Oneness Theology

by Matt Slick

  1. Baptism--Oneness groups teach baptism (in Jesus' name) is necessary for salvation
    1. If baptism is necessary for salvation, then why are we justified by faith (Rom. 5:1) and not faith and baptism?
    2. "In Jesus' name" is a reference to authority--not method.  Acts 4:7 shows that people were asking,"By what power, or in what name, have you done this?" To Baptize in Jesus' name means to Baptize in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit just as Jesus commanded in (Matt. 28:19)
    3. If baptism is essential for salvation, then what happens to someone who repents of sin, accepts Jesus as Savior, walks across the street to get baptized but is killed by a car.  Does he go to heaven or hell?
      1. If he goes to heaven, then baptism isn't a requirement is it?
      2. If he goes to hell, then faith in Christ isn't sufficient to save him is it?
  2. Trinity
    1. We use the term "person" regarding each member of the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) because each of them displays attributes of personhood, i.e., each speaks, is aware of others and himself, possesses a will, has emotions, etc., hence, the term, person.
  3. Questions for Oneness people
    1. Is Jesus His own Father?  If so, how can He be the Father of Himself?
    2. If God is only one person, why did Jesus say in John 14:23, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." If God is only one person, why does Jesus say, "we"?
    3. If you say He is the Father of the flesh, then how can that be a real incarnation?  If it isn't a real incarnation, then the atonement cannot save.
    4. If God is only one person, then how can the one person have two separate and distinct wills at the same time on the exact same subject?  Jesus said, "Not my will but your will be done." (Luke 22:42), when speaking to the Father.
    5. Was Jesus praying to Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane?  If so, how is it possible to do that?  Jesus was not praying to Himself.  We see in Scripture Jesus praying to the Father.
    6. If the flesh of Jesus was talking to the spirit of Jesus when He prayed "Not my will but your will be done" (Luke 22:42), then how is Jesus really the incarnation of God since you have the flesh arguing with the spirit; and they seem to be totally distinct and separate?
    7. Regarding Isaiah 9:6, If Jesus' name is "Eternal Father," then why don't we call Jesus "Eternal Father"?  For that matter, why don't we call his name "Wonderful counselor" or "Mighty God" or "Prince of Peace"?
      1. Isaiah 9:6, "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."
    8. Is Jesus in physical, human form right now?  Since the Bible teaches us that Jesus is in bodily form now (Col. 2:9; 1 Tim. 2:5), then how does the Oneness person maintain that God is in the form of the Holy Spirit?
    9. If baptism is essential for salvation, then what happens to someone who repents of sin, accepts Jesus as Savior, walks across the street to get baptized but is killed by a car.  Does he go to heaven or hell?
      1. If he goes to heaven, then baptism isn't a requirement is it?
      2. If he goes to hell, then faith in Christ isn't sufficient to save him is it?
    10. What is the name of God, according to God Himself? "The God of your fathers has sent me to you. Now they may say to me, What is His name? What shall I say to them? 14 And God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM; and He said, Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.'" (Ex. 3:13-14).  God's self-given name is I AM.
    11. If Jesus is the Father and the Father judges no one, then Jesus could not be judge.  Isn't that right?
  4. Verses Examined
    1. Matt. 28:19, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
      1. This is the formula that Jesus commanded that we use.  If the Oneness people are so biblical, why do they not obey Jesus' own words.
    2. John 3:5, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
      1. How can John 3:5 refer to Christian baptism when it hadn't been instituted yet.  The only baptism known at that time was the Baptism of John the Baptist, and it was about repentance.
      2. The context of John 3:5 refers to natural birth and spiritual birth--fleshly birth and spiritual birth which is why Nicodemus referred to his mother's womb; and Jesus says in verse 6, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
    3. Acts 2:38, "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
      1. Acts 2:38 simply says that repentance and forgiveness of sins are connected. In the Greek, "repent" is in the plural and so is "your" of "your sins."
      2. Regarding Acts 2:38, the Bible Knowledge Commentary says, "The preposition used here is eis which, with the accusative case, may mean "on account of, on the basis of."   Therefore, you get baptized on because of repentance.
      3. Acts 2:38, check out Acts 2:39 which deals with the covenant of baptism and its relation to the children.  This is covenant language.
    4. Acts 22:16, "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
      1. Regarding Acts 22:16, our sins are washed away by calling on Jesus name--not by being dunked in water.
    5. 1 Pet. 3:21, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
      1. Look at the context of verses 18-20.  What saved Noah, the flood or the Ark?  It was the Ark.  Peter says in like manner baptism saves you.  Noah entered the Ark by faith which is why Peter goes on to say, "not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience."

 

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