1. Dr. Brown you are very gracious and kind but Mr Zarley has an agenda that is beyond intellectual integrity. It is like debating someone who is an atheist and believes in Darwinian evolution and will not admit that there is not one stich of evidence for macro-evolution that can be verified by true science.

    There is something going on here with this man under the surface that is not too clear. I will pray for him. Jesus was with the disciples for at least three years and it still took Pentecost for most of these truths to sink in!

  2. John,

    Don’t you be the judge of another person’s motives! Measure his arguments against the evidence he provides. If you disregard Jesus’ and Paul’s words regarding Jesus’ identity, at least obey them by not judging others.

    You’re equivocating anyway. You need some praying for yourself.

  3. Saputo,

    Jesus was with the disciples for at least three years and it still took Pentecost for most of these truths to sink in!

    According to Acts 2, what finally sunk in was the self-evident truth [cf. Mat 16.16; Mar 1.24; Jn 1.49] that Jesus has been made by his God and Father “lord Messsiah”!! See Psalm 110.1…

  4. Dr. Brown, thank you very much for your efforts on this matter.
    Often these kind of teachings evokes a mixture of emotions.
    I think you did a excellent job.
    This just goes to prove that you can make the Bible say just what you want and how important it is to rightly divide the truth in context of the entirety of scripture.

    Dr Brown you certainly are a good example on how to present ourselves even in adversity and dispute without being overly critical.

    There are obviously students on both sides of the fence and those who have a strong foundation in their doctrine will not budge unless through the power of God. Having said that I am sure that there may be many people who have not done study or exhaustive thought on the matter and we can pray that those people will be moved to the truth.

    Again, thank you very much Dr. Brown.

  5. Titus 2:11-14 is my theological “slam dunk”. Paul clearly declares that Jesus Christ is “our great God and Savior” unless it is KJV (which has two subjects, namely “Our great God” and our “Savior Jesus Christ). These verses are packed with spiritual truths and references to two appearings of the Lord marking the beginning and end of God’s amazing season of grace toward all peoples.

    May the Lord have mercy upon those of us who continually resist God’s amazing grace.

  6. I learn so much from you Dr. Brown, what a blessing you are.
    Let us pray for Mr. Zarley, that God would open his eyes.

  7. Recently I read an excellent essay by AE Harvey, Jesus and the Constraints of History, perhaps “pray” for people to read such articles with a totally unbiased, open-mind.

    It is therefore no cause for surprise that the New Testament writers appear to have submitted to this constraint, and to have avoided using the word ‘god’ or `divine’ of Jesus. Jesus himself is recorded as having endorsed the standard Jewish confession of monotheism (Mark 12.29) and accepted the prohibition which this implied of any moral comparison between himself and God (Mark 10.18); moreover in the Fourth Gospel he is made to deny vigorously the accusation that lie set himself up as a being equal to and independent of God. The New Testament writers similarly are insistent about the absolute oneness of God and show no tendency to describe Jesus in terms of divinity: the few apparent exceptions are either grammatically or textually uncertain or have an explanation which, as we shall see, brings them within the constraint of Jewish monotheism. It was not until the new religion had spread well beyond the confines of its parent Judaism that it became possible to break the constraint and describe Jesus as divine; and it is significant that Jewish Christian churches continued to exist for at least a century which refused to take this step. But given that this option was closed, only one alternative remained. If no divine attributes were possible, only human categories could be used. Jesus’ unique authority must somehow be expressed by a model or paradigm drawn from human experience and human relationships. We have seen already that one designation that was chosen (and was apparently inspired by the character of Jesus’ activity) was that of the person anointed to proclaim good news to the poor and bring sight to the blind: the Christ. Another, which has become of critical importance in subsequent Christian doctrine, was Son of God.

    For the full article see:


  8. Though I believe in the deity of Christ I wouldn’t call Titus 2:11-14 a “slam dunk”. I’m familiar with the argument about the Granville Sharp Rule as well. In his recent book “Pauline Christology” Dr. Gordon Fee argues that two people are in view in the passage. He says that what it is saying is that Jesus is the glory of the great God and Savior not that Jesus is the great God and Savior. In the book Dr. Brown listed yesterday, Putting Jesus in His Place, they disagree with Dr. Fee but I think the fact that someone of Dr. Fee’s caliber arguing against this as a text that calls Jesus God makes it difficult to call it a “slam dunk”.

  9. Rob S.

    Yes, I am familiar with the Rule but, as Harvey states in his book “Jesus and the Constraints of History” [1980]:

    The New Testament writers similarly are insistent about the absolute oneness of God and show no tendency to describe Jesus in terms of divinity: the few apparent exceptions are either grammatically or textually uncertain or have an explanation which, as we shall see, brings them within the constraint of Jewish monotheism. It was not until the new religion had spread well beyond the confines of its parent Judaism that it became possible to break the constraint and describe Jesus as divine; and it is significant that Jewish Christian churches continued to exist for at least a century which refused to take this step.

    Why are we even arguing texts that we all know [Trinis or not] are “grammatically or textually uncertain”. As Steve has shown in the above comment, even Trini scholars are not uniform in their interpreation.

  10. “moreover in the Fourth Gospel he is made to deny vigorously the accusation that lie set himself up as a being equal to and independent of God. The New Testament writers similarly are insistent about the absolute oneness of God and show no tendency to describe Jesus in terms of divinity:”

    I find that people who claim that the NT does not say that Jesus is divine have to contort the grammar in egregious ways or project a theology on the text that the text itself does not teach. The NT teaches the existence of the Trinity, but only by allowing us a glance into the fellowship of the Godhead (seeing his backside through the cleft of a rock as it were). I understand the plea to be logical in this instance, but we must remember that God is more logical than us, even if we do not understand him. Furthermore, appeals to what the early church believed about Christ (as well as what we Moderns say) should be evaluated with Scripture and not taken as true interpretation unless it is consistent with Scripture. This claim in particular cannot be found consistent with what Scripture teaches.

  11. Xavier,

    Thanks so much for your posts. I must say, however, that I strongly differ with Harvey’s assessment (held by others too) that it was only when the Jesus movement strayed from its Jewish roots that it embraced concepts of His deity. Surely not!

    From an OT/ANE perspective, I would encourage you to read Collins and Collins, King and Messiah as Son of God (I actually think they are stronger on the OT material than the NT), as well as the books I referenced on the previous broadcast by Hurtado and Bauckham, as well as my treatment on the subject in vol. 2 of my Jewish Objections series.

    I can demonstrate my primary points using the Hebrew Scriptures alone — and I believe the main lines of argument for the deity of the Son in the OT and NT are, as Harvey claims, grammatically or textually uncertain. Consider the quote from Hebrews 1, citing Ps 102. The Son’s deity is indisputably affirmed there.

    Again, thanks for being part of the discussion in a literate way.

  12. Please note the typo in my last post (a doozie!).

    In place of “and I believe the main lines of argument for the deity of the Son in the OT and NT are, as Harvey claims, grammatically or textually uncertain” please correct to read: “and I believe the main lines of argument for the deity of the Son in the OT and NT are NOT, as Harvey claims, grammatically or textually uncertain.”

    Sorry for any confusion.

  13. 2 Timothy 4:3
    For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.

    I am sure that both sides of the fence will look across the fence with 2 Tim 4:3 in mind. The reality of the matter is that only one side can be right. For me it is painfully clear that Christ is God. As Dr Brown states, the point can be made made in Old Testament alone. A lot of text has been thrown around during this talk and I think it is because there is so much at stake. We are called to rightly divide the word and when we stand before Christ we will either show ourselves as approved or not.

    I must be honest; no amount of “you should read this or that” will make a difference to me. I have always fund that the Bible explains itself well enough. Example: Christ stating “I AM” being a clear reference to the Name of God “I AM” given to Moses for the people of Israel in Egypt. The fact that the Jews at the time picked up stones to kill him clearly shows that they understood this to be blasphemy. When you rightly divide the Word, It is the best source of comment.

    What I take away from this is a warning that there will be people who will go to extreme lengths to mislead you and you need to be supper attentive and disciplined in your study of the Word with the sole purpose of getting to know God better and cultivating a better personal, intimate relationship with Him.

    Ultimately it is your relationship with God that matters and I think this topic is so explosive because it is your understanding of who God is that is at stake.
    May God bless all of you.

  14. Johan, you said

    There are obviously students on both sides of the fence and those who have a strong foundation in their doctrine will not budge unless through the power of God.

    That goes for you too.

    To answer your question on John 1:1:

    En arche hen ho logos kai ho logos hen pros ton theon kai theos hen ho logos.

    The latter theos is called an anarthrous (without the article) predicate (object before verb) noun. This does NOT depict identity. It serves as a description or explanation of some quality of the subject. Nothing in the text not anywhere else identifies the logos with a person. The masculine article is a conventional grammatical gender of masculinity, not biological masculinity. Jesus is what God’s expression or logos BECAME. Trinitarians have the convenient ambiguity in English by saying “Jesus is God.” It is ambiguous since “God” is somehow meant to be somewhere between a person and an attribute. The noun God always referred to the Father, Yahweh, and where the possible ambiguous references allow Jesus to be called G/god, the rule and reality of Agency, or Representation (shaliach) cannot be denied.

    Your other reference to John 8:58 on the doctrinally exaggerated “I am” statement is also invalid, since that was the typical way of self identification in Greek as can be seen in both the LXX and NT where both Yahweh and humans use the expression. NOTHING to do with the trinity. John 8:54 refutes the fallacious equating and identifying of Jesus with Yahweh. The valid reasoning goes like this:

    If Jesus were Yahweh, Jesus’ glorifying himself would mean everything.
    According to John 8:54 Jesus’ glorifying himself means nothing
    Thus, Jesus is not Yahweh.

    Perfectly true and valid reasoning (modus tollens). Jesus identifies his Father as being Yahweh, whom Jesus is not.

    Acts 3:13 the confessional testimony by Peter irrefutably identifies the Father with Yahweh, separate and distinct from His servant, Christ Jesus. In no confessional statements of Acts is Jesus ever identified as Yahweh. That was the Gospel that was preached, leaving the trinity one to be rejected (Gal. 1:8, 9)

    I agree with Harvey’s observation. While the Biblical Unitarian stance (i.e Yahweh’s simple unity) is overwhelmingly confirmed by innumerable proofs, trinitarians have to comb Scripture, prooftext, divorce texts from immediate and distributed context, and rely on extra-biblical terms and notions completely foreign to the Hebraic cognitive mindset of times past. Not to mention the horrendous fallacies required to arrive at a fourth century heresy or creating a doctrinal rule from ambiguous exceptions.


  15. Johan,

    I must be honest; no amount of “you should read this or that” will make a difference to me. I have always fund that the Bible explains itself well enough. Example: Christ stating “I AM” being a clear reference to the Name of God “I AM” given to Moses for the people of Israel in Egypt. The fact that the Jews at the time picked up stones to kill him clearly shows that they understood this to be blasphemy. When you rightly divide the Word, It is the best source of comment.

    Johan, you see, that is another area where you and your trinitarian friends have a problem. A post-biblical heresy takes preference over the Sacred Text. Or you superimpose Scripture to fit your Nicean/Chalcedonian gospel. Thanks for your honesty. You have just admitted your resistence to any possibility of knowing and professing divine truth. That’s bad.

    Since when do we use the Jews’ judgments to determine who Jesus and Yahweh are? In that case Jesus was a blasphemer, a drunkard, demon-possessed, guilty of sedition, and a sabbath breaker! As soon as your arguments are consistently applied to other areas of Scripture, one arrives at unthinkable absurdities! I prefer to read Jesus’ own words and determine his identity from those. I couldn’t care less what those Jews thought of my Lord!

    By the way, do you live in South Africa? I do.


  16. Jaco thank you for your great and eager participation.
    Yes, both sides by definition would include me.

    Jaco, are you by any chance a jehovah witness?

  17. Dr. Brown,

    I have read my fair share of trinitarian scholars such as Hurtado, Bauckham, and have come to strongly disagree with their persistence on “splitting the Shema” [viz. Wright, Dunn and others]. Something Jesus instead takes as his own “statement of faith” [Mar 12.29]. For some of my comments on their analysis please see:


    Its interesting you reference Heb 1, a passage I was looking at recently. If v. 10 emphasizes the “preexistent” Son’s role in creation [as some suggest] why is the rest of the Bible silent on this extraordinary statement? Let alone the author of Hebrews, who starts the chapter seemingly contradicting this view:

    Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but IN THESE LAST DAYS [i.e. NO “preexistent Son”] HE HAS SPOKEN TO US BY HIS SON… v.1-2a

    Furthermore, Jesus says that God alone is the creator [Mat 19.4]. So it makes more sense that Hebrews places the Son as a sort of “co-creator” of the New Earth, since “it was not to angels that God subjected THE WORLD TO COME, OF WHICH WE ARE SPEAKING…” [Heb 2.5].

    Its interesting to see the bias by some commentators when it comes to Hebrews. For example, when it comes to v. 8 the NIV Study Bible claims that “the author selects a passage that INTIMATES THE DEITY OF THE MESSIANIC (and Davidic) King…” [Phillip E. Hughes, Donald W. Burdick, p 1859, ed. Kenneth L. Barker, Zondervan, 1985.].

    Yet, when commenting on the OT passage the author of Hebrews cites they say this:

    Psa 45.6 “O, God”: Possibly the king’s throne is called God’s throne because he is God’s appointed regent. But IT IS ALSO POSSIBLE THAT THE KING HIMSELF IS ADDRESSED AS “god”.

    The Davidic king (the “LORD’s anointed,” 2Sa 19:21), BECAUSE OF HIS SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, was called at his enthronement the “son” of God (see 2:7; 2Sa 7:14; 1Ch 28:6; cf. 89:27).

    In this psalm, which praises the king and especially extols his “splendor and majesty” (v. 3), IT IS NOT UNTHINKABLE THAT HE WAS CALLED “god” AS A TITLE OF HONOR (cf. Isa 9:6). Such a description of the Davidic king attains its fullest meaning when applied to Christ, as the author of Hebrews does (Heb. 1:8-9).

    (The pharaohs of Egypt were sometimes addressed as “my god” by their vassal kings in Palestine, as evidenced by the Amarna letters). John H. Stek, NIV Study Bible, p 831, ed. Kenneth L. Barker, Zondervan, 1985.

  18. Xavier,

    Wallace’s article demonstrates that Granville Sharp’s rule is not “grammatically or textually uncertain” in spite of centuries of challenges.

    Also, is it possible to arrive at unitarianism without pitting Biblical authors against each other?

  19. Xavier,

    Yes, the Son functions as a co-creator, as attested in numerous passages. Yet there are some unitarians who deny His pre-existence!

    As for Ps 45, I deal with the passage in some depth in vol. 2 of my aforementioned series. As for the Pharaoh’s of Egypt, etc., surely you know that they were considered divine, believed to be gods — hence referred to as such.

  20. Michael,

    In the debate you mentioned Tit 2.13. But then you had to go to a station break and I was only able to say “grammatical difficulty, Michael.” Now, in these comments, Rob S. twice affirms Granville Sharp’s application of his grammatical rule to Tit 2.13. I have six pages in my book on Tit 2.13. Here is an excerpt concerning Sharp’s rule, but without the several scholarly references. Many scholars would say Sharp’s rule is outdated, having been put forth in 1789, because today’s grammarians know more with more mss.:

    Many grammarians have since insisted that Sharp’s supposed rule is uncertain. Some add that a second article is unnecessary in Tit 2.13 because soteros (Savior) is sufficiently qualified by the pronoun hemon (our). In 1881, Ezra Abbot observed that Sharp’s construction of Tit 2.13 and the above passages was supported
    by only a “few scholars.” Grammarian Nigel Turner [a Tinitarian] admits, “Unfortunately, at this period of Greek we cannot be sure that such a rule is really decisive.” J.N.D. Kelly adds, “the absence of the article cannot count as decisive, for ‘Savior’ tended to be
    anarthrous (cf. 1 Tim 1.1), and in any case the correct use of the article was breaking down in the late Greek.” Grammarian G.B. Winer admitted that either view is grammatically possible; but he added, “only doctrinal conviction, deduced from Paul’s teaching, that this apostle could not have called Christ the great God, induced me to show that there is also no grammatical obstacle to taking kai … sotaros … Christou by itself as a second subject.”
    Other grammarians have insisted that there is an exception to Sharp’s rule, in which the second article can be omitted when the author knows that his/her readers will assume a distinction in subjects.

  21. What are the names of the “3 persons in the one God[head]” [i.e. Son=Jesus, Father=YHWH?]?

    If so, don’t we break with trinitarian doctrine when making statements such as: “Jesus is YHWH” or vice versa? Since the doctrine does not allow its adherenets to confound “the persons nor divide the substance” [Athanasian Creed].

  22. Kermit,

    Thanks for your post. I’m aware of the arguments back and forth, but I can summarize things briefly by saying this: 1) Where biblical statements are quite explicit and beyond grammatical doubt, you must explain them as not meaning what they say (especially in terms of the pre-existence of the Son); 2) Where the grammatical arguments lean towards Yeshua’s deity, you must say there is grammatical ambiguity.

    So, with all respect to your studies and with no insult intended, you’re avoiding the obvious and misreading the complex.

  23. Dr. Brown,

    Just to change tack on the “grammatically and ambigous texts”, could you in summary explain John 17.3. Where Jesus himself defines “the only true God” as “the Father” [v.1].

    Note the ESV Study Bible commentary on this verse:

    ‘That they know you’ implies an intimate relationship that involves actually knowing GOD AS A PERSON [i.e. “one person”, cp. Gal 3.20 AB].

  24. Xavier,

    I suggest that you read vol. 2 of my Jewish Objections series where I wholeheartedly emphasize the “one God” message of the Bible and interact with verses like John 17:3. If I have more time to post here — which is rare — I’ll respond in more detail, but since you appear to be a reader, please do check out the volume cited.

  25. Kermit:

    As someone who is presenting non-Orthodox theology to the Evangelical world, you should know that you’ll need to interact with the very best that the other side has to offer. This is an area where scholarly quotations won’t do you much good if you aren’t able to reconstruct their arguments using the original languages. In the coming months I expect that you’ll be bombarded with responses to your material.

    I would highly suggest reading Daniel Wallace’s article on Granville Sharp before commenting further (http://bible.org/article/sharp-redivivus-reexamination-granville-sharp-rule). In the article he interacts with many classical challenges to Granville Sharp’s rule and demonstrates that they either misunderstand what the rule actually states or fall drastically short of challenging it.


    I think we’re getting to a point where we are talking past each other. It is not a trinitarian violation to say that Jesus is YHWH any more than it is a violation to say that the Father is YHWH since they are both individual premises that make up the trinitarian formula. We do not need every passage to carefully spell out the entire argument. On this point, you could just as well deny Jesus’ Messiahship because most Messianic passages deal with individual components of Messianic formula (suffering or conquering).

    Because the Trinity is systematic each proof text acts as a premise while passages such as John’s prologue function as one cohesive argument. The same thing is true regarding Messianic prophecy, though you refuse to apply the rule to New Testament Christology.

  26. Dr. Brown,

    It is not about “the ‘one God’ message of the Bible” but more specifically WHO is that one God? Jesus defines the one God as “the Father” alone (John 17:1, 3); in contrast Trinitarians define the one God as “the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” [viz. Nicene-Athanasian creeds].

    In your book you seem to agree with this fact when you exclaim that “Jesus himself taught that his Father was the one and only God!” [p 11]

    Yet, later you write:

    …the Hebrew Bible nowhere teaches that our Lord, who is the only [one?] true God, is an absolute unity, while it does give indications that his unity [one person?] is complex or compound.[p 14]

    This statement is full of contradictions. How do you even know we’re talking about one “only true God” and why do you use personal singular pronouns to describe Him?

    Furthermore, you make void the Shema of Deu 6.4 by saying that the Hebrew for “one” [‘echad] does not mean “one”? In any language, doesn’t “one month” still mean “one” and not more than “one month”? Or, “one team” still means it is not 2 or 3 teams?! These are old trinitarian arguments that few scholars would support today, same goes for the “us” verses of Gen 1.26 etc.

  27. Rob S.

    So how many YHWH’s are there? If Jesus is YHWH, the Father is YHWH, doesn’t that make 2 WHO are YHWHs? Yet, the Shema states that “YHWH our God is ONE YHWH”. A creed Jesus affirmed, taught and lived by according to Mar 12.28-29.

    All this should be understood through the Messianic reading of Ps 110.1, where 2 Lords are in view but defined:

    …Jesus assumes that this second Lord is the Messiah. ‘The Lord said to my Lord’ meant ‘God said to my king’…In Hebrew the phrase says, ‘Yahweh said to adoni’ (neum YHWH la’adoni). Adoni means ‘my master’ or ‘my lord’. The devout Jew would read this phrase by covering ‘YHWH’ (Yahweh), saying instead, ‘Adonai said to Adoni’. Adonai (in distinction from adoni) means Yahweh, the God revealed to Israel. The Greek translation of the Hebrew text wrote simply here, ‘The kyrios to my kyrios’ (Eipen ho kyrios to kyrio mou), using the same word—kyrios—for both Hebrew terms. In the Greek translation, too, the first kyrios is assumed to be Yahweh-God [the second] human ‘lord’ in the Psalm’s second noun is distinguished from the deity of the first ‘LORD’, as strict exegesis suggests…adon in Hebrew means ‘master’ (BDB, 11), a term of superiority…this is all Jesus seeks to establish…(cf. Briggs in McNeile, 327; Green, 186; Taylor, 492, emphasis added, who comments: ‘The value of the saying is not thereby destroyed, since its main importance is the light it throws on the manner in which Jesus interpreted Messiahship’)…If David, then, called the…second kyrios [my lord], whom specifically was David’s first kyrios addressing? The only other person deserving any such title of majesty, to Jewish consciousness, is the Messiah…[Matthew: The Churchbook, Matthew 13-28, Frederick Dale Bruner, Eerdmans, p 243-244, 2007.]

  28. Xavier,

    I’m glad to see that you have my book in front of you, but simply throwing out accusations — which indicate that you’re even missing the point of some of my arguments (regarding, say, echad or Gen 1:26, which, by the way, I do NOT use to prove a trinitarian reading)– in no way invalidates all the scriptural evidence I present. And you obviously don’t understand the meaning of the Shema either (and you apparently gloss over the best reading of the Hebrew as well).

    I asked you a simple question in terms of providing a scriptural statement of “absolute unity” as opposed to complex unity. That shouldn’t be so hard for you to provide if your case is correct.

    If you’re going to fling accusations around, please come with substance from the Word.

  29. I think I’m just repeating here what I wrote in the blog on Jan. 12 already, since I think that some people here do have a huge problem with the fact that human dimensions and YHVH’s dimensions are NOT one and the same. I wrote there:

    “As long as we don’t pray to three different Gods – where is the problem with stating that YHVH is triune?

    Fact is that the human mind can’t comprehend God in His complexness anyway, and even the Kabbalists say (in the Zohar I think) that God consists out of three parts. Not that I believe in the Kabbalah, but what I’m saying is that God is multidimensional, and we as humans are a lot more restricted in our dimensions.

    Which implies that we can’t necessarily apply OUR dimension to God’s Word. That’s why we need the Ruakh HaKodesh.”

  30. I just wanted to reply to a comment by a caller named Sam from Chicago. Sam pointed out that in John 1:1b (“The Word was with God”), ‘with’ translates the Greek preposition pros + accusative. He said this grammatical construction suggests a state of personal fellowship or intimacy, and said he knew of no Greek authorities who disputed this.

    Actually, Daniel B. Wallace, one of the foremost Greek grammarians of our time, disputes this. On p. 359-360 of his book Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, he notes that pros + accusative indicates movement toward the object as in Luke 6:47. However this only applies when the verb and proposition both imply motion. If the preposition implies motion but the verb is stative (as in John 1:1b), the force of the verb overrides that of the preposition.

    As Wallace notes, “It is simply that too often prepositions are analyzed simplistically, etymologically, and without due consideration for the verb to which they are connected. Prepositions are often treated in isolation, as though their ontological meaning were still completely intact.” (p. 359)

    Now Sam, I agree with you that John 1:1 is talking about a preexistent divine being, in the orthodox sense. There are good reasons for this conclusion, but the pronoun pros+accusative is not one of them.

  31. Dr. Brown

    What “accusations” are you specifically referring to? If its referring to the Shema, which scripture cites as the foundation for its ABSOLUTE UNITY of YHWH [the LORD GOD], then I do not see how this is it. Jesus himself points to it as the foundation of all commandments [Mar 12.28-29]. Yet, I am to presume that Jesus is referring to some kind of “complex unity within the ONE LORD”? If so, where is this teaching in its fullest sense, since it does away with 4-6 000 years of Jewish belief regarding the ONE YHWH-DEITY.

    Are we Christians to presume that all the patriarchs got it wrong when they thought YHWH was a unified, absolute, ONLY ONE DEITY?

    Furthermore, does it really matter in what word order you quote the Shema? Be it:

    The LORD our God, the LORD is ONE;

    The LORD our God is one LORD;

    The LORD is our God, the LORD is one;

    The LORD is our God, the LORD alone

    I really can’t believe we are arguing how many LORDs there are in the Shema. Consider this statement regarding Deut 6.4:

    Yahweh is one…the statement INSISTS on a UNIFIED VIEW OF YAHWEH.
    Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary : Old Testament (electronic ed.) (Dt 6:4). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

    But I digress, how then should we understand the Shema?

    Am I to presume that when Jesus quotes it and says “our God is ONE LORD” he includes himself in the Shema?

    Or, as I previously stated, am I to presume a “complex unity” of persons within the one LORD, as per later Catholic Creedal statements?

    Or, am I suppose to just read the Shema through the Nicene-Chalcedonian dogma of the “Church Fathers”?

    Your misreading of Gen 1.26 and complete denial of the simple numerical value of ‘echad may not prove the Trinity but you certainly do not discount it as a possiblity in your book. Thus, misleading your readership and using your expertise in languages to further cloud the issue.

    As I said, some of your trinitarian arguments have been done away long ago by trinitarian scholars themseleves, even though you write that it serves to neither prove nor disporve the Trinity. But, why still turn to them at all?

    I am still waiting for your response on my initial query regarding John 17.3…

  32. Dr. Brown,

    It seems I have to agree with you in order to “grasp” at your contradictory statements and studies.

    Anyways, thank you for your valuable time, its been…educational!

  33. I am not a scholar. But I would like to know — why isn’t this (the deity of Jesus) just so much more CLEAR. Why can it be taken both ways? For years I read the Bible with the interpretation that Jesus was very close to, as in “one with” but not the actual, God, based on certain passages. Now I tend to see Jesus as like the avatar of God — like a physical manifestation, extension. I must admit, I’m still not 100% sure, either way. The fact that there is a discussion on this topic today and that there has been for hundreds of years points to the fact that it CAN be taken both ways.

    But I am curious as to why you would say, Dr. Brown, that this is the case — why isn’t it just so much CLEARER?

  34. Tom, you have either misread or misrepresented Wallace or both. Here are Wallace’s notes to John 1:1 as found in the NET Bible:

    2 tn The preposition πρός (pros) implies not just proximity, BUT INTIMATE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP. M. Dods stated, “Πρός …means more than μετά or παρά, and is regularly employed in expressing the presence of one person with another” (“The Gospel of St. John,” The Expositor’s Greek Testament, 1:684). See also Mark 6:3, Matt 13:56, Mark 9:19, Gal 1:18, 2 John 12. (http://net.bible.org/verse.php?book=Joh&chapter=1&verse=1&tab=commentaries)

    So Wallace agrees wiht Robertson and confirms my point, and you are therefore mistaken.

    When I get chance to go to my office I will search Wallace’s grammar and quote what he actually said concerning the meaning of pros in John 1:1, not what you have represented him as saying.

  35. Michael,

    In this last post, by Ruthie Smith, she inquires about the lack of clear, nonambiguous statements in Scripture that Jesus is God and mentions that this is why she’s not 100% sure either way. You had asked me on the program if I was 100% sure, and I said I was. But I also said it had been a process.

    It took me almost three years of studying this issue in the Bible and reading commentaries on it before I made my decision that the Bible does not say Jesus is God. But at that time I was only about 80% sure. I had decided that since there are no clear statements in the NT, esp. in Jesus sayings, which declare him to be God, and so many of the foremost texts that traditionalists cite to support that he is God are ambiguous due grammatical uncertainty (and one with textual uncertainty), then it is most likely that Jesus is not God.

    However, there were two NT texts I considered as “obstacles” that prevented me from being 100% sure of my christological change. And authorities who write on this subject agree that those two texts are foremost for the position that Jesus is God: John 1.1c and 20.28. It took about four more years before I came to an understanding of them which resulted in my 100% certainty that the Bible does not say Jesus is God. Yet, as I said on your program, it took me ten years before I abandoned belief that the NT says Jesus preexisted. But that had not prevented me from being 100% sure, since I did not think preexistence necessitates deity. Many traditionalists scholars now say this as well, and, of course, that was a precept embraced by Judaism in antiquity.

  36. This is for Xavier. I am a Trinitarian who is interested in reading the most definitve book written from a unitarian perspective which sets forth the best case for the unitarian position while also responding to trinitarianism. I have Buzzard’s book and I am not impressed so do you have anything else you would recommend to me?

    Any books that you could suggest that would be worth reading would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  37. Kermit,

    We have to put our stakes in the clear texts like John 17.3 which defines God as the Father only. Then when we see someone else called “god”, we know it has to be in a secondary sense [cp. the Davidic king, Ps 45; human judges, Ps 82; 138].

    So, even if Jesus were to be called “god” in the scriptures, I personally would not have a problem as to its meaning. The Jews certainly didn’t when it came to calling others “god”. I think Jesus uses this same claim to refute the Pharisees’ FALSE ACCUSATIONS regarding his “equality” with the one God of Israel, YHWH. Coming to the conclusion that he is “the Son of God” and not God!

    Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?

    We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

    Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”‘? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I AM THE SON OF GOD’?” John 10.31-36

  38. What false accusation regarding Yeshua being YHWH?

    John 10:38 “… that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father”.

    This is how Yeshua and YHWH are ONE.

    If you want to know exactly HOW Yeshua is YHWH, I would again recommend this teaching: http://www.waytozion.org/audiot.htm,
    and listen to the fiirst teaching in the seventh section: “Is Yeshua YHVH?”

  39. Ruth,

    I hope that you will pray and continue to study this out. Some things in life we can afford to be wrong about….this issue however, is not one of those. I am not a scholar either, but I contend that God has made this clear enough that a degree in semitic languages is not needed.

    In Mark 12:28, a Jewish scribe came to Jesus and asked him what is the GREATEST (most important) commandment is. Then in vs. 29 we read how Jesus answered him (before saying to love God) – “The first of all the commandments is ‘Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one’ “. Could it be that Jesus was saying we cannot love God with all our hearts before knowing WHO it is we are loving (and how many He is) ?

    When I look at Deut. 13:6, God warned Israel about serving a God that they have not known. I have to ask myself…Is the modern triune God the same God that Israel had, or is the triune God ‘serving gods, that you nor your fathers have not known’ ?

    I also reference what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman in John 4:22 “the Jews know who they worship”. He said the Jews have that right (see also verse 23). Jesus brought no new teaching about WHO the one person of God is.

    If we are truly followers of the Messiah Jesus, let’s have the same God as He has. (John 20:17)

  40. Xavier,

    If there was sarcasm intended in your post, I forgive you. If you meant your comments sincerely, I appreciate it. As for your comments about the need to agree with me, not at all. But before you try to refute someone’s position, you need to understand it, and that’s what you failed to do.


    After almost forty years of study on my end, I’m absolutely sure that your position is wrong, so we stand where we stand after much study and reflection. I find no verses that are obstacles to my position and scores that support it, thus I must go with the biblical evidence as I see it after much prayerful and careful study. The Lord will be the judge.

  41. Xavier,

    I agree with your last post, but I don’t think any NT character or writer ever intended by their remarks to identify Jesus as God.


    Well, as they say, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. But, of course, I believe both of us will stand before the judgment as men of God in his kingdom, but it doesn’t look like you think that of me. Still, thanks for having me on your program.

  42. Dr. Brown,

    I do not fully understand how the numeral 1 [echad] cannot be one and how an absolute unity is really not absolute at all. Although the Trinitarian doctrine is a riddle wrapped in an enigma, I think I can sort of understand the word and mind games it tries to play on people. i.e. consubstantial, substantial etc…

    Then again, what exactly did I misunderstand in your trinitarian view of God and His Son? In your often quoted book you seem to contradict yourself on John 17.3 [i.e. for Jesus “the Father” is the “only true God”], which, by the way, I am still waiting for you to answer.

    Furthermore, you “challeneged” me to produce at least one text to support an absolute unity view of YHWH, as you can see from my previous posts I have provided plenty. What say you?


    Do you think that the writer of Hebrews did intend to “identify Jesus as God” [1.8-10]? Like I said, even if it did [cp. John 20.28] I have no problem understanding it as per the OT precedent of angels and humans being called elohim [Sept. theos].

    Lastly, do you see likeminded Christians such as yourself as part of “the body” that is modern-day Christendome [Catholic-Protestant alike]?

  43. Well, one thing I am certain of: Jesus is certainly part of the Godhead. He is so close to the Father, that we can only come to Him through Jesus. He is the door, he is the gate, the real one. And all our mysteries are likely to be explained later to us, or revealed, more fully, as long as we enter through that gate. If we’re pure in heart, we can see God someday, face to face. Could there be any greater joy that that? Seeing Him face to face, being able to draw nearer than ever, and Him lovingly answering whatever we need to know…!

  44. Xavier,

    From what I just read a few minutes ago on his latest post, Dr. Brown said he’d be exiting the forum for awhile and recommends you write through his website if you have any more questions for him rather than posting Q’s here….

  45. Xavier,

    Your arguments don’t make any sense. I quoted you the definition of ‘echad’ according to Strong’s. Echad has the root Achad which refers to collective unity.

    Secondly, a person can be a father, a brother, a friend, uncle, etc. He is still one person. God brought us salvation from death through His Son Jesus (Yeshua).

    It is not that difficult to understand. Yeshua is the Deliverer. He is the Right Arm of Yahweh.

    Please read Genesis 15 and try to understand what it means. Also, Yahweh is described by the word Kurios in the Septuagint and which is also the word used for Yeshua in the NT scriptures.

    Also Colossians 1 tells us that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible Father and it was through Jesus that all in Heaven and earth were created.

    God bless you in Jesus’ Name.

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