Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Answering the Critics: Oneness Pentecostals

A while ago I recieved a comment by a disgruntled Oneness Pentecostal because of my earlier post about this cult and their denial of the Trinity. I thought it profitable to openly respond, because it's representative of the faulty and illogical reasoning behind those who defend this false doctrine. I will reply to each individual assertion of the person who posted (who will remain anonymous). The person's comments are in red.

He begins by saying:

The scriptures you used when looked at from a monotheistic view seems to establist Oneness. Gods people "The Jews" believed in One God. Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
[Before anything, notice that the person does not give a response to the arguments I presented in my blog post refuting the heresy of Modalism. At best, the person will take some of the verses that I used, give his own explanation of them, and challenge me with those explanations. Whenever you refute a cult member's assertions with a solid biblical response, normally what the person will do is completely ignore your arguments and either change the subject, or present to you a preprogrammed reply that doesn't at all deal with what you have just said. It can be really frustrating at times, as it may feel that you are talking to a wall. Cult members are usually taught not to think through important issues, only to repeat what they've been taught.]

Ok, so first of all, Deuteronomy 6:4 is used to somehow prove that God is only one person. Yet this verse does not at all contradict the argument for the Trinity, but actually supports it. The doctrine of the Trinity is that there is ONE God who exists in three Persons, and each Person is fully God. Deuteronomy 6:4 states that there is ONE God. No contradiction there--this passage just doesn't go on to explain further the nature of God with respect to His personhood. It can be argued that the word for "one" in Hebrew is echad, which denotes a composite unity (e.g.: Gen.2:24, a man and his wife will become one [echad] flesh), but even if we discount that argument, many other passages in the Old Testament do give us a glimpse into the plurality of Persons in the Godhead, such as:

-Genesis 1:26, where God says, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." This is a verse that has puzzled Jewish scholars for centuries. Some have suggested that God was using a form of "majestic" speech, using the third person to adress Himself, the way some ancient kings have done in history (e.g., "We have decided to grant your petition"). However, there is no precedent for this, either in Israel's history, or in the Bible. Others have suggested that God was speaking to angels. However, this argument is quickly ruled out when one realizes that man was not created in the image of angels, and that angels had no part in the creation of the world, or in the creation of man (Isaiah 44:24).

-Genesis 3:22: "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil."

-Genesis 11:7: "Come, let us go down and there confuse their language..."

-Isaiah 6:8: "...Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" (Notice that in this passage the plural, "us", and the singular, "I", are combined).

-Psalm 45:6-7: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions..." This is clearly speaking of God, and yet two seperate Persons are referred to as God. This passage is quoted in Hebrews 1:8, and applied to Christ.

-Psalm 110:1: "A Psalm of David. The LORD said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.'" Again, this passage is also quoted in the New Testament (Mat. 22:24-26) and refers to Jesus. David is calling two different Persons "Lord".

John 1:1 the word ("logos")
does not mean Jesus, it does mean reason, idea or words that became Jesus.
Quoting the explanation of this verse from my previous blog post on Modalism, which the person did not even address:
"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."

Collossians 1:16-17 only makes sense if God and Jesus are one because in Genesis the bible says in the beginning "GOD" created the heavens and the earth, but in Colossians 1:16-17, Corinthians 8:6 and Hebrews 1:2-10 says "JESUS" was the creator, so they are one in the same or are you saying the bible is in error.
Again, this Oneness Pentecostal throws out an argument for monotheism to somehow prove that there are not three distinct Persons in the Godhead. It appears to me that this person does not even know what the doctrine of the Trinity is. No one ever said that Jesus is not God; the Trinitarian argument is that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, while being ONE God, are THREE distinct Persons. Furthermore, the verses quoted above completely refute the heresy of Modalism, as Modalism teaches that Jesus was a mere idea in the Father's mind before the foundations of the earth. How can a mere idea create the universe? If the Son is the creator of everything, then He has to be more than a concept, He has to be a Person...a Person who existed alongside the Father in eternity past. And if the Son and Father existed at the same time, this flagrantly contradicts Oneness Pentecostal doctrine, which states that two "modes" of God cannot coexist simultaneously.

John 17, Matthew 11:25, Luke 5:16Jesus was God and a man, as a man He was tempted grew in wisdom, aged and had a different will than God. In the garden He said Gods will not my will even though the bible says He had all power (a kingdom divided will fall, Gods words not mine) but yet of the increase of His kingdon there will be no end.
This, of course, refers to the Oneness Pentecostal argument that God had two different wills, not because the Son is a different Person than the Father, but because God, one Person, became flesh--and the will of His flesh was different than the will of His spirit. In other words, the physical nature of God spoke to His spiritual nature. So in passages like Matthew 26:39, when Jesus said "not as I will, but as You will", it was merely the body of Jesus speaking to God. God's body spoke to Himself. I fail to see how this is not blasphemously making out God to be a schizophrenic.

For further info on the nonsensical nature of this whacky doctrine, click HERE to read a conversation between Matt Slick from Carm.org and a Oneness Pentecostal.
As God He healed, forgave sin, raised folks from the dead etc. Just one question did GOD die on the cross) or a sinless man that was the tabernacle of GOD.
Finally, the last argument that this Oneness Pentecostal puts forth...and, really, the cherry on top of the deadly, heretical sundae. I am bewildered and shocked by the insinuation behind the question in the latter sentence. Is this person implying that Christ was merely a "sinless man"? Is he denying the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ? Is he saying that God did not really become a man and dwell among us, and we did not behold His glory (John 1:14)? Whether he meant this or not, this is the logical conclusion of Modalism, which teaches that Jesus was just God's flesh that spoke to His spirit that was in a different location. To say that Christ was and is not 100% man and 100% God at the same time is unbiblical and outright heresy.

But to respond to this question, it's an "either/or" logical fallacy. The answer is neither. God the Son became a man so He could "taste death for everyone" (Heb.2:9). God the Son died on the cross. The Father did not become a man and die on the cross, and neither did the Holy Spirit. It was only the Son...and He died physically. And while it’s true that as a man He “tasted” spiritual death for us also, in the sense of Him dying under the wrath and abandonment of God (Mat.27:46), it is clear that His “spirit” could NOT have died in the sense of ceasing to exist, since God is eternal, immortal and infinite and thus cannot die.

Well, I hope that was of blessing and edification for all those reading. May we always earnestly "contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). 


Anonymous said...

Hey Aaron,how ya doin. You say God cannot die. You say in another part that it's like heresy for one to say Jesus Christ was not 100% God. You say in another part The Father did not die,but the Son died. You believe that three persons are one God. One part of God died while the other lived? You say God cannot die. Was Jesus Christ's death faked,since you say He's God and God cannot die? You talk about being logical,but your post has a lot of holes to fill in to explain how Jesus died and your apparent contradiction that God cannot die based upon your belief that Jesus Christ is God. You understand for this sacrifice to have been complete,Jesus Christ would have to really to be dead. This is no cause for any panic or argument as I'm a child of God as well. It's just that reading from an unbiased view,I can see places where it would call for you to clarify some of the things you stated if a non-Christian were to confront you on these issues.

Aaron Block said...

Anonymous poster,

You did not respond at all to anything I said in this article. You did not respond to the Scriptures quoted, and worse, you yourself did not respond at all with any Scriptures. All I can say is that you prove my point in this blog post.

And no, I'm sorry but if you deny the Trinity you are not a child of God. You are believing in a different god, and idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of God. Please repent and trust in the real Jesus of the Scriptures.

Anonymous said...

Amen Aaron!