Rodney L. Smith
Many Trinitarian teachers today make an enormous claim against Oneness believers. They claim that Oneness doctrine is “heresy,” thus indirectly making the claim that Christians who believe Oneness theology are “heretics,” meaning not truly Christian, outside of the true Christian faith. Before I respond to this claim, let me point out that this is often a desperate ploy used by Trinitarians when they cannot discuss the issue of Oneness vs. Trinity. They come up short or are confronted with questions they cannot answer, but this tactic comes from their prominent teachers. They bring their difficulties with Oneness doctrine, what the Bible actually says, and the questions or claims to which they have a hard time responding to their pastors and popular teachers. Their teachers will then usually spout off a few proof texts commonly used to support the Trinity and state something like this, “That’s about as clear as it gets, and there is just no other way that I can see to interpret this passage.” This completely misses the point. Oneness Christians are interpreting these very passages in an entirely different way. The question is, which way is the right way? Then the teacher will proceed to give questioner complete assurance that Oneness theology is false, not from the Bible, but by pointing out that ancient, popular Trinitarian teachers from the third century and thereafter harshly condemned early forms of Oneness, then called Modalistic Monarchianism, Seballianism, and Modalism. For some reason, this settles the question for them. Those ancient teachers are automatically correct, in their view, and their word is accepted on the same level as, or even much stronger than, Scripture itself. This brings me to my first question in answering the claim that Oneness is heretical.
Heresy according to who? Certainly not the Bible nor Jesus Christ himself. Oneness is only a heresy to the popular church of the State of Rome, the same church that invented the trinity doctrine. Oneness is the biblical view that God is one personal, divine being and Jesus is that one God. What kind of research do you want my friend to do, read books by trinitarians, authors who accept the testimony of so-called church fathers over what the Scripture says? He may not be highly educated, but he knows the Word and he knows God. He is a man of God. For research, how about starting with what scholars call the “messianic secret.” While Jesus didn’t go around openly declaring, “I am God,” all the time, he did not hide the fact that there was a divine element to his identity, and at times he did make claims to divinity. Compare that to Noetus, an ancient Christian, who confessed that Jesus “confessed himself to be the Son to those who saw him, but to those who could receive it he did not hide the fact that he was the Father.” Like trinitarians today and when the 3 in 1 doctrine was invented, the disciples of Jesus had trouble understanding who Jesus was. They naturally assumed a distinction between this great teacher who lived with them and the one true God of Israel. But Jesus reveals to them several times that he and his Father are one and the same (John 10:30; 8:58; John 14), especially toward the end of his ministry. John 14 is the best example of this. Jesus told them, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Still one of the disciples misunderstood and asked Jesus to show them the Father. Jesus responded, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?” Jesus said that to see him is to see the Father. So how could his disciples ask to be shown the Father when they were sitting/standing there looking at him (John 14:7-9). In this same chapter Jesus reveals that the Father is the same Holy Spirit that is in him (vv. 10-11) and that the Holy Spirit also is Jesus Himself (vv. ). The usual trinitarian response, “Well that doesn’t mean that Jesus is the Father” will not suffice here to refute the pure biblical truth of which I speak. To really see the truth, you much abandon the nonsense that “God is one” does not really mean “one.” There is only one, single personal eternal, all-powerful being called God. There is no such thing as a multi-personal being, and this concept is not once presented or even suggested in Scripture, it is only inferred by those intent on believing it. The father of the trinity doctrine, Tertullian (approx. 200AD) wrote in his treatise Against Praxeas that the majority of Christians, who were not as highly educated as he, had a problem with his concept of 3 in 1. This is the beginning of the trinitarian error. The lofty, proud, educated, rich, Christians invented these true heresies and offered them as apologies to the State of Rome, which later adopted them as its official religion. Then, these doctrines were imposed upon all under the penalty of death. Research that! Then read Jesus’ warning in Matthew concerning the popular, “ravenous, and evil working “way” that would appear to be Christian but inwardly be “ravenous wolves.” The Lord Himself warned (1), “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it” (v. 13). Therefore, the most popular, most followed way is not the correct way. The correct way is “narrow” and few find it (v. 14). And (2), “You will know them by their fruits” (16). That is, while appearing to be Christian, their works will not really be becoming of true disciples/ followers of Christ. You’re warned, and we’re just scratching the surface. If you want to join the true way, you know where to find me. May the Lord guide you to his way!
I find that the beef Trinitarians normally have, when you get to the root of the issue, their complaint is, “but that’s not the trinity! That’s different from what I believe, from what I was taught.” Here Trinitarians dangerously fail to realize that it is possible for any person to be mistaken or even deceived, including them. May God open their eyes.