Oneness Pentecostals


89 Proofs of a Divine Trinity


Has Sabellianism Resurfaced?


One sure way to determine the authenticity of Christian doctrine is to find out its point of origin and its founder. If the founder of any particular point of Christian doctrine is not the Lord Jesus Christ, and originate from His teachings, then it must be considered a mere heresy.

One form of heresy to consider is the attack on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, called “Sabellianism”, (named after Sabellius, a Latin theologian of the third century). Sabellius taught that God was one Person, not three, and that he appeared in “modes” or “manifestations” —– as the Father, as the Son, or as the Holy Spirit. However, In the case of Sabellius, the Father alone was truly God, the Son and the Spirit being repetitions of Himself in other “modes” or “manifestations.” Sabellius was condemned for his views, his modalistic theology refuted, and the heresy that he spawned was rejected by the early Christian Church. (History of the Early Christian Church, Philip Schaff, Vol. II)


Rebirth of an old Heresy


In 1913, a new form of Sabellianism or modalism was born during a “world-wide” Pentecostal camp meeting in Arroyo Seco, just outside Los Angeles.

A Canadian evangelist named R. E. McAlister, exhorted during a baptismal service that the apostles did not baptize in the Triune formula (in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost), but in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. John G. Scheppe was so inspired by this exhortation that he spent the night in prayer. “In the early hours of the morning he ran through the camp, shouting that the Lord had shown him the truth on Baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.” (David A. Reed, Origins and Development of the Theology of “Oneness” Pentecostalism in the United States, 1980, p.99.)  Scheppe’s “revelation” became the driving force for McAlister and Frank Ewart, a Pentecostal pastor at the camp meeting, to discuss Matthew 28:19, and Acts 2:38 in great detail. After studying through these and other passages of scripture (such as Matt. 17:8;  Jn. 10:30, 14:13; Phil. 2:9; Col. 3:17, ect…), Scheppe and his followers adopted the

modalistic interpretation of the Godhead, which, unlike Sabellius, made Jesus, instead of the Father, the one God. To them, Jesus was the one who manifested Himself as the Father, as the Son, or as the Holy Spirit. Thus, the historic Trinitarian theology was repudiated as unbiblical.


David A. Reed makes this comment concerning the impact of this “revelation” in his doctoral dissertation on “Oneness” Pentecostalism:

“The new teaching had caught the fragile Pentecostal movement by surprise. It was spreading fast. With an openness to “new truth” already established by the revival, it was difficult to turn it away immediately.

(David A. Reed, Origins and Development of the Theologyof “Oneness” Pentecostalism in the United States, 1980, p.99.)


We submit the following facts in Scripture to prove a Divine Trinity of separate persons in the Godhead:
1.  The word “one” means one in unity as well as one in number.  It means unity in 1 John 5:7, as it does in John 17:11,21-23, and yet these three Persons, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, are spoken of as one each in number and individuality in Scripture.  There is one God the Father, one Lord Jesus Christ, and one Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 8:6; Ephes. 4:3-6).  Thus, there are three separate Persons in divine individuality and divine pluralty.

The Father is called God (1 Cor. 8:6), the Son is called God (Isaiah 9:6,7; Hebrews 1:8; John 1:1-2; John 20:28), and the Holy Spirit is called God (Acts 5:3-4).  As individual persons each can be called God and collectively they can be spoken of as one God because of their perfect unity.  The word “God” is used either as a singular or a plural word, like sheep.
Everything that could be spoken of God collectively applies equally to each member of the Godhead as an individual, but there are some things that are said of each person of the Deity as to position, office, and work that could not be spoken as of the other members of the Godhead. The Father is the head of Christ (1 Cor. 11:3); the Son is the only begotten of the Father (2 John 1:3), and the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son (John 14:16,26; John 15:26; John 16:7-15; Acts 2:34).
2.  Names of God prove plurality of persons.  The Hebrew: Elohiym (OT:430) is the word for God in Genesis 1:1 and in over 2,700 other places in the Old Testament It is a uni-plural noun meaning Gods and is so translated 239 times (Genesis 3:5; Exodus 22:28; 1 Samuel 4:8; Daniel 2:11; Daniel 4:6-9; Daniel 5:11,14; etc.).  Sometimes ‘Elohiym is used with plural verbs and pronouns, “the Gods they caused me to wander” (Genesis 20:13), and “there the Gods they appeared unto him” (Genesis 35:7).
3.  Plural pronouns are used of God, proving plurality of persons (Genesis 1:26; Genesis 3:22; Genesis 11:7; Isaiah 6:8; John 14:23; John 17:11,22-23).
4.  First, second, and third personal pronouns are used hundreds of times in Scripture, referring to one, two, and three persons of the Godhead in the same sense they are used of men.  Sometimes the different members of the Deity use them to and of one another in the same sense man uses them.  In John 17 alone Jesus uses them 162 times in speaking to and of His Father (cp. John 14:16-17,26; John 15:26; John 16:7-15).  Sometimes singular pronouns are used of the whole Godhead of three members as a unity (Exodus 20:3; Isaiah 44:6,8; Isaiah 45:5,21; Isaiah 46:9; Hosea 13:4), just like the whole church as a unit is spoken of as a man and “he” (Ephes. 2:14-15; Ephes. 4:13; Ephes. 5:25-27; 2 Thes. 2:7-8).
5.  “Man is become as one of us” proves plurality of persons (Genesis 3:22).
6.  Two and three Persons called God have been seen by the same men at the same time and places as being separate persons (Daniel 7:9-14; Matthew 3:16-17; John 1:31-34; Acts 7:54-60; Rev. 6:16; Rev. 7:9-17; Rev. 21:22; Rev. 22:3).
7.  Two Lords are mentioned in Genesis 19:24; one on earth and one in heaven.
8.  Two Persons are referred to in the Old Testament  See Psalm 8:5-6 with Hebrews 2:5-18; Psalm 16:8-10 with Acts 2:25-36; Psalm 22:1-22 with Matthew 27:35,39-43,45-46; Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 10:5-12; Psalm 40:6-10 with Hebrews 10:5-7; and Psalm 45:6-7 with Hebrews 1:8-9.
9.  Two Lords are mentioned sitting side by side (Psalm 110:1,5; Matthew 22:44; Matthew 26:64; Acts 2:33-34; Acts 7:54-56; Romans 8:34; Ephes. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Hebrews 1:3,13; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22; Rev. 22:3).
10. Two Persons are mentioned and required in order to understand the plain language of Psalm 2; Psalm 9:19; Psalm 132:17; Proverbs 30:4; Isaiah 4:2; Isaiah 10:16-17; Isaiah 28:16; Isaiah 49:1-10; Isaiah 50:4-11; Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Isaiah 62:11; Micah 5:1-5; Jeremiah 23:4-8; Jeremiah 33:14-26; Zech. 3:8-10; Zech. 6:12-13. In these passages one is anointed, becomes the son of, is sent by, is taught by, and becomes the servant of the other; and both are called Lord.
11. Three self-acting Persons-the Lord God, the Messiah, and the Holy Spirit-are referred to as blessing, anointing, sending, and doing things for one another in Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 42:1-7; Isaiah 48:16; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 61:1-2; Isaiah 63:1-14; Zech. 12:10-13:2.
12. In Zech. 1:7-21 the Lord of Hosts and the angel of the Lord (also called Lord, Zech. 1:19-20; Zech. 2:1-13) are talking together.  One Lord says of the other Lord that He has sent Him to Israel (Zech. 2:8-13).  One Lord refers to Himself as “Me” and to the Lord of Hosts as “His” and “He” (Zech. 2:8-11).  The conference continues throughout Zechariah until Zech. 13:6-7 where both Lords are called fellows or associate.
13. Jesus Christ is called the son of Abraham, David, Mary, and of God (Matthew 1:1; Mark 1:1; Mark 6:3). He is just as much a separate person from God as He is of these other persons.
14. Two Persons are referred to many times in the New Testament (Matthew 11:27; Luke 23:46; John 1:1-2,18; John 5:19-20; John 14:1-9; John 16:15; John 17:3,10; Acts 2:38-39; Acts 3:13-26; Phil. 2:5-11; Ephes. 3:5; Col. 1:5; 2 Thes. 2:16-17; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:1-3; Rev. 20:6; Rev. 22:3).
15. Two and three Persons are mentioned in the introductions to New Testament books (Romans 1:1-4,7; 1 Cor. 1:3; James 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1-3; 2 John 1:3; Rev. 1:1-6; etc.).
16. God is the head of Christ and thus greater than He in position (1 Cor. 3:23; 1 Cor. 11:3; 1 Chron. 29:11; John 14:28).
17. Christ is the mediator between God and man, not between Himself and man (1 Tim. 2:5).
18. Two and three Persons are referred to in every New Testament book (Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 12:31-32; Matthew 17:5; Matthew 22:43-45; Matthew 28:19; Mark 1:1-2,10; Mark 13:32; Luke 1:32-35; Luke 2:40,52; Luke 3:22; Luke 4:1; Luke 4:18; Luke 9:35; Luke 23:46; Luke 24:39 with John 4:24; John 1:1-3,14,18; John 5:17-25,31-38; John 6:37,44-46,57; John 7:16-18,28,37-39; John 8:13-19,26-38,42,54; John 10:15-18,24,29,36; John 12:26-31,44,49-50; John 14:1-26,28-30; John 15:1-26; John 16:1-33; John 17:1-26; John 18:11; John 20:17,21; John 18:11; John 20:17,21; Acts 1:7-8; Acts 2:24-36; Acts 3:13-26; Acts 4:10,26-31; Acts 5:29-33; Acts 7:37,55-56; Acts 8:12-17; Acts 9:17; Acts 10:38-48; Acts 17:31; Romans 1:3,7,9; Romans 5:1-11; Romans 8:1-13,26-39; 1 Cor. 1:3-9; 1 Cor. 2:10; 1 Cor. 3:23; 1 Cor. 8:6; 1 Cor. 11:3; 1 Cor. 12:3; 1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor. 1:2-3; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; 2 Cor. 13:14; Galatians 1:1-3; Ephes. 1:2-3; Ephes. 3:14; Ephes. 4:3-6; Ephes. 6:23; Phil. 1:2; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 1:2-3,13-19; Col. 3:1; 1 Thes. 1:1-10; 1 Thes. 3:13; 2 Thes. 1:1-2; 2 Thes. 2:16; 1 Tim. 1:2; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 Tim. 5:21; 1 Tim. 6:14-16; 2 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 4:1; Titus 1:4; Titus 2:13; Philemon 1:3; see note, Rev. 5:13 for 30 last New Testament references).  In no conceivable way can we force a meaning of three persons in one person; three beings in one being; or three manifestations of only one person in any of these or any other scripture.
19. There are three distinct and separate witnesses that bear witness of Christ (1 John 5:5-11,13,20).  Both God and man require this many personal and separate witnesses to confirm any point (Matthew 18:16; 2 Cor. 13:1).  
The water and blood of 1 John 5:8 could not be accepted as accredited personal witnesses to confirm any point (Matthew 18:16; 2 Cor. 13:1).  The water and blood of 1 John 5:8 could not be accepted as accredited personal witness in themselves.  The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the only personal witnesses of this passage.  If we consider these to be only one person, then there are not the required number of witnesses to establish the
truth of the Sonship of Jesus Christ.  We are forced by facts to admit all of 1 John 5:7-8 as inspired Scripture and therefore, the fact that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are three separate and personal witnesses instead of being only one person or witness.  Indeed, many scriptures confirm these three witnesses:
   (1) The Father (Jeremiah 29:23; Malachi 3:5; John 5:31-37, notes; Romans 1:9; Hebrews 1:1-2; Hebrews 2:3-4)
   (2) The Son (Isaiah 55:4; John 18:37; 1 Tim. 6:13; Rev. 1:5)
   (3) The Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16; John 15:26; Hebrews 10:15; 1 John 3:6) If all three are witnesses, then they must be separate Persons. The water and the blood simply confirm the intelligent testimonies of the three Persons of the Godhead and give additional weight to the Sonship of Jesus.
20. The words through and by, used of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, but not once of the Father, prove that God to be a separate Person and the Head and Director of all things done by and through them (1 Cor. 3:23; 1 Cor. 11:3; John 10:29; John 14:28; John 14:16-17,26; John 15:26; John 16:7-15; Acts 2:33-34):
   (1) Through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:2; Romans 1:8; Romans 5:1,9,11; Romans 6:23; Romans 7:25; Romans 15:17; Romans 16:27; 1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor. 3:4; Galatians 3:14; Galatians 4:7; Galatians 5:10; Ephes. 2:7,18; Phil. 4:7,13; Titus 3:6; Hebrews 13:21; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 Peter 4:11; 1 John 4:9)
   (2) By Jesus Christ (John 1:3,10,17; John 10:9; Acts 4:10; Acts 10:36; Romans 2:16; Romans 3:22; Romans 5:17,21; Galatians 1:1; Ephes. 1:5; Ephes. 3:9; Col. 1:15-20; Col. 3:17; Hebrews 1:1-3; 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 5:10)
   (3) Through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:2; Acts 21:4; Romans 8:13; Romans 15:13,19; Galatians 5:5; Ephes. 2:22; Hebrews 9:14)
   (4) By the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 11:24; Micah 3:8; Zech. 4:6; Matthew 12:28; Luke 2:27; Luke 4:1; Acts 11:28; Romans 5:5; Romans 15:19; 1 Cor. 2:10; 1 Cor. 6:11; 1 Cor. 12:3,13)


Proofs that Jesus is Not the Father:
21. The Father was in heaven all the time that Jesus was on earth (Matthew 5:16,48).
22. Christ now sits at the right hand of the Father (see note 9, above).
23. Jesus said He would confess men “before My Father,” proving He is not the Father (Matthew 10:32; Rev. 3:5).
24. Jesus always prayed to the Father as a separate Person (Matthew 11:25; John 17).
25. The Father existed outside the body of Jesus, so He could not be Jesus (Matthew 2:12; Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; John 12:27-30).
26. Both Jesus and Satan refer to a God separate from Jesus (Matthew 4:6-10).
27. God was the Father of Jesus, not Jesus Himself (Ephes. 1:3,17; Ephes. 3:14).
28. In parables Jesus illustrates His relationship to the Father as that of separate persons (Matthew 21:33-46; John 15:1-8).
29. People are taught to go directly to the Father and not to pray to Jesus (John 14:12-15; John 15:16; John 16:23-26).
30. The Father knew things that Jesus did not know (Mark 13:32; Acts 1:7).
31. Others saw Jesus as a separate Person from the Father (Daniel 7:9-14; Acts 7:56).
32. Jesus committed His own spirit to the Father, not to Himself (Luke 23:46).
33. Jesus claimed that He came from God and was going back to God (John 8:42; John 16:5; John 10:36; John 17:8).
34. God is a Spirit, not flesh and blood like Jesus was (John 4:24; John 19:34; Matthew 16:17; Luke 24:39).
35. People on earth with Jesus heard God speak as a separate person from heaven (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; 2 Peter 1:16-18).
36. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, not the Father Himself (John 5:17-35).
37. Jesus called the Father “My God,” even after the resurrection (John 20:17; Rev. 3:12).
38. Jesus called God “My Father” 57 times (John 15:1; Rev. 2:27). How could He be His own God and Father and beget Himself?
39. When Jesus was born on earth angels and people still recognized God in heaven (Luke 2:7-16). Were they mistaken about God?  Was the child all of God on earth and in heaven also?
40. Mary and Joseph acted with utmost ignorance if the baby Jesus was all of God, for they presented Him to the Lord Who was someone other than Jesus (Luke 2:22).
41. Simeon had a revelation and guidance from the Holy Spirit that Jesus was not the only member of the Godhead (Luke 2:26-33).
42. John the Baptist knew the Father, but he did not know the Son (John 1:31-34).
43. The Son died, not the Father (1 Cor. 15:3; 1 Peter 2:24).
44. Jesus was the only begotten Son of the Father, so could not be the Father or the begetter of Himself (John 1:14).
45. Jesus claimed that He could not and did not do anything of Himself, but that the Father worked through Him (John 5:19,30; John 6:38; John 8:28; John 12:49-50).
46. He did not come to do His own will, but that of the Father who sent Him (John 5:30; John 6:38).
47. His doctrine was not His, but the Father’s (John 7:16-17; John 8:26).
48. He did not speak of Himself, but of the Father who had sent Him (John 7:16-18; John 8:26-40).
49. He did not please Himself, but the Father (John 8:29).
50. He was a Son, not a Father over the house of God (John 8:35-36; Hebrews 3:6).
51. He had the same relation to His Father that men have with Satan (John 8:16,35-44; John 9:4).
52. He honored the Father as all people should (John 8:49).
53. He did not seek His own glory, but that of the Father (John 8:50-54; John 17:4).
54. He knew the Father, but was not the Father (John 8:55; John 10:15).
55. He was loved by the Father as a separate person (John 10:17-18).
56. He kept the Father’s commandments and they were not His own (John 12:49-50; John 15:10).
57. His disciples were given to Him by the Father (John 10:29; John 17:1-25).
58. He was equal with the Father in some things, but not in others (Mark 13:32; John 5:17-39; John 8:13-19,29-42; John 19:18-29; Acts 1:7; 1 Cor. 11:3; Rev. 1:1).
59. He and the Father were in unity and in each other in the same sense believers are to be in unity and in God (John 10:38; John 14:10-11,23; John 17:11,21-23).
60. He was the only way to the Father (John 6:37; John 14:6).
61. He said, I am not alone or the only witness of My sonship.  The Father is another witness (John 5:36-38; John 8:13-19,54; John 12:49-50; John 14:10-11).
62. Over 80 times Jesus affirmed that He was not the Father and not the only person in the Godhead.  Christ was the speaker, but not the one spoken of or to (Matthew 7:21; Matthew 11:27; Matthew 18:10,35; Luke 2:49; John 5:17-43; John 8:19-49; John 10:17-37; John 14:7-28; John 15:1-26; Rev. 1:1; etc.).  Is it any wonder that the Godhead, the Trinity, and the unity of God are so mysterious when we force separate persons to become only one person, all because we do not want to recognize the true meaning of the word one as referring to unity rather than individuality in some scriptures?  People would be just as great a mystery if we forced the meaning of all men to refer to one person.
63. He was not as great as His Father (John 10:29; John 14:28; cp. 1 Cor. 11:3).
64. The Father (Matthew 3:17), Jesus (John 10:36), angels (Luke 1:32-35), demons (Mark 3:11; Mark 5:7), and apostles (Matthew 16:16; John 1:14; Romans 8:32; 2 John 1:3), all declare the sonship of Jesus, but not once do they declare a Christ-fatherhood.
65. The Father and the Son spoke to each other in audible voices at the same time and place, being heard by many witnesses (Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 7:5; John 12:27-30; 2 Peter 1:17). In no single instance could such speaking be explained as the voice of one individual or be used to prove one Person in the Deity.
66. The word “both” is used of the Father and the Son, proving two Persons (John 15:24; 2 John 1:9).
67. The word “also” is used of the Father and the Son, proving two Persons (John 5:19,27; John 8:19; John 13:32; John 14:1).
68. The statement, “They have not known the Father nor Me,” proves two Persons (John 16:3,5).
69. Christ received all power in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18). The Father had to be greater than Jesus to give Him that power (John 14:28).
70. Jesus was resurrected and exalted by the Father, so He could not be the Father (Ephes. 1:20-23; Phil. 2:9-11; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22)
71. God made Jesus both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:33-36).
72. Six times in John 14:1-9 Jesus made it clear that He was not the Father.


 Holy Spirit Is Not Jesus Or the Father:
73. The Holy Spirit is another Person, distinct from both the Father and the Son (John 5:32; John 14:16-17,26; John 15:26; John 16:7-15).
74. It was necessary that Jesus go away so that the Holy Spirit could come (John 16:5-15).
75. He has been seen with the natural eyes as a separate Person from the Father and the Son (Matthew 3:16-17; John 1:31-34; Rev. 4:5; Rev. 5:6).
76. He is symbolized as a separate Person with Christ, both of them before God who sits on a throne (Rev. 1:4-5; Rev. 3:1; Rev. 4:5; Rev. 5:6).
77. He could not be sent from God until Christ was glorified, but would then be sent from both the Father and the Son (John 7:37-39; Acts 2:33-34).
78. He was sent from the Father to endow Jesus with power. This required three Persons:  the One who sent Him, the One being sent, and the One who received Him (Acts 10:38; Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 42:1-7; Isaiah 61:1-2).
79. A clear distinction is made of the names of all three Persons (Matthew 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 John 5:7).
80. A clear distinction is made between the Son who prays, the Father to whom He prays, and the Holy Spirit for whom He prays (John 14:16).
81. A clear distinction is made between the Son on the right hand of the Father, the Father on the left hand of the Son, and the Holy Spirit who is sent from the Father and the Son (Acts 2:33-36; Acts 7:56; John 14:16-17,26; John 15:26; John 16:7-15).
82. The Son was already given (John 3:16) when the Spirit was not yet given (John 7:39).
83. The Son can be blasphemed with forgiveness possible; but if the Spirit is blasphemed, no forgiveness is possible. This proves two distinct Persons (Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:29-30; Luke 12:10).
84. The Samaritans received Jesus, but had not yet received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:5-25).
85. Jesus could do no miracle by Himself (John 5:19), but by the Holy Spirit He did many miracles (John 2:11; Acts 10:38)
86. The Holy Spirit came not to speak of or glorify Himself, but to speak of and glorify Jesus (John 16:7-15).
87. The descent of the Holy Spirit proved the arrival of Jesus in heaven to sit at the right hand of God, thus proving three Persons (Acts 2:33-34; John 7:39).
88. Jesus claimed even after the resurrection that He was not a spirit being, so He could not be the Father or the Holy Spirit who are spirit beings (Luke 24:39; John 4:24; John 14:16-17,26; John 15:26; John 16:7-15).
89. In the last book of the Bible the Trinity is seen as working together in all things (Rev. 1:4-6; Rev. 3:1; Rev. 4:5; Rev. 5:6; Rev. 21:10; Rev. 22:17).




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