Shalom! My name is Adam Pastor

Welcome to ADONI MESSIAH which means
"My Lord Messiah" -
a fitting epithet to who Jesus (or Yeshua) is!

Here, I attempt to present the Apostolic Truths according to the Scriptures, that there is
One GOD, the Father, namely, YAHWEH,
and One Lord, GOD's only begotten Son,
Yeshua the Messiah.

And that one day YAHWEH will send His Son back to Earth to inaugurate the Everlasting Kingdom of GOD


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sean Holbrook's Testimony: From Trinitarianism to [Biblical] Unitarianism

From Trinitarianism to [Biblical] Unitarianism: My testimony

(Originally posted: September 19, 2015)
I made a short video testimony back in March 2014 regarding my change of mind and a few of the objections that caused me great stir in my own beliefs as a trinitarian.  But I said in that video that I wanted to eventually make another video with a more full testimony of my repentance from the false idol of trinitarianism to the one true and living God YHWH, the Father of our lord Jesus Messiah (Jer 10:10, Matt 16:16, 1 Thess 1:9-10).  This will be the beginning of this testimony in text that will be recorded in a video/audio soon with as much as I can remember regarding all the events that caused me to change my mind.  And be assured, this was no easy change of mind in all the time I took to study out this issue (and continue to study)….  it caused me great grief over time as I began to learn more and more regarding all the deception of trinitarian songs, translations, bias, and outright lies spread to uphold the trinitarian idol.  It caused me great grief in the deception of my close friends and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who were likely not even studying the doctrine in the manner of depth which I was giving to it.  I fought it, I wanted it to be true, I tried to make it work… and in the end it did not work.  Here is the story of the truth of my testimony from as much detail as I can recall. I started to write this over a year ago and put it off.  It has been a long time since I originally planned to make a testimony, so it is quite fuzzy now.  Some dialogue recollections are likely not perfect, but the general context is there.
I do not recall the exact time this occurred (sometime in the summer/fall 2012), but my first sort of “ah-ha” moment that caused me to give a second thought was a small debate I got into with a fellow brother regarding Isaiah 14 being about satan or a wicked king based on the context.  But one verse in particular was regarding the fact that this “being” who fell was called a “man.”(Isaiah 14:16)  Going into the full discussion is irrelevant, but my brother brought the argument of the trinity and the meaning of “person” into the discussion for some reason to attempt to back up his view that it was regarding a past fall of satan.  As I began to think about his claims more and more…  I eventually admitted openly both to myself (and in my objection to him) that the trinity and ideal of “person” was not founded on the Bible, but a man made description to understand a concept that (I thought at that time) was taught in the Bible.  I realized that God is not really a “person,” and that word didn’t really seem to fit because that would make each of the “persons” of the trinity into clearly individuals who are each separately God in their own right, and 3 Gods.  That was my first stir moment, but it didn’t really cause me tons of unrest.  It was just categorized and put away in my thoughts not to really arise again until many months later.
Then around the time of December 2012 – January 2013 I had been reading the Bible and some verses caught my eye that had not before despite my usage of them in speaking with other people regarding the Gospel.  
The main verse I remember is John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know Youthe only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (NKJV).  It’s fairly straight-forward in the verse. Jesus is speaking and praying to the Father (v.1) and claims in regards to eternal life one must know the only true God and himself. 
Obviously Jesus is not aligning himself with being the only true God in this text. He’s naming only one person (in trinitarian terms) as that God, his Father.  So that was another moment that caught my attention, yet it was still not enough to make me change my mind or cause me any larger concern.  It was also filed away as “interesting, but I’ll look into it another time.”
As February/March of 2013 rolled around, our elders of Refining Fire Fellowship said they were going to begin doing a “foundations” series with roughly 10 major topics.  They wanted to give newer believers a good start with contextual attempts to explain and found themselves in major topics regarding the Scriptures. “Awesome!” I thought at the time. They were also going to start with God and go in deeper on the trinity.  I was ready and I wanted to see their defense of it from Scripture because I hadn’t studied it in great depth.  I just knew some basics and how to defend it against Jehovah’s Witnesses for the most part.  I knew the verses that “proved” Jesus was God, but I wanted more.  ...
So we get into it, finally!  And while I’m not going to go through all the teachings of Kevin [Lovell] right now to pull out every text I could show he misused now… I will go through what texts and teachings caught my attention back then.  We soon started with one of the main texts, Deuteronomy 6:4, the Sh’ma!  So Kevin goes over the idea that Hebrew word “echad” is not the Hebrew word “yachid.”  That God specifically used this special word “echad,” and it can refer to a “compound unity.”  He then goes to a few specific verses like Genesis 1:5 referring to an evening and a morning in ONE day. Guess what, that word is “echad.” There are two parts, evening and morning … in one day! Amazing, a compound unity he declares.  Then onto Numbers 13:23 wherein “echad” refers to “one bunch of grapes.” Again, another compound unity.  I believe there was one more example in the video–but I cannot remember right now.  So there we have it, the Sh’ma itself holds the truth of the trinity within it… those foolish blind Hebrews couldn’t even read their own language.  God is “echad,” a compound unity.  I specifically remember Kevin being a bit foolish in his own blind pride by claiming the Hebrews were blind to their own language in not seeing the trinity right there.  I know Kevin did NOT know Hebrew well… I suspect (though I do not know for sure) he got this from Michael Brown.  Now I grieve because this is not only ignorance of Hebrew, but basic linguistics on a grade level understanding.
At the end of one of the teachings from Kevin on the trinity I also remember some slight juggling of obvious texts in Hebrews 1.  It had to do with the fact that Jesus became the son of God in a timely manner
Today, I have begotten you” and “I will be a Father to him and he shall be my son.”  Both of these are in verse 5 and quite clearly dealing with a time sense, not an eternal sonship of some sort.  I don’t remember the answers, but this was also a bit questionable when I was listening to the men in the fellowship go back and forth on this subject in Hebrews 1.
What mainly caused me to question was the claim regarding “echad” by our elder whom I knew did not know Hebrew well.  I was also a bit questioning of it because I was learning Greek at that time.  Language was becoming very prioritized in my understanding lately, and something seemed off by Kevin’s claim about “echad.”  I also recognized later that our elders had avoided Mark 12:29-34 which is an entire exposition of the Sh’ma in Deuteronomy 6:4 by Jesus himself [Mark 12:29-37 is the greater context I discovered later, wherein Jesus explains he is the “my lord” next to the one YHWH–my video on the subject is here]. This was concerning since ... I learned from the elders that the Sh’ma is very important to Jews (really, Israelites–but that’s another matter).  So, why don’t we recite it? It’s one of the GREATEST commandments according to Jesus.  But trinitarians really do avoid it like the plague.  Only when it comes to defending the trinity does it come up.  It’s the only reason it came up for me in the past!
So later on that very night I looked into the Lexicons online for the word “echad.”  I ran through Gesenius’ Lexicon and found nothing regarding a definition of “plural unity” or “compound unity” within the term itself.  What I found, was that the Hebrew word “echad” is exactly like the English word “one.”  When you ask a Hebrew speaker to count, they will start with “echad.” It means ONE, one means ONE… not more than one!  
That would be a breaking of the law of contradiction to say ONE 
itself is more than one!  So that caused me a bit of unrest. So I began “Googling” around the discussion regarding the Sh’ma and “echad.”  I found tons of debates, but mainly found a website and youtube page by a user called “TheTrinityDelusion.”  He and many others I read said the “echad” claim by trinitarians was a complete falsehood and a ridiculous fallacy of linguistics. Incidentally, since then I’ve found a few trinitarians who were candid enough to admit that this argument is a sham and they cannot believe it even exists in the trinitarian academic world.  It is truly as I said, a fallacy of grammar.  As per the example above “one day” means “one day” – not more than one day.  “One” is an adjective describing how many “days” – not what is within that “day.” “Evening and morning” are descriptions of what is within the word “day” – and has nothing to do with the word “one” (echad in this case). There is something called “semantic domain” in language. In this case it refers to the semantic domain of the words “one” and “day.”  When you think of the word “day” you can think of it’s semantic domain in multiple manners.  “Day” can bring all sorts of things to mind: it has 24 hours, morning, evening, afternoon… are just a few examples.  “One” however, means only “one.”  To say it’s more than one, is to deny the word’s definition itself.  Even if “one” is used to describe a word with a semantic domain that includes multiples—such as “one bunch of grapes.”  There’s only ONE bunch, one is describing how many bunches there are… there’s not 2, 3, 4 etc … bunches.  “Bunch [of grapes]” is the word with the semantic domain that includes multiples because that’s what the word brings to mind itself.  I hope this is clear enough to explain and understand – but it is clearly a fallacy to claim “echad” is plural unity and can refer to the trinity within the Sh’ma, and thus it is a deception.
Then I looked more at the Sh’ma in the context of Mark 12:28-34 since it was also a clear place wherein it was spoken about.  I realized Jesus was speaking with a fellow Israelite and he came to an agreement with this man in regards to the one God.  I also had the quite obvious self-revelation that Jews, that Israelites… are not trinitarians by any means.  
So what gives, wouldn’t this be the perfect place for Jesus to begin explaining this entire 3-in-1 God thing?  But instead he didn’t, he posited this one God as his God also.  The one God of the Sh’ma, the one YHWH of the Sh’ma… is Jesus’ God too!  Jesus has a God, what revelation!  Such an obvious revelation! Jesus has a God, and his God is one… his Father and no one else. 
Is that because such clear verses exist wherein the Jews refer to the Father as the only God (Malachi 2:10)? So that led me to search a bit more about this fact that Jesus has a God.  I realized it was all over Scripture, and then I stumbled upon a number of “Trinity challenge” questions by the youtube user I mentioned above. So I figured, I’ll take some of these questionnaires.  I took one on 1 Corinthians 8:6… and found myself a bit stumbled as a trinitarian. Then I took another one, the one on whether or not Jesus is a trinitarian. The original video appears to be gone, but with his permission I still have it available on my own youtube site now [link to that video here].  I took that challenge, and realized in answering these questions I necessarily condemned Jesus as an idolater and God the Father as that idol!  That was it!  I answered those questions and it was like someone struck me with a bat to my chest.
Now I had an issue. I had to make sure what I was reading wasn’t just nonsense.  I wanted to study these topics of “echad” and Mark 12…and study it well before I ever brought it before my elders.  I didn’t want to waste their time with any frivolous questions.  I mean, it was the trinity!  Who questions this?  So I took the next 4 months and studied this until I had gathered enough research to present a serious objection to their teaching.  I wanted to questionably object to the misuse of “echad” and also ask why we avoided Mark 12 when it was very pertinent to understanding who is God.  I gathered a couple pages worth of information and figured I was ready by August 2013.  So I asked the elders (who at that time were only Kerrigan Skelly and Kevin Lovell) to sit down with me and speak about my questions.  They were willing.
So one afternoon after a gathering in our church, they sat down with me for about 3 hours as I asked them further questions regarding their studies on the trinity.  Both admitted they had not given it truly a full study–but more of a continuous cursory assumption while reading the Bible.  They just saw the trinity as they read along through all the years of other studies.  I got to ask my couple main objections regarding the “echad” and Mark 12, and they had no answers at that time.  They asked what I was thinking about, and I told them when I searched my views it was appearing to be something like “biblical unitarianism” even though I still had many disagreements with this view at that time.  Though with the knowledge I have now, I know my views were leaning more towards the Eastern Orthodox version of the trinity.  It is not the same as the West’s trinity today. The major difference I may have had at that time is I was wondering if Jesus had truly completely given up “godhood” upon his incarnation.  That way he could be truly and fully man with no additions to his nature.  Either way, the elders then began to try to question me while not answering my objections.  And I admit I sounded fairly ignorant and admitted I had not studied a plethora of other texts often used to support the trinity. I had not fully studied this topic – it’s a huge topic.  This is not something you figure out in a couple months even!  After our minor debate and dialogue for 2-3 hours, they asked me to email them my objections in a more detailed format and they would get back to me.  So I took out another couple hours to type out the issues and emailed them, excited to hear more.  I’ll link that email here and copy it to another wordpress so it can be read separately.  Sadly, this email was never answered.
I didn’t hear any more from them about the subject until around September/October 2013 even though I continued studying the subject.  Tracy Bays was made an elder in between those months and was filled in on the objections I had.  Then the elders asked me to stay behind and speak with them further after another fellowship gathering about where I was at in this study.  Tracy had a few objections I admitted I did not have answers for (even though I do now, he never got to hear my answers)… but I was still in a limbo at this point.  I had placed myself outside the trinity at this point, but I wasn’t fully committed to any position yet [I was leaning more towards Arianism at this point]. I just wanted a more objective view from the outside of the trinity.  ...  Anyways, this conversation between myself and the elders lasted another 2-3 hours with the elders wherein more questions and objections were asked… but mainly from them to me.  I had studied a number of texts in support of the trinity at that time, but was still nowhere near tackling them all.  I answered a few of their objections and finally got to ask some of my own objections.  Their answers were either very bad (regarding the hypostatic union question I remember) or they continued to ignore my initial objections regarding “echad” and Mark 12.  I still had not received an email response or a direct response from them on these two major issues.  In the end the debate got a bit more heated even though it was controlled.  The elders suggested I watch the debate between Anthony Buzzard and Michael Brown/James White… and they also gave me a copy of Michael Brown’s book Jewish Objections to Jesus: Theological Objections. They also asked that I avoid any other websites or books regarding the subject and to just read and watch these sources and study the Bible.  I internally found that a bit unreasonable to only look at one side of the argument without being able to test it, but I agreed.
I read the trinity relevant portions of Michael Brown’s book many times over and found them very wanting. Sometimes he was even admitting the biblical unitarian position within his book.  He also differs from other trinitarians in his explanation. [I have a video showing Michael Brown’s clear semi-oneness claim in his book, linked here.]   I watched the debate (I’d already seen it once – and I admit Buzzard appeared to lose)… but I was sitting there yelling at the screen for all the things Anthony didn’t press White and Brown on.  Brown was equivocating and self-contradicting like crazy in one of his answers and Anthony didn’t say a thing to point it out.  I know it’s difficult when you’re in the thick of things… so I began to write down my every question and objection to White/Brown’s answers in the debate.  I got about half-way through the debate again and had page upon page.  I also wrote down my issues with Brown’s book.  I continued to study the Scriptures and look for every relevant text I could regarding the trinity and the who the one true and living God is…  I found tons of texts, tons of clear texts and cross-references.  I found many biases in translations favoring the trinity.  I found many seemingly clear texts that I thought supported the trinity actually DID NOT AT ALL support it when I looked more closely and cross-referenced words/phrases in the verses.  I started writing all this down.  I tried working the 3-in-1 God thing out multiple times during my hour lunches at work and time at home.  I could not figure out how to do it without equivocating or contradicting Scripture.  I found later that there were many candid trinitarian apologists who admitted this cannot be logically made to work.  It leads to tritheism or a clear contradiction within itself, and especially to Scripture. There is not one place “God” can be shown in the entirety of Scripture to mean “triune God.” It must be read into the Bible.
“O theos”[God] in the NT alone refers to the Father only 1,300 times without debate.  There’s only roughly 1317 usages depending on the manuscripts used (meaning some more, some less).  That’s over 99% without debate. That was pretty clear.
Then around late December 2013 I was at work on a night shift.  I was heavily burdened for many months studying all regarding this subject and facing the clearer Scriptures.  I was listening to Acts in my audio Bible—and hearing the first preaching of the apostles.  Over and over they were calling the God of Israel, the God of our fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob….our Father!  The one God is the Father and Jesus is now lord! Acts 2 and Psalm 110:1.  
Paul gives his famous speech to the Greeks at the Areopagus in Acts 17 and makes it clear in no uncertain terms that - one God who created everything, gives everything life, made the nations, doesn’t dwell in temple (Acts 7:48-50), is the reason YOU LIVE….that one God “Acts 17:31…will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”  That “He,” that “God” is the Father!  Not a triune god!  Jesus said “our” in the Sh’ma, Jesus is under the Torah… including that Sh’ma as one of the greatest commandments. 
That God is his God. Jesus is not a trinitarian, he’s a unitarian.
I cried out in repentance at work… I cried out for forgiveness…. I cried out for strength, and the burden was gone.
The above is a subsection of Sean Holbrook's full testimony which can be found here.