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Oneness to One - Page 2

In Oneness theology, however, Jesus is God. And, he is thought to be all of God there is. "Jesus" is the Father; "Jesus" is the Holy Spirit; "Jesus" is the son. For this reason, Oneness theology is sometimes referred to as the "Jesus Only" doctrine. While Oneness concepts may seem somewhat confusing to the balance of the Christian world, my teachers would have been quick to point out that their perspectives are drawn from the Scriptures.

For example, Jesus states in John 14:9: "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father." Thus, to the Oneness believer, Jesus is "one for one" the Father. Again, when speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus says in John 14:18: "I will not leave you as orphans - I will come to you." From the Oneness point of view this means that Jesus is "one for one" the Holy Spirit. It is of course abundantly clear that Jesus is the son. Thus, Jesus is God in every respect.1

Likewise, Jesus says in John 5:43: "I have come in my Father's name." And, he says in John 14:26 that the Father will send the comforter, the counselor, in "his" name. Hence, in Oneness theology, the Father's name and the name of the Holy Spirit are in fact "Jesus."

Thus, the overarching principle of Oneness faith is that Jesus is God and he alone. Consequently, even as a very young person, I knew many syllogisms and scriptures from every part of the Bible which I thought to conclusively demonstrate that Jesus is the eternal God of the universe.

A Time of Change

As a young man of Oneness faith, there was no personal incentive to change my views. Quite to the contrary! It is often thought in Oneness circles that the single most egregious of sins is to deny the crucial tenant that Jesus is the one all encompassing deity. That perhaps, is the sin for which one will never be forgiven! It is against this backdrop of fear that I found myself sitting in my Oneness church, happily minding my own business, hearing exceptional Oneness teachers, but then finding myself questioning my Oneness faith.

To me, the Trinity was simply an untenable idea. I think it is what results from the clashing together of two very opposing thoughts. Those thoughts are that there is only one God - and, that there are multiple "persons" who are God. The mental and verbal contortions necessary to try to make these two opposing concepts work together are foreboding. I am in agreement with many Trinitarian theologians who themselves recognize that the developed doctrine of the Trinity is a "construct" and clearly evolved in post-biblical times.2

Yet, in my world in the 1970s, I knew of only two choices. Either you believed in the Trinity or in Oneness. Still, week by week I found myself drawn to a realization that while the Trinity was clearly a "construct," that our Oneness views were also somehow lacking.

It seems that all errors are easy to see through and dismiss, except those we ourselves may be in. I certainly did not want to be wrong in these critical matters. Yet, I reasoned - "What if I am already wrong?" Maintaining our spiritual status quo may be psychologically comforting. However, we must come to draw our comfort from something better. Comfort must be drawn from the value we place on the truth itself - whatever it may be.

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1 In Oneness, as in the Trinitarian view, Jesus is a "God-man." Unlike the Trinitarian view, however, the "son of God" is the "flesh part" or "human part" of that combination. Hence, in Oneness theology, the "son of God" and the "son of man" are identical. In the Trinitarian view, these are "not" identical. In that approach, the "son of God" is the "God" part of the combination, and the "son of man" is "the humanity." Thus, in Oneness the "God-part" of Jesus is not an eternal "God the Son" but rather the Father himself (John 14:10).  In Oneness theology, in the New Testament Jesus speaks and acts at various times as "a man" and at other times as "God the Father."

2 It is surprising how many Trinitarian theologians recognize that the doctrine of the Trinity is not actually taught in the Bible. An example is found in the statements of Roger Olson and Christopher Hall: “The doctrine of the Trinity developed gradually after the completion of the New Testament in the heat of controversy. The full blown doctrine of the Trinity was spelled out in the fourth century at two great ecumenical councils: Nicea (325 A.D.) and Constantinople (381 A. D.).” The Trinity, p. 1-2, Eerdmans, 2002.

 

 

 





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