As we know, the Trinity is a doctrine that is not explicitly contained in the Bible. Of course Trinitarians would say it is present, but nevertheless it does require a lens of interpretation, so that Unitarians could read the same Bible and come out saying God is Unity without Trinity.

But the formalised Biblical canon we recognise now originates in the late 4th Century, with the Council of Rome and St. Jerome. Prior to that, is there post-NT evidence that Unitarianism was part of the Christian Faith?

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    @OneGodtheFather Please elaborate and explain in an answer :) Apr 28 at 21:28
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    @OneGodtheFather yeah, I deleted it (we've got to take our 'jobs' a little bit seriously, although I don't mind the gentle reminder of my own prejudices. I didn't want to get into an argument about over deleted comments. But early-church always means post NT, you don't really need to clarify that - it's in the wiki.
    – Peter Turner
    Apr 28 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


Yes, there were multiple strains within the early Church that were Unitarian. The article 'Diversity in early Christian theology' goes into some detail on the sorts of ideological movements within the early Church.

The Ebionites are perhaps the earliest, clear example, emphasizing Jesus' humanity, and are an example of 'adoptionism'.

These sorts of views later developed as Monarchianism, and writers in this tradition include Theodotus of Byzantium and Paul of Samosata. Some Montanists were also Monarchians, but not all.

The Monarchians were generally understood to be opposed by Logos theologians, such as Tertullian or Hippolytus. However, Logos theologians were not Trinitarians in the modern day sense.

Arianism (named after the Bishop Arius) is perhaps the most well-known example that is often considered Unitarian. However, Arianism is just one example of what is known as 'subordinationism'. Sometimes subordinationist views are considered as Unitarian, in other cases as proto-Trinitarian.

In summary, you have at least the Ebionites and other adoptionists, the Monarchians (including some Montanists), and the Arians (and more broadly, various subordinationists).

Contemporary Biblical Unitarianism, similar to Socinianism (16th century), would fit into what is called dynamic Monarchianism, a view that is found pre-400.

This image from a talk by Dale Tuggy illustrates the main pre-Trinitarian Christological options from 150-380.

Christological options pre-400

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    Logos theologians were not Trinitarians in the modern day sense - well said, +1. I suspect we could expand the Christology chart with even more viewpoints if we wanted to really get into the weeds. 2 days ago

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