Oneness vs. Unitarianism, Part 1 - Oneness Response to Unitarian Tom Raddatz, ‘Challenge To Debate’

Unitarian Socinian Tom Raddatz has refused to dialogue or debate against Oneness Theology but he is not reluctant to post a written attack against Oneness Theology entitled, “An Open Treatise to neo-Gnostic Modalistic Monarchian apologists Mark August and Steven Ritchie.”

MR. RADDATZ WROTE: “Mr. August and Mr. Ritchie, I heard about the two of you from Andy Denny, who is a new-found friend of mine … So, on one hand, you make the grandiose claim, without any biblically stated support whatsoever, that without highly educated apologists, our son of God movement has little validity…”

ONENESS RESPONSE FROM RITCHIE: I never made any comments to suggest that Denny and Raddatz Unitarian view had no validity because they lacked “highly educated apologists.” Mr. Raddatz continued by spending a great deal of time attacking me based upon a few comments that Brother Mark August had allegedly made. After communicating with Brother August, I think that Mr Raddatz has distorted what Brother August was saying. Brother August told me that he was trying to get a debate for me so he was purposefully trying to get their attention.

I do not know Brother August personally other than by our email correspondence. Brother August had sent me some emails to notify me about Unitarians attacking Oneness Theology while claiming to be Oneness believers. I had asked Brother August if he could pick a debate with a Unitarian apologist for me because I have been very busy preparing my book for printing and I have been asking Unitarians for debates for the past three and a half years with no success.

I am not a scholar because I have not graduated from eight years of accredited Bible College. I do not believe that one has to have 8 years of Bible College to be considered scholarly in the word of God. That is why many, including myself, have been offered Honorary Doctorate Degrees from accredited Bible Colleges (I declined the offer). Thus I cannot and would not confront anyone’s theological position based upon the idea that none of them are recognized scholars. Therefore Mr Raddatz’ allegation that I believe that one has to be a scholar in order to teach theology is not what I believe so I would greatly appreciate it if Mr Raddatz would stop using this as an argument posed against me.

I would prefer to debate with a Unitarian Pastor or Leader in their movement rather than just anyone who holds this doctrine. Since Andrew Denny wrote a book against Oneness Theology, I would consider a formal debate with him.

UNITARIAN RADDATZ WROTE: It is written: Rom. 1:28...God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, *DEBATE*, deceit, malignity; whisperers... 32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they *which commit such things are worthy of death*, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

2 Cor. 12:20For I fear... lest there be *DEBATES*, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults...

Have you not read what these passages say about debates and the traits they are listed alongside? They are things God turned over to reprobate minds to do! Would you challenge someone to a “formal fornication”? How about a “formal murder”? If not, then why is challenging someone to a “formal debate” a good thing to you when debating is clearly listed as an ungodly characteristic right along with murder and fornication?

So, you feel it is important to sin against God in order to “legitimize” your doctrine. How very sad. How very carnal … So, whereas I have no desire to enter into a “formal debate” with you anymore than I wish to engage in a “formal murder” with you, I am interested in preaching and teaching to you or whoever will listen, the true gospel.

ONENESS RESPONSE FROM RITCHIE: Mr Raddatz spent a great deal of time attacking me personally based solely upon his citations from the KJV about the word “debate.” The original Greek word which is NOT normally translated as “debate” simply means “strife”, “argument”, or “quarrelling,” as reflected in most translations. Therefore the inspired text states that “strife” and angry “arguments” are characteristic of the works of the flesh rather than controlled debates which Paul clearly participated in when he debated in the synagogues.

Paul “powerfully refuted the Jews in public debate, proving by the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 18:28 BSB).”

Romans 1:29 in the KJV says, “… full of envy, murder, *DEBATE*, deceit, malignity; whisperers...” but no other translation I could find uses the word “debate” in Romans 1:29.

New International Version They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,

New Living Translation Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.

English Standard Version They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,

Berean Study Bible They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and hatred. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips,

Berean Literal Bible being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness; gossips,

New American Standard Bible being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,

King James Bible … full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, The KJV is the only translation I found where it is translated as “debate.”

Christian Standard Bible They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips,

Contemporary English Version They are evil, wicked, and greedy, as well as mean in every possible way. They want what others have, and they murder, argue, cheat, and are hard to get along with. They gossip,

Good News Translation They are filled with all kinds of wickedness, evil, greed, and vice; they are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, deceit, and malice. They gossip

Holman Christian Standard Bible They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips,

International Standard Version They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, quarreling, deceit, and viciousness. They are gossips,

Paul debated with the Jews in the synagogues to prove that Jesus is the Christ. Paul ”powerfully refuted the Jews in public debate, proving by the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 18:28 BSB).”

Mr. Raddatz falsely accuses me of the works of the flesh and of having a reprobate mind because I had requested a formal debate with him. Since Paul debated in the synagogues, is Mr Raddatz willing to accuse the apostle Paul of the works of the flesh and of having a reprobate mind as well?

RADDATZ WROTE: This is a scripture that certainly applies against your man-made contention that theology can only really be taught by the highly educated scholars.

ONENESS RESPONSE FROM RITCHIE: Again, Mr Raddatz is basing his entire argument upon something that I do not even believe in. Since I am not a scholar myself, it would be ridiculous and hypocritical for me to believe that only “highly educated scholars” are qualified to teach theology. Mr Raddatz, please cease and desist promulgating the idea that I believe that one must be an educated scholar who has taken eight years of College to be able to teach theology. This is not being truthful about what I believe in.

RADDATZ WROTE: We can easily see the writers’ main point during this dialog simply by the number of times in this passage he makes the following statement “made a high priest forever”:

Heb. 5:1For every high priest, being taken from among men, is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins... 3Because of this, he must offer sacrifices for sins for the people, as well as for himself. 4 Nobody takes this honor on himself, but he is called by God, just like Aaron was. 5 So also Christ didn't glorify himself to be made a high priest, but it was he who said to him, “You are my Son. Today I have become your father.”

6As he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” 7He, in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and petitions with strong crying and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear, 8 though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered. 9 Having been made perfect, he became to all of those who obey him the author of eternal salvation, 10named by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Heb. 6:20 where as a forerunner Jesus entered for us, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Heb. 7: 14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah... 15And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

ONENESS RESPONSE FROM RITCHIE: When God also became a man, he could rightly be called our high priest and mediator just as he could rightly be called the son of God and son of mankind via virgin conception through the virgin daughter of a man.

RADDATZ WROTE: Now, in regards to Jesus being “a high priest forever”, Paul pointed this out about Christ: Rom. 6:9 knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no more has dominion over him! Now concerning this Jesus who was made high priest, and who quite explicitly (vs 5:5) “did not take this honor upon himself”, your so-called superior theologians simply can’t grasp the truth of these simple words explaining the “first principles of the oracles of God”. To the contrary of Christ being made a priest forever, here is what one of your “scholars” wrote:

Not only did the Sonship have a beginning, but it will, in at least one sense, have an ending. This is evident from 1 Cor. 15:23-28... God (Jesus) will cease acting in His role as Son, and the Sonship will be submerged back into the greatness of God, who will return to His original role as Father, Creator, and Ruler of all... In Acts 2:34-35 Peter quoted David in Psalm 110:1: ‘The LORD said unto my lord, Sit thou on my right hand until I make thy foes thy footstool.’ We should note the word until. This passage describes the dual nature of Christ, with the Spirit of God (the LORD) speaking prophetically to the human manifestation of Christ (the lord)... It simply means that the role of the Son as ruler will cease. God will use His role as conquer Satan, thereby fulfilling Genesis 3:15 in which God said the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the devil. After that, God will no longer need the human role to rule.” (David K. Bernard, The Oneness of God (Word Aflame Press: Hazelwood, MO, 1983), 106-107.)

ONENESS RESPONSE FROM RITCHIE: Notice that David Bernard had said that the “Sonship …will, in at least one sense, have an ending.” Dr Bernard was not saying that the Sonship of Jesus will have a total ending, he said that in “one sense” the Sonship will have an ending based upon the words of inspired scripture in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 rather than other scriptures located elsewhere. Since Dr Bernard’s commentary on 1 Corinthians 15 explains Christ Jesus’ returns so that “God may be all in all” in His reign through Jesus Christ, we will not need Christ’s role as a priestly mediator during the millennial reign as much as we do now.

David Bernard was not commenting on Hebrews chapter 7 (in which Jesus’ high priestly role will continue “forever”) when he wrote that there is “at least one sense” that his “Sonship” or role as “mediator” will “have an ending.” David Bernard was endeavouring to explain the meaning of 1 Corinthians 15:23-28 when he wrote “in at least one sense” that it will “have an ending (the role of Sonship/Mediator)” and not Hebrews chapter seven.

I do not believe that David Bernard was saying that the role of the Son of God (Mediator) will completely cease to exist. It is unlikely that Dr Bernard meant that the role of Sonship would completely cease to exist because Hebrews chapter 7 clearly states that the Son’s role as a priest will continue forever: “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”

Since I have written a detailed article on 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, it would be appreciated if Mr Raddatz would cite my position rather than other Oneness theologians position about 1 Corinthians 15.

1 Cor. 15:24Then the end comes, when he will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when he will have abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 27For, “He put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when he says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that he is excepted who subjected all things to him. 28When all things have been subjected to him, then the Son will also himself be subjected to him who subjected all things to him, that God may be all in all. Here is what I wrote in my article entitled, ‘How is the Son Subject to the Father in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28?’

Was there ever a time when the son of God was not subject to the Father? Jesus said in John 8:29, ”I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” Wherefore, the context of 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 is very peculiar and must be analysed in its full context in order to receive proper exegesis. Verse 24 addresses the man Christ Jesus handing over the kingdom of God on the earth to the Father after he abolishes all secular “rule and all authority and power (Verse 24).” For the Father has “put all things in subjection under his feet (Verse 27).” So when all human authorities are subjected to Jesus Christ as “the King of kings and Lord of lords,” then will Christ subject all things to the Father, “SO THAT GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL.”

The Pulpit Commentary says, “That God may be all in all. The words involve a complete and absolute supremacy.”

In other words, after the Son of God comes with his mighty angels to abolish all secular rule, authority, and power on earth, he will hand over his global kingdom to God the Father. Then God the Father will reign supreme over all the earth through the Son. The Son of God is “Immanuel, God with us” as a true man. Hence, after the last enemy (death) is abolished and placed under his feet (Christ’s), Christ’s fully complete human nature will be fully subject to the divinity of the Father, so that the only true God the Father will reign over all the earth through the man Christ Jesus. Hence, just as the Son was always subject to the Father prior to his second coming, so will the Son of God be completely subject to the Father by bringing all secular rule on planet earth under subjection to the only true God the Father. This is the meaning of Revelation 22:3, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city and His servants shall serve Him.” Here we see only One Throne of God which will be occupied by the only image of the invisible God that we will ever see, the Lamb of God who is the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5).

The scriptures prove that the Messiah will reign on the throne of David which inspired scripture identified as “the throne of Yahweh” and the “throne of God” (1 Chronicles 29:23; Hebrews 1:8; Revelation 22:3; Isaiah 9:7). For Jesus as a child born and son given is the only tangible image of the invisible God as the full incarnation of the only true God the Father with us as a man.

“And Yahweh will be King over all the earth; in that day there shall be One Yahweh and His Name only One.” Zechariah 14:9

Bible scholars unanimously affirm that Zechariah 14:9 is addressing the millennial reign of the Messiah in which all of humanity will know that there is only One Yahweh and that Yahweh God has only One Divine Name. Since Jesus will reign over all the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s, there will only be one visible image of Yahweh that we will ever see and only one name above all names in the person of Jesus Christ. Here we have the evidence to prove that there is only One Individual called Yahweh and that Jesus (as a man) has by an inheritance obtained that name as His own (“Yahweh” - Heb. 1:4; Philippians 2:9: John 17:11; Jeremiah 23:5-6).

Zechariah 14:5 identifies the Messiah as “Yahweh, my God” who “will come, and all the holy ones with Him.” Isaiah 45-14-15 says that the inhabitants of the millennial reign will bow before Jesus as God and King over all the earth, saying, “Surely God is in you (addressing the Messiah) and there is none else. There is no other God. Truly you are a God (addressing the Messiah) who hides Himself, O God of Israel, the Savior.”

MR RADDATZ WROTE: Note very carefully how obvious and clearly this is stated: “when he says, ‘All things are put in subjection,’ it is evident that he is excepted who subjected all things to him.”

This explicitly teaches that there is one personal individual (not mere “nature”) who put all things under Christ, and that the one “he” who put him under subjection was obviously excepted from being put under subjection to Christ. It in no way, form or fashion, ever, EVER in the Bible explains this as the fallacious and blasphemous “two natures” doctrine that your professors falsely claim it is.

ONENESS RESPONSE FROM RITCHIE: Oneness theology affirms that our Heavenly Father put all things under Christ’s feet because the Christ child is “Emmanuel God with us” in a true and authentic human existence. Therefore, when God manifested” Himself “in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16), God Himself came into our world by being “made fully human in every way” (Heb. 2:14-17 NIV) so that we can be called Christ’s human brethren.

David Bernard wrote that God’s manifestation in the flesh is not explicitly explained in scripture so that the “dual nature”/”hypostatic union” teaching may not be correct. For why else would he write, “…perhaps there is room for divergent views on this issue since the Bible does not treat it directly.” Since the Bible “does not describe in detail” how “the one person of Jesus Christ” is “full deity and full humanity”, Dr Bernard admits that the traditional Trinitarian view articulated at the Roman Catholic Council of Chalcedon (5th Century) which has been accepted by many Oneness believers may not be correct.

David Bernard wrote, “While the Bible is clear in emphasizing both the full deity and full humanity of Jesus, it does not describe in detail how these two natures are united in the one person of Jesus Christ. This, too, has been the subject of much speculation and debate. Perhaps there is room for divergent views on this issue since the Bible does not treat it directly.” David Bernard, The Oneness of God, pg. 90

I myself have a divergent view because I no longer explain “God with us” as a true human being with dual natures. I use to explain God becoming a man with two natures in a hypostatic union which is reflected in some of my writings and videos. While I do not reject the hypostatic union theory as completely untruthful, I prefer to use the language of inspired scripture in Hebrew 1:3 and Hebrews 2:17, which says that the Christ child is “the brightness of his glory (the Father’ glory) and the express copied image of his Person (the Father’s Person)” via virgin conception as a true human person who was “made fully human in every way.” Since the historical evidence proves that the early Oneness Modalists did not specifically teach the “dual natures in Christ” via “hypostatic union” within the first few centuries of Christian history, there is no need to go to the fifth century Roman Catholic Council of Chalcedon in order to try to explain the detailed mechanics of how God became a true human being within the Hebrew virgin.

Note: I recently changed my mind about using the hypostatic union theory of two natures in Christ. Some of my past articles and videos reflect the traditional “dual natures” theory due to reading other Oneness authors who have borrowed the traditional Trinitarian theory from the Roman Catholic Council of Chalcedon. While I still think that the “dual natures” theory could be true, I do not like to teach it because “the Bible does not treat it directly (D.K. Bernard, Oneness of God, pg. 90).”

RADDATZ WROTE: This is not at all, in any form or fashion teaching that this son will somehow disappear into oblivion or remain being the “human nature” part of the person of God. Here, as in everywhere in the Bible, it uses personal pronouns that explicitly denote two personally distinct and separate individuals. The Bible clearly refutes, consistently, over and over again, the false Oneness narrative that these are dual natures; the problem is simply that Onenessians don’t believe what the Bible actually explicitly explains about Christ, nor do they believe in the Christ that the apostles clearly preached (openly declared).

ONENESS RESPONSE FROM RITCHIE: Oneness theology does not teach that the Son will disappear into oblivion or that Christ’s human body and spirit will somehow dissolve or cease to exist. Oneness theology affirms all of the declarations of Christ and his apostles in which the Christ child is “God with us”(Matthew 1:23; 1 Tim. 3:16; John 8:24,27,58; John 14:9; 1 John 5:20) in an authentic human life (Heb. 2:17; Luke 1:35; Gal. 4:4). In contradistinction, Unitarians like Raddatz and Denny only affirm the human sonship of Christ while denying his deity and pre-existence as the God who “came down from heaven” (John 6:38 – Jesus said, “I came down from heaven”; Isaiah 9:6; John 3:31). Personal pronouns showing the distinction between God as God (the Father) and Emmanuel “God with us” as a true man (a Son) is precisely what one would expect if one believes that God also became a true human being via virgin conception.

John 5:26 and Hebrews 1:3 clearly states that our Heavenly Father’s Divine “Life in Himself” also made a copy of His Divine Essence of Being (Heb. 1:3; Col. 1:15) as a true human “life in himself” which was “granted” in time. Therefore we teach the ontological distinctions between God as God (the Father) and Emmanuel God with us as a true man (the Son). I personally do not use the Chalcendonian Christology of the alleged “hypostatic union” and “dual natures” because I much prefer to use the words of inspired scripture rather than the language which was developed in the 5th century by the Roman Catholic Church.

Again, please cite my numerous articles on Christology and my 267 page book entitled, “The Case For Oneness Theology” rather than from other Oneness authors if you are going to address me or dialogue with me personally. I also have a huge amount of quotes I could use from Dan Gill, Sir Anthony Buzzard, and other Unitarians, in my dialogue with you. For example, Dan Gill and Dr Anthony Buzzard admit that Christ Jesus is the indwelling Holy Spirit in all true NT believers.

Mr Raddatz, how exactly could the man Christ Jesus dwell in all true NT believers if Jesus is not the true Divine Identity with us in an authentic human life?

God clearly said, “I am God and there is none else. I am God and THERE IS NONE LIKE ME (Isaiah 46:9).” How can a man indwell all true NT believers LIKE GOD if he is just a special man?

The natural reading of many scriptures refute your Unitarian theological position.

John 17:23: Christ Himself prays to His Father: “I IN THEM, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one.”

Galatians 4:6: Paul wrote, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth THE SPIRIT OF HIS SON INTO YOUR HEARTS, crying, Abba, Father.”

Ephesians 3:17-18: Referring to the “inner man,” Paul mentions that he prays “that CHRIST MAY DWELL IN YOUR HEARTS BY FAITH.”

Romans 8:10: Paul tells us, “If CHRIST IS IN YOU, the body is dead because of sin.”

Galatians 2:20: Paul speaks of himself and all true Christians: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME.”

1 John 3:24: John writes: “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by THE SPIRIT which He has given us.”

Romans 8:9: Paul wrote, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in THE SPIRIT, if so be that THE SPIRIT OF GOD DWELL IN YOU. Now if any man have not THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, he is none of his.”

2 Corinthians 13:5: Paul wrote, “Know ye not your own selves, how that JESUS CHRIST IS IN YOU, except ye be reprobates?”

I can go on and on by citing many others scriptures which prove that the Lord Jesus is the indwelling Holy Spirit of God (See 2 Cor. 3:17; John 14:16-18; Col. 1:27; 1 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, 9). Perhaps this is why no Unitarian has ever accepted my offer to a formal debate!

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