Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ancient Near Eastern Texts and the Earliest Biblical Writings (4 of 4)

Encoding the Covenant Law in the Bible (Part 4 of 4)

            The compilation of written law codes in the ancient Near East is well known. Several Hittite treaties have clauses requiring their periodic reading in public, and the same would be true of what Moses wrote (cf. 31:24). In the treaty between Suppiluliumas and Kurtiwaza, for instance, the code was to be read “at regular intervals.”[7] The precise extent of what Moses actually wrote is debated. It is unnecessary to suppose that he wrote the entirety of the Torah as we now have it (especially the account of his own death), but it is equally unnecessary to suppose that everything was recorded later from oral tradition, as some scholars have suggested (or was made up later and does not even date back to Moses). Linguistically, we have only sparse indications of the state of the Hebrew language at this early period, and whatever form Moses used, it may well have needed updating later. Indeed, the Hebrew text of Moses’ song contains more than a dozen hapax legomena as well as some complicated syntax which remain as challenges for any translator. However one wants to speculate on exactly what Moses wrote, the text clearly indicates that he wrote some form of the covenant law and delivered it to the priests and elders for safekeeping and periodic reading. There was to be a public reading every seven years during the Festival of Booths “at the place God would choose” (cf. 15:1ff.; 16:13-15).

There are even some passages describing Moses as writing, such as, Dt. 31:9, which refers to an unspecified section of law codes, Dt. 31:19, 22, (referring to chapter 32), and 31:24ff. (probably referring to the Decalogue). Such references suggest that portions were written out as smaller segments prior to the compilation of the whole. The rabbinical custom of referring to everything in the Pentateuch as the words of Moses, of course, was adopted by the writers of the New Testament, but this convenience of speech does not necessarily support the view that Moses personally penned the entire corpus. One can only speculate how long elements in Deuteronomy and other books in the Pentateuch may have been preserved as oral tradition before being codified. A generation later, Joshua is commanded to obey the “book of the law” (Jos. 1:7-8), a reference that seems to refer to the contents of Deuteronomy 5-26 or 5-30. Joshua is familiar with the law code that altars were not to be fashioned using an iron tool (Jos. 8:31; Dt. 27:5), and indeed, the whole ceremony in the Shechem Pass is based on the anticipation of this ceremony as described in Deuteronomy (Jos. 8:30-35; Dt. 27). Even later, Joshua is said to have drawn up decrees and laws which then were recorded in the “Book of the Law of God”, so apparently Joshua, also, had a hand in the composition of the Torah (cf. Jos. 24:25-26). Even later references also cite the “Book of the Law,” expressions that clearly seem to refer to at least portions of Deuteronomy (cf. 2 Kg. 14:6//2 Chr. 25:4; Dt. 24:16). Certainly some of the prophets knew of law codes that were preserved in Deuteronomy (cf. Hos. 5:10//Dt. 19:14; Am. 8:5 and Mic. 6:10ff.//Dt. 25:13ff.; Am. 4:4//Dt. 14:28; Hos. 4:4ff.//Dt. 17:12), but whether all these things were an oral memory or reference to a written code is unclear.

These, then, are some of the factors that must be considered when assessing the earliest written documents in the Bible. As Christians, we believe that God superintended this production, which is what we mean by the term inspiration. At the same time, these biblical texts bear the stamp of history so that it can be fairly said that this is the Word of God in the words of humans.

[7] ANET (1969), p. 205.

Ancient Near Eastern Texts and the Earliest Biblical Writings (3 of 4)

Law Codes

            Along with literary writings, many of the political writings uncovered from the ancient world have proven relevant to our understanding of the Old Testament.  Among these, law codes in particular have provided links between the Bible and the ancient Near Eastern world.  Two of the more well-known examples are the Nuzi texts and the Code of Hammurabi which bear special relevance to the Patriarchal and Mosaic periods of Israelite history respectively.

            The Nuzi texts consist of about 20,000 clay tablets inscribed by a people called the Hurrians who lived in the Zagros mountains around the 15th century BC.  The texts consist primarily of private and public legal documents which, while not particularly interesting to read, are very helpful for understanding the social customs of the period.  In many cases, the social conditions and customs described in the Nuzi tablets parallel those described in the Patriarchal period of the Old Testament (i.e., the period of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).  For example, the laws of inheritance at Nuzi held that a double-portion of a father’s estate was to be given to the eldest son.  In addition, the eldest son held the right to sell his double-portion if he so chose (cf. Jacob and Esau, Gen. 25:29-34).  The laws of inheritance at Nuzi also indicate that if a man had no son to be his heir he could adopt an heir of his choice (cf. Abraham and Eliezer, Gen. 15:1-3) or produce an heir through his wife’s maidservant (cf. Abraham and Hagar, Gen:16:1-4). The Nuzi texts also contain regulations concerning the possession of household gods (Gen. 31:19) as well as the practice of conferring oral blessings on others (cf. the blessing of Isaac, Gen. 27:1-40; the blessing of Jacob, Gen. 49:1-28).  Parallels such as these have provoked a good deal of speculation and debate among scholars with regard to the historical setting of the Patriarchal narratives.

            Another ancient Near Eastern law code called the Code of Hammurabi was inscribed on a pillar by the great Babylonian king Hammurabi sometime around the 18th century BC.  As with the Nuzi texts, there are various parallels between the Code of Hammurabi and the Old Testament.  The first and, perhaps, most striking of these is Hammurabi’s claim to have been given the code by Shamash (i.e. the sun-god) on a mountaintop (cf. Exodus 19:20).  The Code of Hammurabi also contains various structural similarities to the Law of Moses as contained in Exodus 20-23, although nothing resembling the Ten Commandments is found in either the Code of Hammurabi or any other ancient Near Eastern law code for that matter.  In both codes, the principle of Lex Talionis (i.e. “an eye for and eye, a tooth for a tooth”, cf. Ex. 21:24; Lv. 24:20; Dt. 19:21) provides the basic framework for the concept of justice and, in addition, many of the specific case laws are remarkably similar. These include punishments for striking one’s parents (cf. Exodus 21:15), assaulting a pregnant woman (Exodus 21:22), failing to restrain a goring ox (Exodus 21:28-32), theft (Exodus 22:1), and adultery (Exodus 22:16).  As with other ancient Near Eastern texts, the significance of these similarities is debated among scholars who arrive at different conclusions.



            While this brief introduction to ancient Near Eastern texts is far from exhaustive, it does provide a taste of what scholars are doing when comparing the Bible to other ancient Near Eastern texts.  The four texts dealt with above constitute only a small portion of what ancient Near Eastern literature has to offer the field of Biblical studies, but they are certainly among the most complete and relevant in the field.  Some other texts frequently addressed in relation to the Bible include: the Sumerian King List (describes ten rulers from before the flood with reigns lasting from 18,000-40,000 years), the Legend of Adapa (Mesopotamian legend mentioning the tree of life), the Amarna Letters (letters written from Palestine requesting Egypt’s aid against a group of people called the Hapiru—possibly Hebrews), the Baal Cycle of Myths (Canaanite mythology about the god Baal), the Ur-Nammu Law Code, the Lipit-Ishtar Law Code, the Hittite Law Code, and the Eshnunna Law Code.

            The relationship between these ancient Near Eastern texts and the text of the Bible have intrigued scholars for many years. One thing generally agreed upon is that of these ancient texts, the biblical texts were composed later than the Mesopotamian texts by even the earliest possible date for the exodus. Hence, one cannot argue that the Mesopotamians borrowed from the Bible. The inverse is possible, of course. The authors of the Bible may have borrowed ideas from the Mesopotamian texts, and in fact, most historical-critical scholars arrive at such a conclusion. Still, at least two other reasonable possibilities exist. One is that there was a common stock of ancient oral tradition that was older than and lay behind both the biblical and Mesopotamian materials. The other is that the Genesis accounts of the creation and flood may be apologetic material aimed at correcting the false cosmogonies of Mesopotamia. Either of these hypotheses would account for the linguistic links and literary parallels between the various texts.

Ancient Near Eastern Texts and the Earliest Biblical Writings (2 or 4)

Creation Texts

            One of the most important literary themes in the ancient Near East was cosmogony (i.e., the story of how things came into being).  Among the cosmogonies of the ancient Near East, the earliest and most enduring were produced by those cultures to whom we owe the invention of writing, Mesopotamia and Egypt. The Mesopotamian cosmogony, in particular, bears a number of resemblances to the creation account found in Genesis 1 and continues to be a subject of perennial interest to scholars and archaeologists.

            The Mesopotamian cosmogony, Enuma Elish or “when on high”, originated in ancient Babylonia probably sometime around 1800 BC.  The story tells how the world was created by the gods of fresh water and salt water, Apsu and Tiamat, and how through their union the other gods and goddesses were born.  Almost immediately, however, discord arose between the primordial gods and their descendants, and Apsu and Tiamat decided to kill off their offspring.  Upon discovering this, one of the lesser gods, Ea, killed Apsu, while another god, Marduk, was chosen to lead the others in war against Tiamat.  Marduk, the god of storm, eventually defeated Tiamat with weapons of thunder, lightening, and wind, and took his place as king among the gods.  Marduk then attended to the task of creation.  Out of one half of Tiamat’s body he made the earth, and out of the other half he made the heavens. Out of the blood of one of Tiamat’s appointees, Marduk appointed Ea to fashion human beings… “savage man I will create, and he shall be charged with the service of the gods, that they might be at ease!”4.  Finally, Marduk appointed different roles to the gods, set the cosmos in order, and celebrated with a divine banquet.

While the theological differences between Enuma Elish and the Biblical account of creation are obvious enough, there are nevertheless numerous parallels.  The larger part of these are purely linguistic in nature, but the most striking, and the one for which Enuma Elish is the most famous, concerns the order of creation.  In both accounts, the creation of the universe occurs in discrete phases, with the gods or God resting on the last.  Furthermore, the details of each specific phase of creation are identical: the first involving the creation of light; the second, the dome of the sky; the third, the creation of dry land, and so on. The strength of this parallel has led to an unending debate among scholars concerning the precise nature of the relationship between Enuma Elish and Genesis chapter 1. Scholarly opinion ranges from the view that there is no close relationship between the two5 to the view that the latter is directly dependant upon the former6.


Flood Texts

            Interestingly, more than 200 flood texts have survived from cultures around the world. The earliest flood texts come from Mesopotamia and Egypt and record the occurrence of a world-wide deluge parallel to the one spoken about in Genesis 6-9.  Of the two, the Mesopotamian account is again the one that bears the closest resemblance to the story in the Bible.

            The Mesopotamian flood story is actually only one part of a much larger literary work called the Epic of Gilgamesh.  The work was written somewhere in the vicinity of ancient Babylonia by no later than the end of the Early Bronze Age (ca. 2000 BC).  In the epic, the story tells how the hero king and semi-divine being, Gilgamesh, overworks his subjects to such an extent that the gods endeavor to divert his attention by creating for him a companion, Enkidu, of equal strength and ambition. Quick to become friends, Gilgamesh and Enkidu embark on a series of successful heroic adventures.  Eventually, Enkidu dies prompting Gilgamesh to undertake the greatest and most challenging quest of all—the search for eternal life.  In his quest, Gilgamesh searches to the ends of the earth to find the legendary Utnapishtim, who alone among humans is said to have attained eternal life.  When Gilgamesh finally finds Utnapishtim, Utnapishtim recounts to Gilgamesh the story of the great flood and how he alone among humans survived and was granted the gift of eternal life by the gods.  As for Gilgamesh, however, Utnapishtim remarks that he can expect no such gift from the gods.  However, Utnapishtim does tell Gilgamesh of a secret plant hidden at the bottom of the sea which, if one eats it, can rejuvenate the life of one that has grown old.  Thereupon, Gilgamesh recovers this plant and attempts to return home with it, but is deceived by a serpent who eats it while he is bathing in a pool.  At long last, Gilgamesh despairs of his search for eternal life and endeavors to take joy in the work of his hands.

            As in Enuma Elish, the thematic differences between the Babylonian account of the flood and the Biblical account of the flood are readily apparent.  Nevertheless, some remarkable parallels exist.  For example, in Utnapishtim’s flood narrative, he tells of how, being warned by the gods that a flood was imminent, he built a ship and sealed it with pitch in order to survive (cf. Gen. 6:13-14).  In addition, just like Noah, Utnapishtim kept animals on the ship in order to preserve the various species (cf. Gen. 6:19-21).  Utnapishtim also sent birds out of his ship in order to ascertain whether or not the flood had stopped (cf. Gen. 8:6-12).  When at last the flood had ceased, the ship came to rest on a mountain where, upon exiting his ship, Utnapishtim offered sacrifices to the gods (cf. Gen. 8:20).  As in Enuma Elish, the relationship between the book of Genesis and the Epic of Gilgamesh continues to be a source of scholarly interest and debate.

4 J. Pritchard, The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures (Princeton: Princeton University, 1958), p. 38.
5 K. Kitchen, The Bible in its World (Downers Grove, IL:  IVP, 1977), p. 26-27.
6 E. Speiser, Genesis [AB] (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1964), pp. 9-11.

Ancient Near Eastern Texts and the Earliest Biblical Writings (Part 1 of 4)

The Origin and Development of Writing

            The first indisputable examples of writing appear on clay tablets and were found at the site of Uruk in lower Mesopotamia.  These mark the transition from “prehistoric” to “historic” civilization and are roughly contemporaneous with the onset of the Early Bronze Age (i.e. 3200 BC).  The content of these early texts has proved for the most part to be undecipherable.  However, scholars are generally agreed that the Uruk texts constitute an early written form of the Sumerian language.  Shortly after the appearance of this cuneiform (i.e. “wedge-shaped”) writing in Mesopotamia, writing also appeared in Egypt in the form of hieroglyphics (i.e. “sacred-carvings”)1.  Mesopotamia and Egypt, therefore, are our earliest sources for the study of the written history of humankind.

            From this point of origin, writing went through several stages of historic development in the ancient Near East2.  This development is important to bear in mind since it is easy to fall into the misconception that ancient languages were written with letters, as in our western alphabet.  Sumerian and Egyptian, however, were not written with letters and did not have an alphabet.  In an alphabet, letters consist of symbols written to represent simple sounds, such as, the letters “a” or “b”.  In Sumerian and Egyptian, words were written with symbols representing either whole words, which are called logograms, or whole syllables, which are called syllabograms.  Thus, for example, a single symbol stands for the Sumerian word “dinger” (god), while another symbol stands for the syllable “nig” (which could be used to form any number of words).  This manner of writing is referred to as logo-syllabic writing and is the earliest system known to have been used in the world.  Of the two forms of logo-syllabary just mentioned, cuneiform became the dominant one used throughout the ancient Near East, while the use of hieroglyphics remained almost exclusively within the province of Egypt.

            From this brief introduction, it is easy to see how cumbersome such a system of writing could become.  While modern English writers are able to represent every word in their vocabulary with a 26 letter alphabet, the earliest logo-syllabaries of the Sumerians could contain up to 2000 different symbols, all with different meanings. To complicate matters more, the meanings of most of the symbols varied across time and space so that, eventually, signs could acquire up to five or six possible meanings all of which would have to be determined by the context of their usage.  Hence, literacy in the ancient world was a rare privilege enjoyed only by professional scribes and the elite, well-educated few.  After the conquest of the Sumerians by the Akkadians, logograms began to gradually disappear from regular usage except in a few idiomatic expressions, while written language came to be represented almost entirely in syllabograms. This manner of writing is referred to as syllabic writing and persisted throughout the latter part of the Early Bronze Age and all of the Middle Bronze Age (i.e. 2000-1550 BC).

            The earliest examples of consonantal writing begin to appear in Palestine sometime around the beginning of the Late Bronze Age (i.e. 1550 B.C.)3. Next to the invention of writing itself, this is easily the most significant historic development in the history of writing.  The transition to consonantal writing began with the insight that syllables (such as, for example, “nig”) could be broken down into a relatively small group of sounds called consonants (e.g., “n” and “g”) which could be rearranged in various ways to formulate words.  Thus, the Palestinian consonantary, as it is called, could now represent the full range of human language with only 22 symbols, each representing a consonant—an unimaginably efficient system of writing when compared to the 2000 symbols used in the logo-syllabary of the Sumerians! Archaeologists have uncovered numerous attempts at developing this consonantary in Palestine and Sinai in the Late Bronze Age, but the one that eventually caught on and was disseminated to the rest of the Mediterranean world was that of the coastal Phoenicians.  From this point on, literacy and writing grew in proportion to the facility with which it could be carried out.

            The last and most familiar development in ancient Near Eastern writing is the advent of the alphabet, which appeared sometime around 800 BC in Greece.  The Greek alphabet, named after its first two letters “alpha” and “beta”, incorporated all the advantages of the Palestinian consonantary, but it also included within its scope the representation of vowels. This innovation required that a few additional letters be used in the formulation of words, but also overcame a certain amount of ambiguity inherent in the consonantal system due to the absence of vowels. (For example, in a consonantal system of writing, the symbol “blck” could be interpreted as either “black” or “block”.) The Greek system was passed on to the Romans and preserved in Latin, which is the basis of modern western language.

1 The long-standing debate about whether writing first developed in Mesopotamia or Egypt seems, at present, to be resolved in favor of the former on the basis of the clay tablets discovered at Uruk.  Fresh evidence, however, could easily open this debate again.
2  Traditionally, archaeologists and linguists only recognized three basic systems of writing.  The most recent analyses, however, suggest six systems, four of which are treated here (i.e. logo-syllabic, syllabic, consonantal, and alphabetic).  For a fuller treatment of these four systems as well as abugida and hangul, cf. Peter T. Daniels, “Writing and Writing Systems” Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Neat East, ed. E. Meyers (New York: Oxford University, 1997) 5.352-358.
3 Possibly the earliest example of consonantal writing in ancient Palestine is a fragmentary potsherd from Gezer dated to approximately 1650 BC.  The potsherd is inscribed with only three symbols, the interpretation of which is a matter of debate.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The "New Issue": Doctrinal Development

Doctrinally, the New Issue did not mature as a unified front. Although uniformly attacking Pentecostal Trinitarianism with their new understanding of the "absolute deity" of Jesus,1 the New Issue thinkers demonstrated exegetical inconsistency, misunderstandings and misrepresentations of their opponents' positions, and varying degrees of moderation and sectarianism. New Issue theology developed in two stages: the 1913 attempts to harmonize the triune and apostolic baptismal formulas and the later radical revisions of the doctrines of God and salvation which the 1913 discussions precipitated.

The restorationist drive for the pristine Christianity of the New Testament pattern, so common to American evangelical religion, lies at the roots of Oneness thought. Advancing the rhetoric of the Azusa revival which proclaimed the restoration of the original apostolic church in the practice of glossolalia, New Issue proponents argued that "latter day" Christianity was "fully" restored with the revelation of the divine name and the uncovering of the "mystery" of the Godhead. G. T. Haywood explained that the "mystery" of the Godhead had been "folded away in God's infinite wisdom, awaiting the day appointed, when in the dispensation of the fullness of times all things were to be gathered in Christ."2 For Frank J. Ewart, the supposed "introduction" of the Trinity doctrine at the Nicene Council (325 A.D.) resulted in the plunge of Christianity into the "Papal Darkness" of the middle ages.3 Only a latter day restoration of the divine person and name could overcome this apostasy.

The doctrine of the Trinity in its introduction as a fundamental of faith, in the third century, kept very bad company. Transubstantiation, indulgences, Mariolatry, infallibility of the Pope, purgatory, and many others companied with the Trinity. These tenets of the Roman Catholic creed held the field with Constantine to Luther. Subsequent to Luther, Protestants have refuted all the fundamentals of the Catholic Church, with the noted exception of the doctrine called the Holy Trinity . . . In 1914 God made his final move to raise up a people to restore the One Body or Church to the Apostolic Age [referring to the "revelation" of the Jesus name baptismal formula].4

This unique blending of restorationism and millennarian hope perfectly paralleled the expectations of the Azusa believers.

This restorationist, or "latter rain," mentality (as Oneness Pentecostals call it) served as an apologetic for the novelty of the doctrine. Clearly begging the question, the novelty of the doctrine became its greatest proof in light of "end time revelation." References to "more light" and additional religious insight which permeated Oneness periodicals prompted Trinitarian opponents to charge New Issue believers with capricious subjectivism and extremes in doctrine and practice.5 Indeed, some statements, apparently deriding biblical authority, left the new doctrine open to attack. Carl Brumback quoted Howard Goss as saying, "Oh, you'll never get this by studying it out like some other doctrine. This comes by 'revelation.'"6 Haywood, in his own writings, contrasts literal human interpretation of the Scriptures with the power of the Oneness "revelation."

No man can know who the Father, nor the Son is, except it be revealed. . . .Almost anyone that is able to read can take up the Bible and see, what is apparently, "three persons," the common view held by Catholic and all other denominations, but is Jesus revealing this to them? I tell you "NAY." God has taken the wise in their own craftiness.7

But such passages were isolated and such attacks unfounded. As a whole, the New Issue thinkers showed a more moderate, although often unstated, understanding of the Oneness "revelation." Andrew D. Urshan, a latecomer to Oneness ranks in 1919, clarified the meaning of "revelation" in Oneness writings.

By the word "revelation" . . . we mean, the Holy Ghost illuminating our hearts and minds to actually understand certain Scriptures. He [the Holy Spirit], the blessed Spirit of truth, is also the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. When he enters the true believer's heart and mind, he begins his blessed work of illuminating, revealing and unfolding the infinite love and majestic personality of the One God of Israel in the Name and Person of his son, Jesus Christ.8

The real distinctions between Trinitarian doctrine and Oneness "revelation" arose from the content, not the method, of this "revelation." Redefining the biblical category of the "mystery" of God's transcendence, the Oneness thinkers perceived Jesus as "God's revealed mystery"—not God revealed in mystery, but rather God revealed such that mystery is altogether eliminated. New Issue writers replaced the Trinitarian "mystery" with a "common sense hermeneutic" which drew literalist conclusions from biblical texts. This appeal to "common sense," which assumed that anything contrary to simple reason must necessarily be false, preceded all Oneness investigations of the scriptures and served as a catch-all defense against any difficult Trinitarian argument. Thus Ewart argued that "the normal mind revolts against the thought of there existing from eternity more than ONE CREATOR, First-cause, Redeemer, or Saviour."9 Trinitarianism was mere human speculation; whereas Oneness doctrine was God's revelation.10 To Oneness sectarian eyes, Christendom had settled for less than God's full truth in revelation.

The New Issue began and ended in the act of baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Significantly, the controversy did not grow from an academic debate concerning the doctrines of God or salvation, but rather sprang from efforts to harmonize the Matthean and Acts baptismal formulas. Initially, the secondary role allotted water baptism in general Pentecostal circles kept this discussion on a non-divisive level. Early toleration ceased only when the debate spread beyond these simple harmonizing attempts. Then, rebaptism, the ultimate act of submission to the new position, became the most obvious point of schism.

As early as the spring of 1913, R. E. McAlister offered the first harmonizing attempt by equating the terms "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" and the terms "Lord, Jesus, Christ."11 In this, McAlister evidently retained orthodox Trinitarianism, although his influence on Ewart produced more heterodox results. Ewart expounded his early "theology of the Name" in simple, common-sense arguments. First, the singular word "name" in Matthew 28:19 anticipated the singular name "Jesus" in Acts 2:38. Secondly, Ewart held that the apostles' practice of baptizing in the name of Jesus should serve as a key for interpreting the intent of Jesus' words in Matthew 28:19. Had Jesus intended that the titles "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" be used in the baptismal ceremony, Matthew 28:19 would have to read "names" and the Acts of the Apostles would have recorded baptisms using the triune formula.

Later Oneness thinkers developed this "theology of the Name" as "the key that unlocked the door to the nature and the person of God himself."12 These efforts usually began with lengthy studies of the Old Testament names for God and always concluded that God's primary revelatory mechanism has always been the divine name.13 To know God's name meant to understand God. Oneness thinkers correctly recognized that references to divine names (especially the Jehovahistic titles) in the biblical acts of salvation history served as interpretive revelation. "It was the purpose of God to make himself known to his people," Haywood declared, but then clarified how this was to be done: "His name was to be declared among the brethren."14 The biblical witness progressively enriches human understanding of God through additional names, titles, and descriptions. The "overplus" of "name revelation" in the Old Testament pointed to the need for a single, easily understood revelation of the divine name which would sum up the totality of God's characteristics.15 The Old Testament itself carried a motif which pointed beyond its limited revelation: the "secrecy of the divine name."16 Haywood argued that the "secret name" restructured the Old Testament eschatological hope around the ultimate revelation of the divine name in the great age prior to the consummation. Obviously, to Haywood, that age had arrived and the eschatological name was Jesus.17 In the last days, Jesus had been "rediscovered" as the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the ultimate revelation of God in both person and name.

The "rediscovery" of Jesus as the Jehovah of the Old Testament brought a great reaffirmation of Hebrew monotheism. References to the Shema became the watchword of the New Issue. The "oneness" of God became radicalized with the application of the Old Testament language to the person of Jesus and resulted in the rejection of any position which failed to appreciate the "absolute deity" of Jesus (e.g., Trinitarianism as misunderstood by the Oneness believers). The God who revealed himself throughout the Old Testament in multiplied theophanic manifestations was fully and quantitatively incarnate in Jesus Christ.18

Resting on the "common sense" hermeneutic, the New Issue attack on Trinitarianism failed to comprehend the language or purposes of the early Trinitarian creeds. To Oneness thinkers, Trinitarianism meant only that God was divided into three separate, distinct persons, each eternal in heaven, with the second person, at a point in time leaving the other two in heaven, to be incarnate in Jesus, born of Mary in Bethlehem.19 Three strata of arguments were raised against this "straw man" definition. First, Trinitarianism was Tritheism barely disguised. Haywood stated succinctly, "If the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are separate Persons, Spirits, Personalities, we have on our hands three separate Gods."20 Such a view was seen to "divide the Deity" and "perpetuate Catholic dogma."21 Kenneth Reeves, a later Oneness defender, defined Trinitarianism as "a merger of Tritheism (belief in three Gods) with Monotheism (belief in one God), which is neither Monotheism nor Tritheism in its purest form."22 Secondly, Trinitarians based their doctrines on non-biblical terminology, such as trinity, three persons in the Godhead, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.23 Lastly, Oneness writers alluded to religious and moral problems among Trinitarians who rejected the Oneness doctrine, "who gave only lip service to God," without true sincerity, who choose "traditions over the Word of God."24 Any sincere Christian who was open to the biblical message and the work of the Holy Spirit should also be open to the Oneness doctrine.

Although Oneness thinkers denied a trinity of "three separate, distinct persons," they recognized an obvious biblical "threeness" concerning God.25 This "threeness" was understood, not in terms of three ontological persons, but rather as three historical manifestations—three modes of God's revelation rather than three static divisions in God's person. Haywood stated

There is but one God and He has been manifested in a three-fold manner. And this three-fold manifestation was not intended to establish a three- person God idea, but instead, it was to reveal to mankind that there was a true and living God who loved them with an everlasting love.26

Ewart added, "God is one in essence but three in manifestations."27

When this notion of God's "threeness" was combined with the radical "oneness" of God in Jesus Christ, the essence of the Oneness conception of God emerged.

That there is but one Holy, Eternal Spirit of God is clearly set forth in the Word of God. . . .The apostles were in no wise divided over this matter, but all recognized that the Spirit of the Father, the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of His Son were different expressions of the one and self-same Spirit.28

This position consistently affirmed God's absolute unity and explained all diversity in terms of function, variety of terminology, and revelatory action.

The assertion of the "absolute deity" of Jesus led Oneness leaders to depict Jesus as the quantitative incarnation of God's whole being.29 Quoting two proof texts—Colossians 2:9,"For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" and John 14:10 with Christ speaking, "The Father who dwells in me does the work"—the New Issue writers balanced their understanding of the radical "oneness" of God in Christ and the Father-Son (divine-human) Christology.30

The Oneness preoccupation with the person of Christ drew a barrage of accusations. Hostile Trinitarians labeled Oneness believers as "Jesus only" and charged them with "denying the Father." This attack encouraged Oneness writers to further clarify their definition of the "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" in terms of the Father-Son Christology. Haywood stated

To acknowledge the Father and the Son does not necessarily mean to believe in "three persons in the Godhead." Those who are baptized in Jesus name acknowledge the Father and Son in Christ Jesus. . . The Fatherhood of God is found only in the Son, who was God manifest in the flesh. The only way a person can really "deny the father" is to fail to acknowledge that Jesus is the true and only living God.31

The Father and the Holy Spirit came to be seen, not as separate and distinct from the Son, but as expressions of the divine-human interplay within the incarnate God, Jesus Christ. The Father was the eternal indivisible Spirit which was in Christ.32 The Holy Spirit was that self-same Spirit in Christ which flowed forth from him to create and sustain the church. Traditional hypostatic distinctions between the divine persons were forgotten: "the deity in Jesus Christ was that of the Father, not [the] hypostatically distinct 'eternal God the Son.'"33

The Father-Son Christology distinguished the Christological titles "son of God" as divinity and "son of Man" as humanity. The sonship of Christ was limited to his human existence, while the Fatherhood of Christ meant only his divine nature.34 Some even equated the term "Son" with "body."35 Oneness writers depicted Christ's body as the habitation of God,36 the "visible portion of his substance," "God's headquarters" while on earth,37 and "the meeting place for the God who is a Spirit and the souls of lost men."38 Christ's humanity served as a vehicle, a tool, an agency for the eternal Spirit which indwelled it. Succinctly, the man Christ acted as the "Eternal Spirit's right hand man."39 Christ's humanity was the "veil of flesh" assumed by the Mighty God. In the flesh, he was the Son of man and the Son of God. As a man, he walked, wept, prayed, suffered, and died. As God He raised himself from the dead and showed forth in the radiance of eternal glory.40

Christ as the Father was the eternal God, but his sonship "began when he was begotten [through Mary]."41 Oneness theology offered no parallel for the Trinitarian eternal Son.

Oneness thinkers explained the pre-existence of Christ in terms of God's foreknowledge: Christ eternally existed in the mind or plan of God as "the lamb slain from the foundations of the world." Christ's temporal sonship found real existence only when the eternal plan reached its fruition in the incarnation.42 Ewart stated, "When it is claimed that Jesus' sonship existed eternally in any other sense than in the predetermined purpose of God, the claim is invalid from a Scriptural standpoint."43

As long as the implications of the Oneness reinterpretation of the name and nature of God for the doctrine of salvation were not explicitly discussed, the New Issue remained secondary and academic. But when these doctrines were directly applied to the practical imperatives of Christian salvation, open hostility and even schism followed. A cycle of criticism and defense led to deepening sectarianism and admitted exclusivism among some Oneness adherents. With finality, Urshan stated, "The sure foundation of the 'New birth' or the birth of the Spirit is the accepting and believing in the Lord Jesus as God [in context, the Oneness understanding of God].44

As in the beginning, Acts 2:38 reemerged as the crisis point of the debate. For Oneness proponents, Acts 2:38 offered "the gospel in miniature,"45 a three-step "plan of salvation" involving (1) repentance, (2) water baptism administered in the name of Jesus (evidently including acceptance of the Oneness understanding of God and his name), and (3) the Holy Spirit baptism evidenced by glossolalia. This threefold plan was portrayed as the final restoration of the true apostolic church in the last days.46 The imperative of the Acts 2:38 plan demanded that Oneness thinkers expound baptismal regeneration and redefine the purposes and functions of Holy Spirit baptism.

These thinkers came to equate the imperatives of water and Spirit baptism of Acts 2:38 with the New Birth of water and Spirit of John 3:3-5. Terms such as "full salvation," "Bible salvation," and "New Testament salvation" emerged as the New Issue writers sought to differentiate the true essentials of Christian salvation from the lesser standards held by most Christians. Haywood pointed out that "to be born of 'water and the Spirit' and 'believe and is baptized' (John 3:5 and Mark 16:16) are proved to be synonymous terms."47 Again he stated concerning Christ's command to be "born again of water and the Spirit," "there is no record in the Acts of the Apostles that his instructions were ever carried out, except by being baptized in water and the Holy Ghost."48 In rebuttal, the Assemblies of God "Statement of Fundamental Truths" presented the "New Birth" as the product of repentance and a faith experience in Christ, with baptism functioning as an "outward symbol of cleansing" and the Holy Spirit baptism as an "enduement of power for life and service."49 To dismiss any ambiguity, the statement adds, "This wonderful experience [Holy Spirit baptism] is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the New Birth."50

The Oneness equating of conversion and the "full" Acts 2:38 experience rested upon the whole-hearted acceptance of popular commentator Adam Clarke's exegesis of the New Birth passage. Clarke equated the terms "birth" and "baptism"—therefore, to be "born of water and the Spirit" means to be "baptized with water and the Spirit" and Acts 2:38 and John 3:5 are equivalent sayings.51

Oneness Pentecostals, seeking to show the essentiality of water baptism in the name of Jesus, made a mental leap from the command of baptism in Acts 2 to the statements regarding the exclusion from God's kingdom of those not "born of water" in John 3. A second leap necessarily followed: the Holy Spirit baptism of Acts 2 was linked with the "birth of the Spirit" of John 3, demanding the essentiality of the Pentecostal experience for salvation. Going beyond the normal Pentecostal notion of the subsequence of Spirit baptism to conversion, the Oneness believers held Spirit baptism as the climactic moment of a single "work of grace" and therefore necessary for "full salvation.52 Similarly, water baptism correctly administered by immersion in "Jesus name" was also a part of this single "work of grace." Haywood, commenting on "baptism as a saving medium," argued that salvation did not simply occur through the ceremonial act or any virtue in the water, but rather through the application of Christ's blood and name through the act: "To be saved by water baptism it must be administered in the Name of Jesus, for there is 'no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.'"53

 The Acts 2:38 "plan of salvation," consistently applied, excludes all Christians except Oneness Pentecostals from Christian salvation and fellowship. This sectarian position excludes non-Pentecostals for lacking the baptism of the Holy Spirit and Trinitarian Pentecostals for their failure to understand God and accept his name in baptism. Some Oneness Pentecostals apparently embraced the extremity of this position.

If you take away the absolute DEITY and the incarnation of the DIVINE BEING (God, the Spirit) from the Lord Jesus Christ, then you cause the Bible to crumble and our HOPE OF SALVATION to perish.54

But others struggled for a more moderate position recognizing at least a limited acceptance for Christians with lesser experiences. One such struggle, best expressed in Haywood's writings and propagated by instructor S. G. Norris at Apostolic Bible Institute, drew a distinction between those Christians "born of the Spirit" and those "begotten by the Word."

A child is first "begotten" by the Word (I Cor. 4:15) of the Gospel before he can be born of the Spirit. . . . No child can ever be born until it is first begotten, but many were never born into the world. So it is with the Spirit . . . . There are multitudes who are in this state today.55

Accordingly, Haywood differentiated two stages in the resurrection of the dead following the dispensational division of the "secret rapture" and the final, general resurrection. Those partaking in the Acts 2:38 experience would escape the "Great Tribulation" via the "rapture;" whereas those "righteous men of all ages who walked in all the light they were given" would participate in the general resurrection.56 Haywood's final statement anticipated an even more moderate assessment of the status of non-Oneness Christians: the "Light Doctrine." This position argued that God required of men only that which had been "revealed" to them. Repentance and faith were enough if the "light" of water and Spirit baptism had not been understood.57

In summary, Oneness doctrine developed at a time of crisis in the fledgling Assemblies of God and spawned a greater and more lasting controversy. Despite Oneness claims, this novel position, although well documented, has never displayed consistency and uniformity. Failing to grasp the functions and implications of historical Trinitarianism, Oneness writers, driven by a desire to exalt the person and name of Jesus, produced an alternate, somewhat one-sided understanding of God. This effort, beginning as an intense Scriptural search, ended in a sectarian claim of exclusivism.

Urshan likened the Oneness message to "a two-edged sword" that "tests the faith of the believers" and "reveals and separates the true from the false."58 Ewart summed up the Oneness sectarian attitude in no uncertain terms.

It is extremely dangerous in these last days, when apostasy abounds on every hand, to deny the necessity of the name of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. A church, denomination, organization, or assembly which refuses to take the name of the Lord-Jesus- Christ in Christian baptism could never have a place in His Bride.59

It was this sectarian spirit that forced the exclusion of the New Issue men from the Assemblies of God. Following three years of struggle with developing doctrine, organizational tension, and leadership rivalry, the New Issue crushed the spirit of liberality upon which the Assemblies had been founded. The Assemblies of God officially formed a new organizational orthodoxy and catapulted the New Issue ministers on the path toward formation of new Oneness bodies.

1Oneness thinkers rejected the notion of Christ as the incarnation of the eternal Son of the Trinity, choosing rather to affirm the "absolute deity" of Christ as the quantitative embodiment of the entirety of the Godhead.

2G. T.Haywood, Divine Names and Titles of Jehovah, (Indianapolis: Christ Temple, n.d.), p. 18.

3Better informed contemporary Oneness scholars do not resort to such non-historical assertions. Compare David K. Bernard, The Oneness of God (Hazelwood, Mo.: Word Aflame Press, 1983) and William B. Chalfant, Ancient Champions of Oneness: A History of the True Church of Jesus Christ (Hazelwood, Mo.: Word Aflame Press, 1979).

4Frank J.Ewart, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (St. Louis: Pentecostal Publishing House, 1965), pp. 26-27. See also S. C. McClain, Student's Handbook on the Facts of Church History (St. Louis: Pentecostal Publishing House, n.d.).

5Carl Brumback, Suddenly from Heaven (Springfield, Mo.: Gospel Publishing House, 1961), p. 203.

6Ibid., p. 202.

7G. T. Haywood, The Victim of the Flaming Sword (Indianapolis: Christ Temple, n.d.), pp. 46-48.

8Andrew D. Urshan, The Life of Andrew Bar David Urshan: An Autobiography (Stockton, Ca.: Apostolic Press, 1967), p. 137.

9Ewart, The Revelation, p. 15.

10Ibid., p. 10.

11Compare McAlister's view with that of William Phillips Hall, Remarkable Biblical Discovery Of "The Name" of God According to the Scriptures, 3rd ed., (New York: American Tract Society, 1931).

12David A. Reed, "Origins and Developments of the Theology of Oneness Pentecostalism in the United States" (Ph.D. dissertation, Boston University, 1978), p. 150.

13See Haywood, Divine Names, Ewart, The Revelation, Andrew D. Urshan, The Almighty God in the Lord Jesus Christ (Portland, Ore.: Apostolic Book Corner, 1919).

14Haywood, Divine Names, pp. 6-8.

15Ibid., p. 9.

16Ibid., p. 10. Here Haywood lists five Old Testament instances of the "withholding" of the divine name: Jacob wrestling with the angel and his desire to know God's secret name, the annunciation of Samuel's birth and Manoah's desire to know the secret name, God's insufficient reply to Moses' request to know his name ("I am that I am"), Isaiah's insufficient titles for the Messianic king (Isaiah 9:6), and the mysterious "Angel of the Lord" in whom God's name dwells (Exodus 23:21).

17Ibid., p. 11.

18Ibid., p. 3.

19Ewart, The Revelation, p. 26.

20Haywood, The Victim, p. 58.

21Ewart, The Revelation, p. 7.

22Kenneth V. Reeves, The Godhead (Granite City, Ill.: By the Author, 1971), p. 6.

23This attack diminishes amidst the similar non- biblical language of Oneness believers: "manifestations," "tri-unity," "three-in-one," "three-one God." Ewart calls on all in the debate to "dismiss unscriptural words" and "use 'tri-unity' instead of 'trinity,' 'substance' instead of 'person,' and 'entities' instead of 'persons'" (See Ewart, The Revelation, p. 25). The fact that Ewart fails to perceive the contradiction of his proposals captures much of the quality of the New Issue debate.

24Haywood, The Victim, p. 55.

25Ewart, The Revelation, p. 14.

26Haywood, The Victim, p. 12.

27Ewart, The Revelation, p. 18.

28Haywood, Divine Names, p. 12.

29Several Oneness thinkers realized the impact that this teaching might have on the doctrine of God's transcendence (e.g., Haywood, The Victim, p. 16; Paul Fergeson, God In Christ Jesus, (Elgin, Ill.: Real Truth Publications, 1963), p. 21; and Melvin R. Springfield, Jesus—The Almighty (Portland, Ore.: By the Author, 1972), pp. 24-25). But these all perceive the problem in purely spatial terms and therefore offer no real solutions.

30Note Haywood's reinterpretation of the event of incarnation as the depositing of the divine name within the womb of Mary. Thus, the supreme function of Christ was as bearer of the divine name, the ultimate act of revelation. See Haywood, Divine Names, pp. 10-11.

31Haywood, The Victim, pp. 51-54.

32Later Oneness thinkers sometimes revised this definition of the Father to avoid any denial of divine transcendence. Fergeson, God In Christ Jesus, p. 21 states that "The Father was the divinity which was not incarnate in contrast to the visible image which was." Reeves, The Godhead, p. 5 argues that "The omnipresence of the Son is the Father." But this retreat from the "absolute deity" of Christ undermines the appeal to John 14:10 and the Father- Son Christology and therefore limits rather than aids the Oneness presentation.

33Reed, "Origins and Developments," pp. 163-64.

34A clear Nestorian tendency permeates this Christology.

35S. G. Norris, The Mighty God in Christ (St. Paul: Apostolic Bible Institute, n.d.), p. 20.

36Oliver F. Fauss, Buy the Truth and Sell It Not (St. Louis: Pentecostal Publishing House, 1965), p. 23.

37Fergeson, God In Christ Jesus, p. 17.

38Fauss, Buy the Truth, p. 31.

39Haywood, The Victim, p. 45.

40Ibid., p. 48.

41Fauss, Buy the Truth, p. 41.

42Haywood, The Victim, p. 44.

43Ewart, The Revelation, p. 34.

44Urshan, The Almighty God, p. 22.

45Reed, "Origins and Developments," p. 167.

46Fauss, Buy the Truth, p. 6.

47G. T. Haywood, The Birth of the Spirit and the Mystery of the Godhead, (Indianapolis: Christ Temple, n.d.), p. 5.

48Ibid., p. 4.

49Assemblies of God, Minutes of the General Council, 1916, pp. 10-11. (Typewritten.)

50Ibid., p. 11.

51Adam Clarke, The Holy Bible: A Commentary, Vol. V (Matthew to Romans) (New York: Funk and Wagnall's, n.d.). (This work is not paginated.)

52The term "full salvation" differentiates the full Acts 2:38 experience from lesser, and therefore inferior and insufficient, experiences.

53Haywood, The Birth of the Spirit, p. 24.

54Norris, The Mighty God in Christ, p. 26.

55Haywood, The Birth of the Spirit, pp. 10-11.

56Ibid., p. 12.

57Fred J. Foster, Their Story: Twentieth Century Pentecostals (Hazelwood, Mo.: Word Aflame Press, 1981), pp. 143-144.

58Urshan, The Almighty God, p. 21.

59Ewart, The Revelation, p. 42.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

What's In a Number (A Christmas Posting)

When one compares the genealogies of Matthew 1:1-17 with those of 1 Chronicles 1:34; 2:1-15; 3:1, 5, 10-24, it becomes apparent that they are not identical. Matthew divides his genealogy into three symmetrical groups of fourteen generations each, something not expressly found in the Old Testament. The first set of fourteen generations are identical between Matthew and the Old Testament. The second set, on the other hand, apparently has been abridged by Matthew in order to achieve the number fourteen. In the final group, it is not entirely clear how Matthew arrives at the number fourteen, though he obviously intends this to be the case (cf. 1:17). It may be that David is counted twice or that Jeconiah (the Old Testament King Jehoiachin) is counted twice. Alternatively, if one is to avoid repeating a name, it may be that Mary is counted in the third group. Nonetheless, Matthew clearly thinks the number fourteen is important, since he summarizes the genealogy by saying:

Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ. (Mt. 1:17, NIV)

So what is the point behind the number fourteen which Matthew so carefully employs to structure the pedigree of Jesus? The reasoning is not immediately apparent to the modern reader, and indeed, mostly it is simply ignored. One possible solution, and I think the best one, is that the number fourteen was derived by gematria, a Hebrew symbolic way of expressing an idea through the numerical value of alphabetical letters. This derives from the fact that in this early period, what we know as Arabic numbers were not yet in use, and letters of the alphabet were used to represent numbers. (We still are accustomed to seeing this in Latin figures, where I = 1, V = 5, X = 10, L = 50, and so forth.) In Hebrew, the letters of the alphabet also represented numbers: aleph= 1; beth = 2; gimel = 3; daleth = 4; hey = 5; waw = 6, and so forth. What this means is that Hebrew words (and Hebrew names) could have numerical values, depending upon the combination of letters in the word. What probably is most important for Matthew is that the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew name “David” (daleth/waw/daleth = 4 + 6 + 4) is fourteen, and if this hypothesis is correct, then the Matthew’s genealogy gives a triple emphasis that Jesus was from the family of David.

The historical demarcations of the three sets is also suggestive. To Abraham was given the covenant that provided his descendants with a special place in the purposes of God (Ge. 12:1-3). Fourteen generations later, to David, also, was given a profound covenant that his throne would be established forever (2 Sa. 7:16). In the days of Babylonian Exile, yet another fourteen generations had passed, but now both the promises to Abraham and David were jeopardized because the nation had lost its land and its Davidic king with the surrender of Jehoiachin to Nebuchadnezzar II. Jehoiachin’s short reign and exile was a critical juncture, since from a theological viewpoint, he was the last legitimate king of David’s line in Judah before the exile. Through Jeremiah, Yahweh had announced that the ruling dynasty of David in Jerusalem, symbolized in Jehoiachin as God’s signet ring, would surely come to an abrupt end (Jer. 22:24-27). However, Jehoiachin’s grandson, Zerubbabel, revives this royal line, and Haggai predicted that Zerubbabel would now become the replacement of the signet ring lost in the exile of Jehoiachin (Hag. 2:23).

 Zerubabbel, then, would carry forward the royal line of David’s family, the Branch of Jesse (cf. Isa. 11:1ff.; Jer. 23:5-6; 33:15-16; Zec. 3:8). He would be the primary leader from David’s family, surviving the exile and leading the work in rebuilding of the 2nd temple (Zec. 4:8-9) to which the Messiah would come (Hag. 2:6-9; Mal. 3:1). The way in which Matthew structured his genealogy suggests that this latter period of jeopardy for David’s royal line was now over in the birth of Jesus, the climax of three symmetrical series of fourteen generations each. God had acted to fulfill his promises to Abraham and David!

Above all, of course, are the highly suggestive titles “son of Abraham” and “son of David” (Matt. 1:1). The significance of the first is obvious, for it places Jesus squarely within the nation to whom the promises were originally made. The significance of the second is in the title “son of David”, which had become a virtual synonym for the Messiah by the time of Jesus, based on Yahweh’s promise to David that his throne would be established forever (2 Sa. 7:16). Indeed, probably the briefest summary of the gospel in the whole New Testament comes from St. Paul, when he says, “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel…” (2 Ti. 2:8, NIV). Modern Christians probably don’t pay much attention to the genealogy in Matthew, since it is a long list of names, many unfamiliar. For the Jewish community to whom Matthew’s Gospel was almost certainly composed, however, this genealogy was critical! It established the first fundamental requirement for the Messiah, and it says that Jesus fulfilled it!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The "New Issue": Institutional Separation

[This post presents chapter 2 from my dissertation, The People of the Name: Oneness Pentecostalism in the United States (Florida State University, 1985).  This chapter focuses on the Frank Ewart - G. T. Haywood - W. T. Witherspoon school of oneness thought which holds all “3 steps” of Acts 2:38 – repentance, water baptism administered by immersion with the invocation of the name “Jesus,” and Spirit baptism evidenced by glossolalia – as necessary for the “new birth” or “full salvation.” This view was rivaled by a “2 step” view which holds the more traditional classical Pentecostal view that “new birth” occurs at repentance and Spirit baptism is “subsequent to and distinct from” the new birth. See Thomas Fudge’s Christianity Without the Cross: A History of Salvation in Oneness Pentecostalism for a full discussion of these competing doctrines of salvation.]

Excitement and uncertainty surrounded the formative years of American Pentecostalism. Religious ecstasy bound the diverse elements that participated in the 1906-07 Azusa revivals in Los Angeles. From these promising, but meager beginnings, Pentecostal victories soon resounded in the South and Midwest. Opposition, however, grew alongside the Pentecostal congregations. Newspaper editors chided the eccentricity of ecstatic worship, while denominational leaders rejected the Pentecostal claims of superior religious experience. Even more foreboding, doctrinal conflict emerged from the haze of ecstasy that before had clouded the differences among American Pentecostals. In 1908, controversy raged over the nature of sanctification and threatened to end the early harmony. By 1910, the fire of Azusa had been extinguished and with it the central unifying symbol of the now scattered Pentecostals faded. Regional organizations—many formed from existing Holiness bodies that converted to Pentecostalism en masse—hoped to avert any dissolution. Similarly, large camp meetings sought to consolidate the movement, but failed to match the nationwide scale of the recent revivals. Five years after its inception, the solidarity of Azusa was long since passed and it appeared that American Pentecostalism would become diffuse, regional, and ultimately powerless.

Envisioned as a nationwide organization, the Assemblies of God sought to bind up the remnants of the Pentecostal revivals and to provide structure for effective evangelistic, educational, and missionary action. With strong anti-creedal sentiment, the Assemblies' founders rejected the confining parameters of a firm doctrinal statement and emphasized instead the Pentecostal experience—the baptism of the Holy Spirit evidenced by glossolalia—as the movement's unifying factor. Officially organized in Hot Springs, Arkansas, April 2-12, 1914, the Assemblies of God emphatically pronounced that members of the new body “do not believe in identifying ourselves as, or establishing ourselves into, a sect, that is a human organization that legislates or forms laws and ARTICLES OF FAITH [emphasis mine] and has unscriptural lines of fellowship and disfellowship.”1

The purpose of the new organization was not to "legislate laws," "usurp authority," or "deprive rights and privileges," but rather to "recognize scriptural methods and order for worship, unity, and fellowship."2 Adopting only the most general statement of the sufficiency of the scriptures in matters of faith and practice, the new organization avoided potentially schismatic doctrinal debate. A guiding maxim epitomized the spirit of the new body: "Endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit until we all come together in the unity of the faith."3

But this attitude of tolerance was soon to be tested. The New Issue, or Oneness, Controversy challenged the organizing principles of the new body and resulted in a crippling schism three years later. Boasting of new revelation, several Pentecostal leaders began preaching an innovative baptismal formula, a reevaluation of the person of Jesus, and a denial of Trinitarianism. Many ministers converted to this new doctrine, including the Assemblies of God General Chairman, E. N. Bell, and the most important leader in black Pentecostalism, G. T. Haywood. When entire congregations followed these leaders, a growing rift threatened the unity of the new body.

The New Issue controversy had been born unexpectedly and unobtrusively amidst the excitement of the "Worldwide" Pentecostal Camp Meeting held in the Highland Park area outside Los Angeles in April 1913. This, and other, increasingly centralized camp meetings rallied Pentecostal strength for evangelistic appeal. Effused with enthusiasm and eschatological hope, these camp meetings became the seed beds of new thought that would, in turn, be quickly disseminated throughout the movement by those in attendance.

Large crowds gathered at the "Worldwide" Pentecostal Camp Meeting to hear the ministry of Mary B. Woodworth-Etter, the foremost Pentecostal woman evangelist and faith healer. The grand scale of the meeting led to an atmosphere of inquisitive, restless expectancy. An early sermon from Jeremiah 31:22 stressed the expectancy that God was about to perform some "new thing" among these believers. Frank J. Ewart, a later New Issue leader who was present at the camp meeting, echoed this expectation.

The very suggestion that God was doing a New Thing struck fire in the minds and hearts of the saints. From that point on, one could hear expressions of hope that God would do a New Thing for His people.4

Into this otherwise typical Pentecostal camp meeting, doctrinal conflict appeared. R. E. McAlister, a Canadian evangelist, sparked this dissension with a casual remark during a baptismal service. While instructing the candidates, he compared several different understandings of the baptismal mode and refuted various false views with the abrupt declaration that Christ's apostles (as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles) always baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus rather than the triune formula. McAlister asserted, "The words Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were never used in the early church in Christian baptism."5 His shocked listeners voiced a hasty rebuke and forced McAlister to clarify his position: the apostolic use of the name of Jesus in baptism by no means negated the effectiveness of the triune formula.6

But this explanation did not satisfy all those present. McAlister's statements so arrested one man, John G. Sheppe, that he spent an entire night in prayer and Bible study, to emerge the next morning shouting throughout the camp that God had revealed to him "the truth of baptism in Jesus name."7 Such "revelations" were common during the Pentecostal revivals and would later become a point of contention among those demanding biblical confirmation of doctrinal matters. Howard Goss, a Oneness minister, wrote

A preacher who did not dig up some new slant on a Scripture or get some new revelation to his own heart ever so often; a preacher who did not propagate it, defend it, and if necessary, be prepared to lay down his life for it, was considered slow, stupid, unscriptural.8

More significant than its impact on Sheppe, McAlister's declaration awakened the thoughts of Frank Ewart, the earliest formulator of New Issue ideas. Ewart, an Australian, had served as a Baptist missionary in Victoria, but poor health forced him to settle in a pastorate near Winnipeg. Exposed to the Pentecostal revivals, Ewart fully accepted the Pentecostal message in Portland, Oregon in 1908. As he began to proclaim his new understanding of Spirit baptism and glossolalia to his congregation, his Baptist superiors dismissed him. Moving to Los Angeles, Ewart became William Durham's assistant at the Seventh Street Mission and assumed full responsibility for the work with Durham's death in 1912.9

When the "Worldwide" Pentecostal Camp Meeting ended, Ewart met with McAlister to discuss harmonizing the triune baptismal formula of Matthew 28:19 and the apostolic formula of Acts 2:38. Shortly after this meeting, Ewart left the Seventh Street Mission and established a new work on Main Street aided by McAlister and Glenn A. Cook. Throughout the winter of 1913-14, Ewart honored his ministerial associations, not baptizing in "Jesus name," but all the while wrestling with his conscience and studying the divine name in both biblical testaments. Observing that the Old Testament designations for God were repeated concerning Jesus in the New Testament, Ewart "discovered that Jehovah of the Old Testament was Jesus of the New Testament." With this insight, he expounded the new baptismal formula based on a new doctrine of the name and nature of God. Asserting that "Jesus" was the proper and redemptive name of God, Ewart argued that baptism must be administered in "Jesus name." The application of Old Testament monotheism to the person of Jesus and the subsequent denial of the Trinitarian conception of God—both implicit in Ewart's "theology of the Name"—followed from his new understanding of the divine name and baptism.10 Ultimately, Ewart preached his first "public sermon" calling for baptism in "Jesus name" on April 15, 1914. Realizing their own need for rebaptism, Ewart and Cook publicly baptized one another in "Jesus name."

Equipped with Ewart's new theology, the "Jesus name" movement spread throughout the Midwest in late 1914 and early 1915. Ewart's periodical, “Meat In Due Season”, which offered glorious testimonials to the "greater blessings" received with the "new light" message, greatly influenced this advance. Glenn Cook's evangelistic tour in January 1915 reaped many crops sown by Ewart's periodical. His initial success occurred at Mother Mary Barnes' Faith Home in St. Louis, where the entire staff was rebaptized.11 With this foothold, Cook pioneered revivals in Indiana, Oklahoma, and several southern states.

The new movement made particularly important strides among black Pentecostals in Indianapolis, Indiana. Here, L. V. Roberts and his entire congregation submitted to rebaptism after hearing Cook. G. T. Haywood and his congregation followed this example, with Haywood receiving a "personal revelation" after a visit to Cook's home. J. Roswell Flower, the young General Secretary of the Assemblies of God, sent a letter warning his good friend Haywood to avoid this new error. Haywood replied, "Your warning came too late. I have already accepted the message and been rebaptized."12 Many black pastors emulated Haywood's shift, bringing a substantial portion of Midwestern black Pentecostalism into the new movement. Haywood's periodical, “A Voice in the Wilderness”, soon replaced “Meat In Due Season” as the most widely read New Issue publication.13

By spring 1915, the "Jesus name" movement saturated American "Finished Work" Pentecostalism. The efforts of R. E. McAlister and Franklin Small made inroads into Canada. Louisiana became the stronghold of the New Issue when all the Assemblies of God ministers shifted to the new position.14 Many key Pentecostal leaders likewise converted to the "new light" message at this time: C. C. Hall, George B. Studd, Elmer K. Fisher, R. J. Scott, W. T. Witherspoon, Delmer White, E. G. Lowe, W. L. Stallowes, and Harry Morse.15

Although not fully understood, the danger of the new doctrine became obvious to the leadership of the Assemblies of God, personified in Bell and Flower. As the new understanding of God and the demand for rebaptism persisted, the new movement leaned ever closer to an exclusive doctrine of baptismal regeneration. Seeking to prove the necessity of baptism in "Jesus name," the New Issue thinkers Haywood and Ewart first sought to prove the necessity of water baptism for salvation in contrast to the official Assemblies of God position. Appealing to Clarke's Commentary, which equated the "born of" of the New Birth passage (John 3:3-5) with the "baptized with/in" of Acts 2:38, the New Issue advocates linked the imperative of "birth by water," or water baptism, with the command to baptize in "Jesus name." Apparently as an afterthought, Spirit baptism (Acts 2:38) was also linked to the imperative of "birth by the Spirit" (John 3:5), equating for the first time the Pentecostal experience with conversion.16 This intricate reinterpretation of passages produced a well-defined "plan of salvation" based on Acts 2:38: repentance, water baptism administered in "Jesus name," and Spirit baptism evidenced by glossolalia. In the New Issue mentality, these three steps were essential to Christian salvation and those not participating in them were held as deficient and not truly saved. (Thus, the semantic differentiation between "salvation" and "full salvation.") Glenn Cook's description of "Jesus name" baptism as the "water test" of sincerity and truth summed up the sectarian quality of the New Issue.17

As the dispute became volatile, Bell and Flower began defending the triune formula in the pages of “Word and Witness” and the “Weekly Evangel.” From March to July 1915, the call to moderation and orthodoxy emerged as the official Assemblies of God position.18 These articles attacked "Jesus name" baptism as novel, rather than as a return to apostolic practice. Bell and Flower likewise rejected the unbiblical practice of rebaptism and sought to discredit the claims of mass conversion to the New Issue. Arguing that the New Issue interpretation of ecclesiastical history was at best imaginative, Bell contended that the early church recognized a variety of baptismal formulas and that to act "in the name of Christ" was merely to act with his authority or in his stead. Above all, these articles isolated the real issue as the divisiveness of a doctrine of baptismal regeneration and the growing sectarianism of the New Issue advocates.19 These articles provided the ammunition for the future Assemblies of God attacks on New Issue doctrine. But within the next few months, the hierarchy of the fledgling organization splintered and threatened the much lauded unity of the body. Most surprisingly, Bell, the orthodox defender, defected to the New Issue party in late July 1915.

Dismaying his colleagues, Bell submitted to rebaptism in "Jesus name" at the Third Interstate Encampment of the Assemblies of God in Jackson, Tennessee. With Bell and H. G. Rogers officiating, the first services of the meeting were uninspired and the converts few. New Issue believers in attendance vocally decried Bell's rejection of the new message as the reason for this failure. Sorely troubled, Bell confided his doubts to Rogers and they sent for L. V. Roberts, a New Issue evangelist, to conduct the remainder of the meeting.

Startling success followed Roberts' sermons. Convinced by the results, Bell and Rogers submitted to rebaptism in the apostolic formula with sixty-eight others following their example, including eleven area pastors. The news of Bell's rebaptism brought a curious crowd of four thousand to the final service of the meeting.20 The swelling crowds only served to confirm Bell's experience and sent him boldly defending the position he had once attacked.

Bell spent the remainder of the summer fulfilling previous ministerial obligations. In each instance, he met with area pastors, discussed their differences, and sought permission to preach his new understanding. This new approach met little grassroots opposition. Not surprisingly, Bell avoided the Assemblies of God headquarters and the showdown with his fellow officials that was sure to follow. Bell's editorial duties fell to Flower.

By late August 1915, the news of Bell's defection filtered throughout the new body and prompted much confusion and hostility. In defense, Bell submitted an explanatory article—entitled "Who Is Jesus Christ?: Jesus Christ, Rediscovered as Jehovah of the Old Testament"—to both the “Weekly Evangel” and “Word and Witness.”21 But Flower rejected this offensive title substituting the less volatile word "exalted" in the subtitle and omitting Bell's testimony to rebaptism. New Issue advocates hastily charged that Flower "mutilated" the article.22

Actually Bell's article was rather tame by later New Issue standards, but Bell played a key role in sensitizing the Assemblies' leadership to the full scope of the debate. Following the usual pattern of comparing Old and New Testament texts, Bell also appealed to Colossians 2:9, "For in him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." Interpreting this passage quantitatively, Bell understood Christ as the embodiment of the entire Trinity rather than merely the incarnate Son and, thus, formed a middle ground in the debate which properly "exalted Jesus," but did not deny classical Trinitarianism.

"Who Is Jesus Christ?" brought accolades from New Issue advocates, but intensified hostilities among the Assemblies of God leaders. Bell tried to defuse the situation with further articles in which he argued that he sought neither to cause division nor to force any issue of controversy in the body.23 He also contended that his experience was not to serve as a standard for others and urged that his example be followed only if conscience demanded. Most significantly, the moderate Bell denounced the "errors" associated with the New Issue: the identification of the New Birth and water baptism and the equating of Spirit baptism and conversion. Bell's unique stance in the New Issue became clear in these articles: although the discussion of the divine name had led him to a new understanding of the person of Christ, he did not promote the sectarian spirit of the movement.

Despite Bell's moderation, the Assemblies' leadership felt the need for quick action to preserve the unity of the organization. Usurping leadership over the lackluster interim chairman, Arch P. Collins, Flower alerted the Executive Presbyters and arranged for a General Council in October 1915.24 Many of the movement's founders had been swept into the New Issue (including Bell, Howard Goss, and D. C. O. Opperman), leaving the remainder, led by Flower and J. W. Welch, to respond to the new threat. The power politics and secret arrangements of the following year insured the ascendancy of this group and the dominating positions of Flower and Welch in the future of the Assemblies of God.

Labeled an "experiment in liberality,"25 the 1915 General Council convened October 1. Welch and Flower controlled the meeting in the absence of General Chairman Collins and Assistant Chairman Opperman. Flower called the meeting to order and arranged for the selection of Welch as temporary chairman.26 Together, Flower and Welch pushed for an exclusive doctrinal statement to define the boundaries of fellowship with New Issue doctrines and adherents, of course, outside orthodox circles.
Despite several days of debate and the machinations of Flower and Welch, the Council reached no final word regarding baptismal formula. Succinctly, the Council refused "to attempt to bind the conscience of men on this matter." Ministers retained "perfect liberty to baptize such persons whose consciences are not satisfied that they have fully obeyed God in Christian baptism."27 Carl Brumback records, "The general conviction prevailed that all should wait patiently for another year, allowing time for prayerful study of the Word, before reaching a definite conclusion."28

Despite this hopeful optimism, the "experiment in liberality" was flawed. The "spirit of Hot Springs" began to crack with the Council's listing of doctrines disapproved by the majority. Of the five listed, the final four directly addressed the New Issue.

1. The use of fermented wine in the communion service.

2. The failure to distinguish between the blood and the Holy Spirit.

3. The confusion of the New Birth with the baptism or filling with the Spirit.

4. The identification of the Father as the Son.

5. The identification of Christ as the Holy Spirit.29

Also New Issue ministers received no committee appointments. Welch officially replaced Bell as editor. Orthodox ministers replaced New Issue sympathizers—Bell, Opperman, Goss, and B. F. Lawrence—on the Executive Presbytery. The peace of the 1915 General Council more resembled an "armed truce."30

New Issue advocates took this new tolerance as license to propagate their message with greater fervor. Their renewed aggressiveness and increasingly sectarian claims thwarted the proposed "experiment in liberality" and moved the Assemblies' leaders to eliminate the problem altogether. Dominated by Welch and Flower, the “Weekly Evangel” and “Word and Witness” officially followed the Council's policy of moderation31, but actually spoke the strongest against the New Issue.32 This policy evoked a dire warning from Glenn Cook to Flower: "Roswell, if you fight against this Oneness message, the whole printing plant will be a pile of junk in six weeks."33 Tensions mounted throughout the year with personalities clashing as often as beliefs. By summer 1916, schism was imminent. Welch's call for an "Open Bible Council" to decide the issue demonstrated the extent of the hostilities and the determination of the orthodox party to end the debate.

The time has come for the interpretation of what scriptural teaching and conduct is. The time of shaking and solidifying is here. The great shaking has begun and all that can be disturbed will be shaken into separation from that which is settled in God. This will not all be done in a few days of Council, but lines will doubtless be drawn.34

The 1916 General Council, opening on October 2, erupted in a blaze of debate. The New Issue men boasted of a mass defection into their ranks, but the meeting rested firmly in Trinitarian hands. Flower engineered the appointment of a "wholly orthodox" committee, including T. K. Leonard, S. A. Jamieson, D. W. Kerr, S. H. Frodsham, and E. N. Bell, to prepare a doctrinal statement.35 The proposed statement of faith was primarily the work of David Warren Kerr of Cleveland, Ohio, a shy, withdrawn minister originally of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. After a personal struggle with New Issue doctrine, Kerr prepared a lengthy defense of Trinitarianism, much of which was incorporated into the "Statement of Fundamental Truths."

When presented, this statement evoked more discussion of its creedal nature than its specifics. Recognizing that their unique understanding of God and demand for rebaptism stood little chance of Council approval, the New Issue advocates focused all their efforts to block any binding doctrinal statement and appealed to the promise of the Hot Springs Council to never disfellowship anyone accepting the basic Pentecostal message. The Trinitarians countered that the intent of the liberality of the Hot Springs Council was to prevent rather than promote sectarianism. The Hot Springs Council had called for the recognition of scriptural methods and for rules regulating "unity, fellowship, and work," but had also called for disapproval of all unscriptural methods and conduct—in this case, New Issue doctrine and practice.36

When their attempt to block any statement of faith failed, the New Issue men, led most vocally by Haywood, Goss, Opperman, Roberts, Rogers, and Ewart, voted en bloc against every portion of the statement, even those portions with which they concurred. This stance evoked such hostility on the Council floor that the debate drifted into a less than gentlemanly scuffle. Deterred by the bitter words passed, the New Issue leaders recognized the futility of any further action and withdrew from the discussion.

The 1916 General Council adopted the "Statement of Fundamental Truths," of which roughly one-half addressed the New Issue error. Traditional Trinitarianism, expressed in Athanasian and Augustinian terms, predominated. Further instructions to the Credentials Committee insured against a resurgence of any unorthodox position. With this thorough repudiation, the New Issue ministers withdrew from the Assemblies of God, shrinking its ranks from 585 to 429 ministers. These homeless ministers passed from view briefly, only to reappear in new Oneness bodies as early as December 1916. Under the reins of Welch and Flower, the Assemblies of God, shaken by the New Issue, steered back to the course of orthodoxy and stability.

The New Issue controversy, with its doctrinal and organizational ramifications, began as an evangelical awakening of sincere minds, but soon swelled into a numerical and doctrinal threat to the status quo unity of the Assemblies of God. Nurtured by poor exegesis, misapplied literalism, and the lack of sufficient rebuttal, the New Issue shifted from an academic debate concerning the baptismal formula to a revolutionary application of monotheism to the person of Christ, and ultimately to a rigid, exclusive doctrine of salvation. This exclusiveness necessarily bred schism.

Formulated by Ewart and Haywood and later defended most prominently by Andrew Urshan, the Oneness doctrine of God and the Acts 2:38 "plan of salvation" pitted sectarian claims against the non-sectarian liberality of the Assemblies of God. Perhaps even more important than any theoretical leadership, the New Issue evangelists—such as Cook, Roberts, Goss, and Oliver F. Fauss—captivated the grassroots of the movement with their sincerity and powers of persuasion. The New Issue leaders also deftly handled the wavering position of Bell during the crucial year of conflict to the advantage of their cause. Nevertheless, the New Issue was destined for separation rather than success: its sectarian doctrines demanded it. The idealized anti-creedalism of the Assemblies withstood three years of threat before the New Issue forced the body to redefine itself in more realistic terms. In this, the New Issue provided a great service to the Assemblies of God by forcing a clarification of its beliefs, goals, and future direction.

1Assemblies of God, Minutes of the General Council, 1914, p. 4. (Typewritten.)


3E. N. Bell, "There Is Safety in Counsel," Weekly Evangel, September 18, 1915, p. 1.

4Frank J. Ewart, The Phenomenon of Pentecost (Hazelwood, Mo.: World Aflame Press, 1947), p. 104. Three hundred sixty-four received the baptism of the Spirit here.

5Ibid., pp. 105-06.

6These statements had little effect on the meeting a whole. Miss Woodworth-Etter, notorious for exploiting any miracle, healing, or vision, failed to record this event. See her Signs and Wonders God Wrought in the Ministry of Forty Years (Chicago: Herald Press, 1916).

7Although the specific content of this "revelation" is unclear, Sheppe sided with the New Issue and became a minister in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, an early Oneness body. See David A. Reed, "Origins and Developments of the Theology of Oneness Pentecostalism in the United States" (Ph.D. dissertation, Boston University, 1978), p. 99.

8Ethel E. Goss, The Winds of God (Hazelwood, Mo.: World Aflame Press, 1958), p. 155.

9For complete discussion, see Ewart, Phenomenon.

10This doctrinal development is best seen in Frank J. Ewart's Revelation of Jesus Christ (St. Louis: Pentecostal Publishing House, n.d.).

11Particularly significant in that Missouri and Arkansas were Assemblies of God strongholds. See Carl Brumback, Suddenly From Heaven (Springfield, Mo.: Gospel Publishing House, 1961), p. 192.

12Paul Dugas, ed., The Life and Writings of Elder G. T. Haywood (Stockton, Ca.: Apostolic Press, 1968), p. 19.

13Robert M. Anderson, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 193.

14Brumback, Suddenly, 197.

15Ewart, Phenomenon, 117.

16See the comments on John 3:3-5 in Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Whole Bible, Vol. 4 (New York: Funk and Wagnall's, n.d.). Compare G. T. Haywood, The Birth of the Spirit and the Mystery of the Godhead (Indianapolis: Christ Temple, n.d.), p. 5.

17Arthur L. Clanton, United We Stand: A History of Oneness Organizations (St. Louis: Pentecostal Publishing House, 1970), p. 5.

18See the following articles by E. N. Bell, "Baptized Once For All," Weekly Evangel, March 27, 1915, p. 1; "To Act in the Name of Another," Weekly Evangel, May 8, 1915, p. 1; "The Great Outlook," Weekly Evangel, May 29, 1915, p. 1; "The Sad New Issue," Weekly Evangel, June 5, 1915, p. 1; and "Scriptural Varieties in Baptismal Formula," Weekly Evangel, July 3, 1915, p. 1. See also these articles by J. R. Flower, "Editorial," Weekly Evangel, June 19, 1915, p. 1; "Preliminary Statement," Word and Witness, June 1915, p. 1; and "Mis-statement Corrected," Weekly Evangel, July 17, 1915, p. 2.

19A defense of Trinitarianism is notably absent from these articles. This does not mean that Oneness studies of the divine name had yet to equate the radical monotheism of Jehovah and the "absolute deity" of Jesus. Rather, this shows an incomplete understanding of the issue by Bell and Flower.

20Brumback, Suddenly, 196.

21E. N. Bell, "Who Is Jesus Christ?: Jesus Christ, Exalted As Jehovah of the Old Testament," Weekly Evangel, August 14, 1915, p. 1 and Word and Witness, September, 1915, p. 1.

22Note especially D. C. O. Opperman's comments in Clanton's United, p. 19.

23Note especially E. N. Bell, "There is Safety in Counsel," Weekly Evangel, September 18, 1915, p. 1.

24Brumback, Suddenly, p. 198.

25This is David A. Reed's term. See his "Origins and Developments," p. 124.

26Welch continued to sit as chairman throughout the Council despite Collins later appearance.

27Assemblies of God, Minutes of the General Council, 1915 , p. 5. (Typewritten.)

28Brumback, Suddenly, p. 201.

29Assemblies of God, Minutes, 1915, p. 5.

30Brumback, Suddenly, p. 202.

31See "Controversy Discouraged," Weekly Evangel, September 18, 1915, p. 2; "Controversy Discouraged," Word and Witness, October 1915, p. 4; and "Editorial," Weekly Evangel, October 30, 1915, p. 2.

32See E. N. Bell, "Bro. Bell on the Trinity," Weekly Evangel, November 6, 1915, p. 1; M.M. Pinson, "What Think Ye of Christ?," Weekly Evangel, November 20, 1915, p. 3; "The Holy Ghost as a Person," Weekly Evangel, November 27, 1915, p. 2; and "The Mystery of God," Weekly Evangel, May 20, 1916, p. 1.

33Brumback, Suddenly, p. 202.

34J. W. Welch, "Editorial," Weekly Evangel, June 14, 1916, p. 1.

35By this time, Bell had denounced the New Issue and reaffirmed [re-embraced] Trinitarianism. For a Oneness response, see Clanton, United, p. 21.

36Assemblies of God, Minutes, 1914, p. 4.