In Original Christianity the Deity of Christ and the Trinity Were Neither Promoted or Even Taught

Despite the overwhelming emphasis on the importance of the deity of Christ and the Trinity by most Christian groups since the Council of Nicaea, neither of these concepts was promoted or even taught by original, primitive Christianity. While Trinitarians have argued that verses like “I and my father are one”, and “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God” mean that the deity of Christ and the Trinity was always taught, there are no records where these concepts are promoted as the faith was birthed.

Many Original Christians Believed That the Son Was Subordinate to the Father

It is understood by many theologians that original, primitive Christians did not accept the deity of Christ and the trinity. For example, look at this:

“Undoubtedly, many of the first Christians, if asked to describe the relationship between Jesus and the father, would have done so in adoptionistic terms.”[1] Adoptionism, or dynamic monarchism, “holds that Jesus is the man endowed with a special power from God and thus in a way adopted as God’s son.”[2]

So we have Harold Brown, in his book on heresies where a substantial amount of material is focused on the deity of Christ and the trinity as requirements for orthodoxy from the fourth century on, candidly stating that this wasn’t always the case.

There Is No Evidence That the Deity of Christ or the Trinity Was Promoted At All

Most Trinitarians will readily admit that the word “trinity” is not in the bible. They will then go on to show how despite that deity of Christ and the trinity is in verses like “I and my father are one”, and “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God” My point is that even if verses like this do build a case for the deity of Christ and the trinity (which I am not necessarily saying is a valid argument), the gospels, the book of acts, and pastoral epistles have a lot of references to what was taught by Christ and the Apostles to the masses, and the deity of Christ and the Trinity are not central to what they taught. Jesus taught people simple parables about the Kingdom of God, and how citizens of the Kingdom acted.

The book of Acts is redundant in examples of teachings of how Christ fulfilled the law and the prophets and is the messiah. In Acts the big concerns were the resurrection, and whether the new disciples received the holy spirit when they believed. Paul’s epistles are treatises, but even he himself says that he writes differently than he is in person. (2 Cor 10:10) We see from Acts that when Paul was with followers and prospective converts he argued that Jesus was the Christ in fulfillment of the scriptures.

Paul, as his custom was, went in unto them, and for three sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
opening and alleging that it behooved the Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom, said he, I proclaim unto you, is the Christ.[ Acts 17:2-3 ]

[1] HERESIES, Heresy And Orthodoxy In The History Of The Church, Harold O. J. Brown, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts, 1988, p.96
[2] ibid.

© copyright Mark W Smith 2009-2022, All rights reserved. Last Revised 12/11/2022

Scroll to Top