In a recent article on his blog Grains of Grace, Oneness Pentecostal minister Tim D. Cormier took it upon himself to reveal the errors of Trinitarianism. After reviewing the article myself, I thought I might take the time and reveal the errors of his blog post.Tim writes:
“The FOLLY of Trinitarianism is trying to better define the Deity than did the Apostles and then believing that this “better definition” is the foundational basis of Christian orthodoxy–thus making rejection of it heterodoxy or heresy.”
This is a common assertion by those of my former denomination. The reality is that it is Oneness proponents that feel the need to “define the Deity” in a way that fixes the clear teaching of the New Testament. Passages like John 15:26 which clearly describe three persons:
When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me.
Now ask your local Oneness Pentecostal to exegete this passage for you and see who feels the need to “define the Deity” better than the Apostles. Another example is John 10:30
I and the Father are one.
Here Christ clearly shows Himself to be one person, and the Father another. Yet Christ says that He and the Father are one. But Oneness will tell you that this passage means that Christ is the Father. They do the same thing in John 14 where Christ says “He that has seen me has seen the Father.” Christ then goes on to say that “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” But what do Oneness say? They assert that here Christ is saying that He is the Father. Again…who feels the need to “define the Deity” better than the scripture?
Tim goes on to write:
Here is FOLLY thrice-confounded! Consider Trinitarianism’s scripturally baseless claims: The FATHER is God but is not the SON or the HOLY GHOST; The SON is God but is not the FATHER or the HOLY GHOST;The HOLY GHOST is God but is not the FATHER or the SON.How can anyone contemplate such intellectual tripe and not perceive it for what it is??? –sheer and utter FOLLY!!!
But is that claim actually baseless? No, it is actually based on the very scripture itself and what it reveals to us. In the Gospels the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are clearly distinct. The Father speaks to and about the Son. The Son speaks to and about the Father. The Spirit speaks about the Son and proceeds from the Father. The distinction is undeniable (although they do give it a lot of effort). Now they question remains for Oneness – do you deny that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are God? Do you deny that there is one God? If not, then you have no choice other than to affirm what the Church has always affirmed. Tim calls this “intellectual tripe”, but is his suggestion not just what he accuses? In what world is a father his own son? How can the Spirit be the Father and then be sent by and from the Father? But this is what Oneness want you to believe. They want you to believe that you really cannot understand what is affirmed in the NT without their special revelation.
The FALLACY of Trinitarianism is attempting to define God in wholly human terms ..
Here I would really like to know just what terms Tim want’s us to use? Should we use un-human terms? Does he have words that are not used by humans? I think what Tim wants to do here is poke at theological terms such as “person” or “trinity”. What Tim clearly does not realize is that while the terms “person” and “trinity” are useful, they are not essential. In other words it is not the terms that are essential, but the concepts that they communicate. He discloses his objective, which is one of the original protests of early Oneness proponents. The major emphasis of early Oneness proponents was that the word “trinity” is not in the Bible. They leaped to the conclusion that if the term “trinity” is not in scripture, then the teaching that it describes is not in scripture. The reality is that we can relate the orthodox faith without ever using the terms “person” or “trinity.” In fact the Nicene Creed, the foundation of Orthodox faith, never uses either term. Yet every single term of the Nicene Creed is substantiated by scripture, often word for word.
Tim then jumps to another topic:
The FUTILITY of Trinitarianism is adopting the words of Matthew 28:19 as a baptismal formula, instead of using the words spoken by Peter on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:38. Removing the name of JESUS from the baptismal formula completely takes away the efficacy of the sacrament of Water Baptism!
Says who? This is such an odd comment honestly. You would think Tim would at least attempt to string together a rationale for suggesting that a person who obeys the words of Christ has lost the efficacy of the sacrament. Why does Tim think we should take the statement of Peter as an absolute formula, but what Christ says … meh. This is one of the most puzzling claims by Oneness Pentecostals, and I am glad that Tim clearly states their view here. (It is typically veiled in sophistry). He does not even argue that Jesus’ only baptism is valid. He says that if one obeys Christ instead of Peter that they have not even been baptized. So very strange. Now of course he will fix this in typical Oneness form. He will assert that Christ is giving code-speak for Jesus only baptism in the great commission. That what Christ “really meant” was baptize in Jesus name. (But we need to define things outside of scripture?) Imagine standing before Christ in judgment. Christ says “man I am so sorry. You obeyed my words as a command. I really meant it as a secret code. Too bad, now you are lost forever. Got be more clear next time.” But perhaps we should ask Tim which “formula” from Acts and the Epistles we should use? In the name of Jesus Christ, in the name of the Lord Jesus, in the name of the Lord, into Christ, into Jesus Christ, into His death, buried with Him, circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, washed in the name of Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God ect. Which of these mentions of baptism should be recited at baptism? According to Tim, perhaps all except the actual words of Christ. Would being baptized in the name of the Lord save us (Acts 10) but being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will not … because Tim says so.
Tim succeeded in revealing much folly, unfortunately it was his own. It is interesting how things in a revival meeting surrounded by those who agree with you sound good. But when we bring those ideas to the light, they are seen for what they are – a lot of tradition that is no older than soda pop and radio.