For all my Aussie friends, particularly in Brisbane, you do not want to miss this outstanding event featuring heavyweight Christian apologist Dr. James White. It will be hosted by pastor Craig Ireland at Hope Christian Church which, I am thrilled to say, is one of Brisbane's solid biblical churches pastored by my precious brother Craig Ireland (I plan to talk about the Craig's journey and church plant in a later post - just waiting for Craig to answer my calls). Be sure to confirm your place at this debate between Oneness Pentecostal Roger Perkins and the combative Dr. White over the essential Christian doctrine of the Trinity.
Todd Friel and Tony Verkinnes on Wretched Radio have a running joke about the popular "Christian" singing trio "Philips, Craig, and Dean" which goes something like this:
Todd: Hey I went to the big Christian music convention last weekend and you'll never guess who I met there!
Todd: Philips, Craig and Dean!
Todd: Well obviously, not all of them at the same time.
Be warned, this is a joke that will fall completely flat unless you know some inside theological information about Philips, Craig, and Dean. They hail from a Oneness Pentecostal church, a denomination that holds to the anti-Trinitarian doctrine of Modalism.
The heresy of modalism/sabellianism goes back to the second century AD and was a reason for the Athanasian Creed which godly men from that time formulated to refute all doctrine that was anti-Trinitarian. I won’t delve into an in-depth study on the Trinity right now but I recommend Paul Washer’s book “The One True God” for an excellent and simple study on the subject. The Athanasian creed is very long but it if you need to summarize it in three points regarding the Trinity as taught in Scripture they are these:
1.There is one God.
2.This one God exists in three persons.
3.These three Persons are each fully God.
Modalism however does not teach one God in three Persons. It teaches one god in three manifestations. So the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit become different roles that God uses at different times – just like water, ice, and steam is h2o appearing in different forms (maybe the joke is getting a bit funnier now). The modalist has major problems with issues like Jesus praying to the Father or Jesus’ baptism where the Father spoke and the Holy Spirit descended. For the modalist Jesus is not eternal, but how the Father appeared for 33 years. For the modalist Jesus cannot be a mediator between sinners and the Father. For the modalist Jesus cannot suffer the Father’s wrath on the cross. I could say more but I think you can see modalism is a big problem – it is idolatry.
Modalism is alive and well today and has other major proponents who tend to try and fly under the theological radar, none more so than popular “evangelical” preacher TD Jakes. This, in turn, highlights the need for those of us who inhabit church pews each Sunday, and then head back out into our mission fields, to be informed about subtle heresies like modalism. the doctrine of the Trinity is one of the cornerstone doctrines of the historic Christian faith as witnessed by the many creeds and confessions through the centuries. People have given their lives defending it and you don't want to have the wool pulled over your eyes. So be sure to come out and learn some vital truth . . . and enjoy the fireworks!