Phillips, Craig and Dean’s statement rejecting modalism

Since news came out about Phillips, Craig and Dean signing a statement affirming the Baptist Faith and Message (I’ve written about this story here and here), I’ve seen a few posts and tweets stating they have have not anywhere rejected modalism. I now post this, the statement they signed and gave to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, to show that posts and tweets to that effect are not accurate.  You will can read for yourself the statement below.

I certainly understand the tendency to be skeptical and the calls for discernment. I would hope anyone who knows me or has spent any time reading me or talking to me knows I take such a need in the church very seriously.  I respect anyone’s right to continue to be skeptical. I simply post this to show that there is a place and a time where they have explicitly rejected modalism (Sabellianism), and here it is…

You can also download the statement in PDF format here.

Grace and peace to you.


Author: Matt Privett

Christian. Husband. Father. Pastor.

13 thoughts on “Phillips, Craig and Dean’s statement rejecting modalism”

  1. Matt,

    I’m sure you’re aware that Modalists deny being Modalists the same way that semi-Pelagians deny being semi-Pelagian. They use orthodox language, then deny it in their peculiar use of definitions.

  2. Which is one reason why I celebrate this rejection of modalism with considerable caution. I would love to see the three of them sit down with someone who will ask them the tough questions in a public forum.

    1. Sorry, but having dealt with and heard enough Modalists to know that they will use the same terminology, but with definitions that suit them, and that they will equivocate and dance around issues until their critics just give in. I present to you T.D. Jakes and his performance at the Elephant Room as a prime example.

      For that reason, a statement saying that they rubber stamped the BF&M just isn’t going to do it for me.

      I want to hear them state unequivocally that the CoC Oneness believe that God is one person, revealed in three manifestations is a damnable heresy and is outside the bounds of orthodox, historical, and, most importantly, Biblical Christianity.

      I want to hear them state that they affirm and embrace the orthodox and Biblical teaching that God is a Triune being, one God revealed in three separate and distinct, yet co-equal and co-eternal persons.

      Apart from that, I simply cannot accept or embrace them as brothers in Christ. Rubber stamping the BF&M is simply not good enough.

      1. I do not believe in modalism. I believe in the Holy Trinity, One God, Three Persons. But where does it say in the Bible that having wrong ideas about the Trinity is “damnable heresy”?

        1. We have to worship God as he really is not as what we think he is. If God is one person in three modes then that is how he should be worshiped. If God is one God in three persons then that is how he should be worshiped. If God is one God in three persons and you worship him as one God in three modes then you are not serving the same God and you have created an idol. You have become a heretic in that case.

  3. I have to agree with JD Hall on this one, I hope they are really opposed to modalism, and are Trinitarian. I would like to see them sign something saying they affirm the Apostle’s Creed.

  4. Matt, is it possible that saying “we reject Modalism and Sabellianism” without defining these terms isn’t, in fact, an “explicit” rejection?

    1. It is possible, but I think there’s a danger of judging someone’s motives in that case, assuming the lie. Paul tells us that love believes all things and hopes all things. That’s not a recipe for naiveté, but in this case I’d say it’s a cause for how I’ve written I’m approaching this — careful celebration. Not confetti falling from the rafters and not me going to download all of their songs again, but I am rejoicing in what they written and signed, and I’m going to continue to keep my eye on this. I want to see more from them, and should they seem to revert I’ll be making note of that as well.

    2. That’s a good question, J.D.

      Remember T.D. Jakes’ performance at the Elephant Room. He parsed his understanding of the Godhead so carefully that anyone not paying close attention would think he’s clearly a Trinitarian, without actually ever affirming a Trinitarian understanding of the Godhood or rejecting Modalism.

      It’s kind of like when you talk to a Mormon and they say? “Of course we believe in salvation by grace alone!” but then, when you dig a little deeper, you find that their grace is not Biblical grace, but merely the opportunity to perform works. But I digress.

  5. Matt, thanks for hosting a forum to discuss this. I find the statement by PC&D unhelpful in determining what they believe. Worse than that is this disingenuous statement.

    “Unfortunately, there were articles written many years ago that aggressively labeled the members of PC&D as anti-Trinitarian. These “internet rumors” have been hurtful not only to our ministry but to the Body of Christ in general.”

    James White, of Alpha and Omega Ministires, documented that Randy Phillips’ beliefs were clearly modalistic here. Given that evidence, PC&Ds use of the term “internet rumor” and alleging harm to the Body of Christ, is false.

    I’m not interested in judging motives of PC&D while signing the BFM, nor for releasing this statement. My concern is that this statement gives me no reason to believe that they have repented of past modalistic beliefs. We have to ask ourselves, what would repentance in this case look like? This is certainly not it. In fact, this statement makes me less hopeful.

    Like you I would rejoice to see them issue a statement rightly defining and affirming the orthodox doctrine of the trinity.

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