Pentecostal Churches In Sydney
So, you’re researching the different pentecostal churches in Sydney and perhaps trying to decide which one to attend. Here’s a bit of information on some of them and the differences you’ll encounter.
The first thing we believe is important is to find one that is aligned as closely as possible with biblical teaching. With the bible being our benchmark, we need to pay attention to what it says. After all, Christianity is based on what is taught in it.
Oneness vs Trinitarian
Of all the pentecostal churches in Sydney and in fact anywhere, the first major difference you’ll find is whether they are trinitarian or oneness. This is a tricky area sometimes because even trinitarians don’t quite see the difference in some cases.
However, it is important as we can be straying into heretical teaching if we aren’t basing it on the Word and a subject like this about the Godhead can influence our entire understanding of God.
Rather than try and explain this subject here, we’ll just boil it down to the basics.
In a oneness pentecostal church, the view is that God is one person with no division within Himself. The Jehovah of the old testament simply appeared to us in another form when he came as “the Son”.
He appeared to Moses as a burning bush. He appeared to Israel as a pillar of fire by night in the tabernacle days. He appeared as a human being in His role as the sacrificial lamb. Jesus, “Jehovah Saviour”, became a human and dwelt among us.
The view is that “the Son” only existed in the mind of God prior to his actual birth.
In trinitarian churches, the view is that God is one, but within the Godhead are three seperate and distinct persons, those being the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
They work as a team, agreeing with each other all the time.
The Son existed in eternity past, as did the Father, and came down from heaven to perform the duties required by the Lamb to atone for sin, then returned to his position in heaven after the ascension.
Up in heaven, there’s the Father and the Son. There is also the Holy Ghost. Rather than them being different manifestations of the one God as in oneness churches, trinitarianism has them as different beings that make up the one God.
As a UPC member, I myself am a oneness believer and for me, the trinitarian view really seems to be nonsensical. That’s just my opinion though, you have to make up your own mind.
You may say to yourself, “Does it really make a difference?” The answer is, yes it does.
These two divisions of pentecostalism cause a difference in baptismal methods, for a start.
In a oneness pentecostal church, the baptismal method of Acts 2:38 is followed, baptizing people in the actual name of Jesus Christ. Emphasis there on the word “name”.
In trinitarian pentecostal churches, Mathew 28:19 is the formula followed, baptizing people “in the name”, but not actually using the name, “of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”
You have a name, don’t you? So does God, as he has revealed it to us. But when people call you “brother” or “sister”, they are not using your name, just descriptions of their relationship to you.
Because Jehovah has become our saviour as the lamb, the name we know him by at the moment is Jesus, which means Jehovah Saviour. As the Son, Jehovah has become our salvation. It’s still Jehovah though.
The Father, Son and Holy Ghost are simply descriptions of God in His various relationships with us. He is the Father in creation, the Son in redemption and the Holy Ghost as our comforter and friend, God in action. All still the same God.
You can see already how a different view of the Godhead can result in a major salvational issue – the method of baptism.
With Ephesians 4:5 telling us there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”, one of the two pentecostal camps must be incorrect. God’s word says there is only one valid type of baptism, so which one is it? This is the first thing to consider in your choice of pentecostal churches In Sydney.
Obviously you would need to decide for yourself after perhaps getting a bible-based lesson from each place. It’s your salvation after all.
So, with that out of the way, let’s get back to the subject of this discussion – the different pentecostal churches in Sydney.
Pentecostal Churches In Sydney
United Pentecostal Church Australia
Located at 24 Harp St, Campsie, the Pentecostals Of Sydney are the only Sydney branch of this oneness pentecostal movement that owns it’s own building. The rest are satellite churches located around Sydney, including Northern Beaches Pentecostal Church, whose website you are on at the moment, meeting in hired halls.
Worship services at all branches include lively band music with modern worship songs, followed by apostolic-style preaching and altar calls where you can be prayed for.
UPCA teaches and believes that a person is not saved unless they have been filled with the Holy Ghost, with the initial evidence of this being divine utterance, or speaking in tongues, an outward manifestation of the spirit of God within.
UPC also baptizes in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38), simply because it appears to be the method used by the apostles. There’s no recorded examples in the bible of anyone being baptized in the titles (Mathew 28:19 “Father, Son and the Holy Ghost”). There are examples of people being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ though. Just on that basis alone, logic would say that the latter is the actual method to use, would it not?
Why would you baptize a different way than the apostles, who trained for 3 years under Jesus Christ?
C3 (formerly Christian City Church)
Wikipedia has a good article about C3 here.
A map on their church website showing Sydney branch locations can be found here. Just go to that page and zoom in by using your fingers if you have a touchscreen.
C3 Oxford Falls is a very popular church here on the northern beaches. I know people who go there and according to them, C3 baptize in the name of Jesus Christ, but I haven’t been able to officially confirm it anywhere as my email to C3 has gone unanswered (update: received a reply but it was unclear on their position) . I figured direct from the horse’s mouth would be the best way to find out.
That aside, I believe they must have something good going on there if they are drawing big crowds. I’d say it’s worth a visit if you’re in the exploring stage but once again, it’s not about how good of a time you have, it’s about whether you have eternal life or not. Are you saved, that’s the question.
A Wikipedia article about Hillsong can be found here.
Here’s a quote from one of their websites, showing that they are in fact a trinitarian church.
“We believe in one eternal God who is the Creator of all things. He exists in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He is totally loving and completely holy.”
You can see the trinitarian doctrine in there, with the “God the Son” phrase being used, a term which is not found in the bible.
Hillsong is known as a “megachurch”. However, number of people attending does not necessarily mean they are teaching biblical truth. Metallica concerts are heavily attended, but we know that the gospel truth is not being shared there.
In fact, the bible says that heavily travelled is the way to destruction. I’m not saying that because they have 20,000-strong crowds at their services that they are doomed to hell, but neither are big numbers an indicator of bible truth. History shows that true Christians have generally been unpopular with society.
Hillsong is well-known for their chart-topping music and you’ll find their songs being performed in many pentecostal churches, even oneness churches. They are talented musicians, that’s for sure.
Musical talent is not an indicator of biblical truth though.
If your search is for a good time, perhaps Hillsong is the place for you. If salvation is important to you, maybe forget the dazzling show and huge auditorium and compare their doctrine with the bible.
I encourage you to at least look at the oneness, or “modalistic”, view as well. Hear both sides of the story and I believe God wouldn’t allow you to be deceived if truth is what you are seeking. You could even ask Him to help you discern truth from error.
These are some of the pentecostal churches in Sydney. While you may have to visit each of them in person to get a feel for which one you like, it is good to know what you’re looking at from a doctrinal point of view.
Although I myself am a oneness pentecostal and a member of the UPCA, I’ve done my best to remain neutral and unbiased in representing each of the pentecostal denominations.
The main thing to remember is that whatever is taught needs to be from the bible, because that is God’s written word and the information in it is what Christianity is based on. Teaching things that aren’t in there results in “teaching as commandments the doctrine of men”, something the Lord wasn’t happy about when he addressed the religious leaders of the time when He was on earth.
Ephesians 4:5, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism…”. There is one faith, the one established by Jesus Christ and his apostles. There is no place for variations of it. I think our goal should be to find a church that teaches truth from the word of God. Please keep this in mind while searching for your spiritual home in a pentecostal church in Sydney and please consider a visit with us at Northern Beaches Pentecostal Church.
Thanks and bye for now,