Oneness Modalism, The Popular Belief In Ancient Christian Theology, Response to Dr. Morrison Part 2

 

The famed Eastern Orthodox church historian, Jaroslav Pelikan, wrote that “Many of the passages in ancient Christian writers sound like Modalistic Monarchianism” (The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition, Vol. 1, Pg. 177). Then in the same paragraph (page 177) Pelikan cited Ignatius of Antioch (40-113 AD) and Melito of Sardid (130-180 AD) to show that their writings sounded “like Modalistic Monarchianism.” After citing Ignatius of Antioch and Melito of Sardis, Pelikan admitted that “Modalistic Monarchianism … turns out to have been a systematization of popular Christian belief in ancient Christian theology.” (The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition Vol. I. – Page 179)

 

If Trinitarian thought had been a “popular Christian belief in ancient Christian theology,” we can be certain that Mr. Pelikan would have pointed it out to us. To the contrary, Pelikan wrote that “Modalistic Monarchianism” was the “popular Christian belief” as the most “ancient Christian theology.” Therefore, even Trinitarian church historians have admitted that Oneness Theology (Modalistic Monarchianism) was the most “popular Christian belief” of the ancient Christians.

 

Church historian Adolph Harnack wrote that “Modalistic Monarchianism” was once "embraced by the great majority of all Christians” (Adolph Harnack, History of Dogma, London: Williams & Norgate, 1897, III, 51-54).

 

German Church historian Friedrich Loofs was a student of the renowned church historian Adolph Harnack. Loofs wrote, "… The Modalist’s were the successors to the apostles and not the Trinitarians. The Trinitarians expropriated the term 'catholic' (universal) from the writings of Ignatius. When they increased in power and in numbers, they branded the Modalists who preached one God as heretics, and styled their group as 'catholic'...” (The History of the Primitive Church, translated into English by Ernest C. Messenger (London: Burns, Oates and Washburne Ltd., 1949) 3:600.)

 

Trinitarian Protestant author Harold Brown wrote that it is impossible to find true theological orthodoxy within the first two hundred years of Christian history.

 

“It is impossible to document what we now call orthodoxy in the first two centuries of Christianity.” (Heresy and Orthodoxy – In the History of the Church, Pg. 5, Harold Brown)


The context of Dr. Harold Brown's introduction to his book affirmed that there was no true Trinitarian orthodoxy within the first two centuries of the Christian era. Harold Brown was clearly addressing the theological orthodoxy regarding the Protestant idea of a Trinity.

 

According to the Semi-Arian writers Tertullian and Origen, the Oneness Modalists were “always the majority” in the West (Tertullian Against Praxeus 3) and that the Oneness Modalists were “the general run of Christians” in the East (Origen’s Commentary of the Gospel of John, book 1, Chapter 23).

 

I find it amazing that even though the opponents of the Modalists such as Tertullian and Origen who themselves confessed that the Modalists were “always the majority of the faithful” as “the general run of Christians,” hard hearted Trinitarians continue to think they know more than those who actually lived during the second and third centuries. Since many Trinitarian scholars and historians have themselves admitted that the Modalists were the Christian “majority” before the Trinity developed, it really is shocking that Trinitarian apologists like Steve Morrison and Edward Dalcour would revise the historical facts.  

 

In my debate with Trinitarian apologist Steve Morrison in Austen Texas, Mr. Morrison falsely alleged that there were no Oneness believers until the early third century. I responded by citing both first and second century Oneness writers such as Clement, Hermas, Mathetes, and Melito of Sardis. I further cited Justin’s First Apology 63 (written about 140-160 AD) in which Justin (a Semi Arian) referred to contemporary Christians who affirmed that the Son was the Father:

 

“For they who affirm that the Son is the Father, are proved neither to have become acquainted with the Father, nor to know that the Father of the universe has a Son …” (Justin’s 1st Apology 63)

 

Justin also addressed the Oneness Modalists in his Dialogue with Trypho 128. Justin again spoke of other second century Christians (the Modalists) who believed that the Son is inseparable from the Father.

 

“But SOME TEACH (other Christians) that this power (the Son) is indivisible and inseparable from the Father, just as the light of the sun on earth is indivisible and inseparable from the sun in the skies; for, when the sun sets, its light disappears from the earth. SO THEY CLAIM (other Christians), the Father by His will, can cause His power to go forth and, whenever He wishes, to return again ...” (Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho 128)

 

Wherefore, the historical evidence I cited exposed Dr. Steve Morrison’s erroneous statements that he made in our debate about Oneness (Modalism) in early Christian history. Unfortunately, Trinitarian apologists often mislead people into believing that the majority of the earliest Christians were Trinitarians in their vain attempt to prove Trinitarian orthodoxy out of early Christian history. However, the historical evidence I have presented in my articles, books, and videos clearly exposes their error!

 


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