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Introduction

Community Chapel was a "Oneness" Pentecostal church that existed south of Seattle from 1967 to 1988. Under the leadership of a Boeing engineer named Don Barnett, who had been raised in Oneness Pentecostalism and who had attended a year or so of Bible college, Community Chapel had grown out of the small home meetings he led in the mid-60's into a church of over 3000 members by the mid-80's. I was a member there from 1978 to 1988. When I joined I thought it was one of the best churches in the world, but to my bewilderment it disintegrated in 1988 while embroiled in several terrible scandals. Though I remained a Pentecostal for more than ten years after that, I eventually came out of both Pentecostal and "Oneness" teaching and back into the Lutheran church with a renewed appreciation of its teaching. (I had been raised Lutheran, but really had failed to grasp the significance of its teaching the first time around). I now believe that Luther faithfully represents Jesus Christ and his Gospel as found in the Scriptures in sharp contrast to the way Pentecostal and "Oneness" teachers misrepresent Christ by taking the words of Scripture out of context and twisting them in one way or another.

Why do I have a Website devoted to Community Chapel issues today, even though the Chapel hasn't existed for decades and I've been happy in the Lutheran church for fifteen years now? The most important reason is that whether Pentecostal and "Oneness" (or "Unitarian") beliefs are spread by Chapel members or by others, such beliefs are always corrosive to genuine faith in Christ and his gospel of God's grace. Because of their neediness, people are always being led by deceptive promises of intimacy and power with God into these initially attractive but ultimately unstable forms of Christian faith. The churches they're led into may not always be as far off-base as the Chapel, but they will eventually lead their members into uncertainty and confusion nevertheless. The result is either burn-out or a life of pretence. The truth needs to be told about such teachings so that those caught in them can find their way out of them into real faith in the real gospel of God's grace in Christ.

So that's why I present here the most important lessons I learned from my experiences at Community Chapel and its Bible college. Most of these articles originated with remarks I posted in the years 1999-2009 on several different online forums for ex-members of the Chapel, or are modified versions of articles from my older Chapel site, which is linked to by the 'Legacy Site' menu item above.