In Defense of Heresy

Someone from a Jesus-name only church has finally discovered my reflections on attending one of their churches last year. In the age of Google, it could hardly have gone unnoticed to someone looking for it.

So Todd Simmonds [final comment on the above-linked page] contends for the Biblical nature of Jesus-modalism. [Interestingly, that link does not answer the question most easily begged: how or why does Jesus pray to the Father in Gethsemane if they are the same? Perhaps this lame attempt comes closest: “14. Where was God the Father while Jesus was on earth? The Father was in Christ. John 14:10; II Corinthians 5:19. He was also in Heaven, for God is omnipresent.” Huh? This posits a much greater division in the Godhead than Trinitarianism ever did.]

Very simply, the terminal fault in his argument is that one can say nearly anything with Biblical support, provided they ignore everything else. Thus, Todd argues: “NOT ONE PLACE in the entire Bible did anyone EVER get baptized in the titles Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. NEVER.” He can argue this because he, quite arbitrarily, sets the book of Acts as the threshold for understanding everything else in the Bible, the New Testament especially. This ignores the fact that Acts was written specifically to someone (or more than one someone) named or titled “Theophilus.” Perhaps Todd would argue that Theophilus was not a Christian, but the more likely explanation is that Luke was giving a selective history of the outworking of the Spirit after Pentecost for later believers. Todd does not say how he knows that Acts is to be a concretized and systematized blueprint for all later churches to follow.

But back to Todd’s claim that no one was ever baptized in the Triune Name. To say this is to do exactly what liberals and heretics always do: set the words of Jesus (doctrine) against the practice of some idealized early church. Rather than look for an explanation–such as the fact that to baptize into Jesus’ Name was shorthand for following His command in Matthew 28–setting Jesus against His own apostles advances the impossible claim that Jesus (before His ascension) was opposed to His own Spirit in the book of Acts. But no doubt Todd and his church have been divinely (or rationalistically) inspired to recognize that the “interpretation” of Peter and Paul superseded the actual words of Christ their Lord.

One last thing about Todd’s comment: “How can the son be the everlasting father? How can the son be the might [sic] God? He is God in the Flesh. There is only one person in the Godhead. It’s Jesus.” This is precisely the difficulty that all Christians have faced. To resolve it at this point in history, against all orthodox Christianity, is simply to do what I accused the oneness/Jesus-name/United Pentecostals of in the first post: revisiting an old heresy. Do they seriously think that none of these arguments have been faced and dispensed with long ago? Not, of course, that the testimony of the entire Church will dissuade them from their heresy.

[In case you want to visit Todd’s church, here‘s the website, which he graciously provided if we have “any further questions.” I don’t remember asking any questions, but please “contact his pastor” if you have some!]