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Not only is there a problem with the Oneness theology, but there is also the underlying problem of Oneness proponents ignoring Trinitarian definitions of the words we use. A good example is how we use the word "person" which I will explain below. Since Oneness proponents have no way of refuting what Trinitarians really teach and believe, they consistently resort to using their own definitions, thus setting up a straw man.1

Louis Berkhof gives an excellent definition of the Trinity:

A) There is in the Divine Being but one indivisible essence. B) In this one Divine Being there are three Persons or individual subsistences, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. C) The whole undivided essence of God belongs equally to each of the three persons. D) The subsistence and operation of the three persons in the divine Being is marked by a certain definite order. E) There are certain personal attributes by which the three persons are distinguished. F) The Church confesses the Trinity to be a mystery beyond the comprehension of man.

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - Jesus, John 8:32 (NIV)

More truth here

Who is Jesus?






Therefore, the Father is God and a "person" distinct from the Son and Holy Spirit. The Son, namely Jesus Christ is God and a "person" distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God and a "person" distinct from the Father and the Son.

However, "person" does not mean that there are three separate bodies, walking around, for THEN it would mean three gods. Nor does it mean that there are three modes or manifestations of God for He NEVER changes (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8; James 1:17. Rather, "person" simply is an agent for intelligence, will and emotion.

In other words, because you CHOSE to READ this and, as a result, are either HAPPY, SAD or ANGRY, shows intelligence, will and emotion. Therefore, you are, by virtue of that, a person. In contrast, you cannot call the human race (a nature) a person because it does not show it's own intelligence, will and emotion as a whole. But within the human race, yes, you will find distinct "persons", each with their own intelligence, will and emotion.

Likewise, the essence or being of God is not a "person." But within the nature of God, yes, Scripture reveals three distinct "persons," each with their own intelligence, will and emotion. Each of the "persons" possess the ability to be aware of one's self and identity.

Furthermore, the concept of "person" has to do with identity that is formed and completed on the basis of relationships within the Godhead. That means that in the Bible you'll find passages that show the Father loving the Son (John 3:35; 10:17; 17:23-26), the Son loving the Father (John 14:31), and the Father sending the Son (John 3:17; Gal. 4:4; 1 John 4:10). Further evidence is provided of the personhood of the Holy Spirit in passages which show that He teaches, reminds and speaks to us (John 14:26; 16:13).

All these passages surely demand relationship which is paramount to the Trinitarian definition of "person." God, being a Spirit (John 4:24), cannot be divided into parts. Since God is also infinite, there's no reason to believe that He can't exist as three distinct "persons" and yet as one indivisible essence.

When Trinitarians speak of the three "persons" as being co-eternally and co-equally one God, it is in reference to His indivisible essence. This has nothing to do with the functions that each of the "persons" are responsible for. A wife has the same nature as her husband yet is subject to him.

Even Oneness writers can't escape from making Trinitarian statements of God. For example, see how this writer portrays God and desperately avoids the use of the word person:

The "only" God, adopts three figures in the history of His revelation and salvation. He is a divine subject in three distinct "manners of being."2

Moreover, a case can be made that Oneness writers use pagan philosophies to describe their view of the nature of God. If you didn't see it on my prologue page I'll provide an example here:

"..there is One True God that has manifested Himself as Father in creation, Son in redemption and the Holy Spirit in emanation."

The word "emanation" is commonly used by Greek philosophers and those in Gnosticism and Mysticism in reference to how God is revealed to humans.

Oneness proponents will often ask where in the Bible does it say God is three persons yet they ignore the fact that there are many things they believe that can't be explicitly found in Scripture. For instance, where in the Bible does it explicitly say that "Jesus is the Father"?

We can see in Matthew 5:18 that God considers even "the smallest letter" or "the least stroke of a pen" to be of great importance. In all languages of the world you'll find that the words Father and Son are personal and not nominal designations. To say that God intended these words to have a nominal designation, while in all languages they have a personal signification, is to say He employed language more likely to deceive than to instruct. You would also have to say that He commanded others to preserve the same deception down to the end of time.

We as man cannot limit God to human logic. For example, if I as man cannot understand with my logic how three "persons" can exist within the one essence of God, does that mean that I will deny that He can exist that way and only worship a God no bigger than my mind? If I do then I would be guilty of idolatry for having an image of God in my mind that is a false representation of how He has revealed Himself to us in Scripture. But God is bigger than our finite minds (Isaiah 55:8-9) and there are even words that the apostle Paul writes that we cannot understand and should be careful to make our own conclusions (2 Peter 3:16).

It's as easy as ABC.
is for the annunciation. In Luke 1:35 you have the angel answering Mary "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."

B is for the water baptism of Jesus. In Matthew 3:16-17 you see that "As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

C is for the commission. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus Himself commands His disciples to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

In addition, here are a few more passages that clearly show a distinction between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

There is the transfiguration mentioned in Matthew 17:1-8. With some of the disciples present with Jesus "a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" Oneness Pentecostals can't say that this was for the benefit of the people as 2 Peter 1:17 will attest to.

In John 12:28 while Jesus was predicting his death, he exclaimed "Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again."

In John 14:23 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and WE will come to him and make OUR home with him (my emphasis added).

John 15:24 reads "If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father." This would be senseless when using Oneness Pentecostal logic. Jesus must be speaking from His divine nature if He's speaking of miracles He has done, yet in the same breath He talks of those hating BOTH Him AND His Father!

There is also Hebrews 1:8 which has God the Father saying: "But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom."

Since the common sense and plain reading of the texts clearly presents three distinct "persons," the burden of proof is on Oneness Pentecostals. If they believe that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are the same person - namely Jesus Christ - then they must prove that all that is true of one "mode" must be true of the other two "modes."

For instance, if the man Christ Jesus - as 1 Tim. 2:5 states - is the ONLY mediator between God and man, then that means that God the Son has a property that neither God the Father nor God the Holy Spirit has.

We know from 1 John 4:8,16 that "God is love". The word "love" is the Greek word "agape". Someone who has this "agape" love seeks to give it. We also know that God is self-sufficient and does not need anything (Acts 17:25). If God is just one "person", it would seem to me that there would be no one else to give this love to. However, He doesn't need angels, humans or animals. So it would make sense that God is three "persons" who are in love with each other.

Now if someone who has never heard of this Oneness doctrine were to read the New Testament, would they not immediately get the sense that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are personified? And if a Oneness proponent were to subsequently inject his theology into what was read, would not that person immediately be confused? However, God is not the author of confusion and, therefore, this confusion can only come from the pit of hell. Anyone who ignores the ample evidence in Scripture that points to the Trinity does so not because they can not believe but because they WILL NOT believe.

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1. Daniel Jauhall, Jesus Christ Emmanuel God with Us, (November, 1989), 3-5. Trinitarians are the only group Jauhall attacks in his book and so amidst a plethora of passages to show that there is "one God", he states: "If others insist in believing in three, we will stand firm on the word of God that says, 'But to us there is but one God'" However, Trinitarians do not insist on believing in three Gods.; David K. Bernard, The Oneness of God (Word Aflame Press, 1983), chapter 10. Bernard states: "the trinitarian concept of the Logos as a separate being (based on the philosophy of Philo) was rejected." No, the Trinitarian concept of the Logos is that He is a distinct person.; Ibid., chapter 11. Bernard goes so far as to provide quotes by "Trinitarians" that would be considered false teachers by REAL Trinitarians. In fact, some in the "Word Faith" movement would not want to be called Trinitarians.; Ibid., chapter 12. Bernard states: "MANY trinitarians say we will see three bodies [in heaven]" (my emphasis added). No (much less "many") real Trinitarians hold to this view. ^

2. Juan Fortino, "God: Part 3", Preserving Doctrinal Unity, Apostolic Biblical Expositor, 1st Quarter, (Manna Apostolic Publications, Los Angeles, CA, 1994), 21.