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Showing posts with label Biblical Unitarian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Biblical Unitarian. Show all posts

Monday, 9 January 2017

Review of "When Jesus became God" by Richard E. Rubenstein

1. Author, Genre and Scope
2. Overall Reaction
3. Some Criticisms
4. Reception of the book among experts
5. Reception of the book among unitarians
6. Conclusion


One of the gifts I received for the Christmas just passed was a book from my dear sister Sarah entitled, When Jesus became God: The Struggle to Define Christianity during the Last Days of Rome, by Prof. Richard E. Rubenstein (New York: Harcourt, 1999; paperback, body text 231 pages). Apparently the book was separately published with the slightly more provocative subtitle The Epic Fight over Christ's Divinity in the Last Days of Rome. Having finished the book, I thought I would write a detailed review since the topic of the book—the Arian controversy in the fourth century—is of general theological interest to me and (I suspect) most people who read my blog.

This is not an expert review. I am not particularly well-read about the Arian controversy or fourth-century Church history more broadly, so I am not in a position either to vouch for or criticize many of its historical claims. My insights are offered from the point of view of one who has some theological training, is fairly knowledgeable about Church history and theological developments in the first and second centuries, and has a deep personal interest in the theological issues involved. Specifically, I have moved over time from a Christology probably on the outer fringes of what Rubenstein calls "radical Arianism" (one that is uneasy about applying the term theos to Christ in any sense, and that denies his personal pre-existence) to the orthodox, Nicene Christology that eventually—after much blood had been spilled—carried the day.


Rubenstein is, by his own account, an "American Jew" (pp. xii-xiii) who offers the reader "my rather unorthodox (although, I hope, not disrespectful) interpretation of the Arian controversy" (p. xviii). A Rhodes Scholar and a professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs, he is obviously a very learned and intelligent man. The book is written at a popular level, and as a review at Publishers Weekly describes it, the genre of Rubenstein's book is best described as "historical drama." It is important to recognize the difference between popular historical drama and sober, academic historiography. Rubenstein is not trained as a historian (or a theologian), and he does not provide a meticulously argued, carefully qualified historical reconstruction of the Arian controversy but a vivid, readable "interpretation of the Arian controversy." He relies mainly on secondary sources, which are cited rather sparsely (endnotes occur at a rate of just over one per page). When he does refer to primary sources, he sometimes cites them indirectly from his secondary sources. There is virtually no interaction with primary sources in the original languages, text-critical issues, etc. Moreover, on more than one occasion, Rubenstein explicitly invokes the imagination to support his suggested version of events where no historical evidence exists:
Bishop Athanasius did not lead the mob that lynched George of Cappadocia, but if he condemned their acts, the record of that condemnation has been lost. We do know how he felt about the Arian bishop who had tried to replace him. One can easily imagine him concluding that, distasteful as popular violence may be, the Alexandrian crowd on that occasion had done the Lord's work. (pp. 13-14, emphasis added) 
Arius appeared at the bishop's palace on the day scheduled and stood like a gaunt shadow before Alexander. No record of this interview remains, but we can easily imagine the priest upholding his ideas with gentle but implacable determination. (p. 56, emphasis added)
Once one recognizes what Rubenstein's book is not, one is in a better position to appreciate it for what it is. He is a master storyteller with a flair for the dramatic, and the result is a real page-turner. I stayed up well past my bedtime to finish it in one sitting! And, of course, there is no reason to doubt the basic veracity of his account of the controversy (i.e., people, events, dates, places, etc.), bearing in mind that Rubenstein has taken a certain amount of poetic license and put his own spin on the story.


Rubenstein certainly makes no effort to whitewash the unsavoury, and in some cases gory, details of the Arian controversy. This makes for an uncomfortable reading experience, especially for anyone with an emotional investment in the religious community involved—the Church. Probably any Christian reader will relate to Rubenstein's own comment on the impact of the controversy upon the believers of that time:
for devout Christians, of course, the Church was more than an organization. It was Christ's own congregation, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and to split it would be to desecrate the very body of the Savior himself. (p. 158)
It is painful to read of how theological disagreement led to Christians killing Christians, and of the Church's messy attempt to re-calibrate its relationship to the State after the rapid reversal of its political status, from suffering imperial wrath to enjoying imperial patronage; from outlaw sect to prestigious religion. From the perspective of 21st century Western Christianity it all seems very strange: in this age of religious freedom and tolerance it is difficult to imagine riots and running street battles erupting over a difference in Christology. However, a glance through online Christian discussion forums reminds one that the religious hostility that led to fourth-century fratricide is still very much alive. One suspects it is largely social and legal structures, not softer hearts, that prevents contemporary intra-Christian disputes from escalating into violence. Given the principle "Much given, much required" (Luke 12:48), rather than judging our fourth-century forebears, we should be thankful for the freedom and tolerance that prevails in our society, and redouble our efforts to conduct ourselves in a charitable, respectful and orderly manner in religious dialogue. Jesus reminds us that the line between invective and bloodshed may be thinner than we think (Matt. 5:21-22).

Another take-home message for me is that no ecclesiastical tradition is without a checkered history. In this case, both the Arians and their opponents used the power of the State to suppress one another and committed atrocities in the name of Christ. It is shameful, and we must learn from it, but we must also not exaggerate the ecclesiological implications. The story of Israel reminds us that the elect status of God's people is not revoked for moral failings (Rom. 11:29). Moreover, to impute the guilt of violence against Arians to contemporary Trinitarians—or even to all fourth-century Trinitarians—would be just as reprehensible as imputing the guilt of Jesus' crucifixion to contemporary Jews—or even to all first-century Jews.

I would summarize Rubenstein's overall narrative thus: the Arian controversy was a violent conflict in which corrupt clergymen and meddling statesmen succeeded in changing Christian doctrine. However, the most encouraging finding I take from the book is one that runs against the grain of this narrative, but which Rubenstein nonetheless acknowledges. This is, namely, that as the fourth century wore on, the Nicene party and the conservative Arian party ("a bloc representing a substantial majority of Eastern Christians", p. 197) increasingly found each other through dialogue. Rubenstein explains that the solidarity of Christians created by the brief reign of the pagan emperor Julian and the subsequent mild regime of the Arian emperor Valens "created a space in which Nicene Christians and conservative Arians could communicate thoughtfully with each other" (p. 204). The result was exemplified through the theological work of the Cappadocian Fathers (Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus), who "developed the ideas that would make it possible for conservative Arians and Nicene Christians eventually to fuse" (p. 205). "The Cappadocians had provided a new theology capable of uniting a large contingent of Arian Christians with most Nicenes" (p. 210), who together "represented a probable majority of all Christians" (p. 200). Thus, according to Rubenstein's account, the orthodoxy that emerged from the Arian controversy (made official at the Council of Constantinople in 381) was a consensus of the Church achieved through theological reflection and dialogue. The Church's resolution to the Arian controversy was enforced politically, to be sure, under Emperor Theodosius—and ruthlessly, one should add, in relation to dissenting Arians—after the Council of Constantinople. However, what Theodosius enforced was the theological consensus of the Church, not merely his own private judgment or the will of a few politically connected bishops. This, I believe, supports the historical and theological legitimacy of Trinitarian orthodoxy.


Rubenstein's expertise in conflict resolution shines through clearly in his writing. He approaches the Arian controversy from a purely anthropological perspective: it is fully explicable as a bloody power struggle involving competing personalities motivated by self-interest. Most of the "principal characters," statesmen and clergymen alike, are depicted as ruthless, manipulative schemers trying to outmaneuver their opponents. Rubenstein repeatedly invokes the metaphor of moves in a chess game to describe individual turns in the plot (pp. 16, 65, 166, 168). While this is a useful perspective on the controversy and is not without warrant, those like myself with Christian faith commitments are likely to consider it insufficient for two reasons. First, the community which suffered through this horrific controversy was the Church—the Body of Christ, founded by Christ, ruled by Christ—and so one must be open to theological interpretations of the conflict and not only anthropological ones. Second, a measure of respect for the tradition of the Church and her "Fathers" inclines one toward a more charitable view of the clergymen involved in the controversy. This does not mean overlooking evidence of their moral failings or denying that atrocities were committed on their watch. It does, however, mean maintaining a certain level of humility in judging their motives and character, and respecting the dignity of their office as leaders of the Church of that time.

There are a few perspectives in the book that I would quibble with. First, Rubenstein offers certain dichotomous contrasts between the priorities of the Church before and after the rise of Constantine that seem exaggerated. For instance, "While terror rained, most Christian leaders had maintained a common front. Survival, not doctrinal purity, had been the order of the day" (pp. 72-73). This suggests that during times of persecution, Christian leaders' concern for doctrinal purity loosened. However, the writings of the Church throughout its first three centuries show a consistent concern for doctrinal purity, regardless of historical circumstances. Another example:
Was the Christianity that emerged from the years of travail to be a religion for everyone, or only for those meeting certain standards of faith and virtue? Should the clergy's primary task be to help its members perfect themselves or to administer sacred rites and help maintain order, as the pagan priesthood had done? (p. 73)
Rubenstein offers no evidence that these were among the most pressing questions on the minds of Christian leaders in the time of Constantine. The Church had always insisted on "certain standards of faith and virtue," and it is not clear that the tasks of helping members perfect themselves, administering sacred rites and maintaining order are antithetical. Certainly some of the other questions raised by Rubenstein are more obviously relevant:
What should a Christian empire look like? ... How much doctrinal unity was necessary to a healthy and growing Church? To what extent should ecclesiastical power be regularized and centralized? What sort of relations should the bishops maintain with monks and holy men? With emperors and state officials? (p. 73)
Second, Rubenstein does a reasonable job of maintaining scholarly neutrality in his analysis of the controversy, but at certainly points his comments are clearly slanted toward the Arians. For instance, he avers that the Arians were Christians who "had a stronger sense of historical continuity than others"; for them, "Christianity seemed a natural extension of and improvement on Judaism" (pp. 73-74). By contrast,
the strongest anti-Arians experienced their present as a sharp break with the past. It was they who demanded, in effect, that Christianity be 'updated' by blurring or even obliterating the long-accepted distinction between the Father and the Son. (pp. 73-74)
This is a clear value judgment on the relative historical credibility of the Arians and their opponents, yet Rubenstein neither substantiates it nor refer us to any sources that do. It is unclear why he places the word 'updated' in inverted commas as though this were the language used by the anti-Arians. Obviously, opponents of Arianism did not think of themselves as 'updating' Christianity, nor as "blurring or even obliterating the long-accepted distinction between the Father and the Son," but as defending the traditional doctrines of the faith against Arius' novel, heretical teachings. Probably both sides in the controversy laid claim to the historical high ground. The Church had traditionally maintained that Christ was God without dogmatically defining his relationship to the Father in philosophically precise language, and the controversy erupted exactly in that dogmatic gap. For Rubenstein to make the unsubstantiated claim that the Arians were historically minded conservatives while the anti-Arians anti-traditionalist innovators is a blight on the credibility of his book.

Another feature that suggests pro-Arian bias is his characterization of Arius and Athanasius, two of the principal antagonists on the Arian and Nicene side respectively. Consider these comments on the two men respectively:
Arius must have been a persuasive man. Notwithstanding the scurrilous labels bestowed upon him by his enemies ('heretic' was among the mildest of them), his devotion to Christ and the Church was genuine, as was his desire to live at peace with other Christians, even if he and they differed in matters of doctrine. (p. 102)
The redheaded deacon [Athanasius] was one of the fourth century's 'new men': a person who came of age after the Great Persecution had ended; whose parents were very likely pagans, but whose education was Christian, not classical; whose ambition was boundless; and who was very much at home in the 'real' world of power relations and political skulduggery. For a similar combination of theoretical acumen, dogged adherence to principle, and political ruthlessness, one would have to await the advent of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Vladimir Lenin. (pp. 104-105)
Thus, Rubenstein defends Arius against his opponents' accusations, describing him as a sincere, devoted follower of Christ and the Church who desired peace. Meanwhile, Athanasius is depicted as power-hungry, ruthless, underhanded (as the word 'skulduggery' implies), and driven by boundless ambition—a picture Rubenstein rounds off with a comparison to an infamous communist revolutionary, dictator and atheist, Vladimir Lenin. 

I'm not familiar enough with academic literature on either Arius or Athanasius to critique Rubenstein concerning these two men, but it doesn't seem impartial (especially given that Rubenstein's theological sympathies lie with the Arians). Moreover, there are aspects of Rubenstein's own narrative that are in tension with these characterizations: is Arius' "defiance" (read: insubordination; see pp. 49, 60) toward his own bishop the behaviour of a man devoted to the Church and desirous of peace? This can at least be questioned. Conversely, Rubenstein narrates the soft-speaking, conciliatory approach of "friendly persuasion" that Athanasius took toward the conservative Arian party later in life (p. 197). He construes this in terms of Athanasius' "sharp-eyed perception" of the changing shape of Arianism—in other words, shrewdness rather than an Arius-like longing for peace or a checking of his "boundless ambition." This hardly seems charitable. Contrast the articles on Arius and Athanasius in the old Catholic Encyclopedia, both of which are sympathetic from a moral point of view (notwithstanding the pro-Trinitarian bias). The Encyclopedia says of Arius, for instance, that "his moral character was never impeached except doubtfully of ambition by Theodoret."

Finally, I would take issue with Rubenstein's characterization of the Arian controversy as a whole. The very title of the book is problematic. Christians were calling Jesus "God" long before Arius came along—already in the New Testament, in fact (e.g., John 20:28; Heb. 1:8)! Even Bart Ehrman, no friend to orthodox theology and himself the author of a similarly-titled book How Jesus became God, locates the crucial development within the New Testament. For example, according to Ehrman, the Christology of John's Gospel holds that "even before he appeared, he was the Logos of God himself, a being who was God, the one through whom the entire universe was created."1 The story did not end there, of course, as the subsequent centuries saw many different Christological views develop "as theologians tried to work out the precise implications of these rather imprecise early claims made about Christ."2 Thus the Arian controversy is best described as an advanced stage of the Church's deliberation about what "Jesus is God" meant; it was not a debate over whether Jesus is God at all. Hence, the title's suggestion that Jesus became God in the mid-fourth century is "misleading," as leading patristic scholar Paul Hartog agrees (he criticizes it in the same footnote as the Da Vinci Code and for the same reason!) Of course, a carefully nuanced title might have a negative effect on sales, which is probably why Rubenstein or his publisher decided to go with the provocative approach.

Rubenstein characterizes the development of Trinitarian orthodoxy as "Doctrinally...the point at which Christianity breaks decisively with its parent faith" (p. 210). He obviously means Judaism; but most scholars today, including Jewish scholars, recognize that rabbinic Judaism (that which existed in the fourth century) was not the parent faith of Christianity but the brother (or sister?) faith of Christianity. In other words, rabbinic Judaism (which developed from Pharisaic Judaism, and from which developed modern orthodox Judaism) and Christianity were the two surviving "children" of Second Temple Judaism with all of its diversity. These two children offered competing answers to questions such as the significance of Jesus of Nazareth, the locus and practice of religion without the Jerusalem Temple, and the means by which Gentiles might become joined to the people of God. And Christians, of course, see Trinitarianism not as a break with their Second Temple Jewish roots but as the legitimate growth and flowering of those roots, developed particularly in light of their experience of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.


We have already noted Hartog's criticism of the book's misleading title. I also read two published, scholarly reviews of Rubenstein's book, one by Tim Vivian in Anglican Theological Review3 and the other by William B. Palardy in Catholic Historical Review.4 Both writers are experts: Vivian is a Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, a "dedicated scholar in the field of early Christianity, with an emphasis in Coptic Studies and early Christian Monasticism"; Palardy is a Professor of Patristic and Systematic Theology and now Rector of a seminary. Both men are priests, so their bias is obviously Trinitarian. (Unfortunately I didn't find any reviews by secular historians.)

Vivian states that Rubenstein "has succeeded in writing a lively, engaging narrative that is reasonably accurate in its details," and calls him as "a good storyteller."5 However, he laments two recent major historical works that are absent from Rubenstein's bibliography and reminds us that
good storytelling is not enough to make good history. Rubenstein's footnoting of sources is, for a popular work, generally good, but when it is spotty it raises serious concerns.6
He observes that Rubenstein's appeals to imagination are more conducive to a novel than a work of history, and states, "If...one wants to argue historically that Jesus 'became' God, then one has to look at the writings of the first century, not the fourth."7 He adds that "The decisive break between Judaism and Christianity that Rubenstein places in the fourth century actually took place three centuries earlier"8 (on this point I might suggest two centuries earlier, if one defines the decisive break sociologically rather than theologically). He continues:
Rubenstein's laudable desire to bridge the differences between Judaism and Christianity leads, however inadvertently, to tendentious history, which then produces misleading theology, in this case an idealized view of Arianism over against Nicene Christianity.9
Vivian then concludes on a conciliatory note, acknowledging his admiration for the author's "forthrightness" and "his respect for both his subject and his audience", while expressing worry that the book "may unintentionally mislead a lot of readers...because of bad history beguilingly offered."10

For his part, Palardy describes Rubenstein's style as "dramatic, provocative, and eminently readable."11 He commends Rubenstein's "skills at analyzing social and religious conflict" and his being "generally well read in the pertinent recent literature in English" despite not being a theologian nor an historian. He further praises Rubenstein's "vivid portrayals of the major personalities involved" and "the generally successful attempt at making the very technical theological terms in this debate accessible for non-specialists." He also agrees with Rubenstein that the doctrine of the Trinity enshrined in the Creed of Constantinople (381) "was radically distinctive when compared with Greco-Roman Neoplatonism and Judaism."12

Palardy also criticizes Rubenstein on a number of historical inaccuracies as well as oversimplifications about the nature of patristic Christianity. He summarizes:
In sum, Rubenstein’s work may perhaps be acceptable for the non-specialist and in undergraduate courses dealing with this period of history, so long as it is read with caution. It is certainly not recommended otherwise. There are too many errors and unsubstantiated generalizations with too few references to primary sources.13
Given this somewhat muted critical reception (none of the major journals of patristics, late antiquity or theology reviewed it, as far as I can tell), let us consider the response to Rubenstein's book among contemporary unitarians.


Generally speaking, it appears that contemporary unitarians have lapped up Rubenstein's book, praising him as an "unbiased" "historian," although Rubenstein himself does not claim to be either (recall his description of his book as a "rather unorthodox...interpretation of the Arian controversy").

A self-published refutation of the Trinity by one Nathaniel Max Rock states that Rubenstein "presents an unbiased historical perspective on the development of the Trinity Doctrine" and describes him as "first an [sic] foremost a historian."14 A reviewer at biblicalunitarian.com, Matthew Johnson, writes, "Rubenstein not only does an excellent job in retelling history, but he does it from a very unbiased viewpoint." Barbara Buzzard, wife of leading unitarian scholar Sir Anthony Buzzard, praises Rubenstein's "rather unbiased perspective" on a "very volatile subject." (Her review, which is full of anti-Trinitarian polemic, is basically an apologetic for Rubenstein's thesis).15 She says Rubenstein "has managed to unearth the nuts and bolts of this conference and describe the goings on as if they were a suspense novel." But what exactly has Rubenstein "unearthed"? Anything that was not taken from his secondary sources was supplied by his own imagination—including much of the vivid detail that gives Rubenstein's narrative a "suspense novel" feel!

Philosopher (and unitarian) Prof. Dale Tuggy writes of the Arian conflict, "This controversy was complex, and has been much illuminated by recent historians," citing Rubenstein's work amongst others.16 This is a surprising statement from an academic, since Rubenstein is not a historian, and does not "illuminate" the history of the controversy in any academic sense.

The unitarian apologetic tome One God & One Lord relies on Rubenstein's book as a historical source, and at one point prefaces a quotation from the book thus: "Rubenstein points out the illogic of the assertion that 'God can do anything.'"17 However, the quoted portion is not Rubenstein's point but a reconstruction of what Arius said when testifying against Athanasius before Constantine (admittedly, a reconstruction seemingly drawn from Rubenstein's imagination, and thus perhaps indirectly reflecting his own ideas).

Another unitarian website places Rubenstein's book on a "Recommended Reading List," nestled among scholarly works like Dunn's Christology in the Making and N.T. Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God.

In summary, it appears that, by and large, biblical unitarians—even those of an academic bent—have accepted Rubenstein's book uncritically, overlooking its historiographical shortcomings and mistaking like-mindedness for unbiasedness in order to harness certain of its emphases for apologetic ends. None of the reviews or citations above, as far as I can tell, are the least bit critical of Rubenstein's book, nor do they show any awareness that it is not a scholarly historical work. For the most part, Rubenstein's vivid portrayal of the violence and political intrigue in the Arian controversy is simply steered into an attack on the theological legitimacy of Trinitarian orthodoxy.


The Arian controversy was an unpleasant chapter in Church history, and we are in Rubenstein's debt for retelling the story so vividly since, as it has been said, those who are ignorant of history are condemned to repeat it. However, it needs to be stressed first that the book is a popular work; Rubenstein is not a historian and the genre of his book is better described as a historical drama than a history. For a more sober, less imaginative reconstruction of the events and personalities one should consult a scholarly historiographical work that interacts critically with the primary sources in their original languages. Secondly, Rubenstein's bias is by his own admission "unorthodox"; he writes from the viewpoint of a secular American Jew. (There is nothing wrong with this, of course, and it is very interesting to hear this perspective on the controversy.) His narrative seems reasonably fair in its respective characterization of the Arians and Nicenes, but at certain points slants in an unduly pro-Arian direction, and one detects a bit too much enthusiasm in his vilification of revered Church figures like Athanasius (whom he compares to Vladimir Lenin).

A probably unintended consequence of Rubenstein's work is that it has attained the status of a cult classic18 among biblical unitarians, who view it as adding credibility to their interpretation of the Arian controversy as a politically motivated hijacking of Christian theology. I would recommend that unitarian readers be more critical in their reception of the book and base historical-theological arguments concerning the Arian controversy on scholarly histories rather than popular historical dramas. Moreover, as mentioned above, Rubenstein's book—and it may in this respect qualify as a "hostile witness"—attests that the Trinitarian dogma that emerged from the Arian controversy as orthodoxy was a theological consensus achieved through theological reflection and dialogue between the Nicene and conservative Arian parties (who together represented a majority in the Church). By contrast, a theological view corresponding to biblical unitarianism, if it existed at all in the fourth century Church, was restricted to the most radical fringe of the Arian party. And, without justifying the political action involved in either case, it must be conceded that whereas all State attempts to extinguish Christianity during the period of pagan rule failed, the State under Christian rule succeeded in extinguishing Arianism:
Arianism in its original form disappeared rapidly as a living force within the Roman Empire, and by the seventh century the last of the Arian tribes in Western Europe had been converted to Catholicism. (p. 227)
As I have argued previously, this extinction shows that, by the "Gamaliel criterion" endorsed in the Book of Acts, Arianism was not of God. Meanwhile, the Trinitarian orthodoxy achieved in the late fourth century has stood for over 1600 years, and despite schisms over other issues, remains the creed and foundation for ecumenical dialogue among Roman Catholics, the various Orthodox Churches and the various Protestant denominations. Weighed against the acrimony, violence and shifting balance of power during the Arian controversy, the durability of this ancient consensus is truly remarkable—perhaps even miraculous!

Footnotes

  • 1 Ehrman, Bart D. (2014). How Jesus became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. New York: HarperOne, p. 146.
  • 2 Ehrman, op. cit., p. 149.
  • 3 Vivian, Tim (2001). When Jesus Became God: The Struggle to Define Christianity During the Last Days of Rome [Review Article]. Anglical Theological Review, 83(3), 649-51.
  • 4 Palardy, William B. (2000). When Jesus Became God: The Epic Fight over Christ's Divinity in the Last Days of Rome [Review Article]. Catholic Historical Review, 86(3), 483-85.
  • 5 Vivian, op. cit., p. 649.
  • 6 Vivian, op. cit., p. 650.
  • 7 Vivian, op. cit., p. 650.
  • 8 Vivian, op. cit., p. 651.
  • 9 Vivian, op. cit., p. 651.
  • 10 Vivian, op. cit., p. 651.
  • 11 Palardy, op. cit., p. 483.
  • 12 Palardy, op. cit., p. 483.
  • 13 Palardy, op. cit., p. 484.
  • 14 Rock, Nathaniel Max (2006). Christ is not God: A Powerful Deception. Published by author, p. 89.
  • 15 The review itself is "an attempt to show" (from Rubenstein's book) how Jesus "became God officially at Nicea". Having enthusiastically thanked Rubenstein for his "exposure of the roots of Trinitarian dogma," she ridicules the Church Father Gregory of Nyssa for describing the Trinity as a paradox ("Say what?!"), which she thinks is equivalent to a square circle. She asks, "How is it that 1700 years later we are still cowering under their very faulty leadership and the unscriptural “rules” they made up as the trinity was “invented”?"
  • 16 Tuggy, Dale (2013). "Trinity". In Edward N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2013/entries/trinity. Accessed at Google Books in a self-published book version, p. 85.
  • 17 Graeser, Mark H., Lynn, John A. & Schoenheit, John W. (2003). One God & One Lord: Reconsidering the Cornerstone of the Christian Faith (3rd edn). Indianapolis: Christian Educational Services, p. 368.
  • 18 I use this term in its usual sense, meaning a work that is popular among a particular demographic, without any of the pejorative connotation which the word 'cult' has when applied to sectarian religious groups. See here for my disavowal of the use of the term 'cult' for Christadelphians.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Are Christadelphians Unitarian, Socinian, or something else?

Defining the question
Repudiation of Unitarianism and Socinianism by Dr. John Thomas
Subsequent Christadelphian appropriation of the labels 'Unitarian' and 'Socinian'
External descriptions of Christadelphians in relation to Unitarians and Socinians
Conclusions

First, we need to define what is meant by 'Unitarian' (or 'unitarian'). Cross and Livingstone, in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, provide a good working definition: 'A type of Christian thought and religious observance which rejects the doctrines of the Trinity and the Divinity of Christ in favour of the unipersonality of God'.1

In terms of the history of Unitarianism, Cross and Livingstone write, 'Though the unipersonality of God was voiced in the early Church in the various forms of Monarchianism, modern Unitarianism dates historically from the Reformation era.'2 Famous early Unitarians (16th century) include Michael Servetus, George Blandrata and Faustus Socinus (from whose name the term 'Socinianism', synonymous with Unitarianism as a theological concept, is taken). These early Unitarians shared with their orthodox contemporaries a belief in the truth and authority of Scripture.  Although Socinianism was stamped out in Poland by the Counter-Reformation, 'in England, a thin lineage of Socinian thought survived to inspire what would become British Unitarianism in the 18th century.'3

During the 19th century, Unitarianism as a movement became increasingly liberal theologically.4 5 Indeed, this shift is visible already in the writings of the prominent Unitarian Joseph Priestley (1733-1804).6 In the 20th century, the Unitarians in America merged with the Universalists to form the Unitarian Universalist group, which is extremely liberal and bears little ideological resemblance to the 16th century version of Unitarianism.7

However, pockets of more conservative Unitarians have survived, referring to themselves as 'biblical Unitarians' (or 'biblical unitarians') to distinguish themselves from liberal Unitarians. Biblical Unitarianism is not a religious group as such but a theological label. It has been adopted, in particular, by the Atlanta-based Church of God General Conference, which produces a publication entitled Journal from the Radical Reformation: A Testimony to Biblical Unitarianism. A website of the 'Christian Churches of God' carefully distinguishes between the terms 'Radical Unitarian' and 'Biblical Unitarian' and lays claim to the latter designation.

When we ask whether Christadelphians are Unitarian, therefore, we are not asking whether Christadelphians belong to the religion known as Unitarianism (or Unitarian Universalism). We are asking whether Christadelphians are theologically Unitarian, that is, sharing the view of God and Christ that was advocated by Servetus, Blandrata and Socinus, and is advocated by self-professed biblical Unitarians today.


If we look to the writings of Dr. Thomas, the founder of the Christadelphian sect, we find that he expressed strong antipathy toward Unitarianism and Socinianism throughout his whole career as a polemicist. We find statements opposing these theological positions in his pre-Christadelphian writings in The Apostolic Advocate (1834) right up to the publication of Phanerosis, his pamphlet on the nature of God published in 1869, two years before his death. Below is a survey of Dr. Thomas' statements on the matter.

The following was written by Dr. Thomas in 1834, over a decade before his final baptism and founding of the sect that was to become the Christadelphians:
I have been informed that the Clergy among you... have resorted to their old weapons of warfare, and instead of fairly meeting the arguments and testimonies we have laid before you, and candidly and openly refuting them - they have, I say, endeavored to rouse your prejudices, and thus to pervert all equity and right judgment. Instead of opposing the Gospel, we proclaimed to you by reason and Scripture, they have misrepresented us and abused your minds by imposing upon you the false accusation - that we deny the Divinity of the Saviour, and have identified ourselves with Unitarians. Friends! This is a gross slander, a downright falsehood... We maintain all that the Law, the Prophets, the Psalms, and the Apostles testify concerning Jesus - we speak of him and his Divine Person in the language of Holy Writ - we worship him as God - we adore him as our Prophet, Priest, King, and Judge - and we ascribe all honor, might, majesty and dominion to Him as our exalted Messiah, Prince, Lord and Saviour for evermore. As for the vain babblings of the Clergy - a class of men puffed up with a conceit of their own importance, and fancied infallibility (we speak now of all Clergy from His Holiness the Pope down to an itinerant preacher) - as to their speculations on Arianism, Trinitarianism, and Unitarianism, or any other ism, we have nothing to do with them, except to expose their fallacy and nonsense: - we find no such words in the whole Bible, and therefore we know there are no such ideas there as they represent - for words are signs of ideas, and where the words are not, sure we are, the ideas are wanting likewise. Our rule is to speak of Bible things in Bible words, and to leave all vain, idle, and untaught questions to the Clergy and the Schools... [such dogmas] are an abomination in the eyes of the Exalted Son of God.8
Almost two decades later, having written Elpis Israel and begun the evangelistic endeavours through which his nascent sect coalesced, Dr. Thomas responded thus to a journalist who referred to his magazine, The Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, as 'a specimen of low scurrilous Socinianism and Universalism': 
The readers of the Herald well know that its pages are never defaced by Socinianism or Universalism, which, like Calvinism and Arminianism, equally as absurd creeds, are removed from my faith as widely as the poles asunder9
According to Christadelphian historian Peter Hemingray, Dr. Thomas' understanding of the nature of Christ and God was not fully developed until a series of articles written in the Herald in 1857-1859.10 In the midst of this material we find the following:
But the New Man of the Spirit is free, looking searchingly into the perfect law of liberty, and having no respect to "the philosophy and empty delusion," and antitheses of gnosis, or "oppositions of science," falsely so called, in which the flesh delights. He troubles not himself about Trinitarianism, or Antitrinitarianism, Unitarianism, Arianism, or Socinianism. He has no more deference for these than for any other of "the works of the Devil," or for the Old Man himself.11
In 1869, Dr. Thomas published Phanerosis, a pamphlet based on his earlier Herald material that definitively expressed his understanding of the nature of God (which I have briefly critiqued elsewhere). In the preface he wrote thus:
The Author is enabled to present the thinking and truth-seeking portion of the public with this exegesis of the "great mystery," revealed through the Son, and preached by the apostles, but afterwards so grossly perverted by the traditions of the Trinitarians, Arians, and Unitarians, through the liberality of one, who having found "the truth as it is in Jesus," has not only laid fast hold of it, but seeks to introduce it to the notice of others.12
Toward the end of the work, having argued for his doctrine of 'God manifestation', Dr. Thomas summarized:
These things having been demonstrated: much rubbish has been cleared away; Trinitarianism and Unitarianism have both received a quietus. There are not three Gods in the Godhead, nor are there but three in manifestation; nevertheless, the Father is God, and Jesus is God; and we may add, so are all the brethren of Jesus gods; and ‘a multitude which no man can number.’ The Godhead is the homogeneous fountain of the Deity; these other gods are the many streams from which this fountain flow. The springhead of Deity is one, not many; the streams as numerous as the orbs of the universe, in which a manifestation of Deity may have hitherto occurred.13
We can summarize Dr. Thomas' ideas in the above quotations with the following observations:

1. Dr. Thomas' antipathy toward Unitarianism and Socinianism appears to have equaled his antipathy toward Trinitarianism and Arianism: all were described using terms like absurd, nonsense, rubbish, abomination, works of the devil, etc.
2. By essentially condemning all major doctrinal positions on the nature of God and Christ known from Church history, Dr. Thomas implicitly declared that his own position was completely new and unprecedented (although, of course, he thought it was the position of the apostles and prophets of old).
3. Dr. Thomas' objections to Unitarianism were both Christological (in that Unitarianism denied the deity of Christ) and theo-logical (in that Unitarianism denied the notion of many gods streaming from a single fountain-head).

Subsequent Christadelphian appropriation of the labels 'Unitarian' and 'Socinian'

Notwithstanding the strenuous opposition to Socinian and Unitarian theologies by the founder of their sect, the majority of Christadelphians would eventually come to adopt these labels for themselves. Documenting exactly how this shift took place is beyond the scope of this article. One possibility that merits further investigation is that Robert Roberts', by deciding not to include any detailed proposition about the Phanerosis doctrine in the Christadelphian Statement of Faith, signaled that this doctrine was not core Christadelphian dogma. This paved the way for subsequent generations to tone down what they increasingly recognized to be an idiosyncratic theological position. The God manifestation concept has not been abandoned by Christadelphians but it is certainly less prominent today and expressed in far milder language than Dr. Thomas' talk of a plurality of Gods.

It is reasonably clear that today, Christadelphians widely self-identify as Unitarians, or more specifically as biblical Unitarians. The very first sentence of the Wikipedia page on Christadelphians declares that the group holds 'a view of Biblical Unitarianism.' If this statement were controversial among contemporary Christadelphian web users, presumably it would have been challenged by now. Similarly, the Wikipedia page on Biblical Unitarianism identifies Christadelphians among the two most visible religious denominations that 'could be identified as "biblical unitarian".' Moreover, in his online debate on the Trinity with Rob Bowman, Christadelphian apologist Dave Burke identifies Christadelphians as 'the largest Biblical Unitarian denomination', distinguishing 'Biblical Unitarians' from two other kinds of Unitarians, namely 'Rationalist Unitarians (who do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God) and Universalist Unitarians (who believe that all people will be saved, regardless of what they believe'. A strict dichotomy between 'Unitarian theology' and 'Trinitarianism' is maintained throughout his argument. There is no hint of Dr. Thomas' rubbishing of both Trinitarianism and Unitarianism in favour of a third alternative.

Similarly, contemporary Christadelphians have embraced the Socinians as their theological forebears. This is particularly evident in Alan Eyre's historiographical works The Protesters and Brethren in Christ, which have enjoyed great popularity within the Christadelphian community. (Interestingly, Eyre suggested that while the 'Polish Brethren' had 'Scriptural' and 'reverent' teachings, Christadelphian theology represented a further advance specifically in its doctrine of God manifestation.) Another Christadelphian writer, Ruth McHaffie, has observed in her book Brethren Indeed? how Christadelphians began in the 1970s, mainly as a result of Alan Eyre's work, to trace their history back beyond Dr. John Thomas to the Anabaptists and the Polish Brethren in particular.14

In a recent pamphlet designed to introduce the Christadelphian community to the public, and hosted on one of the main Christadelphian-run websites, Rob Hyndman15 writes:
The beliefs and practices of the Christadelphians can be traced from the New Testament to the earliest Christians of the 1st and 2nd Centuries in documents such as the Epistle of Clement, The Didache and The Apostles’ Creed. With the advent of religious freedom in Europe in the 16th Century Reformation, the same beliefs and practices resurfaced in Bible-minded groups such as the Swiss Anabaptists and Polish Socinians.16
It is safe to say that the consensus of today's Christadelphians, in marked contrast to the founder of their sect, is to identify themselves as Unitarians in the Socinian tradition. One still finds Christadelphians who reject the label 'Unitarian'. However, this is simply because of the associations of the term with a denial of the virgin birth, a doctrine that Christadelphians dogmatically uphold.17 Such writers might embrace the label 'biblical Unitarian' if they were aware of it. There is scant evidence of contemporary Christadelphians who reject the label 'Unitarian' outright for the same reasons as Dr. Thomas, although strong proponents of his radical God-manifestation doctrine do remain.
Note: the previous paragraph has been edited to remove a reference to a blog post arguing that Christadelphians are not Unitarians. The author may have been a Christadelphian at the time of writing, but he has apparently since left the Christadelphians and is regarded as a disgruntled individual.


Given that the founder of Christadelphians regarded Unitarianism and Socinianism as abominable and yet that contemporary Christadelphians have largely embraced these labels and the concepts they name, it will be no surprise to find that non-Christadelphians, when describing the Christadelphian belief system, differ on whether it is Unitarian or Socinian or neither.

Geach regards the Christadelphians as straightforwardly the continuation of Socinianism:
But Socinianism still continues to exist in its traditional English seat; those who followed the old paths formed a new sect, at first nameless, now called Christadelphians.18
Similarly, Bray describes Christadelphians as a form of unitarianism: 
Another form of unitarianism is Christadelphianism, whose beliefs go back to John Thomas (1805-1871). Christadelphians are more orthodox than Unitarian Universalists are, but like them, they also deny the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit.19
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary describes Christadelphians as a religious sect which 'rejects the doctrine of the Trinity in favour of a Unitarian and Adventist theology.' Christian apologetics website tektonics.org flatly asserts that 'Christadelphians are Unitarians.' Biblical scholar James McGrath uses the term 'Unitarian evangelical churches' to describe the source of some non-trinitarian popular literature he cites that includes a Christadelphian book.20

Other writers demur to call Christadelphians Unitarian. Clementson stresses that 'Christadelphians do not describe themselves as unitarian'.21 Edwards states:
Christadelphians are not therefore Trinitarian, neither are they Unitarian, because they hold to the belief that Jesus was and still is literally the Son of God as the scriptures describe.22
These writers are likely contrasting Christadelphian theology with liberal Unitarianism and may be unaware of the term 'biblical Unitarian' or that many Christadelphians today have embraced it. A more nuanced discussion of whether Christadelphians are Unitarian, Socinian, or something else are found in Bryan Wilson's sociological study of Christadelphians. It is worth quoting him at length:
In referring to the Christadelphians some writers have styled the movement's theology as unitarian, but this designation obscures rather than clarifies the Christadelphian position. Certainly Christadelphianism is avowedly anti-trinitarian, and attacks what it calls the triune God of many Christians. Christadelphians believe in one God, the Father... The designation "unitarian" relates most specifically to the opinion held concerning the nature of Jesus Christ, and the thorough unitarian position is to deny the deity, divinity and pre-existence of Christ. This, however, is not the opinion of Christadelphians, who, whilst they assert that Jesus was a man, also stress that he was the Son of God, begotten of Mary by the Holy Spirit. Jesus is understood to have had a like nature to that of mortal man, being himself born of woman and thus a sufferer of the consequence of Adam's transgression - death, which, by Adam's sin, comes to all mankind. But Jesus was also Immanuel, God manifest in the flesh... The nature of Jesus has been a matter of profound contention among Christadelphians, giving rise to a variety of schisms, on the part of those who have stressed his humanity or his divinity. The magnitude of these schisms should not be over-stressed, however, and the position of the Central Fellowship is quite clear. Jesus was born of unclean flesh... Yet it is also emphasised that Jesus possessed a knowledge and discernment beyond those of other men, and was gifted with the limitless power of the Holy Spirit in his life. He was not simply a man, for Deity dwelt in him... The distinction of Christadelphian teaching from a unitarian position is apparent, although it shares much common ground with a Socinian or Arian position, yet with some differences. Christadelphians do not deny the divinity of Jesus, indeed they believe it23
Thus, for Wilson, Christadelphians are neither Unitarian nor Socinian because, despite similarities, they believe in the divinity of Jesus (albeit not in the same sense as Trinitarians).

More recently, Ruth Sutcliffe, has written a theological work which offers a defense of the doctrine of the Trinity in dialogue with Christadelphian, Arian and Unitarian positions. Sutcliffe avers that Christadelphians, 'contrary to some erroneous assertions, are most definitely not Unitarians'.24 Her explanation runs thus:
Although Christadelphians deny the trinitarian understanding of the Godhead, they most certainly affirm that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary by the miraculous intervention of the Holy Spirit and that neither Joseph nor any other man was involved in Jesus' conception.25
It appears that Sutcliffe is using the term Unitarian exclusively for liberal Unitarianism which denies the virgin birth, and not inclusive of the designation 'biblical Unitarian'. However, she elsewhere addresses the question 'Are Christadelphians Socinians?' with considerable erudition. While noting that John Thomas 'denied that the group is Socinian',26 she identifies similarities between Socinian and Christadelphian teaching, such as their shared denial of the Trinity and the pre-existence of Christ. However, after further analysis of Christadelphian sources she concludes:
Despite the similarities with Socinianism, ultimately it seems fruitless to label the Christadelphian position on the Godhead with any other historical, divergent teaching. It is much more appropriate to call it what they themselves call it; the doctrine of "God manifestation," and seek to understand what they actually mean by this.27
This functions as a segue into a discussion of the traditional Christadelphian God manifestation doctrine. Hence, Sutcliffe finds that Christadelphians are not (liberal) Unitarians, and are similar to Socinians but still ought to be regarded as distinct due to their unique ideas about God manifestation.


Our findings may be summarized as follows. First, the term 'Unitarian' is multivalent. It can be used of non-Trinitarians of the Radical Reformation (including the Polish Socinians), the later 18th-century English Unitarian movement which gradually became more rationalistic and liberal in the 19th century, and the extremely liberal Unitarian (Universalist) movement of today. It is also, albeit usually with the prefix 'biblical', used by and of conservative Christians today who maintain the unipersonality of God and deny the pre-existence of Christ.

Second, Dr. Thomas emphatically repudiated Unitarianism as well as Socinianism, because he regarded both as incompatible with his understanding of the nature of Christ (since he maintained Christ's divinity, albeit in unorthodox form) and of the nature of God (in which Deity consists of many streams supported by a single fountain-head).

Third, Dr. Thomas' antagonism toward Unitarianism and Socinianism has all but vanished in the Christadelphian community of today. What he regarded as abominable nonsense and works of the devil, they claim as their own. The God-manifestation doctrine still seems to be regarded favourably by many, but unlike its progenitor, contemporary proponents of the doctrine seem to regard it as compatible with Unitarianism.

Fourth, some external literature describes Christadelphians as Unitarian, while others emphasizes that Christadelphians are not such. It seems that the divergence in description is partly due to varying scope for the term 'Unitarian' but also partly due to a failure by some scholars to appreciate the subtle but important theological differences between Christadelphians and all other 'Unitarians', past and present. For similar reasons, some external literature identifies Christadelphians as the continuation of Socinianism, while other literature demurs on this identification.

It is therefore impossible to offer a straightforward answer to the titular question. The founder of the Christadelphians was decidedly neither Unitarian in any sense nor Socinian. Christadelphians later gravitated back toward (biblical) Unitarian and Socinian positions, and many today are happy to apply these labels to themselves. However, the enduring influence of Dr. Thomas' God-manifestation doctrine - more pronounced in some Christadelphian circles than others - means that in substance, Christadelphians are still unique in their understanding of the nature of God and of Christ. Ruth Sutcliffe is right that no historical label fully captures the singularity of Christadelphian theology.

Footnotes

  • 1 Cross, Frank Leslie & Livingstone, Elizabeth A. (Eds.). (2005) Unitarianism. In The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, pp. 1671-1672. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 1671.
  • 2 ibid. Similarly, Ellwood and Alles: 'Modern Unitarianism began with radical Reformation anti-Trinitarian movements in 16th- and 17th-century Poland and Transylvania' (Ellwood, R.S. & Alles, G.D. (Eds.). (2009). Encyclopedia of World Religions. New York: Infobase Publishing, p. 458).
  • 3 Melton, J.G. (2010). Socinianism. In Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. New York: ABC-CLIO, p. 2656.
  • 4 As the 19th century wore on, 'a new school of Unitarianism developed, which was anti-supernaturalist...which rejected the uniqueness of Christianity' (Kent, J. (1983). Unitarianism. In The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, p. 591).
  • 5 'Before the end of the 19th cent. Unitarianism in America had become a very liberal or rationalistic movement, accepting scientific methods and ideas and recognizing the truth of non-Christian religions' (Cross & Livingstone, op. cit.)
  • 6 'In sum Priestley's theological thoughts centered on the rejection of Protestant orthodoxy's most important theological positions. He denounced the Trinity as untenable and specifically denied any evidence for the Holy Spirit. He detested the concepts of original sin and the atonement as misunderstandings and corruptions of man's relationship to God. He likewise rejected the virgin birth as a contrived theological fallacy. His views on materialism - the corporeal soul and its resurrection at the time of the second coming - were further rejections of Calvinist interpretations of the end times. Biblical inerrancy, a topic which Priestley approached with subtle distinctions, was most often, when employed by the Protestant majority, an error of reasoning or a misapplication of scripture.' (Bowers, J.D. (2010). Joseph Priestley and English Unitarianism in America. Penn State Press, p. 36)
  • 7 'In the 20th and 21st centuries, some Unitarians no longer call themselves Christians or believers in God but proponents of religious humanism.' (Ellwood and Alles, op. cit.)
  • 8 Thomas, John. (1834). The Apostolic Advocate, Vol. 1, p. 47 (emphasis added). Whether Dr. Thomas would still have declared of Jesus, 'We worship him as God' in his later years is doubtful.
  • 9 Thomas, John. (1853). The Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Vol. 3, p. 150.
  • 10 Hemingray, Peter. (2003). John Thomas: His Friends and His Faith. Christadelphian Tidings, p. 267.
  • 11 Thomas, John. (1858). The Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Vol. 8, p. 16. Reproduced verbatim in Thomas, John. (1869). Phanerosis: An Exposition of the Doctrine of The Old and New Testament Concerning The Manifestation of the Invisible Eternal God in Human Nature, p. 11.
  • 12 Thomas, Phanerosis, preface, p. vi.
  • 13 op. cit., p. 39.
  • 14 McHaffie, Ruth. Brethren Indeed, p. 14.
  • 15 The writer has since left the Christadelphian community and become an agnostic.
  • 16 Hyndman, Rob. (1999). The Christadelphians (Brothers and Sisters in Christ): Introducing a Bible-Based Community.
  • 17 For example, one B.M. Johns, in a debate on the Trinity by correspondence, clarified that he was unable to defend the 'Unitarian' position because of its view that Jesus is the son of Joseph. Similarly, on the Antipas Christadelphians website, a writer comments on the Websters Dictionary entry on Christadelphians: 'Since they do not understand our concept of the Godhead, they state that we are like Unitarians.' He objects to this characterization on the grounds that Christadelphians affirm that God the Father, not Joseph, was the father of Jesus.
  • 18 Geach, P.T. (1981). The Religion of Thomas Hobbes. Religious Studies, 17(4), 549-558. p. 553. Elsewhere, Geach writes, 'Socinianism lives on under the new label of Christadelphianism' (Geach, Peter. (1991). A Philosophical Autobiography. In Harry A. Lewis (Ed.), Peter Geach: Philosophical Encounters (pp. 1-25). New York: Springer, p. 21).
  • 19 Bray, Gerald. (2012). God is Love: A Biblical and Systematic Theology. Wheaton: Crossway Books, p. 449.
  • 20 McGrath, James F. (2009). The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in its Jewish Context. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, p. 130.
  • 21 Clementson, Julian. (2003). The Christadelphians and the Doctrine of the Trinity. Evangelical Quarterly, 75(2), 157-176. Here p. 158.
  • 22 Edwards, Linda. (2001). A Brief Guide to Beliefs: Ideas, Theologies, Mysteries, and Movements. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, p. 422. Similarly, Chryssides describes the Christadelphians as 'non-Trinitarian' but also 'non-Unitarian' since they affirm 'Jesus as God's only begotten Son, who atoned for human sin, not merely as a great teacher and example (Chryssides, George D. (2012). Historical Dictionary of New Religious Movements. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, p. 82.)
  • 23 Wilson, Bryan R. (1961). Sects and Society: A Sociological Study of the Elim Tabernacle, Christian Science, and Christadelphians. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 222-223.
  • 24 Sutcliffe, Ruth. (2016). The Trinity Hurdle: Engaging Christadelphians, Arians, and Unitarians with the Gospel of the Triune God. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, pp. 144-145.
  • 25 op. cit., p. 31.
  • 26 op. cit., p. 147.
  • 27 op. cit., p. 148.