Response to a Modalist Monarchian

By Scott Windsor
[from an email discussion]

In a message dated 10/24/1999 7:13:01 PM US Mountain Standard Time, Debbi** writes:

> Praise the Lord, Scott!
> How are you?

Hello Debbie, I am fine, just real busy - as you may have guess by the delay in my response.

Scott wrote:
> > Matthew tells us that we are to go forth into all nations and baptize in
> > the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Yes, the Three are One in
> > the Blessed Trinity, but they are also Three Divine Persons - each with a
> > Name.
Debbie responds:
> What is the "name" of the Son? Why aren't churches baptizing "in the name
> of the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost"? If I ask you to "write down the
> name of the President, the Commander in Chief, and the Chief Executive", what
> would you write down on paper? Would you have the clarity of mind to write down
> "Bill Clinton", or would you merely REPEAT my request and actually write
> "the President, Commander in Chief, and the Chief Executive"?
Scott responds:
That is an interesting analogy, stumped me at first - I must admit. Upon closer examination though, the analogy falls short of the goal. The President, Commander in Chief and Chief Executive all refer to one person - the Father, Son and Holy Ghost refer to three persons - One God. You are attempting to make God into One Person, where He is not One, but Three Divine Persons that make up what is known to all Christians as the Holy Trinity.

Debbie writes:
> It puzzles me how people "lose their clarity of mind" when it comes to
> salvation.
> They are more eager to cling to false doctrine, rather than obey the truth.
Scott responds:
Then obey the Truth that has been around for nearly 2000 years, stop following this heresy (that arose early on in the Church, but died out) that has returned like a bad penny.

Scott wrote:
> > Context, context, context. You can't pick and choose which verses you
> > will accept and then reject others. Acts without Matthew is missings something.
Debbie responds:
> Then WHAT verses should we use? Should we use the verses that relate the
> way that the Apostles APPLIED what Jesus told them? Ok!!
Scott responds:
No, use ALL the verses! Don't leave out Matthew! Matthew is the only one that gives you the FORMULA as JESUS HIMSELF prescribed it!

Debbie wrote:
> Philip in Samaria. Acts 8:12-16 Philip baptized the men and women in
> the name of the Lord Jesus!! Is this "out of context"?
Scott responds:
Yes, you are taking it out of context of the WHOLE Bible - AND the Tradition of the Church!

Debbie wrote:
> Paul, in Ephesus, baptized twelve men, starting the congregation there, in
> Acts 19:1-7. Reading verse 5, "they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus"
> !!
> This is consistent with Acts 2:38, and Matt 28:19, where the "birth of the
> water" is given in the name of Jesus!!! Are the scriptures "wrong"?
Scott responds:
No, they are not "wrong" just incomplete without including the FORMULA from Matthew!

Scott asked:
> > "False trinitarian doctrine?" I guess you do not accept the ancient
> creeds
> > of Christendom then? The Blessed Trinity was one of the FIRST things "
> > defined" as dogma by the Church.
Debbie responds:
> You mean by the "Catholic Church", which was already accepting pagan
> doctrines before 130 AD. They CHANGED the doctrine preached by the ORIGINAL
> Christians.
Scott replies:
No, you are sadly mistaken! The Catholic Church IS the ORIGINAL Church that was comprised of the ORIGINAL Christians! It would be LATER that this "oneness" heresy would come about.

Scott had earlier said:
> > Oh, I want to be saved and I work out my salvation, daily, "in fear and
> > trembling." As far as the "Form" used in the Sacrament of Baptism - other
> > than Matthew 28:19, the "Form" is not given.
And Debbie responded:
> Don't base your salvation on false "church tradition". Why is it that won't
> admit that what the original Christians did is NOT followed by most churches today,
> including both the Catholics and Protestants? There is ONLY ONE way to be water
> baptized, and to be "born of the Spirit".
Scott replies:
Debbie, YOU are the one who refuses to admit that YOU are following a religion that isn't even over 100 years old, but is based on an ancient heresy. Where were the people who believe as you in the 8th, 9th and 10th century? They did not exist. If you were Christian, you were Catholic - and I contend that if you ARE Christian, you ARE Catholic! Anything short of the fullness of the Faith that one receives from the Catholic Church is something less than Christian. To be a True Christian, you follow ALL that Christ and His Apostles taught - stop picking and choosing which doctrines you will follow!

Scott said in a previous message:
> > The "broad path" that you speak of is the path of the non-Christians
> > sects. Hindus and Moslems make up a much "broader path" than to Catholics.
> > Using your logic, I would be on the path to Mohammed.
Debbie responded:
> No, by accepting the examples given in scripture, you honor the truth that
> was FIRST given to the saints. Admit that the same doctrine is not taught where
> you are, and separate yourself from them. "Blessed is the man that walketh NOT
> in the council of the ungodly". If they do not have remission of sins, then
> they are "ungodly".
Scott replies:
I am not quite sure what you are saying above Debbie. You say that I am honoring the truth that was first given to the saints... and then seem to be saying I am or are walking with the ungodly. I think I know what you mean though. You have yet to make a case that what the Catholic Church believes and teaches is denied by the Scriptures, and *I* have shown you where what we profess is TAUGHT by the Scriptures!

In that earlier message, Scott said:
> > Ah, but we Catholics ARE monotheists as well! What you are speaking of
> > is the heresy of Monarchianism, specifically, Patripassianic or Modalist
> > Monarchianism (accepting of the Divine Nature of Christ, but admitting
> > only One Person in God).
Debbie responded:
> See? The SAME doctrine I give you now was preached from the 1st century,
> and the Catholics persecuted, and murdered those that held on to the truth.
> It was the CATHOLICS that did the persecuting, and denying that was the
> original doctrine. The Catholic regime changed it, to fit the pagan doctrines that
> crept into the Roman assembly.
Scott replies:
See, knowing history is a plus! "Rome," as in the Empire, would not be "Catholic" until Constantine converted, about 300 years later! I am sure glad to see that you admit that it was the CATHOLICS that put down the HERESY of the Modalist Monarchians! But they would not be known as "Roman" Catholics for quite some time.

Now, look again at your argument, you say the Modalist Monarchians were put down by the (Roman) Catholics... and you claim this proves your heresy existed before the Catholics did - please help connect the logic here. How does what you say make your cult exist before mine? All it shows is that a heresy arose, and was put down by the Holy Spirit through the Catholic Church - just as Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would do for His Church.

Debbie said:
> Isn't it ONE Person that the Apostles preached?
> Isn't it ONE NAME that Peter gave on the Day of Pentecost? And isn't it
> ONLY ONE NAME given whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:8-12)?

Isn't it THREE NAMES given by JESUS HIMSELF in Matthew 28:19?

Scott points to the Scriptures to show a Trinitarian presence:
> > If Jesus is the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, all One and not Three Divine
> > Persons, then explain Matthew 3:16 - "He saw the Spirit of God descending
> > as a dove and coming upon Him and behold a voice from Heaven saying, `This is
> > My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.' "
Debbie replies:
> This is an example that when the Holy Ghost is given, an audible voice will
> be heard, like it was in Acts 2:4. The verse only says "a voice". It does not
> say "the Father" said it.
Scott says:
You are taking away from Scriptures now. "The Voice" came from heaven, while the Holy Ghost was descending like a dove, onto Jesus. Here, you do not "see" the Father, you hear Him, but you SEE both Jesus and the Holy Ghost - so one would have to at LEAST admit to TWO Persons - if "seeing" is the criteria.

Scott points to yet ANOTHER Trinitarian reference:
> > Then we have 1 John 5:7 - "And they are Three who give testimony [in
> > Heaven : the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost. And these Three are One...]
Debbie does NOT answer, and dodges the question trying to divert attention
to the Old Testament (which didn't work either):
> Before going to the New Testament, go to the Old first, in order to validate
> your premise. Did God tell Abraham, Jacob, or Moses that there was a "trinity"?
> Why do you think Jews are Monotheistic?
Scott sticks to the Trinitarian doctrine, even in the Old Testament:
They ARE Monotheistic, as are Catholics. Why not try explaining in Genesis where God says, "Let US create man in OUR image..." Why would a singular person use the plural? So, yes, the Jews ARE Monotheists - but even the Old Testament implies the Trinity.

Debbie inserts another sidetracking issue that has nothing to do with the Trinity:
> Let me point you to Paul, that wrote to Timothy:
> 1 Timothy 3:16
> 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.
> Just ONE Person. God became flesh, to hang on the cross, for our sins.
Still, Scott answers, and brings the topic BACK to the Trinity:
Catholics do not deny the Truth that God became Flesh and hung on the Cross for our sins - but while Jesus was on earth, to Whom did He pray? To Whom did Jesus cry, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," while he hung on that Cross? Why did Jesus tell us to pray, "Our Father, Who art in heaven...?" Why does Jesus tell His Apostles that after HE is gone, the FATHER will send ANOTHER - the PARACLETE to be with Jesus' Church UNTIL HE RETURNS. There again, implying they are NOT the "same person" - but THREE Persons.

Your arguments center on but a FEW verses from the New Testament - the Catholic position takes the WHOLE Bible into consideration.

Scott challenges:
> > Well, you have yet to document, from Scripture or Early Father's
> > testimony, that baptism must be by immersion.
Debbie does NOT answer, and dodges again (this time
with the common fallacy of Protestants, the man-made
doctrine of Sola Scriptura):
> Only Scripture counts. Even that document that the Catholics call "the
> Apostles Creed" is a fraud.
Scott answers and challenges:
Hmmm, where do you find such a teaching IN the Scriptures? You don't! This is a MAN-MADE Tradition (one of those that are condemned by the Scriptures!) NO WHERE is there a verse that says "Only Scripture counts." However, there IS a verse that says, "Stand firm and hold to the TRADITIONS you were taught...." these are either written OR verbal, (2 Thes. 2:15).

Debbie throws a few Bible verses out and Scott replies:
> Matt 3:16
> 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:

This verse supports Catholicism!

> Romans 6:4
> Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as
> Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also
> should walk in newness of life.

Nothing here denies that which Catholicism teaches.

> Colossians 2:12
> Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the
> faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Yes, we accept his as well! There is nothing here against the Catholic form of Baptism.

Back to that previous message, Scott said:
> > Sorry to disappoint you, but Catholics existed prior to the Modalist
> > Monarchianists.
Debbie responded:
> The term "Monarchians" was the "tag" given to the true believers by the
> Catholics. They were called something else before then. Originally, they were
> "disciples". Then they were called "Christians". The Catholic regime "took on" the
> name of "Christians", and were centered in Rome. But the true Christians still were
> centered in Jerusalem.
Scott gives a history lesson:
The Apostle James was in Jerusalem, he was the first Bishop of Jerusalem. Peter established the Church at Antioch, and was first to occupy the see there, and then with St. Paul, went to Rome and established the Church there - St. Peter becoming the first Bishop of Rome. Rome is also the place of martyrdom for both Peter and Paul who were martyred on the same day there. That's a brief history of the True Christians in the region. Now, are you saying that Sts. Peter and Paul were not "true Christians?" That is the "founding" of the Church in Rome.

Scott's previous post remarks on the perseverance of the True Church:
> > You sure have a strange interpretation of history. The false teachers
> > were the ones put down and cast out in the Early Church - the Monarchianists
> > included. It is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that has
> > persevered since the time of Christ and the Apostles - not some 20th
> > Century upshoot.
Debbie does not deal with the "20th Century upshoot" comment,
and dodges again:
> Before saying that, compare doctrines of the ORIGINAL Christians, with that
> of the Catholics. The Catholics wrote "early church history" as they saw fit. But
> the book of Acts is the original church history, UNCHANGED. How did the original
> Christians water baptize? How did the original Christians receive the Holy Ghost?
Scott replies:
The ORIGINAL Christians that are recorded in Acts are the first Catholics! AND who do you think even preserved the Book of Acts for you - and nearly 400 years later assembled that book, along with 26 others to form what you now call the New Testament? This was ALL done by Catholics! If the Book of Acts was so damning to Catholicism, why would we have included it in the Canon of Sacred Scripture that YOU accept?

Debbie closes:
> I welcome questions and comments.
> Have a blessed week!

Scott closes:
Well, there you have them. I hope you are sincere in welcoming questions and comments, for that means you are looking at this with an open mind. I believe if you REALLY look at history - you will become a Catholic - there is no other logical option.

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph,