Thursday, September 10, 2015

What is the Apostolic Christian Church and What Does It Have To Do With the Kim Davis Case?

Kim Davis's denomination, the Apostolic Pentecostal Church, strongly opposes same-sex marriage.  They also reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.  Here is a taste of an interesting post at the Huffington Post featuring Vinson Synan, a leading scholar of Pentecostalism in the United States:

Q: Who are Apostolic Christians?

A: The term could refer to any one of a few different groups, including the Apostolic Christian Church or the Apostolic Pentecostal movement, also known as Oneness Pentecostalism...

Q: What is Apostolic Pentecostalism, and what do Apostolic Pentecostals believe?

A: Pentecostalism is a Christian movement that emphasizes a personal experience of God, including the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. The movement grew out of the 1906 Azusa Street Revival in California and takes its name from Pentecost, when early Christians first received the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as the ability to heal and prophesy.
Apostolic Pentecostals then split from the rest of the movement in 1916 over a disagreement about the nature of the Trinity.

Without getting too complicated, Apostolic Pentecostals believe “Father,” “Son” and “Holy Spirit” aren’t three distinct persons, but three different titles for one person: Jesus...
Vinson Synan, a professor of church history at Regent University in Virginia and an expert on Pentecostalism, estimates there are 15 to 20 million Pentecostals in the United States; of those, maybe 1 million are Apostolic Pentecostals...

Q: What does the “apostolic” in “Apostolic Pentecostal” mean?

A: “Apostolic” refers to the apostles, the earliest followers of Jesus who were sent out to spread the Christian faith. In this case, it comes from Apostolic Pentecostals’ beliefs about baptism. Apostolic Pentecostals baptize believers in the name of Jesus. Other Christians baptize newly converted Christians in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Q: Isn’t this just splitting hairs?

AAll this quibbling about whether the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three persons or three titles for one person and which ones Christians name-check when they baptize new believers sounds pretty minor, right? But it’s kind of a big deal. The doctrine of the Trinity, Synan said, “goes to the very heart of the Bible and the Christian Gospel — the very idea of the Godhead...”

Read the rest of this post here.