Monotheism, Monarchianism, Modalism, Patripassianism
Dynamic Monarchianism, Bitheism, Logosism, Trinitarianism, Tritheism
By Dr. Gary Reckart, Oneness Historian
Apostolic Theological Bible College
Copyright 1994 All Rights Reserved
Adapted for the internet 2004, Edited 2009
Monotheism=belief in only one God, the God of the Jews;
Monarchianism=belief in only one ruler who is God who is indivisible;
Modalism=belief God has different modes of revealing himself simultaneously;
Patripassianism=belief the Father experienced the sufferings of the Cross in the body of Jesus;
Dynamic Monarchianism=belief God the Father adopted Jesus at his baptism and gave him Divinity and there are two Gods now;
Bitheism=belief in two Gods, one uncreated (the Father) and one unbegotten (Word/the Son);
Logosism=belief Jesus was the Greek (intermediate Logos), the nous (some Philosophers thought Logos to be the mind or thought of God) that became man and the second person of rank in a triad of Divine Beings;
Trinitarianism=belief there is one uncreated divine nature in which there are three distinct separate Divine Beings each being God but having one substance and one essence of what constitutes God (like three houses made of one substance wood, yet one wood substance is made into three separate and distinct houses: all there persons consist of one substance "Spirit");
Tritheism=belief there exist three Divine Gods each having his own separate being, his own Spirit, his own body, his own will, and his own position in heaven separate from the others.
Sabelliusism=belief the Father and the Son are two simultaneous modes of one God (Jesus is Father and Son at the same time). The Father is the divine Spirit and the Son is the body -image (express image) of the Father in human form (God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself).
Monarchians believe when we get to heaven we will see one God; the Father in the bodily form of Jesus on one throne.
Adoptionist Monarchians, Bitheoist, Arians, Logoist, believe when we get to heaven we will see two Gods; God the Father on one throne and God the Son (Greek intermediate Logos) on a throne on his right hand.
Trinitarians believe when we get to heaven we will see three Gods; the Father on his throne, the Son (Greek intermediate Logos) on his throne on the right hand of God the Father, and the Holy Spirit on his throne.
DEU 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD (Monarchian Monotheism):
MAR 12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
EPH 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism (Monarchian Monotheism).
EXO 6:2 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD (Monarchian Monotheism):
NUM 15:41 I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God (Monarchian Monotheism).
ISA 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me (Monarchian Monotheism).
PSA 132:11 The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne (Monarchian Modalism).
John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God ((Monarchian Modalism).
REV 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty (Monarchian Monotheism).
REV 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
REV 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last (Monarchian Monotheism).
REV 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star (Monarchian Modalism).
REV 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
The Bible begins with the Lord God in Genesis 1:1 and ends with the Lord Jesus Revelation 22:21.
The revelation of God from the creation to the end of the world.
Greek "monos; sole, only, single, alone=one; theism-theos=God (Matthew 4:10 worship God only)." Monotheism is the Greek way of expressing the Jewish belief in one God as legislated in the first Commandment as well as several other passages of Scripture.
The Jewish equivalent to the Greek Monotheism would be "Echadel or Echadelohim. The oneness of God is additionally proven by the presence of one Divine Being in the Holy of Holies over the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle. Jewish belief in one God is confessed daily in the Shema found in Deuteronomy 6:4: "Hear O Israel, The LORD our God is one LORD."
Attempts by trinitarians and others to find more than one Divine Being in the Godhead in the Scriptures is searching for something none of the writers intended or believed. None of the writers of the Old Testament Scriptures believed God to be more than one Divine Being. Even Jesus gave this same faith in Mark 12:32 when he said: "For there is one God; and there is none other than he."
Monotheism presented itself in religious form in ancient patriarchs such as Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, Malachi, and John the Baptist. None of these men believed in plural Gods, or plural divine Beings, and were the ancient testimonies of the echad or oneness of God. These are the champions of orthodox Monarchianism. None of them were Trinitarian. Trinitarian use of these Oneness champions of Monarchianism shows a dual theology within Trinitarianism. To the Jewish patriarchs, God was the alone, only, sole, Ruler of heaven and earth. Christian Monarchianism brought Jesus into this Oneness of God by proving and explaining he was God in human form. This unity of Father and Son was not to be divided into plural ideas of God being more than one Divine eternal Being.
In Jesus the early Christians saw God in his last earthly theophany. Jesus was the Lord of Glory. Since there is only one Lord, Jesus was God the Lord in human form. There was no attempt any where in the New Testament to teach a plurality in the Godhead. Any use of Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures in later centuries to develop a triune Godhead of three separate Divine Beings would be contrary to the intent of the writers. No writer of the New Testament believed God was more than one Divine Being. The entire Old Testament knows only one God. Likewise the entire New Testament knows only one God. All other gods, plural beliefs in many gods, came from pagan attempts to direct worship and honor to created beings, idols, and objects. This separates the Jewish religion from non-Jewish religions because Jewish worshipers of God believed he was uncreated, existed before all things, and was in fact the Creator of all created. To a Jew, anything created cannot rise to the level of being God because a God must be eternal and uncreated. Later, this rule would be applied to Jesus and claim he could not be God because his body was created. This was the reasoning for rejecting Jesus was God by the Pharisees, philosophers, and those who lapsed into Adoptionist apostasy from the original Christian faith of Monotheism Monarchianism.
Monarchianism is a Jewish doctrine of the oneness and unity of God. It means "mono= one + "arche"= ruler". When applied to God it means there is one God. This continues the confession and creed of the Jewish shema: "Hear O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD (Deu 6:4).
Orthodox Christianity is a Jewish religion and to think first Jewish Christians believed in more than one God is insaneology. No Jewish Christians or Gentiles added to the Jewish Church believed in plural Gods, plural Divine Beings, or plural divine personages within the one Spirit of God. All first Christians were Monarchian and true Monotheist.
The name Monarchian was first given to these ancient Christians by Tertullian when he was a Montanist. Tertullian was also an antisemite and any view of God, i.e. the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost that was founded upon Jewish Monotheism he rejected. He believed God the Father created Jesus the Son before all creation and was the first created God making two of them. He believed God the Father granted Divinity to the Son before all creation and was in fact his first creative act. This theory he advanced against the Jewish teaching that a God must be eternal and uncreated to be a God. Tertullian believed the Montanist teaching that Jesus was eternal from the moment of his creation. But, he had difficulty with Jesus being eternal since he was begotten. Trinitarianians working on the foundation of Tertullian would later say Jesus was begotten by the Father at the same time the Father's own existence began and so the Father and the Son were co-eternal and one did not exist before the other.
The Montanist were among the Bitheoist which birthed the Tritheist and at last the Trinitarians of the fourth century. The Bitheoist beliefs of Tertullian had to come from Montantus and his two prophetesses Maxmilla and Prisca. He never chastises these three for heresies concerning the number of Gods or that they believed anything different than what he was defending. He wrote against the Monarchians in his rants against Praxeas who was a devout Monotheist Monarchian Modalist.
Patripassian was first used by Cyprian against the Monarchian Modalist. The belief in the Monarchy of God was applied by first century Christians to the relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It is confessed by Tertullian and others that these were in the majority in the first centuries of the Church. The separation of these Christians from later neo-platoist philosophers in Egypt (Origen 185-254AD, Athanasius 293-273AD) came about with the introduction of the "logos" doctrine of the Greeks as a way to describe the Father and the Son. These neo-platoist began what is known as the separation of the unity of God into what we now know as the division of God into separate person beings in the Godhead. The Monarchians opposed this introduction of Greek philosophy into Church doctrine. They rejected the Greek philosophy that between God and man there was an intermediary God named the Logos or nous (mind or intellect), and this became Jesus in human form. Because of this, the Monarchians were called Alogi (meaning no logos god). Monarchians rejected this pagan intrusion into Christian doctrine by Origen trying to follow the methods of Philo and interpret the Bible from an allegorical position. At the same time these philosophies were spreading from Egypt to Rome, there was a split among the Monarchians by a group following Paul of Samosata (200-275AD), at one time bishop of Antioch, who chose to revert back to the beliefs of the Pharisee and deny Jesus was God. They believed Jesus was a son of God like all other Jewish men. They began a heretical doctrine that Jesus became a son of God by adoption at his baptism. These were later called "Dynamic Monarchians or Adoptionist." They denied the deity of Christ. He was only a man who had no more of God within him than any other man. Yet, these held strictly to the belief in one God and one Monarchy (rulership). They are often confused as being representative of the older and orthodox Monarchians. There is no question that Origen and others chose to apply the nous or logos Greek theory in order to refute and build a case for the deity of Christ. But this would lead not to a Oneness Monarchian position but to separate persons in God, each a separate being and Spirit, which was the birth of the trinity doctrine adopted from additional Greek philosophy at the Council of Nicaea in 325AD.
There were then three Christologies existing in the third and fourth centuries. The first was the orthodox Monarchian Christology, the second was the Adoptionist Christology, and the third was the Logos Greek Christology. The first was orthodox following the ancient Jewish beliefs while the second and third were heretical and unorthodox. The first held strongly to the unity of the Godhead while the latter two maintained a division of the Godhead either as God and man or three separate God persons each having the same substance and nature (God from God, Nicene Creed). The first maintained the monotheism in Christianity based upon Jewish beliefs and the latter two adopted a pagan form of monotheism.
The Monarchian Patripassians believed in the dual nature of Christ as God and man. Jesus is God and Christ, Father and Son. All of these simultaneous modes. God is absolute one. They regard the triune manifestations of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as modes of a single divine being. Whereas the logos trinitarians regarded the triune manifestations as three separate divine beings. The Modalist Monarchians taught the Father was manifest in Jesus the Son on earth (1Tim 3:16), and suffered the rejection of the Jews and experienced the sufferings of the Cross. However, at no time did any Modalist Monarchian claim the Father died on the Cross. Such claims by several trinitarians are false and pure lies. From the Modalist Monarchian claim the Father suffered in the Son, Cyprian coined the name Patripassian (Latin pater; patris,"father"; passus,"suffer"). This doctrine was taught by several men claimed to be Popes of the Catholic church. Later this was ascribed to Sabellius when in fact he was just one man in the third century, of many, who stood for these ancient orthodox doctrines.
Modalistic Monarchianism is the oldest orthodox belief that Jesus was God. No simultaneous Modalist would ever deny Jesus was God and man. They believed in the deity of Christ. They did not believe an eternal God the Son was incarnated in the physical body of Jesus. This belief is not found in the New Testament any where. The earlier Modalists such as the Apostles Peter, John, Paul, James, and subsequent teachers such as Noetus, Epigonus, Praxeas, and Sabellius, held strictly to the belief that Jesus was the manifestation of the Father. And that by identifying the Son and the Father together held to the unity of the one God. This faith as opposed to Adoptionism and later bitheosism and trinitarianism was the ancient doctrine of the Christian Church.
In later centuries after many of the great Monarchian leaders were dead, trinitarians such as Cyprian attempted to ridicule them as heretics and apostates because they would not accept two or three Gods in a binary or triune Godhead as being one God. This led to the charge of patripassianism, which became another label for Modalism.
Patripassianism is the teaching the Father became incarnate at the birth of Jesus, remained in Jesus all of his life, and experienced the rejection of the Jews and the sufferings of the Cross. Trinitarians would later claim the Patripassians believed the Father died on the Cross. Such falsehoods are used to deceive those easily beguiled with lies and distortions. Praxeas attempted to make known the beliefs of the Modalist by proving a distinction between Christ the man, the son of David, and God the Father. Praxeas taught the dual nature of Jesus as God and man and his favorite verse of Scripture was 1Timothy 3:16. Praxeas as other Modalist taught that it was the Father incarnate in Jesus as God while later trinitarians took up the theory it was God the eternal Son incarnate in Jesus. Naturally there was a difference between which person of the trinity was incarnate in Jesus as far as the trinitarians were concerned. But to the Modalist there was no question it was God the Father in Christ reconciling the world unto himself (2Cor 5:19). This language in the singular (God, himself) does not admit of other divine Beings in Christ, certainly not an eternal God the Son. Monarchian Patripassian Modalist would not be converted to the new logos, neoplatoist theories of the trinitarians.
Sabellius was one of the greatest defenders of the Monarchian Modalist Patripassian teaching of the early Apostolic Church. God was indivisible and could not emanate from himself another divine god or Spirit Being (see Isaiah 44:8). His learning took him to Rome in the early third century. While Pope Calixtus was himself a Monarchian, it is claimed he excommunicated Sabellius from Rome because Modalism was at that time on the decline and the Egyptian logos allegorical interpretation was taking the city. The conflict between Sabellius and the neo-tritheist was causing unrest within the Rome Church. Calixtus accepted that the Father suffered in the Son, but was not ready to defend that the Son was another mode of the Father in human form.
Calling the Monarchian Modalist doctrine Sabellianism was a way for the trinitarians to make it look like heresy started by some strange unknown and disliked heretic. Sabellius was in fact trying to save the Church in Rome from the neo-platoist philosophers trying to divide the Godhead into separate Spirit Beings, separate persons, and separate Gods. It can be stated from the Monarchian position that when Sabellius was disfellowshipped by Rome, the ancient doctrine of One God descended from Judaism was also cast out. The fall of Rome into the dark ages began right here when the light of one God was rejected. No one would be able to save Rome or the world from the savage and brutal killing machine the Catholic church became during the dark ages that followed Sabellius being rejected. When Rome fell into the hands of philosophers, gnostics, monks, priests, and trinitarian popes, to many, the city and Catholic church became mystery Babylon the great, mother of harlot Protestant churches that issued from her and which maintain the trinity doctrine.
Some trying to equate the teachings of Monarchians and Sabellius on how God emanated his Lordship image tried to compare this with the Greek philosphy about the monad. However, no Monarchian ever resorted to Greek philosophy to explain the oneness of the Father and the Son nor their unity. The Monarchians taught clearly the Father and the Son were manifestations or modes of one God. Sabellius named this Huiopator: (Father-Son) not monad expansionism. This mode which he called the Father-Son was confessed when Jesus was called the Lord Jesus Christ.
As Father, God was revealed in the mode of Creator and Lawgiver; as the Son God was revealed in the mode of the King of Israel, the Messieh, the Redeemer, Savior, and earthly Lord of glory; as the Holy Ghost God was revealed in the mode of the giver of grace and mercy in salvation as revealed by the Apostle Peter in Acts 2:38 (the promise). The present mode of the Holy Ghost in the Church is that of regeneration and sanctification. These were three different modes revealing the same God. Sabellius as well as the modalists that preceding him for over two hundred years believed Jesus was the Word and the Word was God (John 1:1). The Word was the Son and God was the Father, and both were the one God of John 1:1, hence Huiopater. These Monarchians did not develop the logos doctrine into the eternal Son doctrine. It was the later neo-platoist logoist who made Jesus into a separate God Being called the Logos. whom they believed was with the Father and although in unity was nevertheless separate Gods. Scholars who are honest will admit that Monarchian Modalism was the orthodox teaching of the majority of early Apostolic Churches. The Adoptionist and Dynamic Monarchian split from this group which began the slow and systematic development of the trinity doctrine.
This is a teaching that God consist of three separate and distinct personalities; co-existent, co-eternal, and co-equal. There are different kinds of trinitarians. Some believe each person is a separate Spirit and a separate God. Some believe there is one God and one Spirit that has three personalities. There are neo-trinitarians who are partial modalist. These believe when we get to heaven we will not see three Gods but instead see Jesus who will be the image of God as he was upon the earth.
Trinitarianism had a gradual development. It was not the faith or belief of the Apostles and early Christians. It was birthed from over two hundred years of debate on the relationship of the Father and the Son. The first departure from Monarchian Modalism was the Adoptionist (Twinitarians). These denied Jesus was divine. Claiming he was only a man. This cut hard across the Monarchian Modalist who held Jesus was Divine. These Adoptionist claimed Jesus was adopted by God the Father to be his son at his baptism: "thou art my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Since these split from the orthodox Monarchians they are called Dynamic Monarchians by trinitarians. This name is not adequate to actually describe them. They did believe in the Monarchy of the Father as the only God. This was no less than the Pharisee belief when they denied the Deity of Jesus. I would call them Pharisee-Monarchians since their belief about Jesus mirrors that of this Jewish sect.
The Adoptionist began a fire-storm of controversy that birthed the two-god Binarians or Biarians. These, of whom later Arias became the champion, believed Jesus was a separate God from God the Father by creation in a process called "begotten." Jesus was begotten of the Father as a junior God but did not always exist. This pre-existing Jesus was a created being. The two-god group took even more Monarchian Modalist Churches from its ranks.
It was in Egypt that the theory was born to bring the relationship of the Father and the Son more in line with Plato philosophy in relationship to the logos. In Plato's philosophy the logos was an intermediary power between God and man. This logos was divine thought, reason, and mind. Jesus was then compared with and made this Greek logos. This allowed Jesus as the logos (reason, thought, and mind of God), to subsist and become co-eternal with God. How could God be God in eternity without reason, thought, and mind? Co-eternal brought instantly co-existence and co-equality. These beliefs were not fully formed or expressed until the Council of Nicaea in 325AD.
This Egyptian doctrine gave back the Son his Deity which the Adoptionist had taken away. But there was still lacking how the logos would become a different person from the Father. It came to be explained that Jesus was a man and also the logos. This gave him instant personality and separate will and existence from the Father. The eternal logos became Jesus and this hypostatic union made Jesus an eternal person separate from the Father. It was then claimed at Nicaea that Jesus was of the same substance of the Father and was equally God begotten of the Father. This was expressed in the words: "God from God."
The Bishops who came to Nicaea appear to have been Monarchian, Adoptionist, Biarians, and the new logos-trinitarians. It was Athanasius of Egypt, a devout neo-platoist, who influenced the Council in the logos philosophy and with it defeated all others present who disagreed with the triune God. It was the Nicene Creed that laid the foundation for the trinity doctrine. It was not until 381-382 at the Council of Constantinople that the Holy Ghost was added clearly to the trinity. After the Nicaea victory of trinitarians over Monarchians, Adoptionist, Biarians, and others, the trinity doctrine became the interpretation of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. All Protestant churches retained this doctrine. Does it teach three separate Gods? We believe the answer is yes! Here is a simple test:
Answer these questions and you can determine if you are trinitarian.
1.) Does each person in the Godhead have a separate Spirit?
2.) Are each person in the trinity a separate Being?
3.) Are there three divine Spirits that are each God?
4.) Is God one Spirit, one Being, or three Spirits and three Beings?
5.) When Jesus died on the Cross, did one of the divine Spirits die?
6.) When Jesus died on the Cross, did one of the separate Beings die?
7.) Was there a time of 3 1/2 days that one of the Gods was dead?
8.) If one of the Gods died on Calvary does that not mean this one was not co-eternal, co-existent, and co-equal any more?
9.) Was an eternal Son incarnate in Jesus the man?
10.) Was the eternal Son a separate Son from Jesus who was begotten of the Father?
Answer the three following questions to see if you are a Monarchian Modalist
1.) Do you believe there is one God, who is one Spirit, who is one Being?
2.) Do you believe the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are all three this one God?
3.) Do you believe Jesus is God?
If you answered yes to these three questions, you are a Monarchian Modalist. You may not understand how to interpret all the Scriptures that speak of the Father and the Son. This does not matter. If you answered yes to the three questions, you are a true Believer in One God. You are just like the first early Christians from 30-100AD. Congratulations!
When the dark ages ended with more and more light exposing the falsehoods of the Catholic church, many different men saw again the Monotheism of God and wrote Monarchian concepts. Some of these were murdered, like Michael Servetus. Others hid their Oneness beliefs but then wrote about them like John Miller. But little by little the Monarchian Modalism of the early Church was restored. While there remains a tremendous hatred of many trinitarians against the modern Oneness people, the Monarchian Modalistic doctrine is spreading again around the world as Light To The Nations. Today there are trinitarian defenders who continue to spread hatred that the Monarchian Modalist faith of the early Church restored is nothing but an ancient heresy. In spite of trinitarian attacks against this orthodox faith, many millions now see that trinitarianism is false and has pagan roots.
Monarchianism, Sabellianism, Patripassianism, Modalism
Monarchianism identifies a large group of Christians who defended Jewish monotheism against developing tritheism (three god beliefs). First trinitarians did believe the Father and the Son were separate Gods from each other; Clement (93AD), Ignatius (110AD), Irenaeus (110AD), Hermas (115AD), Justin Martyr (165AD), Origen (182AD). These taught that Jesus was born of the Father before all creatures. They taught Jesus was a created god. That there was a time the Son did not exist. That the Son was begotten therefore could not have been co-eternal at all times with the Father. That the Son was the first creation of God, their favorite verse being Revelation 3:14. The Modalist Monarchians rejected these men and their doctrines. While Modalist tried to keep the Godhead discussion on a Jewish foundation with Jewish interpretations, the tritheist and later trinitarians tried to interpret the Godhead from Greek philosophy and Egyptian allegorical interpretations. It is this rejection that trinitarians have been bitter and hateful about for centuries. Even to the point of corrupting facts and the truth in their dictionaries, commentaries, histories, and encyclopedias about Monarchians, Modalist, and Patripassians. Generation after generation of these perversions have come forth and filled the halls of nearly every Bible College, University, and secular school of learning. The falsehoods and lies continue to have their place on the throne of trinitarian theology while the Monarchian Oneness of God Truth is always on the chopping block. For centuries trinitarians have issued their blasphemies and slander against these holy and noble Christians.
It is true the Modalist did not propose or accept the neo-platoist theory of persons which became the dogma of the Catholic church at Nicaea (325AD) and Constantinople (381-382AD). This came from Egypt. How do trinitarians expect the Modalist Monarchians to respond to these false beliefs that many trinitarians themselves rejected, even so much as to excommunicate Origen, Clement, and Tertullian from their ranks as legitimate Catholics of the trinitarian faith? Modalist Monarchians confessed the Father and the Son but not as separate Gods as Origen, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Hermas, Justin Martyr, Clement, and Tertullian did. If trinitarians are not ashamed to excommunicate these men from their ranks, why would Monarchians have any less sympathy for the same apostates?
The Modalist Monarchians confessed the personal distinctiveness of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as separate modes of God. Dr. Curtis Ward, Oneness Historian, in reading this study wrote:"My only addition would be what I coined "Simultaneous Modalism," which is the ability of God to manifest modes simultaneously as opposed to Dispensational Modalism ( God manifesting in different modes during different dispensations, but not simultaneously) which is what the Roman Catholic Church has erroneously attributed to the early Modalists" (Dr. Curtis Ward).
I thank this great Man of God for his faith and revelation of Jesus.
This was not an uncommon belief of Jews in the Old Testament and early Christians. In fact, all early Bishops of Rome believed Monarchianism established there by the Apostle Paul and remained such until the logos doctrine of the neo-platoism came in and was accepted. From this time a gradual attack against Modalist Monarchians spread throughout the nations as trinitarianism took roots and spread like a poison ivy vine.
Adoptionist or Dynamic Monarchianism taught a Pharisee monotheism of God the Father and that Jesus could be no more than a man. But it went one step beyond this belief, in that God the Father adopted Jesus and gave him Divinity at his baptism and therefore Jesus can now be considered a God and worshipped along with the Father (This is the Twinity doctrine).
There are several adoptionist theories of when Jesus became a Divine God. Some claim at his baptism, some claim at his resurrection, some claim at his ascension, and still others claim it was when he got to heaven and was granted to sit down on the right hand of the Father. Translators of the New Testament since 100AD have attempted to write these into the text so as to show plural God Beings in heaven. The interpolations became so bad it was necessary to collect and try to canonize those books and manuscripts less corrupted. Still, some interpolations have slipped in but we can discern them when we read them.
According to the Adoptionist, Jesus was a man who did not know who he was or that he was to be the Messieh until he was filled with the Holy Ghost at his baptism. At which time God the Father adopted him as his Son and he learned his purpose as the Messieh and Savior of Israel. Jesus was the Son of God by adoption not by conception and birth. It is doubtful the Adoptionist believed in the virgin birth or that Mary conceived by a supernatural act of God the Father. Adoptionism does not demand a miracle conception between the Father and Mary. Adoptionist usually claim God the Father put a new blood clot in Mary, or created in her a human being with flesh that has no connection to her or the rest of the human race. Some claim Jesus is the second created Adam and his blood has no connection to any of the blood of Adam's race that is why he had sinless blood. One Adoptionist I spoke with from Nashville, Tennessee claimed Jesus was not of Adam's race therefore he was not under Adam's curse, therefore he had sinless blood, and therefore he could not die unless he chose to do so. Adoptionist denied the deity in Christ was that of the Father and taught it was a sin and idolatry to worship Jesus. However, when faced with Hebrews 1:6 many Adoptionist claimed the Son could be worshipped if God the Father authorized or commanded it. And since worship of Jesus was not commanded by God the Father to Christians, they are to worship God the Father alone and talk to Jesus like they were talking to a departed loved one (necromancy).
The denial of the Father and the Son as God was already making its way into many churches in the time of the Apostle John who wrote and called them antichrists. "Who is antichrist but he that denieth the Father and the Son, he is antichrist." Monarchian Modalist have never denied the Father and the Son, they just do not speak of or pray to them as separate Gods as do trinitarians.
About 190AD Theodotus of Byzantium and his successor, Artemon, claimed the doctrine of Adoptionism descended from the Apostles. Artemon was challenged by anti-pope Hippolytus, who condemned Adoptionism as an attempt to interpret the Scripture according to Greek philosophy (Hippolytus opposed and tried to replace Zephyrinus who was like Calixtus a Monarchian Modalist).
Paul of Samosata, Bishop of the Church at Antioch in the third century fell astray into this false doctrine. It is a shame how Churches can fall and be destroyed by one man's apostasy. The Church at Antioch came to its end spiritually when Pastor Paul went into the apostasy of Adoptionism. For over two hundred years the Antioch Church held to the Modalist Monarchian faith. The Pastor's apostasy led the Antioch Church into a downward death which killed it and caused it to cease for ever. Anyone who follows the doctrine that Jesus is not God will destroy Churches and souls. There is some truth to the fact Pastor Paul was attempting to avoid the drift into the logos philosophy of Jesus as an eternal emanation separate from God the Father. And there is some truth to the fact he was trying to reconcile Jesus with Jewish monotheism wherein the Pharisees held Jesus could not be any more than a man since he was a created being born of Mary. Adoptionist teachings split the Modalist Monarchian Churches as many fell into this apostasy. In modern times, churches such as the Iglesia Ni Cristo of the Philippines (Manaloism), and gospel song writer and artist Joel Hemphill of Nashville, Tennessee, are spreading the Adoptionist theory again (Joel Hemphill's book "To God Be The Glory." As in the beginning so in the end, many will fall into this apostasy and deny Jesus was God. I was told personally by Joel Hemphill that many pastors in the United Pentecostal Church have accepted his Adoptionist doctrine and among them at least one district leader.
Adoptionism clearly denies the deity of Jesus as the Father manifest in the flesh and it also denies all trinitarian beliefs of an eternal God the Son who came as Jesus and the incarnate Word (logos). Several Bishops rejected the Adoptionist doctrine and a religious meeting held by the Modalist Monarchians in Antioch in 268 condemned it. Bishop Paul of Samosata taught that the Holy Spirit was a manifestation of the grace of the Father, not a separate God Being which trinitarianism would later teach.
We can find traces of Logosism in the mystic philosophy of Philo. Philo was the apostate Jewish philosopher who adapted Jewish religious beliefs to Greek philosophy. In particular, to Platoism. He actually merged several mystic doctrines into his philosophy.
Logosism is a Greek belief that between God and the creation there was an intermediate divine being called the Logos. It the pantheon of Gods we can compare Cronus as the first god and his son Zeus as the second and the logos. We now come to the application of logos to Jesus. Was Jesus himself the human logos? Was he the Greek Zeus or logos come in the flesh?
Here is where the Christian confusion begins. Did the Apostle John write John 1:1-5? Or did John start his Gospel at verse 6 and the first five verses were interpolated by Greek Jews adding logosism to Jesus (Philo and his followers)? I personally believe John started his Gospel at verse 6. I also believe the first five verses were interpolated. Was Jesus a fulfillment of Jewish Scriptures alone? I say yes. Did Jesus come to fulfill Greek philosophy? I say no. Was Jesus ever a second divine being of rank as the logos was claimed to be? No. There is no question that the theory of the logos being applied to Jesus was not Apostolic. Paul did not teach such when he went among the schools of philosophy. No where in his doctrine is Jesus the Greek intermediate divine being called the logos. It was from logosism that the foundation was laid for the belief in two and later three divine Beings.
It is assumed that to be "Alogi" means a person denies all the use of the word "logos" found in the New Testament. This is false. The use of logos to describe thought or reason is within acceptable theology. However, it understood that by use of logos as thought or reason, we do not admit these can be made into a divine being separate from the one mind from which flows the thoughts or reason. Therefore, logosism is rejected by true Oneness Apostolics as a Greek perversion.
The question often asked is about: "and his name is called the Word of God; Revelation 19:13?" It is claimed by the logoist and novice idiots that this is proof Jesus is the Greek Logos, the second divine being in the pantheon of Greek gods. Or, they claim this means Jesus is the Greek Logos of Greek philosophy. No one can claim Jesus is the Greek logos without admitting their acceptance of Greek philosophy. Is this a valid deduction? Is this correct Biblical interpretation? Obviously not. The fact is, when it is said, his name is called the Word of God, it does not mean Jesus is not the name and Logos is now Jesus' name. How come those who claim the name of Jesus is now Logos, do not sing songs to the name of Logos? Or how come they do not say "hallelulogos." Or how come they do not greet one another and say "praise Logos?"
We need Biblical wisdom here. Logosites and novice idiots need to go seek God somewhere and stop their madness. The reference is to the name Jesus. In the same manner, Emmanuel refers to the name Jesus. It is the name Jesus that is called Emmanuel. Likewise in this text, it is the name Jesus that is called the Word of God. Now isn't that quite a surprise? The name of Jesus is not Logos, but his name Jesus, is the Word of God. Doesn't this mean the name Jesus came from God's thoughts, reason, his mind, spoken by God, and it is therefore a name birthed in the mouth of God. Do not words proceed from the mouth? Then the name Jesus spoken from the mouth of God is God's WORD!
Now many will not accept this. However, the alternative is paganistic. You must then believe Jesus is the Greek logos, a second divine being of rank. There is no alternative.
The Bible student will research the use of "logos" in the New Testament text and determine if the context is describing Jesus as the intermediate second divine being of rank in Greek philosophy or if it refers to thought, reason, mind, something spoken or a discourse, or an actual "word" itself. It is clear to the early Monarchian Patripassians that logosism was a false doctrine and they rightly rejected it. And, it is also true, that many Monarchians would not use the book of John because of the interpolation of verses 1-5 that added Jesus to the Godhead as the Greek logos and second divine being of rank. No Monarchian Patripassian would ever accept logosism in its development as Jesus being the Greek nous or logos.
The early Apostolic Christians of the New Testament were Monarchian. They were Messianic Jews. They would never believe in more than one God. These believed Jesus was God and worshipped him knowing only God should be worshipped. Jesus was Divine and because of this they could refer to him as Lord. The relationship between the Father and the Son was no different to them than the relationship of the Temple to God or the Tabernacle to God. Did not Jesus say: "destroy this temple and he would raise it in three days", speaking of his body (John 2:19-21)? And if Jesus was the Temple of God, would not the God of the Temple who was in the Holy of Holies be in him? And if God was in him, was he not then the Father and the Son, God and the Temple? Was not there a hypostatic union of Spirit and flesh? Was Jesus then God in human form? Early Christians believed this. The Temple and Tabernacle were only earthly images in which God manifest himself. To the first Christians, Jesus was the Temple of God. It was that simple. The Temple was but a mode of earthly presence. Early Christians did not see the visible (Jesus) and the invisible (the Father) as two separate Gods, two separate Divine Beings, or two separate Divine Spirits.
This Monarchian and Modalist faith continued the first century while the Apostles were alive. There were no attempts to take Divinity and Deity from Christ except by the Pharisee Jews. There were no arguments about who Jesus was. They all saw him as the Lord of glory who came to earth in human form. In the second and third centuries many false teachings came forth. The Church was really little prepared for them. All they had was the Old Testament and the writings of the New Testament to defend themselves and refute the new heresies. They stood as best they could. Here and there men stood up and defended the Monarchian Oneness of God. We do not know many of them, but the ones we do know from the testimony of hostile witnesses gives us parts of the puzzle we can easily complete.
Polycarp (69-155AD pastor of the church in Smyrna), Polycrates (130-196 pastor of the church in Ephesus), Thraseas (120-175AD), Sagaris (125-180AD), Papirius (135-180AD), Melito (135-180AD); all of these were Monarchian Modalist and also quartodeciman.
Noetus (200-230AD) was from Polycarp's Church of Smyrna (Epiphanius says he was from the Ephesus Church of Polycrates). He likened himself to Moses and his brother to Aaron. Both had a mission to give the people of God the worship once given to the saints beginning in Jerusalem. There is no record Noetus departed from the doctrine of Polycarp or Polycrates. When accused before other ministers of teaching that the Father died on the Cross, he denied it. He claimed the Father departed from the Son before his death whereupon Jesus cried: "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me." The Ministers had heard the lies that he believed the Father had been crucified and died on the Cross. This accusation has spread against Monarchian Modalist ever since. And it needs corrected in 1994 just as it needed correction by Noetus.
Noetus was able to make a large number of converts to follow the Monarchian Modalist teachings. He was later accused again of teaching the Father suffered and died on the Cross and was disfellowshipped from different churches. We are told that upon his death he did not receive a Christian burial. I do not know how to interpret this except, to say it looks like his enemies had possession of his body and refused to give him proper respect because of his Monarchian Modalist faith. Hippolytus, the Rome gadfly, stirring up theological accusations, the usurping anti-pope, who hated Monarchian Modalism, claimed Noetus was a follower of Heraclitus, on account he was alleged to have taught the union of the opposites when he taught God was both visible and invisible in Jesus and passible (could suffer death) and impassible (could not die). When understood from flesh and Spirit this accusation would be true. If indeed Heraclitus believed this he had Monarchain Modalist beliefs.
Noetus did make a convert named Epigonus who went to Rome. According to Hippolytus (Philos., IX, 7). Cleomenes, a fellow Minister with Epigonus, was allowed by Pope Zephyrinus to establish a Modalist theology school that was successful with the help of Callixtus. It has not been proved that Cleomenes did not follow Noetus. And it cannot be disproved that Sabellius was a graduate of the Monarchian Modalist school there in Rome. Upon the death or relocation of Epigonus from Rome, Sabellius soon became the leader of the Monarchians. He held this position before the death of Zephyrinus.
According to statements said to come from Epiphanius, Sabellius had views about Jesus that came from Egyptian Christians. We doubt this because it was from Egypt the Logos Platoism came to Rome and was accepted. If Sabellius had accepted the same teaching, Rome would not have disfellowshipped him. It is also claimed that Hippolytus hoped to convert Sabellius to his own views and failed. According to the writings of Hippolytus he claims pope Callixtus excommunicated Sabellius "fearing me", says Hippolytus. Later, Hippolytus accused Callixtus of combing the views of Theodotus and those of Sabellius, although Callixtus excommunicated them both. But at no time is it apparent that Callixtus believed in the logos doctrine of Egypt. This to us proves Sabellius was not converted to the Egyptian falsehood.
Of the early and later history of Sabellius we know nothing. He is called a Libyan by Basil, meaning he was a black man from Africa. If Sabellius departed from the Monarchian Modalist doctrine we have no proof. All we can look for is something in his replacement. We do not find this testimony which at this time may still be forthcoming. It is doubtful that Sabellius became an Adoptionist and fell into the apostasy of dynamic Monarchianism and denied the Deity of Christ.
Originally there is one God who is one Spirit and one Being. This is the orthodox description of God from the pages of the Old Testament. All other beings were created. No created being was given divinity and elevated to a position of God. The devil tried to elevate himself to divinity and look what happened to him.
We know very little about God other than he is a Spirit. We know even less about the composition of his Spirit. But we do know that his Spirit has form. We have reason to believe the angels knew this Spirit Creator as God (Elohim) and Lord (Adonai). God's spirit has a bodily form to the angels. We know God has a head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, arms, hands, fingers, legs, and feet. This body form is the visible God the created angels could see. But did God always have this body form? Did he emanate this body image and likeness so his angelic creation could see him? Many believe this is the origin of the Lordship of God. In heaven God is the Lord of glory. It appears that God emanated a visible body image in which he became manifest as the Lord to the angels. This spiritual body and God were united in a spiritstatic union which would never be dissolved. God would be seen in this mode-image-form and the created angels would have this body form. Angels have the same body image and likeness as God. Adam was made in this same body-image-form although much lower in spiritual rank than the angels (Heb 2:7-9).
It is believed by many that the Lordship of God, his spiritual body, his first creation, his first emanation, was the beginning of the Sonship of the spiritual body of God (Eddings, p 16). This can be referred to as the beginning of the creation of God. But emanation is existence different than created beings and cannot be compared. Creation beings are distinct separate creatures that have no divinity. And we must remember the first acts of these creations occurred in heaven before the creation that began in Genesis 1:1. An emanation is completely divine and shares eternal properties of God himself. God was the Father of his own Lordship, his own spiritual body. This spiritual body form would later be called the Logos, the Word, by the Apostle John in John 1:1, or the visible image that God emanated from his mind or reason. From this spiritual image and form made manifest, God would speak and begin the creation of angels and then that of Genesis 1:1. The form of God be it spiritual or human must contain Lordship. Whether God revealed himself in Spirit form or human form, the manifestation would be one of Sonship which we must understand as emanation. The image form was God/Lord in heaven, Jesus to the world, and Messieh or Christ to Israel. Jesus is the Lord Jesus Christ when we bring all these modes of God into the unity of absolute oneness.
What did Jesus mean when he said: "No man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him (Matt 11:27)? Did not many Old Testament men know God? What was it about God they did not know that only Jesus knew? What did Jesus mean when he said: "What and if ye shall see the son of man ascend up where he was before" (John 6:62)? Obviously Jesus was speaking about a pre-existing unity relationship between the invisible Father and the visible Son in one body form. This relationship on earth was one of manifestation of the Father in the veil of the Son, his image, his form, his earthly mode of revelation. The Son was the image of the Father, even as a natural son born into a family comes in the image of his father. Adam in the image of God and all sons afterward in the image of Adam, all bearing witness to the form and image of one God in heaven. And through this earthy image the Creator could be seen by mankind even as the angels could see God in a spiritual form in heaven. Was Jesus speaking about himself being the express image through which God manifested himself in heaven and upon the earth? Yes! Is this image and manifestation the unity of the Father and the Son and are they then the same God and the same person? Yes! Or does the image itself become a separate God from that which dwells within it? No!
The Monarchian Modalist doctrine about the unity of God has its roots in the Old Testament. It does not seek to utilize Greek philosophy, gnostism, allegorical interpretation, mysticism, or any other from of logic or knowledge to identify God or describe his Being. It was because of these great tenets of Apostolic faith, Monarchian Modalist refused to adopted Greek views, Egyptian views, or even Latin or Nicene control over views of God. The trinitarian theory has always been an unsatisfactory theology. Its Christology is considered unorthodox because it does not begin with Jesus or the Apostles. The writers and signers of the Nicene Creed are not looked upon as men holding the orthodox Christian faith but apostates outside of it. Catholic traditions, even if they do oppose several heresies and apostasies, if they are not orthodox and can not be found in the New Testament, have no place in our Churches. We must have the pure faith as it was delivered to us by Jesus and the Apostles.
To try and explain God with philosophy is unacceptable. Monarchians would stick with sola scripture. Many trinitarian writers have tried by scheme and crook to make trinitarianism true and biblical, and have in fact deceived billions of people, but they are just as false as many heretics they claim to expose. The distinction of the Son and the Father is easily seen in the unseen and the seen, the invisible and the visible, Spirit and human, and uncreated Divine and created flesh. Jesus spoke of the heavenly verses the earthy. He spoke of his humanity and God's spirituality (God is a Spirit: John 4:24). We are to worship God in Spirit and in Truth. And we do so when we look as did others in the face of Jesus Christ (2Cor 4:6) and worship God. We confess like Thomas: "My Lord and my God." Monarchians believe we will never see God in his true Spirit form and will always see him only in the form of the Son image, Jesus Messieh (Christ). We will always see God in his Lordship image. Since that is the manner God revealed himself upon the earth Monarchians see no reason to believe when we get to heaven it will be any different. Three separate God Beings were never seen upon the earth and they will never be seen in heaven. If anyone expects to see three Gods in heaven when they arrive there, it is because trinitarianism deceived them with its three persons and three wills in three separate Gods.
Monarchians have always defended the unity of the Godhead and have tried to guard this Oneness with Scripture. If any belief about God cannot be supported by Old Testament Scripture, Monarchians will not accept it. It was the Alexandrian Egyptians who insisted that our beliefs about God should be modified to Greek philosophy. When this logosism took root the unity of God was separated into personalities, then into separate Beings, then into separate divine Spirits, and then at last into separate Gods. Trinitarians have tried to change the focus of the unity within God as one God to teaching unity of mind in the trinity between different gods. This concept taken from Platoism will never be accepted by Monarchians. Trinitarian theologians trying to defend the Egyptian Plato doctrine of the logos have sacrificed the two fundamental doctrines of Christianity, the unity of God as one divine Being and the Divinity of Christ. They have split the Godhead into two or even three Gods, making Jesus separate from the Father.
The source of information for early Monarchianism is Tertullian, "Adversus Praxean" and Hippolytus. We have also gleaned from the writings of several trinitarians who have here and there given us information which we are unable to obtain in our libraries.
Something must be said of Tertullian. Before he was a convert to Christianity he was emersed in Plato's philosophy. Upon his conversion he was married. He was also said to be a lawyer. As he learned the Christian faith he became interested in not only salvation but also in the present arguments concerning Jesus and the Father. To this he would apply his Greek Plaotism. We are told he divorced his wife and became somewhat of a monk. He was converted to the heresy of Montantus which of itself seems odd, since he is accepted as a man who remained in the orthodox faith. Tertullian never was in the true faith of the Apostolic Church. The divorce of his wife and castrating himself is ample proof of that. The Montanist were somewhat Pentecostal in that they believed in the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Church. They also believed in women preachers. When Praxeas convinced the Bishop of Rome against women preachers, Tertullian chose to attack him on his doctrine of Monotheism Monarchianism. Tertullian played all the angles against Praxeas, weaving into his writings enough of the beliefs of other anti-Monarchians to gain their support. We can see the Montantist believed in two Gods, the Father and the Son, because this was the doctrine Tertullian defended. Tertullian did confess that the Monarchians were the majority of the Church at that time. He called them the "simple" because they rejcted highter learning from Greek philosophy.
At no time did he attack his own group on their beliefs about the Godhead. It is believed Tertullian may have castrated himself like Montantus his leader. He never took a wife after he divorced his first one. The corpse of Montantus was dug up and it was reported that the bones were those of a woman. Is it possible Montantus was a woman who dressed as a man? Is it true Montantus was a priest of a female goddess before his alleged Christian conversion? Tertullian's "Against Praxeas" was a diatribe of nonsense, distorted facts, fiction, make-believe, and simple falsehoods all wrapped into one. He presented Praxeas from his own two-god bias. There is not one case where he actually quotes Praxeas or shows us anything he wrote. All we have are his own opinions of what he thinks Praxeas taught. It is interesting how Tertullian was also an enemy of Rome and is rejected by Catholics as one of their own sons. But, because he was agaist Monarchian Modalism, his works are used as if he represented the trinitarian view. Tertullian may have invented the word "trias, or trinity" but he was no trinitarian of the Nicene pedigree. And if he had been alive we are sure he would have been right there to defend Arias in his two God beliefs. The writings of Tertullian may give trinitarians grin but to Monarchians his writings are those of a heritic which Rome agrees with us on.
The theology of God is simple: there is one God and Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God.
When you worship Jesus you worship God.
When you are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38) you are being baptized in the name of God!
Encyclopedia Britanica 1906 Edition
Wikipedia, Internet Information Service
A History Of The Christian Church, Williston Walker
The Origin Of The Trinity, David Adams
Genesis To Revelations, One God, James L. Eddings
Ancient Champions Of The Oneness Faith, William Chalfant
The Early Church Fathers, Philip Schaff, Alexander Roberts
To God Be The Glory, Joel Hemphill
Is God A Trinity, John Miller
Jehovah Jesus, Robert D. Weeks
Dr. Gary Reckart
Tampa, Florida 1994, Edited 2009
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