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Pentecostals/Conversion - Romans 10:9-10, +13

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I noticed that Apostolics - the United Pentecostal Church International UPCI believes that in order to become a Christian, Acts 2:38 - one must repent, be water baptized in Jesus' name [only] by immersion [only] or rebaptized, receive the Holy Ghost with required evidence of speaking in tongues, and have the standards of holiness (standards of dress).

In the United Methodist Church, we believe:
-we are absolutely convinced that we are saved by grace through faith without legalism.  
-We are justified by faith only.  
-we believe, Romans 10:9-10 - That if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you BELIEVE and ARE JUSTIFIED, and it is with your mouth that you CONFESS and ARE SAVED.
-We believe Romans 10:13 - For whosoever will call on the name of the Lord SHALL BE SAVED.  
-We believe conversion occurs with just the faith statement, when you call on the name of the Lord, without legalism, without being strict, without water baptism, without speaking in tongues, and without false “standards of holiness.”  
-We believe

Romans 3:28 tells us that faith only justifies a man.  We believe that faith only justifies someone without tongues, without the requirement of water baptism, without standards, and definitely without legalism.  “Works of the law” in this context is generally any work (i.e., Jewish legalism, Gentile legalism, any legalism, Mosaic law, works, rituals, circumcision, > water baptism, tongues, legalism, standards of holiness).  Romans 5:1 tells us that our peace (the peace) comes from justification only.  And Romans 5:2 communicates to us, our justification through Christ and grace from Christ is accessed by faith only.

In Romans 10:8b, Paul introduces the simple criteria or requirement to be saved.  The message was in their hearts and in their mouth, and the message was the “word of faith” which the apostles preached (Rom. 10:8a).  The immediate context was a sermon.  Paul introduced to his audience in Romans 10:1 that his prayer was for Israel that they would be saved, but this text does not mean that the whole chapter is a prayer.  Romans 10:9-13 was not just a prayer.  I found that the gospel is simply that Jesus rose from the dead and that Jesus is Lord.  In Romans 10 verse 10, belief results in justification, and the confession with the mouth results in one’s salvation.  Justification is an act of God that is performed independently of humans, unaided by humans, and without any human volition.   According to Wallace, I observed that the present tense verbs for believe and confess are instantaneous presents (a.k.a., also known as punctiliar or aoristic present).   Also according to Wallace, “The present tense may be used to indicate that an action is completed at the moment of speaking.”   Therefore, conversion occurs instantaneously in the present from a past aorist event for a future promise of salvation.  

The Apostle Paul tells his faithful in Rome: For whosoever will call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  For whosoever will is all-inclusive.  It allows us to create a logical conditional faith statement.  If you call on the name of the Lord, then you shall be saved.  It certainly doesn’t give the appearance that God has established strict unfolding requirements for salvation.  It allows us to come up with the conclusion that the moment when you call on the name of the Lord, that the conversion occurs.  That a confession of faith is all that is necessary.  If/then is a grammatical and logical precise way to present the faith statement.  If you believe, then you are saved.  In Wallace, the aorist tense verb (ἐπικαλέσηται) for calling on the name of the Lord is a constative (punctiliar) aorist verb.   Aorist tense verbs describe the action in summary fashion, viewed as a whole, a snap shot, in an instantaneous (punctiliar) instance.   In contrast to the imperfect tense, an imperfect portrays the action as an ongoing process.  An imperfect portrays the action as it unfolds.   The verb (σωθήσεται) is a predictive future, and the portrayal of the event is external, summarizing the action.   

Are there any Apostolics/UPCs that believe that conversion occurs the moment you believe and confess (repent) before/without the essential of water baptism, tongues, and without standards?

Thank You

Answer
I had an indepth answer ready to send and it somehow got deleted so I am starting over.  Sorry for this delay.

I have personally struggled with this question and have had extensive exposure to both views.  I approached it both spiritually and academically.  

As is often the case, there are good, Biblical points to be made from each perspective.  It's important to approach the things of God with the right attitude.  Rather than see how little we can do to be saved, we should look at the blueprint of attitude and obedience given to us by the early church.  Truth should always trump tradition.

I'm sensitive to the difficulties in reconciling the two opinions on the Biblical standard of salvation since I have had to live it with some consequence.  There are always errors made when any position is taken to an extreme.  Our goal is to be true to the entire Word of God and the example given us by the Apostles.  As one who had to make difficult theological changes to a very comfortable doctrinal position, I can assure you that choosing wisely will always pay off in the long run.  

The opinions from each side could seem to be mutually exclusive but I think the Biblical answer is a combination.  One builds upon the other.  Rather than answer verse by verse, I'm going to ask you to take a broad look at Scripture and consider the sum total as opposed to isolating one verse and consider it alone to the exclusion of the others.

God's dealings with His people were always filed with mercy, compassion and grace but were often demanding, strict and precise.  The sum total of the OT teaching through God's commands and required customs find their fulfillment in the NT and Christ, specifically.

We know there are many OT "types and shadows" that only fit perfectly when understood properly.  They were symbolic of what was to come.  This is abundantly true in the OT Tabernacle.  While you will see that I am making a case for the NT pattern that all early Christian converts were expected to follow, I am not making an extreme position nor am I stating what happens to the soul who chooses otherwise.  Early converts never posed an argument to what they were instructed for an easier bare bones, lower bar standard to meet for salvation.  Sadly, Apostolics have done a poor job in their presentation of the facts and displayed a poor spirit in their attitude toward others who were emphasizing the role of faith and grace.

I believe that faith is something we can all agree is essential to salvation.  Personally, I believe spiritual new birth is paralleled by physical birth.  When faith is given by God (we DO NOT manufacture it), it unites with the receptive heart and spiritual life in conceived.  Conception is not birth but to deny the presence of life is unmistakably wrong.  The new life conceived may incubate for a time or be born rather quickly depending on the heart and the Spirit's workings.  Without faith, nothing else can or will happen spiritually.  

THE TABERNACLE PLAN FORESHADOWS NT SALVATION...

Beyond that, in God's desire to regenerate us through our identification with Christ's death, burial and resurrection, we walk in obedience to the repeated NT pattern that exemplifies this so completely.

FAITH from God brings us to the door - Christ.  LIFE is introduced.  There was one door to the Tabernacle enclosure, just one.  Then REPENTANCE (DEATH to self) is typified by the Brazen Altar where the BLOOD of the sacrifice was spilled.  Next was the LAVER of WATER where God demanded that the priest wash lest he die. ("He that believeth and IS baptized shall be saved."  Mark 16).  This was symbolic of our burial of the old life.  Having washed and been cleansed, we are prepared to enter the Presence of God, the Holy of Holies.  This is symbloic of Christ's RESURRECTION where the SPIRIT abides.  John chapter 5 speaks of the Blood, the water and the Spirit agreeing in ONE salvation.  Jesus certainly told Nicodemus in JN 3:3 & 5. that he needs a spiritual birth requiring water and Spirit.  

Hungry and receptive believing hearts were eager to apply all this in the NT Christian initiation repeated over and over...Faith in Christ, Repentance through death to self trusting in Christ's blood, Baptism in the Name of the Savior that remitted or buried our old life by water as we trust in the saving power of His Name and the infilling of Christ's resurrection life through the agency of His Spirit.  Blood, water and Spirit.  Death, Burial and Resurrection.  Repentance, Baptism and the Holy Ghost.  These fulfill OT types and identify the believer with the Savior Who died for them.  Acts chapters 2, 8, 10, 19 and 22.

Obedience does not nullify faith or demean it in any way.  It is the vehicle through which grace and faith bring regeneration.

"Only those who believe obey. Only those who obey really believe."

Faith without works is dead.  They are in partnership.  Sadly, the Apostolics have by their poor presentation often appeared to undermine the fundamental role of faith that conceives life in order to emphasize what is truly a terribly overlooked and neglected part of God's redemptive plan...baptism of water in Jesus' Name and of the Holy Spirit.

I hope this helps!  Feel free to write back...God bless!

Yours for Acts 2:38,

Robert

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Robert L. Morgan

Expertise

I was raised as a 4th generation Pentecostal in an ordained Assemblies of God minister's home and educated for the ministry at an A/G Bible College. I transitioned into the United Pentecostal Church International and also attended one of their Bible Colleges. I have a balanced understanding of the Oneness/Trinity debate, water baptism in the Name of Jesus, grace versus legalism, the new birth, the differences between Charismatic, Apostolic, and Pentecostal, worship, church history and the evolution of Christian theology. I have also personally confronted the issue of same gender attraction often found among classical Pentecostals.

Experience

I have a deep passion for doctrine and history which I invested myself into heavily while pursuing my education. My entire life has been spent finding Scriptural balance with help provided by exposure to reputable ministries from across the spectrum of the modern Pentecostal and Charismatic movements.

Organizations
Presently, I am the General Chairman and co-founder of the Global Alliance of Affimring Apostolic Pentecostals, an "affirming" organization dedicated to sharing truth as it is understood by Pentecostals with all people, including but not limited to gay people in their pursuit of God's fullness in their often challenging lives. I attend a multicultural United Pentecostal Church in Tampa, FL.

Publications
The Pentecostal Herald. I was also one of the featured subjects of an article written for Charisma Magazine in 2000 regarding the issue of Homosexuality and Christianity.

Education/Credentials
I graduated in 1983 from Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL (Assemblies of God) with a Bachelors degree in Theology and Pastoral Ministry. I also attended JacksonCollege of Ministries in Jackson, MS where I studied organ, piano and vocal music. I attended A/G churches all my life until 1985 when I fully transitioned in the United Pentecostal Church International. I held a General License with the UPC for several years before resigning to confront personal issues with which I was struggling.

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