Oct 14, 2008


"In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided: the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son; all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on him. (1689 London Confession)

Elliot Miller wrote:

"Theologians recognize two distinct conceptions of the Trinity: the ontological Trinity, which refers to the existence of three distinct Persons within the Godhead apart from any relationship to the creation, and the economic Trinity, which refers to the distinct roles the three Persons assume in relation to creation. Modalism essentially teaches that the economic Trinity is the only Trinity there is. Their God, who ontologically is not Triune, assumes three distinct modes or roles in relation to creation. They are convinced that to confess God is three Persons is to confess the existence of three Gods — even though that’s not what the doctrine of the Trinity states (this is their main stumbling block in approaching orthodoxy.

The key tip-off that Jakes is a dyed-in-the-wool modalist is his unwavering insistence — both before our article was published and even in response to our article — on using the word manifestations rather than persons in regard to the Trinity. Sabellius consistently avoided the use of the term "persons" (Greek: hypostasis) in favor of the term "manifestations." Louis Berkhof explains that "he distinguished between the unity of the divine essence and the plurality of its manifestations....According to him the names Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are simply designations of three different phases under which the one divine essence manifests itself. God reveals Himself as Father in creation and in the giving of the law, as Son in the incarnation, and as Holy Spirit in regeneration and sanctification." By contrast "Oneness Pentecostalism is a form of simultaneous modalism that, unlike Sabellianism, regards all three manifestations as present at the same time, not in successive revelatory periods."  (see here)

This is a good short analysis of Sabellianism or Modalism, an error I have run into among some Baptists, and one I of course reject. Among all the books I am either presently working on or contemplated, this is one of them.

1 comment:

Adam Pastor said...

Yep. In many ways, Modalism/Sabellianism doctrine is indeed wrong.

But sadly, the trinity doctrine is also equally wrong in this regard:
that both modalism and trinity doctrines try to make
Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah our Lord,
into Almighty GOD!!

And both doctrines state that you must believe that the Lord Jesus
is Almighty GOD to be saved!

In this regard, both doctrines do err and are scripturally wrong.

Both doctrines appeared hundreds of years after the ascension of Christ.
Both doctrines try to explain how Jesus can be both God and man at the same time!! The Godman!!

But the original faith which was once delivered unto the saints [Jude 3] did not suffer from this problem.

The original faith has always been:

That there is solely ONE GOD,
the Father.
And Jesus of Nazareth, is the one man, the one human being, whom Almighty GOD raised from the dead, made him, both Lord and Christ, and exalted him to His own right hand.

Hence, Jesus of Nazareth is
the Lord Jesus Christ,
a man approved of Almighty GOD,
who is currently at the right of the ONE GOD in the heavens. Whom we await for his return.

(1 Cor 8:4) ... there is none other God but one.
(1 Cor 8:6) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him;
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

(1 Tim 2:5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

(1 Th 1:9-10) For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

Hundreds of years after the pure, true, apostolic faith was propagated;
Greek, Hellenistic and pagan philosophy/doctrines changed the human Jesus into a demigod then into a godman.
And in response, both the doctrines of the trinity and modalism tried to solve this self-inflicted problem.

The solution then, is to return to the pure faith and doctrine as taught in the Scriptures:

That there is solely ONE GOD, the Father.
And there is solely one man, one human, whom the ONE GOD has made
"Lord of all", the man Messiah Jesus.

(1 Tim 2:5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus;

And indeed the day is coming where ...
(Phil 2:11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

May I suggest that one can prayerfully begin this journey of recovery by viewing a helpful video at

The Human Jesus

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor