I am amazed that either Modalists or Trinitarians would say that their respective doctrine is taught by the Scriptures. Any honest reading of the Bible would have to acknowledge that if either doctrine is true it is because the Scriptures imply it, not teach it explicitly. To state the obvious, neither the term “trinity” nor “modalism” is found in the Bible. And the formulations of each doctrine are constructed by pulling together a variety of verses into an extrabiblical conceptual framework. None of it, in and of itself, proves either doctrine wrong. But it should make us slow to draw conclusions.
As for myself, I’d be prepared to believe either doctrine if I could find the basis for inferring it from Scripture because I believe it is perfectly valid to establish doctrine based on inference from Scripture. God expects us to use our minds, and He did not put every truth in propositional form in the Bible. However, I cannot find a sufficient basis for inferring either doctrine from Scripture.
What then do I believe? That Christ is God. And I believe that we know Christ is God not by explicit scriptural statement but in the same way Peter knew that Jesus was the Christ – that is, not by flesh and blood revealing it, but by heaven revealing it. Thus, whether we are Oneness Pentecostals, Trinitarians, or neither…we are blessed, as Peter was, when we recognize by the Holy Spirit that Christ is God.
(I made this comment originally on Brian LePort’s recent post at Near Emmaus: Is T.D. Jakes a Trinitarian? and extended it slightly here.)
For more on the biblical doctrine of Christ, see: