by Etienne Curnow
In part 1 it was established that from manger to cross Jesus was a unitarian. He was a unitarian in the strict sense imposed by the Jewish monotheistic creed of Israel embedded in the first and greatest commandment of the law of Moses:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is One Lord.” (Mark 12:29 cf Deut 6:4).
This simple fact should already be prompting any serious Berean enquirer after truth to wonder whether it would have been possible for Jesus to utter any Trinitarian statement whatsoever during his ministry. To do so would surely have been a disobedient deviation from the rigorously strict observance of the first commandment of the Mosaic law to which he was bound from birth.
Orthodox Jews are well aware of the fact that their unitarian creed is at odds with any Trinitarian conception of God. Jesus, himself an orthodox Jew, could never have embraced or taught notions which contradicted his simple creed. This matter will be broached in part 4.
Jesus was not prone to any Trinitarian aberration in his prayer life. In John 17, having identified himself as the Son (v 1), Jesus addresses the Father as “the only true God” and goes on to label himself as someone distinct from the only true God he is praying to, having been sent by Him (v 3). This automatically excludes Jesus from that unique status of being the only true God.
Trinitarian orthodoxy does well to acknowledge that the Father is not the Son. It agrees that they are two distinct persons. How, then, can the Trinitarian go on to affirm that the Son is also “the only true God”? That would make 2 Gods. The standard Trinitarian response is to invoke John 10:30, where Jesus says “I and the Father are one” and assert from this that the 2 distinct persons are at the same time 1 single thing which they call an “essence.” How is the truth to be defended against this assault? By pointing out that Jesus the unitarian is not denying his basic inviolable creed here. He is not making a metaphysical declaration concerning some supposed mysterious union between Father and Son. The context (v 27ff) indicates that Jesus is making a simple remark about hanging on to sheep. He and the Father are both working together at the one common objective of protecting and preserving the saints.
This is but one example of how simple Scripture texts are robbed of their true meaning by the orthodox system in the name of its Trinitarian dogma. Not only are verses recklessly ripped out of their context. They are also (and this is the really grave flaw) thoughtlessly disconnected from the overarching big picture context of Jesus the unitarian’s creed.
Other passages such as John 10:31ff, 14:9, and 20:28 are given a similar hatchet treatment. The standard interpretation of these should also be reexamined. However, it is time to return to the immediate focus of this study which is to scour the NT in search of some Trinitarians.
In the next section we will find out whether Jesus taught his disciples that they must be Trinitarians.