In my article "Differing Views of the Godhead," I briefly explained the meaning of the "Godhead" and what various religions teach concerning it. I will not go over those again, however, in this article I want to just make you aware of the debate between monotheism and Trinitarism (a form of polytheism).
WHAT IS MONOTHEISM?
The word "monotheism" simply means the belief in the existence of one divine God, or in the oneness of God. Monotheism comes from the greek words; mono, meaning alone, single, one; and theos, meaning God. There are really only a few religions who claim a "one God" viewpoint, they are; Judaism, Oneness Christianity and Islam.
Judaism and Islam do not believe that Jesus Christ is part of the Godhead. The Oneness Pentecostals/Apostolics believe in one God, but also believe that God dwelt in the body of Jesus Christ, making him both God and man wrapped up into one person. The Trinitarians believe in Jesus, but they teach that He was an individual "God the Son" that was a part of a triune union of the One God.
WHAT IS TRINITARISM?
The word "Trinitarism" means the belief that God exists as three persons, co-equal and independent, but yet being in one collective existence as the one God. Outside of the three religions mentions above, Trinitarians make up much of the religious church world.
Their fundamental teaching is that there are three separate persons in the Godhead, being distinct Gods and co-eternal, but yet, being in this triune aspect of being a part of one God. The teaching is based on the idea that Jesus and the Holy Spirit was with God before the worlds were created. Their main teaching is based on the language used in scripture when referring to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; and when it speaks of the Son talking to the Father. This teaching started some 300 years after the original church began on the day of Pentecost.
THE COMPLEXITY OF THIS SUBJECT
When it comes to the subject of the Godhead, it seems on the outside that both sides are very similar, yet the debate rages on... and sometimes even hotly contested arguments can ensue. My intentions are not to even enter the debate, but to research these teachings using only scripture. I am planning on doing a series of articles on this subject. And even though many have used outside historical sources to prove their case, I will not be using any other historical references, but scripture only.
Some may say this is not a salvation issue. However, I would like to point out, that if a person doesn't believe the Godhead properly, that it could skew ones outlook of salvation, and thus, could cause them to be lost. Especially if a religion doesn't believe that Salvation is in Jesus Christ alone.
Since most all religions believe in one divine God, I will narrow down the "debate" to the very center of the Godhead controversy... and that is the "three persons" in the Godhead teaching. The reason this is controversial is because Monotheism is the belief that there is only one divine being, one spirit of God. And for a person to believe a "Trinitarian" view is to suggest that there are three separate God's (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost); which in the biblical view of monotheism; that divides God up into three distinct beings. Thus, the controversy of the Godhead.
TRINITARIANS ARGUMENT AGAINST ONENESS TEACHING
From a Trinitarian viewpoint, because they see the "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" interacting with each other before creation and independently on earth, they believe that Oneness people reject the idea of three persons in God. And because of this, some of the Trinitarian churches will go as far as to say that Oneness teachings are occultish. They often accuse Oneness churches of being "Jesus only" and rejecting their teachings about terms such as "God the Son" and "God the Holy Ghost."
An example of the Trinitarian idea... There is one man; he is a father, he is a son, and he is a husband. These three are separate, but he is still collectively just one man. All three rolls are operated independently.
ONENESS'S ARGUMENT AGAINST TRINITARIAN TEACHING
From a Oneness viewpoint, because they see the "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" as being just the one and self-same God manifesting Himself in three different ways, rejects the doctrine of the trinity because they contend that Trinitarians confuse the matter by dividing God up into three distinct beings. They contend because scripture only teaches that there is one Spirit of God, that Trinitarians have brought in a false teaching.
An example of the Oneness idea... There is one man; he is a father, and also a son and also a husband; but he is still just one man (being). He can operate all three rolls at any given time.
HOW DO YOU RESOLVE THIS QUESTION?
In understanding the biblical meaning of the Godhead, there are several pieces of the puzzle you have to resolve in your mind such as; Is God and the Holy Spirit the same being or separate persons?; Is Jesus in the Godhead or is the Godhead in Jesus?; Was Jesus and the Holy Spirit, as separate beings with God before creation? and How does the Father, Son, Holy Ghost really relate to each other? There are several more I could illustrate here, but I will address some of those later.
This is just the basic debate in a nutshell. If a person is really hungry for truth, you should have already seen which teaching is more accurate.