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May 08, 2011


Modalism (i.e., Sabellianism, Noetianism, and Patripassianism)

This view teaches  that the three persons of the Trinity are different "modes" of the Godhead,  Adherents believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not distinct personalities, but rather different modes of God's self-revelation.  A typical modalist approach is to regard God as the Father in creation, the Son in redemption, and the Holy Spirit in sanctification. In other words,  God exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in different eras, but never  as triune.  Stemming from Modalism, Patripassianism believed that the Father suffered as the Son. Modalism is akin to the teaching of Mormonism.


Tritheism confesses the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three independent divine beings; three separate gods who get along well together and have a similar purpose. This is a common mistake because of misunderstanding the use of the term "persons" in defining the Trinity.


Arianism teaches that the preexistent Christ was the first and greatest of God's creatures but denied His fully divine status.  The Arian controversy was of major importance in the development of Christology during the fourth century, and it was addressed definitely in the Nicene Creed.


This view taught that Jesus Christ was a purely divine being who only had the "appearance" of being human.  Regarding His suffering, some versions of this view taught that Jesus' divinity  abandoned or left Him upon the Cross while others claimed that He only appeared to suffer (much like He only appeared to be human).


This view taught that while Jesus was endowed with particular charismatic gifts which distinguished Him from other humans but nonetheless regarded Him as a purely human figure.


This view believed that the Holy Spirit is a created being.


This view taught that Jesus was born totally human and was only later "adopted"  --either at His baptism or at His resurrection--by God in a special (i.e., divine) way.


This view taught that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together are components of the one God.  This led them to believe that each of the persons of the Trinity is only part God, only becoming fully God when they come together.

NOTE:  Seventh-day Adventism was founded upon Arianism, and they openly teach Tritheism today.  In biblical Christianity, each "person" of the Godhead is fully God. Jesus said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9 NASB).  When Jesus declared that "the Father is greater than I" (verse 28), He was not admitting inferiority to the Father (after claiming equality repeatedly),  but was saying that if the disciples loved Him, they would not be reluctant to let Him go to the Father because He was returning to the realm where He belonged and to the full glory He gave up.  

He was going back to share equal glory with the Father that would be greater than what He had experienced in His incarnation.  He will in no way be inferior in that glory, because His humiliation is over. Ellen White, the revered SDA prophetess and their infallible interpreter of Scripture, referred to the Godhead as the "three living persons of the heavenly trio," "the three great Worthies," "the three great powers," and other Tritheistic descriptions that Mormonism teaches as well. Sadly, Ellen White never got the Trinity doctrine right. For an in-depth, factual study of this topic, simply log unto: www.cultorchristian.com .

courtesy of

Worldwide Chaplaincy Services
E-mail:  dfministries@gmail.com

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