(Excerpt by permission from author from the book, Oneness and Trinity A.D. 100-300, by David K. Bernard, Word Aflame Press [ISBN- 0-932581-81-1], 1991).

"The doctrine of Oneness can be stated in two affirmations:

  1. God is absolutely one with no distinction of persons (Deut. 6:4; Gal. 3:20).

  2. Jesus Christ is all the fullness of the Godhead incarnate (John 20:28; Colossians 2:9).

"All the names and titles of the Deity, such as God, Jehovah, Lord, Father, Word, and Holy Spirit, refer to one and the same being. These various names and titles simply denote manifestations, roles, relationships to humanity, modes of activity, or aspects of God's self-revelation.

"All these designations of the Deity apply to Jesus, and all aspects of the divine personality are manifested in Him. Jesus is God, or Jehovah, incarnate (Isa. 9:6; 40:9: John 8:58; 20:28; II Cor. 5:19; Col. 2:9; I Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:13).

"Jesus is the Father incarnate (Isaiah 9:6; 63:16; John 10:30; 14:9-11; Rev. 21:6-7). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit that was incarnated in Jesus and is Jesus in Spirit form (John 14:16-18; Romans 8:9-11; Philippians 1:19; Col. 1:27).

"The Oneness doctrine recognizes that the Bible reveals God as the Father, in the Son, and as the Holy Spirit. The One God is the Father of all creation, Father of the only begotten Son, and Father of born- again believers. (See Deut. 32:6; Malachi 2:10; Galatians 4:6; Hebrews 1:5; 12:9).

"The title of Son refers to God's incarnation. The man Christ was literally conceived by the Spirit of God and was therefore the Son of God (Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 1:35). The title of Son sometimes focuses solely on the humanity of Christ, as in 'the death of His Son' (Romans 5:10). Sometimes it encompasses both His deity and humanity, as in 'Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven' (Matthew 26:64). It is never used apart from God's incarnation, however; it never refers to deity alone.

"The terms 'God the Son' and 'eternal Son' are nonbiblical; the Bible instead speaks of the 'Son of God' and the 'only begotten Son'. The Son is not eternally begotten by some incomprehensible, ongoing process; rather, the Son was begotten by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. The Son had a beginning, namely, at the incarnation (Luke 1:35; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 1:5-6).

"There is a real distinction between God and Son - not a distinction of two divine persons, but a distinction between the eternal Spirit of God and the authentic human being in whom God was fully incarnate. While Jesus was both God and man at the same time, sometimes He spoke or acted from the human viewpoint and sometimes from the divine viewpoint. As Father, He sometimes spoke from His divine self-awareness; as Son, he sometimes spoke from His human self-awareness. As a man, He prayed to, related to, and submitted to God as all humans should do. At the same time, God dwelt in and revealed Himself in that man with His undiminished character, nature, power and authority.

"In John 1, the Word is God's self-revelation, self-expression, or self-disclosure. Before the Incarnation, the Word was the thought, plan, reason, or mind of God. In the beginning, the Word was with God, not as a distinct Person but as God Himself -- pertaining to God as much as a man and his word. 'The Word was God Himself' (John 1:1, Amplified Bible). In the fullness of time God put flesh on the Word; He revealed Himself in flesh. In the person of Jesus Christ, 'the Word was made flesh' (John 1:14). 'God was manifest in the flesh' (I Timothy 3:16). The eternal Word was revealed in the begotten Son.

"The title of Holy Spirit refers to God in spiritual essence and activity. It describes the fundamental character of God's nature, for holiness forms the basis of His moral attributes while spirituality forms the basis of His nonmoral attributes. The Title is particularly used of works that God can do because He is a Spirit, such as anointing, regenerating, indwelling, and sanctifying humanity. (See Genesis 1:1-2; Acts 1:5-8).

"The three roles of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are necessary to God's plan of redemption for fallen humanity. In order to save us, God provided a sinless Man who could die in our place - the Son. In begetting the Son and in relating to humanity, God is the Father. And in working in our lives to empower and transform us, God is the Holy Spirit.

"In sum, the titles of Father, Son and Holy Spirit describe God's multiple roles and works, but they do not reflect an essential threeness in God's nature. FATHER refers to God in family relationship to humanity; SON refers to God in flesh; and SPIRIT refers to God in activity. For example, one man can have three significant relationships or functions -such as administrator, teacher, and counsellor - and yet be one person in every sense. God is not defined by or limited to an essential threeness.

"A corollary of the Oneness doctrine is that the name of Jesus, which means Jehovah-Saviour, is the supreme name by which God has revealed Himself to humanity and the redemptive name in the New Testament. (See Matthew 1:21; Luke 24:47; Acts 4:12; 10:43; Philippians 2:9-11; Colossians 3:17.) Consequently, the apostles always baptized by invoking the name of Jesus, and the church should do the same today. (See Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:3-5; 22:16; Romans 6:3-4; I Corinthians 1:13; 6:11). Since Jesus is all the fullness of God incarnate, the name (singular) of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as described by Matthew 28:19 is Jesus. (See Matthew 1:21; Luke 24:47; John 5:43; 14:26).'