Oneness Pentecostalism and Their False Doctrine of Modalism


The origins of the modern resurgence of modalism began in April 1913 during a major Pentecostal camp meeting in Arroyo Seco, near Los Angeles, California. R.E. McAlister preached a sermon on Acts 2:38 where he argued that baptism was to be done in the name of Jesus only and not with a Trinitarian formula. John Scheppe was greatly influenced  by the message and in prayer that night encountered a type of “revelation” or mystical experience (likely demonic) confirming the power of the name of Jesus.

Many Oneness teaches one has to speak in tongues as a sign of salvation, which is a false and dangerous doctrine. Moreover, they believe in baptismal regeneration.

Just like all cults, they think only they are saved.

The largest of these Jesus Only churches is the United Pentecostal Church, and in all about 25% of Pentecostals in the USA are unitarian or deny the Trinity. Other denominations include The Bible Way Churches of Our Lord Jesus Christ; The Church of Jesus Christ; Apostolic Overcoming Holy Church of God, Inc.; Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ; Pentecostal Assemblies of God; Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ; Pentecostal Assemblies of The World; and the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith.

They often teach the Trinity is a belief in 3 Gods, or that it is a doctrine created by the Roman Catholic Church. But the Trinity is not about 3 Gods, and the teaching of the Trinity was clearly present well before the existence of the Catholic Church.

If God is Unitarian, then Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians, and other Unitarian groups are right and Christianity is wrong. Biblically, however, the only true God is Trinitarian: One God who exists in three Persons and one substance.

If there is no Trinity, there would be no incarnation, no objective redemption and therefore no salvation; for there would be no one capable of acting as Mediator between man and God.

When Jesus declared that “there is another who bears witness of Me” (John 5:32), this must mean that Jesus is not the Father. The Bible declares that the Father sent the Son and that the Son sent the Holy Spirit, we must be dealing with distinct Persons. For one person to send another person requires two persons, not one person.

If Jesus alone is God, and the Spirit, Son and Father His sequential modes, and they cannot co-exist, how is Jesus baptized and simultaneously the Spirit descends as a dove and the Father declares, “this is MY beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17)?

Other scriptures where the Persons of the Godhead is often seen simultaneously, and they often interact with one another: Genesis 1:26; 3:22;11:7; Psalm 2:7; 104:30; 110:1; Matthew 28:19; John 14:16).

Like most cults, the United Pentecostal Church believes they are restoring biblical doctrine and biblical teaching that had been lost because of the supposed corruption of the church throughout the centuries. The fact is, all they are doing is reviving the ancient heresy of modalism that has been rejected by the Church.

Robert Bowman stated:

The apostle John warns us, “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23). Oneness Pentecostals will not admit to denying the Son, of course; but that should come as no surprise. It is doubtful that any heretic, including those about whom John specifically warned, has ever admitted to denying the Son. Instead, heretics of all kinds have simply redefined the meaning of the term “Son” (and along with it the meaning of “Father”). Thus the Jehovah’s Witnesses define “Son” as “direct creation,” while the Mormons claim that Jesus is the “Son” of God and by virtue of having been begotten through physical union between God and Mary. The oneness redefinition of “Son” as the human nature of Jesus (and “Father” as His divine nature) may be less offensive than the Mormon version, and less obvious than that of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but it is a redefinition nonetheless. The fact is that the Son and the Father are two persons, co-existing eternally in relationship with one another. To deny this fact is to deny the biblical Son and thus to have a false view of Jesus.

(Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions, pgs. 374-375)

Quotes from early Christian writers affirming distinct Persons of the one God who coexisted eternally before the Roman Catholic Church:

140 AD Aristides “[Christians] are they who, above every people of the Earth, have found the truth, for they acknowledge God, the creator and maker of all things, in the only-begotten Son and in the Holy Spirit” (Apology 16).

150 AD Justin Martyr “God speaks in the creation of man with the very same design, in the following words: ‘Let us make man after our image and likeness’ . . . I shall quote again the words narrated by Moses himself, from which we can indisputably learn that [God] conversed with someone numerically distinct from himself and also a rational being. . . . But this Offspring who was truly brought forth from the Father, was with the Father before all the creatures, and the Father communed with him” (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 62).

150 AD Polycarp of Smyrna “I praise you for all things, I bless you, I glorify you, along with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, with whom, to you and the Holy Spirit, be glory both now and to all coming ages. Amen” (Martyrdom of Polycarp 14).

180 AD Irenaeus “But the Son, eternally co-existing with the Father, from of old, yea, from the beginning, always reveals the Father to Angels, Archangels, Powers, Virtues…” (Against Heresies, Book II, ch. 30, section 9)

180 AD Irenaeus “It was not angels, therefore, who made us, nor who formed us, neither had angels power to make an image of God, nor any one else, except the Word of the Lord, nor any Power remotely distant from the Father of all things. For God did not stand in need of these [beings], in order to the accomplishing of what He had Himself determined with Himself beforehand should be done, as if He did not possess His own hands. For with Him were always present the Word and Wisdom, the Son and the Spirit, by whom and in whom, freely and spontaneously, He made all things, to whom also He speaks, saying, “Let Us make man after Our image and likeness; ” [Gen. 1:26]” (Against Heresies 4:20:1).

190 AD Clement Of Alexandria “I understand nothing else than the Holy Trinity to be meant; for the third is the Holy Spirit, and the Son is the second, by whom all things were made according to the will of the Father.” (Stromata, Book V, ch. 14)

190 AD Clement Of Alexandria “When [John] says: ‘What was from the beginning [1 John 1:1],’ he touches upon the generation without beginning of the Son, who is co-equal with the Father. ‘Was,’ therefore, is indicative of an eternity without a beginning, just as the Word Himself, that is the Son, being one with the Father in regard to equality of substance, is eternal and uncreated. That the word always existed is signified by the saying: ‘In the beginning was the Word’ [John 1:1].” (fragment in Eusebius History, Bk 6 Ch 14; Jurgens, p. 188)

200 AD Tertullian “All the Scriptures give clear proof of the Trinity, and it is from these that our principle is deduced…the distinction of the Trinity is quite clearly displayed.” (Against Praxeas, ch 11)

200 AD Tertullian “Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from Another. These Three are, one essence, not one Person, as it is said, ‘I and my Father are One’ [John 10:30], in respect of unity of Being not singularity of number” (Against Praxeas, 25)

225 AD Origen “Nothing in the Trinity can be called greater or less, since the fountain of divinity alone contains all things by His word and reason, and by the Spirit of His mouth sanctifies all things which are worthy of sanctification.” (De Principis, Book I, ch. 3, section 7)

Source: Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions

The Didache is a very old document which was believed to have been written between the year of 65 and 80 A.D.  It is also called the “Teaching of the 12 Apostles.” The Didache is not Scripture, but it is clearly an ancient document and sheds light on what the early church was doing in the first century and what the baptismal formula was.

“But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water,” (Didache 7:1).

If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you can receive Him into your heart and He can deliver you from darkness and sin and have your name written in His Book of Life.

If you are sincere you can say this simple prayer to the Father (it doesn’t have to be word for word):

“God, I recognize that I have not lived my life for You up until now. I have been living for myself and that is wrong. Please forgive me of all of my sins just as I forgive others. I need You in my life; I want You in my life. I acknowledge the completed work of Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ in giving His life for me on the cross, I believe in my heart Jesus is Lord and was raised from the dead and I long to receive the forgiveness you have made freely available to me through this sacrifice. Come into my life now, Lord. Take up residence in my heart and be my king, my Lord, and my Savior. From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin, or the desire to please myself, but I will follow You all the days of my life. Those days are in Your hands. I ask this in the Lord and GOD Jesus’ precious and holy name. Amen.”

18 thoughts on “Oneness Pentecostalism and Their False Doctrine of Modalism

  1. Pingback: Application of old pagan concept of trinity | Stepping Toes

    1. jeremy F juett

      Trinity isn’t used in the bible, God is One. How is there a coequal coeternal son that was begotten? If Jesus himself said why do you call me good? God alone is good… I go to my Father who is greater than I. This is the Lamb of God or the Son of man speaking the flesh part. How is this coequal. All authority has been given unto me in heaven and on earth then what happened to the other coequal coeternal Gods? Jesus is God manifest in the flesh! Jesus is the everlasting Father, mighty God!(Isaiah 9). I AM! There is one Spirit God is a Spirit we must worship Him in Spirit and in truth! If there is but One Spirit how can there be a coeternal coequal spirit? There isn’t! God the Father is the Holy Spirit! The idea of Jesus baptism being solid ground for the trinity isn’t very solid! Remember it’s a vision only John can see so he knows who the Christ (anointed of God) is. If God can be in a burning bush He can be in the son of man and in heaven at the same time, don’t think he will have a problem with the vision he showed John. If you aren’t soposta have any gods before me and you got 3 coequal coeternal gods how would that not be idolatry? I just pray to Jesus (Jehovah salvation, Emanuel) and I got the fullness of the God head ( singular Deity) look it up! Godhead isn’t plural!


      1. The word “Bible” isn’t used in the Bible.

        God is One being manifested in 3 distinct Persons who coexist simultaneously.

        Jesus never died He was God. Of course He is good. Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd.

        Jesus humbled Himself as a Servant while the Father was in heaven. That is how Jesus can say the Father is greater.

        I agree Jesus is God in the flesh but the Father is distinct from Him.

        The Trinity is not 3 gods.

        Scriptures that disproves Oneness theology:

        John 16:28
        I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

        John 5:19-20
        Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

        John 17:5
        And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

        John 6:38
        For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

        1 John 4:14
        And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

        Philippians 2:5-11
        Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

        Revelation destroys the Oneness position:

        In verse 6, we see the Lamb who was slain. This is universally accepted to be Jesus. Other passages make this very clear. There is no dispute on this point. But verse 7 is the kicker. This Lamb who was slain walks up to the one who is sitting on the throne. The identity of the one on the throne in heaven is also undisputed. This is God, the Father.

        But if, as the Oneness Pentecostals claim, Jesus IS the Father, then how can Jesus walk up to the Father? Why can everyone see both the Father and the Son at the same time? They see two persons simultaneously. IF Jesus IS the Father, why would He have to take the scroll out of the Father’s hand? He’d already be holding the scroll if He was the Father – no need to take it out of someone else’s hand. What would be the point of this whole charade if Jesus and the Father were the same person?

        It is absolutely clear that Jesus is NOT the same person as God, the Father. Oneness Pentecostals are completely debunked.


  2. Anonymous

    Hi, I myself am what you would call a “oneness Pentecostal” or apostolic. I can’t speak for everyone who believes in oneness, but for our organization (if you want to call it that) I can. We DO believe that God can manifest himself as all three-the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit. He can do so all at the same time. God is omniscient, omnipotent, and our earthly minds can not fathom all that he can do. However, we do not believe they are separate dietys (Deuteronomy 6:4).
    As far as baptism in Jesus name, this is what the apostles did in the New Testament. No where in the New Testament is it recorded that someone was baptized in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38, Acts 8:16, Acts 10:48, Acts 19:5).
    I don’t mean any ill will towards this post, just felt like I needed to clarify. God bless and I hope you have a blessed day.


    1. The Bible is clear that The Father, the Son, and Jesus Christ coexist simultaneously. For instance when Jesus was baptized the Holy Spirit descended upon Him and the Father spoke from heaven: “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”” (Matt. 3:16-17).

      Trinitarians don’t believe in 3 separate deities.Trinitarians affirm monotheism – the One God existing in 3 distinct Persons who coexist simultaneously.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Marshall

        Just a few points to address here. I understand we have very different views of scripture and who God is. I am not here to bash you or paint you with a broad brush as you did oneness Pentecostals.

        1. I don’t know of any oneness Pentecostals that believe God cannot be incarnate and in spirit at once. Most of us use the Bible (not traditional writings or organizational dogma) as our authority which clearly states that God is omnipotent.

        2. Only God can eternally judge. I am sorry if you have had a bad experience with a oneness Pentecostal. I can see what the scripture says about who God is and what His plan is to redeem man, therefore,I have been commissioned to share that. What I, not any other oneness Pentecostal, can do is say who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. That is Gods job. So as it may be true for cults as you said I do not believe that the UPCI believes that we are the only ones saved.

        3. There is really no need for a lot of debate regarding biblical baptism. I know many base their teachings off of the didache and other historical writings, but we believe the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. The Bible only provides examples of baptism is a singular name, not titles.

        4. I noticed contradictions in your ancient references. Your point would be driven a lot stronger if trinitarians where more cohesive in their beliefs. I see where one writer stated there was an order or hierarchy (1. Father 2. Son 3. Holy Ghost) where another of your references said that they were equal.

        This comment is not an attack nor is it intended to demean you or your beliefs. I admire your passion to proclaim truth, even if misguided.
        With love and prayer,


        1. “4. I noticed contradictions in your ancient references. Your point would be driven a lot stronger if trinitarians where more cohesive in their beliefs. I see where one writer stated there was an order or hierarchy (1. Father 2. Son 3. Holy Ghost) where another of your references said that they were equal.”

          All three Persons are equal in nature and essence. Not equal in terms of authority.


  3. BJ Sullivan

    The white large words in blue at the top of this page are partly covered up by the words below this section. I had to reduce the font size to about 25% in order to see all of the large white words with a dark blue background.


  4. Elliot

    Trinity is a woman’s name. Why are we using a woman’s name to describe a MALE God?

    Also, Jesus makes it clear on multiple occasions that he is subordinate to God and is here to fulfill God’s law. He is still bound by God the Father’s law.


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