Bernard first addresses "the Post-apostolic age" and cites Hermas, Clement of Rome, Polycarp, and Ignatius as the "most prominent post-apostolic fathers" whose "ministries spanned the time from about 90 to 140 A.D." He also mentions Irenaeus as holding the view that Jesus was Himself the Father. There is just one problem with all of this -- where's the beef?! He provides no quotes from any of them to support his claim. Not to fear, I'll pick up the slack and show that they were not Oneness:
"'First of all, sir,' I said, 'explain this to me: Who is the rock and the door?' 'This rock,' he said, 'and the door are the Son of God.' 'How is it, sir,' I said, 'that the rock is old, but the door is new?' 'Listen,' he said, 'and understand, foolish man. The Son of God is far older than all his creation, with the result that he was the Father's counselor in his creation. That is why the rock is old.' ..." (The Shepherd of Hermas, 12. 89, Parable 9).
"Put away therefore from thyself sadness, and afflict not the Holy Spirit that dwelleth in thee, lest haply He intercede with God, and depart from thee" (The Shepherd of Hermas, 10:2:5-6).Clement of Rome
"For as God lives, and as the Lord Jesus Christ lives, and the Holy Spirit (who are the faith and the hope of the elect), so surely will the one who with humility and constant gentleness has kept without regret the ordinances and commandments given by God be enrolled and included among the number of those who are saved through Jesus Christ, through whom is the glory to him for ever and ever. Amen." (First Clement, 58.2).
"Our Lord Jesus Christ, came not in the pomp of arrogance or of pride, though He might have done so, but in lowliness of mind, according as the Holy Spirit spake concerning Him" (Corinthians, 16:2).
"God liveth, and the Lord Jesus Christ liveth, and the Holy Spirit, who are the faith and the hope of the elect" (Corinthians, 16:2).Polycarp
"For this reason, indeed for all things, I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you, through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom to you with him and the Holy Spirit be glory both now and for the ages to come. Amen." (The Martyrdom of Polycarp, 14.3).
"Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal High Priest himself, the Son of God Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and truth and in all gentleness and in all freedom from anger and forbearance and steadfastness and patient endurance and purity, and may he give to you a share and a place among his saints, and to us with you, and to all those under heaven who will yet believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ and in his Father who raised him from the dead." (To the Philippians, 12.2).Ignatius
"Since, therefore, in the persons mentioned above I have by faith seen and loved the whole congregation, I have this advice: Be eager to do everything in godly harmony, the bishop presiding in the place of God and the presbyters in the place of the council of the apostles and the deacons, who are most dear to me, having been entrusted with the service of Jesus Christ, who before the ages was with the Father and appeared at the end of time." (Ignatius, To the Magnesians, 6.1).
"For the most godly prophets lived in accordance with Christ Jesus. This is why they were persecuted, being inspired as they were by his grace in order that those who are disobedient might be fully convinced that there is one God who revealed himself through Jesus Christ his Son, who is his Word which came forth from silence, who in every respect pleased him who sent him." (To the Magnesians, 8.2).
"Become imitators of Jesus Christ, just as he is of his Father." (To the Philadelphians, 7.2).Irenaeus
"This, then, is the order of the rule of our faith...God the Father, not made, not material, invisible; one God, the creator of all things: this is the first point of our faith. The second point is this: the Word of God, Son of God, Christ Jesus our Lord, Who was manifested to the prophets according to the form of their prophesying and according to the method of the Father's dispensation; through Whom (i.e. the Word) all things were made; Who also, at the end of the age, to complete and gather up all things, was made man among men, visible and tangible, in order to abolish death and show forth life and produce perfect reconcilation between God and man. And the third point is: the Holy Spirit, through Whom the prophets prophesied, and the fathers learned the things of God, and the righteous were led into the way of righteousness; Who at the end of the age was poured out in a new way upon mankind in all the earth, renewing man to God." (Irenaeus, Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, chap. 6, quoted on p. 53, A Short History of Christian Thought, Linwood Urban).
"The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: [She believes] in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His [future] manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father 'to gather all things in one,' and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, 'every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess' to Him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all..." (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book I, Chapter 10, 1).So you see, the Oneness Pentecostal claim that the early church was Oneness is patently false. This becomes more evident when Bernard finally proclaims truth and names Noetus of Smyrna, Praxeas, and Sabellius as the "most prominent modalist leaders" of the second and third centuries. This coincides perfectly with the need to begin formulation of the Trinity in explicit form to ward of false teaching. In fact, here are some quotes to show that the teachings of these modalist leaders first surfaced during this period:
Hippolytus Comments on Noetus of Smyrna
"There has appeared one, Noetus by name, and by birth a native of Smyrna. This person introduced a heresy from the tenets of Heraclitus." (Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies, Book 9, Chapter 2).
"But in like manner, also, Noetus, being by birth a native of Smyrna, and a fellow addicted to reckless babbling, as well as crafty withal, introduced (among us) this heresy which originated from one Epigonus." (Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies, Book 10, Chapter 23).Tertullian Comments on Praxeas
"...as, for instance, Praxeas. For he was the first to import into Rome from Asia this kind of heretical pravity, a man in other respects of restless disposition, and above all inflated with the pride of confessorship simply and solely because he had to bear for a short time the annoyance of a prison; on which occasion, even 'if he had given his body to be burned, it would have profiled him nothing,' not having the love of God, whose very gifts he has resisted and destroyed. " (Tertullian, Against Praxeas, I).
"That this rule of faith has come down to us from the beginning of the gospel, even before any of the older heretics, much more before Praxeas, a pretender of yesterday, will be apparent both from the lateness of date which marks all heresies, and also from the absolutely novel character of our new-fangled Praxeas. In this principle also we must henceforth find a presumption of equal force against all heresies whatsoever-that whatever is first is true, whereas that is spurious which is later in date." (Tertullian, Against Praxeas, II).When Bernard does finally get around to quoting someone, its Tertullian! Bernard uses his keen Oneness interpretation skills in reading Tertullian and comes to the absurd conclusion that what Tertullian is indicating, in the following passage, is "that during his ministry 'the majority of believers' adhered to the Oneness doctrine."
"The simple, indeed, (I will not call them unwise and unlearned) who always constitute the majority of believers, are startled at the dispensation (of the Three in One), on the ground that their very rule of faith withdraws them from the world's plurality of gods to the one only true God; not understanding that, although He is the one only God, He must yet be believed in with His own 'oikonomia'. The numerical order and distribution of the Trinity they assume to be a division of the Unity; whereas the Unity which derives the Trinity out of its own self is so far from being destroyed, that it is actually supported by it." (Tertullian, Against Praxeas, III).I already showed above how the view of Praxeas was newly introduced. Furthermore, the use of punctuation, including parenthesis, are not original and were simply inserted by the translators for ease of reading. Therefore, with the context of all of Against Praxeas in mind, the correct interpretation of this passage is that most believers of his day, when challenged by heresy, could not clearly and affirmatively explain what it was they did believe. In fact, Alexander Souter's translation states:
"All simple people, not to say the unwise and unprofessional (who always constitte the majority of believers), since even the rule of faith itself removes them from the plurality of the gods of this world to the one true God, become greatly terrified through their failure to understand that, while He must be believed to be one, it is along with his economy, because they judge that economy, implying a number and arrangement of trinity, is really a division of unity, whereas unity, deriving trinity from itself, is not destroyed by it but made serviceable."As for the fourth century to the present, Bernard continues to misrepresent some people and names those who, except for maybe the denial of the Trinity, don't have anything else in common with Oneness Pentecostals. Since I've already shown that the Oneness doctrine did not originate with the early church I only will direct you to actual writings of some of them here.