“I and the Father are one.”

Ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν (Egō kia ho Patēr hen esmen), lit., “I and the Father one thing we are”).     

Both historically and currently, Christians have pointed to this passage to show that Jesus indeed claimed equality with God the Father. As with Jesus’ other undeniable claims to be truly God (Matt. 12:6; John 5:17-18; 8:58-59 et al; Rev. 1:7-8, 17; 2:8; 22:13; etc.), the response of the Jews in verse 33 hence, is an irrefutable confirmation of Jesus’ claim: “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”

This passage also provides a clear refutation to the Oneness view (as discussed below), which erroneously asserts that Jesus is the Father (the same person). Ironically, Oneness advocates actually use John 10:30 as a so-called proof text, aside from the fact that throughout chapter 10, Jesus and the Father are clearly differentiated as two persons (vv. 15, 17, 18, 25, 29, 30, 36, 37, 38).

 However, the following points regarding John 10:30 clearly refute Oneness theology:     

Not one person within conservative recognized Christian scholarship agrees with a Oneness interpretation. Neither historically nor contemporaneously has any Christian writer interpreted John 10:30 in a modalistic (Oneness) way. Rather, all standard scholarly sources (patristics, commentaries, grammars, lexicons et al), interpret the passage in the plain intended way, within the defining context: The person of the Son claiming equality with the distinct person of the Father.

Plain reading. Jesus simply says, “I and the Father ARE one.” Only by pretexting can one read something into this text beyond the simple plain reading.              

The neuter adjective hen (“one”) is used—contextually indicating a unity of essence, not personal identity. If Jesus wanted to identify Himself as the same person as the Father (same person), He certainly could have used the masculine heis to indicate this (e.g., John 12:4; Rom. 3:10; 1 Tim. 2:5 et al.). In this passage, the Father and the Son are the two subjects of the sentence (egō, “I,” and Patēr, “Father”—both in the nominative [subject] case).

The neuter adjective hen (“one”) is the predicate nominative and it precedes the plural verb esmen (“are”). The predicate nominative “one” is describing the essential unity of the two subjects, Jesus and the Father. [1] In other words, Jesus is explaining that the Father and Son are one thing, not one person, in the context of unity, not identity of person. The same neuter adjective is used in John 17:21, expressing unity (not person) where Jesus prays that His disciples “may be one [hen]” even as Jesus and the Father are one. However, in verse 30, it was a unity in ontological coequality that Jesus expressed—thus, “The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him” (v. 31).       

The plural verb esmen (“are”). Again, in sharp contrast to the false Oneness interpretation (viz., that Jesus is the Father), the Greek contains the plural verb esmen (“I and the Father are one”), and not a singular verb such as eimi (“am”) or estin (“is”) in which case, the passage would read: “I and the Father am/is one.”

Furthermore, Jesus’ claim to deity is not merely found in verse 30. But rather, the passages leading up to verse 30 undeniably prove His claim. In verses 27-29, Jesus claims that He is the Shepherd that gives His sheep eternal life and no one can snatch them from His nor His Father’s hand (same words of YHWH in the LXX of Deut. 32:39[2]). The Jews were well acquainted with Deuteronomy 32:39: “And there is no one who can save anyone from My hand” and Psalm 95:7: “For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.” The Jews knew that only YHWH could make these claims of having sheep in His hand and giving them eternal life (cf. also Isa. 43:11).

It was after Jesus made these familiar and exclusively divine claims that He stated, “I and the Father are one.” Again, not mere unity, rather, unity in ontological coequality. So, it is easy to understand the response of the Jews wanting to kill Him for blasphemy: “You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God [poieis seauton Theon]” (vv. 31, 33).[3] If Jesus were only claiming to be “one” with the Father in the sense of mere unity, then Jesus’ claim would not have warranted blasphemy (Lev. 24:16).


 NOTES

[1] Renowned Greek grammarian A. T. Robertson comments on the application of the neuter hen in John 10:30: “One (hen). Neuter, not masculine (heis). Not one person (cf. heis in Gal. 3:28), but one essence or nature” (Archibald T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament [Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1932], 5:186).

[2] Deuteronomy 32:39 (LXX): “And there is no one who can deliver ek tōn cheirōn Mou [‘out of the hands of Me’].” John 10:28: “they will never perish; and no one will snatch them ek tēs cheiros Mou, “out of the hand of Me.” John 10:29: “no one is able to snatch them ek tēs cheiros tou Patros (“out of the hand of the Father”). 

[3] As in John 5:18, in John 10:33, the second person reflexive pronoun seauton (“Yourself”) indicates that the Jews understood that Jesus’ claims in John 10, which culminated in verse 30 (“I and the Father are one”) were by and for Himself—namely, He Himself made Himself “out to God.”   

 

 

Hebrews 1:6 (last clause):

 

  • NASB: “And let all the angels of God worship Him.”

 

  • New World Translation[1] (NWT): “And let all of God’s angels do obeisance to him.”

 

  • Greek NT (all eds.): Kai proskunēsatwsan autō pantes aggeloi Theou (lit., “And worship Him all [the] angels of God”).

 

  • LXX[2] (Deut. 32:43, the author’s OT source [also cf. Ps. 96:7]): Kai proskunēsatōsan autō pantes aggeloi Theou (Brenton’s ed., same rendering as Greek NT).

 

Last week, in our weekly First Love Radio Show, Pastor James Tippins (Grace Truth Church, Claxton, GA) and I had a fantastic discussion regarding some of the specific places in which “worship” (proskuneō and latreuō)[3] was applied to the person of the Son in a “religious” context[4] (esp. Dan. 7:14; Matt. 14:33; John 3:38; Heb. 1:6 and Rev. 5:13-14).

 

Hebrews 1:6 – a few noteworthy points:

 

  1. The Father’s command to all the angels to worship the Son was in the aorist imperative (proskunēsatōsan). Linguistically, this was the strongest and most “urgent” way to issue a command in biblical Greek—appearing in both the Greek NT (all eds.) and in the LXX (see above).

 

  1. The NWT. As most of us know, that the JWs’ unique and distorted translation, the NWT, replaced the word “worship” (as in virtually all recognized Bible translations) with “obeisance” (honor, respect, etc.).

 

  1. Lexically. The verb proskuneō is from pros (“toward”) and kuneō (lit., “to kiss”). Thus, “prostrating oneself before persons and kissing their feet. . . . to express … submission to a high authority figure, (fall down and) worship, do obeisance … do reverence to, welcome respectfully” (BDAG).

 

  1. Context. The verb could mean either religious “worship” (reserved for God alone, cf. John 4:24) or “obeisance” with no connotation of religious worship at all. But as we know: Context always governs!—thus it determines the verb’s meaning. The defining and surrounding context of Hebrews 1:6 is clearly in the heavenlies(it does not get more “religious” and holier than that!) and the affirmation of the eternal Son. Moreover, in the prologue of Hebrews (viz. chap. 1), the author presents a vivid contrast between all things created (angels, heavens, and the earth) and the eternal Son, Creator of all things (vv. 2, 3, 10-12[5]). It is this defining context, therefore, that indicates the meaning of proskuneō in verse 6—namely, divine religious “worship.”        

 

The JWs argue in a theological circle, which starts with unitarianism and ends with a denial of the deity of Christ. Hence, the NWT arbitrarily removes “worship” at the places applied to Christ (e.g., Matt. 2:11; 14:33; 28:8-9; John 9:38; and of course, Heb. 1:6). Interestingly, from 1950 to 1970, in Hebrews 1:6, the NWT read, “And let all God’s angels worship him.” Consequently, for over twenty years, the JWs actually taught that “all the angels” worshiped Jesus (who they identify as Michael, the “created” archangel)—a frustrating fact they cannot deny. It was not until the 1971 ed. that “worship” was finally removed being replaced with “obeisance” in Hebrews 1:6.

 

Furthermore, from 1898 to 1964, the Watchtower (the JWs leadership), has taught that “worship” is properly given to Jesus—it’s a matter of (accessible) record. Note these examples: 

 

 “Yes, we believe our Lord Jesus while on earth was really worshiped, and properly so. It was proper for our Lord to receive worship in view of his having been the only begotten of the Father and his agent in the creation of all things, including man” (Zion’s Watch Tower, 1898, July 15, p. 216).

“Jehovah God commands all to worship Christ Jesus because Christ Jesus is the express image of his Father, Jehovah….”  (Watchtower, 1939, Nov 15, p. 339).

“[W]hosoever should worship Him must also worship and bow down to Jehovah’s Chief One in that capital organization, namely, Christ Jesus….” (Watchtower, 1945, p. 313).

 

In the 1945 Yearbook, it clearly defines the purpose of the Watchtower Society (in part):

“The purposes of this Society are…. to go forth to all the world publicly and from house to house to preach and teach Bible truths. … and send out to various parts of the world Christian missionaries, teachers and instructors in the Bible and Bible literature and for public Christian worship of Almighty God and Christ Jesus.”

 

In 1964, they finally changed their view and taught that worshiping Christ was idolatrous: “It is unscriptural … to render worship to the Son of God” (Watchtower, 1964 Nov 1, p. 671). The inconsistencies of the Watchtower are and have been astounding! 

 

Jesus Worshiped as God

Jesus received “worship” in a religious context[6] on several occasions. These are some of the clear and explicit examples of the Son receiving religious worship by both men and angels:

 

Dan. 7:13-14 [LXX, Swete, Rahlfs eds.]: 13 I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man [anarthrous s huios anthrōpou] was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 14 And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom and all the nations of the earth according to their kind, and all glory to Him worshiping [λατρεύουσα, latreuousa, present act. participle of latreuō, trans from the imperfect Arm. verb pelach], and the dominion of Him is an everlasting dominion, which ou mē arthē [‘never never, not even a possibility, shall pass away’], and the kingdom of Him, which ou mē phtharē [never never, not even a possibility, shall be destroyed].”  

The same term (pelach) applied to the Son of Man in verse 14 is applied to Yahweh in verse 27: “His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve [pelach] and obey Him.” Further, the LXX translate pelach in verse 14, as latreuō, which, in a religious context, denotes service or worship reserved for God alone (cf. Exod. 20:5 [LXX]; see also Matt. 4:10; Rom. 1:9, Phil. 3:3; Heb. 9:14). Even though some editions of the LXX, pelach is translated as douleuō (“to serve”), but in a religious context (which vv. 9-14 undeniably are), douleuō like latreuō denotes service or worship reserved for God alone (cf. Gal. 4:8).[7]

 

MATTHEW 14:33: “And those who were in the boat worshiped [proskuneō] [8] Him saying [legontes – pres. participle], ‘You are certainly God’s Son!’” Matthew 14:22-34 is a narrative of the Jesus’ miraculous walking on the water. This event is also recorded in Mark 6:45-51 and John 6:16-21. What is remarkable is that the narrative supplies ample references to the deity of Christ (i.e., His repeated “I am” claims and the religious worship given to Christ by the men in the boat). This event follows the feeding of the 5,000. In verse 26, we read that after the disciples who were in the boat saw Jesus “walking on the water,” they were terrified for they thought they saw a phantasma (“ghost/ apparition”). At which point Jesus comforted them by stating: Tharseite, egō eimi, mē phobeisthe (lit.Take courage, I am, [do] not [be with] fear” (v. 27).

Jesus declares His deity in contrast to their fear. Jesus is the One who created all things, the eternal God, who controls the winds and the sea (cf. Matt. 8:27)—why be afraid? In verses 28-32, Matthew provides additional information. However, we read that Peter attempted to walk on the water to meet Christ, but sank due to his weak faith. When Jesus helped him get back into the boat, verse 33 indicates, “Those who were in the boat worshiped [proskuneō] Him, saying, ‘You are certainly God’s Son!’” Note that act of worshiping is connected with the affirmation of Jesus being “God’s Son.”

The unique way in which Jesus claimed to be the Son of God was tantamount to claiming He was God the Son—, which was clearly understood by the Jews (cf. Mark 14:61-63; John 5:17-18; 10:30-36; 19:7), the apostles (cf. Matt. 16:18; Rom. 1:1, 3); the author of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 1:1-3); the devil (cf. Matt. 4:3-7); God the Father (cf. Matt. 3:17; Heb. 1:5-12); and the OT prophets (cf. Ps. 2:7; Dan. 7:9-14; Acts 10:43 et al). 

 

JOHN 9:35-38: “[Jesus] said [to the blind man that He healed], “’Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’ 37 Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.’ 38 And he said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshiped [proskuneō] Him.” As in Matthew 14:33, the worship was combined with the blind man’s affirmation that Jesus was the “Son of Man” and “Lord”—thus, a religious context (cf. Dan. 7:9-14).

 

REVELATION 5:13-14: “And every created thing … I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.’ 14 And the four living creatures kept saying, ‘Amen’ and the elders fell down and worshiped [proskuneō].” Here the Father and the Lamb received the same kind of blessing, honor, and glory and thus, the same kind of worship, from “every created thing.” Hence, the Lamb (Jesus) is excluded from the category of a “created thing.” Rather, as in Hebrews 1:6 et al, the Son was worshiped in a religious context. This revealing truth shows that the Son shares the very essence of God the Father. He is God in the same sense as that of the Father (cf. John 1:1, 18; Heb. 1:3).

 

In spite of the NWT’s devaluation of the Son, the denial of His cross work and a denial of the triune nature of the only true God, both the OT and NT affirm that Jesus Christ was properly worshiped as God. The Son is “the great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13); “the only Master and Lord” (Jude 1:4); the Theos-Christos (“God-Christ”) who saved a people out of the land of Egypt (Jude 1:5) whose atoning cross work is the very cause of our justification.

 

Let us, along with all the angels, worship Jesus Christ, “the Lord of glory,” unceasingly.


NOTES

[1] The NWT is the Bible translation of the JWs—published by the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (i.e., the corporate name for the JWs).

[2] LXX is the abbreviation of the Septuagint (i.e., the Greek OT).

[3] These terms are the primary terms denoting worship or reverence, honor depending on the context (e.g., John 4:24; Rom. 12:1). 

 [4] A religious context is any such context where spirituality, holiness, and/or divinity exists.  

[5] Verses 10-12 is a citation of Psalm 102:25-27 (LXX). Thus, the Father directly addresses the Son (cf. v. 8) as the Yahweh (LORD) of that Psalm—the unchangeable Creator of all things.    

[6]  See note 4 above. 

[7] Many modern Jewish commentators deny the Messianic import of this passage. However, this was not the case with the earliest Jewish sources (cf. the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin, 96b-97a, 98a; etc.). Furthermore, the testimony of early church Fathers connect the Son of Man in Daniel 7:9ff. with Jesus Christ— and not with men collectively.

[8] The Greek word proskuneō means divine worship in a religious context (as with Matt. 4:10 and John 4:24) or it can also mean to fall prostrate in front of another in honor and respect, thus, “obeisance.” Only the context determines the meaning. In Hebrews 1:6, the setting is in the heavenlies—hence, the Father commands “all the angels” to give religious worship to the divine Son.

Oneness-unitarian advocate, Roger Perkins, has again attempted to deny the person of the Lord Jesus in his recent so-called refutation of my very brief article on the “Son of God”-– Read it Here.

Not at all surprising, in his struggle against biblical Trinitarianism, Perkins voluminously responds to my brief article instead of dealing with a fuller presentation of passages such as John 10:30 contained in my book, *A Definitive Look at Oneness Theology: In the Light of Biblical Trinitarianism* (Get it here), or the countless other exegetical and scholarly works by other authors, which is also contained in the book. If I were Perkins, I too would rather deal with a short (about two pages) article than be forced to interact with an expanded exegetical treatment made be myself, and so many others throughout history. – – To read Perkins’ article go here.

In fact, not one, not even one, noted scholar, grammarian, or standard lexicographer in Christian history has ever agreed with the customary Oneness interpretation of Isa. 9:6; Mal. 2:10; Matt. 28:19; John 1:1; 10:30; 14:9; 17:5; Col. 2:9 et al. In point of fact, early church Fathers collectively, important Ecumenical Councils and resulting creeds, all recognized biblical scholarship has always been against the theological assertions made by modalistic/Oneness advocates.

Disregarding Context: First, as clearly seen, Perkins (as well as Oneness advocates across the board) has an annoying routine of basing the entirety of his arguments on a single word possible meaning, hence engaging in word fallacies over and over—while the entire contexts are dismissed and/or ignored. This is esp. seen in his unitarian view of John 10:30, as we will see.       

A glaring example of this is in Perkins’ assessment John 10:30, Perkins in his article, he spends most of his time trying to tell us (Christians) what a text “cannot” mean, rather than what it does mean. In other words, Perkins, does not provide a positive affirmation as to the actual meaning of v. 30; nor does he explain how it relates to the context of chapter 10; or explain WHY Jesus, as recorded, uses a plural verb and not a singular verb denoting Him and His Father; or WHY is the neuter “one” used to denote the relationship between Jesus and the Father. Perkins, for reasons know to himself, decided not to properly address these important issues. Instead, Perkins merely makes comments based on his personal view and complains about the historic Trinitarian view.  Since Perkins seems bothered most by the historical and enduring scholarly interpretation of John 10:30, I will respond primarily to Perkins’ assertion regarding that passage:  

Oneness people are utterly controlled by their unitarian presupposition. Thus. every passage, which says or teaches “one God” (e.g., Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29), Perkins (as with all Oneness advocates), must salvage his personal views by forcing unitarianism into every passage—without, of course,  proving it from the text. All unitarians, whether Muslims, JWs, or Oneness Pentecostals employ this kind of circular eisegesis. Thus, Perkins automatically (not exegetically) interprets John 10:30 through the lens of unitarianism—viz., one God = one person, the Father.           

As we will see all over, Perkins not once deals with the context of the chapter itself. Anyone who as ever heard Perkins in debate or read any of his tutelages, he or she would see that Perkins lives up to his solid reputation of removing passages and words out of their inclusive context in which he posits his personal theology into such passages throwing around Greek terms and misreading and misquoting lexicons. Hence, many see Perkins as practicing dishonest scholarship especially in his debate with James White. Namely, Perkins stated that Thayer applied a meaning of “in the mind” for preposition para with dative, appearing twice in John 17:5: (“Father glorify Me para seautw [“together with Yourself”] . . . with the glory I had para soi [“with You”] before the world was”). However, Thayer said no such thing. He does indicate para with the dative could have a possible meaning of “in the mind” at John 17:5. To say that he did as Perkins did is simply flat-out lexical abuse. In fact, when Thayer actually comments on para with the dative to John 17:5 he states:

With, i.e., in one’s house. . . . Dwelling WITH God, John 8:38 [“I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.”]; i.q. [‘the same as’] in heaven, John 17:5 (emphasis added).

No “in the mind” meaning (as with standard lexicons and grammars indicate). As with John 10:30, Perkins is quite alone on his personal views of regarding a Oneness unitarian interpretation of 17:5. In point of fact, anyone engaging in real scholarly research on John 17:5 (or 10:30) would see scholarly opinion rejects Oneness theological assertions across the board.           

REGARDING JOHN 10:30-

Context. After reading Perkins’ so-called refutation, a glaring fact jumps out (esp. with John 10:30): Perkins never actually interacts at all with the content and actual context of the surrounding the passages, he merely asserts his theology into text. He does use the word “context when he says:

“And the context actually defines this distinction for us:  “You, being a man, make yourself God.”  The problem the Jews had with Christ’s assertion was that He was a visible “man” claiming to be the invisible “God.”  In John 10.30 both the 1st person pronoun translated “I” (ἐγὼ) and the noun translated “Father” (Πατὴρ) appear in the nominative case, singular number.  The speaker was a visible man (subject) claiming to be the one invisible God (object)—hence the contextual subject-object distinction.”

So Perkins’ idea of “context” is to cite a lone passage (i.e., v. 30) and then his own assumed context into that passage. As any first year seminary student knows, that he would receive failing grade on in a basic hermeneutic class, which he was required to exegete a passage and he merely did what Perkins did—viz., assert a pre-text without a context. As he consistently does with other passages Perkins attempts to modalize (esp. John 1:1; 10:30; 17:5 et al). Perkins here is utterly discounted from the context of chapter 10—where Jesus and the Father are plainly repeatedly differentiated.

Note the consistency of the passages leading up to v. 30 the following:   

  • Verse 15: “even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”
  • Verses 17-18: “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” 
  • Verse 29: “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
  • Verse 36: “If He [i.e., the Father] called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him [Jesus], whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?”
  • Verse 38: “so that you may know and understand that the Father is in [en, thus, not “am”] Me, and I in the Father.”

Clearly, no one who reads this chapter for the first time would never get the idea that Jesus was the same person as the Father. One would have to be taught the Oneness notion trading the natural reading for a stroppy modified one.

More grammatical errors. Perkins then ties a loose around the neck of his argument when he makes the assertion regarding nominatives and “subject object distinctions,” which Perkins calls, “the contextual subject-object distinction.” Because of Perkins’ lack of understanding in area of Greek grammar, he assumes his pretext (what he feels v. 30 means) based on his misunderstanding of 1) what a nominative and a predicate are and 2) subject object distinctions between Jesus and the Father.

First, it is clear from the Perkins statement, “In John 10.30 both the 1st person pronoun translated “I” and the noun translated “Father” (Πατὴρ) appear in the nominative case, singular number,” which he then sneaks in his conclusion, that Perkins just doesn’t know what two nominatives in a sentence indicates in light of the PLURAL verb.

Most Oneness people in an embarrassing way, error on this grammatical point at John 1:1, wherein we find two nominatives (theos and logos). They typically argue that the two must carry the meaning of the mathematical equal sign (A=B, B=A). But as NT Greek scholars/grammarians (e.g., Robertson, Reymond, Harris, Wallace, Greenlee et al), point out the theos and logos in 1:1c are NOT a convertible proposition, rather a subset proposition (cf. Wallace, BBGG). As a qualitative noun, the Word in John 1:1c is in the class or category of the anarthrous pre-Verbal PN theon, but the Word is not the person of ton theon (1:1b, viz., the Father). Again, Perkins stands alone, he has no recognized scholar to which he can appeal—because they reject the Oneness interpretation both historically and present day. No Greek grammarian has ever concluded, by the grammar of the passage, a Oneness interpretation of John 1:1.    

Perkins seems in a dense fog here, for first he merely throws out there that v. 30 contains two singular nominatives, but never explains what the significance of it is. And since he never mentions nor explains the function of the predicate (the other nominative), it indicates to me that he does not understand neither what a nominative nor predicate are or what they do.

The large issue here is this: that there are two nominatives in the passage is meaningless WITHOUT a context. This has been the chief flaw in his hermeneutic throughout his writings and presentations. So when he offers his so-called reply to my tersely article, he stays consistent in his lack of contextual interaction. The construction simply and typically marks out distinction from the subject and predicate (complement).

And again demonstrating Perkins lack of familiarity of Greek grammar, the linking PLURAL verb unities the subject and the predicate together in which grammatically the subject and the subject complement are “essentially” one—not one person—rather PLURAL verb is used, esmen, not a singular one (estin, eimi, “is, am”); and both nominative are associated as the main topic of the sentence.

Unbeknownst to Perkins (or he a point he chooses to overlook), Subject–Object and Subject-Hearer distinctions between Jesus and the Father interspersed throughout the NT radically disproves the Oneness position.  

In fact, this feature alone is one of the most controverting arguments against the Oneness unitarian notion of Jesus being the Father. For example, “After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water … behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My [speaker] beloved Son, [hearer] in whom I [speaker] am well-pleased’” (Matt. 3:16-17; also Matt. 17:5); “I [speaker] glorified You [hearer] on earth, having accomplished the work which You [hearer] have given Me [speaker] to do” (John 17:4; cf. also Luke 23:34, 46). Jesus personally and distinctly relates to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and the reverse is altogether true of the Father and the Holy Spirit relating to each other. That is why I find it very odd that Perkins argue this, when it actually refutes his position.

Heis (“one”)

Now onto Perkins attempt to go against all mainline scholarship regarding the neuter adjective heis (“one”):

“Though this has been pointed out to Trinitarians ad-nauseum, the masculine singular (3-3) adjective heis, translated “one” (εἷς), is indeed applied to God from the very lips of Jesus in Mark 12.29 as “the most important commandment.”  If, as Dalcour asserts here, the masculine singular heis demands a single person (and it certainly does) the entire Trinitarian position is collapsed according to Christ Himself!  That is, Jesus’ view of the Godhead was most definitely not that of a “Triune divinity”—and His view of both God and Scripture should equally be our view.”

First, he again, as with all unitarians, assumes unitarianism into Mark 12:29 (one God = one person). As much as Oneness advocates would like this point to be true, nowhere does Scripture indicate one God = one person. A redundant vibrato of citing passages that indicate “one God” is meaningless when “one” is left undefined as Perkins does—he merely assumes “one” means one numerically and one in solitary.

Although in both the OT and NT “one” can mean composite/compound unity, one group, people, one union between husband and wife, one section or many, etc. Further, at least nine words in Hebrew can mean “one” (Morey)—and Perkins knows this. An undefined “one” rather proves the Trinitarian positon, since the foundation of the Trinity is monotheism (one God), and the foundation of Oneness is one person. So in spite of Perkins’ overly complaining, Mark 12:29 does not show what Perkins wants it to show—Jesus was not a unitarian.  

Second, Perkins goes on to say,   

“Although lexical quotes abound to this end, ironically, Dalcour’s quotation from Robertson above is one of the most conclusive citations from Greek linguists (cf. Zodhiates, Vincent, Thayer, BDAG, Wuest, et al.).”

Please note: Not ONE of these sources applies a unipersonal (viz. that God is one person) meaning to eiJV at Mark. 12:29 (Deut. 6:4, LXX), not one. Hence, Perkins references (“Zodhiates, Vincent, Thayer, BDAG, Wuest, et al.”) is his rickety attempt to sustain a unipersonal meaning of eiJV at Mark 12:29—but again, scholarship (esp. the ones he references) is decidedly against a unipersonal meaning of Mark 12:29 (or any other passage). 

Perkins says, “when heis is used “one person” is in view . . . lexical quotes abound to this end.” And then Perkins tell us: “Indeed, heis is used c. 100x in the NT alone and in no instance does it denote more than one-single-person. . . . the masculine singular heis demands one-single-person.”  

This assertion again reveals the stock of knowledge Perkins has in Greek. Although he has been consistently refuted on this point, Perkins still presses it. One wonders if he does this purposefully hoping no one will verify this.

The masculine eiJV is similar to the English “one.” Here we have again, Perkins assume unitarianism into the term. “One” what? Yes, most of the time, “one person,”—when man is in view. However, not “every time” as Perkins would like it to mean. The fact is, if there is even one place where eiJV is used to signify more than one person, Perkins entire premise implodes. This is true with the multitude of plural verbs, nouns, adjectives, and prepositions applied to the “one” God, which is a thorn in the flesh to Oneness advocates—showing again that Oneness unitarianism is not consistent with biblical view of God. For example, note Gal. 3:28:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one [heis] in Christ Jesus.”

Of course, Christians naturally and rightfully cite this passage to show the unity of believers in Christ—because it plainly states this, as with biblical scholarship. The fact is, Perkins will put a doctrinal spin on any verse if it disagrees with what he believes. Note Perkins comments: 

“Galatians 3.28 will not do at this point (as Trinitarians typically use to evade the force of heis) since the entire point of Paul’s discourse in these texts is that biblical Christians are “one person in Christ Jesus” (cf. NEB, ASV, ERV).”  

“The force of heis”? What does that mean? First, Perkins misleads he readers here. For both the ASV (“for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus”) and the ERV (“You are all the same in Christ Jesus”), none say “one person.” As said, Perkins has a reputation for misquoting and botching sources. He selects translations that he can put a spin on, as he did with the older ed. of the AMP of Gal. 3:20. The fact is, the translators of the ASV (note, Philip Schaff had chosen the scholars for the project) and the ERV (produced by the WBTC), NEB, and the AMP were translated by Trinitarian scholars, who naturally saw the Oneness view as a perversion of Scripture.      

That Perkins will rest his interpretation of Gal. 3:28 on a few obscure translations in the face of virtually every other biblical translation is a flimsy argument esp. in the context of Christians being “one in unity” in Cristw. Again, the translators to which Perkins appeals were Trinitarian. Also, contrasting the masculine eiJV and the neuter eJn in John 10:30, noted Greek grammarian A. T. Robertson points out: Not one person (cf. ei in Galatians 3:28), but one essence or nature” (Word Pictures).

Perkins’ strange interpretation that “biblical Christians are one person” is, of course, restless eisegesis. Perkins main howlers here is that critical biblical exegesis is NOT derived from looking at translations trying to find which one matches a view, but rather proper exegesis.  

The Greek phrase, panten gar humeis heis este en Cristw Iesou, literally, “All indeed you one are in Christ Jesus.” The Greek completely erases Perkins odd interpretation and affirms clearly, “one in unity,” not in one man. As mention, this one passage, which denotes a clear one in unity meaning, turns Perkins heis view upside down.          

Note that Paul’s salutations grammatically denote two distinct persons (cf. Sharp Rule 5). Grammatically (as circumstantiated by grammarians [Sharp, Greenlee, Wallace et al] when there are multiple personal nouns in a clause that are connected by kai and the first noun lacks the article, each noun must denote a distinct person, as shown in all of the Pauline salutations: charis humin kai eirene apo theou patros hemwn kai kuriou Iesou Christou, literally, “Grace to you and peace from God Father of us and Lord Jesus Christ” – no articles preceding both personal nouns (patron and Christou)—thus, this indicates distinct persons.

Along with Gal. 3:28, Perkins Oneness unitarian view of heis is esp. refuted by 1 Cor. 8:6:

“yet for us there is but one [heis] God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one [heis] Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.”

Remember, Perkins argument is “when heis is used “one person” is in view.” But wait. Perkins trips here (as with Gal. 3:28) on his own so-called linguistic rule. If heis means, in every case, one sole person, as Perkins asserts, it would follow then that the Father is one sole person and the Lord is one (another) sole person since the double usage of heis precedes both nouns, that is, both sole persons, which is consistent with Trinitarianism, not Oneness.

Two distinct persons, the sole person of the Father (who is heis) and the sole person of Lord Jesus (who is also heis). To argue that the double usage of heis represents both the Father and Lord Jesus defies the plain and natural reading here, Compare Eph. 4:4-5 and 1 Tim. 2:5, where, as with 1 Cor. 8:6, the multiple use heis preceding both the Father and Jesus heavily challenges and clearly refutes the Oneness perspective of heis and a unitarian Jesus.  

Perkins simply dismisses all of this when he says:

“This is the adjective [heis] carefully and intentionally employed by Jesus when specifically describing God’s numerical identity.”

Again, this only shows how controlled Perkins and Oneness believers are to a unitarian a priori assumption. Perkins as shown is dead wrong in his assessment of what Christ meant. Jesus and the NT never once saw or called Jesus the Father. Rather He is the monogenes theos (John 1:18);  He was the Son who was worship as God, (God commanding the all the angels to worship God, the Son; Heb. 1:6); the Son is the YHWH of Isa. 45:23 (Phil. 2:9-10); and the YHWH of John 2:32 (Rom. 10:13); and the YHWH of Ps. 102:25-27, the unchangeable Creator (Heb. 1:10-12); and the YHWH that Isiah saw in Isa. 6 (John 12:39-41)—note, all these are references specifically to the Son.           

The, Perkins amazingly cites Trinitarian A. T. Roberson in response to my original citation. I say “amazingly” because as, Perkins certainly knows, Robertson saw all forms of Oneness unitarian theology as heretical. When Perkins (and other Oneness defenders) appeals to numerous Trinitarian grammarians and scholars, I suppose he sees them as “hostile witnesses.”

Since Perkins does have a reputation of misquoting sources, before citing Perkins’ analysis of what he feels Robertson meant, let us read in full (since I only cited partial) the grammatical comments of Robertson said pertaining to the neuter adjective eJn in John 10:30:

“One (en). Neuter, not masculine (ei). Not one person (cf. ei in Galatians 3:28), but one essence or natureBy the plural sumu (separate persons) Sabellius is refuted, by unum Arius. So Bengel rightly argues, though Jesus is not referring, of course, to either Sabellius or Arius. The Pharisees had accused Jesus of making himself equal with God as his own special Father (John 5:18). Jesus then admitted and proved this claim (John 5:19-30). Now he states it tersely in this great saying repeated later (John 17:11, 21 John 21). Note en used in 1 Corinthians 3:3 of the oneness in work of the planter and the waterer and in Jo 17:11 Jo 17:23 of the hoped for unity of Christ’s disciples. This crisp statement is the climax of Christ’s claims concerning the relation between the Father and himself (the Son). They stir the Pharisees to uncontrollable anger (Word Pictures, emphasis added).”

Incongruent to what Robertson actually said, Perkins comments:  

“Robertson’s point is that if Christ would have employed the masculine singular (3-3) adjective heis (translated “one”) in John 10.30 then this would have demanded “one person”—since this is the natural force of the masculine singular tag. However, as mentioned both above and elsewhere, Jesus does indeed use the masculine singular heis in delineating the “most important commandment” of the emphatic-monadic identity of God (Mark 12.29).view.”   

Perkins is unequivocally wrong. Robertson made no such point. Again, “Not one person (cf. ei in Galatians 3:28), but one essence or natureBy the plural sumu (separate persons)Sabellius is refuted.” Oh my, it seems as though Perkins may assume that no will fact-check his sources—in context. The point of fact, Robertson bluntly refutes Perkins position—“Neuter, not masculine (ei). Not one person.”       

I understand that Perkin (and many Oneness believers) is very passionate (and always seems very angry) in promoting what he believes to be true. Although, Oneness theology is clearly not according to the teachings of the biblical authors—it does matter. Perkins refuses to properly consult lexical sources and grammars; many have brought this point to attention who have read and heard Perkins. As seen, Perkins’ malfunctioning hermeneutic is most shown when he repeatedly insists on a meaning of the neuter eJn and masculine eJiV, which disconnected from the context. It should not be surprising, then, why recognized biblical scholars presently and historically reject the Oneness interpretation of John 10:30 seeing it patently false. One must interpret in light of, not in spite of, the context in which words appear.

On this point, again citing Trinitarians, Perkins refers to footnote in the NET translation, which was edited by Daniel Wallace, Greek grammar and textual authority, and Yes, solidly Trinitarian:  

“See here also the NET translator notes:  The phrase ἕν ἐσμεν ({en esmen) is a significant assertion with trinitarian implications. ἕν is neuter, not masculine, so the assertion is not that Jesus and the Father are one person, but one ‘thing’”

Note that Wallace has written countless works on the Trinity and has definitely commented on the many passages that exegetically prove it. Perkins shoots himself in the foot here; he seems to be uninformed. We as with Wallace, see John 10:30 as totally opposing the Oneness-unitarian view that Jesus and the Father are the same person, rather they are one in essence and unity (one thing, not one person).   

 

Then Perkins goes on to complain about the contextual understanding of heis:

“(Dalcour):  In John 17:21, for example, Jesus prays that His disciples may “be one [hen] even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us.”  The same neuter adjective is used. . . . *Note here that in Jesus’ High Priestly prayer He is praying that His disciples—who were separate human beings and not merely “distinct persons”—would share in the same oneness as the Father and Him shared.  Since Dalcour is appealing to this passage in connection with the neuter sing. hen (translated “one”), will he now inform us that God the Father and “God the Son” are equally as radically separated as human beings, and each are fully God?  Or will he now modify this assertion to conform to his predisposed religious tradition?”

Perkins again ignores the context of the entire chapter. Unity Mr. Perkins—that is the idea being expressed here, as the statements directed to Jesus disciples clearly indicate. Thus, the context governs the meaning of the neuter.        

PLURAL VERB—esmen (“we are”)

John 10:30 (as well as the entire chap.) at face value, in the most plainness way, indicates that Jesus is not the Father— egw kai o Pathr eJn esmen (“I and the Father one We Are”). After one reads John 10, he would never never get the idea that Jesus is the Father; only if he were superficially “taught” Oneness unitarianism would he come up with that. To say again, no one in church history (viz. Christian fathers, ecumenical councils, or resulting creeds) or present-day recognized scholarship embraced Oneness doctrine—they have always rejected it as non-Christian, a departure from the Christ of biblical revelation.        

When ones reads plainly the entire content set forth in the literature of John, he sees clearly that Jesus and the Father were distinct not the same person. This is seen esp. in places such as John 10:15-18, where Jesus had clearly differentiated Himself from the Father. As well as the passages leading up to v. 30. The same Father of whom Jesus says, “For this Father loves Me” and in v. 18, Jesus says that He lays down His life ap’ emautou, “from Myself, My own [not ‘our’] initiative.” Jesus tells His readers as in John 6:38, before the incarnation He makes and possesses His Own determination/will (note the reflexive emautou) “of, from My own [not, “our own”], thus, distinct from the Father (cf. John 6:38). 

Perkins is simply in error. Yes, essential Unity, not identification—coupled with the plural verb esmen- not eimi, (“am”) or estin (“is”). In point of fact, the Apostle John envisages the Son as the monogenhV qeoV (“unique God,” John 1:18), who was WITH the Father as a distinct person before time (cf. John 1:1, 18, 6:38; 8:58; 17:5; Rev. 5:13). Further, John sees the Son as God as the eternal God deserving of religious worship (cf. John 5:23; 9:38; Rev. 5:13-14). John sees the liar as any denying this Son of divine revelation (cf. 1 John 2:22-23).

REVELATION 21:22: “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (NASB)

Perkins states that

“The Greek verb translated “are” (ἐστιν) in this text is the “singular verb estin” that Dalcour requests above explicating both God and His Son.  If a plural verb describing the Father and the Son quantifies as two divine persons—why does not a singular verb modifying the same subject equal a single divine person (esp. when this passage contextually describes the singular “temple” of Heaven)?”

Then Perkins provides a lengthy explanation, which only proves my point: Perkins is not a fan of context. Perkins simply attempts to isolate this passage from John’s own theology in both Revelation and in John’s entire literature. Simply, Perkins makes two slippery mistakes (perhaps hoping no one will fact check). Briefly,

1) John has already differentiated Jesus from the Father throughout the book. For example,

Revelation 3:21 presents the “Son” as sitting on His own throne (distinct from the Father’s throne). And Revelation 5:13-14 presents two distinct divine objects of religious worship: “To Him [the Father] who sits on the throne and to the Lamb [the Son]: be praise, honor, glory and dominion forever and ever!”

Passages such as Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 John 1:3; 2:22; and here Revelation 5:13 confirm a grammatical differentiation between two or all three persons of the Trinity.

Grammatically, along with Matthew 28:19, note 2 Cor. 13:14 and 1 John 1:3:   

  • 2 Corinthians 13:14: “The grace of the [tou] Lord Jesus Christ and [kai] the love of the [tou] God and [kai] the fellowship of the [tou] Holy Spirit with all of you.”
  • 1 John 1:3: “Indeed our fellowship is with the [tou] Father and [kai] with the [tou] Son of Him Jesus Christ.”

And Revelation 5:13: “The [tw] One sitting upon the throne and [kai] to the [tw] Lamb, the blessing and the honor and the glory and the dominion into the ages of the ages.”

According to the “normal” rules of Greek grammar (cf. Granville, Reymond, Beisner, Wallace, Greenlee), Jesus (the Lamb) is distinct in person from the Father throughout Scripture. To make Rev. 21:22 militate against John’s own words in other places is blatant eisegesis—viz. again, a painful and flawed hermeneutic. But again, Perkins enjoys using and abusing naked words in spite of context to arrive at unorthodox interpretations. 

2) Since the Greek is clear, Perkins either has no concern about reading the text carefully in its original significance (Greek) whereby Perkins merely assumes all Oneness believers will blindly accept his assertions here or he just cannot read Greek. Simply, as Perkins knows it (it was brought to his attention over and over), Rev. 21:22 has NO syntactical parallel to John 10:30.

> John 10:30 reads: egw kai ho Pater hen esmen (lit., “I and the Father one we are”).

 

  •    > Rev. 21:22 reads: Kai naon ouk eidon en aute ho gar kurios ho theon ho pantokratwr naos autes estinkai to arnion (lit., “And temple not I saw in it, indeed [the] Lord the God almighty, temple of it is, and the Lamb”).        

 

Note that first in John 10:30, the verb (esmen, “are”) appears at the end of the sentence, after the phrase, “I and the Father,” thus, Jesus and the Father—“we are” one, not “we “is” (estin) or “am” one. Whereas in Rev. 21:22, the verb (estin, “is”) is before the phrase, “and the Lamb.” Thus, kai to arnion (“and the Lamb”) is an additional clause. No connection whatsoever—and Perkins knows this.               

Perkins lack of awareness in Greek (or purposeful fraudulence) causes him to assume that that lone context-less singular verbs constitute doctrine. However, the entire context and syntax must be considered—something Perkins does not do, as seen.  

CONCLUSION

In the end, the only ones who will accept the assertions of Roger Perkins in his article are uncritical and disinserted Oneness believers.

Again, biblical scholarship is on the Trinitarian side, and thus in John 10:30—Jesus and the Father are distinct persons who are one in unity an essence. Oneness advocates like Perkins stand alone, for obvious reasons. Note the some robust (a few of countless) scholarly opinions regarding John 10:30 militating again the Oneness position: 

New Testament scholar Murray Harris: “This dual conception of “distinction of person-community of essence” also comes to expression in John 10:30, egw kai ho pater hen esmen, which refers to neither personal identity (which would require heis esmen) nor simply to agreement of will and purpose (since John 10:28b, 29b implies at least an equality of power).” (Harris, Jesus as God, 285, n. 38).

Marvin Vincent: “The neuter, not the masculine heis, one person. It implies unity of essence, not merely of will or of power” (Vincent, Word Studies in the NT, vol. 2)

Robertson (as cited): “By the plural sumus [“are”] (separate persons) Sabellius [Oneness] is refuted, by unum [‘one in essence’] Arius” (Word Pictures, 5:186).

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown: “‘Are’ is in the masculine gender—‘we (two persons) are’; while ‘one’ is neuter—‘one thing.’ Perhaps ‘one interest’ expresses, as nearly as may be, the purport of the saying. . . . Thus it will be seen, that, though oneness of essence is not the precise thing here affirmed, that truth is the basis of what is affirmed, without which it would not be true. And Augustine was right in saying the ‘We are’ condemns the Sabellians (who denied the distinction of Persons in the Godhead), while the ‘one’ (as explained) condemns the Arians (who denied the unity of their essence)’” (JFB, Commentary, Volume 3: Matthew to Ephesians).

David J. Ellis: “The neuter gender rules out any thought of meaning ‘one Person.’ This is not a comment on the nature of the Godhead. Rather, having spoken of the sheep’s security in both Himself and the Father, Jesus underlines what He has said by indicating that in action the Father and He can be regarded as a single entity, because their wills are one” (Ellis, “John,” in The International Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, ed. F. F. Bruce, 1249).

It is not surprising that Oneness-unitarians like Roger Perkins who after reading the plainness of so many biblical texts and examining scholarly and lexical sources makes so many errors in hermeneutics (as shown above and shown in debate) and his misuse of scholarly sources esp. lexical abuse.

So, what we have here is yet another Oneness advocate who is so controlled by unitarianism that he will sacrifice simply and verifiable truth for the sake of his tradition. Yes, it is a spiritual issue; Christians must keep praying that God will deliver Oneness Pentecostals from the bondage of the Oneness theology, which denies both the Father and the Son.

I seriously hope that Oneness believers reading this will visit our website (www.christiandefense.org) or email me personally (edward@christiandefense.org) regarding questions, concerns, or prayer.

Oneness apologists are constantly developing new arguments against the doctrine of the Trinity, to which Christians should know how to respond (see “Footloose Theology of Roger Perkins” pertaining to the adjective heis and John 10:30.   

One such argument states that in the NT, the Greek masculine adjective heis (“one”) always means “one person.” Thus, passages such as Mark 12:29; 1 Tim. 2:5; etc. teach that God is “one person.” However, the Oneness-unitarian so-called semantic rule is clearly refuted by the fact that heis appears in Galatians 3:28 referring to many:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you [humeis, 2nd per. plural] are [este, plural verb] all one [heis] in Christ Jesus.”

Further, this Oneness notion completely backfires at 1 Corinthians 8:6, which contains a double usage of heis. If heis always means “one person,” as Oneness advocates argue, then, the “one [heis] God, the Father” is one person and the “one [heis] Lord, Jesus Christ” is another (distinct) divine person, which is consistent with Trinitarianism, not Oneness:

“yet for us there is but one [heis] God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one [heis] Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (cf. Deut. 6:4)