What is Modalism?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Palatka51, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. Palatka51

    Palatka51
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    Let me ask a couple of questions. I think I know what SFIC was getting at when he refers to Exodus 20 as not relating to Christ but to God the Father. He is not saying that only the Father is to be worshiped and Christ is not coequal with God but that God is dealing with Israel personally. That Christ is worshiped as God but not here as the Son. While I do not know much about modalism it seems to me that even it seeks to explain the Holy Trinity an existence that is hard for the human brain to comprehend.

    I personally think that God worked in three distinct ways as He dictated in each age. First He guided his children (sons of God) as they were removed from the garden to the flood. Then He picks up with Abram and develops his faith through testing and wanderings. This continues through the Law and the Prophets. While God is directly leading them Christ is indeed present. The Ark is safety in Christ above God's wrath, the flood. The pillar of fire and smoke guiding His children by day and by night through the wilderness, is the Holy Spirit. The cleft of the rock that kept Moses safe, as God passed by, was Christ. The Rock that Moses struck was Christ. The tree that made bitter waters sweet was the cross. So we have God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are indeed working at the same time. They are working in unison as one God. The same is done in the New Testament.

    Is this Modalism? If so, how is it heresy? And who are we that we can judge what is heresy? It seems to me that heresy is the complete denial of the salvation work of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. How then is it heresy to worship God as one God triune?
     
  2. Jkdbuck76

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    Try this link:
    http://www.carm.org/heresy/modalism.htm

    Basically, orthodox Christian faith teaches that God is one in essence and three in person.

    Modalism is the idea that God can only be God the Father at one time, God the son at one time and God the Holy
    Spirit at one time; ie God cannot be God the Father and God the Son at the same time.

    If you browse some basic theology courses, you want to download and listen to the stuff on Tertullian.
     
    #2 Jkdbuck76, Apr 21, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2008
  3. Jon-Marc

    Jon-Marc
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    Well, that sounds like heresy to me.
     
  4. Humblesmith

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    jbuck got it correct. Modalism is the teaching that Jesus is the Father, and he appeared variously as the Father, the Son, and now as the Holy Ghost. Modalists strongly deny the Trinity.

    Perhaps the group today most known for this is the United Pentecostal Church. The UPC doctrine is more commonly called "Jesus Only" since they teach that baptism is only valid if it is done "in the name of Jesus" only....those literal words. Baptisms done "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost" are held to be invalid.

    Modalism was held to be a heresy in the early church. The Assemblies of God excommunicated the UPC about 100 years ago.

    Modalism only sounds like a heresy because it is one. It's a heresy because it gets the nature of God significantly wrong. And make no mistake, of all those who deny the Trinity and get the nature of God wrong, every last one of them also compromise salvation. The UPC teaches that you are only saved if you are baptized "in the name of Jesus" and speak in tongues. If you don't have both, you don't have the Holy Spirit and you're not saved. This is heresy.

    If my memory is right, it was held in the early church by Sabellius, who was condemned as a heretic.
     
  5. donnA

    donnA
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    Not sure how anyone who knows anything about scripture could possibly believe that.
     
  6. nunatak

    nunatak
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    Men believe this heresy because having eyes to see they see not, and ears to hear they hear not. They say they can see, which only proves they are blind. And when the blind man speaks to the deaf man, Yikes!

    There are literally hundreds of thousands who believe this heresy and many more. I pray that God's Grace would enlighten their understanding, and give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

    Amen.
     
  7. Bible-boy

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    I don't want to talk about what SFIC thinks or believes here. But I do want to address what you said in the quoted material above. The problem with that statement comes from reading the narrative of OT Scriptures as if they are basically a history book and also without allowing the NT to inform us when we read the OT. As Christians living in A.D. 2008, with the complete Bible in our hands, we must not read the OT acting as if the NT has not been written. So when we approach passages like Ex. 20:3 the question in our minds, when discussing the doctrine of the Trinity, ought not be, "Did Moses understand that this is/was talking about God the Son." That is wrong-headed thinking regarding the doctrine of the Trinity. We have the NT, which makes it clear that Jesus and the Father are one (Jn. 14:8-11) and Jesus is the exact same I AM (Jn. 8:54-58) who spoke to Moses at the burning bush (Ex. 3:13-14). Therefore, when we as 21st Century Christians, with the complete Bible to inform us, approach a text like Ex. 20:3 we must understand that God the Son is equally represented in the commandment. Thus, it is very poor hermeneutics, leading to sloppy exegesis, resulting in flawed interpretation and ultimately the heresy of Modalism for any of us to suggest that the Son is not mentioned in the Law. I hope this helps settle the issue for some of you.

    In Christ,

    Bible-boy

    P.S. The part about how we must not read the OT and act as if the NT has not been written came from one of my professors at SEBTS (Dr. Ant Greenham).
     
    #7 Bible-boy, Apr 22, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2008
  8. Brother Bob

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    I will wholeheartly amen that, and also add, that is what Jesus Himself taught us.

    BBob,
     
  9. Rachel

    Rachel
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    I have heard more and more "Christians" deny the Trinity of God and claim Jesus isn't God but the Son of God... It's unreal.
     
  10. Mike McK

    Mike McK
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    There is a thread right now on LaodiceanForums...er, I mean ChristianForums in which the general wisdom is that the Trinity is no big deal.

    You can see it here:

    http://christianforums.com/t7225890-3-in-1-1-in-3-i-still-dont-see-what-the-big-deal-is.html

    You'd be surprised how utterly ignorant people there are of basic Christian doctrine.

    I don't have much time today, but sometime this week I'm going to sit down and write up a Biblical defense of the Trinity. That place is a doctrinal trainwreck.
     
    #10 Mike McK, May 4, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2008
  11. Palatka51

    Palatka51
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    And that is an understatement. I am a member there as Palatka44 sense 2001 and go back about only 3 to 4 times a year. When I do I only look around briefly and leave quickly, while watching where I step. :D
     
  12. Palatka51

    Palatka51
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    Close This Thread

    Attention all Moderators!

    Attention all Moderators!

    You may close this thread as I have gotten the answer that I have been seeking.

    Mel
     
  13. Dale-c

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    usually they just let these sink into the second page and they get forgotten unless someone else has the same question later.
     

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