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Author Topic: Sabellianism  (Read 15699 times) Average Rating: 0
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NicholasMyra
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« Reply #45 on: May 12, 2011, 03:36:29 PM »


Mark 12:29
"And Jesus answered him: The first commandment of all is, Hear, O Israel: the Lord thy God is one God."

Do you think that the above statement is pertains to the essence of God?  Or the number of God?

Leisa, in the Hebrew, the word "one" (Achad) is a word used for a unity, not a singularity.
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

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« Reply #46 on: May 12, 2011, 04:01:45 PM »

To be one does not mean to be the same.

Christ and the Father are one God, but they are diverse Persons. Therefore the Divine Person of Christ prays to the Divine Person of the Father while both are one God.


I do find this odd.  It reads like God prays to himself. (I don't mean you imply that, I mean that the narrative of the trinity implies it).
So the question for me is Did Jesus really pray?  It seems to me that when Jesus prays he is alone by himself (with no witnesses present) so what or how or if he prays is beyond the scope of our knowledge.  The bible says he taught others how to pray, and this I don't question, but I question if we know what Jesus was doing when he was alone.

But that is an issue I have with the text which claims in one instance that Jesus goes off by himself in private to pray, and then in the next instant claims to tell us how he was praying in private.  So, there are difficulties there.

Liesa, has anyone here explained to you the difference between the Catholic and Orthodox understanding of the Trinity?
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« Reply #47 on: May 12, 2011, 05:06:33 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Now that I understand that the Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholics, and indeed, the Protestants, all believe in the same unity of the two natures of Christ, I am further along then I was before.  For some reason I thought that when the Oriental Orthodox rejected the 4th Council they were rejecting the two natures of Christ however this is not the case.

So now that I have done more reading online, I realize that I am not going to convert to the Oriental or the Eastern Orthodox church because I can't.  I don't believe Christ had two natures.  Indeed, I find myself in the camp of Sabellius!

Yeah!  At least I know that my ideas have a name now, and it is Sabellianism or Modalism.  (according to wikipedia).

So I guess there isn't a church that adheres to this view that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three manifestations of one God.

And I guess this makes me a heretic.  Oh well, I can't lie, its what I believe.  I don't believe for one second that Christ was in any way human.  Its just like if I was to put on baby clothes and have someone push me around in a stroller.  Would that make me a baby? No.  So too, if God takes on flesh, does that make God a man?  No.

That's how my logic works.  But thank you everyone for your help.  If it was not for this discussion I would have never found out the formal name for my beliefs.



While Sabellians did indeed not profess a belief in the physical Incarnation of God in the form of Jesus Christ, I don't think you are necessarily a Sabellianist just because you believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are One God, for that is indeed the Orthodox teaching.  Christology can get quite confusing, especially in the English tongue which is not poetic enough to convey the depth and meaning.  At the least in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (an OO jurisdiction) our Christology and Theology teaches that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are indeed One God, in Three persons. 

They share equally amongst themselves the exact same Divine Essence or Divine Nature, but in the Ethiopian theology and languages there can be no abstract nature which is not manifested into some sort of form.  Essentially the "nature" of something is its "function" and the manifested existence is its "form".  So in Ethiopian theology, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all share unified, One Divine Nature (which is their mutual and unison function, to be Divine, to give Life to the Universe, to bring Light into the void of Darkness, to bring Something into Nothingness) but are manifested into three distinctive Forms which still convey the same function (IE, are remaining fully Divine).

God the Father is in His own manifested Person as the Father, and the Son is in His own manifested Person as the Son, and the Holy Spirit is in His own manifested Person as the Holy Spirit, but between all three is only One Divine Essence, so we indeed believe in only One God, in Three Persons. 

At least this is the particularly Ethiopian interpretation of Orthodox Christology.   How is this different than Sabellianism? Sabellianism essentially taught that there were no distinctions in the Persons of the Trinity, and that they were all sort of different apparitions of the One God.  That God didn't manifest His Oneness into three Distinctive yet mutually unified forms, rather that God simply exists as Three sorts of Visions of the One God, sort of like if the different Persons of the Trinity were merely the visual effect of looking at God from different angles of perception.  This is indeed heresy, as God exists in Three Persons, but remains One God.  Jesus Christ is not a different God than God the Father, but He is indeed a unique manifestation of that One Godhead. Jesus Christ is not merely a different perception or glimpse of God. 

In human terms, just as our own human soul and personal nature is ephemeral rather than substantive, and yet is clearly manifested in the physical forms of our unique Persons and bodies, so to does the Godhead manifest itself in the Persons of the Trinity.  God the Father does not exist in a physical form, but in Ethiopian theology neither can God the Father exist as a purely abstract Nature or concept, and so subsequently God the Father must exist in some form or Person which is immaterial and yet clearing a real existing manifestation, not an abstraction or conception.  The same is true with the Person of the Holy Spirit. What makes the Incarnation so unique is that through the Son, the Godhead miraculously takes on a physical manifestation, the immaterial takes on the material, the immortal takes on mortality, the divine takes flesh, and so this is why we call our church Tewahedo, which in Ge'ez theological terms means "Made Into One Unified, Composite Form"

However, if you do not acknowledge that Jesus Christ was both Perfect Man and Perfect God, you may not be a Sabellian but are surely not in line with Orthodox theology.  The crux of our Faith is that Jesus Christ precisely is the Perfectly Divine Godhead yet manifested into a Perfectly Human Body of flesh and blood just as you and me, and in this way we human beings who had previously been separated from the Immortality and Infinity of God through the Divine Mysteries now have a bridge over the gap.  That bridge into the Divine is the flesh and blood of our Lord and Savior, which He took from the loom/womb of our Holy Lady, the Virgin Mary who is the True Jacob's Ladder into Heaven. 
Christology is confusing for most laity, even for most fathers, so it is best to leave it to the experts.  Don't get caught up on one or two things, flow with the Grace of learning which God will give you in His time through a prayerful effort Smiley

stay blessed,
Habte Selassie
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« Reply #48 on: May 16, 2011, 06:30:09 PM »


Leisa, in the Hebrew, the word "one" (Achad) is a word used for a unity, not a singularity.


No, echad means one in number. 
http://www.searchgodsword.org/lex/heb/view.cgi?number=0259
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« Reply #49 on: May 16, 2011, 06:36:14 PM »

To be one does not mean to be the same.

Christ and the Father are one God, but they are diverse Persons. Therefore the Divine Person of Christ prays to the Divine Person of the Father while both are one God.


I do find this odd.  It reads like God prays to himself. (I don't mean you imply that, I mean that the narrative of the trinity implies it).
So the question for me is Did Jesus really pray?  It seems to me that when Jesus prays he is alone by himself (with no witnesses present) so what or how or if he prays is beyond the scope of our knowledge.  The bible says he taught others how to pray, and this I don't question, but I question if we know what Jesus was doing when he was alone.

But that is an issue I have with the text which claims in one instance that Jesus goes off by himself in private to pray, and then in the next instant claims to tell us how he was praying in private.  So, there are difficulties there.

Liesa, has anyone here explained to you the difference between the Catholic and Orthodox understanding of the Trinity?
This has nothing to do with the difference between Catholic and Eastern Orthodox understandings of the Trinity. You know that both Churches profess three, distinct, subsistent persons.
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« Reply #50 on: May 16, 2011, 06:37:19 PM »


Leisa, in the Hebrew, the word "one" (Achad) is a word used for a unity, not a singularity.


No, echad means one in number.  
http://www.searchgodsword.org/lex/heb/view.cgi?number=0259
Yes, as one school of fish is one in number, or one class of students is one in number. Regardless of that, Catholics and Orthodox both profess the unity (oneness) of God's essence. We simply apply the Trinity to the number of persons.
You can say that God is one in essence, and three in persons. This is not a contradiction becasue the "oneness" and "threeness" are applied to God differently.
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« Reply #51 on: May 16, 2011, 06:40:36 PM »

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" - Genesis 1:26
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« Reply #52 on: May 16, 2011, 06:42:13 PM »

There is a "church" that you could join that believes as you stated you do in the OP. You could become a Oneness Pentecostal. They fully embrace Modalism/Sabellianism.
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« Reply #53 on: May 16, 2011, 06:43:02 PM »

Now that I understand that the Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholics, and indeed, the Protestants, all believe in the same unity of the two natures of Christ, I am further along then I was before.  For some reason I thought that when the Oriental Orthodox rejected the 4th Council they were rejecting the two natures of Christ however this is not the case.

So now that I have done more reading online, I realize that I am not going to convert to the Oriental or the Eastern Orthodox church because I can't.  I don't believe Christ had two natures.  Indeed, I find myself in the camp of Sabellius!

Yeah!  At least I know that my ideas have a name now, and it is Sabellianism or Modalism.  (according to wikipedia).

So I guess there isn't a church that adheres to this view that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three manifestations of one God.

And I guess this makes me a heretic.  Oh well, I can't lie, its what I believe.  I don't believe for one second that Christ was in any way human.  Its just like if I was to put on baby clothes and have someone push me around in a stroller.  Would that make me a baby? No.  So too, if God takes on flesh, does that make God a man?  No.

That's how my logic works.  But thank you everyone for your help.  If it was not for this discussion I would have never found out the formal name for my beliefs.


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Then why did he eat and need to keep warm or get frustrated sometimes?
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« Reply #54 on: May 16, 2011, 06:43:45 PM »

There is a "church" that you could join that believes as you stated you do in the OP. You could become a Oneness Pentecostal. They fully embrace Modalism/Sabellianism.
Don't lead her to join a heretical church.
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« Reply #55 on: May 16, 2011, 06:45:44 PM »


Leisa, in the Hebrew, the word "one" (Achad) is a word used for a unity, not a singularity.


No, echad means one in number.  
http://www.searchgodsword.org/lex/heb/view.cgi?number=0259

What is the word used where the two become one flesh in Genesis 2:24?
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #56 on: May 16, 2011, 06:51:56 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


Leisa, in the Hebrew, the word "one" (Achad) is a word used for a unity, not a singularity.
Yes, this word is used in the Hebrew to convey the sense of "made into One" or "unison" and it is generally used in that context.  I'm not sure why that Strong's reference you posted was off, my Strong's on the shelf translates Achad as "259: 'echad,  united, first, ordinal," from the primitive root Achad "unify, collect" which is why it is used in the Old Testament to describe the Oneness of the Elohim (which is plural for God) and which is precisely why we embrace the fullness of the Trinity.

This is also related to the Ge'ez Tewahedo which the Ethiopian Church takes its name and theology from, which also means "made into One" do describe the unified nature of the God-Man Jesus Christ as to His perfect unity in the Incarnation of humanity and divinity.  Unfortunately, the Arabs misunderstand their own etymologies, and mistranslate the Arabic "Tewad" as to mean God is Solitary in their Muslim doctrine "Allah is One" which originated as Muhammed tried to trump the Christological debates between the OO and EO during the 6th and 7th centuries.  I understand the Copts and the Syrians also use Tewad to convey the Christological teachings of the unity of the Divine and Humanity in the Oneness of the Incarnation.

We also chant these words in Ge'ez at the start of our liturgy, which sings, "Ahadu Ab Kidus, Ahadu Weld Kidus, Ahadu Menfes Kidus" which poetically translates into "Made into Oneness the Father is then Holy, Made into Oneness the Son is then Holy, Made into Oneness the Holy Spirit is then Holy" and the theological implications of these prayers is to imply that it is precisely the divine unity of the Three Persons of the Trinity, in particularly the unity of the One Godhead between the Three Persons, which in turn brings that Godhead into Christ through the Unity of the Incarnation, which makes God Holy (in the verb sense).

A good deal of Tewahedo Theology and Christology is expressed in the 14 Anaphoras of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as well as our many hymnals and vigil prayers (Mahalet).

Stay Blessed,
habte Selassie
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« Reply #57 on: May 16, 2011, 06:52:40 PM »

There is a "church" that you could join that believes as you stated you do in the OP. You could become a Oneness Pentecostal. They fully embrace Modalism/Sabellianism.
Don't lead her to join a heretical church.
If she has already formally embraced heresy in her heart nothing we can do or say will cause her to change her mind. Plus, this isn't exactly the ideal medium to try to save her from it, since we obviously would want to steer her to Catholicism where as others will want to pull her into Eastern or Oriental Orthodoxy. All we can do is pray that the Holy Spirit tugs at her heart and leads her to truth.
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« Reply #58 on: May 16, 2011, 06:54:35 PM »

There is a "church" that you could join that believes as you stated you do in the OP. You could become a Oneness Pentecostal. They fully embrace Modalism/Sabellianism.
Don't lead her to join a heretical church.
If she has already formally embraced heresy in her heart nothing we can do or say will cause her to change her mind. Plus, this isn't exactly the ideal medium to try to save her from it, since we obviously would want to steer her to Catholicism where as others will want to pull her into Eastern or Oriental Orthodoxy. All we can do is pray that the Holy Spirit tugs at her heart and leads her to truth.
True, but I would much rather her Be EO or OO than a modalist. I dated one once... Yuck!!! I mean, they look at Sablleus like some kind of hero.
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« Reply #59 on: May 16, 2011, 06:57:11 PM »

There is a "church" that you could join that believes as you stated you do in the OP. You could become a Oneness Pentecostal. They fully embrace Modalism/Sabellianism.
Don't lead her to join a heretical church.
If she has already formally embraced heresy in her heart nothing we can do or say will cause her to change her mind. Plus, this isn't exactly the ideal medium to try to save her from it, since we obviously would want to steer her to Catholicism where as others will want to pull her into Eastern or Oriental Orthodoxy. All we can do is pray that the Holy Spirit tugs at her heart and leads her to truth.
True, but I would much rather her Be EO or OO than a modalist. I dated one once... Yuck!!! I mean, they look at Sablleus like some kind of hero.
The ones I know (I have a friend who is a oneness pentecostal as well as a whole branch of my family is) probably wouldn't even know who he is. They are largely ignorant of Church history and simply believe that their breakaway sect that formed in the early 1900s somehow restored pure Apostolic Christianity, which they believe was lost for some time.
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« Reply #60 on: May 16, 2011, 07:14:04 PM »

There is a "church" that you could join that believes as you stated you do in the OP. You could become a Oneness Pentecostal. They fully embrace Modalism/Sabellianism.
Don't lead her to join a heretical church.
If she has already formally embraced heresy in her heart nothing we can do or say will cause her to change her mind. Plus, this isn't exactly the ideal medium to try to save her from it, since we obviously would want to steer her to Catholicism where as others will want to pull her into Eastern or Oriental Orthodoxy. All we can do is pray that the Holy Spirit tugs at her heart and leads her to truth.
True, but I would much rather her Be EO or OO than a modalist. I dated one once... Yuck!!! I mean, they look at Sablleus like some kind of hero.
The ones I know (I have a friend who is a oneness pentecostal as well as a whole branch of my family is) probably wouldn't even know who he is. They are largely ignorant of Church history and simply believe that their breakaway sect that formed in the early 1900s somehow restored pure Apostolic Christianity, which they believe was lost for some time.
Well, when it all comes down to it, I am not a fun of their version of "speaking in tongues" and "falling on the ground" and what not.
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« Reply #61 on: May 16, 2011, 07:17:24 PM »

There is a "church" that you could join that believes as you stated you do in the OP. You could become a Oneness Pentecostal. They fully embrace Modalism/Sabellianism.
Don't lead her to join a heretical church.
If she has already formally embraced heresy in her heart nothing we can do or say will cause her to change her mind. Plus, this isn't exactly the ideal medium to try to save her from it, since we obviously would want to steer her to Catholicism where as others will want to pull her into Eastern or Oriental Orthodoxy. All we can do is pray that the Holy Spirit tugs at her heart and leads her to truth.
True, but I would much rather her Be EO or OO than a modalist. I dated one once... Yuck!!! I mean, they look at Sablleus like some kind of hero.
The ones I know (I have a friend who is a oneness pentecostal as well as a whole branch of my family is) probably wouldn't even know who he is. They are largely ignorant of Church history and simply believe that their breakaway sect that formed in the early 1900s somehow restored pure Apostolic Christianity, which they believe was lost for some time.
Well, when it all comes down to it, I am not a fun of their version of "speaking in tongues" and "falling on the ground" and what not.
Me neither. There are times when I certainly think they seem to be walking with a ghost, it just ain't the Holy Ghost.
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« Reply #62 on: May 16, 2011, 08:13:34 PM »

I'm not sure why that Strong's reference you posted was off, my Strong's on the shelf translates Achad as "259: 'echad,  united, first, ordinal," from the primitive root Achad "unify, collect" which is why it is used in the Old Testament to describe the Oneness of the Elohim (which is plural for God) and which is precisely why we embrace the fullness of the Trinity.
I think she was using some obscure evangelical software that doesn't utilize or only partially utilizes Strong's.

To be one does not mean to be the same.

Christ and the Father are one God, but they are diverse Persons. Therefore the Divine Person of Christ prays to the Divine Person of the Father while both are one God.


I do find this odd.  It reads like God prays to himself. (I don't mean you imply that, I mean that the narrative of the trinity implies it).
So the question for me is Did Jesus really pray?  It seems to me that when Jesus prays he is alone by himself (with no witnesses present) so what or how or if he prays is beyond the scope of our knowledge.  The bible says he taught others how to pray, and this I don't question, but I question if we know what Jesus was doing when he was alone.

But that is an issue I have with the text which claims in one instance that Jesus goes off by himself in private to pray, and then in the next instant claims to tell us how he was praying in private.  So, there are difficulties there.

Liesa, has anyone here explained to you the difference between the Catholic and Orthodox understanding of the Trinity?
This has nothing to do with the difference between Catholic and Eastern Orthodox understandings of the Trinity. You know that both Churches profess three, distinct, subsistent persons.
Papist, I'm not trying to be deliberately divisive here. I think that for Leisa, the EO understanding might be able to shed a light on this issue that might clear it up.
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« Reply #63 on: May 16, 2011, 08:49:04 PM »

Didn't St. Paul say that if someone is speaking in tongues, you have to have an interpreter? (Also, that it's not the most important of the spiritual gifts...)  Roll Eyes

If you watch evangelical shows on television, you'll never see an interpreter.   Lips Sealed
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« Reply #64 on: May 16, 2011, 09:36:47 PM »

Didn't St. Paul say that if someone is speaking in tongues, you have to have an interpreter? (Also, that it's not the most important of the spiritual gifts...)  Roll Eyes

If you watch evangelical shows on television, you'll never see an interpreter.   Lips Sealed
Yeah, they (pentecostals) really make a mess of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the role of the Holy Spirit in general. Rather than believing in one Baptism (of water and the Spirit) they believe there is water Baptism as well as a separate experience known as "Baptism of the Holy Spirit." Water Baptism they see as simply symbolic, and Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the one they think is the crucial Baptism. The only way they believe it can be determined that one is Baptized in the Holy Spirit is by speaking in tongues.
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« Reply #65 on: May 16, 2011, 09:49:43 PM »

There is a "church" that you could join that believes as you stated you do in the OP. You could become a Oneness Pentecostal. They fully embrace Modalism/Sabellianism.

But that's not her only heretical doctrine. She has a difficient Christology as well, as she says that Christ was not human. The Oneness Pentecostals believe that God became human.
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« Reply #66 on: May 16, 2011, 09:58:43 PM »

Actually, I recall a few years ago reading something by a Oneness Pentecostal that said Christ had "heavenly flesh," or some such ridiculous thing.  I think that was their way of arguing against calling the Virgin Mary "Mother of God."

To the extent I've been exposed to these guys, however, they tend to have a sort of Theodorean Christology.  It's the only way they can explain Christ praying to the Father on Holy Thursday night.  

I guess it follows that a heretical Triadology leads to a heretical Christology. 
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« Reply #67 on: May 17, 2011, 12:48:40 AM »

I was just reminded of this recording by Fr. John Behr, in which he gives a very basic explanation of the Holy Trinity:

http://www.myocn.net/index.php/20080612873/Special-Moments-in-Orthodoxy/Special-Moments-in-Orthodoxy-Trinitarian-Theology.html

He is an EO priest, but I think what he says agrees with what the OO Church would say on the topic.
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« Reply #68 on: May 17, 2011, 01:40:58 AM »

Orthodox Trinitarians are monotheists. Anyone who does not understand this has still to achieve an adequate understanding of Trinitarian theology.


What is the word used where the two become one flesh in Genesis 2:24?
Echad/אֶחָ֣ד can mean one in number but it doesn't have to. Frequently it occurs as a descriptor of a plural unity.

A few examples:

וַיַּ֨עַן כָּל־ הָעָ֜ם קֹ֤ול אֶחָד֙
"...all the people [plural] answered in ONE voice" (Ex 24:3)

חֲלֹ֥ום פַּרְעֹ֖ה אֶחָ֣ד
"the dreams [/חֲלֹ֥ום/plural] of Pharaoh are ONE" (Gen 41:25)

וְהָי֖וּ לְבָשָׂ֥ר אֶחָֽד
"...they [the man and the women] shall become ONE flesh (Gen 2:25)

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוָ֗ה הֵ֣ן עַ֤ם אֶחָד֙
"YHWH said 'the people are ONE'" (Gen 11:6)

יְהוָ֥ה אֶחָֽד
YHWH is ONE (Dt 6:4)

1. Historically there are no known modalists before Noetus (c. 190 AD) and later Praxeas and Sabellius. Tertullian affirmed Sabellian modalism was contra the ancient "Rule of Faith" which was employed in all ancient churches during the first and second centuries. After Sabellianism was condemned it essentially died out until Emanuel Swedenborg revived it in the 1700s, but it was not until the twentieth century that it mushroomed after the unitarian modalist view emerged and split the nascent Pentecostal movement.

Obviously there was far too long a period before Sabellianism appeared for it to have been the position of the earliest church in any major geographic center.

2. Doctrinal. Most heresies tend to absolutize one side of a dialectical reality. Usually the culprit is intellectual rationalism:  the need to "eff the ineffable" so as to fit in the little box we call the human brain. The Ecumenical Councils view of the Trinity, accepted by Orthodox, Latin Catholics, and all major trajectories of Protestantism for the last two millennia give a much more natural reading of passages like Jn 14:25-26 in the basic affirmation -contra Sabellianism- that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are DISTINCT AND INTERACTING. This is the more natural reading of the scriptures, e.g.

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." – John 14:25-26

How must a Sabellian interpret such a passage? To say these are three "Me's" which are not distinct and interacting would result in a very strained reading of  Jn 14:, such as:

But the Helper (Me), the Holy Spirit (Me) whom the Father (Me) will send in My name, He (Me) will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I (Me) said to you...?

Christ said He must go away, but that the Father would send the Spirit. If they are not distinct, how was Christ away when the Spirit descended?

Isaiah 48:16: “Come near unto Me, hear this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the LORD God, and His Spirit, hath sent Me.”

No known modalists before 190AD!  I would argue that there were no trinitarians in the first community because all of the disciples were Jews!

You and Minasoliman and Azurestone have all quoted from the gospel of John, the last gospel written.
I agree with you that the gospel of John makes some clear departures from the earlier gospels and I won't argue with you there.
I would be the last person to try and harmonize the gospel of Mark with the gospel of John.
If you prefer the gospel of John then that is fine and we will have a difficult time marrying some of the passages in John with the earliest gospel. Clearly I lean on the gospel of Mark.  And I am not a theologian and I won't even make an attempt to reconcile certain passages. I doubt it can even be done to be honest.  I think there are different voices and they are and will remain distinct.
According to Tertullian there were no Sabellians before Noetus (190 AD), but the point made was not simply that Sabellian theology was comparatively late and geographically isolated, but *in conflict with the Rule of Faith* as found in all the ancient churches of the first and second centuries. I for one would at least pause before believing a view that not only wasn't practiced anywhere in earliest Christianity, but which also conflicted with the practice which existed everywhere in ancient Christianity during its first two centuries just because it "seemed logical and biblical to me."

Your hypothesis that Sabellianism was the belief of the author of Mark's Gospel also seems on the face of it extraordinarily dubious at best. Do we know of any major scholars who argue the author of Mark's Gospel was a Sabellian?

If you admit the Gospel of John is problematic for you this further attests the disparity of your view with that of earliest Christianity. Wouldn't acceptance of four Gospels in all the major geographic centers of earliest Christianity, with no examples of early Christians accepting the Gospel of Mark while rejecting the other three also be rather problematic to the notion that you are reconstructing an original primitive faith of the church?

If the evidence from Tertullian shows Sabellianism was unknown in the churches founded by apostles before Noetus, there are lines of evidence which suggest Trinitarian theology was very early, in the writings of those who were direct disciples of an original apostle, or contemporaneous with them.

D. F. Wright, "Creeds and Confessional Forms" in Ralph Martin and Peter Davids, eds., Dictionary of the Later New Testament and its Developments: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship (1997), p. 258 affirms that 1 Clem 46:6 (""Have we not one God and one Christ and one Spirit of grace who was poured upon us?") "...is at once Trinitarian, baptismal, and interrogatory." The same author also cites Didache 7:1 (c. 60-100 AD) as "confirming evidence that a Trinitarian confession was normal at baptism probably by the end of the first century" (ibid). The Didache, or Teachings of the Apostles, was a manual of catechism widely distributed in early Christianity, e.g. in Antioch, Palestine, and Alexandria.

Justin Martyr (d. 165 at Rome) wrote "There is pronounced over the one who elects to be born again and has repented of his sins the name of God the father and Lord of the universe, the person who leads the one to be washed to the water calling him by this name alone... Also in the name of Jesus Christ who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Spirit who through the prophets foretold everything about Jesus, the one to be enlightened is washed (Justin Martyr, Apol I 61.10). Wright observes the "italicized must be fairly close to the words used by the minister of baptism (not by the candidate) in the Roman church (ibid, p. 258).

The Trinitarian baptismal formula in Did 7:1 is the same as that found in Matt 28:19. I have also seen Sabellians try to argue the Trinitarian baptismal formula in Matt 28:19 was a late addition with absolutely no direct evidence and despite the fact that all extant ancient texts of Matt contain the Trinitarian baptismal formula. This is especially problematic in that the Trinitarian formula appears in the Didache, which some scholars actually date slightly before the Gospel of Matthew was completed.

Ignatius, bishop of Antioch (from where Paul left and returned on all three of his missionary journeys) wrote "One alone is Physician. Born and unborn, God come in the flesh. The life in death. From Mary and God. At first possible, and then impossible, Jesus Christ our Lord" (Ignatius to the Ephesians 7.2).
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« Reply #69 on: May 17, 2011, 01:03:06 PM »

1. Historically there are no known modalists before Noetus (c. 190 AD) and later Praxeas and Sabellius. Tertullian affirmed Sabellian modalism was contra the ancient "Rule of Faith" which was employed in all ancient churches during the first and second centuries. After Sabellianism was condemned it essentially died out until Emanuel Swedenborg revived it in the 1700s, but it was not until the twentieth century that it mushroomed after the unitarian modalist view emerged and split the nascent Pentecostal movement.

Obviously there was far too long a period before Sabellianism appeared for it to have been the position of the earliest church in any major geographic center.

2. Doctrinal. Most heresies tend to absolutize one side of a dialectical reality. Usually the culprit is intellectual rationalism:  the need to "eff the ineffable" so as to fit in the little box we call the human brain. The Ecumenical Councils view of the Trinity, accepted by Orthodox, Latin Catholics, and all major trajectories of Protestantism for the last two millennia give a much more natural reading of passages like Jn 14:25-26 in the basic affirmation -contra Sabellianism- that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are DISTINCT AND INTERACTING. This is the more natural reading of the scriptures, e.g.

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." – John 14:25-26

How must a Sabellian interpret such a passage? To say these are three "Me's" which are not distinct and interacting would result in a very strained reading of  Jn 14:, such as:

But the Helper (Me), the Holy Spirit (Me) whom the Father (Me) will send in My name, He (Me) will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I (Me) said to you...?

Christ said He must go away, but that the Father would send the Spirit. If they are not distinct, how was Christ away when the Spirit descended?

Isaiah 48:16: “Come near unto Me, hear this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the LORD God, and His Spirit, hath sent Me.”

No known modalists before 190AD!  I would argue that there were no trinitarians in the first community because all of the disciples were Jews!

You and Minasoliman and Azurestone have all quoted from the gospel of John, the last gospel written.
I agree with you that the gospel of John makes some clear departures from the earlier gospels and I won't argue with you there.
I would be the last person to try and harmonize the gospel of Mark with the gospel of John.
If you prefer the gospel of John then that is fine and we will have a difficult time marrying some of the passages in John with the earliest gospel. Clearly I lean on the gospel of Mark.  And I am not a theologian and I won't even make an attempt to reconcile certain passages. I doubt it can even be done to be honest.  I think there are different voices and they are and will remain distinct.

Wow...really Leisa.  Not only are you in denial, but very stubborn, looking for ways to try to stick with your own beliefs rather than the beliefs of the Apostles.  Why do you continue with this idiocy?  Why don't you have a bit of humility for once that you can't comprehend the divineness of God, and accept what is written?  Let's see what St. Mark writes:

Quote from: Chapter 1
9 It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Already, the gospel in its very first chapter attests to the distinction between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit descended on Christ, which means the Holy Spirit is not Christ.  And the Father being the voice from heaven attesting to the divinity of Christ, saying "My beloved Son."  And the gospel continues saying:

Quote
12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.

Christ didn't drive Himself into the wilderness, but the Spirit drove Him.  And the Father's voice from the clouds did not appear once, but twice later when Christ shown forth His divine nature in front of His disciples:

Quote from: Chapter 3
7 And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” 8 Suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves.

How can a voice talk to Himself, Leisa?  Did the gospel of St. Mark somehow reveal to you that Christ ordered the heavens to fool his disciples into thinking that His Father is distinct from Him?

And how can Christ not know the day of the end of times to occur, but rather only the Father knows if He and the Father are the same person?


Quote from: Chapter 13
32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. 34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— 36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”

Just the mere fact of showing that the Son doesn't know, but rather the Father shows the distinctness.  Did you forget that chapter also as you were glancing over this whole gospel?  And certainly, you may accuse the gospel of John for having a false prayer in John 17, but what obout Mark 14?

Quote
32 Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”
35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.
41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”

Again, did Christ talk to Himself, saying "Abba, Father...take this cup from Me"?  And certainly who is that wills?  Not Me, but You, Who is Me anyway?  Do you see how your beliefs Leisa leads to a contradiction to your favorite gospel?  Have you becomes so blind and deficient in understand that you glanced over these verses and continued in your stupid beliefs?

And Who is Christ who cried out "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me" (Mark 15:34) if He forsook know one but Himself?  Are you saying all of this is an act, or either that or He's a madman?  And was the author of the gospel hallucinating or stupid when he said:  "So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God." (Mark 16:19) when he could have said that Christ sat at the right hand of heaven?

Be real Leisa.  You claim the gospel of Mark is more consonant to your beliefs, but now you turned the Gospel of Mark either into a book filled with mysterious language that only you Leisa understand, or you're deluding yourself and just can't face the facts that the gospel of Mark really does attest to the distinctness of the persons of the Trinity.
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« Reply #70 on: May 18, 2011, 11:47:16 AM »


But that's not her only heretical doctrine. She has a difficient Christology as well, as she says that Christ was not human. The Oneness Pentecostals believe that God became human.


To clarify, I said I didn't believe Jesus had a human nature.  Something cannot be God, and not be God at the same time.
If Jesus is God incarnate then he does not have a human nature because that would be saying that God has a human nature.

And you are correct that Pentecostals believe Jesus had two natures.
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« Reply #71 on: May 18, 2011, 11:49:59 AM »


But that's not her only heretical doctrine. She has a difficient Christology as well, as she says that Christ was not human. The Oneness Pentecostals believe that God became human.


To clarify, I said I didn't believe Jesus had a human nature.  Something cannot be God, and not be God at the same time.
If Jesus is God incarnate then he does not have a human nature because that would be saying that God has a human nature.

And you are correct that Pentecostals believe Jesus had two natures.
I think you are misunderstanding the the Law of non-contradiction. It states that something cannot be and not be at the same time and in the same way. You see Christ can be human and Divine as long as he is human and Divine in different ways. In other words, this is possible as long as there is a true distinction between his humanity and Divinity, or as long as we are not saying that his humanity is his Divinity nor that his Divinity is his humanity.
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« Reply #72 on: May 18, 2011, 12:06:21 PM »


Your hypothesis that Sabellianism was the belief of the author of Mark's Gospel also seems on the face of it extraordinarily dubious at best.



I didn't say that.  I said that Sabellianism makes more sense to me than the trinity.  I am suggesting that the trinity was a popular interpretation and gained a foothold centuries after Jesus's resurrection and not the belief of early Jewish followers of Christ.
In fact, I would even go so far as to say that it would require a total ignorance of Judaism to consider that Jesus could have had the belief in a unity of Gods.  Or that Jesus could have known himself to be a part of a trinity.  Or that Jesus could even have conceived of a God that could be divided into parts.
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« Reply #73 on: May 18, 2011, 12:09:18 PM »

To clarify, I said I didn't believe Jesus had a human nature.
Which is false.

Something cannot be God, and not be God at the same time.
Except God.

If Jesus is God incarnate then he does not have a human nature because that would be saying that God has a human nature.
Are you saying there is a limit to what God can and cannot be or what He can and cannot make happen? Wouldn't the denial of His ability to be incarnate suggest that He is not, in fact, God?
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« Reply #74 on: May 18, 2011, 12:10:45 PM »


Your hypothesis that Sabellianism was the belief of the author of Mark's Gospel also seems on the face of it extraordinarily dubious at best.



I didn't say that.  I said that Sabellianism makes more sense to me than the trinity.  I am suggesting that the trinity was a popular interpretation and gained a foothold centuries after Jesus's resurrection and not the belief of early Jewish followers of Christ.
In fact, I would even go so far as to say that it would require a total ignorance of Judaism to consider that Jesus could have had the belief in a unity of Gods.  Or that Jesus could have known himself to be a part of a trinity.  Or that Jesus could even have conceived of a God that could be divided into parts.

Again, you are mischaracterizing the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity does not include the idea that there is a unity of gods, because we believe in only one God (From the Creed: "I believe in one God"). The doctrine of the Trinity does not include the idea that God could be divided into parts because we profess that the members of the Trinity are "one in essence and undivided" (from the Divine Liturgy).
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« Reply #75 on: May 18, 2011, 01:51:26 PM »


Again, you are mischaracterizing the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity does not include the idea that there is a unity of gods, because we believe in only one God (From the Creed: "I believe in one God"). The doctrine of the Trinity does not include the idea that God could be divided into parts because we profess that the members of the Trinity are "one in essence and undivided" (from the Divine Liturgy).


"..the members of the Trinity..."  - your words.
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« Reply #76 on: May 18, 2011, 02:02:59 PM »


Again, you are mischaracterizing the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity does not include the idea that there is a unity of gods, because we believe in only one God (From the Creed: "I believe in one God"). The doctrine of the Trinity does not include the idea that God could be divided into parts because we profess that the members of the Trinity are "one in essence and undivided" (from the Divine Liturgy).


"..the members of the Trinity..."  - your words.
What is your point? Perhaps I should have been more careful and said the Persons of the Trinity. But either way, what is your point? what is more, you haven't really addressed the substance of my posts.
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« Reply #77 on: May 18, 2011, 02:17:12 PM »


Again, you are mischaracterizing the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity does not include the idea that there is a unity of gods, because we believe in only one God (From the Creed: "I believe in one God"). The doctrine of the Trinity does not include the idea that God could be divided into parts because we profess that the members of the Trinity are "one in essence and undivided" (from the Divine Liturgy).


"..the members of the Trinity..."  - your words.
So, from your perspective, it is impossible for God to simultaneously and eternally exist as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit while still being One God?
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« Reply #78 on: May 18, 2011, 04:52:14 PM »

In fact, I would even go so far as to say that it would require a total ignorance of Judaism to consider that Jesus could have had the belief in a unity of Gods.
No, not the belief in a unity of gods, but rather, a belief that God is a unity.

Do you acknowledge that God has always existed eternally with His Word and Spirit?

What is the word used where the two become one flesh in Genesis 2:24?
Echad. Tongue

To clarify, I said I didn't believe Jesus had a human nature.  Something cannot be God, and not be God at the same time.
If Jesus is God incarnate then he does not have a human nature because that would be saying that God has a human nature.
The Logos/Christ is one Person. He is God, even in essence, having a Divine Essence. He united His Divine Essence with Human Essence taken from the flesh of Mary, without changing His Person. These two essences do not become fused into one essence, but remain un-con-fused.

We humans likewise have material and spiritual natures, but we are each only one person. A nature does not experience things, the person to whom the nature belongs experiences things.
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« Reply #79 on: May 18, 2011, 10:20:45 PM »


Your hypothesis that Sabellianism was the belief of the author of Mark's Gospel also seems on the face of it extraordinarily dubious at best.



I didn't say that.  I said that Sabellianism makes more sense to me than the trinity.  I am suggesting that the trinity was a popular interpretation and gained a foothold centuries after Jesus's resurrection and not the belief of early Jewish followers of Christ.
In fact, I would even go so far as to say that it would require a total ignorance of Judaism to consider that Jesus could have had the belief in a unity of Gods.  Or that Jesus could have known himself to be a part of a trinity.  Or that Jesus could even have conceived of a God that could be divided into parts.


The Scriptures is filled with references to worship Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the Scriptures is filled with references of their distinction.  So you do the math.
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« Reply #80 on: May 18, 2011, 10:59:13 PM »

The Scriptures is filled with references to worship Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the Scriptures is filled with references of their distinction.  So you do the math.
Trinity: 1+1+1 = 1
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« Reply #81 on: May 18, 2011, 11:03:57 PM »

(1) * (1) * [(1+1)/2] = ...?
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« Reply #82 on: May 18, 2011, 11:14:31 PM »

The Scriptures is filled with references to worship Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the Scriptures is filled with references of their distinction.  So you do the math.
Trinity: 1+1+1 = 1
No...more like this:

∞ + ∞ + ∞ = ∞
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« Reply #83 on: May 18, 2011, 11:22:23 PM »

It's precisely because Christianity makes no sense that it is probably true.

You think the ineffable, uncircumscribable, ever-existing God would reveal himself to mankind as being no bigger/better than the thoughts of our most talented philosophers?

Modalism/Sabellianism, much like Islam, has human-invention stamped all over it.

If the early church wanted to convince the pagan world of the truth of Christianity, do you think it would have settled upon the apparently-contradictory and certainly impossible-to-truly-understand doctine of the trinity as the best way of doing so?

Some things to think about.
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« Reply #84 on: May 19, 2011, 12:52:49 AM »

Modalism/Sabellianism, much like Islam, has human-invention stamped all over it.
Careful, Akimori... Calvinists use the same argument in favor of their silliness (It makes no sense, and God makes no sense to humans!) Tongue
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« Reply #85 on: May 19, 2011, 01:53:35 AM »

Modalism/Sabellianism, much like Islam, has human-invention stamped all over it.
Careful, Akimori... Calvinists use the same argument in favor of their silliness (It makes no sense, and God makes no sense to humans!) Tongue

True dat.

Except that in Calvinism the ineffable, uncircumscribable, ever-existing God is revealed as being even smaller and more petty than the meanest and poorest of our philosophers.
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« Reply #86 on: May 19, 2011, 08:58:25 AM »

Or 1x1x1=1
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« Reply #87 on: May 19, 2011, 06:17:37 PM »

Math wizards,
 
While your points are true and somewhat humorous, I was trying to make the point that 3 persons make a single god.
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« Reply #88 on: May 19, 2011, 06:20:00 PM »

It's precisely because Christianity makes no sense that it is probably true.

You think the ineffable, uncircumscribable, ever-existing God would reveal himself to mankind as being no bigger/better than the thoughts of our most talented philosophers?

Modalism/Sabellianism, much like Islam, has human-invention stamped all over it.

If the early church wanted to convince the pagan world of the truth of Christianity, do you think it would have settled upon the apparently-contradictory and certainly impossible-to-truly-understand doctine of the trinity as the best way of doing so?

Some things to think about.

[devil's advocate]
I thought we were created in God's image. How come I can't understand Him?
[/devil's advocate]
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« Reply #89 on: May 19, 2011, 10:03:39 PM »

Math wizards,
 
While your points are true and somewhat humorous, I was trying to make the point that 3 persons make a single god.
Mine wasn't meant to be humorous, and I think it was the most on track:

∞ + ∞ + ∞ = ∞
Infinite Father + Infinite Son + Infinite Holy Spirit = One Infinite God
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