by Etienne Curnow
The simple fact is that there are no Trinitarians to be found in the NT. The basic thesis is that Jesus, his pre-Calvary disciples, and then those converted after his death and resurrection are all located on the same unbroken unitarian monotheistic trajectory.
The Apostles John and Philip serve as crucial overlapping links between those two categories of converts.
The Apostle Paul then weighs in as a post-Calvary convert, providing corroborating testimony in both speech and writing.
The Ethiopian eunuch of all people also has a decisive part to play in scuppering Trinitarianism.
I propose to unpack this step by step so let’s just focus on Jesus himself and ask two simple questions. Those questions seek to establish some common ground between ourselves and orthodox Trinitarian believers…
WAS JESUS BORN A TRINITARIAN?
From Gal 4:4 we learn that Jesus was under the Mosaic law from birth. This would be acknowledged by those in the orthodox system. I actually learned that in church. However, has the full significance of this been grasped in the pews? Jesus, as a Jew, would have been obliged to confess and recite the strict unitarian monotheistic creed of Israel (Deut 6:4) from the word go, as soon as he was able to speak. So he was not a Trinitarian at that stage.
DID JESUS DIE A TRINITARIAN?
The Mosaic law was not abrogated until just after Jesus died (Matt 27:51 Mark 15:38 Luke 23:45). This is something else with which Trinitarians would agree. So that law was still in force as Jesus was dying on the cross. He therefore remained under a legal obligation to be a Unitarian in accordance with Jewish orthodoxy until he drew his last breath.
JESUS WAS NEVER A TRINITARIAN
Since Jesus was born a Unitarian and died a Unitarian, it should come as no surprise to discover that he was a Unitarian throughout the intervening period. This is exactly what the episode recorded in Mark 12:28ff reveals. Note that if we start with the fixed data at either end of Jesus’ life we have two points of agreement with orthodoxy from which to make a pincer movement. When we proceed to make our Mark 12:29 cf Deut 6:4 speech we are significantly relieved of the burden of proof. It simply confirms what should already have been agreed upon. There is further confirmation in John 4:22b where Jesus identifies himself as part of the Jewish community (“we”) of worshippers. They were not Trinitarians.
In part 2 we will consider the case of those who became Jesus’ disciples during his ministry.