Am I a Unitarian?

I was recently asked by a Christian friend if I am a unitarian. Here’s what I answered:

Yes, I believe Jesus is ontologically a human being, and a human being only. I believe he was uniquely begotten, like no other human being before or since, by the spirit or power of God in the womb of Mary, and “for this reason he will be ['is'] called the Son of God” (Luke 1.35). I believe he was “a man accredited by God through miracles, wonders, and signs that God performed through him” (Acts 2.22). And I believe that, because of the faithfulness of Jesus to the mission of “his God and our God” (John 20.17), God has been pleased to make him both Lord and Christ (Acts 2.36); that is, “God has highly exalted him and given him the name [Lord] that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God, the Father” (Philippians 2.9-11). In short, I agree with Paul and the early New Testament Church in their creed: “For us there is one God, namely, the Father, from whom are all things, and one Lord, namely, Jesus Christ, through/for whom are all things” (1 Corinthians 8.6). And I agree with Jesus that God, the Father, is “the only true God.” (John 17.3). I believe that, in terms of his character, Jesus is the perfect image, not the original, of God (Colossians 1.15) and the exact representation, again not the original, of him (Hebrews 1.3). In this way, he and the Father are one (John 10.30), and we, the disciples of Jesus, can become one with them as well through unity of purpose and character with them (John 17.20-23). And so it is that to see Jesus is to see God (John 14.7); that is, Jesus is the perfect image and representation of the character of God, and thus the greatest revelation of God (Hebrews 1.1). Thus, although I do not believe Jesus is ontologically God but a human being and a human being only, yet I believe he is the greatest being in the universe next to God. He is the greatest expression of God’s word (logos) or wisdom. God created through his word (Genesis 1, etc.) and his wisdom (Proverbs 8); he revealed his good instruction (torah) to Israel through his word and wisdom (Psalm 119, etc.), but Jesus is the greatest revelation or expression of God’s word or wisdom-greater than the expression in God’s creation of the universe, greater even than God’s expression in his torah. This is the point I see the author of the Gospel of John making in his magnificent first chapter. God’s word, or expression of himself, has become flesh in Jesus (John 1.14)! It’s the point I see Paul making in the probably traditional material he takes over in Colossians 1.15f and other places (1 Corinthians 1.30, for example). In sum, in terms of his character, Jesus stands above all. To see him is to see God. Likewise, in terms of his personality and nature: he is the human being uniquely begotten by God in Mary and gifted by God with the spirit of wisdom and understanding (Isaiah 11.2) beyond measure (John 3.34). And functionally, Jesus is for all intents and purposes equal to God, having been exalted by God to the right hand of the Most High (Acts 2.33, etc.). Yet this is only temporary, for as Paul teaches, “He [Jesus] must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy abolished is death. For ‘he has put all things in subjection under his feet.’ But when he says, ‘All things are put in subjection,’ it is evident that he is excepted who put all things in subjection to him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself also will be subjected to the one who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all (1 Corinthians 15.25-28). I also believe Jesus himself explicitly denies he is God in Mark 10.18 (cf. Luke 18.19) and even in the Gospel of John in his defense to some unbelieving Jews. I am speaking of John 10.34-38. Ought we to worship Jesus? Absolutely! Second only to God, for whom alone is reserved cultic worship (Gk. latreia - never applied to Jesus in the New Testament). We worship (Gk. proskuneo) Jesus in the sense of honoring him for all that he is and has done. The Scriptures throughout present human beings worshiping (proskuneo) beings other than God. Thus, to give only one example but a highly instructive one, the king of Israel is worshiped in association with God (1 Chronicles 29.20, LXX proskuneo). Unfortunately, this is all obscured through biased Bible translations (compare, for example, the Greek text against the English translations of Matthew 2.8, Matthew 4.10, and Revelation 3.9).

So that, in nuce, is what I believe. Did I come to this position overnight? No I did not. In fact, I kicked against the goads for a good while, not wanting to believe the Church had gotten this wrong. Not to mention, I was jealous for the glory of Jesus. But I know that Jesus above all wants us to honor him appropriately and God appropriately. Moreover, I have found that my love and admiration for Jesus have only increased, not to mention my obedience to him and God. For now I see that Jesus really has left us an example of how to live as a human being. He really could have sinned; he really was tempted, yet he did not give in (Hebrews 4:15). He resisted the temptation, even to the point of sweating blood and ultimately dying by crucifixion to make forgiveness available to the world. Like I said, I did not come to this conclusion without fear and trembling. But I do believe this is the teaching of the Scriptures. It was recovered (or so I see it) at the Reformation, but unfortunately both Catholics and “Magisterial” Reformers resorted to torture and murder to silence it. In Poland, these so-called “Socinians” (after Faustus Socinus) were granted some measure of freedom by the prince there and wrote a catechism explaining their beliefs. It’s called the Racovian Catechism after the town in Poland (Racow) where these people lived. The belief flourished for a long time in England (e.g. John Milton, Isaac Newton, John Locke) and in the United States. Thomas Jefferson could even say that he expected one day there would not be a person born in the the new land who was not a unitarian from youth. Unfortunately, the movement succumbed to rationalism and morphed ultimately into the Unitarian Universalist Church that exists today. In biblical studies and the philosophy of religion, there appears to be the making of a christological storm on the horizon. James Dunn, regarded by most as one of if not the best New Testament scholar living, has argued for years now that only in John is there any notion of Jesus as personally pre-existent, or even somehow God himself (especially in his Christology in the Making but also in more recent publications like Did the First Christians Worship Jesus). I disagree with him on the Gospel of John, but I think he is right on the rest of the New Testament. And in the philosophy of religion scholars like Dale Tuggy ( are taking inventory of the coherence of the various philosophical construals of the trinity and finding them wanting. Tuggy has written the entry on “Trintiy” in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Religion:; he was raised an Evangelical Christian and himself rejected the doctrine after studying the New Testament carefully on the issue (

I hope it is clear that I hold my belief based on the Scriptures and my view is very different than liberal rationalist views of Jesus that turn him into little more than a peasant itinerant apocalyptic preacher. Again, I am not endorsing in the least the liberal views of Jesus that go hand in hand with rejecting miracles, even the existence of God. I believe we can be all but certain that a good God exists and the Christian revelation is from this God. It’s just a matter of rightly interpreting that Christian revelation (the Scriptures). I believe that beginning in about the third century theologians really mucked things up regarding pretty much all the important teachings of the Scriptures, including the ontology of God (binitarianism and then trinitarianism). I believe that what God has actually revealed in the Scriptures is much different than most of the beliefs taken for granted today, including even the doctrine of the trinity.