June 27, 2019

As many people who read my blog know, I was a Trinitarian for twenty-two years. The church doctrine of the Trinity means that God is one essence existing as three co-equal and co-eternal Persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. I then read myself out of this in the Bible, entered into a deep investigation of the matter over the next 25+ years, and self-published a 600-page book about it in 2008 entitled The Restitution of Jesus Christ. (It can be purchased at my website kermitzarley.com.) In this book I cite over 400 authors, most of them being Bible scholars. This book is mostly about the Bible. I show that it identifies Jesus as a man and not God. To do this, I address thoroughly all of the critical Bible texts about this matter. Thus, the doctrine of the Trinity is only briefly addressed in this book. In the history of the development of Christian doctrine, the Catholic Church first established its assertion that Jesus is God, and its doctrine of the Trinity was formulated much later on this basis.

The Unitarian movement emerged in Europe during the early 1600s as a result of Enlightenment and in opposition to Trinitarianism. Unitarians rightly claimed that the Bible only identifies the Father as God; thus, it does not identify Jesus as being fully God. But Unitarians did not agree on the subject of Jesus dying on the cross to atone for our sins. Most Christians, as I do, have claimed this teaching is absolutely essential to Christianity. And by the twentieth century, Unitarians had become Universalists.

There is a small but growing anti-Trinitarian movement of professing Christians who identify themselves mostly as Biblical Unitarians and fewer who identify as Christian Monotheists. The former are more centered on the Bible than earlier Unitarians were. The latter use their moniker to suggest that Trinitarianism is not genuine monotheism. I am sympathetic to this movement. Yet I prefer to call myself “a One God Christian.”

I wrote the following piece to help people in this movement as they discuss theology with Trinitarians. I encourage this be done rather than the two groups disassociating.

Who are we talking to?  If we One God Christians talk to someone untaught, we should only present our viewpoint without mentioning Trinitarianism unless asked to do so. But if we talk to Trinitarians, who often don’t know their Trinitarianism that well, we should know enough about it to interact sufficiently with them. But we should understand that the main issue is not the doctrine of the Trinity; rather, it is whether or not the Bible says Jesus is God. Most historians relate that the doctrine of the Trinity was developed due to the previous Church dogma that Jesus is God. Many leading Trinitarian scholars now admit that the Bible does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity. They assert that it is a deduction from the Bible and admit that it was developed by post-apostolic church fathers over a period of more than 250 years. Some therefore concede that the Bible does not make belief in this doctrine a necessary requirement for salvation as the Catholic and Protestant churches have done. We should try to keep the conversation focused mostly on the Bible.

What is the doctrine of the Trinity? The doctrine of the Trinity is that God is one essence existing as three co-equal and co-eternal Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Some Trinitarians, especially Roman Catholics, add “consubstantiality,” which means “same substance.” These concepts were established by church fathers using certain words peculiar to their native Greek language. (The RCC put back “consubstantiality” into their mass in late 2011.) Only eight NT texts mention together God/the Father, the Son/Jesus/Jesus Christ, and the Spirit/Holy Spirit. None have information relating to the later church teaching of the Trinity, and they have several different orders of these three in which some do not mention God/the Father first. And of course, “trinity,” “three in one,” “three Persons” and the like are not in the Bible.

When did the doctrine of the Trinity originate? The above definition of the doctrine of the Trinity was not developed until the late fourth century. Many historians and Christian theologians erroneously claim that this standard church doctrine of the Trinity was established at the First Ecumenical Council, the Nicene Council, in 325. On the contrary, the nature of the Holy Spirit did not become a serious topic of discussion among church fathers until decades later, during the 360s and 370s. Thus, the Catholic Church officially established its doctrine of the Trinity at its Second Ecumenical Council which was held at Constantinople in 381. Before that, a few church fathers taught their own doctrine of the Trinity, but they were different than the doctrine of the Trinity which the Church made official in 381 and has prevailed ever since.

What is the main subject? Salvation! What is most important to inquirers is that they want to know how to be saved and whether or not they are saved. This involves God forgiving our sins and giving us eternal life. Here are the two main questions: Does the Bible say Jesus is God? Must a person believe Jesus is God in order to be saved?

Why is this subject so important? It is so important because the institutional church has made it important by declaring that a person must believe that Jesus is God in order to be saved. The Catholic Church decided this declaration at its Council of Nicaea in 325. This Council produced the Nicene Creed which proclaims that a person must believe that Jesus is “very God of very God,” meaning Jesus is just as much God as the Father is, or that person is “anathema”—condemned to hell. Now, Jesus said at the Last Supper that the most important thing for his disciples to do was to love one another. He said to them, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another…. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13.34-35). So, all Christians should try to understand what the Bible requires for salvation and thus what makes a person a disciple of Jesus. Loving the disciples of Jesus is the strongest testimony we can make to the world about the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Trinitarian Christians who reject us One God believers, deeming that we are not saved, will be ashamed about this at The Judgment. (Some of us One God Christians don’t call ourselves “unitarians” due to the use of this term in history. Most original Unitarians did not affirm Jesus dying for their sins, and modern Unitarians are universalists.)

What does the Bible say we must do to be saved? Main texts: Jn 3.3, 14; 12.44; Ac 16.30-31; Rom 10.9-10; 1 Cor 15.1-5; 1 Jn 5.1. Also, we are saved by believing in Jesus’ name, which in Hebrew is Yeshu(a): Jn 1.12; 2.23; 3.18; 1 Jn 5.13; 3.23. Yeshu(a) means “Yhwh saves.” So, Yhwh saves through Jesus of Nazareth. Yhwh is God’s name in the Hebrew Bible (OT). It can be pronounced Yahweh, Yahveh, or Yehvah.

Can Trinitarians Be Saved? Absolutely yes! Most of the above texts say people are saved by believing that Jesus is their Savior since he died on the cross for their sins and arose from the dead. Some Bible texts add that people are saved because they believe Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah of Israel, and that he is the Son of God. Most Trinitarians wrongly interpret Jesus being the Son of God to mean he is God. On the contrary, since the Bible identifies some men and angels as “sons of God,” Jesus being the Son of God just means that he had an extraordinary relationship with God. Plus, the Bible sometimes applies “Christ” and “Son of God” to Jesus interchangeably. Finally, a person must to some degree make Jesus “Lord” of their life by following him. Many Trinitarians believe all of this about Jesus and live a life honoring God, the Father, and Jesus.

How can we One God believers converse with Trinitarians on this subject? There are surely many different ways. One way is to ask, “Do you believe God is one person or more than one person?” If they say three persons, we could ask, “then do you believe Jesus is God?” After they say “yes,” we could respond, “then why don’t the gospels ever quote Jesus saying “I am God” or words to that effect? They might say Jesus claimed he is God in Jn 10.30 when he said, “I and the Father are one.” We should be prepared to prove how Jesus didn’t mean he was God in that text. We also could cite various NT passages which declare that only the Father is God, so that Jesus can’t be God, esp. Jn 17.3, 1 Cor 8.4-6, and Eph 4.4-6. We could include Mk 12.28-34 and Jn 5.43-44. Then, we could mention that Jesus worshipped this one God, calling him “my Father,” even “my God” (Mt 27.46/Mk 15.34/Ps 22.1; Jn 20.17; Rev 3.2, 12). We conclude saying Jesus isn’t God but he had a God—the Father. We could add Paul’s texts which declare “the God and Father of the/our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 15.6; 2 Cor 1.3; 11.31; Eph 1.3, cf. v. 17). The main texts knowledgeable Trinitarians cite are: Jn 1.1c; 1.18; 10.30; 20.28; Phil 2.5-11; Rom 9.5; Tit 2.13; 2 Th 1.12; Heb 1.8-10; 2 Pt 1.1; and 1 Jn 5.20. We should know these well and be able to explain them sufficiently in accordance with our viewpoint.

January 19, 2019

On January 11, 2019, Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Dale Tuggy spent nearly two hours debating the question, “Is the God of the Bible the Father Alone?” Then there was Q&A with the audience for almost an hour regarding this Trinity Debate.

Dale Tuggy is a friend of mine. We believe alike on this question–that the God of the Bible is indeed the Father alone. Our #1 Bible text for this is Jesus’ saying in his so-called High Priestly prayer right before his capture, interrogation, condemnation, and crucifixion: “Father, . . . this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17.1, 3).

So, Dale and I believe God is a single person, thus not a triune personality as the institutional church teaches with its doctrine of the Trinity. Thus, we believe Jesus was a man and not God. Both of were taught the doctrine of the Trinity many years ago in our churches. Over time, we both came to the conclusion, before we ever knew each other, that the Trinity doctrine is not a biblical teaching. I guess we have two minor differences about this.

Dale believes there are a bare few biblical passages which identify Jesus as “God.” Yet, he does not believe these texts indicate Jesus is the God of creation, the God of Israel, the God of the Bible. In contrast, I don’t believe any biblical texts identify Jesus as God. The two main passages on this issue are probably John 10.33-36 and Hebrews 1.8 if not also v. 10.

Concerning John 10.33-36 (NRSV), Jesus’ Jewish opponents accused him of “‘making yourself God.’ Jesus answered, ‘Is it not written in your law, “I said, you are gods”? If those to whom the word of God came were called “gods”–and the scripture cannot be annulled–can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, “I am God’s Son”?”‘ So, Jesus says no more about himself here than what he has been saying occasionally, that he is the Son of God. This is indicated automatically whenever he calls God his “Father.” For more click here.

In Jn 10.34, Jesus cited Psalm 82.6. God therein says concerning Israel’s judges, who were men, “I say, ‘you are gods, children of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you shall die like mortals.'” Verse 1 establishes the identity of those to whom God is speaking, here. Many contemporary scholars believe it was angels, which they often call “gods.” However, I like the NASB rendering of Ps 82.1, “God takes his stand in His own congregation [referring to Israel]; He judges in the midst of the rulers.”

In the Hebrew text (Masoretic Text=MT) of Ps 82.6, the word here translated “gods” in most versions is the usual word used for “God/God/gods, which is elohim. In other texts, the MT sometimes applies elohim to angels, men, and the king of Israel. Here, I believe the author, Asaph, refers to the rulers/judges of Israel and not God’s heavenly council of angels, as some scholars suppose. So, I do not think Asaph intended to identify these rulers of Israel as “gods” in sense that we English speakers use that word. Rather, elohim and el, its shortened form, can mean “strong one” or “strong ones” or the like. El is often used in ancient Semitic languages to mean “strong” or “mighty.” For instance, Isa 9.6 calls Messiah el gibbor, which I think should be translated “mighty one” or “mighty warrior,” rather than the common rendering by English Bibles here, which is “Mighty God.” For more on this click here.

For example, the foremost Old Testament lexicon, Brown-Driver-Briggs (p. 43), has four categories for elohim. The first category says, “a. rulers, judges either as divine representatives at sacred places or as reflecting divine majesty and power.” Of course, this can be men. It also says elohim is sometimes applied to “angels.”

Then there is the Apostle Thomas’ confession in John 20.28: “my Lord and my God.” I believe Thomas did not mean to identify Jesus as “God” but that it was a recognition of God dwelling in Jesus, just as Jesus had taught Thomas days earlier, in John 14.1-11. For more on this click here.

As for the other issue, Dale said something in the debate that caused me to think he said Jesus preexisted. I don’t think that’s what Dale meant. That subject can involve some nuances, especially due to the logos teaching in the Gospel of John. I don’t believe John meant the logos as a personal being. And regarding such texts as Jesus “coming down from heaven,” in John 6, I think John meant that metaphorically, just as he most certainly did about the drinking his blood and eating his flesh.

I also know Michael Brown. I debated him on his radio program (“The Line of Fire”) twice, each being 39 minutes: “deity of Christ” and “preexistence of Jesus.” Hear them by clicking these URLs: http://lineoffireradio.askdrbrown.org/2010/01/12/january-12-2010/ and http://lineoffireradio.askdrbrown.org/2010/01/13/january-13-2010/.

Michael Brown is a very experienced public speaker and debater. He is particularly skilled at debating this subject since he has done it a lot. To me, he is such an anomaly. Michael Brown is Jewish; yet, as a Jewish Christian he believes God is three persons. In contrast, Dale and I are Gentiles, yet we believe like religious Jews, that God is a single person. Maybe you could say Dale and I are anomalies also.

In this debate between Dale Tuggy and Michael Brown, I thought Dale was easier to listen to. But his presentation would have been better if he had used more scripture. Dale is a Christian philosopher who is especially skilled at presenting arguments, perhaps more so than being a Bible expositor.

Michael Brown just flat threw the whole kitchen sink at Dale and therefore listeners. I mean he talked a mile-a-minute and used so many scriptures and arguments that you couldn’t possibly take notes. I thought it was overwhelming. As a former Trinitarian for 22 years, I believe Tuggy’s position is convincing and Brown’s is not.

For Christians, discussing or debating this subject is more important than any other. So, it is worth the time to listen to this debate.

November 28, 2017

BibleNearly all Christians are Trinitarians because that is what their churches teach them. It was the same with me. What is the doctrine of the Trinity? It means God is one essence existing as (not in) three co-equal and co-eternal persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. The initial reaction of most Christians when hearing this definition is, “well, yeah, there is the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. That’s all in the Bible.” Yes, but does the Bible teach that each is a person and equally God?

I was a Trinitarian Christian for twenty-two years. Then I questioned it, did extremely in-depth research, and changed to believing the Bible only says there is one God, who is the Father, so that Jesus is Lord and Savior, but not God. After 28 years of research and writing, I published a book on it entitled The Restitution of Jesus Christ (2008).

While I was researching this subject, I was surprised to learn that the doctrine of the Trinity that we Christians know about did not come into existence until the late fourth century. That is significant information. Why? I had always been told that if you didn’t believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, and thus that Jesus is God, you were not a Christian. That is what almost all churches have taught for hundreds of years. But did the churches of the first, second, and third centuries teach that? No!

Then, what about all of those Christians in those early centuries who had never heard of the doctrine of the Trinity? Were they not Christians because they did not believe in it? If so, that doesn’t seem quite fair, now, does it?

Not only that, the Catholic Church held its first so-called First Ecumenical Council in 325 at Nicaea. There, the 300+ bishops in attendance produced the Nicene Creed. It says Jesus is “very God of very God.” Then the last third of this creed pronounces multiple anathemas (condemnation to hell) upon all people who do not believe Jesus is very God of very God. They meant Jesus is just as much God as the Father is God. But amazingly, this creed says nothing about all the Christians who lived in the three prior centuries who were never taught that Jesus is just as much God as the Father is God. Were they, then, not Christians?

Christian teachers in the second and third centuries who wrote extant writings on theology are called “ante-Nicene church fathers.” They also are and were called “apologists.” This means they publicly defended the Christian Faith. All of those apologists believed God the Father was supremely God and that Jesus also was God but that his divinity or deity was of a lesser sort than that of God the Father. In theology, this is called “essential subordination.” That is, Jesus was subordinate to the Father regarding their essence, their very beings. I call this teaching “big God, little God.” In my intense investigation, I came to believe that neither it nor the doctrine of the Trinity are biblical teachings. But what about the Holy Spirit?

Until the late 4th century, the Catholic Church had not made any determination about the nature of the Holy Spirit, much less whether God is triune. During the 3rd century, church father Tertullian had put forth legal language, which included “trinity” (L. trinitas),[1] and the Church later used it to forge its doctrine of the nature of God and Jesus’ identity. But this former lawyer was no Trinitarian by modern standards.

Minutes were not taken at the Nicene Council. Some historians claim that this was purposeful. Regardless, there is no evidence in patristic writings that the Nicene Council ever discussed the nature of the Holy Spirit or that whether or not God is three persons. Neither is there any such mention in the Nicene Creed. Like the Apostles’ Creed, it only says, “We believe … in the Holy Spirit.”

The chief purpose for which the Nicene Council was convened was to settle a dispute that had arisen between Bishop Alexander, of Alexandria, Egypt, and Arius, a presbyter in Alexander’s holy see. Both men claimed to believe that Jesus was God. Their dispute was about whether Jesus preexisted eternally as the Logos-Son (Alexander) or that God the Father created the Logos-Son prior to creation (Arius), in which case Jesus did not preexist eternally. So, this dispute was about whether (1) Jesus was just as much God as the Father was (Alexander) or (2) Jesus’ status as God was less than the Father’s.

Thus, church historian J.N.D. Kelly observes that at the time of the Nicene Council, “the Holy Spirit … had not yet become the subject of disputes.”[2] Indeed, I say in my book, The Restitution of Jesus Christ (p. 50), “Interestingly, the Nicene Creed portrays only a Binitarian faith. The subject of the Holy Spirit was not even discussed by the Council. Throughout the 2nd and 3rd centuries, there existed no consensus of opinion among church fathers on the nature of the Holy Spirit. Some thought the Holy Spirit (Spirit of God) was merely an impersonal power or attribute of God. Others ascribed personality to the Holy Spirit. A few refused to speculate about the matter, refusing to go beyond the express declarations of Scripture. P. Schaff explains, ‘the doctrine of the Holy Spirit was far less developed, and until the middle of the fourth century was never a subject of special controversy.’ At the time of the Nicene Council, the Church clearly had not developed what later became the doctrine of the Trinity.”

Soon after the Nicene Council, Athanasius succeeded Bishop Alexander. For decades following, he was the leading proponent of Nicene orthodoxy. R.P.C. Hanson, who is the preeminent authority on the development of the church doctrine of God in the 4th century, informs, “It was Athanasius of Alexandria who first faced squarely the subject of the Holy Spirit … in 359 or 360.” [3] My book (p. 520) states, “Nothing changed for the decades after the Nicene Creed. Thus, R.P.C. Hanson (p. 741) also relates, ‘When we examine the creeds and confessions of faith which were so plentifully produced between the years 325 and 360, we gain the overwhelming impression that no school of thought during that period was particularly interested in the Holy Spirit.’ A few fathers only argued that the Holy Spirit is a distinct hypostasis essentially subordinate to the both the Father and the Son, thus rending the Holy Spirit unequal with both.”

J.N.D. Kelly informs, “When the council of Constantinople met in 381, one of its express objects was to bring the Church’s teaching about the Holy Spirit into line with what it believed about the Son.”[4] Kelly means that until this time the Church had never officially proclaimed that the Holy Spirit is co-equal in divinity with Jesus Christ the Son. Kelly therefore adds that at Constantinople, the Church “proceeded to assert the full deity and consubstantiality [same essence] of the Holy Spirit, and His existence as a separate hypostasis,” just as it had done at Nicaea concerning the identity of Jesus and his relationship to the Father.[5]

Thus, the Council of Constantinople, designated the Second Ecumenical Council, produced its own creed. It substantially repeats the Nicene Creed and adds the following about the Holy Spirit: “We believe … in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and life-giver, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son is together worshipped and together glorified.” Interestingly, this creed does not even mention the word “trinity” nor precisely set forth a doctrine of the trinity. Yet three church fathers, called “the three Cappadocians,” had previously produced treatises upon which this creed was based, and those documents fully explain what was to become the traditional doctrine of the trinity—God is one essence subsisting as three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

In conclusion, this church doctrine of the Trinity, which has been believed by nearly all Christians for over 1,500 years to the present time, did not obtain at the Council of Nicea, in 325, but at the Council of Constantinople, in 381. This history–that it was 3o0 years after the beginning of Christianity that the Catholic Church decided Jesus is just as much God as the Father is, and that it took 350 years for the Church to decide that God is three co-equal and co-eternal persons–should be very disturbing to Trinitarians as it was to me. This is especially so in light of the biblical exhortation, “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). That is, DON’T CHANGE THE FAITH. That is what church fathers did in deciding that God is three persons, and they did it 350 years after Christianity began.

So, what is the Christian Faith? What is the gospel? It is that the one God sent Jesus to die for our sins. God then raised him from the dead. We need to believe this and make Jesus Lord of our lives. In other words, accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. That’s the gospel. Trinity, deity of Christ; that has nothing to do with the gospel of salvation. Church fathers were dead wrong to include that in the gospel that saves.

The following citations are from the Wikipedia article entitled “NonTrinitarianism”:

The New Catholic Encyclopedia says, “The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not taught [explicitly] in the [Old Testament]”, “The formulation ‘one God in three Persons’ was not solidly established [by a council]…prior to the end of the 4th century”. Similarly, Encyclopedia Encarta states: “The doctrine is not taught explicitly in the New Testament, where the word God almost invariably refers to the Father. […] The term trinitas was first used in the 2nd century, by the Latin theologian Tertullian, but the concept was developed in the course of the debates on the nature of Christ […]. In the 4th century, the doctrine was finally formulated.”[6] Encyclopædia Britannica says: “Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Old Testament: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4). […] The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies. […] by the end of the 4th century, under the leadership of Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus (the Cappadocian Fathers), the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since.”[7]

So, why do most people, including many scholars, erroneously think the traditional doctrine of the Trinity was formulated at the Nicene Council, in 325? It’s due to church practice. Parishioners of mainline church denominations often recite at Sunday church services what church leaders represent to them as the Nicene Creed. But, in fact, what they recite is a revision of that creed which was undertaken at the Council of Constantinople, in 381, and correctly called the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

[1] Bishop Theophilus, an earlier church father, was the first to apply the word trinity (Gr. trias) to God.

[2] J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds, 3rd ed. (Essex, England: Longman, 1972), 340.

[3] R.P.C. Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381 (London: T & T Clark, 1988), 748-49.

[4] Kelly, Early Christian Creeds, 340.

[5] Kelly, Early Christian Creeds, 341.

[6] John Macquarrie, “Trinity,” Microsoft Encarta Reference Library 2005. © 1993-2004 Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved in March 31, 2008.

[7] “Trinity,” Encyclopedia Britannica 2004 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD. Retrieved in March 31, 2008.


To see a list of titles of 130+ posts (2-3 pages) that are about Jesus not being God in the Bible, with a few about God not being a Trinity, at Kermit Zarley Blog click “Chistology” in the header bar. Most are condensations of my book, The Restitution of Jesus Christ. See my website servetustheevangelical.com, which is all about this book,  with reviews, etc. Learn about my books and purchase them at kermitzarley.com.

November 26, 2017

BibleChristians generally claim that they base their beliefs on the Bible. What about the church teaching of the doctrine of the Trinity? Is that based on the Bible?

For the first three centuries of Christianity, no one had ever heard of the doctrine of the Trinity. That’s because there wasn’t any. Oh, you can go back to church father Tertullian, who was a lawyer and not really a churchman. Some Christians think he taught the doctrine of the Trinity. But that’s not right. He was the first known to use the word trinitas but merely said the Father was Almighty God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit were also divine, but of a lesser divinity.

Trinity1That is not the doctrine of the Trinity that the Catholic Church made official at its Second Ecumenical Council, held in Constantinople in 381. It means that the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all equally God. And that council took the Nicene Creed, which had been drafted at the First Ecumenical Council, held at Nicea in 325, deleted part of it and altered some of what remained. Yet neither the Nicene Creed nor the later Constantinople Creed included the word “Trinity.” The main thing was the Nicene Creed declared that Jesus was “very God of very God.” It also pronounced multiple anathemas (condemnations to hell) upon anyone who said otherwise.

That second creed didn’t have the word “Trinity” because it is not in the Bible, and those drafters knew it. And like I said, Christians like to say that they base their beliefs on the Bible. Well then, let’s consider some other words or phrases Trinitarians use to describe such belief. How about the popular phrase “the deity of Christ”? That’s not in the Bible either. Or what about “God the Son”? Nope!

Oh, here’s a big one. Most Trinitarians say Jesus claimed to be God. Oh yeah! Where is that in the Bible? Interestingly, C. S. Lewis in his mega-selling book Mere Christianity and Josh McDowell in his More than a Carpenter (and I think in two Evidence books also) repeatedly assert Jesus claimed to be God without citing biblical evidence of it. Folks, that is pretty shabby teaching. If you’re going to make some declaration like that, which I think is the most important self-declaration ever made in the world since Jesus is the most famous person who ever lived–you better back it up with that book on which you claim to base your beliefs.

Some Trinitarians who know their Bible fairly well do so by saying, “Jesus claimed to be God in John 10.30.” Well, what did he say. He said, “The Father and I are one.”

I was a Trinitarian Christian for twenty-two years, from age eighteen to age forty. All that time I was a pretty serious student of the Bible. For most of those years, I also had Christian ministry. I co-founded the PGA Tour Bible Study (which thrives today with several spawned ministries) in my second year on the PGA Tour, in 1965. Thereafter, I gave leadership to the group. For those first twenty years in which I believed in the doctrine of the Trinity, I never doubted it. I just did like most Christians do–I accepted what my teachers, such as pastors, had taught me. Almost all Christians believe it. You just naturally think it must be right since almost all Christians believe it.

Then one day in my study, I had a moment of enlightenment while reading Jesus’ Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 (also in Mark 13 and Luke 21). I read Jesus’ statement about his yet future return with his glorious kingdom, saying, “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son [referring to himself], but only the Father” (Matt. 24.36). I knew that discourse, and that particular statement, well. For twenty years I had specialized in the study of biblical prophecy because of a prayer promise I made to God in a prayer group when I was eighteen years old.

Now, like many Trinitarians, I also had been taught “the hypostatic union of Christ.” It means Jesus had two natures: a human nature and a divine nature. And I was taught that when we read about Jesus in the four New Testament gospels about some act that Jesus did or something he said, he did that or said that from the source of one of his two natures, either his human nature or his divine nature. For example, when Jesus said on the cross, “I thirst,” he said that from the perspective of his human nature. But when Jesus healed someone, he did that from the source of his divine nature.

However, just as with “the Trinity,” “the deity of Christ,” and “God the Son,” there is no such thing about “the hypostatic union of Christ” in the Bible. But I don’t mean only this language, but it’s teaching as well. Moreover, there isn’t even anything in the Bible that says Jesus had two natures, let alone identifying them as human and divine. All of these beliefs and their language were created by men who lived many years after Jesus lived here, after the apostolic age, and after the first century.

So, when I read that saying of Jesus in his Olivet Discourse–that he did not know the time of his yet future return–I exclaimed to myself out loud, alone in my study room, “That makes Jesus look like a liar. He said he didn’t know, but according to the hypostatic union he did know because he is God.” I pondered that a few minutes and then said again to myself, “Not going there anymore! I will stand on the integrity of Jesus. I must look into this.”

And did I ever. To begin what I eventually called “my quest for the real Jesus,” I thought the most important thing to do, thus the place to start my quest, was to read what Jesus said about himself in the NT gospels. So, I bought a red letter NT (all of Jesus’ sayings are in red). I was shocked when I finished reading them to discover that Jesus never said he was God.

Until that time, if someone would have asked me why I believed Jesus was God, I probably would have answered, “He said so in John 10.30, ‘I and the Father are one.'” But a close examination of its prior context shows that Jesus was merely explaining that he and the Father were united in their mission of making disciples (vv. 27-29), 36), and in the subsequent context he answered the Jews’ charge of “making yourself God” by saying he only claimed to be “God’s Son” (vv. 33, 36).

But after reading that red letter Bible I said to myself concerning Jesus’ saying in John 10.31, “If that’s the strongest evidence we Trinitarians have for proving that Jesus claimed to be God, the case looks pretty weak.”

The next thing I did in the beginning of my quest for the real Jesus was that I decided the second most important thing to do is to read in the Bible what the first Christians said about Jesus identity. That would be, first and foremost, the book of Acts. It tells about many acts of the apostles, especially Peter and Paul, in their efforts to spread the gospel–the good news about Jesus. What was that good news? It sure wasn’t that Jesus is God. What! If Jesus was and is God, there wouldn’t be anything more important to tell the world about him than that! Folks, there is nothing in there about it.

In fact, it’s just the opposite. Those apostles of Jesus tell about him being a man through whom God revealed himself par excellence. For example, Peter preached his first evangelistic sermon, on the Day of Pentecost, proclaiming to Jews in Jerusalem, “Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know–this man, handed over to you by the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law [Gentile Romans]. But God raised him up” (Acts 2.22-24).

Notice that in this sermon Peter here twice calls Jesus a “man” and never God. And he says Jesus did all of his miracles by the power of God that was given to him, not by a supposed divine nature that constituted his very being. In fact, Luke has recorded over twenty evangelistic sermons or summaries of them in his book of Acts that were delivered to people by these first Christians, and nowhere therein it is said that Jesus is God. This is a glaring omission if Jesus was God.

Moreover, I think it impossible for Luke not to have recorded something about opposition from Jews if the apostles had proclaimed that Jesus was God since Jews were defined mostly by their unique practice of worshipping only one God and believing that he is the only God and creator of the universe. Saying Jesus was also God along with God the Father could not have escaped the charge of believing in two Gods.

Soon after this we read in Acts that God healed someone through Peter’s proclamation (Acts 3). Then the religious authorities arrested Peter and John for preaching Jesus to him and the people (Acts 4). They warned them not to preach anymore “in this name” (v. 17). “But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than God, you must judge'” (v. 19).

I look at that nowadays and think of whether it was right for me to listen to church fathers, and the church ever since, or believe the Bible about whether or not Jesus is God, or God is three persons, if there is a difference between these two. I think there is and that I was right in deciding that I must reject what church fathers say about that and believe the Bible.

For the next twenty-eight years, from 1980 to 2008, I estimate that I read about a thousand books on the identity of Jesus, most of them written by reputable scholars. And I went to libraries all over the U.S., looking at hundreds and hundreds of Bible commentaries, scouring the dozens of critical biblical texts to see what those experts said about them.

Then, in 2008, I self-published my writings on this subject. It is a 600-page book, The Restitution of Jesus Christ (available for now only at kermitzarley.com), wherein I cite over 400 scholars. Not only didn’t Jesus claim to be God, but nowhere in the original languages of the Bible does it say Jesus is God, and neither does it say God is three persons.

Of course, I realize that most Christians do not have the capacity or energy to do any kind of investigation about these matters as I did. Yet I believe every Christian should look into this matter somewhat for themselves. It is especially so since those church fathers in the fourth and fifth centuries laid down these teachings that are still foundational today, and they declared that anyone who rejects them is not a Christian. I say that is the teaching of men and not of God.

Raymond E. Brown was one of my favorite New Testament scholars who wrote many books and NT commentaries. He was a Roman Catholic. Time magazine claimed he was the preeminent NT scholar of the second half of the twentieth century in the world. I quote him in my book as follows, “Christian believers whose spiritual lives should be shaped by the Master, if they have not wrestled in some mature way with the identity of Jesus, are in danger of constructing a fictional Jesus … most people answer the question of the identity of Jesus without any real struggle to gain precision about what the NT says…. Christology is so important an issue for religious adherence that one should not express judgments without seriously looking at the evidence.”[1]

[1] Raymond E. Brown, An Introduction to New Testament Christology (New York: Paulist, 1994), vi, 10-11.


To see a list of titles of 130+ posts (2-3 pages) that are about Jesus not being God in the Bible, with a few about God not being a Trinity, at Kermit Zarley Blog click “Chistology” in the header bar. Most are condensations of my book, The Restitution of Jesus Christ. See my website servetustheevangelical.com, which is all about this book,  with reviews, etc. Learn about my books and purchase them at kermitzarley.com.



June 29, 2017

Sun&MoonDuring antiquity, the nations worshiped many gods. They often worshipped the sun, moon, and stars as gods. The Apostle Paul says “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1.25).

That is why God chose Israel to be a testimony to these polytheistic nations round about. He instructed the Israelites not to fall into the trap of worshiping creation rather than him as its Creator. Thus, some biblical writers would characterize the sun, moon, stars, and animals as creations of God rather than gods themselves.

An example is King David writing Psalm 19. The biblical psalms are poetic lyrics intended to be sung, often with the accompanying of musical instruments. This psalm begins in the NRSV, in vv. 1-4a: “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” David herein personifies creation and claims that it testifies to God as its Creator.

David also wrote Psalm 8, which has some portions of it quoted in the New Testament. It begins, in vv. 1, 3-4: “O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens…. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?” Similarly, David says the heavens, particularly the moon and stars, signify God’s glory.

Psalm 148, whose author is unknown, begins, in vv. 1-3, “Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host! Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!” So, the psalmist acknowledges that our sun and moon praise God. How so?

Our sun is far greater than our moon. I believe our sun symbolizes God, whom Jesus called “Father,” and our moon symbolizes Jesus. The heat and other benefits from our sun are necessary to sustain life here on earth just as God is the source of all life in his creation. And our moon reflects light from our sun just as Jesus reflects, or reveals, the character of God, who is the Father to those who believe.

This phenomenon is similar to what is declared near the end of the book of Revelation. Therein, “the holy city, the new Jerusalem” is described as “coming down out of heaven from God” (21.2). John, the author, adds, “I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (21.22-23). So, the Lamb, which refers to Jesus, is the lamp whereas God, who is greater, is the source of its light. This affirms what Jesus once said, “The Father is greater than I” (John 14.28).

But all of this clashes with the institutional church doctrine of the Trinity. It says God is one essence consisting of three co-equal and co-eternal Persons: (1) God the Father, (2) Jesus as the Son of God, and (3) the Holy Spirit. This final doctrine of the Trinity that church fathers formulated during the latter half of the fourth century was made official at the Catholic Church’s Second Ecumenical Council, at Constantinople in 381.

But there is no such thing taught in the Bible. Rather, the Bible teaches constantly that there is numerically one God, whom Jesus called “Father” (e.g., John 17.3), and Jesus is Lord and Savior, but not God. So, I think our sun and moon symbolically indicate this truth and thereby disprove the doctrine of the Trinity. And heh, I should know because I’m the Pro from the Moon!

To see a list of over eighty posts on this blog about the Bible not saying Jesus is God, click here. They are condensations of portions of my book, The Restitution of Jesus Christ. Buy this book at kermitzarley.com. I was a Trinitarian for 22 years before reading myself out of it in the Bible.

June 28, 2017

Christology developed in the early centuries of Christianity. Church fathers believed that Jesus was God, but to a lesser extent than the Father was, and that Jesus’ divinity was derived from the Father. Also, they had no consensus about the Holy Spirit.

But all of this changed during the 4th century. In 325, the Catholic Church’s first ecumenical council, at Nicaea, officially declared that Jesus was fully God just as the Father is. Yet they did not come to a consensus regarding the constitution of the Holy Spirit until the Council of Constantinople, in 381. There, the Church officially established the doctrine of the Trinity, with the Holy Spirit as a full-fledged Person. The official church doctrine of the Trinity to this day—which is embraced by Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants alike—is that God (=Godhead) is one essence consisting of three co-equal and co-eternal Persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit.

These churches have never officially departed from this dogma, asserting that people must believe in this doctrine to be genuine Christians. The Nicene Creed pronounces a curse (“anathema”), and thereby condemns to hell, all people who do not adhere to this teaching. And Presbyterian theologian A.A. Hodge, being an example of Protestants, asserts that “it is essential to salvation to believe in the three persons in one Godhead.” And all of these traditionalists contend that the Bible supports this doctrine.

On the contrary, not only doesn’t the Bible support this doctrine, the word “trinity” is not even in the Bible. This suggests that this doctrine isn’t in the Bible either.

Many distinguished Christian scholars now acknowledge that the doctrine of the Trinity is not biblical and thus does not represent primitive Christianity. Hans Kung–world class theologian and Roman Catholic–asks of the Bible (bold type his), “Why is there never talk of the ‘triune God’?… throughout the New Testament, while there is belief in God the Father, in Jesus the Son and in God’s Holy Spirit, there is no doctrine of one God in three persons … no doctrine of a ‘triune God,’ a ‘Trinity.’” He further observes, “If we wanted to judge Christians of the pre-Nicene period after the event, in the light of the Council of Nicaea, then not only the Jewish Christians would be heretics but also almost all the Greek church fathers.” Kung concludes, “The theology which became manifest at the [first six ecumenical] councils led to a considerable alienation from the New Testament.”

Trinitarian scholars cite the following New Testament (NT) texts to support their viewpoint: Matthew 28.19; Romans 15.30; 1 Corinthians 12.4-6; 2 Corinthians 13.14; Ephesians 2.18; 4.4, 6; 1 Peter 1.2; Jude 20-21. Yet most of these scholars admit that these texts only mention the Father, the Son, and the (Holy) Spirit without indicating that they are co-equal Persons. Many of these scholars would agree with Vincent Taylor’s assessment, that “the Trinity is not an express New Testament doctrine.”

Thus, many Trinitarian scholars concede that their doctrine represents no more than a deduction from Scripture. J.N.D. Kelly says of the NT, “Explicit Trinitarian confessions are few and far between; where they do occur, little can be built upon them.” Johannes Schneider admits, “The NT does not contain the developed doctrine of the Trinity.” And D.A. Carson concedes, “Individually these texts do not prove there is any Trinitarian consciousness in the NT, since other threefold-phrases occur.”

Indeed, the NT has other triune formulas which mention angels instead of the Holy Spirit. For instance, Jesus spoke of the yet future time when “the Son of Man … comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9.26; cf. Matthew 16.27/Mark 8.38). He also said, “But of that day and/or hour no one knows, not even the angels of/in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matthew 24.36/Mark 13.32). And the Apostle Paul wrote, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels” (1 Timothy 5.21).

The primary philosophical argument against Trinitarianism is that it postulates an abstract, tri-personal Godhead that is contrary to nature. Therefore, this triune God is not even reckoned as a Person or (arguably) a Being. Trinitarian C.S. Lewis explains that “in Christianity God is … not even a person.” Indeed, and if Trinitarianism is true, man should consist of three persons because man was made in the image of God.

The primary logical arguments against Trinitarianism are that it is contradictory, confusing, and incomprehensible. It is contradictory in that Trinitarians profess to be monotheistic (one God) while insisting that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all have separate identities as Persons, each being God, yet they are not three Gods.

Trinitarians readily admit that their doctrine of three being one is a paradox and a mystery. Many Jews and Muslims allege that it is tritheistic—the worship of three Gods. Many Trinitarians irrationally admit to its incomprehensibility. If so, then they don’t comprehend it! Their retort is that it merely seems contradictory.

Hans Kung, writing with the guise of recovering the traditional doctrine of the Trinity, apparently so as not to offend Catholics, attempts to redefine it as follows:

I shall try to sum up in three sentences what seems to me to be the biblical nucleus of the traditional doctrine of the Trinity, in light of the New Testament, considered for today:

— To believe in God the Father means to believe in the one God, creator, preserver and perfecter of the world and humankind: Judaism, Christianity and Islam have this belief in one God in common.

— To believe in the Holy Spirit means to believe in God’s effective might and power in human beings and the world: Jews, Christian and Muslims also have this belief in God’s Spirit in common.

— To believe in the Son of God means to believe in the revelation of the one God in the man Jesus of Nazareth who is thus God’s Word, Image and Son.

Here we have a restitution of NT teaching, and I could not have said it better myself.

To see a list of over eighty posts on this blog about the Bible not saying Jesus is God, click here. They are condensations of portions of my book, The Restitution of Jesus Christ. Buy this book at kermitzarley.com. I was a Trinitarian for 22 years before reading myself out of it in the Bible.

May 26, 2017

LifeWay was one of the largest providers of Christian publications in the world. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, LifeWay declared bankruptcy in 2015 and closed its hundreds of Christian bookstores throughout the U.S. Its LifeWay Research remains in business. Last fall, LifeWay Research published a survey it took of religious faith in the U.S.



In this survey, LifeWay reports concerning the church doctrine of the Trinity, “Seven out of 10 Americans (69 percent) agree there is one true God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Six in 10 say Jesus is both divine and human (61 percent).”

Notice that LifeWay says “God in three persons.” From my analysis of Trinitarian statements of faith over the past 35 years, that is how Trinitarians most often define their faith. (Before that, I was a Trinitarian for 22 years.) But this definition does not differentiate Trinitarianism properly. (I pointed this out in a previous post.)

There is a big difference between the two concepts of God being in Jesus and Jesus being God. (Trinitarian scholar Murray Harris has produced the most biblically in-depth monograph/book on Jesus being God, and he properly entitles it Jesus As God.) Many Trinitarian Christians do not comprehend this difference. That is, they think God in Jesus and Jesus as God are the same. They most certainly are not! I understood this difference when I was a Trinitarian. But then, most professing Christians who claim to be Trinitarian are not well taught. Plus, all agree that the church doctrine of the Trinity is complex and thus difficult to understand. So goes the old saying: “If you try to learn the doctrine of the Trinity you’ll lose your mind, but if you reject it you’ll lose your soul.”

Jesus constantly called God his “Father.” Three times the Gospel of John quotes Jesus as saying, “the Father is in me and I am in the Father” (John 10.38; 14.10-11). Some Trinitarians think that means Jesus is God. Not at all! God being IN Jesus is not the same as Jesus being God. Jesus states herein what scholars call the Mutual Indwelling, that God mystically indwells Jesus and Jesus mystically indwells God.

Jesus says more about this in his so-called High-Priestly Prayer recorded later in the Gospel of John. He prayed it right after he and his apostles ate the Last Supper. What Jesus asks in this prayer will indeed happen. Jesus said to the Father, “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us. I in them and you in me” (John 17.20-21). In the second sentence, Jesus asked that all believers be in both God the Father and Jesus. In the third sentence, Jesus said, “I in them,” meaning that he will indwell each of his disciples. The Apostle Paul often wrote of this concept in his letters with his expression about believers being “in Christ.”

So, not only are believers IN God and IN Jesus Christ, God and Jesus Christ are IN believers. The Father being in Jesus doesn’t make Jesus God any more than the Father being in Christians makes them Gods/gods. All of this obviously is a mystical, spiritual concept. Jesus had expressed this to his apostles while still at the Last Supper. He began by saying, “On that day” (John 14.20). I think this expression refers to the time right after Jesus will be resurrected from the dead and begin to literally appear to his disciples. So, he says, “On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them” (vv. 20-21).

There are several important points here in John 14.20-21. First, Jesus anticipates his disciples understanding that God is in him when they will see him after his resurrection. The Apostle (doubting) Thomas had a most dramatic reality check when he saw the risen Jesus and exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20.28). Thomas was not calling Jesus God, as has been so commonly believed. Rather, Thomas therein called Jesus “Lord” and–because God had raised Jesus from the dead–recognizing God IN Jesus. Second, Jesus stressed the importance of living according to his teachings. People who claim to be Christian and don’t live a life that proves it will have a sobering reality text at the judgment. See what Jesus says about this in Matt. 7.21-23. Moreover, intimacy with Jesus comes from loving him. We love Jesus when we follow his teachings, meaning keep his commandments. Of course, none of us will be perfectly sinless in this life.

LifeWay further reveals concerning its survey of Americans about religious faith, “they’re fuzzy on the details of the Trinity. More than half (52 percent) say Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God. And 56 percent say the Holy Spirit is a force rather than a person. The Holy Spirit seems to be particularly confusing: A quarter (28 percent) say the Spirit is a divine being but not equal to God the Father and Jesus. Half (51 percent) disagree. Twenty-one percent are not sure.”

I would say that 56% figure is surprising except for what I stated above: Trinitarianism is complex, and Christians who claim to be Trinitarian don’t understand it well. But then, most Christians don’t believe in the doctrine of the Trinity because they have studied it but because they just want to be comfortable and accepted in their church, and that’s what their church says they must believe in order to be a Christian and a member of their church.

The correct way to describe the church doctrine of the Trinity is that God IS three persons, not God is IN three persons. Notice that I repeatedly state “the church doctrine of the Trinity” rather than “the doctrine of the Trinity.” I do that purposely to mean the official church doctrine of the Trinity and to subtly indicate it is what the church teaches, which may not be what the Bible teaches. Indeed, the word Trinity is not in the Bible. I don’t think the church doctrine of the Trinity is in the Bible either. Many distinguished Trinitarian scholars now concede that the church doctrine of the Trinity is not expressly stated in the Bible; rather, it is a deduction from the Bible.

As for the constitution of the Holy Spirit, Christians were all over the map about that during the first three centuries of Christian history. Some thought the Holy Spirit was no more than a force. Some thought it was God himself. Few thought the Holy Spirit was God and the Father was God as separate entities. That began to change only in the latter half of the fourth century.

Many Christians wrongly think the church declared at his First Ecumenical Council–at Nicea in 325–that the Holy Spirit was declared to be a person and that God is three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. On the contrary, all of this was first established officially by the Catholic Church at its Second Ecumenical Council–at Constantinople in 381.

Incidentally, Bible translators of Christian Bibles, most of whom are Trinitarians, capitalize “Holy Spirit” to indicate they believe the Holy Spirit is a Person. But Jews do not capitalize “holy spirit” in their Bibles (=Old Testament) because they do not believe the holy spirit is an actual person, thus apart from God as a person. My view of the Holy Spirit/holy spirit is that it is the Spirit/spirit of God, thus not a separate entity from God the Father as Trinitarians believe. I explain it like this: “The Holy Spirit/holy spirit is to God what the spirit of man is to man because man was made in the image of God.” So, for me as a former Trinitarian for 22 years, if God is three person then man would have to be three persons because man was made in God’s image. Saying man is body, soul, and spirit, as some untaught Trinitarians declare, does not correspond to God being three persons.


To see a list of titles of 130+ posts (2-3 pages) that are about Jesus not being God in the Bible, with a few about God not being a Trinity, at Kermit Zarley Blog click “Chistology” in the header bar. Most are condensations of my book, The Restitution of Jesus Christ. See my website servetustheevangelical.com, which is all about this book,  with reviews, etc. Learn about my books and purchase them at kermitzarley.com. I was a Trinitarian for 22 years before reading myself out of it in the Bible.



June 10, 2016

Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984) was an American Evangelical theologian and Presbyterian pastor most known for establishing L’Abri Fellowship in Huémoz-sur-Ollon, Switzerland. He and his wife Edith began this ministry by taking young people into their home and personally discipling them about how to live a Christian life and have a positive effect on the world in doing so. Both Francis and Edith were authors of Christian books. Francis’ most successful book is entitled, How Should We Then Live: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture (1976). I still have this book in my library, though I admit I have not read all of it.

Francis Schaeffer had an indirect effect on me. My close friend Jim Hiskey imparted to me and his brother Babe Hiskey the idea of starting the PGA Tour Bible Study. We did so in 1965. Jim afterwards visited our ministry on the PGA Tour about once per month or less for many years. Thus, I viewed Jim for many years as an overseer of this work. Over fifty years later, the PGA Tour Bible Study flourishes today, and through the years it has proliferated to other pro golf tours around and world.

Jim Hiskey was a three-time All American collegiate golfer at the University Houston, where Babe and I also attended. In about 1965, Jim left the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ to join Dick Halverson, pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C. (later Chaplain to the U. S. Senate for 15 years), and Doug Coe who were leading the fledgling Fellowship ministry centered in D.C. To prepare for this change, Jim moved his family to Switzerland for one year to live with the Schaeffer’s and be discipled by them. I don’t know if Francis named his work L’Abri Fellowship because of The Fellowship in Wash D. C. So, I’m sure I learned some things about how we should then live from Jim that he had learned from Francis Schaeffer.

Dr. Schaeffer dedicated his book, How Should We Then Live, to his son Franky Schaeffer. Franky went on to become a successful author, screenwriter, and film director. He also has a blog here at patheos.com. He claims to be a “God-believing atheist,” whatever that is. He tells about it in his book, Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God. He says in this book that one of his goals is to separate Evangelicals from their allegiance to the Bible. Not good! The wikipedia article on him says he has written “several internationally acclaimed novels depicting life in a strict evangelical household,” of which he is pretty critical. But I’ll bet it was better than what most people experience growing up in their family.

Dr. Francis Schaeffer adhered strongly to credal Christianity. In his book, The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century (p. 46), he states, “Let us understand that the beginning of Christianity is not salvation: It is the existence of the Trinity.”

I couldn’t disagree more. I would say the beginning of Christianity is God. Christians believe in the Bible, and it starts out, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Faith that is based on the Bible believes in the God of the Bible who is also the God of creation. When man sinned and thereby became spiritually separated from this God of creation–also the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–he began his great and second work–the salvation of humankind and thus the redemption of his spiritually fallen creation. And for Christians, the centerpiece of that salvation is God sending Jesus to die a substitutionary, atoning death on the cross for the sins of humankind.

To say that the beginning of Christianity is the existence of the Trinity is a statement based solely on the determinations of church leaders that became framed in later church creeds. Yet the word “Trinity” is not in the Bible, and neither does the Bible say God is three persons. For many centuries of church history in especially church-state Europe, if you publicly denied the church doctrine of the Trinity you got yourself in a mess of trouble that could end in you being burnt at the stake.

How things have changed. Now we have separation of church and state, free speech, and religious tolerance. Moreover, most eminent theologians and biblical exegetes who still adhere to belief in the doctrine of the Trinity now admit that it is not expressly stated in scripture but is a deduction of scripture. Basing an important Christian theological dogma on a deduction from the Bible is shaky ground compared to being based on clear, unambiguous statements such as Jesus is the Messiah of Israel.

Consider what conservative Evangelical scholar D. A. Carson says in his commentary on Matthew (p. 598) concerning the eight New Testament texts that mention together God/Father, Son/Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit, “Individually these texts do not prove there is any Trinitarian consciousness in the NT, since other threefold-phrases occur.” One is Paul writing, “God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels” (1 Tim 5.21).

Think of the majority opinion about the Trinity while reading this piece that Carson says in his book, The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism (p. 55), “Since when has majority opinion defined what is true, even majority evangelical opinion? Logically speaking, a proposition is either true (that is, it accords with reality and is held to be true by omniscience), or it is not, even if not one person believes it. Of course one should be very careful and humble before disagreeing dogmatically with what the majority of believers (whoever they are) have held to be true; but the fact that they believe it does not make it true.”

Apply that to the church’s denunciation of those professing Christians like me who used to believe in the doctrine of Trinity because that’s what our churches taught us, but on further examination we decided that this teaching is not supported in the Bible. (See my book, The Restitution of Jesus Christ, authored with my pseudonym Servetus the Evangelical.)


To see a list of titles of 130+ posts (2-3 pages) that are about Jesus not being God in the Bible, with a few about God not being a Trinity, at Kermit Zarley Blog click “Chistology” in the header bar. Most are condensations of my book, The Restitution of Jesus Christ. See my website servetustheevangelical.com, which is all about this book,  with reviews, etc. Learn about my books and purchase them at kermitzarley.com. I was a Trinitarian for 22 years before reading myself out of it in the Bible.

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