CONTENDING WITH ONENESS THEOLOGY
Pastor Bob Beeman
Those who observe oneness theology are known by several different names. They commonly refer to themselves as "Apostolic" or "Jesus' name" churches. Most outsiders refer to them as "oneness," "Jesus-onlys," "modalists," "monarchianists," "Sabellians," etc. By far, the largest oneness group is the United Pentecostal Church International (UPC, or UPCI) which boasts of over 700,000 members in the
Perhaps the easiest way to define oneness theology would be to make some comparisons. First let's compare it to Mormonism.
Mormons teach a polytheistic view of God in which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each three different Gods. That is three persons in three Gods, one person for each God or what is known as tritheism (a form of polytheism). On the other hand, the oneness pentecostals teach only one person in one God. They believe the Father and the Holy Spirit are merely different "manifestations" or "modes" of the one God, Jesus. This is what is formally called modalism. Next, let's compare what the Bible teaches. As will be shown later, the Bible teaches a Trinity of persons in the one Godhead. That is three persons but only one God. This view is called monotheism, because it holds to the view of only One True God.
The modern day version of oneness theology got its start at a pentecostal camp meeting in April 1913 with one man's "revelation" that baptism "in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 2:38) was the only correct way to adhere to Jesus' command to baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19). This error concerning water baptism led others to a conclusion that Jesus Christ is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Out of this they developed the notion that the trinitarian view of the Godhead was a pagan invention of the early church councils.
As stated above, oneness pentecostals see the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as mere "modes" or "manifestations" of God in various activities. During the creation, they see God as being in the "Father" mode; during the incarnation, they see God as being in the "Son" mode; and when working in people, they see God as being in the "Holy Spirit" mode. Any relationship between the Father and the Son is explained as a relationship between the "dual natures" of Jesus, that is between Jesus' divine "nature" and Jesus' human "nature." In other words, when Jesus prays His human "nature" is supposedly speaking to His Divine "nature." They fail to understand that this would mean He was merely talking to Himself. They claim that because "God is one"; any personal relationship between the "modes" of God is not real, but only apparent. As I will show later, this understanding of the Godhead creates a multitude of problems
Oneness pentecostalism has grown to over 17 million adherents worldwide making it perhaps the largest anti-trinitarian movement in the world. (I believe the Mormon church is second with 10 million adherents.) What sets oneness pentecostalism apart from other anti-trinitarian groups is its seeming orthodoxy. Unlike Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses oneness pentecostals teach both that there is one God and that Jesus is fully God. For this reason, many Christians have difficulty seeing the subtle heresies of oneness pentecostalism.
Oneness pentecostals have other peculiar doctrines besides their view of the Godhead. For instance, they also teach the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. Furthermore, they teach their own peculiar version of baptismal regeneration. They teach that one must not only be baptized to be saved but one must be baptized only "in the name of Jesus" alone in order to be saved. That is, they deny the salvation of anyone who has been baptized with the Trinitarian formula of "the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matt.28:19). Oneness pentecostals, further believe that after water baptism one must receive "the gift of the Holy Ghost," evidenced by "speaking in tongues" in order to be truly saved. Oneness theology is further accompanied in most cases by a legalism regarding attire and hygiene. These rules may deviate slightly from church to church but overall they are held as the "standard of holiness" by oneness pentecostals. In most cases, women are required to wear skirts or dresses, but never pants or slacks. Women are not allowed to cut their hair. Women are not allowed to wear jewelry or makeup. Men are not allowed to have either long hair or facial hair. No one is allowed to wear shorts, or anything that would expose the legs. There is also the issue of sleeve length. Most teach that a sleeveless shirt would be wrong to wear, without mandating how long the sleeve should be. Another church may mandate that sleeves be no shorter than the elbow, with others stipulating that they must be all the way to the wrist. Some will teach that your salvation is at stake if you do not abide by these rules.
3. THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY
A. THE TRINITY IN A/G DOCTRINE
The following is quoted from the Assembly of God Statement of Fundamental Truths :
THE ONE TRUE GOD
The one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent "I AM," the Creator
of heaven and earth and the Redeemer of mankind. He has further revealed Himself as
embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
(Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10, 11; Matt. 28:19; Luke 3:22).
THE ADORABLE GODHEAD
(a) Terms Defined
The terms "Trinity" and "persons" as related to the Godhead, while not found in the Scriptures, are words in harmony with Scripture, whereby we may convey to others our immediate understanding of the doctrine of Christ respecting the Being of God, as distinguished from "gods many and lords many." We therefore may speak with propriety of the Lord our God, who is One Lord, as a trinity or as one Being of three persons, and still be absolutely scriptural (examples, Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; John
Christ taught a distinction of Persons in the Godhead which He expressed in specific terms of relationship, as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but that this distinction and relationship, as to its mode is inscrutable and incomprehensible, because unexplained.
Luke 1:35; 1 Cor 1:24; Matt. 11:25-27; 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 John 1:3,4.
Accordingly, therefore, there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Ghost which constitutes Him the Holy Ghost and not either the Father or the Son. Wherefore the Father is the Begetter, the Son is the Begotten, and the Holy Ghost is the one proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty and His name one.
John 1:18; 15:26; 17:11, 21; Zech !4:9.
The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are never identical as to Person; nor confused as to relation; nor divided in respect to the Godhead; nor opposed as to cooperation.
The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son as to relationship. The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son, as to fellowship. The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father, as to authority. The Holy Ghost is from the Father and the Son proceeding, as to nature, relationship, cooperation and authority. Hence, neither Person in the Godhead either exists or works separately or independently of the
others. John 5:17-30, 32, 37; John 8:17, 18
The appellation, "Lord Jesus Christ," is a proper name. It is never applied, in the New Testament, either to the Father or to the Holy Ghost. It therefore belongs exclusively to the Son of God Rom 1:1-3, 7; 2 John 3
The Lord Jesus Christ, as to His divine and eternal nature, is the proper and only Begotten of the Father, but as to His human nature, He is the proper Son of Man. He is, therefore, acknowledged to be both God and man; who because He is God and man, is "Immanuel," God with us. Matt. 1:23; 1 John 4:2, 10, 14; Rev. 1:13, 17.
Since the name "Immanuel" embraces both God and man in the one Person, our Lord Jesus Christ, it follows that the title, Son of God, describes His proper deity, and the title Son of Man, His proper humanity. Therefore, the title, Son of God, belongs to the
order of eternity, and the title, Son of Man, to the order of time. Matt. 1:21-23; 2 John 3; 1 John 3:8; Heb. 7:3; 1:1-13.
Wherefore, it is a transgression of the Doctrine of Christ to say that Jesus Christ derived the title, Son of God, solely from the fact of the incarnation, or because of His relation to the economy of redemption. Therefore, to deny that the Father is a real and eternal Father, and that the Son is a real and eternal Son, is a denial of the distinction and relationship in the Being of God; a denial of the Father, and the Son; and a displacement of the truth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. 2 John 1:9; John 1:1; John 1:2; John 1:14; John 1:18; John 1:29; John 1:49; 1 John 2:22,23; 1 John 4:1-5 Heb. 12:2.
The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, having by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; angels and principalities and powers having been made subject unto Him. And having been made both Lord and Christ, He sent the Holy Ghost that we, in the name of Jesus, might bow our knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father until the end, when the Son shall become subject to the Father that God may be all in all.
Heb. 1:3; 1 Peter 3:22; Acts 2:32-36; Rom. 14:11; 1 Cor 15:24-28.
(j) Equal Honor to the Father and to the Son
Wherefore, since the Father has delivered all judgment unto the Son, it is not only the express duty of all in heaven and on earth to bow the knee, but it is an unspeakable joy in the Holy Ghost to ascribe unto the Son all the attributes of Deity, and to give Him all
the honor and the glory contained in all the names and titles of the Godhead except those which express relationship (see paragraphs b, c, and d), and thus honor the Son even as we honor the Father.
John 5:22, 23; 1 Peter 1:8; Rev. 5:6-14; Phil. 2:8, 9; Rev. 7:9, 10; 4:8-11
B. THE TRINITY IN THE ATHANASIAN CREED
1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things is necessary to hold the universal Christian faith.
2. Which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
3. But this is the universal Christian faith: That we worship one God in trinity, and trinity in unity;
4. Neither confounding the persons; nor dividing the substance.
5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son; another of the Holy Ghost.
6. But the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one: the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.
7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, such is the Holy Ghost.
8. The Father is uncreated; the Son is uncreated; the Holy Ghost is uncreated.
9. The Father is incomprehensible; the Son is incomprehensible; the Holy Ghost is incomprehensible.
10. The Father is eternal; the Son is eternal; the Holy Ghost is eternal.
11. And yet there are not three eternals; but one eternal.
12. And also there are not three uncreated; nor three incomprehensible; but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible.
13. So likewise the Father is almighty; the Son is almighty; and the Holy Ghost is almighty.
14. And yet there are not three almighties, but one almighty.
15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.
16. And yet there are not three Gods, but one God.
17. So the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Ghost is Lord.
18. And yet there are not three Lords, but one Lord.
19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every person by Himself to be God and Lord;
20. So are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say: there are three Gods, or three Lords.
21. The Father is made of none; neither created nor begotten.
22. The Son is of the Father alone; not made; nor created; but begotten.
23. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and the Son not made; neither created; nor begotten, but proceeding.
24. Thus there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons: one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.
25. And in this trinity none is before or after another, none greater nor less than another.
26. But the whole three persons are co-eternal together, and co-equal.
27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the unity in trinity, and the trinity in unity is to be worshipped.
28. He, therefore, that will be saved, must thus think of the trinity.
Athanasius (A.D. 297?-373)
cf."The Creed of Athanasius" -- Vol.7, page 366, Anti-Nicene Fathers.
C. THE TRINITY REVEALED IN THE BIBLE
THE TRINITY IS REVEALED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
"And God said, Let US make man in our image, after our likeness..."
"And the Lord God said, Behold the man is become as one of US, to know good and evil:..."
"...let US go down, and there confound their language..."
THE TRINITY IS REVEALED IN WATER BAPTISM
"And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in
(The above verses show the Father speaking, the Son being baptized, and the Spirit descending. That is three persons all manifest at the same time.)
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
(From the Greek text of Matthew 28:19, one can see that "onoma" (name) is singular and that definite articles "tou" (the) are placed in front of "patros" (Father), "huiou" (Son), and "hagiou pneumatos" (Holy Spirit) indicating plurality within unity or three in one.)
THE TRINITY IS REVEALED IN SALUTATIONS
"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:..."
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen."
THE TRINITY IS REVEALED IN RELATIONSHIPS
"Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)...Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ."
"Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort."
"Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
"And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
"To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."
"...Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour."
"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,...Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ..."
"Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love."
(The above verses show that the Father and the Son are not two different manifestations of one person but are actually two distinct and different persons who interact and relate to one another.)
THE TRINITY IS REVEALED IN CREATION
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him (Jesus); and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men....And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
Notice in the above verses it says "All things were made by him (Jesus); and without him was not any thing made that was made." This shows that the Lord Jesus created ALL the things that were created. The Lord Jesus is the Creator of all things! This proves that He is God. Next, notice that the Word (Jesus) was not only God, but He "was WITH God." This speaks of a relation between two different persons (God the Father and God the Son). Some might argue that the "Word" was merely the human nature of Jesus and that this relation between the Word and God is merely the dual nature of the humanity of Jesus being "WITH" the Divinity of Christ. However, this passage plainly states that the Word was "with" God before Jesus became flesh and dwelt on earth. The Word "WAS" God and was "WITH" God "IN THE BEGINNING" before creation "…and without him was not any thing made that was made."
"And now, glorify Me, O Father, with yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world existed."
The Greek word 'para' ("with") is almost always used in regards to a personal relationship, and is obviously meant as such in this context, which uses the relational pronouns "I" and "You" in relation to the "Father." This verse confirms the relationship before creation between the Father and the Son which is spoken of in John 1:1 thus confirming the doctrine of the Trinity.
ONE TRUE GOD
Lest I be misunderstood, let me plainly state again, "There is only ONE TRUE GOD, in the Bible. All the rest are false gods and no gods at all. When one relegates Jesus to being a lesser God than Jehovah, then he has in essence made Jesus a false god and no god at all. The Jews that God used to write the Bible were monotheists, believing in the existence of only one God. Monotheism is the only understanding which is true to the whole revelation of God. Monotheism is what the Bible teaches. Polytheism is a pagan belief, and is the exact opposite of what the Jews believed. I say this to plainly refute the idea that Trinitarians believe in three Gods. We are NOT tritheists! We do not believe in three Gods. We believe in ONE GOD in three Persons. Isaiah 43:10 states: "Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me." (ASV) Was there ANY god formed BEFORE Jehovah? The text says NO. Is there ANY god AFTER Jehovah? The text says NO. This means that the only God that exists is Jehovah. Any time a true and living God is mentioned in the Bible it must be Jehovah that is referred to because Isaiah 43:10 (quoted above) is very plain that the only God that exists is Jehovah. Since John 1:1 states that Jesus is God, Jesus must be Jehovah. The next verse in Isaiah chapter 43 is further proof that Jesus is Jehovah. Isaiah 43:11 states: "I, even I, am Jehovah; and besides me there is no saviour." (ASV) This verse states very simply that Jehovah is the ONLY SAVIOR. Since all agree that Jesus is a saviour, Jesus is further proven to be Jehovah.
In the Old Testament, there are terms referring to God (such as Elohim) which speak of plurality and could be translated as "gods" if taken out of context, but in the context of the full counsel of God (the Bible as a whole) we must interpret them as saying there is only one God. (Det.6:4-9, Mark 12:28-34, Mal. 1:6, Mal.2:10, Isa.44:6-8, Isa.45:2-6&23, Isa.46:8-9, 1 Cor.8:4-6, Eph.4:5-6, 1 Tim.2:5, James 2:19, and Rev.4:2-3). This plurality helps us to understand certain things about God's nature when THE FATHER IS CALLED GOD (John 6:27 and John 17:3), JESUS IS CALLED GOD (John 1:1 and Isa.9:6, Isa.10:21, and Phil.2:10-11), and THE HOLY SPIRIT IS CALLED GOD (Acts 5, 1Cor.3:16, ICor.6:19, 2Cor.3:17, and Eph. 2:22). Since we know that there is only one God, this leads us to the conclusion that there are three persons in the one Godhead. Jehovah is Triune. Jehovah is the name for the Trinity.
4. RESPONDING TO ONENESS
1. Oneness apologists claim that Deut.6:4 denies the Trinity.
4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:"
Duet. 6:4 does not deny the Trinity, but rather affirms one of the tenets of the doctrine of the Trinity (see above). The doctrine of the Trinity affirms that there is "one God." Quite often, those who argue against the Trinity don't understand the doctrine of the Trinity well enough to explain it, much less refute it. They exaggerate and distort the doctrine of the Trinity into something that can be easily dispelled. That is known as the straw man fallacy. The name of the straw man fallacy comes from the idea that if you set up a straw man, he is easier to knock down than a real man. That is exactly the way the fallacy works, set up a distorted view and knock it down. In dealing with Deut.6:4, the oneness apologists set up a distorted straw man view of the Trinity and then knock it down. They claim that the Trinity is a belief in three Gods in order to make the doctrine contradict the Bible.
2. Oneness apologists claim that Isa.9:6 proves that Jesus is God the Father.
6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
The Darby Bible and Young's Literal Translation both render this passage as "Father of Eternity.’
Isa.9:6 (Darby Bible)
6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace."
Isa.9:6 (Young's Literal Translation)
6 "For a Child hath been born to us, A Son hath been given to us, And the princely power is on his shoulder, And He doth call his name Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace."
Dr. Robert Bowman points out that Abiethon - literally "father of strength" (2 Sam. 23:31) means "strong"; Abiaseph - literally "father of gathering" (Ex.6:24) means "gatherer"; and Abigail - literally "father of exultation" (1 Chron.2:16) is a woman's name meaning "exulting." Therefore, "Father of eternity" in Isaiah 9:6 means that Jesus is "eternal." According to Matthew Henry's Commentary this implies that Jesus is the creator of the ages (Heb.1:2; 11:3). It does not mean that He is "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2Cor.1:3).
3. Oneness apologists claim that John 5:43 shows that "Jesus" is the Father's name and thus that Jesus is the Father.
43 "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive."
Notice that the second part of this verse insinuates that one who comes "in his own name" is not to be "received." If Jesus was actually the Father which would literally make His name Jesus, then He would have been coming "in His own name" and it would have been wrong to receive Him. This contrast between "My Father's name" and "his own name" proves that Jesus did not come "in his own name." Therefore, "Jesus" is not the Father's name, and Jesus is not the Father. This turns out to be a proof text against oneness theology.
4. Oneness apologists claim that John 10:30 proves the Father and the Son are one person.
30 "I and my Father are one."
Any first year Greek student will notice that a one-person interpretation of this verse is precluded by the first person plural in the Greek New Testament. A literal translation of this verse would be: "I and the Father we are one." If Jesus was the Father, He would have used the first person singular and said, "I am the Father." Furthermore, the Greek word for "one" is in the neuter gender which points to the idea of one in "unity or one essence" (Margin of NASV Bible). The masculine form would have been used to signify one in contrast to many.
5. Oneness pentecostals claim that John 14:6-11 proves that Jesus is God the Father
6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
7 "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him."
8 "Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us."
9 "Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?"
10 "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."
11 "Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake."
Notice in the passage that Jesus begins by stating, "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me"(v.6) and later states, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (v.9). Dr. Robert Bowman points out that "the natural sense of these words is that Jesus is, not the Father, but a mediator between us and the Father." It would be ridiculous for Jesus to claim that no man could come "to" the Father except "through" Him if Jesus and the Father were one and the same person. The words "to" and "through" only make sense if Jesus and the Father are distinct persons, with Jesus being the Mediator between man and the Father. In verse 7, Jesus states, "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also." Bowman points out that "this is true, not because Jesus is the Father, but because those who know Jesus are led by Him to know the Father as they see Him imaged perfectly in Jesus. Thus, says Jesus, 'from now on you know Him, and have seen Him' (v.7b). Existing with the Father as the one indivisible Divine Being, Jesus can say, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father' (v.9). Nevertheless, Jesus does not say, 'I am the Father,' but rather, 'I am in the Father and the Father is in Me' (v.10, repeated in v.11; and 10:38)." oneness believers frequently cite the second part of this last statement, "the Father is in Me," to mean that the deity ("Father") dwells in the humanity ("Son") of Jesus. This view, however, is clearly faulty in light of the first part of the sentence, "I am in the Father," which in oneness terms would mean that the human nature of Jesus dwells in His deity. No oneness pentecostal believes the humanity of Jesus dwelt in the divinity of Jesus. Moreover, it fails to account for the fact that in this same context, as well as elsewhere, Jesus uses this sort of expression to denote His unity with believers: "In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you" (v.20; and 17:21-23).
6. Oneness apologists interpret John 17:6,11-12 as proof that "Jesus" is the Father's name and therefore that Jesus is the Father.
6 "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word."
11 "And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are."
12 "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled."
Oneness writers point to the words "manifested" and "gave" in order to claim that Jesus was the Father's name, and that the Father "gave" His name to Jesus, as evidence that Jesus is the Father. They overlook the fact that a human father can give his name to his son, without the father and son being the same person! Furthermore, it should be noted from this passage that Jesus said twice that His disciples were "in Thy (the Father's) name." If oneness believers interpret this phrase in a consistent manner with the way they interpret it in John 5:43, they are left with the ridiculous conclusion that the disciples are the Father! The oneness interpretation simply does not work because it is not logically consistent.
7. Oneness writers claim that Col.2:9 proves that Jesus is God the Father and Holy Spirit.
9 "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
Since Colossians 2:9 says that the fulness of "the Godhead" dwells in Jesus, Oneness writers have argued that the Godhead is in Jesus, not Jesus in the Godhead. This either/or approach, however, causes the oneness interpretation of Colossians 2:9 to contradict their interpretation of John 10:38 where Jesus states, "the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father." Since "the Father" in oneness theology is "the Godhead," John 10:38 in their terms would mean that the Godhead is in Jesus, and Jesus is in the Godhead. When Oneness believers deny that "Jesus is in the Godhead," what they mean to deny is that Jesus is one person in a triune Godhead. Colossians 2:9, though, does not rule out that possibility. What it affirms is that Jesus is no less than the full and complete revelation of God's nature ('theotetos', "deity") in the flesh. While not all three persons of God are incarnate in Jesus, all of God's essence is incarnate in Jesus.