The Ordo Salutis
Are Oneness Pentecostals saved? That is like asking if the 3000 that were baptized on the day of Pentecost were saved. Questioning whether Oneness Pentecostals are redeemed is, in one sense speculating as to whether Peter’s presentation of the ordo salutis (order of salvation) was correct (Acts 2:38). Is it wrong to repent, is it wrong to be baptized in the name of Jesus, is it wrong to be filled with the gift of the Holy Ghost? Of course not, in fact, it is entirely Biblical. Indeed, the question of whether Oneness Pentecostals are redeemed has nothing to do with the ordo salutis. Let’s call a spade a spade. When Trinitarians like Dr. Brown question our salvation, it is primarily based on our views concerning the Godhead. Their argument is centered around the fact that we deny what they affirm. Clearly, Trinitarians as a whole are not very concerned with the ordo salutis as evident within their ecumenical circles. Indeed amongst Trinitarian movements, there are many ways one can be saved, whether it’s invoking the sinner’s prayer or baptism, it does not seem to matter, as long as one affirms the Trinity.
God Manifest in the Flesh and Salvation
A heretical view of the Godhead, like that of the Trinity, inevitably leads one to both misinterpret and misapply the salvific formula provided in the scriptures.Pastor Daniel Bracamonte
Inevitably one’s understanding of the Godhead will determine how they conceptualize the ordo salutis. As an example, Oneness adherents and Trinitarians both believe God was manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16). There is a significant difference in what Oneness believers and Trinitarians mean when they say God was manifest in the flesh. When a Trinitarian states that God was manifest in the flesh, they mean the second part of the Godhead, the eternal Son was manifest in the flesh. When a Oneness adherent states that God was manifest in the flesh, they mean “thee” God that created the heavens, and the earth was manifest in the flesh. In other words, unlike Trinitarians, Oneness adherents conceptualize Jesus as nothing less than the self-expression of Yahweh (Heb. 1:3, Col.2:9). This is the reason that Oneness adherents place such a strong emphasis on the name of Jesus in the ordo salutis (Acts 4:12). Again, how one apprehends the Godhead determines how they conceptualize salvation. A heretical view of the Godhead, like that of the Trinity, inevitably leads one to both misinterpret and misapply the salvific formula provided in the scriptures. The question then should not be whether Oneness adherents are saved, it should be are Trinitarians saved?
It strikes me as odd when Trinitarians such as Dr. Michael Brown begin their evaluation of Oneness Pentecostals by bringing up the idea that Oneness Pentecostals are “legalistic,” or “cultish.” The reason it strikes me as odd is that men like Dr. Brown seem to neglect the fact that there are many expressions under the Trinitarian umbrella that are what he calls “legalistic,” or “cultish.” Dr. Brown conveniently ignores all the legalistic, cultish movements that fly the flag of the Trinity. Fundamental Baptist have long been considered legalistic; the Bethel movement is regarded by many Trinitarians to be cultish. Many in evangelical circles view the emergent church movement as heretical, and many consider Dr. Brown himself to be unorthodox. What do all these groups have in common? They are all Trinitarian. So please spare me the references to legalistic and cultish behavior as a way of disparaging our movement so that you can, in some sense, invalidate our Apostolic teaching. The reality is the doctrine of the Trinity is the biggest heresy ever concocted in the history of the church. None of the Apostles ever expressed implicitly, or explicitly, a Trinitarian theology. The fact is that the Trinity was a heretical creation to satisfy the philosophical musings of a group of Alexandrian philosophers who had become Christians.