More Comments on the Godhead
In response to the May issue's review of Bob James, a "oneness" Pentecostal, Cornelia Hutto replies as follows:
The Bible says the Holy Ghost overshadowed Mary and she conceived. Are the Father and the Holy Ghost the same? I submit that it is no harder to believe that Jesus is the expressed person of God, the manifestation, the embodiment of a Spirit (Who was the Father), in a word "His own Father" than to believe He could have TWO fathers. Col. 2 ... in Him (Jesus Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the godhead bodily. The godhead is in Jesus, not Jesus in the godhead. Three manifestations of one God. No denial of the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost. The Father in creation, the Son in redemption, and the Holy Ghost in operation in the Church today. The Spirit (Father) had no body, created Himself a body ... the Son (Jesus Christ). The Holy Ghost = simply the Spirit of God poured out upon the believers.
Who "poured out" the "Holy Ghost" "upon the believers"? Someone did (Joel 2:28; Jn. 14:26; Acts 2:17). Who was it? Perhaps Cornelia Hutto will tell us. Or did the Spirit of God pour out of (from) himself? If he did, let her, by citing pertinent passages, tell us that, too.
The answer to her introductory query, "Are the Father and the Holy Ghost the same?" is "no." Just because both the Father and the Spirit of God acted in the conception of Jesus, "the Father and Holy Ghost" are not "the same." God is "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 15:6; Eph. 1:3). Jesus is "the Son of the Father" (2 Jn. 3).
Jesus knew and recognized the difference between His Father and the Holy Spirit. "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost whom the Father will send in my (Jesus') name, he (the Comforter, the Holy Spirit) shall bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I (Jesus) have said unto you" (Jn. 14:26). "The Comforter," the "Holy Spirit" was sent "from the Father" (Jn.15:26). Thus, Jesus (if language means anything at all) made a distinction between the Father and the Holy Spirit.
God, the Father, acted through the agency of the Holy Spirit in the conception of Jesus (Matt. 1:18, 20; Lk. 1:31, 32, 35). However, that does not make them the same person, nor does it mean that the Corinthians had two fathers (1 Cor. 8:6). Likewise, we are "begotten" by the gospel, but the gospel is not our Father. God is (1 Cor. 1:3; 4:15; Jas. 1:18). Further, Paul "fathered" the Corinthians "through the gospel" (1 Cor. 4:15). Are Paul and God the Father the same person? No (1 Cor. 1:1-3). Paul was the agent, the "earthen vessel" used by the Father to "father" the Corinthians "through the gospel." If, through the example above, one can see how Paul and God the Father are not the same person, he ought to be able to see that the Father and the Holy Spirit are not the same person in the birth of Jesus. As the Corinthians did not have two fathers, neither did Jesus.
I wonder if the Holy Spirit led Cornelia Hutto to tell us that Jesus was "in a word, 'His own Father'"? (That will be a difficult concept to affirm in a discussion, will it not?)
If Jesus is "in a word, 'His own Father,'" perhaps Cornelia will explain the following distinctions between the Father and the Son to us.
1) Jesus said, "All men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father" (Jn. 5:23). How could they do otherwise if Jesus was "'His own Father'"?
We are to forgive our brethren "even as" Christ has forgiven us (Col. 3:13). Here, "even as" distinguishes between us and Christ. We are not Christ, for we are to forgive "even as" he forgives. Likewise, the Son is not the Father, for men are to "honor the Son, even as they honor the Father."
2) Jesus said, "Ye believe in God, believe also in me," and "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also (Jn. 14:1, 7). "Also" means, "in addition" to. Why did Jesus use the word, "also" if he was "'His own Father'"? "In addition" to Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jepthae, there was "David also" (Heb. 11:32). In like manner, Jesus speaks of "my Father also."
3) In John 15:24, Jesus said of some in his day that they had "both seen and hated both me and my Father." Are "seen" and "hated" two different, distinct things, or are they the same thing? No Pentecostal will say that "seen" and "hated" are the same thing. The word, "both," tells us that. Are Jesus and the Father two separate and distinct persons? The word "both" tells us they are not identical in person, not the same person. Both America and Australia speak the English language. Are America and Australia the same country?
John, through the Holy Spirit, spoke of "both the Father and the Son (2 Jn. 9). Weldon Warnock tells about the squirrel hunter who, returning from a hunt, said to his neighbor, "If you can guess how many squirrels I've got in my sack, I'll give you both of'em." If you know how many squirrels were in that sack, you ought to know how many persons are referred to in John 15:24 and 2 John 9!
4) "The Son can do nothing of himself" (Jn. 5:29). How can he "do nothing of himself," by himself alone, if there is no other "self" or person involved?
First Argument: If Jesus is "'His own Father,'" and he and the Father are the same person, someone, perhaps Cornelia Hutto, must explain John 8:16-18. Note the text:
"And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me."
Ignoring for the moment that Jesus said, "I am not alone," observe that Jesus refers to Deuteronomy 19:15. "One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity...at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established" (Cf. Num. 35:30).
Now, did the law to which Jesus referred allow the testimony of one person, or were two or more persons required? Let the "oneness" Pentecostal answer that question. The answer is obvious. Therefore, either Jesus and the Father are two, separate and distinct persons, or Jesus misapplied Scripture. Which is it? "I am one" witness, said Jesus, "and the Father" is the other--"I am not alone." (Note, "I am one...myself" versus "the Father that sent me.")
Either Jesus told the truth; namely, that he and the Father, in accordance with the principle of two witnesses, are two persons, or Jesus misapplied Scripture and misrepresented himself and his relationship to his Father. Which is it? In numerous discussions with some of the best Pentecostal debaters, I have never had one yet who ever blinked or swallowed like he thought he could answer those questions. Perhaps Cornelia Hutto, or our friend, Bob James, will try to answer them.
Second Argument: John 17:20-22:
"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one."
When Jesus prayed that those who believed on him "may be one," was he praying that they all might be one person? Was he? According to the "oneness," "Jesus Only," Pentecostal, the Father and the Son are one in person. If that be true, when Jesus prayed that all believers might "be one, even as we are one," he was praying that the believers all might become one person!
If "oneness" doctrine says Jesus was not praying for believers to become one person, it automatically and immediately surrenders its cardinal tenet. If the Father and the Son are one person, they (he?) could not be one in any other sense. If they are one person, there is no way for that one person to pray that others (plural) "may be one, even as we are one."
Husband and wife are "one," but not one person (Matt. 19:6). Disciples may be of "one mind," and they may speak with "one mouth," but they are not "one person" (Rom. 15:5,6; 1 Pet. 3:8). Of himself and Apollos, Paul said, "(We) are one" (1 Cor. 3:8). Yet, not even the "oneness" Pentecostal believes they were "one person" (Acts 19:1; 1 Cor. 16:12).
Again, since Jesus was not praying for believers to be one person, he and the Father are not "one person," for he prayed that "they may be one, even as we are one."
Third Argument: Hebrews 10:5 says:
"Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me." There are three questions; namely, (1) Who, or what, is "the body" referred to? (2) Who is the person represented by the pronoun, "Thou"? In other words, Who is "thou"? (3) Who is the person referred to by the pronoun, "me"? Or, who is "me"?
There are not enough persons to go around for a "oneness" Pentecostal to answer those questions without hesitation or equivocation. I challenge one of them to supply direct and candid answers to each of the questions. I maintain they cannot do so and hold to their doctrine.
"Thou," the Father, prepared "me," the Son, "a body." "A body hast thou prepared me" simply cannot refer to only one person.
Observe how the above is contradicted by Cornelia Hutto, who said, "The Spirit
(Father) had no body, created Himself a body ... the Son (Jesus Christ)." She says the "body" is "the Son (Jesus Christ)." Alright, if the "body" is "the Son (Jesus Christ)," who is the "me" in Hebrews 10:5? It cannot be "the Son (Jesus Christ)," for that is the "body" in the passage, according to her. Who, then, is "me"?
Cornelia equates the Spirit with the Father and says the Father "created himself a body." Forgetting her presumption (without proof) that the Holy Spirit is the Father, will she please read for us where Scripture says the Father "created himself a body"? Now, I read where one said, "A body hast thou prepared me," but I do not find where the Spirit says the Father "created himself a body." Where is that Scripture? Can any produce it? Bob James and Cornelia Hutto will love you forever if you can find it! They would give their right arm, yea, both arms for such a passage as that!
However, even should they find it, even if they should find a verse which says the Father "created himself a body," they still will have one more perplexing question! Who is the "me"? Remember, according to Cornelia Hutto, the "body" is "the Son (Jesus Christ)." So, even if they find a verse which says the Father "created himself a body," they will still have to tell us who the "me" is.
"Me" in Hebrews 10:5 cannot be "the Son (Jesus Christ)," for that is the "body," they say. "Me" cannot be the Holy Spirit or the Father, for that is the one who created the body, "the Son (Jesus Christ)," according to Cornelia Hutto.
Friends, this is the kind of hole into which false doctrine will put a person. If any Pentecostal will seek to dig himself out by answering the questions above, we promise to examine them with all candor (1 Thess 5:21).
(In the same context, one person came to do the will of another, "I come to do thy will, O God" [Heb. 10:7, 9]. Jesus did not come "to do [his] own will, but the will of him that sent [him]" [Jn. 6:38; Cf. 5:30]. So, he came to do his Father's will, and it was the Father who prepared for him a body through which to do that will.)
Fourth Argument: In becoming a high priest, Hebrews 5:4, 5, declares:
"And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee."
Did Aaron make himself a high priest, or did God call him? Obviously, Aaron did not appoint himself. God did it. "So also" (and note the force of "so also"), in like manner, just as Aaron did not anoint himself, neither did Christ glorify "himself to be an high priest." Well, if Christ did not make himself an high priest, who did? The Hebrew writer answers, "He that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day I have begotten thee" (Cf. Psa. 2:7; Heb. 1:5). The Lord said it, hence, the one who made Aaron high priest also made Christ an high priest. Neither made themselves to be high priests.
Since Christ did not make himself to be an high priest, and since no man "taketh this honor unto himself," our "oneness" friends need to tell us who made Christ to be an high priest. If the Father and the Son are the same person, Christ made himself to be an high priest. The "oneness" position will not permit them to harmonize their doctrine with this passage. Will one of them make the attempt? Their answer must parallel the case of Aaron, for Christ's call to be an high priest is after the same manner as Aaron's, "So also."
(Note that I did not say their priesthoods were alike. I said that Aaron and Christ were both made high priest by another. In that way, the Hebrew writer parallels their cases. The "oneness" Pentecostal cannot square his doctrine with the divine "So also.")
Colossians 2:9 reads thusly: "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
This text does not equate the Father and the Son as the same person, for the writer elsewhere in the epistle differentiates between the two (1:1, 2, 3, 12, 13, 19; 2:2, 12; 3:1, 3, 17). In Colossians 2:9, Christ is said to be endowed or invested with all that characterizes Deity, God, in bodily form. Jesus lacked nothing which constitutes Deity in human flesh.
This fact does not exclude the Father and the Holy Spirit. One may say of a man, "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the manhood bodily." One may possess all the attributes and characteristics of humanity. He may have all that defines manhood in his body. Does that mean he is the only person in the manhood? So, Jesus possessed "all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," but he was not the only person in the Godhead. Remember, too, that it "pleased the Father (one person) that in him (Christ, another person) should all fulness dwell" (Col..1:19).
Children of God, Christians, may "be filled with all the fulness of God" (Eph. 3:19). When they are, are they "God"? So, if Christians may "be filled with all the fulness of God" and not be "one person," or not be God himself, could not "all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" dwell in Christ without him being the same person as the Father?
The church is "the fulness of (Christ)" (Eph. 1:23). Is the church the same person as Christ? Are Christ and the church the same person because the church is "the fulness of him"? If the church and Christ are not the same identity, the same person, and yet the church is the fulness of Christ, could not "all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" dwell in Christ without him being the same person as the Father and the Holy Spirit?
Cornelia Hutto takes the standard Pentecostal view when she speaks of "(t)hree manifestations of one God." As other Pentecostals have poetically proclaimed it, "Jesus is the Father in creation, the Son in salvation, and the Holy Spirit in revelation."
However, "manifestation" does not demand identity. (1) John the Baptist manifest Christ to Israel, but John was not Christ (Jn. 1:31). (2) Paul made manifest the savor of Christ's knowledge, but Paul was neither Christ's knowledge nor the aroma of Christ's knowledge (2 Cor. 2:14). (3) Paul made manifest the mystery of Christ, but Paul was not the mystery of Christ (Col. 4:3,4). (4) God has manifest his word through the message, through preaching, but God himself, personally, is not the message; he is not the preaching of his word (Titus 1:3).
Conclusion: Though it might be profitable to do so, we shall not notice several other areas of interest in Cornelia Hutto's response, such as her equating of the Holy Spirit with the Father, but shall let this suffice for now. If we receive a reasoned response to the thoughts above, we shall keep our readers apprised. Finally, neither Bob James nor a kindly Pentecostal lady known only to me as "Debbie," has been able to secure a Pentecostal preacher who will agree to a public discussion with us on these and other issues, such as Holy Spirit baptism, tongues, and miracles. Is there any Pentecostal out there who will defend his doctrine (John 3:20, 21; Jude 3)?
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