that God was not a trinity, or that Jesus was not God.
While reading through the gospels recently, I came across a passage of Scripture that jumped out at me in this regard.
Mark 12:28-34 reads as follows:
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?"
29 Jesus answered, "The most important is,
'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'
31 The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
32 And the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher.
You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.
33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."
34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
--Mark 12:28-34 (ESV)
In verse 29, Jesus is quoting from Deuteronomy chapter six;
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one."
This is called the "shema" and to this day you will hear it recited in every Jewish synagogue, and hear it on the lips of every sincere Jew. It is now, and was in the days of Jesus, the creed of Israel. It is the thing which made the nation of Israel stand out from the other nations; the belief in ONE God. But more than just one God with regard to those whose practice was to worship multiple gods, the shema is a declaration
that God is a singular Being!
Notice in verse 32 that the scribe agreed with Jesus by saying
"You have truly said that he is one..."
But then he adds "...there is no other besides him."
If this was the creed of Jesus, should it not be the creed of any and all who claim to follow Jesus?
Should not every Christian declare, along with Jesus, that God is ONE?
The practicality of seeing that Yahweh alone is God, and Jesus is not, is immense.
Belief in the trinity requires a philosophical outlook that is not supported in the plain language of the Bible. It requires us to love and trust a God we cannot possibly hope to understand or relate to in any way. It reduces our knowledge of God to a philosophical concept, and it's difficult to love and trust a philosophical concept!
On the other hand, Jesus teaches us that God is a singular being - a person - worthy of our love and trust.
Jesus, quoting Hebrew Scripture, affirmed that the greatest of the commandments is to "love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." When I believed in God as a trinity, I generally always associated God with Jesus and therefore unwittingly gave him the glory that was due to God alone. By following the example of Jesus and affirming that God is ONE, we can love and trust God in the way that Jesus taught us. At the same time, we can give Jesus all the praise due to his name without confusing him with God.
If the Bible is God's message to mankind, and I believe it is, then it honors Him when we take Him at His word.
This is a call for the Church to awaken from the stupor of Greek philosophy and tradition.
God be God, and let Jesus be who he said he is...
the Messiah... the anointed one... God's chosen servant.