I have seen many people write blog posts and websites explaining why they are no longer a part of the Apostolic Pentecostal church (also known as the United Pentecostal Church (UPCI), Worldwide Pentecostal Fellowship (WPF), or the Oneness/Jesus-Only Church). So I decided it was time that I write about why I left the Apostolic Pentecostal church as well.
My only request is this: if you choose to read part of this post that you read all of it.
I was determined I would be an Apostolic Pentecostal til the day I died. I loved the church, I loved living the holiness lifestyle, I loved the Bible, I loved God.
But one day the discussions started. Some family members showed me several reasons why the Apostolic Pentecostal church was wrong and why I shouldn’t worry about being associated with them anymore. And one day, I reasoned, “They’re right.” So I left the Apostolic Pentecostal church. Here’s why:
-Apostolic Pentecostals believe that one must have the Acts 2:38 experience (that is, repenting of your sins, being baptized in the name of Jesus, and receiving the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues). I firmly believed this too and had experienced this and seen others experience this. However, my family members pointed out to me that for someone to say you have to follow what this verse says in order to be saved is ludicrous; “God loves everybody and wants everybody to be saved,” they said. And I reasoned, It’s true. God does love everybody and wants everybody to be saved. That’s what the Bible says.
– “If you’re female, they make you wear skirts and don’t let you cut your hair. If you’re a guy, they make you cut your hair. God looks at the heart,” they told me, and I thought, You’re right, God does look at the heart. That’s what the Bible says.
– “They also don’t let you watch tv, drink, wear jewelry or makeup, etc. Do you really think God wants you to not have fun? God is still going to love you if you do those things.” They’re right. God does want me to enjoy life and He will still love me. That’s what the Bible says.
– I later heard from another person, after I had already left the Apostolic Pentecostal church, that a problem with them is that they reject the trinity. Now, having grown up Apostolic Pentecostal I wasn’t aware that people believed differently about God than I had always been taught, but when they said this I thought, Ok, I need to look into this.
– Apostolic Pentecostals believe that anybody who does not follow the plan of salvation that they do is not saved. Well, that’s small mindedness, I thought.
With all these things together, it only made sense that I left the Apostolic Pentecostal church.
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Now that you know the reasons I left, I find it only fair that I give the reasons I CAME BACK:
A year after I left the church I started a downward spiral of depression. I knew there had to be more to life. I questioned if God even existed (for if He did, why did He allow bad things to happen?). So I started seeking. I looked into several religions: Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, agnosticism (not much to learn about that one), once I was even invited to join a group of people in going to the desert in Texas to find UFOs and try and contact extraterrestrials (you think I’m kidding but I’m not. Thank God I had enough sense to cut those people off immediately after the invite).
None of those made sense to me. I had experienced God’s love. I had known what it was like to stand in God’s presence. I had seen miraculous healings. I had seen people get the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues. I had been baptized in Jesus name and remembered the feeling when I came up out of the water. God was real. And the only true God was Jesus.
Ok, so I had it settled that Jesus is God, no doubt about it. But now I was faced with the reality that there were many denominations out there–many churches full of people who love God and whom God loves. Yet, many of them teach different things. God cannot be controlling like those Apostolic Pentecostals were, I thought, so I knew I had to get into the Bible and find out what it really says so I could find a church that preaches what the Bible actually says.
So I started reading the Bible and researching many denominations, where they came from, who decided what they would teach, what do they teach, etc.
And what I found out was this:
-Most denominations and churches preach that the Bible is infallible and that Christians should follow it.
-The ONLY denomination I could find that taught that the Acts 2:38 experience was necessary for salvation was the Apostolic Pentecostal Church. So though the Bible says that unless one is born of the water and Spirit he CANNOT enter into the kingdom of God, all denominations but the Apostolic Pentecostal church preached that baptism was optional and not necessary.
-The Bible does in fact, teach that we should repent of our sins (and none of the major denominations disputed this). It also teaches that we should be baptized by water in the name of God–that is, Jesus (Matt. 28:19, Acts 2:38. Acts 10:48, Acts 19:5, I Peter 3:21) and baptized with the Holy Spirit (or “filled with the Holy Ghost”). John 3:5- “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Many scriptures throughout the book of Acts show that the one sign that accompanied the believers who were filled with the Spirit was tongues (Acts 2:1-4, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:1-6).
-The ONLY denomination I could find that taught that receiving the Holy Spirit was an experience distinct from the moment you believe in God was the Apostolic Pentecostal Church. And yet, Paul asked in Acts 19:2, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?”
So my family was right, God does love everybody and wants everybody to be saved. But they were wrong to say that what the Bible says is necessary for salvation is not necessary. And sadly, most churches are saying it is not necessary as well.
– The Apostolic Pentecostal church does teach that women should dress like women and men dress like men, and that women should have long hair and men short hair. So my family was right. They do teach this. Why is that a problem? The Bible teaches about apparel in Deuteronomy 22:5. I Corinthians 11 teaches about cutting or not cutting hair. Sadly, many churches do not teach these verses. I wanted to attend a church that did.
Furthermore, I will say this (because someone will undoubtedly make a “that’s legalism” comment) i have never been to an A.P.C. that forced someone to do something. I’m not really sure how they could force someone. Furthermore, I’ve never been in a church that did not allow someone to attend because they didn’t follow a “dress code”. A pastor teaches the Bible; it is up to the believer to confirm the teaching in the Word and follow it. No pastor can force anyone to do something.
– The Apostolic Pentecostal church teaches that Christians ought not to drink, watch TV, wear makeup or jewelry. These are referred to as “holiness standards” and they do vary from church to church. As mentioned above, though, a pastor cannot force someone to do or not do something and I have yet to see someone shunned for not following any of these. But that said, my family was right. The church does teach this. But what’s the problem? The Bible refers to drunkenness as a sin, teaches us to not “set any wicked thing before mine eyes”, teaches us that we should dress modestly and not draw attention to ourselves. And few churches I looked into outside of the Apostolic Pentecostal church taught these principles. If we truly believe the Bible is infallible don’t we want to go to churches that preach the entire Bible?
An added note here: When one comes to God the outward should not be the initial focus; the initial focus should be the inward (getting your heart right and following the commands for salvation: repentance, baptism in Jesus name, infilling of the Holy Ghost). Outward holiness will follow. And Apostolic churches teach this.
– The Apostolic Pentecostal church rejects the idea of the Trinity. This is a major reason I would not join any church but the Apostolic Pentecostal church. The Bible does not teach the idea of the trinity. The word “trinity” isn’t even in the Bible. Neither are the terms “God the Son,” or “God the Holy Ghost”. Apostolic Pentecostals believe in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, but they believe according to the Bible: “These three are one.” There is but one God. “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.” Isaiah 9:6 prophesied that Jesus would be called “The Everlasting Father”.
You might read articles by other people claiming that the idea of one God instead of the trinity is a new idea, or that baptism in Jesus name is a new idea, started only in the late 1800s. This is not true. The early church recorded in Acts taught this, churches throughout time taught this (and many people were persecuted for doing so). The trinity doctrine was not instituted until 325 A.D.
– The Apostolic Pentecostal church believes that people are not saved unless they follow the same plan of salvation (Repentance, Baptism in Jesus Name, receiving the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues). Galatians 1:8 says, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Apostolic Pentecostals are called Apostolic Pentecostals because they follow the teachings of the Apostles and know that what happened on the Day of Pentecost still happens today.
Sadly, many churches don’t teach what the Apostles did. But there are churches that do. And that is why I came back to an Apostolic Pentecostal church.