Book Plunge: Jesus Was Not A Trinitarian: Appendix on John 20:28

What about John 20:28? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This chapter is handed off to a Ph.D. candidate named Clifford Hubert Durousseau. As I read that part, I thought it curious. I have nothing against PhD candidates as I plan to be one myself someday, but I was thinking that if this is really such a strong position with more and more people coming to it, why didn’t Buzzard get a PhD already to make the case here? Could he find no Greek experts to make such a case? One wonders.

So at the start, Durousseau says that John 20:28 is often seen as the strongest Trinitarian argument. I wouldn’t go that far. One could I think hold to it and be a Oneness Pentecostal. I base Trinitarianism not on one verse, but on a plethora of different verses. Durousseau also makes an interesting comment that saying “Jesus is God” constitutes monophysitism. Unfortunately, he leaves the readers, such as myself, confused as to show this is entirely. Again, if he wants to read the statement in the worst possible light just as Buzzard does, that’s his problem.

Unfortunately, throughout this chapter, Durousseau uses much of the same kind of argumentation that Buzzard does throughout. One would hope a different playbook would surface, but it does not. Durousseau does have some different questions at least. One is that when Jesus is called Lord in numerous times in John 20, it doesn’t mean YHWH. Why does it mean that in John 20:28?

Let me take a shot at this one. Maybe it has something to do with Thomas saying “My Lord and my God.” I realize that could be a stretch, but maybe when Lord is juxtaposed next to God, then we see it as a term of deity.

He also says that Thomas is not given a blessing for identifying who Jesus is as Peter did. Why should He? Peter had already identified who Jesus was and the resurrection was more than enough to certify His divine identity. Durousseau says that Thomas is instead rebuked. Right. He had spent years with these guys and knew the claims of Jesus and had more than enough evidence that Jesus was alive again without seeing Him and yet that was not enough.

He also says the author doesn’t comment on that, but the author doesn’t comment on many statements as well. He comments on some, but not all. Durousseau says the book was written to show Jesus was the Son of God, but Durousseau makes no attempt to show what this term means. My Mormon friends will say “Yes. Jesus is the Son of God. God the Father literally had sexual intercourse with Mary. Jesus is the Son of God.” Is that what it means? (And to any Mormons reading this, this is what your past prophets have said.)

He also says Jesus says He is returning to my God and your God. (Notice He never says our God like that.) Would this be contradicted verses later? Again, this just assumes the unipersonalism. I as a Trinitarian have no problem with Jesus referring to the Father as His Lord and His God.

Durousseau also points to statements of Jesus with the Father being in Him and of Paul saying that God was in Christ and that Trinitarians ignore these. How? We agree with them. They don’t go against us and that Durousseau thinks that they do shows that he doesn’t understand what he is arguing against.

One part is worth quoting in full:

Does this mean that Jesus was claiming to be God? No, it means exactly what it says: Jesus was claiming to represent his Father and God. The fourth Gospel (12:49; 14:9) expands the teaching of Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that Jesus is “the image of God.” And in Colossians 1:15, Jesus is called “the image of the invisible God.” The author of Hebrews says of him, as the New Jerusalem Bible puts it, “He is the reflection of God’s glory [764] and bears the impress of God’s own being [hypostasis]” ( Heb. 1:3; compare Wisdom of Solomon 7:26: “For she [Wisdom] is a reflection of the eternal light, untarnished mirror of God’s active power, and image of his goodness.”)

It is mind-boggling that Durousseau looks at these statements and doesn’t really think about what they mean apparently. Jesus is not made in the image of God as we are. He IS the image of God. What God is invisibly, Jesus is visibly. He is theJesu reflection of God’s glory, the idea being that of taking a stamp and putting it on Jesus such that what God is, Jesus is. If Jesus is a reflection of eternal light, then He Himself is eternal.

Something else incredible in this is that Durousseau actually quotes the Qur’an to back his point. Why not just go to the Book of Mormon as well? I wish I was joking about this, but I’m not.

He also uses the Acts 2:36 argument we have dealt with in earlier posts here.

He then asks that if Jesus can be called God, why can’t Thomas or anyone else be called the brother of God? Frankly, if you wanted to refer to the actual brothers and sisters of Jesus as that, I really wouldn’t have a problem. Mary got the title she got in church history because of debates over her nature and her role in the incarnation. (Seeing as she kind of played a more pivotal role in it than any other human.)

He also references Julian saying that John was the first to call Jesus God. I have repeatedly shown on my blog that this is false, but it’s worth pointing out that Durousseau says nothing about Julian being an apostate, an enemy of Christianity, and wanting to return the Roman Empire to the pagan worldview. It’s okay to say anything bad about Constantine, but keep secret about who you yourself are quoting. The same applies when Durousseau later cites Ehrman.

He also asks why if Jesus is God He was given a revelation to give to John by God on the Isle of Patmos. Oh, I don’t know. Because the Son submits to the Father and gives a message to John that the Father wants Him to give? He references Rev. 5:14 but says nothing about how Revelation 5 ends with all creation worshipping Him who sits on the throne and the Lamb, which differentiates between the Lamb and creation.

Overall, there is really not much here to comment on.

And with that, I conclude my look at this book. I walk away sadly seeing the author as being more dishonest in his presentation than anything else. I take no delight in saying that, but I have made my case why. I leave it to the reader to decide if he thinks I have been wrong.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)




Book Plunge: Jesus Was Not A Trinitarian Chapter 12

Does the church really believe in the Trinity? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This chapter is asking if everyone believes in the Trinity? Well, no. I can’t think of a single statement that you would find EVERYONE agrees with or believes. There are always differences. However, let’s look at the “arguments” Buzzard puts forward this time.

One statement he makes is about your average churchgoer who he says believes that:

1) “Jesus Christ is God”; 2) “God is our Heavenly Father”; 3) “Jesus Christ is not our Heavenly Father”;4) “There are not two Gods.” Yet he has never considered how to reconcile these four separate opinions of his together; it probably has not occurred to him that they are inconsistent with one another…The average Englishman has not troubled himself with the matter.

Unfortunately, he’s correct in that the average church member hasn’t thought about this and will get flummoxed by it, which makes sense. Unfortunately, this is again something I consider dishonest on Buzzard’s part for he should know that no one believes this and if you think a simple set of statements can make a position look absurd, you’re probably wrong. So what is the answer?

Saying “Jesus is God” is theological shorthand. It does not mean that Jesus is the entirety of the Godhead. It means Jesus fully possesses all the attributes of deity. When we then say that God is our Heavenly Father, that’s because we normally think of God as the source of deity who begets the Father and the Son and the Spirit are subsumed under Him in the divine identity while still maintaining being their own persons.  Difficult to think about? Yep. Still, it resolves the problem and again, Buzzard should know this.

Buzzard goes on to say that some famous New Testament scholars grant that the Trinity is not a New Testament doctrine by quoting one saying:

No responsible New Testament scholar would claim that the doctrine of the Trinity was taught by Jesus, or preached by the earliest Christians, or consciously held by any writer in the New Testament.”

But this is NOT saying the Trinity is not a New Testament doctrine. It’s saying that for the first part, Jesus was not walking around Palestine talking about the doctrine of the Trinity. Correct. The early Christians were not going around quoting the Chalcedonian Creed. Right. The writers of the New Testament did not have fully laid out in front of them the Trinity. Yes. All the seeds were there and the view is being formed in the New Testament. Again, statements like this are just dishonest on Buzzard’s part.

He does go to the question of the rich young ruler saying Jesus differentiated between Himself and God and saying that only God is absolutely good.

Well, there you have it.

For Buzzard, Jesus is NOT absolutely good.

I cannot see any way around that. If Buzzard wants to have that differentiation, he has to have all of it. To defend Unitarianism, he not only has to deny the deity of Jesus, but He has to say this sinless man who lived a perfect life among men is NOT absolutely good.

Yep. This position sure is honoring the savior.

He also looks at Genesis 1:26 and Isaiah 6:8 where God uses the “us” language. Now some people have said that this is a hint at the Trinity. All Buzzard says is that the address is obviously to attendant angelic beings.


He doesn’t have an endnote to make his case. He just says it’s obvious and moves on. When he thinks a Trinitarian in interpreting a passage is throwing his ideas onto the text, that’s bad! Buzzard gets a free pass though!

Keep in mind, I’m not saying he’s wrong in his interpretation. I’m saying that he doesn’t get to just say what it is and move on. He needs to make a case. There are a number of positions one could take.

It could be the Trinity.
It could be the Divine Council as someone like Michael Heiser argued.
It could be the royal we.
It could be angels.

There could even be possible other interpretations. These are the ones I know. If there are at least four, you should make the case.

Imagine if we read the Olivet Discourse and in arguing for my position of orthodox Preterism I just said “The text is obviously referring to events within the first century.”

I would hope my fellow Preterists would call me out on that if I did that. I need to make an argument for it. The same applies here.

He says also to see veiled signs of the Trinity in the Old Testament is to go beyond the intent of the sacred writers. Does the same apply to any idea of Jesus in the Old Testament. 1 Peter 1 tells us that the prophets themselves didn’t understand what they were necessarily referring to.

If so, then therefore, to read Jesus into Old Testament prophecy is to go beyond the intent of the sacred writers. Right? Again, Buzzard cannot have it both ways.

He returns to John 1 saying that in verses 3-4, many translations say “through him all things were made” when it should be through it. Buzzard really is going against the largest number of translators on all sides. Technically, the word from my reading could be translated masculine or neuter. Why does Buzzard assume it has to be the neuter without an argument? Again, rules for thee, but not for me.

He also quotes someone saying that “a person is created by his relationships with other people and especially by his interaction with his parents and family.” First off, this is going by a modern idea of personhood. Even going past that, there is a much bigger problem here.

What makes God the Father a person?

If Unitarianism is true, it was just God alone at the beginning and no one else so thus, no relationships and definitely no parents or family. Was God not a person then? If God had to create to have a relationship, then in some way, God is dependent on His creation to be a person.

If these are the rules Buzzard wants to live with, he gets to pay the price.

Not only that, we could ask about angels. Do angels have parents and family? Angels don’t reproduce and metaphysically, it can be argued that each angel is his own species. How does this work?

Buzzard doesn’t tell us.

He goes back to Ehrman reminding us to see Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet of the new millennium. I have responded to that book here. No word on Ehrman’s position is given. Buzzard knows it, but he doesn’t care to share it. He also references Tom Harpur again later on, nowhere letting the reader know the even more bizarre stances that Harpur holds.

Well, we’re almost done with this book. Thank the Trinity for that!

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)



Book Plunge: Jesus Was Not A Trinitarian Chapter 11

Does having more support change a position? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In this chapter, Buzzard lists several people who he says support his cause. Sadly, they all use pretty much the same kinds of arguments. There is really less and less to comment on, but let’s go on with what one of these people says about the history of the doctrine of the Trinity:

Fourth-century Trinitarianism did not reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God; it was, on the contrary, a deviation from this teaching…It developed against constant unitarian opposition and was never wholly victorious. The dogma of the Trinity owes its existence to abstract speculation on the part of a small minority of scholars.

In response, here’s at least one good thing that came out of the later Star Wars movies.

Indeed. For one thing, this was not a fourth century doctrine as much as it was one started in the second century and further refined up to that point and is still being refined. We have made plenty of arguments against Buzzard’s idea that Trinitarianism is a deviation, but also there was not constant Unitarian opposition and finally, it was hardly a minority. I would expect to find this more in the Da Vinci Code!

Buzzard also writes about the Angel of the Lord and how that was accepted to be a theophany without proof. As to why Stephen who talked about the Angel in his speech before the Sanhedrin never said that, why should he? For one thing, Buzzard assumes that statement would be controversial to say that the Angel of the Lord was an appearance of deity. This assumes they held to Buzzard’s strict unitarianism. Second, if they don’t accept Jesus, what good would it do to say “This Angel was Jesus all along!” Not a bit.

Those interested in seeing the Angel of the Lord can search through my blog where I have stated that He is an appearance of deity. Go to the verses under question and look for them here or just search for Angel of the Lord. Either way, Buzzard is begging the question.

Finally, he says that Hebrews not only says that Jesus is greater than the angels, but if Jesus was the Angel of the Lord, what about how Hebrews also says in these last days God has spoken by His Son? The first one is quite easy in that the angel of the Lord is the messenger of the Lord and not an angel in the same sense as all the other angels. In the second, these appearances are also definitely not the same as a full incarnation taking on human nature. It’s sad Buzzard thinks these are great objections when one can come up with an answer easily with a moment’s thought.

Buzzard also says:

It is encouraging to hear scholars say that the Trinitarian dogma “was determined neither by scripture nor by experience but by the Arian controversy on the doctrine of the Trinity.”

Why does he consider this encouraging? Error has always led to the refining of truth. It was Marcion’s false canon that led Christians to establish the true canon. It is failure in modern fields that leads to success.

Finally, I want to bring out this closing remark of his:

Unitarianism has of course continued since the early twentieth century when the Schaff-Herzog article was penned. In general Unitarians have become less “biblical,” meaning that they lost a grip on central biblical teachings such as the virgin birth, the resurrection and the Second Coming. The loss of these central truths is hardly likely to make unitarianism attractive to evangelicals and the fault lies in this respect with the Unitarianism which has lost its biblical basis, other than its rejection of creeds which superseded the creed of Jesus.

I highlight this as I found it revealing of Buzzard’s character. Any time any Trinitarian has done something he despises, he has pointed to how dreadful the doctrine is and what it does. However, when Unitarians consistently start denying other essential biblical doctrines, including the virgin birth, which I do affirm, well that’s just that these people have lost their Biblical Basis. It has nothing to do with rejecting the Trinity!

It must be nice to live in Buzzard’s world where the rules are always different for you than they are for the other side.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Jesus Was Not a Trinitarian Chapter 10

Does the Trinity contradict Math? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Once again, Buzzard pretty much has one main argument and that is how he keeps playing the game over and over. Here, he wants to keep stressing that there is one God. The Jews at the time of Jesus would have said they worshipped one God. This is never challenged in the New Testament. Nor should it be! Buzzard apparently doesn’t know that Trinitarianism doesn’t challenge this either. In reality, we couldn’t be Trinitarians if there was more than one God.

He says that the important point about Messiah is that He is a human representative. If He is God Himself, then we have two who are God and biblical monotheism is threatened. One would have hoped that by this point, Buzzard would have moved beyond this argument, but no. If you made a drinking game based on how many times he presented this argument, you would die of alcohol poisoning before finishing the book. (Except for my fellow Baptists as we would just have drunk a lot of grape juice.)

He says that in the Shema, Trinitarians have done verbal acrobatics to argue that one does not mean one. No. None of us have. Now there have been arguments that echad can refer to a compound unity, which is true, but no one has denied that an echad is one. One reads this wanting to see if Buzzard will ever get it through his head that his opponents believe in one God. I don’t know what position Buzzard is arguing against, but it sure isn’t one his opponents hold.

We have talked already about how he says the sense of the Greek word eis when used of Jesus and God is that they are one person. This is the game Buzzard plays. When we point to our interpretation, we are adding to the text. When Buzzard says eis means one person instead of just, you know, one, that’s solid and faithful interpretation!

Rules for thee, but not for me!

It’s arguments like this that lead me to think Buzzard is just being dishonest. He is counting on the average Christian reading this not being skilled in Biblical interpretation, and sadly, he will likely be right. We have plenty of Christians who will be able to jump to Revelation and argue for the rapture, but they won’t have a clue how to answer someone like this.

We have a problem.

He has also brought up the claim of Jesus and the rich man with Jesus asking “Why do you call me good?” This is one we have already dealt with in this series. He also says James was a unitarian also saying that you believe God is one? Good. So do the demons, and they tremble. Well, yes, but again, I as a Trinitarian will say the exact same statement. God is one.

Again, Buzzard is counting on his audience being ignorant and suspecting they won’t know the counter-arguments to his positions. I fear he is right in that. We need to do a lot more to educate our churches on the essential positions of their faith and what they believe instead of secondary doctrines and making every sermon about application.

He later makes another type of argument meant to fool the unsuspecting saying:

Later church fathers admitted that their Trinitarian view of God was not found in Moses. Church father Epiphanius says: “The divine unity was first and foremost proclaimed by Moses, the duality (the distinction between Father and Son) was heavily stressed by the prophets, and the Trinity was clearly shown forth in the Gospel.”

But this is just progressive revelation. We might as well say to Buzzard, “Then please show where in Moses we find the Messiah will be crucified and raised from the dead in the middle of space and time and sit at the Father’s right hand? Oh! You can’t find it spelled out there? Then your view of Jesus is not found in Moses!”

This is the absurdity of Buzzard’s position. If the rules were changed for the doctrines he believes, then they would be seen just as false. Does he want to say nothing new about God was revealed in Jesus? If he believes in any kind of progressive revelation in Jesus, then he has views that aren’t found in Moses.

Keep in mind the rules. They only apply to what Trinitarians believe. What Buzzard already believes is exempt.

Lastly, he concludes with saying that if the Torah had wanted us to know God was more than one, it would have told us about the Trinity. Again, we hold that God is one. We might as well still ask where the Torah talks about the crucified Messiah.

Rules for thee, but not for me.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)




Book Plunge: Jesus Was Not A Trinitarian Chapter 9

Is Buzzard a good detective? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In this chapter which Buzzard calls Detective Work and Word Tricks, we’ll get to see Buzzard try to deal with some arguments against his position, but not very well. The first one to point out is again Titus 2:13. There is still no mention of the Granville Sharpe Rule and he does go back to the KJV, which was put together before that rule was brought to light. He says that evangelicals say the text is clear, but then says translations can strikingly differ and as was said, points back to the KJV. Then in the next paragraph after saying the verse is not as clear, says God and Jesus are clearly separated.

So when you don’t want to go with how it’s interpreted, it’s unclear. When you want to go with your interpretation, it’s suddenly clear. Got it!

He then goes back to begetting saying it means to be brought into existence and then says how can that apply to Jesus then in Psalm 2:7. “You are my Son. Today, I have begotten you.” Well, considering that Psalm was to be said on the day a king was coronated, we can easily say that the king was not brought into existence that day. Could it be that Buzzard’s idea of what begetting is is just wrong?

He says that for the early church, the origin of Jesus was an embarrassment. No indication is given of this. No church father is cited. This is still trying to push his point on Psalm 2:7 where Buzzard is still ignoring the context of the psalm.

He then says that orthodoxy says that Christ did not come into existing the way we do. In some way, His conception was His own doing. He assumed freely and consciously our own nature. While I wouldn’t phrase it that way exactly, yes. This is what the Son did for us.

His interpretation of John 1:1 is frankly bizarre. For Buzzard, the Word is an it instead and is the plan of God to bring about the Messiah. No word yet on how the plan can have a divine nature. Not only that, but saying the Word became flesh only means it got embodied. It doesn’t mean that it became a rational person. We would need the word Kardia for that instead.

Another quote later gives us again Buzzard is either ignorant or dishonest. Your choice:

If Mary was taking into herself a being undergoing transformation from a spiritual being to a human person , Luke and Matthew have misled us. There is no room in the womb for two persons, one added to the other. Would this be a form of twins? Mary did not bear a person who is two “wholes,” fully God and fully man. She did not bear a “double person, ” a preexisting spirit person adding to himself a human being. The biblical account of the genesis of Jesus is much simpler ]. Mary bore the blood descendant of David, one person, the promised Messiah whose coming into existence was promised for a definite moment in history. Mary conceived a child six months later than her relative Elizabeth. She did not take in and transform a person into a fetus.

Unfortunately, after seeing so much of this book, I have to go with dishonest for my guess. Buzzard should know very well Chalcedon and the rejection of Nestorianism. Despite that, he treats a Nestorian view as if it was the orthodox view. I look at this and see absolutely nothing resembling the position he should be arguing against.

He says in John 8:58, Jesus was speaking of Abraham seeing his messiahship and said “I am He.” No word on when Abraham saw this. Nothing also about why the words seem to strangely mirror the usage of the divine name in both Isaiah and Exodus. I guess Buzzard doesn’t want to deal with that.

I really wish there was more to deal with, but the arguments are so repetitive. These are the ones I have chosen to highlight this time. We’ll look at more another time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Jesus Was Not A Trinitarian Chapter 8

What about Nicea? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In this chapter, Buzzard looks at questions surrounding the Council of Nicea and the sort of Da Vinci Code claims. Thankfully, I can’t think of any place in the book where Buzzard uses the pagan copycat idea. Give credit where credit is due, but it’s a small credit considering how bad the book is.

Unfortunately, he uses Bart Ehrman a lot (Not giving the uninformed any idea of who he is.) of usage. He says Ehrman asks how could Jesus and God be God without there being two Gods? This is still the assumption of unipersonalism and the problem is treating God as a nature in one sense and treating God as a unipersonal person in another. When we say Jesus is God, we are using theological shorthand saying that Jesus has the full nature of God.

He does use Mark 13:32 with Jesus not knowing the day and hour of His return (I think it’s His coming to His throne, but it doesn’t matter). This is at least a substantial argument. In my thinking, Jesus takes on the limitations of knowledge for His ministry where He didn’t need to know the time of His coming.

He brings up the claim later that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there is one God. He declares this problem insoluble when again, it is simple. There are three persons that each have the nature of God.

Later he says:

The great ecumenical councils that formulated the old theology were the scene of unchristian antagonisms, and bitter strife and fightings that were never rivaled in the history of any other religion, and no religion of which history has a record was ever guilty of such cruel persecutions as Christianity, whose founder was the meek and lowly Jesus of Nazareth…

Yep. Those were far fiercer than the constant raiding of the Muslims up until the time of Charles Martel and than the Crusades. Thank goodness those Muslims with suicide bombers and raiding parties were at least not as violent as the Christians. Seriously. He makes the above claim in the book and I just can’t help but think he knows NOTHING of world history on religion.

He again brings up the idea that Jesus never said “I am God.” Buzzard constantly speaks out of both sides of his mouth. At one time, he will point out the confusion that would be brought about if Jesus said this. Then in the next point, he will say that He never said this. Then he will make the same earlier point again.

He also brings up Isaiah 44:24 saying that God created all things by Himself. Who was with Him? Good question. This is especially so since we see Jesus is with Him in John 1, Hebrews 1, 1 Cor. 8, and Col. 1. I’d also include Proverbs 8.

At a later point, he says that he is not assuming that monotheism = unitarianism. He says that, but he never makes an argument to the effect to establish that. He looks in-depth at Luke 1:35 and Psalm 110:1, but he never does any in-depth exegesis of the Shema, the main passage he wants to use.

He does say that Jesus said He and the Father are one in John 10:30, but prays that the disciples be one as well. Context as always determines meaning. The Jews there seemed to understand Him and as I have said, He was pointing out that if wicked people sarcastically can be called gods, how much more a right does He, the righteous one, have the right to be called the Son of God, which they understood to be deity.

On Jesus being tempted which shows up, see here.

The next quote I want to bring up is:

The falsehood that Jesus being called “lord  proves that he is the One Lord God needs to be challenged and dismissed. Yes, there are some Old Testament “Yahweh verses” fulfilled by Jesus as Yahweh’s unique representative in the New Testament, but this no more makes Jesus identical in person with Yahweh, than the angel of the Lord is identical with the Lord God. The angel could bear the divine name without actually being God. “An agent is as his master’s person” is the well – established principle known to Judaism and so obviously true of Jesus in relation to God. Jesus spoke of the persecution of Christians as the persecution of himself ( Acts 9:4 ; 22:7 ; 26:14). This does not make Jesus and the Church identical.

No prophet ever spoke as if he were God Himself, but the Angel of the Lord certainly did and those who saw Him thought they were seeing God at least. Also, Jesus is not identical with the church, but there is something about saying the church is His body. It is true an agent can act on behalf of the person, but he is never understood to be the agent himself.

He does go to 1 Cor. 15:24-28 referencing James Dunn with the Son being subject to the Father, but notice this. Paul treats it as a change. Then the Son HImself will be subject. That is what the text says. What does that say about the Son now?

Something to think about….until next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)




Book Plunge: Jesus Was Not A Trinitarian Chapter 7

Did we listen to Gabriel? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In this chapter, Buzzard bases his case largely on Luke 1:35. If we had listened to that verse, the Trinitarian debates would have never happened. Color me skeptical again. Let’s dive in and see what it says.

At the start, one new remark he has first goes to Luke 24 where the disciples on the road to Emmaus talk about Jesus as a man. Jesus is seen as a New Moses. Okay. What’s the problem? A Trinitarian can agree. We can say that of all the figures in the Old Testament, Jesus was the fulfillment Par Excellence!

He says that in the start that Luke is writing to Theophilus. It is then unthinkable that Luke would have written something believing in a preexistent Son and making it impossible for his readers to understand that. The problem with saying X is unthinkable is that a lot of people have thought that Luke was writing about a preexistent Son.

Imagine if I decided to go to John 1:1 and say “It is unthinkable that anyone can walk away from this verse without holding that Jesus is fully God in nature.”

Does that sound powerful to you? Nope. Good. It shouldn’t.

Yet it’s one of Buzzard’s most common techniques.

Buzzard says that the word “beget” means to bring into existence. No argument is given for this claim. It is just asserted. The word simply means born and it can refer to the new birth in Christ in John 3.

One of Buzzard’s favorite passages to go to is Psalm 2:7. “You are my Son. Today, I have begotten you.” This is not about the birth of a child, but about the coronation of the king. It is not at all saying that that day, the son was born. That day, the son was in a sense adopted into royalty as the new king of Israel.

Unfortunately, this is another one of Buzzard’s common argument techniques. Say what he thinks the word means or what the text is interpreted as and that ends it.

He goes to another text, Titus 2:13, later on, that he reads as being translated as the glorious appearing of our great God and our savior Jesus Christ. No word mentioned of when God is supposed to appear. Nothing about the Granville Sharpe rule at all on this passage. Then he just says that this text can’t be used to defend the deity of Christ because translations differ and Greek ambiguity.

Hear that?! Buzzard wants to debate and he wants to tell you what you are not allowed to use. If there is any question on what the Greek means or if translations differ, throw it out!

Unless, of course, that verse is used to argue AGAINST the Trinity and then it’s all good.

He also says that He claimed always to be the Messiah, but wait. Why is it then that at very few places do we have Him saying “I am the Messiah.” He told it to the woman at the well and He said it when He was put under oath on trial. You don’t have Jesus walking all over Israel stopping at every meeting and saying “I am the Messiah!”

Buzzard has a weird definition of always.

He then goes after the term pre-existing as if to say He existed before He existed. He tells us to try to make sense of it. Explain it to your friends.

Okay. I think I’ll take a shot!

It means that Jesus existed in some sense before He existed in the incarnation.

Wow. That was sure difficult! I can’t believe no one in church history ever thought of that before!

Oh wait. They did.

He then says that a problem cannot be avoided. How can there be someone who is God on Earth while there is someone who is God in Heaven? The one on Earth also has a human body that the one in Heaven does not. How do you distinguish between the God who became man and the God who did not without destroying the unity of God?

Oh, wow. Now that’s a stumper! Let me try again!

First off, it’s not that there’s one God in Heaven and one God on Earth. We are not tritheists no matter how much he wants to make us tritheists.

Second, we can distinguish the persons then by saying one became incarnate and one didn’t. We can also say one begets and one is begotten.

Third, they are unified by having the same nature.

Folks. I am just in awe here because I can’t help but be thrilled at the amazing insights I have here that no one in church history….what? You’re saying that this has been official Christian doctrine from the church fathers on?

Oh. Yeah. I guess Buzzard didn’t know.

I also don’t expect all of Christology to be contained in Luke 1:35. We did listen to Gabriel. We also listened to everyone else.

About the only one not worth listening to is Buzzard.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)



Book Plunge: Jesus Was Not A Trinitarian Chapter 6

How should we read Psalm 110:1? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Buzzard is certainly right in saying this is the most repeated Old Testament verse in the New Testament. This is the one verse that Jesus initiated a challenge with the Pharisees over in His ministry. It was extremely foundational in the formation of early Christianity.

So is it a unitarian text?

To begin with, Buzzard says the New Testament is violated if one suggests that two persons are YHWH. Why? We’re not told. Also, if this is what he thinks, what does he do with the Old Testament where in Genesis 19:24, two persons are addressed as YHWH?

He also says Paul goes to great distinction to differentiate by saying God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. An interesting aspect of this is that this actually could go against Buzzard’s claim. If Paul is having to make some differentiation between the two, does that not indicate that there were some grounds where they were seen as similar if not equal? It’s as if he has to qualify who is meant by God now and who is meant by Lord. Would it be because that would lead to confusion if he didn’t?

He refers to Galatians 3:20 where he says Paul says God is one person. The problem is it only says God is one. Buzzard is adding the person in. Keep in mind, this is the same person who complains when he thinks Trinitarian interpreters are changing the text to fit their biases. Rules for thee, but not for me! He even says in this chapter that “the translator or translators have the power to direct the reader’s thinking beyond what the original Greek had meant.” Oh, the irony!

He says about Psalm 110 that if there are two persons who are called YHWH speaking to each other, then monotheism has been abandoned.


Buzzard doesn’t tell us. He automatically assumes that monotheism means unipersonalism. This is never argued. For someone wanting to go in-depth in explaining a text, you would think just once he would exegete the Shema.

He also says the Lordship of the Messiah was acquired by Jesus at the end of His ministry. That’s strange since I thought Elizabeth greeted Mary as the mother of her Lord and the angels said to the shepherds that Christ the Lord had been born. Eh. Angels and people speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit. What do they know?

Later, Buzzard says

Now imagine that Peter believed that both the Father and Jesus were equally God. Then God had allowed God to be crucified and God had raised God to His right hand? Does this make the slightest sense? God sitting at the right hand of God would present the audience with a blatantly polytheistic system. God is not two. He is only one. The heritage of Israel would have been overthrown if the Messiah were now to be included as an eternal member of a plural Godhead. No Jew could possibly have been prepared for the notion that the Messiah was part of the Godhead. The Hebrew Bible had announced no such thing . It would have been a staggering innovation, requiring pages of explanation, to say that the Messiah, adoni, my lord, was really the One God of Israel, who was now mysteriously “two.”

This whole paragraph is full of straw men and parodies of what Trinitarians believe and Buzzard should know better. Never mind that no Jew would have been prepared for hearing the Messiah had been crucified for the sins of the world and raised to life bodily in the middle of the age instead of at the end of all things. That too, was a staggering innovation, but free pass because Buzzard believes it.

Still, he doesn’t say why this doctrine of God would be a staggering innovation and why no Jew could have possibly been prepared for it. There is no interaction with the idea already considered by some Jews in such works as the Wisdom of Solomon that God could be multipersonal in nature. There is no interaction with the idea of Hypostases in the Godhead. Nothing. Buzzard just says it’s staggering. After all, Unitarianism!

In response to Bauckham saying that Paul includes Jesus in the divine nature in his Christianization of the Shema in 1 Cor. 8:4-6, all Buzzard says in response is that if the Shema has God as one person and Paul adds another person, then Paul has indeed added to the Shema. Yeah. Notice that conditional. If the Shema has this. Buzzard nowhere gives an argument that it does. Thus, his reply to Bauckham is “This cannot be because it goes against the position that I already hold.” He never shows how Bauckham is wrong on the grounds of his argument.

In Philippians 2, Buzzard says Paul is telling us to model ourselves after Jesus, but it would be amazing if this was a divine being who decided to become a human. Yes. It would be amazing. And? He also says it’s unrealistic. Are we being expected to model the behavior of an eternal person who became human on Earth?

Yes. Yes, we are.

In Col. 1, we are told Jesus is the Wisdom of God. No bother to interact with intertestamental material on Wisdom. Nothing asking what it would mean if God’s Wisdom was not eternal.  He also asks what would this mean if God says in Isaiah 44 that He created everything alone?

Well, Trinitarians have an answer. Now if you want to say God created with Wisdom, but Wisdom was not a second person of the Godhead, then you have that question to answer. We don’t.

So what of Psalm 110:1? Oh. Well, that verse translates the word apparently as Adoni, which does not mean God, and not Adonai, which would. Never mind that those vowel points were added years later as he himself admits. The Jews were faithful and would know what their texts meant! Breaking news people. Non-Christian Jews hundreds of years after Jesus did not agree that Jesus is fully God and fully man in nature. Shock isn’t it? (Also, watch the debate Buzzard had alongside another Unitarian with James White and Michael Brown where this verse came up.)

Just another example of Buzzard’s poor argumentation.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)






Book Plunge: Jesus Was Not A Trinitarian Chapter 5

Did we lose the teaching of Jesus? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve already addressed John 10:36. Now it’s time to deal with John 5:19 which Buzzard uses in two paragraphs and these paragraphs are one right after the other. In this verse, Jesus says He can do nothing of Himself unless it is something He sees His Father doing. Absent from this is how the verse before the author says that Jesus is making Himself equal to God in His claims.

What would Buzzard think Jesus should say otherwise? “I don’t watch the Father do anything! I do what I want!” Of course not! If anything, this is showing a strong unity. The only actions Jesus does is what He sees the Father doing. This is also in reference to healing and doing “work” on the Sabbath, since obviously the Father never walked on Earth and healed on the Sabbath.

Buzzard again also says how easy it would be for Jesus to say “I am God, the second person of the triune Godhead.” Many times, Buzzard seems to indicate He knows why Jesus would not say this, and yet still dishes out the argument. Either he is forgetting what he said in those other places, or he is just being dishonest. You choose. At any rate, this would not have cleared things up. It would have made them more confusing instead!

He also says no Israelite could have remotely imagined reading the Scriptures that the Son of David would have been a member of the Godhead come down in human form. Quite likely! Nor could they have imagined that He would die on a cross for the sins of the world and be raised bodily in the middle of space and time. If Buzzard wants to go this route then, he should cease claiming those events are true as well. However, this argument works when it’s the doctrines Buzzard doesn’t believe in. Convenient, isn’t it?

He also says, another line used repeatedly, that to be the Son of God, you have to be a being who is not God. Very well. Then to be the Son of Man, you have to be a being who is not….oh wait. There’s a problem there. Unfortunately, it’s one Buzzard never brings up. His argument only works if God is unipersonal, which is the very claim under question.

He also says that believing in a being who is God on Earth and a being who is God in Heaven is a problem. Isn’t this two gods? Again, this is still the same assumption of unipersonalism. If this is a problem, what is going on in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19:24?

Look it up. You have the name in there twice. The Lord rains down fire and brimstone from the Lord out of Heaven. We are also justified in believing there is still a figure on Earth called the Lord since He was just conversing with Abraham in the prior chapter. (Also noteworthy there were three people who came, but Abraham is said to talk to “the Lord.”)

In looking at the Reformers and the Trinity, Buzzard says they emphasized Paul over Jesus. Even if that is so, does this somehow change the argument? Does Buzzard not think that Paul and Jesus agree? His argument only works if one disagrees with the other.

He talks about Jacob’s wrestling with the angel in Genesis which he says is not repeated in the New Testament. Correct. And? What has that to do with the price of tea in China. He says that the text says Jacob was wrestling with a man, but when Justin Martyr dialogued with Trypho the Jew, who seems stunned by the argument. Go through and read the dialogue some time, Buzzard. Trypho objects to a lot of arguments you would agree to as well. Still, if you go back to Genesis, what does Jacob say? He saw the face of God and lived and he is told by the man “That he has struggled with man and God and prevailed.”

Oh, no. I have no idea where Justin could have got this crazy interpretation he holds! Maybe he just read the text or something?!

Let’s also deal with this argument that God never dies and thus needs to be resurrected. Okay. What does it mean to die? Did Jesus cease to exist? If so, then we have a problem in Col. 1 since it says by Him, all things hold together. If Jesus holds everything together and He ceases to exist….I think you know what happens.

Instead, what if dying just means the soul of Jesus was separated from the body of Jesus? Many Christians think that’s what happens to them when they die, rightly or wrongly. It is a perfectly sensible idea and deals with the problem.

He also says Jesus never demanded worship as God. True enough. However, he also never denied it when it was given Him. He also says Jesus is to be honored in the highest sense, short of making Him equal to God, but Jesus Himself says in John 5:23 that Jesus must be honored just as the Father is honored.

Buzzard also considers the reply of Jesus to the rich young ruler that “No one is good but God alone!” Okay. Buzzard agrees that Jesus is a sinless human being in this chapter. Is a sinless human being not good? Even Adam was said to be good before the Fall. Did he have something Jesus never had? Does Buzzard want to say Jesus is not good?

But wait, if Jesus is good, and no one is good but God alone, then Jesus is…

Does Buzzard want to go there? Does he want to say Jesus isn’t good to defend his position? It seems he has to.

There is a statement also of what it would mean if the three persons took upon themselves a human nature. Yes. That is what he says. No, Buzzard. That did not happen. Only one person took on a human nature. He also sees Galatians 4:4 as saying Jesus came into existence through a woman. We’ll deal more with preexistence later on.

He says the point of the Messiah is he needs to be a Son of David. He can’t be a non-human creature. Good. We agree. The problem? Does he not realize that all Trinitarians say Jesus was fully human?

Reading Buzzard, you sometimes wonder if he really knows what he’s arguing against.

We’ll continue next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)




Book Plunge: Jesus Was Not A Trinitarian Chapter 4

Is it hard to find the Trinity in the Bible? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So at the start, Buzzard has a howler here with saying that the best Trinitarian apologetics can do is find a handful of verses in John and a few in Paul, but no place where God is used to refer to the triune God. I wish I was joking, but I am not. Reading most any Christology would disabuse someone of that notion. Buzzard still has a mindset of Western Consumerism that says something needs to be explicitly stated to be believed.

There is also the idea that the pagan notion of Logos was brought into the Gospel of John. It’s much more rooted in the concept of Wisdom in the Old Testament and the Memra of God, which was also His word, in the Jewish targums, which was a sort of paraphrase of their writings. It’s not a shock to see Buzzard jump to heathenism though.

Next a look at some quotes from Alister McGrath:

The casual reader of Scripture will discern a mere two verses in the entire Bible which seem, at first glance, to be capable of a trinitarian interpretation: Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 13:14 . Both these verses have become deeply rooted in the Christian consciousness… Yet these two verses, taken together or in isolation, can hardly be thought of as constituting a doctrine of the Trinity.

“This is a significant admission.”

The line about an admission is Buzzard’s, but it’s not significant. It’s stating that the whole statement is not found explicitly. That’s the same for many doctrines of Scripture.

The doctrine of the Trinity can be regarded as the outcome of a process of sustained and critical reflection on the pattern of divine activity revealed in Scripture, and continued in Christian experience. This is not to say that Scripture contains a doctrine of the Trinity; rather, Scripture bears witness to a God who demands to be understood in a trinitarian manner. We shall explore the evolution of the doctrine and its distinctive vocabulary in what follows.

To which Buzzard says

There is no doctrine of the Trinity in the Bible, he admits, and yet in its pages, God demands belief in the Trinity.

Make your pick. He’s either being dishonest or ignorant. All McGrath is saying is that the Trinity is not explicitly in Scripture. That is far from saying that it is not in Scripture. Unfortunately, Buzzard doesn’t show any of McGrath’s arguments. I wonder why…..

I find it even more amusing when Tom Harpur is cited later on. Harpur is one who thinks everything is borrowed from paganism and is a journalist. Why is Buzzard using this person as a source?

There is some mention of Murray Harris with his excellent work Jesus as God, but you won’t find in-depth interaction with Harris’s arguments. He also speaks about James White and just says White’s attempts to find the Trinity in the Bible are unconvincing. Again, we are not told what these attempts are so excuse me if this dismissal is, well, unconvincing.

He argues that Hebrews 1: 8 doesn’t work since it would mean God has a God, not explaining how this is a difficulty in Trinitarianism. He doesn’t interact with the last part of that section where the Son is made the agent of creation. He says the Logos in John 1 is not identified with the Son saying the Son only began existing when He appeared in the flesh in John 1:14.

There is also the claim in John 10:33-38 that Jesus refuses the claim He is making Himself equal to God. What Jesus does is a qal wahomer argument in Jewish thinking. We would call it A fortiori. In this, Jesus takes a lesser point and uses it to make a greater point.

Psalm 82 which Jesus references has God saying to wicked people “You are gods.” God then sarcastically says they will die like mere men. Jesus then says “If these wicked people can be called this, how much more can I be called the Son of God?” He doesn’t deny the claim. He intensifies it.

At any rate, this chapter is short because again, Buzzard isn’t giving us more. It’s hard to say a lot when you just say the same thing over and over again.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)