Chapter 1. The Case For Oneness Theology

AUTHORS NOTE: I have purposefully decided to take a different approach in writing this book by placing all sources and footnotes in parenthesis directly in my texts with smaller italic font, as I always dislike having to go all the way to the end of a book to find the sources and quotes. It is my opinion that this approach not only saves time, it also helps readers see the documented evidence directly in front of them for their own further study.

The Case For Oneness Theology

Chapter 1. The Case For Oneness Theology

Apostolic Faith Christians are known as Oneness Apostolic Faith Christians because we believe that the first century Apostles taught Oneness Monotheism rather than so called Trinitarian Monotheism (Trinitarianism teaches that Jesus is a second God Person of a Three Person Deity), Arian Monotheism (Arianism teaches that Jesus is a created lesser god as an angelic son), or Unitarian Socinian Monotheism (Unitarianism teaches that Jesus is just a special man while denying His divinity). The designation, “Apostolic Faith,” simply means, “…the faith” of the original apostles of Jesus Christ “…which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 1:3).” We are further known as ‘Oneness Pentecostals’ because we believe that the true Church of the living God was founded on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) when the Spirit of God was first poured out in the New Testament Church and all new converts were baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38).


The historical designation for the Oneness Pentecostal view was once known as “Modalistic Monarchianism” within the first few centuries of the Christians era. According to the historical evidence, the Modalistic Monarchians were once known as “the majority of believers” (Tertullian, Against Praxeus 3) and as “the general run of Christians” (Origen, Commentary of the Gospel of John, book 1, chapter 23) in the early days of Christianity. Moreover, the Oneness Modalists were the only Christians to believe in the full divinity of Jesus Christ before the Trinity doctrine later developed.


Definition of Modalistic Monarchianism

Merriam Webster succinctly Defines Modalism as, “Three modes or forms of activity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) under which God manifests himself.” Monarchianism simply means a belief in “One Ruler.” Monarch comes from “mono”, meaning “One” and “arch”, meaning “Ruler.” Hence, Modalistic Monarchianism is the belief in God as One Monarch [Ruler] who has manifested Himself in three modes of activity.


Prominent Oneness theologians like David K. Bernard have rightly affirmed that modern day Oneness Pentecostals believe the same basic tenants of faith as the early Modalistic Monarchian Christian majority of the first three hundred years of Christian history (David Bernard wrote, "Basically, Modalism is the same as the modern doctrine of Oneness" - The Oneness of God p.318 ). Even the opponents of the ancient Oneness Modalists wrote that the Modalistic Monarchians were “always … the majority of believers” (Tertullian in Against Praxeus chapter 3 – late 2nd century into the early 3rd) in the West, and “the general run of Christians” in the East (Origen’s Commentary to the Gospel of John, book 1, chapter 23 – early to mid-3rd century). Tertullian of Carthage not only acknowledged that the Oneness Modalists were “the majority” in his day (170-225 AD), he also affirmed that this was “always” the case as far back as he knew (“they that always make up the majority of believers” – Against Praxeus 3 / 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.). Although we are now persecuted as a minority, we still believe the same basic theology of “the great majority of all Christians” in the first three hundred years of Christian history.


Oneness believers affirm that God is a single “Monarch,” “Ruler,” and “King” (Monarchianism) who has manifested Himself (Modalism) as our Heavenly Father in creation, Son in redemption, and Holy Spirit as the Father’s own Spirit in action. For God the Father’s own Holy Spirit came down from heaven (Luke 1:35-“the Holy Spirit shall come upon you”; Matthew 1:20-NLB-“the child within her was conceived of the Holy Spirit”; John 6:38-“I came down from heaven”) and His own word was made flesh (John 1:14) to become the Christ child (Acts 4:27-BSB-“God has made this Jesus”). Thus, Oneness adherents believe that our One God who is the Holy Spirit of the Father (John 4:23-24 -“God is a Spirit”; 1 Tim. 3:16-“God was manifested in the flesh”; Ephesians 4:4-6-“One Lord … One Spirit … One God and Father above all, through all, and in you all”) also became one man (Heb. 2:17 “made fully human in every way”-NIV; Gal. 4:4 “made of a woman;” Acts 2:36) who is the Son in order to “save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:23).”


One God Became One Man


The first century apostles taught that there is only “One God” as our Heavenly Father (“one God and Father above all” – Ephesians 4:6) “and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5: “Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him” Acts 2:22 ESV). For the One God also became one man in the incarnation through the virgin. Hence, the One God the Father “was manifested in the flesh” and “justified in the Spirit” (1 Tim. 3:16) as the man Christ Jesus because Jesus is that God who came to save us as a true man living among men.


According to the prominent Oneness author David K. Bernard, Oneness Theology teaches that God became a true man in the incarnation, “Christ's role of mediation does not imply a separate divine identity; it simply refers to His genuine, authentic humanity … no one else could qualify as the mediator except God Himself coming into this world as a human being.”(David K. Bernard’s online Article, “The Mediator Between God and Men” can be viewed at http://www.oocities.org/robert_upci/mediator_between_god_and_men_by_bernard.htm)


In his article, ‘The Mediator Between God and Men,’ David Bernard succinctly expressed the central core of the Oneness theological position about the incarnation in that it was God the Father Himself who came “into this world AS A HUMAN BEING.” Notice that Dr Bernard did not say that God the Father came into this world AS GOD THE FATHER, Dr Bernard clearly stated that God the Father “came into this world AS A HUMAN BEING.” Hence, Oneness theology does not teach that God Himself came into this world AS GOD THE FATHER” which would be denying Christ’s true humanity, but rather, Oneness theology affirms that God became a true man in the incarnation through the virgin which affirms both Christ’s full humanity and his full deity. Thus, Oneness theology does not deny the ontological distinctions between God as God (the Father) outside of His incarnation and Emmanuel God with us as man (the Son) inside of His incarnation via the virgin conception.

Unfortunately, most of our critics erroneously believe that we are affirming that Jesus Christ is God the Father with us as God the Father with the erroneous assumption that God merely indwelt a physical body of human flesh with no inward human nature of his own. Thus they erroneously believe that we are saying that “the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5)” was God tempted as God, God praying to God, and God dying on the cross as God which would be a clear contradiction of the words of inspired scripture (James 1:13-NASB-“God cannot be tempted by evil”; Numbers 23:19-“God is not a man”). Nothing could be further from the truth! For Oneness theologians teach that God as God cannot pray, God as God cannot be tempted, and God as God cannot suffer and die. Yet, in contradistinction, Emmanuel “God with us” (Matthew 1:23) as a true human son with a distinct human “life in himself (John 5:26)” could pray, could be tempted, and could suffer and die for our sins. Wherefore, knowledgeable Oneness theologians teach that God entered into our world as a true human being via incarnation in the virgin just like all human beings are made with a 100% complete human spirit, a 100 % complete human soul, and a 100% complete human nature (“made like unto his brethren”-Heb. 2:17; 1 Cor. 15:45 calls Jesus is “the last Adam”-“The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam a life-giving spirit”).

Paul wrote to the Corinthians that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19 NASB). No text of scripture ever states that an angelic figure was ever in Christ Jesus (the doctrine of Arianism: Jehovah’s Witnesses). Nor does any text of scripture ever state that an alleged God the Son, or God the Christ was in Christ (the doctrine of Trinitarianism) because God the Father is always spoken of in scripture as being in the Son (the doctrine of Oneness Modalism: John 10:38; 14:10 “the Father abiding in me does His works”) and being seen through the Son (“He that sees me sees the One who sent me”- John 12:45; “He who has seen me has seen the Father”- 14:7-9). That is why Jesus as the Son of God is called “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) as the image of the invisible Father (Heb. 1:3-“the express image of His Person” = the Father’s Person). Therefore, only the Oneness view of God in Christ Jesus perfectly fits all of the scriptural data.

The words, “God the Father” (1 Corinthians 8:6), or similar designations such as “God our Father” (Philippians 1:2; Ephesians 1:2), and “God and Father” (Ephesians 4:6) appear more than thirty times in the New Testament, but we never find a single example of an alleged God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit ever occurring in inspired scripture, not even once. There is a reason why God always led the apostles and prophets to write God the Father rather than God the Son or God the Holy Spirit. For our Heavenly Father is “the only true God” (John 17:3) and there are no true God’s beside Him (“there is no God beside Me”- Isaiah 45:5). Thus, the man Christ Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) as the image of the invisible Father. Hence, the scriptures teach only One Divine Individual as our Heavenly Father (the Oneness doctrine) who has only one divine Mind, one divine Will, one divine Soul, one divine Spirit, and one divine Consciousness rather than three divine Conscious Minds, three divine Wills, and three divine Souls (the Trinitarian doctrine).

Moreover, the Son of God is the same Individual God who entered into His creation to be