Reflections on Modalism

I have been reflecting a bit on my visit with the modalist pentacostals last week. I have been doing some light study of Christian history and have discovered some profound problems with this doctrine that ancient saints struggled with and that I struggle with.
Modalism is also widely known as Sabellianism, named for an early Christian who advocated the doctrine. Early Christians such as Origen fought against this doctrine, and pointed out some major problems with it. Perhaps the most alarming implication of Sabellianism is that God the Father is the actual person who is nailed to the cross and who dies. This not only flies in the face of thousands of years of belief to the contrary, but flies in the face of the entire NT message. It is absolutely blasphemous and destroys the plan of salvation.
The entire mission of Jesus Christ was centered on Him being a sort of Mediator between man and God. Christ was to be the divine sacrifice that would allow man the opportunity to reconcile himself to God. The laws of nature demand that a mediator be a third party, and that the mediator cannot be a part of the two opposing parties. 
1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.
If God the Father and man are the two opposing parties it is impossible for God the Father to be the mediator. The mediator has to be a third party, and modalism does not allow for that.
Some events to consider:
Matthew 12:31-32 “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come”
Luke 3:21,22 “…it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”
Matthew 26:39 “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me! nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
Matthew 27:46 “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying…My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
 John 8:42 “For I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but He sent me.”
 John 14:28 “…I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.”
John 20:17 “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”
Acts 7:55,56 “And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
Hebrews 1:1-3 “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person…”
Modalism causes so many problems for the plan of salvation, for the atonement, and for man’s salvation. It is a theological nightmare.
James

 

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3 comments on “Reflections on Modalism

  1. DrewM says:

    Interesting stuff. My experience has been that many Christians believe in modalism without knowing they do. On the other hand, many LDS think that all Christians are modalists, when modalism was declared heresy very early on.

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