I was sitting in a United Pentecostal Church district campmeeting. The crowd was hyped, loud “amen’s” and hand-clapping filled the conference room. I felt out of place. Although Berean Holiness has more followers from Oneness backgrounds than from the churches I grew up in, this was my first time actually attending a Oneness Pentecostal/Apostolic service. The well-known evangelist was announced as being a PhD student at the same school I am a graduate student at, and I looked forward to finding out if his message would reflect his theological training. As the evangelist spoke my hopes were disappointed, then disappointment gave way to shock, and shock gave way to immense frustration. He began to rant about how Trinitarians are polytheists, about how only Oneness Pentecostals believe in one God. Mind you, monotheism (belief in one God) is an essential doctrine of Christianity—a doctrine that even I would disfellowship over, and that takes a lot. But if that weren’t bad enough, the evangelist then proclaimed that if Trinitarianism is true, God can’t answer prayers. He proceeded to role-play the Father, Son, and Spirit getting into a disagreement, voting against each other, and being unable to get along. Not only did I feel the traditional, Christian teaching on the doctrine of God had been grossly misrepresented—to the degree of knowingly lying to the congregation—the derogatory role play of God bordered on mockery. It was upsetting that a minister who received higher education at a traditional, Trinitarian university would deceive a congregation in regards to what Trinitarians believe. And, if Trinitarians are pagan polytheists (thus, not Christians), as the evangelist claimed, why was he studying theology and training to be a minister in one of their schools? The whole experience didn’t make sense. But one thing I learned for sure, Oneness Pentecostals are being lied to by their own ministers.
The Berean Holiness mission statement is “Guiding believers out of fear and shame and into the gospel of grace.” Over our few years of existence, we’ve tried to stay focused on this mission. We want to help believers understand and heal from the harm done by replacing discipleship with extra-biblical rules. Many Oneness and Trinitarian Christians alike have been able to agree on this. With this mission in sight, the last thing we want to do is divide our audience and pit them against each other, so we’ve been careful to “stay in our lane” and rarely address larger theological issues that go beyond hyper-fundamentalism. But the more we walk alongside those who are leaving unhealthy and hyper-fundamentalist, Oneness churches, the more I have seen Oneness theology be weaponized as a noose to pull believers back into toxic church environments. They are lied to about what mainstream Christians believe, and then they are lied to and told there is no Bible-believing church to go to if they leave. Allegedly, the entirety of Christianity has fallen into paganism. I have watched time and time again as these lies have trapped Oneness Christians in some of the worst of churches.
With this knowledge, I have made the choice to step out and critique an aspect of Oneness theology, specifically, their belief that Jesus (the Son) is God the Father. Berean Holiness will lose followers over this. That’s okay. If it cuts the noose for just one—if it allows them to break free from fear and shame and join a healthy, Christian church that accurately teaches the gospel—it’ll be worth it. To those of you who take time to read this article and still disagree with me, please know I don’t look down on you for that. If you have believed on Christ alone for salvation, I trust that you are my brother/sister in the Lord, and I will do my best to show you honor and respect even in disagreements of great importance.
Lastly, you’ll notice the rest of this article will not have the typical, informal tone of a Berean Holiness article. That is because it was originally written as a graduate-level research paper. Hopefully, the careful citations will add to its credibility and the bibliography will give you a springboard of resources to use in your own study. May you draw closer to our Lord and Savior as you study His Word and learn more of Him.
Comparing and Contrasting the Two Views
When discussing the Oneness Pentecostal view of God versus the Trinitarian view, someone is sure to say, “There really is not much of a difference—Oneness Pentecostals and Trinitarians believe the same thing, they just describe it differently.” Unfortunately, this is far from true. Not only are the two positions different, at least one difference directly affects the gospel, namely, whether or not God the Son is God the Father. This paper will argue that the prayers of Jesus, the baptism of Jesus, the Great Commission, and the personal, loving relationship shared between God the Son and God the Father are evidence that, while they are both the one true God, God the Son is not God the Father.
The Traditional Christian View
Both Oneness Pentecostalism and Trinitarianism hold to monotheism, the belief that there is only one God. This is an essential Christian doctrine. The Trinitarian doctrine, however, affirms not only the oneness of God, but also the threeness of God. Theologians over the centuries have debated how to describe this threeness. Terms used over the centuries have varied from “manifestations” to “persons.” For the purpose of this paper, the word “consciousness” will be used. In this context, “consciousness” refers to individual awareness and will—the ability to think, choose, feel, and love.
The traditional Christian position is that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all the one, true God. They are coequal and coeternal, the ultimate, perfect being—perfect in wisdom, power, holiness, and every other attribute, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. However, the Father, Son, and Spirit are still distinct to the degree of being able to meaningfully communicate, love one another, have their own thoughts, and make their own choices. Granted, because they are all the ultimate being, perfect and complete in every way, there is perfect union and never conflict.
It is especially significant when interacting with Oneness theology to note that in traditional theology, Jesus Christ is God the Son. He is not God the Father and neither is He the Holy Spirit. God the Son—and only God the Son—was incarnated, crucified, and resurrected. God the Son is eternal and not limited in anyway to the incarnation of Christ. This doctrine is known as the pre-existence of Christ. It is denied by Oneness Pentecostalism.
The Oneness Pentecostal View
In contrast, the Oneness Pentecostal view denies the distinctions between the Father, Son, and Spirit. They are viewed as mere titles or roles of one consciousness, which would be Jesus. Thus, Jesus is simultaneously the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. The illustration is given of John Smith. John is a father to his son and a son to his father, but he is not two different people, he is still just John. He simply has two titles and two roles. David K. Bernard the general superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church (the largest Oneness Pentecostal denomination), put it this way, “It is important to note that the name of the Father is Jesus, for this name fully reveals and expresses the Father.”
Interestingly enough, it first appears that Bernard would make some distinction between the God the Son and God the Father. He claims the title of “Father” refers only to deity, while the title of “Son” refers to the incarnation. His argument is that because deity incarnated as humanity died and not deity alone, the Son died and not the Father. At first, this can make it appear as if he is making the traditional case for distinction between God the Son and God the Father, but this is not the case. Bernard holds to a unitarian view of God, the view that God only has one consciousness. He merely applies the title “Son” to the incarnation (deity in human form) and “Father” to deity alone. Thus, “Father” and “Son” have been redefined.
If “God the Father” and “God the Son” were to keep their traditional definitions of coeternal, coequal, distinct consciousness within the Godhead, Bernard would deny this distinction. This is made evident by his own words, “Since Jesus is the name of the Son of God, both as to His deity as Father and as to His humanity as Son, it is the name of both the Father and the Son.” “If there is only one God and that God is the Father (Malachi 2:10), and if Jesus is God, then it logically follows that Jesus is the Father…” The term “God the Son” is being redefined as much or more than “God the Father.” In traditional theology, God the Son is Jesus Christ, the second consciousness of the Godhead, coeternal with “God the Father.” Bernard rejects this doctrine as revealed by his question, “God was manifest in the flesh through Jesus Christ, but at what point in His life did God indwell the Son?” He answers his own question, saying God indwelled the Son, “from the moment when Jesus’ human life began.”
A Trinitarian would never ask, “At what point did God indwell the Son?” In traditional theology, God is the Son and the Son is God. By definition, the Son is coeternal with the Father. He never began to exist. The fact that David Bernard says that the Son was indwelled by God when Jesus’ life on earth began reveals just how radically he has redefined “Son.” Gregory Boyd sums it up this way, “Whereas the Sonship of Jesus is for trinitarian Christians an aspect of his divinity, for most Oneness writers it is only an aspect of his humanity… The Son is not God but the man in whom God was incarnated, the man in whom God dwelled.”
Because of this drastic redefining of Sonship, Bernard’s statements regarding the United Pentecostal Church recognizing the difference between God the Son and God the Father should be dismissed. Oneness Pentecostals only recognize a difference between the humanity of Jesus which they call “the Son” and the deity alone which they call “God the Father.” Oneness Pentecostals do not recognize a distinction between Jesus as eternally God the Son and God the Father. It is this latter distinction for which this paper is arguing.
Examining Oneness Pentecostal Proof Texts
One of the most common verses used in support of the Oneness position is Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” The Oneness Pentecostal interpretation of this verse is as follows, “Isaiah 9:6 calls the Son the everlasting Father. Jesus is the Son prophesied about and there is only one Father (Malachi 2:10; Ephesians 4:6), so Jesus must be God the Father.”
This interpretation assumes that the phrase “Everlasting Father” is an equivalent term to “God the Father.” The reason this assumption is problematic is because this is an Old Testament passage. The Father/Son relationship within the Godhead had not yet been revealed using these terms. Thus, it is unlikely the original audience would have jumped to the conclusion that “everlasting Father” refers to being a father in relation to God the Son. How the original audience would have understood the term “everlasting father” is at least worth considering.
Furthermore, in order to be a father, one must be a father in relation to someone or something. Who is the Everlasting Father a father in relation to? If the answer is “He is Father to the humanity of Jesus,” Isaiah 9:6 quickly becomes confusing. After all, “Everlasting Father” describes the prophecy of the incarnation in the opening line, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…” It would be one thing if the “Everlasting Father” was referring to Jesus in His “deity alone” (as Bernard puts it), but it is not. The context is Jesus coming in His humanity. So, the logic of the verse in the Oneness Pentecostal view is as follows, “A human son is given who will be called the father of his own humanity.” Why is Jesus in His humanity going to be called “Father?” David Bernard himself said Jesus in His humanity is not the Father. Even in his own the Oneness theology, Bernard’s interpretation of “Everlasting Father” makes no sense.
What are alternative interpretations for the meaning of “Everlasting Father?” Otto Kaiser writes that according to a tradition from old versions, everlasting/eternal refers to the length of the king’s life and reign, but the “translation, ‘father of spoil’, which is equally possible (d. Gen. 49.27), is to be preferred.” In light of ancient history and culture, John Oswalt proposes that the fatherhood aspect may be in relation to the people of God:
Many kings claimed to be “father” to their people and even to their captives, yet their fatherhood was of a strictly temporal and self-tainted character. This person’s fatherhood is claimed to be forever. Such a claim cannot be ignored. It is either the royal bombast typical of the ancient Near East, which is, in fact, atypical for Israel, or it is a serious statement of a sort of fatherhood which will endure forever. When one sees that God’s fatherhood is such that it does not impose itself upon its children but rather sacrifices itself for them, it becomes plain that “everlasting fatherhood” must be of that sort…
Paul Wegner presents the eternal rule interpretation but adds that “father of eternity” is an equally plausible translation. Michael Burgos also supports the “father of eternity” interpretation, he expounds upon it as follows:
When the prophet identifies Christ as a child born whose name will be called ‘Father of eternity,’ it would be inappropriate to under the title indicating that the Son is his own Father. Rather, “Father of eternity” ought to be understood as a title indicating that the Son is himself, the source of eternity, or the originator of time. Hence instead of supporting Oneness Christology, Isaiah 9:6 communicates the eternality of the Son.
Considering how many plausible interpretations there are for why the title of “Everlasting Father” was applied to the Son, Jesus, when He came as Messiah, it seems unreasonable to assume He was a father in relation to Himself, rather than to spoil, eternity, or the people of God.
Colossians 2:9 is one of the most common New Testament verses used to defend the Oneness Pentecostal position. “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him… For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,” (Colossians 2:6, 9). David K. Bernard interprets this verse as follows, “Colossians 2:9 proclaims that all the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus. The Godhead includes the role of Father, so the Father must dwell in Jesus.”
David Bernard’s logic is contingent upon a word that is not even present in the majority of Bible translations, “Godhead.” To determine the best translation and meaning of the word, the original Greek should be consulted. In Strong’s concordance, the word is θεότης and the definition is simply “deity.” Strong’s acknowledges, however, that θεότης has also been translated “Godhead” in the older Bible versions. Why was this? It comes down to the simple fact that the meaning of “Godhead” has evolved over the centuries. Today, the “Godhead” refers to the Father, Son, and Spirit. A few hundred years ago, “Godhead” was defined as “divine nature or essence.”
How should Colossians 2:9 be interpreted? Charles Talbert writes, “The fullness ( pl ē r ō ma ) of deity refers to the fullness of the presence of God.” Scot McKnight expounds upon this, “‘Fullness of the Deity’ expresses what in other places is called God’s glory; (2) that all the fullness of Deity is in Christ— and either nowhere else (“all the fullness with nothing left over”) or all in the sense of all of God’s glory is present in Christ.” Thus, Colossians 2:9 is a beautiful testimony to the deity of Christ, but not in any way evidence that Jesus is God the Father.
Another verse frequently used to argue that God the Son (Jesus) is God the Father are John 10:30. The verse reads, “I and the Father are one.” Oneness Pentecostals assume that “one” means one and the same/exactly the same, and thus, Jesus is God the Father. The context should be considered. Backing up to verse twenty-nine, John writes, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” In verse twenty-nine, clear distinctions are made. First, there is the phrase “my Father.” In order for there to be a Father/Son relationship, there must be a distinction that differentiates the two enough for them to relate to each other. Second, there is the phrase “who has given them to me.” This phrase is nonsensical if there is no distinction. Jesus might has well have said, “Myself, who gave them to me…” The relational language is deceitful if only one consciousness is speaking about Himself rather than two consciousnesses genuinely relating and interacting.
It should be recalled, David K. Bernard argued for their being a distinction between the Son and Father. In short, the Father was described as Jesus’ deity alone while the Son was Jesus’ deity in humanity. Using Bernard’s distinction and the Oneness understanding of “one,” here is how John 10:29-30 would read, “My deity alone, who has given them to my deity in humanity, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my deity alone’s hand. My deity in humanity and my deity alone are exactly the same.” Hold on, if “one” means one and the same/exactly the same, then the Oneness Pentecostal view conflicts with itself. How is Jesus’ deity in humanity exactly the same as Jesus’ deity alone? If Jesus’ deity alone is His deity in humanity then it no longer exists as deity alone. Thus, even in Oneness Pentecostal theology, a different definition of “one” (such as “perfect unity”), must be proposed. At the point at which it is admitted that “one” cannot refer to exact sameness, the Oneness argument that John 10:30 proves Jesus is the Father falls apart.
What interpretation of John 10:30 would be both true to the text and consistent with itself? Scripture interprets Scripture, so John 17:11, which also speaks of Jesus and the Father being one, needs to be taken into consideration. “And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:11) The word “one” in this passage is the same Greek word used in John 10:30. Jesus prays for believers to be one just like He and His Father are one. Is he praying for believers to become exactly the same person? No, given the context, it is obvious Jesus is praying for unity—unity that resembles the divine, perfect unity He and His Father share.
The ESV Expository Commentary describes the unity this way, “Jesus and the Father are one in essence, one in what they are as God. And Jesus and the Father are united in the great task of saving the sheep.” Augustine, church father in the fifth century, commented:
“I and the Father are one.” Not different in nature, because “one”; not one person, because “are.” And again, John, 71:1, in NPNF 1 7:328: “I and my Father are one.” When He says “one,” let the Arians listen; when He says, “we are,” let the Sabellians give heed, and no longer continue in the folly of denying, the one [Arianism], His equality, the other [Sabellianism], His distinct personality.
The Case for Distinction
The Prayers of Jesus
Those who hold to the traditional Christian belief of God’s triune nature have many passages in their favor, not least of which are the prayers of Jesus. Jesus’ prayers span all four gospels. Well-known prayers include Matthew 26:36-46, Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34, Luke 23:46, and John 17:1-26, but there are more than these, each its own testimony to a distinction of consciousness between God the Father and God the Son.
The Oneness Pentecostal explanation of Jesus’ prayers is as follows, “What, then, is the explanation of the prayers of Christ? It can only be that the human nature of Jesus prayed to the eternal Spirit of God… Some may object to this explanation, contending that it means Jesus prayed to Himself. However, we must realize that, unlike any other human being, Jesus had two perfect and complete natures—humanity and divinity.”
Does the Oneness Pentecostal explanation of Jesus’ prayers make logical sense? More sense than the traditional interpretation that Jesus as God the Son prayed to God the Father? With these questions in mind, evaluate Matthew 26:39, “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’” This verse alone gives three indications of relationship, the term of relationship “my Father,” “I” in contrast to “you,” and Jesus’ will in contrast to His Father’s will. If this is Jesus’ deity in humanity conversing back and forth with His deity alone, why did He call Himself “you?” Why does He call Himself “my Father?” Why are there two wills present? And beyond there being two wills present, the statement “not as I will, but as you will” strongly implies that there are two consciousnesses controlling the wills. The only possible way for this prayer to be Jesus’ human nature speaking to His deity alone is if both natures are personified, both natures are given wills of their own, both natures are able to independently govern their own wills (which means they can independently make decisions), and both natures are able to converse and relate with one another.
Matthew 26:39 aside, does the human nature versus spiritual nature theory explain the other prayers any better? “‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). Or what about Jesus’ high priestly prayer?
Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. (John 17:1-5)
Once again, relational terms are used, there is clear distinction between first and second personal pronouns, and there is clear distinction between wills, choices, and perspectives. The only possible way to arrive at the conclusion that Jesus’ human nature is having a conversation with His deity alone is to personify both, giving them each their own perspective, awareness, will, and ability to make choices independent of one another. Instead of a Trinity within God, there becomes a binary within Jesus. The Oneness Pentecostal solution is worse than the supposed problem. The natural reading of the text, that Jesus as God the Son is communicating with God the Father, is by far the more rational explanation.
The Baptism of Jesus
The baptism of Jesus is another example of a Scriptural passage where the distinctions between God the Father and God the Son are apparent. Matthew 3:16-17 reads, “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”
Once again, David K. Bernard tries to explain the passage away as merely Jesus’ deity and human form interacting, “With the omnipresence of God in mind we can understand the baptism of Christ very easily. It was not at all difficult for the Spirit of Jesus to speak from heaven and to send a manifestation of His Spirit in the form of a dove even while His human body was in the Jordan River.”
The question, however, is not so much how the dove and voice were possible, but rather, what the voice from heaven said. The voice said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” There are first and second person pronouns, an independent choice (the choice to be pleased with Jesus incarnated), and not only a term of relationship, “Son,” but a term of endearment, “Beloved Son.” If Jesus is doing all of this within Himself, then once again, a binary with as many distinctions as the Trinity has been created within Jesus. The traditional understanding, that God the Father is expressing His pleasure in God the Son, is a much more natural reading.
The Great Commission
Interestingly enough, the Great Commission is used by both Trinitarians and Oneness Pentecostals to defend their different positions. Matthew 28:19-20 reads, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The Oneness Pentecostal interpretation is that “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost all describe the one God, so the phrase in Matthew 28:19 simply describes the one name of the one God” and in their view, the one name is Jesus. But is this what the original wording and Greek grammar suggests? Michael Burgos would disagree, “There is good grammatical reason to reject the [Oneness Pentecostal argument]. Within the text, each of the nouns are articular and in the genitive case. As observed by Sharp, when three articular nouns of the same case are connected by the copulative και, each noun expresses ‘a different person, thing, or quality from the preceding noun.’” With this being the case, the fact that Jesus intentionally named the Father, Son, and Spirit, bolsters the Trinitarian case that there is distinction among them and they are not merely roles or titles of Jesus.
God the Son and God the Father not only commune with one another in the gospels, they share a loving relationship. The following verses from John are clear examples. “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.” (John 5:20) “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.” (John 10:17) “But I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” (John 14:31) “ If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (John 15:10) “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24)
Are these verses best explained by the Oneness Pentecostal idea that Jesus’ deity alone loved His deity in humanity? Considering how self-focused this would be, how does that impact the meaning of the word “love?” More importantly, does the Bible present this explanation? Is it the natural reading of the text? Or is being read into the text (eisegesis) in order to force it into alignment with Oneness Pentecostal doctrine? It is also worth noting that Jesus said the Father loved Him before the foundation of the world. Considering the Oneness Pentecostal position is that the Son did not even exist before the incarnation, this is yet another verse that Oneness Pentecostals must force into an unnatural interpretation rather than taking it at face value.
The last passage this paper will raise in support of the distinction between God the Father and God the Son is Philippians 2:5-8. The verses read, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Grant Osborne comments, “The hymn begins with Jesus’ pre-existence and state of being prior to his incarnation as ‘the Word became flesh’ (John 1:14). This first strophe (v. 6) details his mindset as he faced his birth as the God-man: He did not consider equality with God’ something to seize for his own advantage.”
The great significance is that this passage describes Jesus Christ as distinct from the Father before the incarnation. Oneness Pentecostals hinge all the distinction between God the Son and God the Father as being the difference between humanity and deity alone. Clearly, this could not be the case in Philippians 2:5-8 since this passage describes Jesus, God the Son, choosing the incarnation before it ever came to pass.
Two views have been put forth as explanations for the distinction between God the Father and God the Son. The traditional view is that God the Father and God the Son (Jesus) are coeternal, coequal consciousnesses within the Godhead. They are one in the sense of being the ultimate, perfect being—the one true God—but they are distinct in so much as they have individual awareness and consciousnesses, individual wills, and thus, independent ability to think, choose, feel, and love.
The Oneness Pentecostal view asserted that Jesus is the Father, redefined “Son of God” to only refer to the humanity of Jesus,” and argued that it was Jesus’ deity in humanity and deity alone that were interacting with one another. The passages covered in this paper showed God the Father and God the Son were communicating with one another, loving one another, making individual choices, and exercising different wills. In order for the Oneness Pentecostal view to be correct, Jesus would have to have to be divided into two consciousnesses that interact, relate, love each other, and choose independently of one another—this creates a binary within Jesus which has all the alleged problems of the Trinity and many more.
Philippians 2:5-8 and John 17:24 bolster the Trinitarian case by giving evidence there was a distinction between God the Father and God the Son before the incarnation. Oneness Pentecostalism has no good answer for this, given that their distinction does not begin until the incarnation. The traditional Christian doctrine is by far the most natural, logical, and consistent reading of the texts; thus, God the Son is not God the Father.
Bernard, David K. The Oneness of God. Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press, 1983.
Boyd, Gregory A. Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinity. Ada, Michigan: Baker Publishing Group, 1992.
Bruner, Frederick Dale. The Gospel of John: A Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012.
Burgos, Michael R. Against Oneness Pentecostalism: An Exegetical-Theological Critique. 3rd Edition. Torrington, CT: Church Militant Publications, 2020.
Duguid, Iain M., James M. Hamilton Jr., Jay Sklar, and Brian Vickers. ESV Expository Commentary (Volume 9): John-Acts. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019.
Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013.
Kaiser, Otto. Isaiah 1-12, Second Edition (1983): A Commentary. Louisville, KY: Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, 1983.
McKnight, Scot. The Letter to the Colossians. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018.
Osborne, Grant R. Philippians Verse by Verse. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2017.
Osborne, Grant R., Clinton E. Arnold, and Arnold Clinton. Matthew: Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Nashville, TN: HarperCollins Christian Publishing, 2010.
Oswalt, John N. The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1-39. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1986.
Strong, James. The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Red letter ed. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2010.
Talbert, Charles H. Ephesians and Colossians. Edited by Mikeal Parsons. Ada, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2007.
Wegner, Paul D. Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary. Westmont, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2021.
 Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 297.
 David K. Bernard, The Oneness of God (Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press, 1983), 126.
 Bernard, The Oneness of God, 127.
 Ibid., 66.
 Ibid., 61.
 Ibid., 62.
 Gregory A. Boyd, Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinity (Ada, Michigan: Baker Publishing
Group, 1992), Chapter 1.
 Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008).
 Bernard, The Oneness of God, 66.
 Otto Kaiser, Isaiah 1-12, Second Edition (1983): A Commentary (Louisville, KY: Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, 1983), 213.
 John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1-39, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1986), 1597c.
 Paul D. Wegner, Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary, (Westmont, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2021), 6n.
 Michael R. Burgos, Against Oneness Pentecostalism: An Exegetical-Theological Critique, 3rd ed. (Torrington, CT: Church Militant Publications, 2020), 113-114.
 Bernard, The Oneness of God, 66.
 The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, s.v. “heis.”
 Merriam Webster Dictionary, s.v. “Godhead.”
 Charles H. Talbert, Ephesians and Colossians (Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament) (Ada, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 213.
 Scot McKnight, The Letter to the Colossians (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018), 223.
 Bernard, The Oneness of God, 67.
 Iain M. Duguid, et al. ESV Expository Commentary (Volume 9): John-Acts (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019), 271.
 Frederick Dale Bruner, The Gospel of John: A Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012), 630.
 Bernard, The Oneness of God, 177.
 Bernard, The Oneness of God, 172.
 Grant R. Osborne, et al. Matthew (Nashville, TN: HarperCollins Christian Publishing, 2010), 124-125.
 Bernard, The Oneness of God, 136.
 Burgos, Against Oneness Pentecostalism, 120.
 Grant R. Osborne, Philippians Verse by Verse (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2017), 55.
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I did not get very far. But just wanted to point out very carefully that Oneness Pentecostals (I was one for 40 some years) do NOT believe in “deity in human form” they believe in “deity ENDWELLING a human form” it is always said like this ” the Spirit of God ENDWELT the MAN Christ Jesus” (I will post a YouTube link of one such pastor preaching their classic UPCI/APOSTALIC/Truth of God doctrine)and that the difference between a Spirit filled Christian and Christ is simply that He never sinned(which made Him able to to be the first born amoung many brethren) and that He was born of a virgin. They do NOT believe that God the Word WAS MADE FLESH, only that He ENDWELT flesh. This according to 1John 4:1-6 is an antichrist doctrine. Here is a short little clip to show you what I mean:
Not all oneness believers share that view. Some oneness believers restrict the incarnation to God who dwells in the man, and not see it as God who became the man without ceasing to be God. The former is known as Adoptionism, which teaches that God dwelt in a man he did not become. In my view such concept cancels the incarnation, because if God did not become the man, then the man is neither God. It is my view, as well as that of many other oneness adherents, that God dwelt within that human house he himself became, thus his being both the occupant and the occupancy, in one person, Jesus Christ.
Dear Mr. Green,
How can God the Father be both occupier and occupancy when the Word says that God is a Spirit in John 4:24, and that no man hath seen God at any time in John 1:28 and 1John 4:12?
Along with my previous comment this false doctrine teaches AGAINST John 1:14
…and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld….
I do appreciate the care you take in your study of scripture. My family and I have found ourselves directed by the Lord out of strict fundamentalism and I have found your articles to be a breath of fresh air!
I fully read and enjoyed this article but did find your interpretation of Oneness teaching to be a bit off. I think the previous commenter explained it simply but I do have my own contention with an argument you made regarding Matthew 28.
If we assume Jesus was giving the great commission to His disciples, including Peter, and scripture is to interpret scripture, why then would Peter have told the Jews gathered in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost to, “…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,”
Throughout the book of Acts we see baptism in the name of Jesus. Most notably when Paul finds believers in Ephesus and asks them how they were baptized.
It must follow that the apostles understood what Jesus was saying and His name is that name described in Matthew 28:19
Trying really hard to see. One point I so wish you would have commented on. Matthew 28:19 command to baptize in name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but the Apostles (and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Ephesians 2:20 KJV) are the foundation with the prophets. Jesus spent 3 years training these men.
So why didnt they baptize as in 28:19? Why in Acts do they always baptize in Jesus name? It is hard to believe that we know better than they did. Were they telling us something, or is there something I am totally missing? I truly want to understand. Please explain this. Ty!
There is no indication of Jesus gesturing, “wink wink, nudge nudge, you know what I mean…” in Matthew 28:19. It’s not a puzzle that you have to jump to another book penned by another witness about another time in order to figure out.
Hebrews 1:4 indicates he INHERITED that name from his Father. And Phil 2:9 shows that God BESTOWED that name on him. It’s not impossible for multiple persons to share one name, and in fact this is completely expected in the case of human last names.
Sincere greetings to you. I looked at your writing of Isaiah 9:6, and see where you do not equivocate the term everlasting Father with God the Father. You further pointed out in your post, that the existence of the Father, demands a Son.
In responding to your position, it is my belief that Jesus is referred to as the everlasting Father, based on the OT principle that there is one God who is the Father. Mal 2:10. This monotheistic principle is also established in the NT, as in Eph 4:6. It seems to me then, that it is not a matter that the Father is a personal entity within the being of God, but rather that the Father himself is the complete being of God. Having this in mind, then why would the title of everlasting Father in Isaiah 9:6, not be equated with the title of God the Father in the NT?
On the note of a Father not existing except there is a Son, in my own words, you have a point there. Is there a reason why the one God being the Father of eternity, can’t be considered as a possible interpretation? In eternity, who was the one God the Father of? One can apply the same principle and argue that this one God can’t be God from all eternity, unless if there are eternal subjects he is eternally the God of. I am of the view that God calls the things that are not, as though they were, so from all eternity this one God was eternally the Father, God, Saviour, Redeemer, Shepherd, and King, of all believers, even though believers in Christ, did not always exist, but in his foreknowledge believers were with him from eternity.
I will break at this point and reserve my other points for another comment. You may give a response either here or in my email. Thank you in anticipation of your response. God bless you.
Baptizing in the “name of Jesus” means on His authority. He was the one who commanded to be baptized and His command was to baptize in the name of the Father, AND of the Son AND of the Holy Ghost. Greek Scholars note that kai (translated and) in front of Son and Holy Ghost denotes distinction. It’s the same as saying in the name of the Father, in the name of the Son and in the name of the Holy Ghost. Distinct.
A key verse that shows “in the name of Jesus” is referring to whose authority and power the Apostles were operating in is found in Acts 4:7 when the disciples were asked “By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?” Peter tells them in verse 10 that it was by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth that the man had been made whole. So in Acts, when we read they were baptizing in “the name of Jesus” it refers to whose authority they were working under. It was not meant as a baptism formula.
Thank you for your article as it brings some quite interesting points and things to consider when thinking and understanding what scripture is actually saying.
One of the bigger issues I have is your leaving out almost purposefully it appears John 14:8-14 which seems to address the issue directly. If the word of God is eternal and written in Heaven and cannot be changed than Jesus cannot say if you have seen me you have seen the Father. It is most important as you said in your article that scripture must interpret scripture, and so it is, but I also don’t see the title or implication of “God the Son”. There are times when you see the lord said unto my lord and Lord, but not “Lord the Son or God the Son”
I have responded to this article in brief, and I am willing to have brief follow-up discussions. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid02uSger9u8qpwUvMmJcEeGz2bVwFawKGdhkHg2G8MqU41ooPHgCmwDVif1gX31UuE5l&id=1220136518
When I first started commenting here on Bereans Holiness I was still entangled in this doctrine(as you can see in my comment on Nathan’s beard article) God has since delivered me.
I, having come out the of the “Jesus Only ” camps can personally say that based on John 1:1,1:14 ,Acts 20:28 and 1John 4:1-6 ( all kjv) , that group is teaching an antichrist doctrine. A doctrine that denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. Listen to this about 3 min short where a “Jesus Only” preacher is preaching this fallacy:
And yet as Chris Stirling and Lori pointed out what about “the name” singular thing and baptism? Jim Feeney’s articles have been a great blessing:
When I first started commenting on BereanHoliness I had not yet fully disentangled myself from these “apostolic” groups that deny the Trinity as you can see from my comments on Nathan Mayo’s beard article.
I, after 40 years having come out the of these “Jesus Only ” camps can personally say that based on John 1:1,1:14 ,Acts 20:28 and 1John 4:1-6 ( all kjv) , these groups are teaching an antichrist doctrine. A doctrine that denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. They DO NOT believe that the WORD being very God was actually MADE flesh. Listen to this about 3 min short where a “Jesus Only” preacher is preaching this fallacy:
Without out right denying John 1:14 they use explanations(other verses etc.) to obscure it, such as “God is a Spirit, and, no man hath seen Him at anytime.” Quoting John 1:18, and 1 John 4:12 out of context with part of John 4:24.
Christ warned us of such people in Matt. 24:5 saying that these sorts(those that come in His name saying “I am Christ” will deceive ‘many’ people. All groups that deny the Trinity are teaching antichrist doctrines.
And people who think they are Christian and yet don’t confess that they personally know any Jewish person are also following an antichrist spirit or idea. God was MADE FLESH and dwelt among us.
Now Chris Sterling in Nov.2022 and a commenter called Lori right after him, commented on what about the “the name” singular required in Matt. 28:19 and the many cases in Acts of using the name (singular) of the Lord Jesus Christ for baptism. Doesn’t this stand against Trinitarian doctrine? No it does not, check out Jim Feeney’s articles at jimfeeney.org called ” The Triune God’s Triune Name Is “Lord Jesus Christ” , and his article called ” Water Baptism by Immersion as Done in the Bible: Who? When? Why? How? In what Name?”.
You have mentioned in your disortation here that the Father/Son relationship within the Godhead had not yet been revealed in the OT. Yet from Prov. 30:4 and Dan. 3:25 off the top of my head, I beg to differ. Plus if you delve into the studies of others such as Ariel Alloro Cohen (Orthodox Jew) of facingeachother.com you will see that this consept was not unrevealed in OT times.
It is my understanding that Jesus Christ is the Father of Christianity, yet not God the Father.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace.
The Lord Jesus Christ is God,and a father. He is the everlasting Father of Christianity(the people of God from beginning to end of creation). He is one in unity with God The Father, therefore when we see Him we see God The Father. He is also David’s Lord and Abraham’s Lord( John 8:56-57, Gen 15, Rom. 4). God The Father is the source of Jesus Christ the Son, and Jesus Christ is, the source, root and Rock of Christianity, not to mention The Father of creation. Yet He is not, God The Father, a father yet not His own Father.
The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord,saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
To my understanding Jesus Christ is the Father of Creation, as in the source of all creation (…by him were all things were created…Col. 1:16 ) yet He is not The Father God, He did not create Himself(He manifested Himself), He is uncreated. He is the head(leader, source, father)of the body(the people of God) from Col.1:18.
If you were in fact Berean you would know that there is no such support for a supposed God the Son. ( very childish statement) 🙄 😂