"Oneness" ... what is meant ?

In a number of threads on topics related to the Trinity doctrine, some have mentioned or made reference to "onness" groups or "oneness" doctrine(s) .... without however defining in more details what is meant with that term.

What do you mean by "oneness"? are there various "oneness" doctrines and concepts in existence?
IF "oneness" doctrine teaches that there is only one single Spirit person Who alone is true God, Who then is this one singular Spirit being/person? Is it Jesus' Father? Is it someone else?

Comments

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,005
    edited January 30
  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,328

    @Wolfgang said:
    In a number of threads on topics related to the Trinity doctrine, some have mentioned or made reference to "onness" groups or "oneness" doctrine(s) .... without however defining in more details what is meant with that term.

    What do you mean by "oneness"? are there various "oneness" doctrines and concepts in existence?
    IF "oneness" doctrine teaches that there is only one single Spirit person Who alone is true God, Who then is this one singular Spirit being/person? Is it Jesus' Father? Is it someone else?

    Modalistic Monarchianism (CHRISTIANITY). A slight variation of »monarchianism that held that God manifested himself in three different modes throughout history. According to this view, since God is a single entity not three persons, as traditional Christianity teaches, he manifested himself first as being the Father, or Creator. At the »incarnation, he became the Son (see »patripassianism). And as the Holy Spirit, God is the sanctifier, teacher, and comforter of the church. Monarchianism was condemned as being heretical because it failed to distinguish between the single essence of the Godhead and the three persons of the »Trinity.

    Nichols, L. A., Mather, G. A., & Schmidt, A. J. (2006). In Encyclopedic Dictionary of Cults, Sects, and World Religions (p. 423). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,833

    @Dave_L said:
    Modalistic Monarchianism (CHRISTIANITY). A slight variation of »monarchianism that held that God manifested himself in three different modes throughout history. According to this view, since God is a single entity not three persons, as traditional Christianity teaches, he manifested himself first as being the Father, or Creator. At the »incarnation, he became the Son (see »patripassianism). And as the Holy Spirit, God is the sanctifier, teacher, and comforter of the church. Monarchianism was condemned as being heretical because it failed to distinguish between the single essence of the Godhead and the three persons of the »Trinity.

    Nichols, L. A., Mather, G. A., & Schmidt, A. J. (2006). In Encyclopedic Dictionary of Cults, Sects, and World Religions (p. 423). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

    ??? how does the quoted section relate to the topic at hand? Are you saying that "Oneness" doctrine actually is this "modalistic monarchianism"??

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,328

    @Wolfgang said:

    @Dave_L said:
    Modalistic Monarchianism (CHRISTIANITY). A slight variation of »monarchianism that held that God manifested himself in three different modes throughout history. According to this view, since God is a single entity not three persons, as traditional Christianity teaches, he manifested himself first as being the Father, or Creator. At the »incarnation, he became the Son (see »patripassianism). And as the Holy Spirit, God is the sanctifier, teacher, and comforter of the church. Monarchianism was condemned as being heretical because it failed to distinguish between the single essence of the Godhead and the three persons of the »Trinity.

    Nichols, L. A., Mather, G. A., & Schmidt, A. J. (2006). In Encyclopedic Dictionary of Cults, Sects, and World Religions (p. 423). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

    ??? how does the quoted section relate to the topic at hand? Are you saying that "Oneness" doctrine actually is this "modalistic monarchianism"??

    Yes, basically. But your "Unitarian" ideas stray beyond where they leave off.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,833

    @Dave_L said:

    ??? how does the quoted section relate to the topic at hand? Are you saying that "Oneness" doctrine actually is this "modalistic monarchianism"??

    Yes, basically. But your "Unitarian" ideas stray beyond where they leave off.

    Have you noticed that I have not claimed to be involved in "Unitarianism"?
    Perhaps someone here is involved in or regards himself a "Oneness" believer and would like to share with us what "oneness" means for him?

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,328

    @Wolfgang said:

    @Dave_L said:

    ??? how does the quoted section relate to the topic at hand? Are you saying that "Oneness" doctrine actually is this "modalistic monarchianism"??

    Yes, basically. But your "Unitarian" ideas stray beyond where they leave off.

    Have you noticed that I have not claimed to be involved in "Unitarianism"?
    Perhaps someone here is involved in or regards himself a "Oneness" believer and would like to share with us what "oneness" means for him?

    Just many similarities.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,833

    How is Trinitarian theology different from Oneness theology in regards to how they define or describe "one God", and how they define or describe who "Father" and "Son" and "Holy Spirit" are?
    Anyone have insights on these aspects?

  • PagesPages Posts: 63

    @Wolfgang said:
    How is Trinitarian theology different from Oneness theology in regards to how they define or describe "one God", and how they define or describe who "Father" and "Son" and "Holy Spirit" are?
    Anyone have insights on these aspects?

    The following is a basic description regarding your question.

    In Oneness theology there is one Being of God and this God is uni-personal. The Oneness God reveals or manifests Himself in three different modes/roles, Father, Son, Holy Spirit who are all considered divine as they simply are manifestations of the singular one God. In other words, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the same singular person having no distinction other than title to describe the different roles/modes of God.

    A common analogy to express modalism would be along the lines of the man who is a husband, father, brother – same person in three roles; or the analogy of water, ice, vapor – same substance in three forms.

    This differs from Trinitarianism where there is one Being of God who is tri-personal – three distinct, real particular persons, co-equal, co-eternal, sharing the one Infinite Being of God.

    modalism: Also called Sabellianism, the trinitarian heresy that does not view Father, Son and Spirit as three particular “persons in relation” but merely as three modes or manifestations of the one divine person of God. Thus God comes in salvation history as Father to create and give the law, as Son to redeem and as Spirit to impart grace. (“modalism,” Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms, 79.)

    For more in-depth information on Oneness beliefs perhaps a Oneness church website with their statement of faith, beliefs, and FAQ would be of help.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,833

    @Pages said:

    @Wolfgang said:
    How is Trinitarian theology different from Oneness theology in regards to how they define or describe "one God", and how they define or describe who "Father" and "Son" and "Holy Spirit" are?

    The following is a basic description regarding your question.
    In Oneness theology there is one Being of God and this God is uni-personal. The Oneness God reveals or manifests Himself in three different modes/roles, Father, Son, Holy Spirit who are all considered divine as they simply are manifestations of the singular one God.

    Now, this sounds exactly like what I have read in posts by trinity followers in numerous posts here ... they may not use terms such as "modes/roles/etc" but have mentioned that the one God revealed Himself in three "persons", etc.

    In other words, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the same singular person having no distinction other than title to describe the different roles/modes of God.

    Trinitarians seem to only use different vocabulary to say the same thing ...father, Son, Holy Spirit are the same singular God, and the three "persons" describe the three "roles or functions or distinctions".

    A common analogy to express modalism would be along the lines of the man who is a husband, father, brother – same person in three roles; or the analogy of water, ice, vapor – same substance in three forms.

    Now, exactly this analogy was posted in defense of the trinity doctrine in a reply to a post of mine.

    This differs from Trinitarianism where there is one Being of God who is tri-personal – three distinct, real particular persons, co-equal, co-eternal, sharing the one Infinite Being of God.

    See above ... this supposed "difference" seems more in how Father, Son, Holy Spirit are labeled as either "persons"/"roles"/"modes"/ etc"

    For more in-depth information on Oneness beliefs perhaps a Oneness church website with their statement of faith, beliefs, and FAQ would be of help.

    Seems that in either theology, THREE are claimed to somehow be ONE ??

  • PagesPages Posts: 63

    @Wolfgang said:

    Trinitarians seem to only use different vocabulary to say the same thing ...father, Son, Holy Spirit are the same singular God, and the three "persons" describe the three "roles or functions or distinctions".

    It may seem this way to you, but it is definitely not the case and you would receive pushback from an Oneness advocate as well on this doctrinal distinction. Oneness theology denies there are three particular, individual, actual, distinct, co-eternal persons – Father, Son, Holy Spirit; believing instead, in one God without three persons who acts as the Father, as the Son, and as the Holy Spirit.

    Now, exactly this analogy was posted in defense of the trinity doctrine in a reply to a post of mine.

    Yes, it happens that Trinitarians will sometimes unknowingly utilize analogies that are contradictory to their position and belief. However, the analogy aptly and accurately describes the Oneness God.

    See above ... this supposed "difference" seems more in how Father, Son, Holy Spirit are labeled as either "persons"/"roles"/"modes"/ etc"

    There are only so many words available to faithfully describe things within doctrinal categories. However, it is more than labels that make the difference between one person acting in three roles as opposed to three persons each having a singular and separate roll.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,005

    For starters, the Oneness of God can be seen in Exodus 3:13–15. The oneness of Father and Son is a relational oneness involving a oneness of essence, pre-existence and functional unity. A functional and ontological unity of Father and Son are present in the Gospel (See Brown).

    • In John 10:33, when the reason, “because you make yourself out to be God,” is given for the desire to stone Jesus following the statement, “The Father and I are one,” Brown believes it refers back to John 1:1-2.
    • He also mentions Bengel’s position following Augustine’s that the passage’s use of “are” refutes the monarchial position and that the use of “one” in the Scripture refutes the Arian position.
    • Bultmann also sees a connection back to John 1:1-2 and sees a pre-existent, ontological oneness of Father and Son with a strong emphasis on revelation.
    • Andreas Köstenberger sees an ontological and functional oneness but says the “emphasis is on the unity of their works”.
    • D. Moody Smith says, “By identifying Jesus not only with the purpose and mission of God but with his being, John goes a step beyond the other Gospels”. Later in addressing the issue of oneness D. Moody Smith says, “John thereby signals the uniqueness of Jesus’ relationship with the Father. . . .The unity of the Father and the Son is thus expressed in terms of love and mission”.
    • Appold, who devoted an entire work to this theme, sees the oneness of the Father and Son as relational/revelational with a three-fold orientation. It is:

      • Christological in that the ontological, functional divinity of Jesus is established in reciprocal solidarity between the Father and Son.
      • Ecclesiological in that the relationship extends and continues within the community of disciples.
      • Soteriological in that the salvation of humanity is found in the revelation of God in Jesus and in the resulting relationship.

    Truth found truth shared. CM

    Sources:

    • --Brown, Raymond E. 2006. The Gospel According to John I-XII: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. The Anchor Bible 29, ed. William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman. New York: Doubleday. (Hardcover pub. 1966.), pp 401-412
    • -- Bultmann, Rudolf. 1971. The Gospel of John: A Commentary. Trans. G. R. Beasley-Murray. Ed. R. W. N. Hoare and J. K. Riches. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.. pg 87
    • -- Köstenberger, Andreas J. 2004. John. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, ed. Robert Yarbrough and Robert H. Stein. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic., pg 312
    • -- Smith, D. Moody. 2006. The Theology of the Gospel of John. New Testament Theology, ed. James D. G. Dunn. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. (Orig. pub. 1995.), pp 103; 129
    • -- Appold, Mark L. 1976. The Oneness Motif in the Fourth Gospel. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr., pp 262-294
  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,005

    The Old Testament God is unique when compared to idols in that Jesus alone creates everything, foretells the future, acts like no other can, and is the Savior of the world.

    The Old Testament is unequivocal that there is only one God:

    • the LORD is God; beside him, there is no other.… [T]he LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other” (Deut. 4:35b, 39b).

    This theme is repeated in a number of texts (e.g., Deut. 32:39; 1 Kings 8:60). Often God is mentioned as Creator compared to the gods who were creations (e.g., Isa. 44:6–24; 45:5–18; 46:1–4).

    • It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts” (Isa. 45:12).

    God foretells the future (Isa. 48:14).

    God says He will raise up Cyrus to free His people from Babylonian captivity, and the vanquished “will bow down before you and plead with you, saying ‘Surely God is with you, and there is no other; there is no other god.’ Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God and Savior of Israel!” (Isa. 45:14b–15).

    He is the God of universal salvation:

    • “Turn to me and be saved all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other” (Isa. 45:22).

    He is the God who will be victor over the cosmic controversy in the final judgment:

    • Before me every knee will bow; by me, every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone is deliverance and strength.’ All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame” (Isa. 45:23b–24).

    He is the same God we know from the New Testament. For the Old Testament says,

    • I the LORD do not change” (Mal. 3:6).
    • the New Testament says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8).

    Have you considered evidence in the Old Testament of the Trinity? CM

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,487
    edited February 4

    @C_M_ said:

    • I the LORD do not change” (Mal. 3:6).

    I think a strong case can be made that God indeed DOES change - at least God's mind changes - on several occasions in the Old Testament: Exodus 31.8; 32.14; 2 Samuel 24.16; Psalm 106.45; Jeremiah 26.19; Amos 7.3,6; Jonah 3.10

    • the New Testament says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8).

    The Hebrews verse does NOT say Jesus is God. Further, I contend that the message about Jesus and God communicated in two succeeding verses of Hebrews 13 is that Jesus is not God:

    • Heb 13.15 - The writer commends that through Jesus we "continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God." It makes no sense to offer praise to God through God.
    • Heb 13.20-21 - The writer asks that the God of peace, who raised Jesus from the dead, equip us to do God's will (what is pleasing in God's sight) working through Jesus Christ. In short: The writer says God works through Jesus; he doesn't say God works through God.

    In my view, those verses make a clear distinction between Jesus and God.

    Have you considered evidence in the Old Testament of the Trinity? CM

    What specific OT verses/passages do you believe offer evidence of the Trinity?

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,005

    @Bill_Coley said:

    @C_M_ said:

    • I the LORD do not change” (Mal. 3:6).

    I think a strong case can be made that God indeed DOES change - at least God's mind changes - on several occasions in the Old Testament: Exodus 31.8; 32.14; 2 Samuel 24.16; Psalm 106.45; Jeremiah 26.19; Amos 7.3,6; Jonah 3.10

    Beyond your personal opinions, there are two points of OT study (beyond the scope of this thread) need to be considered. They are Covenant Treaties and Prophecy ("Classical" and "Apocalyptic"). I have several posts around the forums commenting on the latter section. Some of the texts you cited above are considered "classical" = the time of the prophet and is "conditional". to say more it requires its own thread. Agree?

    • the New Testament says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8).

    The Hebrews verse does NOT say Jesus is God. Further, I contend that the message about Jesus and God communicated in two succeeding verses of Hebrews 13 is that Jesus is not God:

    • Heb 13.15 - The writer commends that through Jesus we "continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God." It makes no sense to offer praise to God through God.
    • Heb 13.20-21 - The writer asks that the God of peace, who raised Jesus from the dead, equip us to do God's will (what is pleasing in God's sight) working through Jesus Christ. In short: The writer says God works through Jesus; he doesn't say God works through God.

    In my view, those verses make a clear distinction between Jesus and God.

    If anything, "those verses make a clear distinction between" Beings and not Deity.

    God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is One. God spoke to the prophets (Bible writers) in language and terms they understood, as you would to a child or your small children. In doing so, one uses simple languages, terms, and illustrations= thus, communication. Who can know God, except He reveals Himself?

    -- In short, God "accommodate", to "illuminate", to communicate to man. God is so much bigger, different, and wiser than man. God is infinite, man is finite. Accept this reality and trust God where you can't trace Him.

    Have you considered evidence in the Old Testament of the Trinity? CM

    What specific OT verses/passages do you believe offer evidence of the Trinity?

    Have you considered some in the post above this one? I am still studying and will share others as reason and comprehension accompany them. Agree? CM

  • HomeskilletHomeskillet Posts: 12
    edited February 12

    It has been suggested that I am merely spamming this site to propogate my blog. This is flatly false. I am very busy taking classes in Hebrew I & Greek II, while also pastoring a church. I have had an intense interest in the Godhead issue (and meticulously researching the topic) for over 20 years now. And, yes, I am absolutely Oneness. In fact, careful searching of the Scriptures is what forced me to abort the Trinity church I was attending.

    Let me just say that there is a ton of misrepresentation from both sides of the debate...even on this thread. For now, I will simply leave a link to my exegetical blog on this topic wherein I carefully evaluate scholarly arguments against our position w. much rigor.

    Link: https://apostolicacademics.com/

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,487


    It's good to read posts from you again.

    Your assertion that "there is a ton of misrepresentation from both sides of the debate...even on this thread" is provocative, but not very enlightening. As time permits, please give us a sampling of what you believe those misrepresentations to be. I'm particularly curious about the misrepresentations you believe exist on YOUR side of the debate.

Sign In or Register to comment.