Questioning Trinity and Oneness

Catholic Trinity

What is Oneness?

Oneness attempts to equate the Father and the Son, giving them both one name, such as the name of Jesus. This teaching existed in the early church, but it was considered a heretical teaching. This false teaching, called Sabellianism after its main teacher Sabellius, began in the third century, more than 200 years after Yeshua [Jesus]. The teaching was also known as Patripassionism, which is Latin for suffering Father because the teaching implied that the Father was crucified.

What is Trinity?

Trinity attempts to deify Jesus and separate the spirit of God from God himself. The result is three equal people who are all the essence of God. This trilateral relationship was never part of the original early church doctrine. The Holy Spirit as a third person in the Trinity did not even become an issue until 381 at the First Council of Constantinople. Before this time, the Greek copies of the New Testament referred to the Holy Spirit as “the holy Spirit”, not even naming it; and still today, all Greek versions refer to it as gender-neutral, neither masculine nor feminine. Both of the New Testament Trinity references (Matthew 28:19; 1 John 5:7) appear in late Greek manuscripts, starting in the 4th century onward. Quotes from early church fathers and Hebrew Matthew show that the whole verse of Matthew 28:19 did not even exist, but it was a shorter version, with Yeshua [Jesus] commanding everyone to be baptized “in my name”; this coincides with Peter’s instructions to “be baptized every one of you in the name of Yeshua Messiah” (Acts 2:38).

Who is the only true God? 

Nowhere in Scripture is the phrase “the only true God” written about the Son. In fact, the phrase “the only true God” is used to refer to the Father. Yeshua set himself apart from the Father when he said, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Yeshua Messiah whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Yes, Yeshua was divine as the Son of God, but he was not equal in authority to God the Father, whose name is Yehovah. Paul wrote that “God is the head of Messiah” (1 Corinthians 11:3). While they were one in message and character (John 10:30) just as husband and wife are one (Genesis 2:24), they were distinct and have different levels of authority just as the husband and wife do (1 Corinthians 11:3). They also have different roles; as Paul stated, “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Messiah Yeshua” (1 Timothy 2:3-5).

The Father, Yehovah, is called “the true God” in several places: 2 Chronicles 15:3, Jeremiah 10:10, 1 Thessalonians 1:9, and 1 John 5:20. A careful reading of the New Testament will show that the use of God is for the Father, while Son of God refers to Yeshua. Yehovah said that He is the only God and no God would exist after Him. This means we cannot make Yeshua equal to the Father, even though both are divine. Yehovah said, “Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me” (Isaiah 43:10). [See my one-page document entitled Yehovah for why the pronunciation is Yehovah and not Yahweh.]

About Jonathan Lankford

Jonathan has a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) in Bible with a concentration in missions and intercultural communication. He also earned his Master's in Business Quality Management (MBQPM) and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master's in Education (MEd) focusing on Administration. He has been an educator since 2007, teaching English and humanities in Vietnamese universities. He currently holds the position of Associate Registrar at Tan Tao University, Vietnam.
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