I have been an evangelical Christian since college. I was saved in a Nazarene Church when I was thirteen. Many evangelicals would say I’m no longer an evangelical because of the my book, The Restitution of Jesus Christ. In it, as a former Trinitarian for 22 years, I make a very in-depth examination of critical biblical texts to show that the Bible does not identify Jesus as God, rather as the Messiah of Israel, Lord, and Savior.
The Christians of the first three centuries of the Christian era clearly did not believe Jesus was co-equally God with God the Father, and neither did they believe that God was a trinity of persons: the Father, Son (Jesus) and Holy Spirit. When we believers get to glory–by means of Jesus raising us from the dead at the end of the age–if we could ask the apostle Peter and the apostle Paul if they believed in the deity of Christ and that God is a trinity of persons, I believe they would say something like this, “WHAT! What are you talking about?” They wouldn’t have a clue. Then, when we would explain what these expressions mean, they would soundly answer, “No.”
Since the fourth century, churches have established creeds claiming that if a person does not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, which includes belief that Jesus is equally God with the Father, also called “the deity of Christ,” that person is not a genuine Christian. I believed that for 22 years mostly because that is what I was taught. But when I took a very serious look at this, with an in-depth examination of the Bible over a period of 28 years, in which I read about a thousand books on the identity of Jesus and consulted many hundreds of Bible commentaries, I came to believe without any uncertainty whatsoever that the Bible does not identify Jesus as being God. Moreover, I believe that false teaching tarnishes somewhat the magnificence of Jesus in his conquering sin and thereby becoming perfectly qualified as the sinless Lamb of God to provide for our so great salvation by dying on the cross for our sins.
So, I claim to still be an evangelical mainly for the following four reasons:
(1) I have always been in the Bible church movement, which is very evangelical, and I still worship at an evangelical church;
(2) the two primary statements that define evangelicalism–the four-point definition of the Bebbington Quadrilateral and the similar statement by the National Association of Evangelicals–do not contain any statement either about Jesus being God or God being a trinity of persons, called the doctrine of the Trinity;
(3) evangelicalism has always been based primarily on the principle that the Bible is the basis for Christian belief so that the Bible supersedes church creeds. The Bible does not have the word Trinity, and it has no statement that God is a trinity of persons. Moreover, Jesus never identified himself as God. Rather, Jesus constantly distinguished himself from God and called God his Father;
(4) evangelicalism has always advocated for church reform, including doctrinal reform if it can be shown that past, common, evangelical belief is not supported by the Bible. I believe that can be convincingly shown. But the church, including evangelicals, refuses to discuss this openly. I have challenged some Christian leaders to publicly debate this with me, and they have refused. The early Protestant Church leaders accepted the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity without giving it any critical examination, and I believe that Reformation still needs to take place.