|Vol. 12 No. 11 November 2010||
Is the Godhead Comprised
of One Person — the Father?
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Recently, I received a phone call from a reader of Gospel Gazette Online who posed a question of sorts, or more correctly, made fast and furious affirmations that there is only one person in the Godhead, and that person, he said, is the Father. He based his conclusion on John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” I have had lengthy conversations in the past with members of the United Pentecostal Church respecting their oneness doctrine respecting the Godhead, where they claim Jesus Christ is the only person in the Godhead. However, I had never before come across anyone arguing for oneness doctrine respecting the Godhead where the Heavenly Father was claimed to be the only person therein.
Since the caller was unwilling to submit a question for my response as Gospel Gazette Online requests, I proceeded to offer a couple of Scripture references for his consideration that clearly indicate that there are three persons in the Godhead: (1) the account of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 and (2) the baptism of Jesus Christ. In both instances, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit are mentioned together. The caller summarily dismissed those passages by redefining the words and terms of Matthew 28 and suggesting that I must admit that there are four persons in the Godhead because John the Baptist is mentioned in the context of the baptism of Jesus Christ.
The caller intended to talk over top of me while I attempted to offer some response to a supposed question he offered, and he was more interested in making an affirmation than obtaining any information. Whenever someone proceeds to redefine biblical terms to satisfy his own preconceived notions and resorts to ridiculous and nonsensical statements, there is no possibility of a fruitful discussion and exchange of ideas.
The Bible is an able commentator on itself, and one passage of Scripture does not contradict another passage of Scripture. The sum of God’s Word (Psalm 139:17) proves that there are three persons in the Godhead. Logic or sound reasoning is essential to properly understand the Word of God, whereas not handling aright the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15) and twisting Scripture is harmful rather than helpful (2 Peter 3:16). From some, we must turn away because in their present state of mind, we cannot help them with understanding the Word of God more perfectly (Matthew 7:6; Luke 9:5).
For a treatment of the number of persons in the Godhead, please see my article at the following URL:
Louis Rushmore, Editor
I just converted a Muslim cleric who is in bed next to mine in the hospital and I need to answer some questions raised by him. 1. What is the relationship between Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1? 2. Which comes first, THE WORD or THE LORD in the beginning? 3. Can we call Jesus Jehovah? 4. Who then is Jesus calling MY FATHER?
The word “God” in Genesis 1:1 is the Hebrew 'elohiym (el-o-heem'), which is plural and indicates the plurality of persons in the Godhead (Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9). The plural pronoun “us” in Genesis 1:26 referring to God also indicates the plurality of persons in the Godhead. A couple of New Testament passages that identify the three persons in the Godhead are Matthew 3:16-17 and 28:18-20. In both instances, we find therein God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. “In the beginning” of Genesis 1:1 refers to when the creation of the universe occurred. “In the beginning” of John 1:1-3 also refers to creation, and “the Word” is cited as preceding and participating in creation. “The Word” is a figurative reference to God the Son who came to the earth and took on the form of a human being (John 1:14).
The Godhead, including Jesus Christ Who in John 1:1 is referred to as “the Word,” is eternal, i.e., having no beginning. It is not a matter of whether “the Word” or “the Lord” came first in the beginning since they are references to the same person in the Godhead.
The name, “Jehovah,” is applied in Scripture to Jesus Christ on some occasions. Compare Isaiah 40:3 and Matthew 3:3. “The voice of one that crieth, Prepare ye in the wilderness the way of Jehovah; make level in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3 ASV). “For this is he that was spoken of through Isaiah the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make ye ready the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Matthew 3:3 ASV). That Jesus Christ is appropriately styled, “Jehovah,” is confirmed by six-way inspiration, that of John the Baptist and the apostle Matthew (Matthew 3:3), Mark (1:2-11), Zacharias and Luke (Luke 1:76) and the apostle John (1:23, 29). New Testament passages apply Isaiah 40:3 about Jehovah to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is properly Jehovah. In addition, Jeremiah 23:5-6 identifies the reference, “righteous Branch,” which refers to our Savior, Jesus Christ, as “Jehovah.” Verse 7 further states that this Jehovah was with the children of Israel from their deliverance from Egypt through their wilderness wandering.
Jesus calling upon His “Father” is a reference to God the Father (John 11:41; Matthew 26:29, 42). There is one God or essence of Deity, but there are three persons in that Godhead. All earthly examples to illustrate a triune or tri-unity God are imperfect because we do not have anything on earth that perfectly mirrors that circumstance. However, consider this illustration: Try as one will, he cannot raise one finger above his head without also raising his hand. To raise two or three fingers also necessitates raising one’s hand. One, two or three fingers raised above one’s head are nevertheless part of the hand – three fingers, but one hand, much like three divine persons in one Godhead.
In the words of 2 Corinthians 3:16, when one truly turns to the Lord Jesus Christ, a great veil of confusion will be removed from before his eyes respecting the Word of God. May we all handle correctly the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15 ASV; 2 Peter 3:16).