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John 17:3: “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (cf. John 4:24). The one true God has revealed Himself as three distinct persons, the Father and the Son, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Unbiblical Teachings of Oneness-Unitarian Theology

Oneness Christology is a clear and major departure from biblical orthodoxy. Similar to Islam, it teaches a unitarian/unipersonal (i.e., one person) concept of God. Hence, the chief Oneness Christological divergences from that of the biblical teachings are as follows:

1. Oneness Christology denies the unipersonality and deity of the Son. It teaches that “Jesus” is the name of the unipersonal deity. Accordingly, the “Son” merely represents the human nature of Jesus, while “Father/Holy Spirit” represents the divine nature of Jesus—thus, the Son is not God, only the Father is (cf. Bernard, Oneness of God, 1983: 99, 103, 252).

2. Along with the deity, Oneness Christology denies the preexistence and incarnation of the Son, and thus, His role as the Creator (cf. ibid., 103-4; Magee, Is Jesus in the Godhead or Is The Godhead in Jesus?, 1988: 25). By denying the preexistence of the person of the Son, Oneness doctrine rejects the incarnation of the divine Son holding to the erroneous notion that it was Jesus as the Father, not the Son, who came down and wrapped Himself in flesh, and that “flesh” was called “Son” (cf. Bernard, 106, 122).

In sharp contrast to Oneness Christology, Scripture presents clearly and definitely that the distinct person of the Son 1) is fully God (cf. Dan. 7:9-14; John 1:18; 5:17-18; Phil. 2:6-11; Heb. 1:3, 8, 10; 1 John 5:20; Rev. 1:8, 22:13), 2) was the Creator of all things (cf. John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1: 2, 10-12), 3) eternally coexisted with and is distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit (cf. Gen. 19:24; Dan 7:9-14; Matt. 28:19; John 17:5; 2 Cor. 13:14; 2 John 1:3; Rev. 5:13-14), and 4) became fully man in order “to give His life a ransom for many” (cf. John 1:1, 14; Mark 10:45; Phil. 2:6-11).

This is the Jesus of biblical revelation. Jesus Christ is the only mediator and intercessor between God the Father and human beings. Jesus is the divine Son, the monogenēs theos (“unique God”) who is always in the bosom of the Father (John 1:18), a personal self-aware subject, distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit. In contrast to Oneness Christology, Jesus is not the Father, but “the Son of the Father” (2 John 1:3; cf. John 17:5ff.; 1 John 1:3).

Worshiping the unipersonal God of Oneness theology is not worshiping the true God in spirit nor truth. The Oneness concept of God is fundamentally the same as Islam and the Watchtower (Jehovah’s Witnesses): a unipersonal deity with no distinction of persons. The true God of biblical revelation is triune—the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

See Oneness Tract
See Isaiah 9:6: Oneness Refuted
See Was the Trinity Conceived in the 4th Century?


Oneness Theology (Modalism)[1]

 Oneness churches are characterized by and go by many names such as Jesus Only, Apostolic church, Oneness Pentecostal[2] etc. Today, the largest Oneness denomination is the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI). All Oneness advocates reject the Trinity. Rather they believe God is unitarian or unipersonal (one person). The name of the one God is “Jesus,” who is both the Father/Holy Spirit and Son. Oneness advocates claim that Jesus has two natures (or modes, manifestations, roles, etc.), divine as the Father/Holy Spirit and human as the “non-divine,” “non-eternal” Son, whose life started in Bethlehem. In this sense, the “Son” was created in the womb of Mary and is not eternal. In the Oneness doctrinal system then, the terms “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit” are not three persons, but rather the three roles or modes in which Jesus manifested.

Although not all Oneness advocates agree on every point of Christology, all forms are a clear and major departure from biblical orthodoxy. Oneness doctrine rejects the personhood, deity, and incarnation of the Son. Many Oneness denominations also reject that justification is through faith alone, not by works, by teaching that the work of water baptism is necessary for salvation (e.g., UPCI). 

The chief Oneness Christological divergences from that of the biblical teachings are as follows:


  • Oneness Christology denies the unipersonality of the Son, Jesus Christ.


  • Oneness Christology denies that the person of the “Son” is God. As stated, Oneness theology teaches that Jesus’ divine nature represents the Father and Holy Spirit, but not the Son, that is, the “Son” is not God; the Son is merely the human nature/mode of the unitarian deity, Jesus.[3]


  • Oneness Christology denies the preexistence and incarnation of the person of the Son and His role as the agent of creation, hence, the Creator of all things.[4]By denying the preexistence of the person of the Son of God, Oneness doctrine rejects the incarnation of the divine Son holding to the erroneous notion that it was Jesus as the Father, not the Son, who came down and wrapped Himself in flesh (while not actually becoming flesh), and that flesh body was called “Son.”[5]


  • Oneness Christology claims that Jesus is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (same person), hence denying the concept of the Trinity[6] Oneness theology is “unitarian” seeing God as a unipersonal deity.  


Since Oneness theology maintains that only Jesus as the Father is God (for “Son” only represents the humanity of Jesus), it clearly denies the Trinity and deity and preexistence of the Son. As said, God is defined from a unitarian perspective: Only the Father is God (i.e., Jesus’ divine nature). Clearly, Oneness theology is heterodox embracing a false Jesus, different from the Jesus of biblical revelation: “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father” (1 John 2:23). Oneness doctrine indeed denies both the Father and the Son.

 Response: The three weakest points of Oneness theology are as follows:

 1) The places where Jesus interacts with the Father especially where He prays to the Father and where the Father loves Jesus (Matt. 3:16-17; Luke 10:21-22; John 10:17; 17:1ff.).

2) The places in the OT and NT that teach the preexistence of the person of the Son (the angel of the LORD appearances; Gen. 19:24; Isa. 9:6; Dan. 7:9-14; Mal. 5:2 et al.; John 1:1; 3:13; 6:38; 16:28; 17:5; Phil. 2:6-11; Heb. 1:10-12; Rev. 1:8, 17; 2:8; 22:13).

This would include the places that present the person of the Son as the Creator of all things (John 1:3, 10; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2, 10-12).

3) The places that present the person of the Son as God, and distinct from God the Father (Mark 14:61-64; John 1:1, 18; 5:17-18; 8:24, 58 et al.; 10:28-30; 17:5; Phil. 2:6-11; Titus 2:13[7]; Heb. 1:6, 8-12; 1 John 5:20; 2 John 1:3; Rev. 5:13-14 et al.). Moreover, in NT, there are numerous passages where all three persons are shown as distinct from each other, either in the same passage or same context (esp. Matt. 28:19; Luke 10:21-22; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 2:18; Titus 3:5-7; 1 Pet. 1:2; Jude 1:21-22). The NT explicitly teaches that Jesus is the “Son” of God, and not once is He called or identified as the “Father”[8] (cf. 2 John 1:3).

Further, consider this, Trinitarians, not Oneness believers, conducted all of the major revivals worldwide. Virtually all of the great biblical scholars, theologians, and Greek grammarians, historically have been and presently are Trinitarian, not Oneness—for obvious reasons. The church has branded Oneness theology as heretical since the days of Noetus at the end of the second century. Moreover, when it found its way in the twentieth century, departing from the Trinitarian Pentecostals, it was again rejected by the church.

There are many more biblical objections that could be mentioned. But these do suffice in showing that the Bible affirms that God is triune, and militates against Oneness unitarianism. Modalism rips the heart out of Christianity—it denies Christ by misrepresenting Him. To be sure, Modalism embraces another Jesus, another Gospel, and another Spirit. There is only one true God. The Apostle John was very concerned as to the false beliefs and teachings of Jesus Christ, as he gives this warning:

“Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23).


By promoting the Son as a temporary mode or a role of the unitarian deity whose life started in Bethlehem, denies the Son, as well as the Father.

  1. Oneness theology rejects the doctrine of the Trinity, for they are unitarian (i.e., believes that God exists as one person—unipersonal).
  2. Oneness theology rejects the eternality of the person of the Son.
  3. Oneness theology rejects that the Son was the actual Creator.
  4. Oneness theology rejects the personhood of the Holy Spirit.
  5. Oneness theology distorts and thus rejects the biblical concept of the Son being Mediator (Intercessor) between the Father and men (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5). For if Jesus is the Father, then, between whom would He Mediate since by definition a mediator/intercessor represents two distinct parties, other than Himself. Biblically, only Jesus, God the Son, can rightfully represent the Father (because He is God a distinct person from the Father), and represent man because He is fully man. Again, in its proper sense, a “mediator” is one who is other than or distinct from the parties, which are being mediated. However, since in Oneness theology Jesus is both Father and Son, Jesus cannot be properly “Mediator” between two parties–God the Father and man.
  6. Many Oneness churches especially the UPCI rejects justification through faith alone by teaching that one must be water baptized (“in the name of Jesus” only) to be saved—with the evidence, as the UPCI teaches, of speaking in other tongues.
  7. Virtually all Oneness churches reject that water baptism should be done in the *triune* formal as instructed by Jesus in Matthew 28:19, rather, as they insist, it should be dome in the name of Jesus only.

 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all” (2 Cor. 13:14).


[1] Historically, Oneness philosophy first emerged around the early second and early third century being popularized by Noetus of Smyrna and Praxeas (Asia minor). It was also called Modalism since all forms of the Oneness idea saw God has merely appearing in three modes (or roles) as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but not in three persons. Subsequently, Sabellianism became a popular brand Modalism. Sabellianism was coined after its chief proponent, Sebelius, the Libyan priest who came to Rome at the beginning of the third century A.D. However, he taught successive Modalism, which saw the modes as successive, that is, “Jesus” (the name of the unipersonal God) first was the Father in creation, then, the Son in redemption, then the Holy Spirit in regeneration. In distinction to simultaneous Modalism, which teaches that all three modes exist at the same time. But the fact is, fundamentally, all forms historically and today are as unitarian (seeing God as one person), as with Islam’s view of Allah and JWs’ view of Jehovah.

[2] Generally, there are two kinds of “Pentecostal” churches – Oneness (such as the UPCI) and Christian Pentecostal, which are Trinitarian (such as the AOG, Foursquare et al.).          

[3] As defined by the UPCI authority and Oneness author, David Bernard in his most recognized book, The Oneness of God (1983), 99, 103, 252.

[4] Cf. ibid., 103-4; Gordon Magee, Is Jesus in the Godhead or Is The Godhead in Jesus? (1988), 25.

[5] Cf. The Oneness of God, 106, 122.

[6] Cf. The Oneness of God, 57; T. Weisser, Three Persons from the Bible? or Babylon (1983), 2.

[7] Jesus as “the God” is grammatically affirmed at Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1.  

[8] Oneness advocates typically appeal to John 10:30 (“I and the Father are one”). However, as seen above in detail, this passage in its context systematically refutes the Oneness unitarian interpretation and positively affirms the distinction between the Jesus and the Father: “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it back (John 10:17). For more information on John 10:30; 14:9 and other passages used by  Oneness advocates to promote a unitarian Oneness God, see, A Definitive Look at Oneness Theology: In the Light of Biblical Trinitarianism, 4th ed. by Edward L. Dalcour ><             

See Was the Trinity Conceived in the 4th Century?