Dear Gentle Reader,

Greetings to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It has come to my attention that there has been some question concerning my beliefs, and by extension the beliefs of our church, concerning the Holy Trinity. We have been falsely accused of teaching Modalism and Sabelianism.

For those interested in truth and righteousness let this humble reply suffice to set the record straight about my (our) beliefs.

Modalism has been defined as: A denial of the Trinity which states that God is a single person who, throughout biblical history, has revealed Himself in three modes, or forms.  Thus, God is a single person who first manifested himself in the mode of the Father in Old Testament times.  At the incarnation, the mode was the Son.  After Jesus' ascension, the mode is the Holy Spirit.  These modes are consecutive and never simultaneous.  In other words, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit never all exist at the same time, only one after another.  Modalism denies the distinctiveness of the three persons in the Trinity even though it retains the divinity of Christ.

Sabelianism has been defined as: The anti-Trinitarian belief that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are "modes" of God, but not true persons capable of interacting with one another.

I categorically deny the doctrine of Modalism and Sabelianism as stated above. Let it be noted dear reader that when finite man endeavors to try to explain an eternal God he is going to eventually run into trouble. Eventually he will overemphasize or underemphasize various aspects of the Godhead. Neither I nor my accusers can fully understand an infinite God. However, we can believe what the Scriptures say about God. I have been preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ for over 32 years now. Every time I take up teaching the doctrine of the Trinity I always preface my lesson with something like the following:

"I am a fallible man and am prone to make imprecise statements when trying to explain the Holy Trinity – it is unavoidable. When the Scriptures say there is one God we should all say: Amen! When the Scriptures teach that there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one (1Jn 5:7) we better shout Amen again, because both are true! This is a mystery that finite man cannot understand."

Now take note honest reader, for my (our) false accusers must acknowledge this and yet they continue to try to trap me (us) by taking my (our) words out of context. I freely acknowledge that when I have tried to teach the doctrine of the Holy Trinity as revealed in the Holy Scriptures I may have made an imprecise statement. For example, when trying to explain Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

I may have said: The Son is the Father. Of course the Son is not the Father, and yet, He, the Son, certainly is the "everlasting Father" just as much as He is "the mighty God" in the context of Isaiah 9:6. How this relates to classic Modalism is beyond me, but it is one of the raging accusations of heresy raised against me (us). Perhaps my accusers confused Modalism with Patripassianism (the doctrine that teaches that the Father suffered on the cross)? I believe neither! I categorically deny the doctrine of Patripassianism. The Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, not the Father, suffered on the cross for the sins of all wicked sinners.

The fact is, in Poland, as in Mexico, the false doctrine taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses - the Son, Jesus, is a lesser god than the Father - dictates that the emphasis of the oneness of God (deity of Jesus Christ - the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit are one) be preached and at times there is an over emphasis on my part of the Son being one with the Father in reaction to the Arian doctrine taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses. I freely acknowledge this. This in no way justifies the false accusations of my (our) accusers. Especially after they have been confronted on various occasions.

I teach three in one, one in three - that is, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct, yet those three are one. I cannot recall ever teaching on the Trinity or the deity of Christ without including 1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. I find it ironic that many of my false accusers deny this portion of Holy Scriptures. They mock at the fact that I believe the Authorized Version (Gdansk Bible) is the word of God and thus 1 John 5:7 is God’s word.

The Father is distinct from the Son and the Holy Spirit as revealed when our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized:

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Mt 3:16-17

This distinction clearly shows that the modes (forms, persons, or whatever finite terminology you want to use) are indeed simultaneous and not consecutive as Modalism falsely teaches. This is further evidenced when Jesus said:

I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. Jn 16:28

and yet Jesus said:

 I and my Father are one. Jn 10:30

I say, Amen, to all of the above verses! They are all correct and true! The Father, Son and Holy Spirit do indeed interact with one another in contradiction to Modalism. It cannot be fully explained by finite man, much less by me, how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit can be three interacting persons, (modes, forms, or whatever finite terminology you want to use) and yet at the same time be one and the same God. It is a mystery to all men.

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. 1Ti 3:16

God was manifest in the flesh - that is a fact of Scriptures. I note with irony once again that my false accusers would mock at the fact the I believe "God was manifest in the flesh" as found in the Authorized Version (Gdansk Bible) is the very word of God as apposed to false Arian text – He, who was manifest in the flesh.

I do not believe in three gods, I believe in one God who is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – triune yet one. The Father is completely God, the Son is completely God and the Holy Spirit is completely God. Not three Gods, but one God.

Time does not permit me to give a full lesson on the Holy Trinity. For brevity’s sake let me state categorically again: I believe that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh! I believe that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct yet these three are one and the same God. Three in one, one in three. If you have questions concerning this doctrine please feel free to write. If you encounter our false accusers rebuke them sharply in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and counsel them to repent!

In Jesus’ Name,

 

Brent Riggs

 

Please do write if you have any questions or comments!

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