Oneness Pentecostalism to One God

By J. Dan Gill

Conclusion

About three thousand people became disciples of Jesus Christ that day. Thousands of names were added to the Lamb’s book of life. But, as I would read the words of Acts during those meetings at my Oneness church years ago, it became inescapable to me that those three thousand people knew nothing of my Oneness view of God and Jesus. It became equally inescapable that while Peter was a Pentecostal preacher – that he was not a Trinitarian nor was he a Oneness preacher. No Trinitarian or Oneness preacher I had ever heard would have proclaimed that message as Peter did that day.

It is also equally clear that Peter was not of any of the super-being theologies. By the test of Acts, he was not a Binitarian, a Trinitarian, nor was he an Arian or Jehovah’s Witness. Peter was not proclaiming any of those theologies on the day of Pentecost. Also remember that the other apostles were present and obviously assenting to Peter’s words.

Three thousand people became disciples of Jesus Christ that day by believing exactly what I am now preaching about God and Jesus. I am not very original – I just took it directly from Peter. If by this message and these commands three thousand people were saved, why would not that same message bring forth the same results today?

Three thousand souls were added to the Lord’s people based on the hearing and obeying of exactly what we as One God people are saying about Jesus and God. No other theology fits that occasion. By the grace and kindness of God, the theology that I now hold fits it exactly! Clearly, people can be saved without embracing the Trinity, Binitarianism, Oneness or Arianism. Can they be saved, however, without believing and embracing the things that Peter spoke in Acts 2:22-36? That is a question for all to consider.

If Peter were here today, I can hear him saying exactly the same things that he was saying in those wonderful verses of “Middle-Acts” Chapter 2. I can hear him saying to us that God has raised “Jesus” from the dead. That God has made Jesus Lord and that God has made him Christ. I can hear him saying on the basis of that message: “change your minds and be baptized – every one of you – in the name of Jesus the anointed one for the forgiveness of sins.” And how great are this repentance and baptism? They are the basis upon which people in the Bible anticipated receiving the Holy Spirit.

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[1] In Oneness, as in the Trinitarian view, Jesus is a “God-man.” Unlike the Trinitarian view, however, in traditional Oneness, the “son of God” is the “flesh part” or “human part” of that combination. Hence, in Oneness theology, the “son of God” and the “son of man” are identical. In the Trinitarian view, these are “not” identical. In that approach, the “son of God” is the “God” part of the combination, and the “son of man” is the “humanity.” Thus, in traditional Oneness the “God-part” of Jesus is not an eternal “God the Son” but rather the Father himself (John 14:10). In Oneness theology, in the New Testament Jesus speaks and acts at various times as “a man” and at other times as “God the Father.”

[2] It is surprising how many Trinitarian theologians recognize that the doctrine of the Trinity is not actually taught in the Bible. An example is found in the statements of Roger Olson and Christopher Hall: “The doctrine of the Trinity developed gradually after the completion of the New Testament in the heat of controversy. The full blown doctrine of the Trinity was spelled out in the fourth century at two great ecumenical councils: Nicea (325 A.D.) and Constantinople (381 A. D.).” The Trinity, p. 1, 2, Eerdmans, 2002.

[3] Super-being theologies make Jesus either a “God-man” (Trinitarianism, Binitarianism, and Oneness) or an “angel-man” or “angel-like man” (Arianism – Jehovah’s Witnesses).

[4] Many Christians who often refer to Christ as “fully God and fully man” are also surprised to learn that orthodox Trinitarianism holds that Jesus had an “impersonal” human nature – that he had no “human” personality as such. Hence, in orthodoxy, Christ can be referred to as “man” but never as “a man”: as “human” but never as “a human.” This concept terribly demeans the man Christ Jesus. That unfortunate doctrine is referred to as “anhypostasia.”

[5] It is interesting to note that many common words and phrases used to express the supposed Divinity of Christ are actually not in the Bible and are post-biblical in origin. Such phrases include: “God-man,” “Fully God and fully man,” “Two-Natures,” “Dual-Nature,” “God the Son,” and others.

[6] One author expresses the end of the son in this way: “At the end of the age then shall the Son deliver the kingdom to the Father. There will be no more need of Sonship.” (C. E. Hobbs, Whom Say Ye That I Am, p. 65, Lansing, Ill.). Another writes: “…when the thousand years are expired, the Sonship ministry of Jesus Christ will have been climaxed, completed, and fulfilled. Very reverently I say that it will have become obsolete.” (Gordon Magee, Is Jesus in the Godhead or is the Godhead in Jesus, p. 25, Pasadena, Tx.). These unfortunate assaults on the man Christ Jesus are typical in Oneness theology. This terrible aspect of Oneness misses the clear declaration of Jesus himself that “The Son abides in the house forever” (John 8:35) and the incredible assurance of the Scriptures that the son will be a priest and intermediary “forever” (Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 7:24-28).

[7] Luke 1:35

[8] Acts 5:30, 31

[9] Acts 2:22, 10:38

[10] Acts 4:10

[11] Ephesians 1:20

[12] Acts 2:24, 32

[13] In John 2:19, 20 Jesus says: “Destroy this temple [his body], and in three days I will raise it up.” However, in this context, clearly it is the “man” (son) who will raise it up. The one saying he will raise it up in verse 19 is the same one speaking about “his Father” in verse 16. This “man” would raise up his body in the same sense that others raise themselves up when resurrected. Note for example the case of Tabitha in Acts 9:40, 41 – “Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, ‘Tabitha, get up.’ Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up.”  Just as Tabitha, the “man” Jesus would raise his body up. Yet, he would not do that by any power of his own, but rather by the power of God. John 10:18 also makes it clear that it the “man” (son) that would both “lay down” his life and “take it up again.” Jesus says there, “This command I have received from my Father.” All of this then agrees with the great number of Scriptures that give critical significance to the faith that “God” raised “Jesus” from the dead (e.g. Romans 10:9).

[14] As a Oneness person, I had misunderstood by thinking that to reference Jesus as “Lord” was to call him God. It was quite illuminating to me when I realized the same separation between Jesus and his Father which is found in Ps. 110:1 and Acts 2:34, 35 is also found in Ephesians 4:5, 6. In v. 5 there is “one Lord” as referencing Jesus. However, Paul’s sentence does not end in v. 5. It continues into v. 6 where he adds the crowning recognition of his entire discourse with: “One God and Father of all…” Again, the matter is made completely clear when we see that it is God who made Jesus “lord” (Acts 2:36).

[15] Youngs Analytical Concordance, p. 808.

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2019-01-09T12:56:29+00:00

About the Author:

J. Dan Gill
J. Dan Gill is Editor in Chief and a contributor to 21st Century Reformation Online. He is a frequent speaker, has written many theological articles and presented a variety of papers on Christian issues and biblical subjects. J. Dan Gill is the author of “The One – In Defense of God” a book which makes the case for non-trinitarian “absolute monotheism” as being the theology not only of Jews but of Jesus and original Christians. He argues that the one God of the Bible is the Father alone and that Jesus is the Christ – God’s Messiah. Dan Gill is the producer and co-host with Sir Anthony Buzzard of 21st Century Reformation’s popular video commentary series on the New Testament writings of the Apostle Paul and the Book of Hebrews. J. Dan Gill is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and his academic studies have focused particularly on the history of Christian doctrine, early church history, the Reformation and restoration movements.