Question: A friend belongs to the United Pentecostal Church and believes in "Jesus only," rejecting the Trinity. Jesus says that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. These people don't believe in the Holy Spirit at all. Isn't that blasphemy? Could United Pentecostals be Christians? How could they even believe in the true God?
Response: We have just revised our tract on the Trinity, so I suggest you get some copies of that. In that tract, I think you will find all the information you need about the Trinity to prove that the God of the Bible is a triune Being of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—three persons but One God. This is taught in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
Could someone be saved who believes that baptism should be in the "name of Jesus only," that Jesus alone is God, and that "Father" and "Holy Spirit," refer to modes of manifestation, or to offices, not to persons? That is a good question. Let us see what the Bible says.
Obviously, to lead someone to Christ, one need not first explain the Trinity. The gospel as defined by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 declares that "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures..." (1 Cor:15:3,4). There is no mention of the Trinity or even that Christ is God. Yet Christ declared, "If ye believe not that I am [i.e., "that I am the I AM, Yahweh"-"he" is in italics, meaning that it was supplied by the translators], ye shall die in your sins" (Jn:8:24). Obviously, then, although we are only told of one brief statement by Paul and Silas to the Philippian jailor, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts:16:31), they surely had already explained who Jesus Christ is, or "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" would have been meaningless.
Of course, United Pentecostals believe that Jesus is Yahweh, so they would seem to believe John:8:24. Yet John tells us, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son" (2 Jn 9). To abide in the doctrine of Christ, one must have both the Father and the Son—surely not as modes or offices but as distinct persons.
John begins this epistle extending "mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love" (v. 3). It is quite apparent that both the Father and Son are individual persons of the Godhead and that both are involved in our salvation.
In the Garden, Christ prayed, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Mt 26:39). To suggest that Christ is praying to an "office" or to Himself reduces the Bible to nonsense. The doctrine of Christ includes His relationship to His Father.
I don't see how those who deny that the Father is a real person within the Trinity can be saved because, according to John, if they don't abide in the doctrine of Christ, they don't have God. This is not some obscure error to be overlooked. It is of vital importance to deliver these people from this grievous heresy.