The Modalist heresy is so preposterous that a simple reading of the New Testament will reveal its error. There are a multitude of passages that easily refute this false teaching, such as:
- John 1:1, which states that the Word was with God and God at the same time. Some Oneness Pentecostals maintain that this Word was a mere idea or thought that existed in the Father’s mind. However, the Word was with God from the beginning (Jn.1:2), created everything (Jn.1:3), was life and light itself (Jn.1:4-5, 9), and was made flesh and came to its own creation (Jn.1:10-14). Far from being only an “idea”, this passage clearly describes Jesus Christ as a person, existing for all eternity with the Father. Moreover, you cannot be with another person and be that person at the same time. The clear and logical explanation is that Jesus was with God and was God simultaneously because there are three Persons that make up the Godhead.
-Colossians 1:16-17, 1 Corinthians 8:6, and Hebrews 1:2–10, which also make it clear that Jesus the Son created the universe. These are extremely difficult verses for Oneness Pentecostals.
-John 17, Matthew 11:25, Luke 5:16, etc. in which Christ prays to the Father. To get around this, Oneness Pentecostals say that Jesus’ humanity was praying to the divine nature of who He was. Though they will deny this, they in essence are saying that Jesus was praying to Himself. However, we see in Scripture that Christ had a will that was distinct from that of the Father. This is especially evident when in Gethsemane He prays, “not as I will, but as You will” (Mat.26:39; see also: Mark 14:36, Luk.22:42). The above passages undoubtedly speak of two persons with two wills.
Furthermore, if God is only one person and Jesus was praying to the Father, then two modes of God are manifested at the same time, which is impossible according to Modalists. This is a flagrant contradiction in their theology.
-Matthew 3:16-17, John 12:28-30, Matthew 17:5, etc., which further reinforce the above point, as the Father in these passages speaks to the Son. Again, that there are two Persons here is clear. Matthew 3:16-17 is especially great because it shows all three members of Trinity together at the same time.
When talking to Apostolics here, they will hardly admit straight away that they are Modalists. If you ask them if they believe in the Trinity they will likely give you an unclear, long-worded reply that will include, “I believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”, or something to that effect. But you really have to press them in order to get them to outright deny that God is a Trinity. Most of those I have talked with have called me brother, and have wanted me to recognize them as brothers in the faith.
But are they really brethren in the Lord? Can you really deny the essential nature of God and still be saved? The below video answers this very question: