The ONLY JESUS or ONENESS DOCTRINE?
The only Jesus or oneness doctrine claims that Jesus is not only the Son but also the Father and the Holy Spirit, he is the only person in the Godhead. This doctrine categorically denies the doctrine of the trinity. Proponents of this doctrine argue that since the word "TRINITY' itself is not found in the Bible, the doctrine is a man made doctrine. It is true that the word "TRINITY" is not in the Bible, but just because a word is not found in the Bible doesn't mean what that word stands for is not in the Bible.The doctrine of the trinity basically says that God is THREE IN ONE, that there is plurality within the oneness of God. This doctrine explains why God in numerous places used plural pronoun to address himself.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT THE PLURALITY WITHIN THE GODHEAD?
"And GOD said "Let us make man in our own image and after our own likeness." Gen. 1:26
If there is no plurality in God why did God say "in our own image"? We know for sure we were not created in the image of angels but in the image of God. God could not have been talking to angels because angels don't have any creative power for God to consult with them in creation. The explanation given by adherents to the Jesus only doctrine is that God was consulting with his own will. The verse they use for this explanation is Ephesians 1:11 "...according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will." This verse does not say that a person and his will are two different personalities and need to be referred in plural terms. Every person, whether spiritual or physical being, has a will and counsels with his will before doing anything. No individual person would say to himself 'Let us go here and there' or 'Let us do this or that', unless he is poor in grammar.
We read in the Bible David counseling with his soul, which includes his will, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance." Psalms 42:5
In this verse we hear David counseling with his soul (will) and admonishing it to trust in the Lord, but he does not refer to himself as 'WE' or 'US' after counseling with his will. He did not say "...for We (me and my will) shall yet praise him', but he said "...for I shall yet praise him".
On the contrary, we hear God refer to himself in the plural in numerous places, and it is not, as some say, God referring to the counsel of his own will. If there was no plurality in the Godhead, why didn't God say "I will make man in my image and in my likeness."
Why did God say in Gen. 3:22 "Behold, the man is become as one of us." One of who? Is he still counseling with his own will or speaking to others who are like him?
We also hear the Lord referring to himself both in singular and plural in one verse. "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? " Isaiah 6:8 Why does the Lord use the pronoun "I" and "us" in the same verse.
If we examine Ephesians chapter 1, from which they extract a verse and make it say what it does not say, we find a few verses that refer to the plurality in the Godhead.
Verse 1: "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God." This verse tells us that Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ (the Son) by the will of God (the Father)
Verse 2: "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." This verse make a clear distinction between two personalities: God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. They sure are not one and the same, even though they are one in purpose.
FATHER, SON AND THE HOLY GHOST
The Jesus only doctrine refers to the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost in this manner:
Father: The Divinity of God
Son: The Humanity God took upon himself.
Holy Ghost: The Activity of God
Based on this definition, they claim that Jesus Christ completes all three. He is the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
Let us ask some questions based on their assumption:
According to their definition, the Son is the humanity aspect of God manifested in the flesh. If this is true the Son is not God, only the Father is God. Actually, the Son, if as they claim, refers to just his humanity, could not have been in existence before he was born of Mary.
If this is true, why did Jesus pray in John 17:5 by saying: "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."
WHO WAS WITH WHO?
Jesus was praying to the Father to glorify him with the glory which he had with the father before the world was, that means before he was manifested in the flesh. This prayer tells us that Jesus was with the Father in glory before the foundation of the world. The word 'WITH' indicates more than one. Nobody would say "I was with myself", rather "I was by myself". Jesus did not say "I was in glory by myself before the world was", but he said, "the glory which I had with thee before the world was."
If Jesus was all by himself as the Father before he was manifested in the flesh, why would he pray to the Father saying, "with the glory which I had with thee"?
"Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men" Philippians 2:6-7. This verse clearly tells us that the Son had an equal glory with the father and thought it not robbery to give up his glory to become a man. That is why Jesus prayed saying: "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." To redeem mankind, he left the glory he had with the father and was restored to it after he finished his redemptive work.
WHO GAVE WHO?
Those who claim that Jesus Christ is the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost all in one, seem to ignore the verse that is usually referred to as "The Gospel in a nutshell", "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" John 3:16. This verse clearly tells us that God the Father gave his only begotten Son to save mankind. Since, in the only Jesus doctrine, the term "Son" refers to the humanity of Jesus Christ the term has no meaning before Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary. If this is so, how could God the father give his only begotten Son when the "Son" became the "Son" only after being born of Mary. The fact of the matter is that the Son was with the Father before he was manifested in the flesh.
HARD TO UNDERSTAND DOES NOT MEAN UNTRUE
Deuteronomy 29:29 says: "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us." Just because the doctrine of the Trinity is hard to comprehend, we don't have the right to get rid of those things that are revealed in the Bible concerning it, as untrue; specially, when we have numerous Biblical proofs to the presence of plurality within the Godhead. In Matthew 3:16-17 we see the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost all at once, the Son is being baptized, the Father is speaking from the heavens and the Holy Ghost came in the form of a Dove. We should note that all three persons of the Godhead were manifested in different forms.
According to Jesus Only doctrine, the Holy Spirit is just the activity or power of God who does not have a distinct personality of his own apart from the Father or the Son. If this is so, why did Jesus say in John 14:26 "But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things." This is another verse where we see all three persons of the Godhead mentioned in one verse. Note, that the Bible refers to the Holy Ghost as "He" , not as "It" which is used to refer to impersonal power or activity. The Holy Ghost is the comforter (only a person can comfort) who is sent by the Father in the name of Jesus. As we can read in Acts chapter two, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost took over the work Jesus started on the earth, after Jesus finished his earthly work.
We see the distinction between God the Father and the Holy Spirit even in the old testament. Isaiah 48:16 says: "Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there I am: and now the Lord God, and his Spirit hath sent me." The word "and" refers to more than one.
If the Holy Ghost is just the activity of God, why is he given attributes of a personality?
"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" Eph. 4:30.
How can an impersonal force or energy be grieved?
"But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?" Acts 5:3
How can one lie to an impersonal force?
"But all these worketh that one and selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." I cor. 12:11
How can an impersonal force have a will?
"...they were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia" Acts 16:6.
How can an impersonal force forbid?
"...the Holy Ghost said, 'separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.' Acts 13:2
"Then the Spirit said unto Philip....." Acts 8:29.
How can an impersonal force speak?
"The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: ...the Spirit maketh intercession for us" Rom. 8:26.
How can an impersonal force make intercession for us?
Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as 'HE' with a personal pronoun.
"...but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." John 16:8
How can an impersonal force be referred to with a personal pronoun?
IDENTICAL DOES NOT MEAN ONE AND THE SAME
If there are two identical twins in a family and somebody looked at them separately at different times, that person will swear that he saw the same person twice because the twins are so identical. If that person is shown both identical twins at the same time, no matter how identical they looked he has to admit that they are two distinct persons. This analogy would be applicable if we can imagine identical triplets. Where 'Only Jesus' adherents err is, since the attributes given to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are in many instances so identical, they conclude that they are seeing the same person, Jesus, in different names. Just because they share identical divine attributes and titles like Lord & Father, does not make them one and the same person. Specially, when we see all three in the same verse or the same event, we have to admit the distinction in personalities among them. You can refer to some of the verses we mentioned previously, for example, John 14:26 & Matthew 3:16-17 etc... Some of the epistles in the Bible end with a very common apostolic benediction which says: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all" (II Cor. 13:14).
No where does the Bible teach that:
Father is Gods' divinity
Son is Gods' humanity
The Holy Spirit is Gods' activity;
What the Bible teaches is that:
The Father is God:
"For he received from God the Father honor and glory;" II Peter 1:17
The Son is God:
"And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." I John 5:20
According to this verse, Son of God is not a term for the humanity of God but is truly God himself just like the Father is truly God.
In Addition to the above verse, John 1:1,14 tells us that the WORD that became flesh is not just the humanity of God, but is himself God and was with God in the beginning.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. .... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." John 1:1,14
It is clear that the 'Word' referred to in these verses refers to The Son of God, Jesus Christ.
God the Son (Jesus Christ) was with God the Father, and He himself was God before he was made flesh.
Also in Hebrew chapter 1, we hear God the Father refer to his Son Jesus Christ as 'God'.
Heb. 1:5-8 "For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee?.... And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the Angels of God worship him. ... But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever."
God the Father is telling all the angels to worship his only begotten Son, because the Son is also God and only God is worthy of worship. If the Son was just the humanity of God he would not have been worthy of the worship of all the angels.
The above verses in John 1 and Hebrews 1 clearly tell us that God the Father and God the Son are two persons who are both God.
The Holy Spirit is God:
"But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? ...... Thou has not lied unto men but unto God." Acts 5:3- 4
Peter refers to the Holy Spirit as God.
When we see all the above verses concerning the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we see three distinct personalities yet having the same attribute of "God". That is what the doctrine of Trinity teaches.
The JESUS ONLY or ONENESS doctrine concerning WATER BAPTISM
Believers of this doctrine claim that water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ is essential for salvation. In other words, a person cannot be saved just by accepting Jesus Christ into his heart, he must be baptized in water in order to be saved. According to this doctrine, water baptism is an integral part of the salvation process.
What does the Bible say concerning salvation?
John 1:12 tells us, "But as many as received HIM (Jesus Christ), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." The power to become a child of God is given to 'as many as received him'. It doesn't say 'receive him and be baptized in his name to become a child of God.
John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son (Jesus Christ), that whosoever believeth in him (Jesus Christ) should not perish, but have everlasting life." It doesn't say 'whosoever believeth in him and is baptized in his name should not perish'.
We read in Acts 16:30-31, "And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they (Paul and Barnabas) said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house." It doesn't say 'believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptized in his name, then you shall be saved.' In verse 33, we read that he was baptized, but not as a prerequisite for salvation, but being obedient to the apostles' admonition.
Verses used by oneness doctrine concerning baptism
Some of the verses, adherents of oneness doctrine use concerning water baptism, are Acts 2:38, John 3:3-5, Titus 3:5, I Peter 3:21 and Mark 16:16. If we look at these verses closely none of them say that "Baptism is a must for salvation".
Mark 16:16 says: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned." This verse says nothing about "He that believeth and is not baptized." It only talks about "He that believeth and is baptized" and "He that believeth not". It doesn't say "He that believeth and is not baptized shall be damned." We should not make the verse say more than what it says. The three verses in the previous section (John 1:12, John 3:16, Acts 16:31) tell us what Mark 16:16 doesn't. In their own way, they tell us that "He that believeth shall be saved".
John 3:5 - Another verse Oneness doctrine followers use concerning the necessity of water baptism for salvation is John 3:5. "Verily Verily I say unto you, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." The interpretation Oneness doctrine followers give to this verse is that unless a person is baptized in water (born of water), and is baptized with the Holy Spirit (with the evidence of speaking in tongues) he/she cannot be saved.
Let us see if this is what the verse says. The verse is talking about being a new creature in Christ Jesus or being born again. The Word of God should be interpreted by the WORD of God. What one verse is not clear on another verse shades more light on. Some verses in the Bible are gray as to what they mean, others are black and white and leave no space for doubt. We should interpret the gray verses in light of the black and white verses. Since the main emphasis of each verse differ, what one verse touches only tangentially other verses deal with clarity and focus.
What does the Bible say as to how a person is BORN AGAIN?
There is a verse that clearly tells us how a person is born again.
I Peter 1:23 says "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." This verse clearly tells us that we are born again by the incorruptible seed of the word of God. When we put John 3:5 and I Peter 1:23 together, the word of God interprets itself for us. We can understand that "The incorruptible word" in I Peter 1:23 refers to "The water" in John 3:5.
We can see "water" representing "the word of God" both in the Old and New testament.
Ephesians 5:26 says: "That he (Jesus) might sanctify and cleanse it (the church) with the washing of water by the WORD."
John 15:3 "Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
John 17:17 "Sanctify (to cleanse spiritually) them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
Psalms 119:9 "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word."
Isaiah 55:10-11 "For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but waters the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that Goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
A person is born again when the Holy Spirit takes the 'incorruptible WORD of God' and convicts that person with it to the point of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. At that instance the Holy Spirit performs the renewal process in the person and makes his/her spirit, that was dead in trespasses and sins, alive and a new creature in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:1-6, I Cor. 5:17). That is why John 3:5 said "except a man be born of water (the word of God) and of the Spirit (the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." The Bible tells us that "No man can come to God unless the Holy Spirit draws him." In other words, it is impossible for a person to be born again without the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. However, being 'born of the Spirit', which is to be born again, is different from being 'baptized with the Holy Spirit' which is for the purpose of receiving power to be witnesses for Jesus. "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me." Acts 1:8
We see these two distinct spiritual transactions In the lives of the Apostles. John 20:22 says "And when he (Jesus) had said this, he breathed on them, and said unto them, 'Receive ye the Holy Ghost." This was for the purpose of being born again or being born of the Spirit. Because this was after the resurrection and Jesus Christ has already offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sin and people could be born again. In Acts 2:1-4 we read the record of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The same people who 'received the Holy Spirit' and were 'BORN OF THE SPIRIT' in John 20:22, were mightily 'BAPTIZED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT' in Acts 2, and empowered to be witnesses. We can see that there are stages of receiving the Holy Spirit. The first one, being born of the Spirit, is for salvation as Jesus said 'except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God', but the second one, being baptized with the Holy Ghost, is for spiritual power to be witnesses for the Lord.
How did God begat us (made us BORN AGAIN)
The above interpretation of being born again is further strengthened by James 1:18 "Of his own will he begat us with the word of truth". What makes someone born into the family of God is not whether or not he is baptized in water, but whether or not he believed the incorruptible word of God when it is presented to him by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:9-10
Is Baptism an integral part of salvation?
If baptism was one of the essential components of salvation, the apostle Paul must have missed this great revelation when he said "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel." I Cor. 1:17
How can Paul make a clear distinction between the preaching of the gospel and water baptism if water baptism was an integral part of the gospel and absolutely necessary for salvation. He would be neglecting an essential part of salvation without which one could not be saved. In Romans 1:16, Paul refers to the Gospel as, 'The Power of God unto salvation.', he also said in I cor. 9:16 'woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel!', but concerning water baptism we hear him say, 'Christ sent me not to baptize'. The distinction he is making between the gospel and water baptism could not be any clearer than what these verses depict. One is 'the power of God unto salvation', the other is an act of obedience a believer should fulfill, but not as a means toward salvation.
In Acts 22:16 we see Paul himself being commanded to be baptized; "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Some people interpret this verse as a proof that water baptism washes away our sin. Nothing can be further from the truth. What washes away our sin is the blood of Jesus. "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin" I John 1:7. According to Acts 22:16, what washes away our sin is not the water baptism but 'calling on the name of the Lord', because "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" Rom. 10:13. The word 'saved' here is synonymous with 'having his sins washed away'. When a sinner calls upon the name of the Lord who shed his blood to cleanse the sinner from all his sins, then his sins will be washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Remission of sins
A major verse used by the oneness doctrine followers to claim that water baptism saves is Acts 2:38. It says: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Is Acts 2:38 saying 'without water baptism there is no remission of sin'?, NOT AT ALL. We know the Bible says: "without the shedding of blood there is no remission." Heb. 9:22
color="#FF0000">What do other verses say about remission of sin?
Acts 10:43 "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins."
Matthew 26:28 "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
Rom. 3:25 "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins."
Acts 3:19 "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out (remitted)."
What can we conclude from the above verses?
Only two things are necessary for remission of sins:
2. Faith in the one who shed his blood for the remission of our sins.
As Gods WORD says: whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. (Acts 10:43)
Those who claim that water baptism is essential for the remission of our sins are making the same mistake in Acts 2:38 as they did in Acts 22:16. They are shifting the emphasis from 'Repentance and faith in Jesus Christ who shed his blood', which alone is sufficient for remission of sins, to water baptism. Just because water baptism is mentioned in the same breath with the absolute essentials for salvation, doesn't make it equally essential for salvation. That is why we have to look to the entirety of the scriptures to shade more light on some verses which are gray when considered by themselves.
Another verse that is frequently quoted to support the necessity of water baptism for salvation, is 1 Peter 3:20-21. This is what the verses say; "...While the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism does also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." This verse does not say that baptism saves, but indicates to us that baptism is a physical act that symbolizes or is a "like figure" of the spiritual transformation of being saved in Christ Jesus. It is not baptism that saves us but the thing that baptism symbolizes, which is the spiritual transaction of being baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit that takes place when one believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 12:13 mentions the baptism into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit (not by water). "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." It doesn't say "baptized into water by the preacher", but "baptized into one body (the body of Christ) by one Spirit (the Holy Spirit). The baptism mentioned in 1 Cor. 12:13 is the one baptism mentioned in Ephesians 4:5. This is the one baptism that saves, because unless a person is baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit he cannot be saved. This is the same transaction we discussed earlier as 'being born of the Spirit' or 'being born again'. This spiritual transaction takes place when the sinner repents of his sins and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ or receives Jesus into his life (John 1:12). At that instant he is baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. That is why the Bible says, 'If any man is in Christ Jesus he is a new creature'. According to 1Cor. 12:13 any man becomes in Jesus Christ when he/she is baptized in the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit.
Note, that the medium and the administrator of this baptism is different from water baptism. There are different kinds of baptisms mentioned in the Bible.
From the above references, we can see the only baptism which is administered for the purpose of salvation is the baptism into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit which takes place instantaneously when a sinner repents and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. No wonder Angeles rejoice when a sinner repents and comes to the Lord, because one cell has just been added into the body of Christ. They don't wait until the sinner gets baptized into water before they rejoice, or it doesn't say 'Angels rejoice when a person is baptized into water'.
THE TRUE MEANING OF WATER BAPTISM
Water baptism is one of two symbolic New Testament ordinances the Lord gave to the church to observe. The second one is the Lords Supper. Water baptism symbolizes the unity and identification a believer has with Jesus Christ.
"We are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4
"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised him from the dead." Col. 2:12
These two verses tell us that baptism symbolizes the identification a believer has with the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When a believer is baptized into the water he/she is telling the world that he/she is dead to sin, the world, the devil and the flesh and has been buried with Jesus Christ. When the believer is raised up from the water he/she is testifying to the world that he/she has been raised up together with Jesus Christ to a newness of life. It does not mean that the believer is identified for the first time, with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ at the time of water baptism, but water baptism signifies in the physical world what already transpired in the spiritual world at the time when the believer was born again through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The person who is being baptized in water is obeying the Lords' command in the physical realm to symbolize what already took place in the spiritual realm.
The Bible makes it clear for us that we are saved by grace alone, and not by anything we have done or can do. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" Eph. 2:8- 9.
Those who add water baptism as a requirement for salvation are trying to add their own works to the finished work of Jesus Christ.
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