Oneness Pentecostals on Revelation 3:21 (Part 1): Some Preliminaries

Recently my master’s thesis was posted on ProQuest open access. I provided the abstract for it in a prior post.

I’m going to a take a couple of posts to respond to some Oneness attempts to explain the verse, but before that I need to clarify a couple of things about what I was doing in the thesis, and what I was trying to accomplish.

Since I’m about to do some argumentative posts after this one, I should also make it clear that I don’t intend my website to be an apologetics website. Yes, I have written and will continue to write some things that argue against Oneness, but that’s simply because it is my niche interest and way forward academically. But anybody who has read my posts also knows that I’ve tried to constructively and charitably engage in dialogue about Oneness as well. Here are some posts to prove that:

Now on to the other clarifications. First, what the thesis is not and what I’m not doing.

  • I am not arguing that Oneness Christology is, overall, false.
  • I am not arguing that the doctrine of the Trinity is true. This is not a Trinity vs. Oneness thesis.
  • I am not trying to be caustic or contentious. Read Boyd or Dalcour on Oneness and you’ll see I sound nothing like them. That’s intentional.

Second, what I am doing and hope to accomplish.

  • I am trying to make a modest claim. Even the best Oneness view (what I call a “modified” view) doesn’t satisfy the explanatory criteria I lay out in chapter 1 as well as two competing views: a strong monarchy view of the Trinity and dynamic monarchianism (which claims Jesus is solely human).
  • I am focusing on a single verse, not building the overall best case for theology proper. This is related to the prior point because, in principle, even the Oneness Pentecostal can completely agree with my case and still think Oneness is the best overall explanation of the New Testament.
  • I am trying to provide a helpful way forward for Oneness Pentecostals and anybody else to discuss theological differences. In my opinion, an abductive (“best explanation”) approach is the way to go.
  • I am trying to fill a literature gap here so that I will actually be read. That’s a high hope for a mere master’s thesis. I didn’t choose to right the thesis just to fulfill my degree. In fact, theses aren’t required at Regent University, but are one option among others to fulfill the “capstone” project requirement. I did this because I thought I could make a real scholarly contribution.

Now, with these things said, I am able to move forward to some specific responses to Oneness explanations of Revelation 3:21 that I didn’t have space to address in the thesis.

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