Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD {Nathan Warren}

I was asked the following question on another blog site. It is but a brief overview, however it did take some time to assemble so I decided to share it with you!

I was just doing some research, because I am unfamiliar with the specifics of "Oneness" theology. How does that differ from the Assemblies of God branch of the Pentecostal denomination? I find the differences between certain theologies fascinating.
Wow that is a very good question! Let me start by saying that I am not nor was I ever Assemblies of God (here after referred to as AOG), and the information I will provide on them will be from books I have read, and people I have talked to!
The main difference is what is called the Godhead. AOG holds a trinitarian view and would say The Godhead - God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit, are three distinct persons, existing in a unified form as one body. God is the creator and sustainer of the universe. He is revealed in the Bible. He is eternal, with no beginning and no end. Jesus Christ was the human incarnation of God the Father. He was born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life and died by crucifixion for the sins of the world. He was resurrected from the dead on the third day and exalted to heaven with God. The Holy Spirit is the essence of God which moves among the people, touching believers here on Earth.
Oneness theology is based on a strict interpretation of the scripture but before we dig into it we need to correct an assumption that has been placed on us. This assumption is that oneness theology is relatively new. This could not be farther from the truth! The Jews are noted as “leading the world definitively beyond polytheism to the worship of one God…”(The Human Venture: from prehistory to the present, Anthony Esler). This is why the Jews hated Jesus so much he was not claiming to be one of their gods he said “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58) I am referring to the name that was reveled to Moses in Exodus 3:14 “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”
Through out the centuries there have always been oneness believers! In the early church (original) there are no records of them holding a trinitarian view of God. Several bishops of Rome where oneness Praxeas, Eleutherous, Victor to name a few all from 100 to 400 a.d. After them we find Priscillianism, and the Messalians from roughly 400 to 900 a.d. Then the Bogomils which where around from 900 a.d. to about 1400 a.d. during that time you also had Peter Abelard, and Almaric of Bena. From 1400 to 1900 you have The Lollards which were followers of John Wyclife, and if you have ever read the Canterbury Tales by Jeffery Chaucer He said “every second person” he met was a Lollard. You also have William pen and the quakers, Michael Servetus, and many more. Most of these groups where in England and made up the Protestants.
Now on to what the Bible has to say..
There is only one God:
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
Mark 12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
These are but three of the many times the Bible proclaims the oneness of God.
Lets examine John 1:1-16
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
- The word is God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
-All things where made by God
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 ¶There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
-Who was in the world? Jesus.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
-Who came unto his own? Jesus.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
-Who is the word again? God. What is the only time we find God in flesh? Jesus!
Most trinitarians I have dialogued with always end up saying that we can never truly understand the Godhead because it is a mystery. However in Romans 1:20 we find that it is not.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Romans 1:20
From this verse we see that God through creation gave us a way to understand the Godhead.. What would that creation be? It would have to be a creation made in the image of God!
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 1:27
If we are made in the image of God and through creation we can understand his Godhead then if the trinity is the correct view we each have three persons in us. However we Know that is not the case (usually lol).
Another good portion for our study is Matthew 28:19
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Contrary to popular teaching this is not addressing three persons, because only one name is mentioned! What is the name though?
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Acts 4:12
But what is the name!
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:38

We see from scripture that there is only one name that has the power to save. It would be like if I was writing a check I would not sign brother, uncle, or son those titles all apply to me, but the only way I can access my money is by my name!
Not only that but the titles of Father, Son, Holy Ghost are not ever accurate according to Matthew 1:20 the Father is not the Father!
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Matthew 1:20,21
We learn from this passage that Jesus was conceived of the Holy Ghost! Therefore the Holy Ghost and the Father are either the same or Jesus doesn’t know who his daddy is.
I could go on and on, but for the sake of length I will stop there. If you have any further questions regarding oneness please let me know!

What about the trinitarin view of God?
Flavius Valerius Constantius (c. 285-337 AD), Constantine the Great, was the son of Emperor Constantius I. When his father died in 306 AD, Constantine became emperor of Britain, Gaul (now France), and Spain. Gradually he gained control of the entire Roman empire.
Theological differences regarding Jesus Christ began to manifest in Constantine’s empire when two major opponents surfaced and debated whether Christ was a created being (Arius doctrine) or not created but rather coequal and coeternal to God his father (Athanasius doctrine).
The theological warfare between the Arius and Athanasius doctrinal camps became intense. Constantine realized that the his empire was being threatened by the doctrinal rift. Constantine began to pressure the church to come to terms with its differences before the results became disastrous to his empire. Finally the emperor called a council at Nicea in 325 AD to resolve the dispute.
Only a fraction of existing bishops, 318, attended. This equated to about 18% of all the bishops in the empire. Of the 318, approximately 10 were from the Western part of Constantine’s empire, making the voting lopsided at best. The emperor manipulated, coerced and threatened the council to be sure it voted for what he believed rather than an actual consensus of the bishops.
The present day Christian church touts Constantine as the first Christian emperor, however, his ‘Christianity’ was politically motivated. Whether he personally accepted Christian doctrine is highly doubtful. He had one of his sons murdered in addition to a nephew, his brother in law and possibly one of his wives. He continued to retain his title of high priest in a pagan religion until his death. He was not baptized until he was on his deathbed.

The majority of bishops voted under pressure from Constantine for the Athanasius doctrine. A creed was adopted which favored Athanasius’s theology. Arius was condemned and exiled. Several of the Bishops left before the voting to avoid the controversy. Jesus Christ was approved to be “one substance” with God the Father. It is interesting that even now, the Eastern and Western Orthodox churches disagree with each other regarding this doctrine, the Western churches having had no influence in the ‘voting’.
Two of the bishops who voted pro-Arius were also exiled and Arius’s writings were destroyed. Constantine decreed that anyone caught with Arius documents would be subject to the death penalty.
The Nicaean Creed read as follows:
I believe in one God: the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God: begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made. .
Even with the adoption of the Nicaean Creed, problems continued and in a few years, the Arian faction began to regain control. They became so powerful that Constantine restored them and denounced the Athanasius group.
Arius’s exile was ended along with the bishops who sided with him. It was now Athanasius who would be banished.
When Constantine died (after being baptized by an Arian Bishop), his son reinstated the Arian philosophy and bishops and condemned the Athanasius group.
In the following years the political foes continue to struggle and finally the Arians misused their power and were overthrown. The religious/political controversy caused widespread bloodshed and killing. In 381 AD, Emperor Theodosius (a Trinitarian) convened a council in Constantinople. Only Trinitarian bishops were invited to attend. 150 bishops attended and voted to alter the Nicene creed to include the Holy Spirit as a part of the Godhead. The Trinity doctrine was now official for both the church and the state. Dissident bishops were expelled from the church, and excommunicated.
The Athanasius (Trinitarian) Creed was finally established in (probably) the 5th century. It was not written by Athanasius but adopted his name. It stated in part: 

“We worship one God in Trinity … The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God; and yet they are not three gods, but one God.”
By the 9th century the creed was established in Spain, France and Germany. It had taken centuries from the time of Christ for the trinity doctrine to catch on. Government and church politics were the reasons the trinity came into existence and became church orthodoxy.
As you have seen, the Trinitarian doctrine came from deceit, politics, a pagan emperor and warring factions who brought about death and bloodshed. (http://www.angelfire.com/pa/greywlf/trinity.html)
Robert Ingersoll makes the following comments in Ingersoll’s Works, Vol. 4, p. 266-67:
Christ, according to the faith, is the second person in the Trinity, the Father being the first and the Holy Ghost third.
Each of these persons is God. Christ is his own father and his own son. The Holy Ghost is neither father nor son, but both.
The son was begotten by the father, but existed before he was begotten—just the same before as after. Christ is just as old as his father, and the father is just as young as his son.
The Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father and Son, but was equal to the Father and Son before he proceeded, that is to say, before he existed, but he is of the same age as the other two.
So it is declared that the Father is God, and the Son and the Holy Ghost God, and these three Gods make one God. According to the celestial multiplication table, once one is three, and three time one is one, and according to heavenly subtraction if we take two from three, three are left. The addition is equally peculiar: if we add two to one we have but one. Each one equal to himself and to the other two. Nothing ever was, nothing ever can be more perfectly idiotic and absurd than the dogma of the Trinity.