Last Sunday my pastor asked me to teach Bible study and he wanted me specifically to focus on the shortcomings of Oneness Pentecostal theology. He asked for the arguments from Scripture that would show that Jesus is definitely not both Father and Son. I quickly quipped, “Just read the Gospel of John.” I was serious. So last night we went through the Gospel of John noting the personal distinction between Father and Son. We touched on some OP arguments concerning ideal preexistence in John 1:1 and how they fall short, but even if they succeeded there, they’d fail in John 17:5. We looked at Jesus’ use of plural pronouns in reference to himself and the Father (e.g., John 10:30; 14:23). We discussed the problem of asserting that Father and Son are able to interact with each other because each nature is speaking/acting (the problem being that it attributes personality to each nature effectively making Jesus two persons). So on and so forth for a couple of hours.
I opened it up for questions at the end and inevitably someone asked about Oneness doctrine sending people to hell. First of all, I’m not God, so I don’t decide to who goes to hell and who doesn’t, therefore I can’t know for sure. My belief is that people who willfully and knowingly reject the Trinity and embrace something else have placed their faith in a god that cannot save them. So that’s that. But as I drove home I wondered why it always boils down to that. Why does it always come to asking whether or not something is hell-worthy? Why not embrace good doctrine for the sake of embracing good doctrine? What if it has no eternal benefits but only gives us the pleasure of knowing the truth here and now? Why not eschew heresy for the sake of eschewing heresy? Let’s say that heretics don’t go to hell, what then? Do we want to all of a sudden become heretics because we can get away with it? I’d think not, but then again, some folks are so contrarian that they’d probably do exactly that.