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how to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference

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That is correct. I recognize that Modalists do not like to be called oneness, but at the end of the day, that is what they are. Modalism, Sabellianism, are both forms of oneness theology which espouse that God is one person, not three. Hence, they teach that Jesus was nothing more than a mode or a manifestation of God. This is a denial of the person of the Son of God and places them outside the Christian group. It emerged as early as late second to early third century and was soundly condemned as heresy from the beginning. Oneness theology is any form of theology proper that asserts that God is one person. It affirms the one”ness of the person of God.