was Jesus speaking in Trinitarian terms? - Esaias summary - triadic associative usage

Steven Avery

Apostolic Friends Forum
The traditional Matthew 28:19 is an interpolation.

Brother Avery mentioned this (above):
An Introduction to the New Testament: Containing an Examination of the Most Important Questions Relating to the Authority, Interpretation, and Integrity of the Canonical Books, with Reference to the Latest Inquiries, Volume 1 (1848)
Samuel Davidson

Hence the expression implies the idea of an engagement to believe in Father, Son, and Spirit. But a combination of the threefold view of God implying such reflection, though it might indeed be found in the apostles (2 Cor. xiii. 13), could hardly appear in Christ, and even among the former it could scarcely be exhibited as an object of confession.
Samuel Davidson (1806-1898)

Here, a common argument is made that Jesus couldn't have said what the Bible says He said, because Jesus wasn't a trinitarian, and trinitarianism came around much later. The author quoted above claims the trinitarian view of God might be found in the apostles but not at all in Christ.

But this is really a sign of shoddy thinking on Mr Davidson's part.

Matthew was an apostle, his Gospel is an apostle's presentation of the doctrine of Jesus. No less than Paul's writings are likewise.

Secondly, and more importantly, Jesus speaking of Father, son, and Spirit has nothing to do with a "three fold view of God". Although many Oneness people think of God as a trinity of "aspects" or "modes" in one Person, this type of thinking is actually a reaction to trinitarian error, and does not fully reflect the original apostolic understanding.

By Father, Jesus and His disciples would understand "Jehovah", Adonai, Kurios, the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

By Son, they would understand the Messiah, Son of David, Son of Adam, Son of Man (Dan 7), and Son of God (Psalm 2:7, Psalm 89:27, 2 Sam 7:14).

By Spirit, they would understand the anointing, empowering, sanctifying, guiding, controlling presence of God (see Numbers 11:25-29, 1 Sam 10:6-7, Ezekiel ch 3, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Joel ch 2, etc).

There was ONE NAME that conjoined all these (God, Messiah, and Spirit), and that name is JESUS CHRIST. See Isaiah 9:6. Jesus is the Son/Messiah (clearly a human being), but also the Father (God manifest in flesh), and indeed the Holy Spirit (primarily in the sense of the Pentecostal empowerment the believers would have during this life, but also in the overall sense of the power and activity of God-interacting-with-Creation, etc).

So Jesus wasn't speaking in trinitarian terms, nor was Matthew, nor was Paul (or John or anyone else). But neither were they speaking or thinking in some kind of post-trinitarian reactionary modalistic framework, either. Once this is realized, the objections to the Lord's words (like the one quoted above) are driven away like so much chaff.
This point is key, and is made by a number of scholars over the years.
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Steven Avery

Here are some spots where Christian writers and scholars point out that the New Testament triadic usages are associative, and not part of a complex doctrinal formulation.

The sacraments in the New Testament (1903)
John Chisholm Lambert

The formula, Harnack tells us, is “foreign to the mouth of Jesus.” But if we accept the account of our Lord’s parting discourse in John xiv.-xvi. as a substantial reproduction of words that He actually spoke, we certainly find there an anticipation of such an association of the Son and the Holy Ghost with the Father as is distinctly expressed in the baptismal formula.1 And if we are not aware of any good reason why we should cease to believe the statements of all the evangelists that Jesus not only rose from the dead, but met with His disciples after He was risen, and gave them His parting instructions before He ascended to the Father, it will appear not merely natural, but altogether inevitable, that the instructions then spoken should partake of the character of fresh revelations, and should not be absolutely limited by the utterances of the previous ministry, or deserve, if they go beyond them, to be described as “ foreign to the mouth of Jesus."
A Short History of Christian Doctrine: From the First Century to the Present (1966)
by Bernhard Lohse

The New Testament is not satisfied, however, with these sometimes rather far-reaching assertions about God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Some passages present triadic formulas. They are called “triadic,* and not “trinitarian," because they name Father, Son, and Spirit alongside one another without reflecting upon the oneness of God and, hence, do not yet contain a doctrine of the Trinity. We have such a formula in 2 Corinthians 13:13, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all* It is significant that while in Ephesians 4:4-6 the Spirit, the Son, and the Father are all mentioned and without further elucidation, in each case the “one” is emphasized. There is “one God,” not three gods, in whom Christians believe. The baptismal command in Matthew 28:19 is especially striking in this respect: baptism is to take place “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The significant thing about this formula is not so much that here Father, Son, and Spirit are named alongside one another, which happened frequently at the time, but that mention is made of the “name” of the Holy Spirit. There are not three names in reference to which baptism is to take place, but one name, a name, moreover, which includes the name of the Holy Spirit. The understanding of the Spirit upon which this baptismal formula is based goes much further than that which is otherwise found in the Gospel of Matthew. p. 40 (continues)
The traditional Matthew 28:19 is an interpolation.