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Sons and Daughters of the Most High God, Greetings in the Name of Jesus Messiah.

The following letter was received by Pastor David Gardner, Solid Rock Pentecostal Church Hainesville, Illinois, from the Director of Corporate Affairs for Zondervan Publishing House.

Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 09:49:36 -0400
Message-ID: <0003D295.1311@zph.com>
From: zpub@zph.com (zpub)
Subject: Re: United Pentecostal Church
To: PASTOR4HIM@aol.com
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Dear Pastor Gardner:

Thank you for your message voicing your objection to Zondervan's publication of Calvin Beisner's "JESUS ONLY" CHURCHES as part of our series on cults and religious movements.

We included the book in the series because Oneness groups, including the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI), properly fit the definition of a cult: "A cult of Christianity is a group of people which, claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible" (Alan Gomes, UNMASKING THE CULTS, p. 7.).

Among central, defining doctrines of the Christian faith taught in Scripture and adhered to through the centuries are the Trinity, the union of the divine and human natures in the one Person of Christ, and salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone apart from works, whether moral or sacramental. The book documents that UPCI and other Oneness groups deny each of these three fundamental, defining doctrines of Christianity.

Thank you again for writing.

Jonathan Petersen
Director, Corporate Affairs
Zondervan Publishing House

Response by Pastor G. Reckart: The first letter was sent email on September 15, 1998. After no response this second letter was sent which is virtually the same as the first.

Second Letter
September 19, 1998

Jonathan Petersen
Director, Corporate Affairs
Zondervan Publishing House

Re: My email of September 15th in regards to your letter to Pastor David Gardner labeling the UPCI and other Oneness groups as cults.

Dear Mr Petersen:

Your recent letter to Pastor Gardner identifying UPCI and other Oneness groups as cults did not set well with me a Jewish Christian.

You cited three criteria upon which you based this accusation:

1.) Denial of the trinity
2.) Denial of the dual nature of Jesus as God and man
3.) Salvation by grace and not works

None of these three criteria are found in the Scriptures as a test of who is and who is not a Christian. They are contained in Creeds the works of men. Now you are demanding faith in Creeds and doctrines of men in order to qualify to be called a Christian?

On the basis of the trinity, we deny the three-person godhead as it is the Greek doctrine of Plato adapted to Christianity which the Church Scholars all admit. Have you not studied this and seen the truth of it? The trinity is not a doctrine of the New Testament Church that there are three gods and yet the doctrine of the trinity is just that, a three-god philosophy enacted into Church law at the Council of Nicaea and at Constaninople and then placed in the Creeds. Before these Creeds there was no formal statement on a trinity doctrine and certainly no requirement to believe in it as a test of New Testament Salvation or legitimacy as a New Testament Church or Christian! What you are doing Sir is placing faith in Creeds of Catholicism above faith in Christ. So, If I deny the Creeds and have faith in Christ that is not enough faith you claim, I must also in addition to faith in Christ have faith in the Creeds (the works of man) that make a statement concerning the trinity? I question this in light of the fact one of your test to allege we are a cult is practicing works as faith? Now you are using as a test the very thing you say identifies us as a cult. Is faith in Christ not enough for salvation? Must we now also have faith in the Creeds produced by the works of men?

We deny the trinity because there is only One God (Isa 43:10; 44:6,8, 24) and he is not a trinity of gods consisting of three separate and distinct persons (gods). The First Commandment prohibits a plural view of God.

Now I know the Creeds forbid anyone to say there are three Gods, but how else can you have it when you have three persons separate and distinct, and each not the other, and all three are coequal, coeternal, and coexistent; and trinitarians pray to each of these as if they are three separate Gods? Of course you must accuse us of being a cult because we do not admit to Rome or the Papacy that any of her man-made traditions have any saving virtue.

We are proud to admit that our faith is in Jesus Christ and we do not need to add that our faith also includes the Traditions and Creeds of the Church of Rome. Our faith is in Christ alone. When you represent us do it right. Do not misrepresent us and give out false impressions so you can make money on us selling books by calling us a cult. And to say that we believe in works for salvation when we believe firmly in salvation by grace through faith, is a falsehood.

We have never denied that Jesus was God and man. In fact your statement about our belief that Jesus was God proves your statement and accusation were false. What we teach is that Jesus was God manifest in the flesh. By God we mean the Father. For Jesus himself said it was the Father IN HIM that doeth the works. Why not rather Jesus saying: *It is the eternal Son in me doing the works?* It was not the eternal Son who departed from Jesus on the Cross for him to cry: My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me (KJV)! It was the Father in the Son (the son of man), that departed from Jesus our Lord. Was there both an eternal Father and an eternal Son dwelling in Jesus (two Gods separate and distinct)? If it was the eternal Son that departed from Jesus on the Cross then did the eternal Son die upon the Cross or only the son of man?

We deny that an Eternal Son as a god-person separate from the Father dwelt in a human son. We believe and teach very firmly that the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily in Jesus as the Scriptures declare (1Tim 3:16; Col 2:9). We will never conceed that there are two brothers in the trinity of the eternal Son and the eternal Holy Ghost! We affirm that the God of the Old Testament is the God-man of the new which nearly all scholars will agree, even Dr.Billy Graham.

Your publishing firm is creating hate for a group of Christians who confess that Jesus is Christ. Our faith is firmly in Jesus alone for salvation without any need for additional faith in Creeds and works of men. We have never been accused by you, Zondervan or anyone else that our faith in Christ is not valid for salvation. So you are promoting hatred against us by calling us a cult when by your very own definitions of faith salvation, we are saved. Or do you deny we are saved? And if you will not deny we are saved, then how can you call us a cult? A saved cult?

Our disagreement is that you call our faith works when we believe that repentance is faith. And even Evangelicals allow for this or how can any of them claim salvation without repentance by faith? Our baptism is by faith why do you deny that baptism at any time is faith? A Baptist Minister wrote to me several years ago that salvation was without water baptism. When I ask him if baptism at a time subsequent to his opinion of faith-salvation was still an act of faith he replied yes! My question was why baptism was an act of faith at any time if it was not faith at all times? His response was that his belief was the standard belief of his denomination and that was how he would preach it. Our faith begins in Jesus Christ and this brings us to faith repentance, faith water baptism, and faith receiving of the promise of Spirit Baptism. We teach faith nothing but faith, and this by the grace of God. We teach very clearly that were it not for the grace of God there could be no repentance by faith. Were it not for the grace of God there could be no water baptism by faith for the remission of sins by the blood of Jesus. We teach that were it not for the grace of God no person could ever receive by faith Spirit Baptism. And by faith through the grace of God we look for the resurrection and the Second Coming of the Lord. Are you saying that all of this faith is not valid? Have you not judged us? And having judged our faith not to be faith has that not given your heart some comfort to damn us by calling us a cult?

I am distressed that here you are calling us a cult and do so for the sake of making money (filthy lucre) selling books calling us a cult and you are not doing the same against Rome and the Papacy which some teach is the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon?

Doubtless we will change your mind since you have taken to your responsibility the hatred to persecute and judge our faith as heresy, but the Lord Jesus will vindicate us and our faith. I will from this moment on be praying for you and Zondervan that God open your eyes to the Truth about the Scriptures and we Oneness believers, or that God recompense Zondervan the necessary judgments because of the hatred and persecution you will have caused, inflicted, and justified against a few million of us by your unfairness and your unchristian judging attitude in calling us a cult.

I pray you will get a better Biblical view of faith and grace and not be bound up in Papacy Creeds and Calvinism with an unscriptural view of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Your letter is going out to over 30,000 thousand web-sites and e-mail addresses and we are going to mount a protest against purchasing Zondervan publications. You did not represent our faith correctly.

We will be calling for a boycott of Zondervan publications until this is made right.

By Grace through Faith,

Pastor G. Reckart
Apostolic Messianic Fellowship
An Independent Fellowship of Messianic Christians

*****************

Letter received by Pastor Reckart from Pastor David Gardner

September 15, 1998

Dear Pastor Reckart

Thank you so much for stating the truth in your letter to Zondervan. I hope that they will reconsider their stand on this book.

Your servant in Christ,

Pastor David Gardner
Solid Rock Pentecostal Church
Hainesville, Illinois

*****************

The letter below was after a third attempt and Mr Petersen refused to respond to my previous letter chosing rather to make it appear like we are accusing ourselves of heresy and not rather he, Zondervan, and Calvin Beisner.

Subj: Re: Third attempt to reach you for an answer
Date: 09/22/98 4:30:50 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: zpub@zph.com (zpub)

To: Acts0412@jesus-messiah.com

Dear Pastor G. Reckart:

I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were expecting a further response from me.

Thank you, again, for writing and expressing your views.

As stated in the beginning of "JESUS ONLY" CHURCHES by E. Calvin Beisner, the book sets forth this movement's theological position "objectively, primarily from its own official writings," with a point by point scriptural discussion of the doctrine. I'm sure you'll find answers to your questions there.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Petersen
Director, Corporate Affairs
Zondervan Publishing House

*****************

My final response:

Subj: Re: Third attempt to reach you for an answer
Date: 09/22/98 11:49:29 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: Acts 04 12

To: zpub@zph.com

Dear Mr Petersen:

Your response to my letter was not adequate. I can only pray Sir that you have enough decency to stop spreading hate about Children of God who have faith in Christ for salvation.

We will continue to spread the word for Christians not to buy Zondervan publications until this horrible and sinful wrong is corrected. We realize that this will take some time to have an effect upon Zondervan, but we are also praying that the Lord come to our aid and bring his judgments upon those who are responsible for this wrong.

Pastor G. Reckart

**************

Pastor Reckart's note:

Please pass on this entire page or link to friends by copying and pasting and ask them to email Mr. Petersen their *polite* disgust at being called a cult and request an apology and the book *Jesus Only Churches* by Calvin Beisner be removed from their publications.  Include that you or your Church will not purchase any Zondervan publications until this is done.  Be polite Sons and Daughters of God!

:-)  I will make thy enemies come and bow before thy feet!