Certainly not! Modalism is heretical, a misguided and unscriptural attempt by the finite human mind to understand and systematize the mysterious divine Trinity. Modalism teaches that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are merely three temporary modes or forms of activity through which God manifests Himself in time. The most common form of modalism claims that the Father’s existence ended with the Son’s coming and that the Son ceased to exist when the Spirit came. Thus, according to modalistic thought, the Father, Son, and Spirit do not exist simultaneously and eternally. This view, of course, is contrary to the pure biblical revelation of the Triune God.
Like many others throughout church history who have sought to know and teach the truth concerning the Trinity, we have been the target of unfair and unwarranted criticism. We have always endeavored to faithfully represent both aspects of God’s triune (three-one) existence as presented in Scripture: He is revealed to be both eternally three and eternally one. However, statements emphasizing either aspect, taken in isolation, can easily be misrepresented, as some have done regarding our teaching.
We reiterate, clearly and emphatically, that the local churches, unlike modalists, believe in the eternal coexistence and coinherence of the three of the Godhead; that is, we believe that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit all coexist from eternity past to eternity future, and all mutually coinhere, or indwell one another. Even in God’s move to carry out man’s salvation and fulfill His eternal purpose, the Three of the Godhead are distinct in function yet never separate in Their being. This means that in every step of God’s work of creation, salvation, and consummation of His purpose, the Three of the Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—are fully involved.
In summary, our orthodoxy concerning the Triune God must be determined by measuring our teaching against the pure Word of God. When our writings are considered fairly and objectively in the light of Scripture, it is evident that we do not hold a modalistic view of the Trinity, but a view that is altogether according to the balanced, twofold revelation of the pure Word of God.
For more information, please see:
- Modalism, Tritheism, or the Pure Revelation of the Triune God, by Ron Kangas
- “All Three Coexisting (Existing at the Same Time) and Not Being in Modes (Stages),” by Witness Lee
- “The Controversy,” by Witness Lee