No Plurality of Persons in the Godhead
K. Bernard wrote,
"The basis of Oneness theology is a radical concept of monotheism. Simply stated, God is absolutely and indivisibly one. There are no essential distinctions or divisions in
His eternal nature. All the names and titles of the Deity, such as Elohim, Yahweh, Adonai, Father, Word, and Holy Spirit refer to one and the same being, or - in Trinitarian terminology - to one person. Any plurality associated with God is only a plurality
of attributes, titles, roles, manifestations, modes of activity, or relationships to man." [Essentials of Oneness Theology, (Hazelwood, Missouri: Word Aflame Press) 1985, p. 8]
"They believe that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are manifestations, modes, offices, or relationships that the one God has displayed to man." [The Oneness of God, p. 15]
"To say that God is three persons and find substantiation for it in the Scripture is a work in futility. There is
literally nothing in the Bible that supports God being three persons." [Three Persons, p. 2]
The Bible Teaches
Plurality of Persons Does Exist in the Godhead
And I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith
[Notice that the LORD is the one who is speaking while describing another person whom He calls LORD. Yet the Bible teaches that there
is only one LORD, not two. Plurality of persons is used while maintaining the plain teaching that there is only one God.]
Here is another Old Testament example:
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications:
and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one
that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Here are a couple of New Testament examples:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo,
the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Some Oneness Pentecostal preachers have tried to explain away Matthew 3:16-17 by saying that this was a simultaneous modalistic act of God. This attempt of explaining away the passage is unwarranted and tragic. Such a rendering
destroys the beauty demonstrated here of the loving relationship between the three Persons of the Trinity in this passage. It is an attempt to deny the plurality of Persons by making this one incident a mere performance (much like a ventriloquist) that has
no real purpose.
Something to think about:
God is love. In order to love, the giver of love must have a recipient of that love
(this is the basis of a loving relationship). Was there ever a time when God was not love? No. Could God be love and yet not love at the same time? Of course not. Therefore a loving relationship eternally existed.
Robert M. Bowman, Jr. wrote,
"One's view of Christ cannot be separated
from one's view of the Trinity. Deny the Trinity, and you will lose the biblical Christ; affirm the Christ of Scripture, the Christ who was sent by the Father and who sent the Holy Spirit, and you will find that your God is the Trinity. It is, in fact, the
doctrine of the Trinity that is the distinctive feature of the Christian revelation of the nature of the true God... While there may be individual Oneness believers who are saved, the Christian community has no choice but to regard the Oneness movement as
a whole as having departed from the Christian faith.
"In this sense, we regretfully conclude that the Oneness churches are indeed cults, and we urge Christians to reach out to Oneness believers in love
and share with them the triune God revealed in the Scriptures." [Christian Research Institute magazine Forward, Fall 1985]