Analysis and Refutation of the Attacks of Dr. James White

*The following rejoinder is written in response to Dr. James White’s recent comments on his podcast about the (supposed) beliefs of Oneness Pentecostal believers.  On his show, White is responding to the assertions of neophyte Oneness believer Marcus Rogers who posted a clip on-line attacking the doctrine of the Trinity.  Readers can corroborate White’s remarks with what appears below here: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2016/02/25/south-africa-update-responding-marcus-rogers-trinity/

*Beginning at around the 28-minute mark, White begins his usual erroneous charges against what he thinks Oneness Pentecostals actually believe and teach.  I pick up the narrative at this mark and have posted White’s most relevant remarks below.  White’s comments will appear below in *black, with my responses in *blue (as here) immediately underneath White’s assertions.  God Bless!

(White):  “Oneness Pentecostals deny the deity of the Son of God.  They believe the Son is a created being who began His existence at His birth in Bethlehem.”

*First, there’s a sense in which White himself believes the Son of God came into existence at Bethlehem—unless White wishes to inform us that Christ’s humanity equally “pre-existed His birth at Bethlehem?”  If so, then White needs to go shake hands with his Mormon brethren!

*That is, if White concedes that the Son of God’s humanity was an aspect of His existence (and I don’t know anyone that would deny this), he equally confesses a facet of the Son of God that came into His existence at Bethlehem.  Why chide us for denying that the Son of God preexisted as a separate divine individual apart from the Father and Holy Spirit, when White does the identical thing with Christ’s humanity?  Double standards are usually a sign of failed argumentation.  

*Worse, Oneness believers deny neither the Son of God’s deity nor His preexistence.  We deny that the Son of God preexisted in the fashion that Trinitarians claim, namely, as a “second of three separate divine individuals—each with separate centers of consciousness.”  Guilty as charged and proud of it!  The Bible nowhere teaches such clear and open tritheism, despite how many times Trinitarian apologists like White shout otherwise (they fight against themselves with their own testimony, as we shall see below).

*The Scriptures teach that the Son of God is very God Himself revealed as a man (I Timothy 3.16; John 1.1-14; Colossians 2.9; et al.).  That is, the Son is the one OT Yahveh in His human existence, confined to the self-imposed limitations of the incarnation.  However, the Bible equally teaches that He is the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient God according to His divinity.  The Son will always be God enfleshed.

*Moreover, the Scriptures clearly teach that the Son of God preexisted His birth in Bethlehem in God’s foreknowledge (Isaiah 9.6; Romans 5.14; John 1.1-5; Revelation 13.8; Colossians 1.15-18; et. al.).  However, one will search in vain to locate the Son of God identified as a supposed “second of three separate, co-equal, co-eternal, divine individuals in the Trinity.”

*Such a concept would be completely foreign to the Jewish writers of the Bible (Note:  I know about Segal’s “Two Powers in Heaven” work, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.  Suffice it to say for now that I’ve read scathing academic rejoinders to Segal’s volume).

*Ironically, White repeatedly attempts to correct Rogers on what Trinitarians believe and yet he clearly doesn’t understand what Oneness Pentecostals believe, as evidenced by several of his fallacious accusations below (even though he’s been repeatedly told otherwise).

(White):  “Trinitarians don’t believe in three divine beings.  Rogers does not understand the difference between ‘being’ and ‘person’.”

*In our 2011 debate in Brisbane, AUS, White openly “affirmed” that God the Father, “God the Son,” and “God the Holy Spirit” existed as “three divine individuals, each with their own separate centers of consciousness apart from the other two divine individuals” (see my initial cross-examination of White).  Obviously, it doesn’t take a NASA rocket scientist to see that this explanation is clearly tantamount to three divine beings.

*Indeed, were I to ask Trinitarians to provide a definition of tritheism-proper, how would White’s confession above look any different other than different names for each “separate divine individual?”

*Further, Marcus Rogers has no need to “understand the difference between ‘being’ and ‘person’”—since there is no difference! Every human “being” that White has ever met is equally a “person!”  This is nothing more than a Trinitarian fabrication in an attempt to dodge the self-inflicted bullet of tritheism.  There’s simply no Scripture whatsoever to support this made-up assertion.

(White):  “The ‘Modalists’ deny multiple divine persons.”

*First, Oneness believers are not “Modalists” in the sense White thinks.  Ancient Modalists believed in three successive modes of God’s existence.  That is, the Father became the Son, who then in turn became the Holy Spirit.  Oneness Pentecostals believe in three simultaneous modes of existence of the one single God—big difference.  And, Trinitarians have been told this ad nauseum infinitum.  Yet Trinitarian scholars just plod along with their fingers stuck in their ears as if we’re not informing them otherwise.

*Ironically, White and Trinitarians equally believe in three simultaneous modes of existence within God.  They simply define these simultaneous modes of existence (radically) different than Oneness believers do, namely, as “separate divine individuals” (then tell us that we have the “schizophrenic” God?).  Hence, Oneness believers could just as easily charge Trinitarians with “Modalism” in this sense.

(White):  “In Oneness, the Son of God is two persons and the Father indwells the human being who is the Son.  To the Oneness, the prayers of Jesus are the human side of Jesus praying to the divine side of Jesus.”

*In Trinitarianism, the prayers of Jesus are “God the Son,” with an independent-separate center of consciousness, praying to God the Father, who is equally possessive of an independent-separate center of consciousness (and “God the Holy Spirit” is said to have the same).  Each are fully God, but so radically separated from one another that one on Earth can pray to another in Heaven – as God.  Hence, in Trinitarian theology, “God prays to God” (some of the extreme tritheists even translate John 1.1 as “God was with God”).  Who has the greater problem with the prayer life of Jesus?

*Further, the Scriptures themselves teach that Christ “prayed in the days of His flesh” (Hebrews 5.7).  Does this sound like “God is praying to God?”  Of course not.  This is simply one more Trinitarian fabrication.

*Jesus Christ prayed to God, who is ontologically an invisible, omnipresent Spirit. Jesus was a man “in every respect” like we are, excepting sin (Hebrews 2.17).  The prayers of Christ no more demand “separate divine individuals in the Trinity” than our prayers demand the same.  This is but another Trinitarian assumption pawned off as supposed fact.

*Moreover, Trinitarians become irate when we tell them that they are actually tritheists masquerading as “monotheists” (even though they’re the one’s who supply the ammunition).  They call for fairness in identification, then turn right around and charge that Oneness believers have a “bi-personal Jesus.”  I do not know of a single Oneness believer who radically separates and identifies Jesus as “two persons.”

*In fact, both Oneness and Trinitarianism confess that Jesus is both God and Man without mixing the two natures.  If Oneness theology translates into a supposed “bi-personal Jesus” in this regard, then so does Trinitarianism (unless they wish to confess the ancient heresy known as “Uticianism?”)!  This is a straw man attack propped up solely by Trinitarian apologists, but not the actual confession of Oneness advocates.  Perhaps Trinitarians should allow us to define what we believe instead of always trying to inform us of the same?

*Worse, what White erroneously charges Oneness with, Trinitarians whole-heartedly confess in the overall theological picture.  That is, White ridicules us for something we do not accept regarding the identity of Christ (i.e., a “bi-personal” Jesus), then commits the very thing he accuses us of as it relates to the identity of God altogether (i.e., a “tri-personal” God).  The typical unequal scales of Trinitarians are polished and shining nicely!

*Regarding the Father indwelling the human being, Jesus Himself stated, “the Father dwells in me” (John 14.10 {see also 2 Corinthians 5.19; Colossians 2.9}).  Tell us Mr. White, when Jesus spoke here did His statement include His humanity?  Or, will you now offer a “bi-personal Jesus” and tell us that the prayers of Christ do not include His humanity?

*We simply allow the statements of Jesus to stand on their own merits and inform our theological conclusions.  Indeed, it’s the biblical data itself that holds us hostage in demanding that we deny your “three divine individuals, each with their own separate center of consciousness” (e.g., Colossians 2.8-10; Mark 12.28; John 8.24).

*Finally, we do not define the Son of God as merely a “human being.”  And, you’ve been told this ad nauseum.  Are you not “willing to learn” like you’re repeatedly asking other to do from you?

(White):  In Oneness theology, the created Son prays to the uncreated Father. After the Resurrection, the Son of God becomes the Holy Spirit to the Oneness advocate.

*Then I take it you don’t believe the prayers of Christ involve His “created” humanity?  Tell us Mr. White, was Jesus’ humanity “created” or “uncreated?”  The direct and straight answer to this question will reveal your (typical) hypocritical charges.

*We do not confess that the Son of God “becomes” the Holy Spirit and ceases being the Son as in ancient Modalism.  Rather, Jesus Christ is biblically identified as simultaneously Father (John 14.9-10; Isaiah 9.6), Son (Luke 1.35) and Holy Spirit (John 14.16-18; 2 Corinthians 3.14-17).  “For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form” (Colossians 2.9).  This is not a “misunderstanding” of these passages, but rather is the straightforward, normative reading of these Scriptures.  One has to perform theological gymnastics to somehow cram “three separate divine individuals” into the verses referenced above.

*And, for good measure, “God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father’!” (Galatians 4.6).  Once again, we will accept the testimony of Scripture over-against the religious traditions of Trinitarians.

(White):  “We make the distinctions between ‘being’ and ‘person’ everyday of our lives.”

*We would be quite curious what day of our lives we would not equally identify a human “being” as a “person?”  Every human “being” is simultaneously a “person.”  Again, this is nothing more than a Trinitarian invention in a desperate attempt to force their religious tradition into the biblical text—a text that never states the same (in over 1,500 years of Spirit-breathed Scripture).

(White):  “Marcus Rogers assumes Yahweh is uni-personal.”

*How else would White have us to interpret the over 9,000 single-person-pronoun that God used to define Himself (e.g., Isaiah 44.24; 45.5; etc.)?  If we heard someone using a single-person-pronoun to identify themselves—then that same individual claimed they existed as “three separate co-equal individuals”—we’d be calling some 1-800 numbers for them!

*Trinitarians impose “multiple separate divine individuals” on a single-person-pronoun then inform Oneness believers that we deny the inspired grammar?  White has it diametrically opposite in his charge above—it’s the Trinitarians doing the “assuming” relative to God’s identity.  They’ll never locate their assumptions in the actual inspired text itself!

(White):  “The Bible forces Trinitarians to believe in one divine being and three divine persons.”

*Since “the Bible” is White’s final source of appeal here, specifically where can we locate and read this hostage-taking “force” in the same:_________?  In reality, the Bible “forces” the honest heart to deny the concept of “three divine individuals, each with their own separate center of consciousness” and simply affirm that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is none other than the sole God of the Bible enfleshed (e.g., Mark 12.29; John 8.24; Colossians 2.9; I John 5.20, I Timothy 3.16).

(White):  “Trinitarians understand Matthew 28.19 in the light of the baptism of Christ in chapter 3, where the Father speaks from Heaven.  Jesus was not a ‘ventriloquist’.”

*If both the Father and the Son are “equally” God, then White’s theological construct still has God (the Father) speaking to Himself (“God the Son”)—which makes God as a whole a “ventriloquist!”  White clearly does not comprehend the omnipresence of God on this point.  God is able to speak simultaneously to someone in America, Africa, and China, but this obviously does not demand “three separate divine persons” for each simultaneous manifestation of God.

*Further, White again demonstrates his conceptual tritheism by appealing to this passage in an attempt to validate his “Trinity of divine persons” hypothesis.  For if God the Father, “God the Son” (completely unscriptural identification of Christ) and “God the Holy Spirit” are as spatially and radically separated as a voice in heaven, a human being on Earth, and a bird—Trinitarians need to quit masquerading as “monotheists.”  Such a theological formulation would teach bodily separation and a radical separation in the Godhead to a degree that each “divine individual” can speak and act independently of one another, as God.

*Moreover, White assumes that chapter 28 is to be interpreted in light of chapter 3, but never proves his assertion.  I would argue the diametrical opposite.  That is, the culmination of Matthew’s gospel sheds further light on previous revelation.

*Indeed, “progressive revelation” is the whole premise of the Trinitarians appeal to the NT as the lens by which they interpret Yahveh’s self-identifying claims in the OT, but somehow the salt has lost its taste when this hermeneutic model is applied to individual books of the Bible?  Let all the church say, “agenda-driven-theology!”

(White):  “In Matthew 28.19, “name” is singular, but it doesn’t say ‘Jesus’ and He’s not ‘squishing’ the Father, Son and Holy Spirit into one person.”

*Neither does this (or any other) biblical text say, “Trinity, separate divine persons, co-eternal Son, God the Son, etc.”  What White requires of Rogers he himself cannot produce.  If doctrine is established on what the Bible does “not” say (a negative hermeneutic), then the Trinity dogma quickly dissolves.

*Further, the apostles to whom Christ was speaking understood His command (i.e., imperative mood) in Matthew 28.19 as describing the name of Jesus.  How do we know?  Because that is what “name” they baptized in every where in the biblical data (e.g., Acts 2.38, Acts 8.16, Acts 10.48, Acts 19.5, Acts 22.16, Romans 6.3, I Corinthians 1.13, I Corinthians 6.11, Galatians 3.27, Colossians 2.12, et. al.).  Since White is arguing from silence above, perhaps he can point us to the passage where converts were baptized in “the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”:__________?  

*We’ve had no problem demonstrating our baptismal formulae above – surely White can provide the same baptismal passages for his position?  This does not even delve into the law of Greek prepositions used in these accounts (cf. ὄνομα in BDAG, Bruce, Thayer, et al.).  White is fond of appealing to Greek prepositions.  Will he hold to the same “consistency” he’s continuously calling for in Muslims, KJVO’s, etc.?

*I asked White in our debate in 2011 to identify “the name” of Matthew 28.19—and I’m still waiting for an answer!  White does not provide an explanation of the single “name” in said passage, but merely resorts to reductio ad absurdum (Latin for “reduction to absurdity”) in ridiculing that Matthew 28.19 is “not squishing” the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together into one person.

*However, White is here militating against the words of Jesus and the consistent usage of the Greek noun translated “name” (ὄνομα) in the Bible.  That ὄνομα is used to mean “person” in Scripture can be demonstrated with but a cursory glance.

*“At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons {ὀνομάτων} was there together)…” (Acts 1.15; NASB).

*The Greek noun translated “persons” above is—you guessed it—the genitive plural form of the singular noun ὄνομα, rendered “name” in Matthew 28.19!  Same word, different form.  Indeed, in Jewish culture (to whom Matthew was addressed), it was impossible to divorce an individuals “name” from their “person” (e.g., Abraham, Jacob, Peter, Paul).  The onus rests squarely on the shoulders of White and his fellow Trinitarians to prove that “name” does not denote “person” and to assert such is to turn this text on its head.

{Note:  It will not do to appeal to the Granville Sharp Rule in this text since Sharp never applied his rule to Matthew 28.19 and he stated there was an exception to this rule should the context “explain or point out plainly the person to whom the two nouns relate.”  This is clearly the case in Matthew 28.19 based upon the genitival phrases translated “of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”—modifying the single “name.”  Further, as renowned linguist Dr. Daniel Wallace, in an email to Jason Weatherly asserted, “Sharp didn’t spend much time on his 6th rule.  But it’s an overstatement to say that just because two articular nouns [are] joined by ‘kai/and’ they must refer to different persons.  There are several examples where this is not the case.”}

(White):  “There was never a time in Jesus’ life when He was the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

*To the contrary, we’ve just read it in Matthew 28.19!  The same “name of…the Son” was equally the “name of the Father and….the Holy Spirit.”  What is “the name of the Son”:________?  This name is simultaneously the name of the Father and the Holy Spirit.

*Further, when asked about the whereabouts of the Father, Jesus expressed surprise that Philip still did not comprehend that He was the One he was inquiring about: “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip?  Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.  How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?”

*I ask the honest reader, does Christ’s response here make any sense whatsoever if He’s not the very one Philip was asking to see?  Imagine asking me to show you my father, who’s someone other than me, and I respond by saying, “Have I been with you so long and you do not know me?  How can you say, ‘Show me your father’?” Completely non-sensical. (See also Isaiah 9.6, Colossians 2.9)

*Clearly Jesus is the Son of God (e.g., Luke 1.35).

*Jesus is identified as the Holy Spirit in the clearest possible way, “But their minds were hardened.  For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.  Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.  But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3.14-17; ESV).

*The typical Trinitarian dodge in this text is to say that since Paul was contrasting the OT letter of the Mosaic Law with the liberty of NT faith, the phrase “the Lord” is referring to Yahveh of the OT.  However, note that in v. 14 Paul states that “only in Christ” is the veil removed.  V. 16 further explicates this declaration in affirming “when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.”  Paul had just expressed in concrete terms that “only through Christ” is the veil removed.  He is using “Christ” and “Lord” interchangeably, as was Paul’s habit.  Indeed, he had already informed this same church that to them there was “one Lord, Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 8.6).

*It is at this point that Paul drops the hammer: “Now the Lord (i.e., the same one in whom the veil in removed, Christ) is the Spirit.”  It could not possibly be plainer and it’s embarrassing to watch Trinitarians attempt to evade the plain reading of the inspired biblical data here (and elsewhere).  They are forced to spin this text topsy-turvy to accommodate their religious tradition, as with many other passages.

*Additionally, in Revelation 2.2-3.22 Jesus is the speaker to the churches, but in each instance he concludes by exhorting that they should hear what “the Spirit says” (τὸ Πνεῦμα λέγει).  The speaker in these texts identifies Himself as “the Spirit” and White is simply mistaken.

(White):  “Marcus Rogers is assuming something contradictory to what the rest of the Bible teaches (i.e., that “Jesus” is “the name” of Matthew 28.19).”

*Actually, the polar opposite is true.  It’s White who’s “assuming” that Jesus is not taught as the name of the Father and Holy Spirit elsewhere in the biblical data—it most certainly is (e.g., John 17.11; John 14.26).  White merely “assumes the assumption” of Marcus Rogers without proving the same!

(White):  “The Oneness position cannot survive the gospel of John where the distinctions between Father, Son and Holy Spirit are clearly made.”

*Though the irony is not surprising after years of dealing with White, it is the doctrine of the “Trinity” that cannot survive the gospel of John, in particular chapters 14-16 as well as the Johannine prologue.

*Oneness believers readily affirm that there’s a distinction between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  However, White assumes that distinction automatically translates into “multiple divine individuals, each with their own-independent centers of consciousness.”  It does not and this is one of several sticking points between Oneness and Trinitarians (and always will be).  For clarity, let us define the biblical distinctions between the terms Father, Son and Holy Spirit below.

*The Father is biblically presented as the One OT God who functions transcendent to the space-time continuum and outside the limitation of the Incarnation (Malachi 2.10; Matthew 3.17; John 12.28).  The Son of God is identified as this self-same single God descendent as a human being for the sake of redeeming a lost humanity (contra just “the elect”) and functioning within the confines of the self-imposed limitations of the Incarnation (I Timothy 3.16; John 1.1; Titus 2.13).  The Holy Spirit is this self-same God in emanation by supernaturally interacting within His creation (e.g., Judges 14.6; Luke 1.35; Acts 2.1-4).

*Three simultaneous manifestations of the one person of God:  The Father is God Transcendent, the Son is God Descendent, the Holy Spirit is God in Emanation.  Not “three divine individuals, each with their own separate centers of consciousness apart from the other two divine individuals” (a clear departure from biblical monotheism).

(White):  “In John 17.5, is Jesus having an internal conversation?  Is Jesus schizophrenic?”

*Perhaps White should ask himself this question about God altogether at the baptism of Christ, the prayers of Christ and Genesis 1.26 (where Trinitarians attempt to tell us that God is speaking “internally”).  That is, if the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are “co-equal, co-eternal, divine individuals,” then God is “having an internal conversation” in these supposed “Trinitarian” proof texts.  “Schizophrenic” indeed!  Of course, this is another clear case of argumentum ad absurdum by White, a logical fallacy that a professional apologist should know better than to make.

(White):  “Jesus uses personal pronouns of the Father and says the Father is the ‘only true God’.”

*White’s double standard concerning single-person-pronoun usage has been pointed out to him ad nauseum infinitum.  That is, in the NT he argues that a single-person-pronoun denotes a one-single person, which concedes the normative understanding of a single-person-pronoun.

*However, when the Trinitarian pronoun model is applied to the ca. nine thousand single-person pronouns used in the OT by Yahveh, suddenly the same pronouns mean “being” and not a sole “person” for White.  Why is it that a single-person-pronoun in the NT means “one person,” but the same single-person-pronoun doesn’t mean “one person” in Yahveh’s OT self-identifications?  Simple, theological preference!

*The shift in meaning of the pronouns by Trinitarians plainly exposes their agenda-driven theological conclusions.  Ironically, White is constantly parroting the terms “sola Scriptura” (Latin ablative for by Scripture alone) and “tota Scriptura” (all or total Scripture), then shifts his grammatical criteria from the NT to the OT, or, the “totality” of Scripture.

*Moreover, how White can actually quote that the Father is “the only true God” as coming off the lips of the One Trinitarians tell us is the “second of three co-equal, co-eternal divine individuals” is as mind-boggling as Hillary Clinton identifying a politician as a “liberal!”

*Indeed, the masculine singular adjective (which is highly significant also) translated “only” (μόνον) in John 17.3 is lexically defined as:

“(2) as singly existing only, lone (JN 17.3)” (Analytical Lexicon of the Greek NT).

“58.50 μόνος (1) η, ον: the only entity in a class – only one, alone” (Louw & Nida; cf. BDAG; LXX).

*Hence, when John uses the Greek noun translated “God” (θεὸν), he’s not thinking of “divine members in the Trinity,” again, a concept that would’ve been completely foreign to the OT canon that he was raised on and hence his entire paradigmatic view of Scripture.

(White):  “In John 17.3 Jesus said eternal life consists of two things, both the Father and the Son.”

*And?  Is this supposed to automatically equate to “divine individuals with separate minds?”  This is merely White’s empty assumption and not the actual biblical data itself.  What about the Holy Spirit?  Why does Jesus omit the supposed “third divine individual” from the criteria of eternal life (as is very often the case)?  Where has the “co-equality” of the Trinity suddenly gone?

(White):  “In John 17, the cross is a accomplished reality from Jesus’ perspective, it is (definitely) going to happen.”

*Agreed, but it had not actually happened yet had it?  White actually empowers the Oneness point here regarding John 17.5.  In v. 4 Jesus declares, “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.”  Had Jesus actually accomplished “the work” of the cross yet?  No.

*In fact, the surrounding context of John 17 is littered with predestination-anticipatory statements:

V. 11: “I am no longer in the world;” {Yet, clearly He was still “in the world.”}

V. 18: “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” {Yet He had not yet given the great commission to go “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28.18).}

*Incidentally, notice the “sent” language used by Christ, which, certainly does not naturally lend itself to the idea He “willingly volunteered” to descend from Heaven to Earth.  It’s likewise interesting that Jesus declares in v. 4 He was “given” the work “to do.”  Again, does this sound like He “volunteered to come from Heaven” as Trinitarians inform us?  Is this the normative language someone uses who freely undertakes a task?  Of course not.

*It’s within this surrounding predestined context that v. 5 appears.  That is, John 17 is littered with Christ speaking in a very real, but celebratory-anticipative sense of the work to be done—a work that was just as much a “reality” as if already accomplished.  Just as the “glory” of the cross before the world existed (Revelation 13.8; Romans 5.14).  To deny this is to deny the testimony of Scripture.

(White):  “Jesus said ‘Glorify me with the glory I had by your side’.”

*The Greek preposition and pronoun translated “with you” in the last clause of 17.5 is παρὰ σοί in the dative case with a semantic range.  See below the UBS Concise Greek-English Dictionary:

παρά prep. with:  (1) genitive, from, of (τὰ παρά τινος one’s provisions, money or gift; οἱ παρʼ αὐτοῦ his family #Mr 3:21); by, with; (2) dative, with, in the presence of, before; in the judgment of; near, beside; for; (3) accusative, beside, by, at; on, along; to; than, more than, above; rather than; contrary to.

*As anyone can plainly see, “beside” is only one of several potential meanings of this preposition in this case.  As demonstrated above, παρὰ + dative equally means “in the judgment of,” which is perfectly aligned with the Oneness position (cf. L&N, Thayer, et. al. for this meaning of παρὰ + dative).  Trinitarians cherry-pick the definition that seems to best fit their theology in John 17.5 and we simply have another case of creedal belief pawned off as grammatical fact.

*Out of the 24 reputable translations that I checked, not a single translation adopts White’s quirky rendering, combining numerous professional linguists. (Note: He did the same thing with Philippians 2 in our debate in 2011, providing his own peculiar translation, which he failed to inform the audience was his personal rendering.  Guess I can now do the same thing in John 10.30?)

*Additionally, if White’s divine members of the Trinity are each “fully God,” then they are each omnipresent.  If each member of the Trinity is not omnipresent then they cannot be “fully God.”  Either way, omnipresence does not have a “side” (cf. Robertson’s WP) and this Trinitarian conundrum has been pointed out to White ample times before.

(White):  “Jesus doesn’t say He was a ‘glorious plan.’ He said ‘with the glory I had,’ is this a ‘plan’ speaking?  This is desperation from the Oneness at this point and is painful to watch.”

*Since White has now resorted to formulating doctrine based upon what Jesus did “not say,” neither does Jesus say He was a “second of three divine, co-equal, co-eternal individuals” in eternity past.  This is supplied by an over-eager Trinitarian exegesis—“desperation” indeed!  It’s simply nowhere found in the mouth of Jesus despite how hard Trinitarians like White try to cram these words down the same.

*White often charges Oneness believers with supposedly having a “bi-personal” Jesus who can think and act independently of either His divinity or humanity at any given time (though White unwittingly believes the same thing, unless he wishes to blend Christ’s divinity and humanity?).  Though we certainly acknowledge an ontological distinction between the deity and humanity of Jesus, as pointed out above, White’s mischaracterization is not the confession of Oneness Pentecostals and is tantamount to but another straw man attack.

*Yet, amusingly, this is the very thing that White is doing in his interpretation of John 17.5!  That is, White insists that Christ is speaking independent of His humanity in this text, whereas Oneness would say that Jesus is speaking as God enfleshed.  In other words, the prayers of Christ always include His humanity (e.g., Hebrews 5.7) and context demonstrates no difference in John 17.5.

*If Christ’s prayer here includes His humanity (and it clearly does since He was the One speaking), then in what way did Christ’s humanity have “glory” with the Father before the world was created?  Simple, as the “Lamb that had been slaughtered since the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13.8; ISV {cf. NA28, Robertson, et. al. on this variant}).

*Adam was said to be “a type of Him who was to come.” The Greek noun translated “type” (τύπος) is lexically defined as “(c) as a person or event serving as a prophetic symbol to prefigure a future person or event type (RO 5.14)” (Analytical Lexicon of the Greek NT).  Note that Adam was not identified as a type of Him who “preexisted,” but rather of Him who was “to come” (future existence).

*Since the whole context of John 17 was “the hour (that) has come,” namely the cross, consistent hermeneutics demands that we interpret the whole of John 17 in the same light—including v. 5.  The “glory” spoken of by Christ in John 17.5 was the ensuing cross, equally referenced in Revelation 13.8 and said to be from the same era.  Will Dr. White tell us Christ was literally “slaughtered” (ἐσφαγμένου, perfect passive participle form) since the creation of the world?  If no, why not?

*God Himself used a single-person-pronoun, which White informs us demands one person in the NT, in declaring “My glory I will not give to another” (Isaiah 48.11, cf. 42.8).  One divine person is the speaker here, and this one person declares He does not share His glory with anyone else.

*Trinitarians are militating against the very self-declaration of Yahveh in their misunderstanding of John 17.5 and the “glory” that Jesus speaks about. Besides, “glory” from such a time would be eternal glory, which obviously could not be “lost.” Clearly, these passages speak to the predestined “eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3.11)—His Son who was “to come.”  White and fellow Trinitarians can ridicule the proleptic-anticipatory view of John 17.5 until dooms day, contra the “multiple divine individuals” canard, it will never make it any less biblical.

*In fact, not even all Trinitarian academics agree with White (as is the case with The Carmen Christie):  “The glory of the completed redemption cannot literally be possessed until redemption is complete.  If now the pre-existence of Jesus, according to the 17th chapter of John is clearly ideal, this fact confirms the interpretation which has been given of the other passages….We conclude, then, that (Jn. 17:5) in which Jesus alludes to his preexistence, does not involve the claim that His preexistence was personal and real. (It is) to be classed with the other phenomena of the Messianic consciousness of Jesus, none of which have to do with metaphysical relationships with the Father” (Dr. G. H. Gilbert, former professor of NT Literature at Chicago Theological Seminary; The Revelation of Jesus: A Study of the Primary Sources of Christianity, p. 222).

*{See also an excellent article by Dr. David Bernard here: http://www.altupc.com/altupc/articles/glorson.htm}

(White):  “In Philippians 2, the Son makes Himself of no reputation and doesn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped.”

*Then there was a time that Jesus Christ was not a “co-equal” member of the Trinity! Moreover, the Greek nouns for neither “Son” (υἱός) nor “Father” (πατήρ) appear in this text.  If “God” be defined as a “Trinity,” then Christ “doesn’t consider equality” with the Trinity something to be grasped—placing Jesus outside of the “Trinity” altogether!  Again, we have a case of theology being pawned off in the name of supposed “biblical orthodoxy.”    

*Further, the Greek noun rendered “form” (μορφῇ) in Philippians 2.6 defines as “properly, form (outward expression) that embodies essential (inner) substance so that the form is in complete harmony with the inner essence” (cf. Dr. Gleason Archer, The Discovery Bible; Moulton & Milligan, et. al.).  Did Christ have an “embodiment” with “outward expression” in His preexistent state?  If so, then White is now advocating bodily separation within the Godhead, all the while still feigning “monotheism.”

*The Carmen Christi of Philippians 2 is a hymnal context in which there’s an exhortation toward humility using Christ as God enfleshed as the ultimate example. Though He was God in the flesh He laid aside His divine prerogatives as such—opting instead to assume the posture of a servant.  Paul’s point is to direct his audience to the God-man as their supreme prototype to emulate.  He is not asking believers to mirror what God did (or does) in Heaven.

*Again, the quote below from an exhaustive volume on Philippians 2 demonstrates that even many Trinitarians do not agree with what White is constantly putting out as supposed “fact.”

“There is nothing grammatically that prevents one from taking the position that the hymn describes Christ’s abasement on Earth.  Nor is there anything of necessity in the construction of the strophes that demands a pre-incarnate Son” (Dr. R.P. Martin’s Carmen Christi).

*The late renowned academic Dr. Robert Reymond equally disagreed with White’s “preexistent Son” theology in this ancient hymn obviously not intended for speculative attempts to identify Christ (i.e., there’s no intended discussion of the Godhead in these passages).  See Reymond’s A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith (pp. 253-264) where he provides an in-depth treatment of this passage and concludes the polar opposite of White.

*White repeatedly assumes that distinctions between the Father and Son (which Oneness Pentecostals gladly confess) automatically equate to “multiple co-eternal, co-equal, separate, divine individuals.”  I have read tons of White’s literature and he has yet to prove this assertion from the biblical data itself.

(White):  “In Philippians 2, the Son is a divine person thinking prior to the Incarnation.”

*Hear the sound of the death-knell for Trinitariansim! According to White, “God the Son” possessed independent thought processes apart from “God the Holy Spirit” and God the Father (each of whom equally had the same)—and then he still masquerades as a “monotheist” with a straight face!?  We think not.

*If independent thinking by “separate divine individuals” (White’s explicit confession) does not connote polytheism, then what language would one use to convey more than one God?  Quite to the contrary, if God wanted to communicate the idea that He was an absolute single monad with no personal distinctions, what language would we expect Him to use?

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, “I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself And spreading out the earth all alone.” (Isaiah 44.24; NASB)

 *In this text, one divine individual is speaking (not just the one “being” of God) based upon the ordinary usage of the single-person-pronouns purposefully employed by Yahveh.  If we allow the normative rules of grammar to stand on its own strength, multiple divine individuals or persons would be an intrusion into the biblical data in this (or any other) passage.

 *In sum, the language used in the biblical data naturally conveys imagery of a single divine individual, and that without accident.  Opposite, the language used by Trinitarians naturally communicates imagery of more than one God—which is why Trinitarians are constantly throwing out Tritheism disclaimers.  Oneness believers do not have this problem.

 (White):  “Any biblical evidence demonstrating that the Son, as a divine person, preexisted His birth at Bethlehem is the end of ‘Modalism’.”

 *This is something Trinitarians assume, but never prove.  I could just as easily state that any biblical evidence demonstrating that God existed as a single divine person is the end of Trinitarianism (and would indeed affirm so).

 *The church is equally said to preexist its birth at Pentecost in eternity-past (“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world,” Ephesians 1.4).  Will Dr. White now insist the church preexisted as collateral divine persons as well?  If so, he needs to make the Mormon General Conference this year so he can fellowship his brethren!

 *This concept of ideal preexistence is littered all over God’s word and one has to be severely committed to a particular theological tradition to overlook and deny it (e.g., Revelation 13.8; Romans 4.17, 5.14; Ephesians 1.4).

 *Further, I have clarified above that Oneness believers are not “Modalists” in the sense that White charges and will not take the time to reiterate it here.

(White):  “Jesus said He has ‘all authority’ in Heaven and Earth after the Resurrection, so who is he now (i.e., in His present state)?  In Oneness theology the Father is now taking the role of the Holy Spirit.”

*Not to belabor the point, but White again confuses our position as “Successive Modalism,” where the Father becomes the Son while ceasing to be the Father, then the Son becomes the Holy Spirit while ceasing to be the Son—which we solidly reject as heresy.  As pointed out above, Oneness believers wholeheartedly confess three simultaneous manifestations of the one single God of the Bible.

*Not surprisingly, White constantly chides Marcus Rogers for not understanding what Trinitarians actually believe when it’s painfully apparent that White doesn’t comprehend what Oneness Pentecostals believe.  Of course, this is par for the course in White’s world.

*Further, if Jesus is the “second of three divine individuals” in Heaven, and “all authority” has been relinquished to Him in the same location—how much “authority” would that leave the other two divine individuals?  Clearly Matthew 28.18 cannot be used to advance a theology of multiple co-equal divine persons in Heaven. Jesus is now and forever the one God of the Bible “in bodily form” (Colossians 2.9; I John 5.20).

(White):  “The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are ‘separate persons’ because Jesus used personal pronouns of someone other than Himself.”

*Again, it’s amazing how a single-person-pronoun in the NT demands one “person,” but a single-person-pronoun in the OT demands merely one “being.”  The hypocrisy in the single person pronoun usage between testaments demonstrates how far Trinitarians are willing to dive to secure their religious tradition.  When this was pointed out to White in our debate his response was a pompous-dismissive, “That’s not even relevant to the topic.”  Then quit using the same argument in the NT! 

*Moreover, if using a personal pronoun of someone other than one’s self demands “separate persons” then “the Christ” was someone other than Jesus (Luke 24.47), “the disciple whom Jesus loved” was someone other than John (John 19.26-27) and God Himself is someone other than Himself (Malachi 3.1)!  Illeism, the practice of referring to oneself in the third person contra the first person, is clearly interspersed all throughout Scripture and does not demand “separate persons” as White assumes.

*At any rate, Oneness has no problem acknowledging that there’s a sense in which the Father is distinct from His Son.  This is simply the common sense reading of many NT passages.  However, as stated above, this does not—nor will it ever—require “separate coequal, coeternal divine individuals.”        

(White):  “The words ‘Oneness Pentecostalism’ isn’t found in the Bible either.”

*The adjective “one” is applied to God thousands of times in the Bible, while the adjective “three” is never applied to God’s identity.  “One-ness” is a mere codification of the adjective “one.”  “Pentecost” is clearly a biblical term (Acts 2.1), with the suffix “-al” used to identify with the NT church’s inauguration.  Hence, the roots are indeed biblical with the suffixes appended for simple identification purposes.

*Now, we’ll give you the same opportunity to demonstrate where in the Bible the root term for “Trinity” can be located:________________?

(White):  “In John 10.30, Jesus did not say ‘I am the Father.’  He used a plural verb in this passage (translated “are” {ἐσμεν}).”

*Neither did Jesus say, “I am the second of three persons in the Trinity.”  See how easy a negative testimony is immobilized?  To illustrate, in the 1800’s in Europe there was a murder trial in which the defendant testified, “Your honor, I can bring 50 people to this stand who didn’t see me commit this murder!”  Obviously his “testimony” was rendered invalid since a negative affirmation does not equal positive evidence.  Based upon this forensic principle, we throw out your flimsy quibble regarding Christ’s silent testimony.

*Concerning the plural verb translated “are” (ἐσμεν), the eyewitnesses identify for us precisely what the plurality consisted of, “…You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God” (v. 33).  Far from revealing two separate divine individuals, the subjects of the plural verb are contextually defined as a visible “Man” and the invisible “God.”  This is precisely the Oneness position.  The NT plurality between the Father and the Son are due to the Incarnation when God added humanity to Himself—both a plurality and humanity nonexistent in the OT data.

*Notice those standing on the spot understood Jesus’ statement as an affirmation of identification as the Father, which was a paradigmatic synonym for “God” to the Jewish listeners (e.g., John 8.41, “we have one Father: God”).  If those actually listening to Christ speak these words recognized His declaration in John 10.30 as laying claim to be the Father, how can Trinitarians offer a radical revision of His assertion to equate into a “second of three divine individuals in the Trinity?”  Talk about theological leapfrog!

(White):  “In John 10.30, Jesus says ‘I and the Father, we are one’ and He used a plural verb, not a singular verb.”

*Out of 23 reputable translations, not a single one of them adopts White’s esoteric rendering of “we are one.”  In fact, the Greek text has a separate pronoun for “we” (ἡμεῖς), which appears nowhere in John 10.30.  In John 8.33 the same Greek verb is used where it is indeed translated “we” by various linguists: “They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone’.”

*Why didn’t these identical Johannine translators do the same in 10.30—all both independent and in conjunction with one another?  A little thing called “context,” and as pointed out above the context is clear that Jesus’ statement is an affirmation of identity and not just “unity” with the Father (which any observant Jew would claim).  You think White might have a bit of a theological agenda going on in John 10.30?

*Further, notice that Jesus said the Father and Him are “one” (ἕν), not “two” (δύο) as Trinitarians attempt to place in the mouth of Christ in this text.  The fancy footwork of Trinitarians in John 10.30 (and John 14.9-10) is truly something to behold and would likely make Muhammad Ali blush with shame!

(White):  “Oneness Pentecostals bring up the singular (noun) ‘name’ in Matthew 28.19, why don’t they equally bring up the plural (verb) in John 10.30?”

*We could just as easily point out how Trinitarians constantly bring up the plural verb translated “are” in John 10.30.  Why don’t they equally identify the singular “name” for us in Matthew 28.19? Hint:  The same “name of…the Son” was equally the “name of” the Father and Holy Spirit.  What is “the name of” the Son:________?

*Further, using White’s own appeals of consistency, if a plural verb modifying the Father and the Son in John 10.30 demands two divine individuals, then what does the singular verb that modifies the Father and Son of Revelation 21.22 demand?

“….ὁ γὰρ κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὁ παντοκράτωρ ναὸς αὐτῆς ἐστιν καὶ τὸ ἀρνίον” (NA28).

“….for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Revelation 21.22; NASB).

*As anyone can plainly see, the verb modifying the Father and Son is singular in this text, both are in the nominative case and hence are the subjects of the singular verb—with “temple” being a singular noun as well.  Will White hold to his own demands of consistent exegesis in this text where a single verb describes the Father and Son?  However, after dealing with White for years now we’re not quite willing to hold our breath!

(White):  “To say John 10.30 has Christ saying ‘I am the Father’ is a gross misrepresentation of the text and ignores where Jesus has distinguished Himself (elsewhere) from the Father.”

*To say John 10.30 has Christ saying ‘I am the second divine individual in the Trinity’ is a gross misrepresentation of the text (as well as the entire biblical data) and ignores where God has unequivocally declared that He is a single monad—using a single-person-pronoun in doing so.

*Again, White assumes that Father and Son distinctions demand “separate divine individuals” when it clearly does not as pointed out above.  One divine person is capable of simultaneously manifesting Himself in distinct fashion, just as God is able to speak to 4 different people at the same time in different parts of the world.

*As it relates to His oneness, God has clearly defined Himself using the strongest Greek adjective for “one” possible.  In Mark 12.29 Jesus defines the most important biblical commandment as the absolute oneness of God, using the masculine singular “εἷς” in conjunction with a singular verb (ἐστιν in the indicative mood {the mood of realization}):

“Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one’.”

*Both older and modern lexicographers (e.g., Drs. Kenneth Wuest, Spiros Zodhiates, Vincent, Thayer, BDAG, LXX usage, et. al.) affirm the Greek masculine-singular adjective for “one” (εἷς) defines as “one person.”  Vincent’s quote below at John 10.30 for the neuter singular “one” is representative and can be confirmed in the sources above:

“(Jesus used) the neuter, not the masculine ες, one person.”

*Here, Dr. Vincent concedes that had Christ used the masculine singular adjective for “one” (εἶς) in John 10.30 “one person” would be in view.  Yet in Mark 12.29 Jesus does indeed use the masculine singular adjective for “one,” as well as an accompanying singular verb: εἷς ἐστιν.

*Regarding Dr. Vincent’s comment on the neuter “one” of John 10.30, we have above both contextually and grammatically identified the plurality in said verse as visible “Man” and invisible “God/Father” merged into one person.  Hence, though not the normative Greek term employed, the neuter adjective for “one” {ἕν} in John 10.30 may equally mean “one person”—unless lexicographers wish to make God out to be “impersonal” (i.e., neuter)?

*See here BDAG: εἷς, μία, ἕν, gen. ἑνός, μιᾶς, ἑνός a numerical term, ‘one’ (Hom. +) 1 a single person or thing, with focus on quantitative aspect, one.

*That is, the “most important” biblical commandment is to believe that God is “one person” via the masculine singular εἷς.  This adjectival cardinal numeral is used ca. 100 times in the NT alone and never means more than one person.  So conclusive is the force of εἷς that translators of the Classic Edition of the Amplified Bible rendered Galatians 3.20, which uses this particular Greek adjective, as “God is [only] one Person.”

 *Since my debate with White, a critical consultant for The Lockman Foundation (trust me, he will gleefully and readily confirm this), a new Amplified Bible has appeared that omits this translation, but the lexical force remains intact and enjoys much corroborative attestation despite the apparent backpedaling (e.g., Galatians 3.28 NEB, Thayer, The Living Bible which uses this same adjective).  

*Much more could be pointed out about this Greek adjective for “one” purposefully employed by Christ here, but for the sake of time we’ll forge ahead.  Suffice it so say that unfortunately Trinitarians like White are in denial and rejection of this biblical mandate.

(White):  “The Oneness Pentecostal quotations of Deuteronomy 6.4 assumes the word ‘echad’ (‘one/אֶחָֽד’) means one person and not one ‘being’.”

*This is easily turned around, White here assumes the Hebrew adjective “echad” used in Deuteronomy 6.4 means one “being” and not one “person”—despite the fact that it’s used with single-person-pronouns.  Again, to force-feed “multiple divine persons” into a single-person-pronoun is to turn the normal rules of grammar and conversation on its head in order to protect a religious tradition.

*Echad is employed ca. 962 times in Scripture and out of the 943 times it’s rendered “one,” it’s used to indicate a single individual or character 901 times.  In the remaining instances where the context describes a group effort, it still means “one,” but it is generally describing human beings working in unison.  Obviously this would not reflect a monotheistic divinity since human beings possess bodily separation and could not be used to describe the Godhead (not to mention the hermeneutical principle of interpreting the micro in light of the macro witness).

(White):  “Nowhere does the Bible speak of dividing God into pieces and parts as Marcus Rogers describes.”

*Yet White repeatedly informs us that in Genesis 19.24 “God the Son” (again, an entirely unbiblical identification for Christ) rained fire on Sodom from God the Father in Heaven. But there’s no need to hijack this text of its context: “Then the LORD rained down sulfur and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was sent down from the sky by the LORD (Genesis 19.24; NET; see also NIV, NLT, etc.).

*We can appreciate the honesty of Trinitarians in the NET study notes here:  “The text explicitly states that the sulfur and fire that fell on Sodom and Gomorrah was sent down from the sky by the Lord.  What exactly this was, and how it happened, can only be left to intelligent speculation, but see J. P. Harland, ‘The Destruction of the Cities of the Plain,’ BA 6 (1943): 41-54.”

*If White’s interpretation of this verse is taken at face value (even though the text itself does not state this), then the passage would openly teach two Yahveh’s with bodily separation since nothing is said about “persons.”

*White is also fond of appealing to the now infamous quote by Dr. A.T. Robertson in his grammar where he asserts that the preposition translated “with” in the accusative case of John 1.1b demands that Jesus and the Father were supposedly “face to face with each other” in eternity (See Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament, 6 vols., 5.4).

{Note:  Not to mention how such a construct would naturally teach separate beings within the Godhead (as Marcus Rogers charges), the normative construction for “face to face” would be πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον (e.g., I Corinthians 13.12) in the acc. neut. sing.—not πρὸς τὸν θεόν in the acc. masc. sing. used in John 1.1b.  This is simply Robertson’s commentary presented as grammar.}

*The point is, White does indeed unwittingly argue for “dividing God up into pieces” in both the OT and NT.  My prediction?  Instead of honestly pondering the concepts in his mind, he will do his best to spin his way out of this glaring, self-refuting conundrum.

(White):  “In John 1.1 the Word is distinguished from God.”

*To the contrary, “and the Word was God” (καὶ θεὸς ν ὁ λόγος).  Trinitarians often emphasize John 1.1b while sacrificing the plain reading of 1.1c.  We are well aware of the definitive (i.e., personal identification) vs. qualitative (i.e., ontological identification) syntactical arguments in this text and would argue in favor of the definitive application (as do even many Trinitarian exegetes).

*In all honesty, we acknowledge that there’s a sense in which 1.1b distinguishes the Word from God, but 1.1c explicates 1.1b and—to borrow from White’s playbook in John 10.30—nothing is said of “divine persons, Father, Son, Trinity, etc.”  This is simply a Trinitarian deduction and not a straightforward reading of the inspired text.  In sum, the same one the Word was “with” is the same one the Word “was.”  This is what the inspired passage actually says.

(White):  “In John 1.18 ‘the unique God’ has made the Father known, not made Himself known.”

*Then White has two God’s at this point since, again, nothing is said of “multiple divine individuals, Trinity, etc.”  Again, we have a Trinitarian deduction not stated in the actual biblical text.  

*More importantly, John 1.18 contains a textual variant:

“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God (μονογενὴς θεὸς) who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (John 1.18; NASB)

“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son (μονογενης υιος), who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (John 1.18; NKJV)

* In his excellent book “The King James Only Controversy” p. 259, White concedes, “the evidence for the reading ‘only begotten Son’ is very great indeed.  It is obviously the majority reading of the MSS, translations and early church fathers.”

*Dr. Allen Wikgren, a member of the UBS-3 text and NA26 committees, wrote:  [It is doubtful that the author would have written μονογενης θεός (only begotten God), which may be a primitive, transcriptional error in the Alexandrian tradition (Υς/Θς). At least a {D} decision would be preferable. A.W.], p. 198, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Metzger, 1971, United Bible Societies.  While several UBS committee members differed with Wikgren, yet he possessed tremendous text-critic and linguistic ability and should not be lightly dismissed.

*Indeed, the NET translator notes provide ample text-critic attestation for the reading “only begotten Son”: ο μονογενης υιος A C K Γ Δ Θ Ψ ƒ 565. 579. 700. 892. 1241. 1424 M lat sy; Cl Cl.

*Personally, from the way the NT—and John in particular—uses the term “only begotten” (μονογενης) I would argue in favor of the reading “only begotten Son” (μονογενης υιος).  Text-critic quotations abound in favor of both “only begotten God” and “only begotten Son.”  It is not my intention here to delve into this topic at great length.  I would commend the exhaustive work of John Dahms “The Johannine Use of Monogenes Reconsidered.”  See also this link for a fair review of the textual evidences of John 1.18 weighed:

http://diglotting.com/2011/07/20/how-is-jesus-related-to-god-%CE%BC%CE%BF%CE%BD%CE%BF%CE%B3%CE%B5%CE%BD%CE%B7%CF%82-%CE%B8%CE%B5%CE%BF%CF%82-or-%CE%BC%CE%BF%CE%BD%CE%BF%CE%B3%CE%B5%CE%BD%CE%B7%CF%82-%CF%85%CE%B9%CE%BF%CF%82/  

*As it relates to White’s scorn above, the aorist verb (ἐξηγήσατο) rendered “has explained Him” (i.e., the Father) clearly points us back to the Incarnation.  Regarding this Greek verb The Discovery Bible notes, “properly, lead out completely (thoroughly bring forth), i.e. explain (narrate) in a way that clarifies what is uppermost (has priority).”

*Far from exegeting one of “multiple, co-equal, divine individuals,” this text states that the Son of God lifted out the Father in the Incarnation.  This is precisely the Oneness stance and only advances our position!

(White):  “Jesus didn’t say ‘I am going to send a part of me as the Holy Spirit’.”

*”I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14.16-18; NASB).  While most Oneness believers would not say that Christ “sent a part of himself,” in describing the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus employed the first person singular verb translated “I will come” (ἔρχομαι).

*The Greek noun rendered “orphans” (ὀρφανούς) is similarly enlightening.  The context is clearly the future procession of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus identifies in this text as “he [that] abides (present active indicative μένει) with you.”  That is, this text plainly states that when He comes back as the Spirit of truth He will not abandon us as orphans, but “will be in” (ἐν ὑμῖν ἔσται) believers.  No wonder the Holy Spirit is identified as the “Spirit of Christ” (e.g., Romans 8.9; Colossians 1.27; et al.).  Are we to honestly conclude that these verses naturally identify Christ as someone other than the Holy Spirit?  We think not.

*This erases all doubt that Jesus is not the one coming as “the Spirit of Truth” and though perhaps not worded correctly, Marcus Rogers’ statement stands. {See also our comments above regarding 2 Corinthians 3.14-17.}

(White):  “Jesus said ‘I and the Father will send the Holy Spirit as another comforter’.  The Holy Spirit is identified as a person sent by the Father and Son (from Heaven).”

*As pointed out above, if each “divine individual in the Trinity” is omnipresent how can omnipresence be “sent” where it’s already “present?”  Again, omnipresence is not “sent” anywhere—it’s already there!  Trinitarians misunderstand the “sent” language of the Bible in assuming the verb means spatial movement from one sphere into another by “eternal divine persons.”  Yet Christ is said to have been sent (πέμψας) “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8.3; NASB).  Obviously the “sent” language of the Bible does not demand separate eternal persons, or Christ had “flesh” in Heaven (cf. John 1.6)!  

*The Psalmist clearly affirms that the Holy Spirit is omnipresent: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there” (Psalm 139.7-8; NASB).

 *On p. 338 of Dr. Daniel Wallace’s volume Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics he affirms, “Neither in Eph. 1:14 nor in any other text is there clear syntactical evidence for the personality of the Spirit.  There are, of course, many lines of evidence that demonstrate this, but the attempt to use Greek grammar in such a manner is facile and often creates theological problems that are greater than the cure.”  

 *While we appreciate his honesty in this quotation, to be fair and crystal clear, as a Trinitarian Dr. Wallace does not deny the Holy Spirit as a “person.”  However, the force of his quote above demonstrates that this position is not due strictly to “Greek grammar,” but rather other “lines of evidence.”

 *Of course, the Greek noun rendered “Spirit” (πνεῦμα) appears in the neuter gender and never in the normative masculine as one would expect if “personhood” were in view.  Trinitarian evasion and dodges of this grammatical fact abound—but this is simply a raw biblical reality.

(White):  “In Oneness theology, how does the Father and a human being ‘send’ God who is the Father and then becomes the Holy Spirit?”

*In Trinitarian theology how does omnipresence “send” omnipresence where it already exists?  And, the Father does not “become” the Holy Spirit, God has always ontologically existed as a Holy Spirit who Fathered His Son in time (e.g., Luke 1.35; Galatians 4.4).  The Father and Holy Spirit are the one-single God in distinct roles relative to the redemption of mankind, not multiple “divine individuals” that no biblical writer was ever inspired to enunciate.  Hence, there’s a sense in which the Father both is—and is not—the Holy Spirit.

 *Interestingly, in giving assurance of comfort during persecution Jesus informs believers not to worry about what they will say.  For, “for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12.12; NASB).  However, Matthew’s account of this saying of Christ elucidates the very identity of the Holy Spirit in proclaiming, “it is the Spirit of your Father (τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ πατρὸς) who speaks in you” (10.20; NASB).  The most literal rendering is “the Spirit of the Father” since there’s no need to elevate the genitive article to the position of a pronoun (Greek has an entirely separate word for the pronoun “your”).  

 *Do these complimentary passages naturally lend themselves to the notion that Jesus viewed the Father and the Holy Spirit as “separate divine persons” apart from one another?  Of course not, and Jesus’ view of the Godhead should be our view.

 *Again, White puts his ignorance of Oneness theology on full display here—and then berates Marcus Rogers for not understanding the doctrine of the Trinity?  Such scholastic hypocrisy is classic James White however.  And as affirmed above, Oneness believers do not confess sequential Modalsim, but rather simultaneous manifestations of the one divine person of God.  Not only is this perspective the biblical presentation of God-proper, it equally preserves the radical monotheism of the Bible as well as evades the fatal blow of conceptual polytheism.      

 (White):  “We are all ‘monotheists,’ well, except for Mormons.”

 *Actually, as noted before, Trinitarian apologists like White (also Edward Dalcour) sound much like Mormon apologists in their argumentation methodology relative to this topic.  As mentioned above, in our 2011 debate in Australia White openly confessed that God the Father, “God the Son,” and “God the Holy Spirit” consisted of “three divine individuals, each with their own separate centers of consciousness apart from the other two divine individuals” (see the cross exam portion of this debate).

*Further, Trinitarians often appeal to passages such as Daniel 7 and Revelation 5 which speaks of the Son of Man and the Lamb respectively—whom Trinitarians interpret to be “God the Son”—approaching God the Father in a separate body.  Trinitarians are equally fond of appealing to Genesis 19.24, the baptism of Christ, the prayers of Christ, etc., all of which would teach a radical bodily separation within the Godhead if not interpreted within the confines of the rigid-strict monotheism commanded in the biblical data.

*Assimilating these open confessions into one harmonious blend, Trinitarian apologists teach separate divine individuals, each with independent thought processes and divine-bodily-separation.  To claim that such a theological conclusion is biblical “monotheism” is tantamount to someone holding up an orange and stubbornly identifying it as an apple – despite how many times the obvious is pointed out.

*White’s confessions above serve as an excellent example of the difference between “conceptual tritheism” and “confessional tritheism.”  That is, Trinitarians like White will never openly “confess” tritheism, yet the “concepts” expressed through their confessions make it crystal clear that they hold to “conceptual tritheism.”

(White):  “Marcus Rogers, are you willing to learn and find out what we really believe?”

*This is vintage James White.  Despite his open confession to worshiping multiple divine individuals with separate centers of consciousness, White still fancies himself as the teacher and everyone else the learner (a natural outgrowth of “Calvinism”)—and does not even seem to blush.

*Worse, White clearly does not grasp even the basic Oneness Pentecostal confessions relative to the Godhead.  That is, White attacks something we don’t even believe and then expects us to “learn” from him.  We think not.  The Son is God enfleshed and is hence divine.  This is the Oneness Pentecostal confession of the Son of God.

 (White):  “The earliest church records teach the doctrine of the Trinity.”

*Quite to the contrary, since White is fond of continuing to identify modern Oneness believers as the equivalent to ancient “Sabellians” and “Modalists,” perhaps he’ll also accept the testimony of Tertullian ca. 213 A.D. regarding the same:

“The simple, indeed, (I will not call them unwise and unlearned,) who always constitute the majority of believers, are startled at the dispensation (of the Three in One), on the ground that their very rule of faith withdraws them from the world’s plurality of gods to the one only true God” (Adversus Praxean, Chp. 3).”

*Tertullian here identifies those often classified as ancient “Oneness” believers (though again, there are vast differences) as “the majority of believers” in the early third century.  Similarly, one can read the writings of both Hippolytus of Rome (ca. 230 A.D.) and Origen of Alexandria (ca. 250 A.D.) to see where they refer to those who share commonality with contemporary Oneness believers as “the general run of Christians, great multitude of believers, scholars, (their doctrine) has prevailed, etc.”

*Quite opposite to White’s claim above, the earliest church records—though not identical—affirm a theology similar in form to modern Oneness doctrine.  Contrary, the doctrine of the Trinity was not fully codified until ca. 381 A.D. at the Council of Constantinople.  This is almost 300 years after the Apostle John died—hardly the “earliest church records.”

*Acclaimed historian and professor R.P.C. Hanson notes, “With the exception of Athanasius, virtually every theologian, East and West, accepted some form of subordinationism at least up to the year 355; subordinationism might indeed, until the denouncement of the controversy, have been described as accepted orthodoxy” (R.P.C. Hanson 1988; The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381, p. xix).

*Moreover, the theology of virtually none of the earliest writers such as Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, or Tertullian would be considered uniform to present-day Trinitarianism.  As Hanson notes above, early apologists are often classified as ontological (contra economic) subordinationists and would be deemed “heretical” by contemporary Trinitarian apologists (as would modern-day scholars such as Drs. Adam Clarke, Walter Martin, etc.).

*Many of the “earliest church records” such as the Shepherd of Hermas identify the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Christ.  Hence, Oneness teachings concerning the Holy Spirit are identical with the first century church in Rome (especially considering that this church was planted in Acts 10).  The Shepherd of Hermas reveals that Clement was the Bishop of Rome while Hermas was a prophet during the first century.  If the same Hermas, he is listed in Romans 16.14 and Clement in Philippians 4.3.  When we consider that both Clement and Hermas of Rome knew Paul, it makes great sense to pay attention to their corroborative teachings on the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Christ.

*Finally, as even a cursory glance of The Ante Nicene Fathers will reveal, virtually all of the “earliest church records” affirm the salvific necessity for water baptism and a clear rejection of the Reformed dogma of unconditional eternal security (and rightfully so).  Trinitarian academics often treat the Early Church Father’s (ECF) like cab rides—get on board where they wish and jump out where they wish!

*{See the following links for more history on the evolution of the Trinity doctrine:

http://www.onenesspentecostal.com/trinhistory.htm#Anchor2

http://ministry.travelltravis.com/component/option,com_docman/task,cat_view/gid,33/Itemid,126/?mosmsg=You+are+trying+to+access+from+a+non-authorized+domain.+%28www.google.com%29

http://mikeblume.com/early.htm.}

(White):  “I know that some liberals say that Ignatius was a Modalist, but he (Ignatius) clearly distinguished between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as well as affirming the deity of Christ.”

*At the risk of sounding redundant at this point, White again simply assumes that Father, Son and Holy Spirit distinctions demand “separate, co-equal, co-eternal, divine individuals” when this is nothing more than his assertion devoid of concrete evidence.

*Oneness believers equally make a distinction between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—as well as affirming the divinity of Christ.  What we openly and gladly deny is a relegation of Christ from His rightful exalted position as the One God of the biblical data (I John 5.20; Colossians 2.8-10) to a mere “one of three divine co-equal members of the Godhead.”

*And, typical White, he classifies virtually any Trinitarian scholar who disagrees with him as a “liberal.”  The cold-hard facts are that Ignatius clearly wrote in non-Trinitarian categories.  In his Epistle to the Ephesians chapter 7 he refers to Jesus as the “one physician” and “God existing in the flesh.”

7:2 “There is one only physician, of flesh and of spirit, generate and ingenerate, God in man, true Life in death, Son of Mary and Son of God, first passible and then impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

*Ignatius repeatedly identifies Christ as simply “our God” with no mention of “divine persons” or any other Trinitarian language.

*In his Epistle to the Magnesians he refers to “the inseparable Spirit, who is Jesus Christ.” And, in Magnesians 8.2 Ignatius clearly says,

“On this account were they also persecuted, who by his grace were inspired, to the end that the disobedient might be fully persuaded that there is one God who manifested himself through Jesus Christ, his Son, who is his eternal Word, who came not forth from Silence, who in all things was well pleasing to him that sent him.”  

*Does this honestly sound like Ignatius viewed the Son of God as one of “three separate divine individuals?”  Of course not.  It is for these reasons that numerous Trinitarian academics—with far more credentials than White—have labeled Ignatius as an ancient Oneness believer or a supposed “Monarchian Modalist” (e.g., W. R. Schoedel).

*Of particular note is renowned ancient comparative religion expert Dr. Virginia Corwin.  Professor Corwin literally traveled the world studying ancient Eastern religion.  Her dissertation, “St. Ignatius and Christianity in Antioch,” published by Yale Press in 1960, is still considered by many academics to be the defining work on Ignatius.  Her expert diagnosis and conclusion of the theology of Ignatius?

If one term must be chosen to indicate the tendency of his thought, Ignatius must be said to be Monarchian, though he is very close to the point later declared to be orthodox” (Corwin, Virginia. St. Ignatius and Christianity in Antioch. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1960).

*Similarly, as referenced above, historian William R. Schoedel, author of “Ignatius of Antioch (Heremeneia: A Critical & Historical Commentary of the Bible)” has affirmed that Ignatius of Antioch was most closely alloyed with ancient Modalists.

*Though late, it’s nonetheless interesting that Archbishop Wake translated Vossius’ 1646 Greek text of Ignatius’s Magnesians 6 in an obvious Oneness fashion:  

“Jesus Christ, who was the Father before all ages, and appeared in the end to us.” (The Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden, p. 173).

*I have little doubt that Trinitarians will deride the lateness of this rendering, yet if they had a translation of Ignatius like this they would be salivating at the mouth!

*For good measure, see here the quote of respected historian and theologian Edward Fudge:  “Ignatius sometimes speaks of Christ in a way that borders on Sabellianism and patripassianism.  At other times he clearly distinguishes between the Father and the Son.”  (cf.  Edward Fudge, M.A., The Eschatology of Ignatius of Antioch:  Christocentri and Historical; Journal of the Evangelical and Theological Society [JETS 15:4]; Fall 1972 ed., p. 233.)

*Where are all of these Ancient Religion scholars deriving this conclusion—and that both in collaboration with and independent of one another?  Clearly, Ignatius was not a “Trinitarian” despite how loudly White and other agenda-driven Trinitarians protest to the contrary.  

*In sum, the “earliest church records” (which are quite scant and spurious at best) advise us nothing regarding a “Trinity of divine individuals.”  As those who spent their life intently traveling the ancient Eastern lands and researching ancient documentation inform us that, if anything, the earliest church records affirm a doctrinal posture similar to the modern Oneness position.

*Below we list numerous direct quotations from honest Trinitarians who themselves concede that their doctrine is found nowhere in the Bible:

*The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia acknowledges that “‘Trinity’ is a second-century term found nowhere in the Bible, and the Scriptures present no finished trinitarian statement (1988, Vol. 4, “Trinity,” p. 914).  It further states that “church fathers crystallized the doctrine in succeeding centuries”—long after the apostles had passed from the scene.

*The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary tells us, “The formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the NT [New Testament]” (Paul Achtemeier, editor, 1996, “Trinity”).

*The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism states:  “Today, however, scholars generally agree that there is no doctrine of the Trinity as such in either the OT [Old Testament] or the NT [New Testament] .   .   . It would go far beyond the intention and thought-forms of the OT to suppose that a late-fourth-century or thirteenth-century Christian doctrine can be found there . . . Likewise, the NT does not contain an explicit doctrine of the Trinity (Richard McBrien, general editor, 1995, “God,” pp. 564-565).

*The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, in its article on the Trinity, explains:  “Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament . . . The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies . . . It was not until the 4th century that the distinctness of the three and their unity were brought together in a single orthodox doctrine of one essence and three persons” (1985 edition, Micropaedia, Vol. 11, p. 928).

*The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis points out that “primitive Christianity did not have an explicit doctrine of the Trinity such as was subsequently elaborated in the creeds of the early church” (Colin Brown, editor, Vol. 2, 1976, “God,” p. 84).

*Historian and noted author H.G. Wells, in his popular work entitled  The Outline of History, points out, “There is no evidence that the apostles of Jesus ever heard of the trinity—at any rate from him” (1920, Vol. 2, p. 499).

*Martin Luther, the German priest who initiated the Protestant Reformation, conceded, “It is indeed true that the name ‘Trinity’ is nowhere to be found in the Holy Scriptures, but has been conceived and invented by man” (reproduced in The Sermons of Martin Luther, John Lenker, editor, Vol. 3, 1988, p. 406).

*The Oxford Companion to the Bible states:  “Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament.  Likewise, the developed concept of three coequal partners in the Godhead found in later creedal formulations cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the canon [i.e., actual Scripture]” (Bruce Metzger and Michael Coogan, editors, 1993, “Trinity,” p. 782).

*Professor Charles Ryrie, in his respected work Basic Theology, writes:  “Many doctrines are accepted by evangelicals as being clearly taught in the Scripture for which there are no proof texts.  The doctrine of the Trinity furnishes the best example of this.  It is fair to say that the Bible does not clearly teach the doctrine of the Trinity .   .   . In fact, there is not even one proof text, if by proof text we mean a verse or passage that ‘clearly’ states that there is one God who exists in three persons” (1999, p. 89).

*Ryrie continues: “The above illustrations prove the fallacy of concluding that if something is not proof texted in the Bible we cannot clearly teach the results . . . If that were so, I could never teach the doctrine of the Trinity” (p. 90).

*Millard Erickson, research professor of theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, writes that the Trinity is not clearly or explicitly taught anywhere in Scripture, yet it is widely regarded as a central doctrine, indispensable to the Christian faith.  In this regard, it goes contrary to what is virtually an axiom of biblical doctrine, namely, that there is a direct correlation between the scriptural clarity of a doctrine and its cruciality to the faith and life of the church.

“In view of the difficulty of the subject and the great amount of effort expended to maintain this doctrine, we may well ask ourselves what might justify all this trouble (God in Three Persons:  A Contemporary Interpretation of the Trinity, 1995, p. 12).

*Professor Erickson further states that the Trinity doctrine “is not present in biblical thought, but arose when biblical thought was pressed into this foreign mold [of Greek concepts].  Thus, the doctrine of the Trinity goes beyond and even distorts what the Bible says about God (p. 20).

*Professor Erickson later points out: “It is claimed that the doctrine of the Trinity is a very important, crucial, and even basic doctrine.  If that is indeed the case, should it not be somewhere more clearly, directly, and explicitly stated in the Bible?  If this is the doctrine that especially constitutes Christianity’s uniqueness . . . how can it be only implied in the biblical revelation? . . . For here is a seemingly crucial matter where the Scriptures do not speak loudly and clearly.  Little direct response can be made to this charge.  It is unlikely that any text of Scripture can be shown to teach the doctrine of the Trinity in a clear, direct, and unmistakable fashion (pp. 108-109).  

*Shirley Guthrie, Jr., professor of theology at Columbia Theological Seminary, writes: “The Bible does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity.  Neither the word ‘trinity’ itself nor such language as ‘one-in-three,’ ‘three-in-one,’ one ‘essence’ (or ‘substance’), and three ‘persons,’ is biblical language.  The language of the doctrine is the language of the ancient church taken from classical Greek philosophy” (Christian Doctrine, 1994, pp. 76-77).”

*White and his cohorts can claim that the Trinity doctrine is “clear” in the Scriptures until doomsday.  Not only is it not “clear” – it is not even taught – as the quotations from honest Trinitarian academics (again, with far more credentials than White) concede above.

*Finally, the admonition of the Apostle Paul seems applicable here:

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power (Colossians 2.8-10; NKJV).

*God bless and thank you for reading!

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