Does Oneness theology (Modalism) teach a "sock puppet" view of God's nature?

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Is the "sock puppet" analogy of Oneness theology a fair representation?

  • Yes

    Votes: 4 57.1%
  • No

    Votes: 2 28.6%
  • I don't know

    Votes: 1 14.3%

  • Total voters
    7

UnitedWithChrist

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2019
2,896
1,613
113
#1
Oneness theology (Modalism), practiced by groups such as United Pentecostal Church and other Oneness Pentecostals, claims that the orthodox Christian teaching of the Trinity is a false invention of the Roman Catholic Church.

They often claim that the term is not biblical because the specific word "Trinity" is not mentioned in the Bible. They do not understand that, while the word "Trinity" is not in the Bible, the concept certainly is.

The Trinity doctrine teaches that there is one God, in terms of being or essence, who is three in terms of Person; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three Persons are distinct, and have always existed in loving relationship with one another.

Oneness Pentecostalism teaches that there is one God, but denies that there are distinct Persons. Instead, they believe that the three Persons of the Godhead are only manifestations, and are not distinct Persons.

For the purposes of this discussion, I will define person as a mind with distinct self-awareness.

I call Oneness Pentecostalism "sock-puppet theology". In their view, God is only one Person, but he dons different sock-puppets to interact with mankind. There is one puppeteer, God (YHVH), but the three Persons are simply three different sock-puppets that fit on his hand. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not distinct Persons.

So, according to their theology, we are expected to believe that the Son, who is really the Father in flesh, is talking to the Father when he prays.

The issue is that the entire New Testament is filled with examples of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit operating in relationship. For instance, the Father sends the Son, and the Son prays to the Father, and the Son intercedes to God for the saints. The Holy Spirit is sent by the Son to indwell believers, and the Holy Spirit intercedes to the Father on their behalf. The Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father. These are all relational terms that make no sense with sock-puppet theology.

My question would be, do you think this analogy fairly represents Oneness theology?

And, what are the implications of such a theology? What kind of problems are presented in the life, atonement, and intercession of Jesus, if there is no distinction between the Persons? Can an adherent of Oneness theology understand Scripture at any meaningful level with such a view of God?
 

UnitedWithChrist

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2019
2,896
1,613
113
#2
I think this Youtube discussion between Steven Bancarz (Trinitarian) and Marcus Rogers (Oneness) is very good in this regard.

I'm not a fan of my brother Steven's hairstyle but he handles himself very well here. He shows loving respect, without compromising the truth, which is something I find very difficult sometimes.

 

Magenta

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2015
28,658
7,190
113
#3
So, according to their theology, we are expected to believe that the Son, who is really the Father in flesh, is talking to the Father when he prays.
Jesus said all He said and did was for our benefit. Even when God spoke audibly to Jesus while Jesus was in the company of others, Jesus said it ("the voice") was for their benefit, not His.
 

Aerials1978

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2019
1,112
639
113
#4
Even though scripture doesn’t mention the word “Trinity” the very nature of God being three distinct persons yet in total unification is clear. Us trying to understand this with our finite minds is impossible to comprehend. Pentecostals still believe the Apostolic age is still being given by God. That had come to an end with the death of John.
 

UnitedWithChrist

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2019
2,896
1,613
113
#5
Even though scripture doesn’t mention the word “Trinity” the very nature of God being three distinct persons yet in total unification is clear. Us trying to understand this with our finite minds is impossible to comprehend. Pentecostals still believe the Apostolic age is still being given by God. That had come to an end with the death of John.
Oh..I'm not addressing Pentecostalism as many Pentecostals (if not most) are Trinitarian.

My specific issue is with Oneness theology, and Oneness Pentecostalism is one aspect of this.

I think it is perfectly coherent to use the sock-puppet analogy regarding Oneness Pentecostalism, according to all I have heard...there is one Person yet three manifestations, but the same hand or person is in each of the sock-puppets called the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
 

Aerials1978

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2019
1,112
639
113
#6
Oh..I'm not addressing Pentecostalism as many Pentecostals (if not most) are Trinitarian.

My specific issue is with Oneness theology, and Oneness Pentecostalism is one aspect of this.

I think it is perfectly coherent to use the sock-puppet analogy regarding Oneness Pentecostalism, according to all I have heard...there is one Person yet three manifestations, but the same hand or person is in each of the sock-puppets called the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
They can call it whatever they want, but God has revealed Himself as He is. Their issue is with the Him, the Prophets, and The Apostles. Leave it to Man once again to take God’s revelations and turn them into something that cause division.
 

Aerials1978

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2019
1,112
639
113
#7
Jesus said all He said and did was for our benefit. Even when God spoke audibly to Jesus while Jesus was in the company of others, Jesus said it ("the voice") was for their benefit, not His.
You are right when Jesus made that statement. What do you think when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane?
 

Magenta

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2015
28,658
7,190
113
#8
You are right when Jesus made that statement. What do you think when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane?
Was He praying out loud in front of others? The others were seemingly at a distance from Him (He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them) and they actually fell asleep while Jesus was praying. What do I think? I think He did not relish the thought of His being tortured and crucified, but nonetheless, He prayed, "Thy will, not mine, be done." I think that for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross... due to His great love for us :) It was for this very reason He came to that hour.
 

Aerials1978

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2019
1,112
639
113
#9
Was He praying out loud in front of others? The others were seemingly at a distance from Him (He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them) and they actually fell asleep while Jesus was praying. What do I think? I think He did not relish the thought of His being tortured and crucified, but nonetheless, He prayed, "Thy will, not mine, be done." I think that for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross... due to His great love for us :) It was for this very reason He came to that hour.
You are correct again. But was he praying to His Father or was he praying to other manifestation of God? I just want to be sure I understand where you are coming from.
 

Magenta

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2015
28,658
7,190
113
#10
You are correct again. But was he praying to His Father or was he praying to other manifestation of God? I just want to be sure I understand where you are coming from.
The Father? An "other" manifestation of God? I really do not know what you mean by this. My original post was simply pointing out a Biblical fact. You need not read anything else into it :)
 

Aerials1978

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2019
1,112
639
113
#11
The Father? An "other" manifestation of God? I really do not know what you mean by this. My original post was simply pointing out a Biblical fact. You need not read anything else into it :)
Since you were on this thread, I was just curious as you what you meant. I’m not reading into more than that.
 

Magenta

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2015
28,658
7,190
113
#12
Since you were on this thread, I was just curious as you what you meant. I’m not reading into more than that.
It caused you to question where I was coming from, though. Well, Scripture says Jesus will be called mighty God: And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

bluto

Senior Member
Aug 4, 2016
1,570
271
83
#13
You are correct again. But was he praying to His Father or was he praying to other manifestation of God? I just want to be sure I understand where you are coming from.
What do you mean by saying, "But was he/Jesus praying to His Father or was he praying to other manifestation of God?" You should know, the Father has no separate manifestion from the Son. The Son is the only manifestation and revelation of the Father. What is known of the Father is revealed through the Son. To see the Son is to see the essence of the Father. Please read John 1:1,18, John 10:30, John 12:45, Colossians 1:15-16, and Hebrews 1:3.

I think your reading too much into the original thread by UWC. He's specifically asking about "Oneness" Pentecostals that Jesus is actually God the Father and Jesus DID NOT eternally exist before His incarnation as a man. In other words, God is "role" playing or appearing it differenct "Modes," hence the word "Modalism." And one last point. If you do not confront false teachings and expose them God is going to hold you responsible. Trust me, these are "sobering" words. Read what the Apostle Paul stated at Acts 20:27-31. And especially Ezekiel 3:18-19. See, hopefully you learned somthing. :eek:

IN GOD THE SON,
bluto
 
Jan 5, 2020
263
58
28
#14
Oneness theology (Modalism), practiced by groups such as United Pentecostal Church and other Oneness Pentecostals, claims that the orthodox Christian teaching of the Trinity is a false invention of the Roman Catholic Church.

They often claim that the term is not biblical because the specific word "Trinity" is not mentioned in the Bible. They do not understand that, while the word "Trinity" is not in the Bible, the concept certainly is.

The Trinity doctrine teaches that there is one God, in terms of being or essence, who is three in terms of Person; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three Persons are distinct, and have always existed in loving relationship with one another.

Oneness Pentecostalism teaches that there is one God, but denies that there are distinct Persons. Instead, they believe that the three Persons of the Godhead are only manifestations, and are not distinct Persons.

For the purposes of this discussion, I will define person as a mind with distinct self-awareness.

I call Oneness Pentecostalism "sock-puppet theology". In their view, God is only one Person, but he dons different sock-puppets to interact with mankind. There is one puppeteer, God (YHVH), but the three Persons are simply three different sock-puppets that fit on his hand. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not distinct Persons.

So, according to their theology, we are expected to believe that the Son, who is really the Father in flesh, is talking to the Father when he prays.

The issue is that the entire New Testament is filled with examples of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit operating in relationship. For instance, the Father sends the Son, and the Son prays to the Father, and the Son intercedes to God for the saints. The Holy Spirit is sent by the Son to indwell believers, and the Holy Spirit intercedes to the Father on their behalf. The Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father. These are all relational terms that make no sense with sock-puppet theology.

My question would be, do you think this analogy fairly represents Oneness theology?

And, what are the implications of such a theology? What kind of problems are presented in the life, atonement, and intercession of Jesus, if there is no distinction between the Persons? Can an adherent of Oneness theology understand Scripture at any meaningful level with such a view of God?
Baptism of Jesus - voice from the Father, Spirit descending like a dove.
Jesus going up to heaven so the Holy Spirit could come and dwell in the apostles.
Jesus praying for the disciples to the Father, that the Father had given the Son them, and He had kept them safe.
Blasphemy against the Father and the Son would be forgiven, but not against the Holy Spirit.
Jesus became full man, restricted, limited and weak, while in oneness it only appeared so.

The Father cannot die, Jesus died.
Jesus was not being honest about not knowing about the end times, dates and people.
The twins whose mother asked for them to sit either side of Jesus, Jesus says only the Father
makes such appointments.
Jesus says he learnt from the Father, but if he is the Father this is not true.
 

Aerials1978

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2019
1,112
639
113
#15
What do you mean by saying, "But was he/Jesus praying to His Father or was he praying to other manifestation of God?" You should know, the Father has no separate manifestion from the Son. The Son is the only manifestation and revelation of the Father. What is known of the Father is revealed through the Son. To see the Son is to see the essence of the Father. Please read John 1:1,18, John 10:30, John 12:45, Colossians 1:15-16, and Hebrews 1:3.

I think your reading too much into the original thread by UWC. He's specifically asking about "Oneness" Pentecostals that Jesus is actually God the Father and Jesus DID NOT eternally exist before His incarnation as a man. In other words, God is "role" playing or appearing it differenct "Modes," hence the word "Modalism." And one last point. If you do not confront false teachings and expose them God is going to hold you responsible. Trust me, these are "sobering" words. Read what the Apostle Paul stated at Acts 20:27-31. And especially Ezekiel 3:18-19. See, hopefully you learned somthing. :eek:

IN GOD THE SON,
bluto
I was asking the User a question. Context is everything.
 

Aerials1978

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2019
1,112
639
113
#16
It caused you to question where I was coming from, though. Well, Scripture says Jesus will be called mighty God: And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Yes, that has been affirmed. I was just wondering if you believe in separate persons or the Oneness doctrine(Hence the discussion topic)
 

bluto

Senior Member
Aug 4, 2016
1,570
271
83
#17
Baptism of Jesus - voice from the Father, Spirit descending like a dove.
Jesus going up to heaven so the Holy Spirit could come and dwell in the apostles.
Jesus praying for the disciples to the Father, that the Father had given the Son them, and He had kept them safe.
Blasphemy against the Father and the Son would be forgiven, but not against the Holy Spirit.
Jesus became full man, restricted, limited and weak, while in oneness it only appeared so.

The Father cannot die, Jesus died.
Jesus was not being honest about not knowing about the end times, dates and people.
The twins whose mother asked for them to sit either side of Jesus, Jesus says only the Father
makes such appointments.
Jesus says he learnt from the Father, but if he is the Father this is not true.[/QUOTE)

Well I see your sort of new here, welcome to CC. You said, "Jesus was not being honest etc. 1 Peter 2:22, "Who committed no sin, nor was any "DECEIT" found in His mouth."

Now, can you please tell me how you understand Philippians 2:5-8? :eek:

IN GOD THE SON,
bluto
 

Magenta

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2015
28,658
7,190
113
#18
Yes, that has been affirmed. I was just wondering if you believe in separate persons or the Oneness doctrine(Hence the discussion topic)
I know very little about oneness doctrine, so I can't say I believe it.
 

Aerials1978

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2019
1,112
639
113
#19
I know very little about oneness doctrine, so I can't say I believe it.
It basically the thought that God is not 3 separate persons(Trinity). The theology is God is one but manifests Himself into the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That’s kind of a layman’s definition of it.
 

Magenta

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2015
28,658
7,190
113
#20
It basically the thought that God is not 3 separate persons(Trinity). The theology is God is one but manifests Himself into the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That’s kind of a layman’s definition of it.
I believe Jesus is the Living Word of God manifested in the flesh. What does that make me?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God :)