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Summary: So what then do we mean by "Only Jesus"? Because what we believe is based on what the Bible says, we’ll allow the answer to come from Scripture.

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Only Jesus

If we were to ask some of the great Christian teachers to answer the question, "What one thing is necessary?",

The great Apostle Paul might say - "Only Faith." (A favorite song of years gone by expressed it this way: "Only believe, only believe, all things are possible.")

Certainly John, the Apostle of Love would counter, "Only love." (A current expression is "Love makes the world go ’round.")

Centuries later, the great founder of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, would proclaim, "Scriptura Sola" - "Only Scripture."

We would reply, "With all due respect, Paul, John and Martin, you’ve all missed it. For you see, it’s not a thing at all, it’s a person - the answer is Jesus - "Only Jesus." It’s been a long time, but we used to sing the chorus often, "He’s all I need, He’s all I need, Jesus is all I need."

The message for today is as simple as I hope it will be memorable - "Only Jesus."

With a title like this, it’s important, first of all, to make sure we are not getting it confused with the "Jesus only" teaching which nearly derailed the Pentecostal movement in it’s formative days.

The Assemblies of God began in 1914 as a loose fellowship of pastors and churches. No creed was drawn up by the leaders at that time because they insisted that their only written authority was that of the Bible. However, with the strong emphasis on personal revelation, many ideas were espoused and promoted by influential pastors. One such idea came to be known as the "New Issue," otherwise known as the "Jesus Only" movement within early Pentecostalism.

It all started in 1913 at services conducted by Mary B. Woodworth-Etter in Arroyo Seco, California. Early one morning John G. Scheppe, after praying through the night hours, received what he believed to be a new revelation concerning the power resident in the name of Jesus. He ran through the camp, waking everyone with this good news. Soon after, R.E. McAlister, after searching through the Scriptures, made the observation that when the New Testament Apostles baptized converts, they did so in the name of Jesus only.

Soon, large groups of Christians were being rebaptized "in the name of Jesus," which was viewed as a door into increased blessings from God. The message was picked up by a prominent Pentecostal preacher by the name of Frank J. Ewart who tied it in with Jeremiah 32:22, saying that this baptism in the name of "Jesus Only" was the "new thing" prophesied by Jeremiah.

By early 1915, through the concerted efforts of a couple of preachers, the message had spread across the country. However, the problem was not limited to promised spiritual blessings through rebaptism - it soon evolved into a denial of the Trinity, with proponents saying that while God is a threefold being (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), he is but one person, Jesus Christ. These preachers also began to teach that only people who were baptized in the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues were truly saved.

In response to these departures from Biblical doctrine, two councils were called (1915, 1916) in which these matters were discussed, and what we now know as the "Sixteen Fundamental Truths" were adopted to give guidance to the church’s teachings.


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