Do You Believe in Three Gods or One?
by Dudley Ross Spears
Question: Our pastor says the Church of Christ believes in three Gods and he says the Bible teaches there is only one God. Why do you believe in three Gods? Don't you believe the Bible?
Answer: Thanks for the question. No offense intended but your "pastor" is wrong. Yes, indeed, we believe every word of the Bible. It doesn't matter what the "Church of Christ" believes; what matters is what the Bible teaches. We believe in the one true and living God because the Bible teaches it. Your "pastor" actually believes there is only one person of God. That person to him is Jesus alone, as the one person in the Godhead. The Bible teaches there is one God, but there are three divine Beings that make up the one God.
Notice how "one" is used in the Scriptures: Paul said in Romans 12:4, "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Paul added, "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ" (1 Corinthians 12:12). You can see that one body does not mean only one person, but rather many persons making up one body.
Jesus taught that two persons are one without losing their individual identity. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Matthew 19:5-6). You can clearly see that one here includes two persons. The same is true with the word God.
Jesus prayed that all believers might be one. Read John 17:20-22. "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one." One in this passage cannot and does not mean only one person. Furthermore, Jesus prayed that his followers would be one AS (note the adverb of comparison) he and his father are one. "As" means "in this way," or "in this manner." Therefore one God does not mean only one person of God.
Paul spoke to the citizens of Athens, saying: "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device" (Acts 17:29). The word Godhead is also found in Romans 1:20 and Colossians 2:9. It means "Deity, the state of being God or divinity." One God is the same as saying one Deity. The Bible says there is one God (Deity) but never says there is only one person who is deity. The Bible says a husband and wife are one, but they remain two distinct people. All believers are one in Christ (John 17:20) but not one person. If countless billions can be "one" and remain distinct human persons, three divine Beings can be one and remain distinct divine persons.
A United Pentecostal creed book reads: "We believe in the one ever living, eternal God: infinite in power, holy in nature, attributes and purpose; and possessing absolute, indivisible deity. This one true God has revealed Himself as Father, through His Son, in redemption; and as the Holy Spirit, by emanation. ... This one true God manifested Himself in the Old Testament in divers ways; in the Son while He walked among men; as the Holy Spirit after the ascension." (Manual, United Pentecostal Church, page 17). Some of those who adhere to this creedal dictum explain it this way. "God is one person, who has manifested Himself in creation as Father, in redemption as Son, and in the Church as the Holy Ghost."
This is false doctrine about God's being. If God exists eternally as only one person, manifesting Himself in three different modes, He is not (and cannot be) a manifestation of all three simultaneously. Either God is Father (as Pentecostals say He was in creation) or He is the Son, as they claim He was in redemption, or He is the Holy Spirit now. He cannot be all three at the same time and be but one person. Thus, if Jesus was God manifest in the Son in redemption, but is now manifesting Himself as the Holy Spirit in the church, Jesus is not now the Son of God.
Those who deny that Jesus is (present tense) the Son of
God are anti-Christ. "Who
is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist,
that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same
hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father
John 2:22-23). Those who affirm only one person of God but three separate
manifestations cannot acknowledge the Son and the Father also and
are forced to deny that Jesus is now manifest as God. It is just
that simple -- and is very serious. I urge to you and everyone else
to reject this idea of "Only One Person
in the Godhead" heresy.