesus.

But I Thought Jesus Was Only The Son

Maybe you’re saying this to yourself right now, “but I thought Jesus was only the Son of God?” Yes, Jesus is the Son of God, however he is not “just the Son of God.” I want to share with you the fidget spinner looking diagram that a lot of trinitarians use to teach their doctrine. Let’s take a look at it.

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Notice something important in this confusing teaching. The Father is not The Son and The Son is not The Father. However this is not scriptural. Let me take you back to one of our favorite Christmas scriptures. Isaiah 9:6 describes the future birth of Christ as this.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” KJV

We see here and in countless other scriptures in the Bible that Jesus is the one true God. I would contend that this is what makes the Gospel so powerful. That God took on flesh (John 1:1 & 14) as the man Christ Jesus and died for our sins. And the same Spirit that raised Christ from the grave can live in you (Acts 2:38-39). God was the one who paid the price, he didn’t force his “son” to do it. Glory to the one true God!

Image result for oneness pentecostal diagram

Conclusion

In conclusion I would encourage Coral or anyone else reading this post to not fall into the trap of believing that the oneness of God is false teaching. It is the foundation of Judaism and the first church (Duet. 6:4). I would also encourage the reader to find a good oneness Pentecostal church in your area.

If you’re interested in learning more about the beliefs of the UPCI please visit https://www.upci.org/about/our-beliefs.

His in Christ,

Hank

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AYC Missions – Montreal, Quebec

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My wife and I are just a week away from boarding a plane and flying to Montreal, Quebec for our missions trip, and from what we hear Montreal is absolutely beautiful. As a married couple this is our first missions trip together, my second North American Mission’s trip, and her first.

I thought I would share with our friends how we got here.

ANSWERING THE CALL
In 2010 God gave me a burden for North American Missions while I was in Washington, DC on an AYC missions trip. That life changing time with Pastor Jerald Staten and the Living Hope DC church taught me a lot about teaching Bible studies, personal evangelism, outreach, and loving people. Since that time I have asked myself how I could continue to bless NAM Churches. As a youth leader I have been able to send youth to assist in outreach, leading worship, and raising money for mission’s through Sheaves for Christ and Christmas for Christ. Rev. Brandon Skelton, pastor at New Mercy in Mt. Pleasant once called me “a friend to church planters” which means a lot to me.

So how did Quebec come up? At the beginning of 2017 while setting in a training seminar for Revival by Design, I felt God place a word on my heart, “Canada.” I wrote the word on a piece of paper and passed it down to my wife. She looked at me with concern and asked “Are we moving?” I didn’t feel at the time that would be the case. But the following next few days would answer what we were feeling.

Apostolic Youth Corp released their 2017 summer destinations and there it was… Montreal, Quebec Canada. After much prayer and conversation my wife and I filled out the resume in hopes of chosen for the missions trip. After a time of waiting we were notified that we had been chosen. Our surprise came when we were asked to help chaperone the trip.

We feel so strong in the Lord about this trip. God has placed missionaries to Quebec likeIMG_0143 Melissa Fross in our life. We feel that we are answering the call of God in our life by continuing to serve North American Missions by going to Montreal, Quebec and assisting Pastor Dieudonne Kahozi, the missionary to Montreal. Also, as a student pastor we believe in investing in young people. What better way to help in missions and youth than using AYC!

WHAT IS AYC
You may be asking, “What is AYC?” It stands for Apostolic Youth Corps (AYC), and it is a ministry of the General Youth Division that facilitates the pairing of ministry-minded Pentecostal students with North American and international sites which need and desire evangelism assistance.  AYC candidates will assist Global Missionaries, North American Missionaries, and work in cooperation with Global Campus Ministry, Campus Ministry International, Compassion Services International, and Metro Evangelism.

WHY DID AYC CHOSE MONTREAL 
Montreal is a city located in the least evangelized part of North America with a population of more than 1.6 million people. While we are there we will experience Montreal’s diverse culture as we participate in street evangelism, homeless ministry, campus ministry, and join different churches in the city for a series of special services. Of course we will do some site seeing while we are there. Places we’ll visit includes the city’s famous Mount Royal and Saint Joseph’s Oratory where we’ll learn the history of Quebec’s spiritual background.

Primarily Catholic and nonreligious, Montreal is ready for an Apostolic revival.

God bless,

HH

A New Hope – My Election Night Thoughts

A New Hope – My Election Night Thoughts

Can you believe it? Donald Trump actually won the election! He is the new president-elect!

Eating Crow

I have to eat a lot of crow do to the criticism I shot at Trump. I wrongly said that there is no way Donald Trump could win the election without minority support. I based this on the fact that George W. Bush barely won his two elections when he had the support of hispanics. Barack Obama overwhelmingly won his two elections with the support of every minority group. Let’s just say I put a lot of stock in minorities. Honestly, I thought Trump was too divisive in the primaries and general election. I felt as though he was not taking the debates serious enough, and I felt his political knowledge lacked substance. As a student of politics, and someone who was hopeful for conservative change, I was disappointed. In the end I felt we conservatives had given the election to Hillary. I was so upset that I had even made the comment that I may not vote for Trump and instead support Evan McMillan. I ultimately cast my vote for Trump, but I was not happy about it.

Election Night

As election night approached I still felt the same. Every major poll showed that Trump was going to lose in a landslide. I am not one of those that believe the election was rigged or even that the media was trying to sway the election with false polling. I honestly feel that there were many “cabin” Trump supporters. Those who felt they would be polarized as angry rednecks, racist, haters of Muslims and hispanics, and ignorant. Who decided to keep their vote a secret, and if you do a general Google search there are claims that this was the case.

My wife and I watched the election night coverage on CBS (we only have local news) and followed the New York Times app which had live numbers coming in every minute. We watched as dreadfully states started turning light blue, especially Florida, and my nightmare was coming true. I told my wife if Hillary wins Florida it’s all over. But then something happened, something that seemed like a miracle, or a glitch in the app. Florida and other swing states started turning light red. My wife came running into the living room saying with excitement, “Trump is winning!” I was stunned, CBS was stunned. I turned it to ABC, NBC, even PBS and they were all stunned. A CBS host said “Could Trump really win this election?”

Around 3-4am rolls around and my wife is waking me up off the couch with the news that the miracle had happened. Donald J Trump had defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the 45th president of the United States. Immediately I was filled with a filling I had not had in years.

A New Hope

Republican National Convention: Day Four
Please excuse the Star Wars reference, but I was filled with hope and peace. Not because “my candidate” had won, because he was far from being “my candidate”. What I was feeling was the Holy Spirit. I immediately started praising God because I knew that there would not be another Christian held hostage in the Middle East as the U.S. president sits silently. I knew that Israel finally had our support again (Trumps AIPAC Speech Highlights). Christian liberty would not be attacked in the name of “love”. Trump is no saint, but could he be sent by God to restore the U.S.?  I know that I and many Christians around the world hit our knees in prayer for this election. The result is an answered prayer by a God that has heard our cries. I feel a spirit of revival in America and this is my new hope.

In Christ,

HH

 

Should We Still Dress Our Best for Church?

Should We Still Dress Our Best for Church?

I love this blog post for several reasons, and I will share three. 1. It’s an interesting topic that comes up frequently. 2. The authors writing and debate is well written and established. 3. I agree with his statements and enjoyed his article from
CNN

Apostolic Voice

I’m a millennial and I still think it’s best to wear our best to church. Recently my brother (Jonathan) and his wife (Vera) launched an online tie store called French Thread (shameless plug). Their company is awesome and it’s a great conversation starter. In particular, the issue of the so-called church “dress wars” comes up from time to time. No, I don’t think a suit will save you or jeans will jinx you; I just think God’s house deserves our respect. I can hear the groans from latte sipping, skinny jean, cashmere wearing liberals now… and yes, I know the Church is made up of people, not buildings. In fact, I’ll take you all the way down that road; our bodies are literally temples of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 6:19). Meaning, it matters how we dress, speak, talk, eat, live, and on and on. And not just at…

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Mountain View

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Luke 6:10-12 (NLT) 10 He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! 11 At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.12 One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.

These Chills Are Multiplying

I remember I was sweating, my knees were weak, and I was terrified as one of my friends was pulling on my arm saying “Come on Hank, it’s awesome!” I had always thought of myself as a brave kid, but here I was on top of a mountain, showing that I was all talk and no action. You see I grew up in East Tennessee, surrounded by hills and mountains, in fact my family and I would vacation frequently in Gatlinburg, TN which had the most breath taking views of the Smoky Mountains. We would travel the mountains and climb forever and ever into the sky in our silver Buick Regal. The climb was uncomfortable and it took what felt like forever to reach the top. Once we reached the top I was unable to look over the edge and see where we had just come from, I was terrified and I would think to myself “What if I fall?” and “What if they pull me so hard I fall?” I was so afraid of falling to the point I was missing the best part of the journey, the view.

Ain’t No Mountain High… Ain’t No Valley Low

For many of us, looking back on the past is painful. I’ve heard it said that we should leave the past in the past, and never look back. I absolutely agree with that to a point. My thought is, never look back when your pulling yourself out of the valley. When you begin to climb the mountain, looking back will only cause distractions. The valley has been used as an analogy for describing the dark times in a person’s life, whereas the mountain top has been described as the pinnacle, the goal that we are striving for. For many of us we are still reaching for that mountain top experience.

What Jesus Teaches Us

As I study the scripture in Luke 6 I see Jesus who has done the impossible, he has just healed a man’s hand, completely restored! Those who hated Jesus only became more angry at him and began to plot how they might get rid of him. I could only imagine how I would feel if I were Jesus at this moment. I would be confused because I have just done this great thing, I’ve shown compassion to this crippled man, and most of all I’ve been used by God! Yet, they want to kill me! I believe that Jesus thought on this for a while, just like I would have, and yet his reaction is what ours should be. Jesus went up on a mountain and prayed to God all night.

Have you ever been in the valley, upset, disappointed, confused, and needing answers? I have! Being in the valley is a terrible experience, yet I have found myself here so often, and I have to ask why this that? The smart alec in me wants to say, “It’s because your from Rockwood!” which is located in the valley of East Tennessee, surrounded by mountains. As a kid I learned a valuable lesson. If you want to get out of the valley, then climb a mountain. Climbing won’t be easy, it can be painful, and it can take time, but with focus and determination you will reach the top. As Jesus climbed the mountain, and walked it’s trails, he was focused on God alone. The Lord shows us that when the enemy comes against us, climb a mountain, get away from the chaos, be alone where it’s just you and God, and once you reach the pinnacle you’ll be able to see things more clearly. You can look over the valley and say “with the help of God I overcame all of this.” Once Jesus left the mountain with God he was focused on one task, and that was task was to pull others out of their valley’s. What’s neat is Luke tells us in his gospel that Jesus started with twelve ordinary men, who would turn the world upside down. (Luke 6:13-16)

Disciple Making

I encourage you today by saying this, if you find yourself in the valley, make up in your mind now that you’re going to get away with God. It’s not going to be some patty cake prayer that gets you out, but hard work, determination, focus, and time with God in prayer. Once you’ve reached the pinnacle with God, you can overlook the valley with a new perspective, with a sense of victory. I encourage everyone to have a “mountain top” mentality, but be sure to bring someone with you. That’s how we make disciples for the kingdom.

17 When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. Luke 6:17

Blessings,

Hank

By the way, I finally gave in and looked over the edge. Sure I was scared, but it didn’t last long because now I had a feeling of victory. Wow what a view!

Black Mountain
Black Mountain located in Crab Orchard, TN

Preparing Yourself to Receive

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5 ESV

We are quickly coming up on Valentine’s Day weekend, which for the Tennessee District United Pentecostal Church means Winter Youth Retreat in Sevierville, TN. This is an awesome event packed full of fun, worship, and the preaching of the Gospel. As vans full of youth arrive at the Sevierville Convention Center, some are beyond excited, while others are nervous (first timers), but everyone knows it’s going to be a great event.

This year Vertical Student Ministries is taking 19 students, and three of them are new to the youth group. As their student pastor I wanted everyone to be prepared for this event, because I knew without a shadow of doubt, that all of them would come back with their lives changed. I’ve experienced this countless times as a youth myself, and later on as a youth worker. There is just something about young people, who are passionately seeking God in worship, that causes the universe to explode (ok, maybe not that violent), however in all honesty it is a very powerful experience. It reminds me of the Book of Acts when the disciples were waiting for the promised Holy Spirit in chapter 2. Once the Spirit arrived, it was powerful, and caused many to question “What is this?” I believe that when our young people arrive back home on Monday, many will proclaim “What is this!” and ask “What has got a hold of these young people?”

On Sunday I taught a lesson to the youth titled “How to Prepare for Youth Retreat.” I covered having fun, meeting new people, participating in all the activities (which is important for the experience), but that’s not the most important thing. I told them that this week they need to be in prayer for Winter Youth Retreat and focus on what they want to experience from God. I pointed out to them that if they prepare now to receive, just like the disciples did in Acts 2, then they would also have a powerful experience with God. They took it to heart and made up in their minds that tonight at church they wanted to start preparing to receive from God a powerful experience.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, our youth have been in focused prayer, and these young people have really been preparing themselves lately to touch God. That’s exactly what happened on Sunday night. They worshiped, they went to the altars after the preaching, and then they had a life changing experience with God. Many of them prayed like I haven’t heard them pray before. My wife was touched in such a way that she was used in the gift of Knowledge, which is one of the Gifts of the Spirit spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12.

 

I’m proud of our young people for making up in their minds that they were not going to settle and wait for Winter Youth Retreat to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit. They are realizing that seeking God is more than having book smarts and theology degrees, but we accomplish it when we study his Word in focused prayer. In order to receive from God, we must first be actively seeking him, and then we must be ready to receive.

Blessings,

Hank

 

 

A Legacy of Prayer

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This year my youth group will be embarking on a journey to grow closer to God through prayer. I know this sounds typical, however for our group young people it’s something we are taking serious. We have purchased books from the Christian movie The War Room to draw inspiration, insight from others, and develop a battle plan for daily prayer. We have realized that our time is short, and if we want to impact the world for Christ, it first starts with a relationship with him.

Tonight I’m teaching on The Legacy of Prayer, which is the title of chapter 1 in The Battle Plan of Prayer. I would like to share with you a quote from the book that really caught my attention, “And there is no greater legacy we could embrace or leave behind us than one of faithfulness in prayer.” It’s from this quote that I get my thought today.

I like to highlight and write in my books. This is advice I took from my former youth pastor. I’m not encouraging you to do the same, however I do like to flip through the books I’ve read and remember the thoughts I had when reading that particular book. The note I made next to that quote was this, “The greatest legacy I can pass down to my daughter is a legacy of prayer.” When I took that thought to heart, I began to allow my 1 year old daughter in my room during my hour long prayer meetings. She quickly grabbed a hold of what I was doing, and though her words aren’t formed like mine, she bows her head, gets on her knees, and speaks to God like her daddy.

My wife experienced this one night. As my daughter and I were praying, Sydney walked in to see her husband and baby girl on their knees praying for mommy, and being 8 weeks pregnant with our second child, she became emotional and began to cry. There is nothing that overjoys a parent than knowing their child is doing what’s right and good. In this case we’re training Harper (my daughter) to develop her own relationship with Jesus.

Harper can’t live off her parents faith and relationship with God alone, she’s got to develop her own. But it’s my job to pass down to her a legacy of prayer. Rev. Anthony Mangun of Louisiana preaches passionately at The Pentecostals of Alexandria that he has got a hold of a legacy of prayer passed on by his parents. The key to the fire that Bro. Mangun has is found in his own prayer life, and his model was his parents. For me I’ve been blessed to have prayer warriors in my life, and none more prominent than grandma Hayes. I remember watching my her pray and sow as a kid growing up. She was in constant conversation with the Lord. Next time I see her (she’s 90 years old), I’m going to give her a big hug, and thank her for passing down a legacy of prayer, that touched me and her granddaughter.

Blessings,

Hank

Kendrick, Stephen, and Alex Kendrick. The Battle Plan for Prayer: From Basic Training to Targeted Strategies. Nashville, TN: B&H Group, 2015. Print.