Answers and response to "Questions to ask Oneness Pentecostal believers."

Via email, I received answers to the questions in the paper, Questions to ask Oneness Pentecostal believers. I have reproduced the answers given and responded to them accordingly. The original questions are in bold. His responses are underlined. My responses follow his:

  1. Is Jesus His own Father?
    1. The response given was "Yes, Jesus is his own Father." Of course, this is an illogical position to hold. I am my Father's son, therefore, I cannot be my own Father. But, seeing the illogic of this position, the following comment was offered after several scriptures were quoted.
    2. "Therefore Jesus is the Father (in relation to His deity), and the Son of the deity (in relation to deity working through Humanity)." The problem with his statement is found in rightly understanding what the Bible teaches concerning the Son.  Jesus as a single person has two natures. This is called the hypostatic union; that is, in the one person of Christ are two natures: divine and human. The oneness position effectively divides the one person of Christ into two persons, the Father and the Son, by splitting Jesus into two separate, not unified, parts. Jesus is either divine, or He is not. He is either the God-man in one person, or He is not. We cannot have Jesus be his own Father in respect to his deity and the son in respect to his humanity. For a son to be his own father is illogical, and the oneness position must backpeddle and erringly divide the natures of Christ into two persons--not one.
  2. If Jesus' will and the Father's will were identical, then why did Jesus express the desire to escape the cup but resigns Himself not to His own will but the will of the Father? See my article on this.
    1. "If you are posing this argument to try to make two wills within the godhead (which in this case are contrary to one another) then you are promoting outright polythiesm." This statement reveals a lack of understanding not only of the Trinity but also of logic. The Trinity is the doctrine that there is one God in three persons. Each person has a will. This does not necessitate the existence of three gods, and this issue has been thoroughly discussed throughout Christian history. Nevertheless, we see in scripture that only one God is proclaimed; and yet the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each have wills and are each called God. A will denotes identity and self-awareness. The Father has a will, and the Son has a will. Are the two wills really one will? Of course not. In addition, it is the mistake of the oneness to accuse the Trinitarians of being polytheists--an unfortunate and erring attack that only demonstrates the ignorance of the doctrine of the Trinity--the thing they are attacking.
  3. Was Jesus praying to Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane?
    1. "Since Jesus is God, is He the SAME God He was praying to or was He praying to a different God? The person said he had adequately answered this question in his previous comments to question number two. Of course, he hadn't answered it adequately at all. He then poses the above question. Again, this kind of question further demonstrates a lack of understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. The answer is simple. The person of the Son was praying to the person of the Father. It was not one god praying to another god.
    2. I would hope that if someone wished to attack the doctrine of the Trinity, that he would at least accurately represent it in his attacks. To misrepresent it is to attack a strawman.
  4. If Jesus was praying to the divine side of Himself, then isn't He still praying to Himself?
    1. "As I have answered above, even if we say "Yes" that is not a Biblical problem." But this is precisely the problem. It would be like saying that the person of the human side of Jesus was praying to His divine side. If that were the case, then we have two beings in the person of Christ which would be ludicrous.
  5. Why was Jesus not saying, "Not My will, but My will be done?" if there is only one person and one will involved when He was praying in Luke 22:42 & Matt. 26:39.
    1. "Once again, Jesus was speaking in His humanity...In His deity His will was one and the same with God, because He is God. In His humanity He had a human will, that He submitted to God." This seems to be only a confusing answer at best and does not answer the question. Who is "God" in his answer if God, to the oneness people, is at that time Jesus? We either have Jesus praying to Himself, or we have Jesus the Son praying to the person of the Father. The oneness position makes no sense.
  6. 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. There really wasn't much of an answer given. He simply tried to state that baptism is necessary in order to be saved. He also wrote about infants who die and verbal acknowledgement of God when becoming a Christian. But, he did get around to saying that baptism is not an option and then ended with saying that the hypothetical position I proposed would never happen. In other words, he didn't answer it.
    2. It seems quite obvious to me that he sees the problem that I posed in the original question: If he goes to heaven, then baptism isn't a requirement is it? If he goes to hell, then faith in Christ isn't sufficient to save him is it? To this, he did not respond, and I believe it was because it demonstrates the error of his position; and there is no way to answer it except to say that it wouldn't happen.
  7. Since the Bible teaches us that Jesus is in bodily form now (Col. 2:9), then how does the Oneness Pentecostal person maintain that God is in the form of the Holy Spirit? Also, when Jesus returns, will He return in His body? Will God's form then revert to the form of the Son at a later date?
    1. "This is a prime example of how you have not only a misunderstanding of the oneness position but also your own theology of Trinitarianism." The individual did not really answer the question. Instead, he made statements like "God is still Spirit and He is operating through a human body. Scripture confirms that Jesus operates in more than just a human body form, and "Jesus making it explicitly clear that He is the Holy Spirit in the form of a human body (dwelling with them)." Nevertheless, this person went on to say that Jesus would return in His body. But, to be perfectly honest, I really did not understand what this person was getting at. When speaking with oneness people about this, I've often ended the conversation feeling rather confused. It could simply be my lack of ability to understand that particular position, but it could also be that their position just doesn't make sense.

  8. 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"?
    1. "If you are trying to use Jesus' use of "We" to imply literally more than one, then you are promoting two Spirits (three counting the Holy Spirit). The Bible says there is only ONE Spirit (Ephesians 4:4,5) Not two not three. ONE." and "He was simply speaking in simple language easier for the listener to understand." Again, this person erringly inserts into the discussion something not held by Trinitarians; namely, that God is three spirits. This is something that repeatedly arises in discussions with oneness people. They continually misrepresent the doctrine of the Trinity. Furthermore, to say that Jesus was simply using language they could understand really ignores what Jesus was actually saying.
    2. Also, notice that this person did not answer the question.
  9. Oneness theology teaches that God was in the mode of the Father in the Old Testament. God was seen in the OT (not as a vision or a dream or an angel in the following verses: Exo. 6:2-3; Gen. 19:24; Num. 12:6-8). But, Jesus said no one has seen the Father (John 6:46). If they were seeing God Almighty (Exo. 6:2-3) but it wasn't the Father, then who was it?
    1. "Once again, you are demonstrating your lack of understanding of Oneness theology, and your own theology." I certainly may not be understanding oneness theology completely, but I do understand my own far better than this gentleman as I have asserted earlier in this paper. Typically, oneness people misrepresent the Trinity doctrine; and when I correct them, they tell me I am wrong. This is because it is easier for them to attack a strawman argument rather than the real thing.
      He then states "In fact let me go ahead and turn the argument around on you. The Bible actually states that no one has seen GOD at any time . . . Your own theology teaches that Jesus is God. If Jesus is God, then why does the Bible say that no one has seen God?" Of course, I've already answered this objection in the Plurality Study which, ironically, supports the doctrine of the Trinity.
    2. Finally, the question I posed in no. 9 above is the result of attending a United Pentecostal Convention (A Oneness group) and speaking to five UPC pastors who acknowledged the modal view that the Father became the Son who became the Holy Spirit. Since then, I have heard differing views from Oneness people on the modes of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through biblical history. It is certainly possible that this gentleman retains a different view than the UPC or a similar one. Either way, I used the Plurality Study as a means of refuting their position to which all five UPC pastors admitted they had no answer.

 

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CARM ison