The dangerous doctrine of Modalism

The “Jesus Only” movement, also known as Oneness Pentecostalism or oneness theology, teaches that there is only one God, but denies the tri-unity of God. In other words, oneness theology does not recognize the distinct persons of the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It has various forms—some see Jesus Christ as the one God, who sometimes manifests Himself as the Father or the Holy Spirit. The core doctrine of Oneness Pentecostal / Jesus Only is that Jesus is the Father, and Jesus is the Spirit. There is one God who reveals Himself in different “modes.”

Before we look at where Modalism comes from, let’s take a look at the biblical view of the Trinity with this illustration:

Biblical model of the Trinity

Trinitarians believe that just like H2O can be water, vapor or ice and be the identical substance, so too with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Remember the “Egg illustration” for the trinity? It goes like this: Imagine God as an egg. You have the yolk, the shell and the white part. All the same egg–but very different from one another. The shell is not the yolk, the yolk is not the white, and etc.

If Trinitarians view God as one egg with three parts (white, yolk and shell), Modalists view God as one whole egg with three different names, at different times.

Where did Modalism come from?

Modalism was condemned as heretical as early as the second century A.D, but it is making a big comeback worldwide. What this name means is that God operated in different forms or modes at different times—sometimes as the Father, sometimes as the Son, and sometimes as the Holy Spirit. But passages like Matthew 3:16-17, where two or all three persons of the Godhead are present, contradict the modalism view.

Those associated with this movement are broadly referred to as “Oneness Pentecostals.” Oneness Pentecostalism (also known as Apostolic Pentecostalism or One God Pentecostalism), refers to a grouping of denominations and believers within Pentecostal Christianity, all of whom subscribe to the nontrinitarian theological doctrine of Oneness. This movement first emerged around 1914 as the result of doctrinal disputes within the nascent Pentecostal movement and claims an estimated 24 million adherents today. Not all Pentecostals are in this camp of belief.

A False View of God:

 

What is a Modalism view of God?  Think of a being that can “morph” or “shape shift” from one form into another. There is only one being at any one time. Modalism views God as a being that has three different forms. Sometimes God exists in the “form” the “Father”, sometimes the “Son”, sometime the “Holy Spirit”, BUT NEVER ALL THREE AT THE SAME TIME. The essential difference between Modalism and the Biblical trinity, is that in Modalism, the three members of the Godhood never exist at the same time and in Trinity, they always co-exist at the same time.

Modalists believe that the “role/mode” of the “Son” did not exist before the incarnation and it will cease at the second coming as per 1 Cor. 15:23-28. Modalists teach that generally, God took the role of Father in the OT, the Son during Jesus’ life on earth, and the Holy Spirit during the “church age.” Which begs the question: “Whom was Jesus praying to?” Modalism, therefore, not only contradicts the Bible, it assaults common sense by destroying the utterly obvious distinction in persons between the Father and the Son.

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13 Responses to The dangerous doctrine of Modalism

  1. telson says:

    If you want to find out the truth that what the Bible teaches for the Lord Jesus, so you must research in prayer by the Holy Spirit all passages that show who Jesus is. These all passages are in harmony and consistently describe that who the Lord Jesus is. All passages are in the same line and do not conflict one another.

    Heretic or wrong doctrine about the Lord Jesus arises thus that a man believes only certain verses, which support his opinion, but he continually passes over verses, which don't support his opinion. For this reason, he doesn't see the whole truth, but remain astray. When you want and have courage to research position of the Lord Jesus with all passages, so you will find consistent teaching that who Jesus is. You will see that Jesus is God and in the same the Son of God, but not the Father.

    John 14:
    8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
    9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
    10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

    This Bible place is one of the favorite passages the supporter of Jesus is the Father doctrine. The wrong teaching says that Jesus' words that he have seen Me have seen the Father mean that Jesus is the Father. When we read the whole context, so we understand what Jesus meant.

    In the verse, the Jesus tells that in a what way they can see the Father. The Father did works through Jesus, in other words; they could see the Father through the works of Jesus, which Father did through Him.

    John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

    John 6:46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

    The gospel of John chapters 1 and 6 the Lord Jesus says that no man has seen the Father God at any time. These passages prove that when Jesus said that he who has seen Me has seen the Father, so He meant that they had seen the Father through the works of Jesus, but not the Father, because no man has seen the Father at any time. The words of John's gospel 1:18; 6:46 Jesus brought forth that He is not the Father.

    Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

    Isa 9:6 is also one of the favorite passages the supporter of Jesus is the Father doctrine. They say that this place proves that Jesus is the Father. Isa 6:9 says that the Son (Jesus) should call the name everlasting Father, but not that the Father is the everlasting Father. The Bible proves this:

    Matt 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

    Matt 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

    Jesus comes the Hebrew word Yehoshua, which means God (Yhvh) is salvation. Yehoshua comes from words Yhvh and yasha. Yhvh means the Lord and yasha means save and saviour. Emmanuel means God with us. We see that the Son should be called as God and Yhvh, which are names of the Father. Like this way Isa 6:9 has been fulfilled, and Jesus is not the Father, but must call the names of the Father.

    Site reference; http://koti.phnet.fi/petripaavola/JesusisnottheFa

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  2. Matthew LeMay says:

    Amy, I applaud you for standing up for the doctrine of the Trinity. You are correct to say that the doctrine of modalism has been historically rejected by the ecumenical councils.

    The Trinitarian doctrine remains the only metaphysical formulation of God accepted by the mainstream Christian churches, including Orthodox Christianity.

    However, you have failed to make a case for why this doctrine is "dangerous," which is not to say that it isn't. It very well may be a dangerous heresy, but your program also promotes views that have been historically deemed heretical, which makes your argument rather puzzling.

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  3. Dave says:

    Mike& Amy, Forgiveness If I believe that when Jesus died on the cross He paid the price for ALL sin.First I believe that He paid for my sin. Then I must believbe that He also paid the price for anyone who sins against me. If I hold sin against me as unpaid,I don't really believe that ALL sin was paid for, Therefor am I really saved! God Bless You guys Dave

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  4. Larry says:

    The egg analogy, and even the water analogy are good. But all analogies short of the full glory of God – Co-equal and Co-eternal, each a unique person, but one God Almighty. Perfect harmony and collaboration of purpose. Each playing different roles? That is a question to consider. And having those basics we have to admit a little mystery, since the very idea is beyond our full comprehension. As Paul said, God dwells in unapproachable light, and Jesus said no one has ever seen God. There is something about Him that will forever be beyond.

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    • Amy Spreeman says:

      Amen to that, Larry.

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    • Leon says:

      The egg analogy is not good at all. Let's take the egg white, yolk, and shell: Your way says then that the white is egg and the yolk is egg and the shell is egg, but that is not the case. They are only egg when combined together. That is not how God works. God is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but they are just titles. Just as I am a son, father, and brother, but yet I am one person. All over the Bible you will see that God is One. The trinity was not taught in the Bible or by the disciples, it is a pagan doctrine that made its way into the early church.

      If they really are separate and there is a "Trinity" the Bible proves itself wrong.
      The Bible says the Holy Spirit cam upon Mary, so that would make the Holy Spirit the father and not the Father.

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  5. Sean says:

    The old saying is if you repeat a lie enough times people will come to believe it. Modalism does NOT believe that JESUS is NOT FATHER SON AND SPIRIT all at the same time. Ridiculous. The writings of modern day modalists like the ones you point to (Oneness Pentecostals) blow that distortion right out of the water.
    Modalists like myself realize that Jesus IS Father (creator) Son (Redeemer) and Holy Ghost (that spirit that dwells in me) all at the same time! Much like Elizabeth the II being MERELY a human and having NO divine nature can be Queen of England, Queen of Scotland and Queen of Wales all at the SAME TIME and yet at the same time those titles describing completely different aspects of her monarchy , even allowing her to speak in the plural and yet only a FOOL would imagine and insist that The Queen of England THe Queen of Scotland and the Queen of Wales are three separate persons or as you imply modalists believe (but DON'T) that Elizabeth somehow morphs from one state of being to another but can't be all three at the same time without having to suffer from split personalities.

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  6. Sean says:

    I am also replying here to the labelling of the modalist doctrine as "dangerous" . The reality is that for the last 1,700 years the trail of bloody martyrdoms sufferred by those who reject trinitarianism at the hands OF trinitarians is legendary. From the papacy and its persecution of non trinitarian Christians to John Calvin and HIS obsession with murdering Michael Servetus and any who would hold his views the reality of brutal trinitarian bloodshed demonstrates which doctrine is REALLY dangerous.

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  7. JAYTEE says:

    what ever you say about Modal-ism. The church is anointed, the preachers are and you fill God when you attend one. Not like the lack luster trinitarian false churches. When Jesus prayed he was not proving the trinity , he showed the disciples how prayer is done. What is the nature of the Holy Spirit and Father . Spirits? then How many spirits. The false trinity which come from Constantinople who got it from hell means two spirits and a body make up the triune god. If God was manifested in flesh then which GOD was left behind. Trinitarians say that Christ was manifested in the flesh. No Christ was not it was YHWH who was. you are explaining GOD's word without the spirit of GOD.

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    • standupwi says:

      Sorry to say this Jaytee, but you are under the demonic influence of a cult. There is no gentle way to say it. What you just stated has been debunked and called heresy throughout the centuries by church councils.

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  8. Jim says:

    God is spirit that can manifest in different forms. God can fill all dimensions in as many forms as he wants because he can't be measured. Saying Jehovah is separate entities is measurable and he is not measurable he is one. Jesus was a man with a mind of man and flesh of a man, but was perfect so he could be indwelt by the spirit of God. He was perfect and anything perfect is God, nothing or no one else can be perfect, perfect means whole and oneness. Right before he died in the flesh after living the perfect life the Holy spirit left him because God cannot die, he is spirit and eternal. Flesh can die without the Holy spirit and did as our sacrifice. Jesus body was not Jesus, it was flesh, God Jehovah is spirit as is Jesus. A body is a tool of the spirit is it not. We choose here between the flesh or the spirit, to serve ourselves in our worldly desires or Jehovah. Jesus always chose Jehovah, so he did not sin and remained perfect, but his flesh had to die so we may be made whole cleansed in his blood.

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  9. Komi Edem says:

    I'am totally happy and my confusion cleared with the oneness view of God. THANKS TO THE ONENESS VIEW. YES I THINK SATAN IS ABLE TO BLIND TRINITARIANS so they don't see the truth.
    You are absolutely right! The yolk ALONE not an egg. THE YOLK MUST BE COMBINED WITH THE WHITE AND SHELL TO BE CALLED EGG!!
    So we cannot say Jesus is 33% God when COLOSSIANS 2:9 CLEARLY SAID THAT JESUS IS 100% GOD. Yes yes yes, when we get to heaven, we will only see 1 KING ON THE THRONE:Jesus only . Not 3 different stuffs as God , no way!!!
    In the beginning Jesus was in spirit form only. Jesus is the the Holy Spirit!!! ( Acts 20:28, John 14:18; Matthew 18:20, John 4:24).

    That Holy Spirit impregnated Mary! ( read Matthew 1:20) . But Jesus is the Holy Spirit ( John 14:18, Acts 20:28, Matthew 18:20) CONCLUSION: THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE MAN JESUS' FATHER.
    SINCE WE KNOW CLEARLY THAT JESUS IS THE HOLY SPIRIT, I DONT UNDERSTAND WHY IT IS SO HARD FOR PEOPLE TO AGREE THAT JESUS IS HIS OWN FATHER !!!!!!!

    Satan has to be involved somewhere in this.

    Everything is SOOO CLEAR AND CLEAN WITH MODALIST OR ONENESS VIEW! Does God have a Father ????? Of course not. Jesus spoke HUMANELY , JESUS SPOKE FIGURATIVELY. People should stop being so simple snd Satan behind themselves!
    Jesus ALONE is God, that simple!!!
    ( God is just 1 person like humans, but that 1 person has power to take any form he wants: spirit, flesh and even fire form at the end of the word)
    GOOD JOB!!! MODALIST AND ONENESS GUYS!!!
    Open your eyes, DEAR TRINITARIANS
    JESUS SLEPT BECAUSE HUMANS SLEEP
    JESUS PIED BECAUSE HUMANS PIE
    JESUS ATE BECAUSE HUMANS EAT
    JESUS TOOK SHOWER BECAUSE HUMANS TAKE SHOWER
    JESUS PRAYED BECAUSE HUMANS SHOULD ( so the Master simply showed good human living example to follow though he doesn't need to do all those things ) .

    Is that hard to understand , DEAR TRINITARIANS ??????
    Good God homework , Oneness!!!
    Blessing!!!

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