DEBATE: January 6th
"Did the Person of the Son Preexist”
Dr. Edward Dalcour (Trinitarian)
Steven Ritchie (Oneness Pentecostal)
@ Agape Christian Center
4587 Durfee Ave., Pico Rivera, CA 90660
January 6th, 7:00PM (free event)
More confusing heresy from Oneness apologist Steven Ritchie
who advocates a form of Nestorianism--
To my Christian brothers and sisters, please pray for Steven Ritchie, that God would delver him from the darkness of Oneness theology and open his eyes to the truth of Jesus Christ and His gospel.
Summary of oneness Theology
In contrast to Oneness theology, an exegetical analysis of particular biblical passages in both the Old and New Testaments establishes the fundamental data for the doctrine of the Trinity. Hence, Scripture reveals in the clearest way that there are three distinct Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—that share the nature of the one God. Thus, the three Persons are coequal, coeternal, coexistence, and codistinct. The full deity, incarnation and preexistence of the Son, as a distinct Person from the Father, are especially expressed in the Apostle John’s writings. . . . read more
See and print this short Oneness Tract
NEW 4th Edition-- Revised, Updated, and Expanded of Dr. Edward Dalcour's, Definitive Look at Oneness Theology: In the Light of Biblical Trinitarianism (2015) Get it here
As with the previous editions, the 4th edition of A Definitive Look at Oneness Theology - contrasts Oneness theology and its claims with biblical theology.
The 4th edition contains additional material both textually and historically as well as expanded commentary on particular passages.
Oneness Pentecostals and other Oneness (i.e., “Jesus Only”) groups make up one of the largest and fastest growing anti-Trinitarian "professing" Christian constructs world-wide--and yet, they are one of least written about and evangelized non-Christian cults.
Oneness-unitarian advocate, Roger Perkins, has again attempted to deny the person of the Lord Jesus in his recent so-called refutation of my very brief article on the “Son of God”--
The greatest weakness of the Oneness unitarian position is the biblical doctrine of
the preexistence of the Son
Oneness advocates erroneously assume that the Son’s life began in Bethlehem—thus rejecting the pre-existence and deity of the Son. They teach that the “Son” represents the humanity of Jesus while “Father” represents the deity of Jesus. Thus, Oneness theology sees God as unipersonal—i.e., a one Person deity whose name is “Jesus”—hence they embrace a unitarian God that manifests in three modes, not existing as three distinct co-eternal Persons.
So, being that they assert that before time for there was only Jesus as the Father mode, God, and seeing that the Son was only in the Father’s mind, hence, showing that the Son pre-existed as Creator and God co-existing with the Father (and Holy Spirit) annihilates the Oneness position, which rejects the Trinity, thus rejecting Christ. Jesus is God the Son in the flesh distinct from the Father—that is the biblical revelation of Jesus. Which is exegetically expressed especially at John 1:1-4; John 17:5; Philippians 2:5-11; and passages that show clearly the Son is Creator of all things (see Jesus Christ the Son as Co-Creator)
>>A note on Personhood and Being: Since the fundamental premise upon which Oneness theology is built is the notion that God is unitarian or unipersonal (as previously established), the Oneness position denies the deity, unipersonality and pre-existence of the Son. By way of definition, modes, roles and offices are non-personal. Oneness theology asserts that Jesus is unipersonal, thus the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are mere modes or roles, not Persons. Thus, the Oneness idea of the Son differs severely from the biblical presentation.
To deny the deity and preexistence of the Son is to deny the very essence of Jesus Christ. Commenting on John 8:24, Luther (1959: 365) can say: “The Lord Christ is angry below the surface and says: ‘Do you know who I am? I am God, and that in the fullest sense. Do as you please. If you do not believe that I am He, then, you are nothing, and you must die in your sins.’”
Oneness Theology (Modalism)
As with Jehovah's Witnesses, Oneness Pentecostals reject the historic biblical doctrine of the Trinity. They teach that Jesus IS the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (no distinction of Persons). In Oneness theology God exists as a unipersonal monad, that temporarily manifested as the "modes," "roles," or "offices" of the "Father," the "Son," or the "Holy Spirit" at different times. The unipersonal deity of Oneness theology lives in absolute solitude. Hence they deny that God has revealed Himself in three distinct coequal, coeternal, and coexistent Persons. In the end, their theology is decidedly unitarian, which denies the the Person Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture.
Examining the Oneness
Claim that Jesus is His Own Father
In Oneness theology Jesus IS both Father and Son (and Holy Spirit). Jesus is the name of the unitarian deity that play the different roles of "Father," "Son," and "Holy Spirit." In other words, according to Modalism, when we come to Scripture we have to decide if Jesus was speaking as the divine Father or as the human Son. Thus, the modalistic Jesus has two natures: divine, being the Father (and Holy Spirit) and human, as the human "Son."
Examining the Oneness
Objections to the Doctrine of the Trinity
In this section we will analyze the main objections that Oneness writers and teachers have concerning the doctrine of the Trinity. However, the arguments used are largely dependent on out-dated nineteenth century Unitarian arguments. The same theologically unsophisticated argumentations are greatly employed by the Jehovah's Witnesses.
The Preexistence of the Son (see short summery here)
All non-Christians cults have one definitive commonality: they deny that Jesus Christ is eternal God. By asserting that God is unipersonal (one Person) Oneness leaders teach that Jesus Christ (as the Person of the Son) did not exist before Bethlehem. As with Jehovah's Witnesses, Oneness theology teaches that the Person of Jesus Christ (distinct from His Father) was created at a point in time. Hence, Jesus is reduced to a mere temporary "manifestation," "role," or "office" called the "Son." For example, read the Doctrinal Statement of Oneness advocate T .D. Jakes (pastor of the Potter's House church, Dallas, TX) describing God as "existing in three manifestations."
Modalism and Church History: Was the early church Oneness? Did the early church Fathers teach it? What was the reaction of the church when Modalism first emerge?
Patristic authority J. D. Kelly observes: “The reader should notice how deeply the conception of a plurality of divine Persons was imprinted in the apostolic tradition and the popular faith" (Early Christian Doctrines, 88).
When Modalism first emerged it was universally rejected as a non-Christian destructive heresy which rejected the Person of Jesus Christ: The early Christian church rejected Oneness Modalism (and Sabellianism) and did not believe that God was unitarian (unipersonal) as Oneness teachers claim, rather they believed that God was multi-personal, triune:
There is one Physician who is
possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made [agennētos];
God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first
possible and then impossible, even Jesus Christ our Lord (Ignatius,
Letter to the Ephesians, 7. 2; c. A.D. 107).
We worship the one Deity in three Persons, subsisting without beginning, uncreated, without end, and to which there is no successor (Methodius, Oration on the Psalms, 5; c. A.D. 305).c. A.D. 305).
We neither separate the Holy Trinity, like some; nor do we as Sabellius work confusion [into it] (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 16. 4; c. A.D. 348).
Sabellianism is Judaism imported into the preaching of the Gospel under the guise of Christianity. . . .
(Basil the Great “To the notables of Neocaesarea,” in Letter 210; c. A.D. 375)
What is also noteworthy is the striking parallel in Ignatius’s letter to the Magnesians (c. A.D. 107) with John 17:5. Ignatius states: “Jesus Christ, who 'before the ages' [pro aiōnōn] was 'with the Father' [para patri] and appeared at the end of time” (6). Specifically, both John and Ignatius use para with the dative denoting a marked distinction between Jesus and the Father and both use the preposition pro (“before”) to indicate that their distinction existed from eternity—“before time.”
Thus, Ignatius following the apostolic tradition envisages Jesus Christ as being para (“with/in the presence of”) the Father— pro aiōnōn (“before time”)—, which again is consistent with Trinitarianism, not Oneness unitarianism.