Michael Servetus (aka Miguel Serveto) is surely one of the most remarkable men of history, though he is largely unknown in general circles. He was born in Spain in 1511 and died in 1553, at age 42, burnt at the stake as a heretic by John Calvin’s Geneva Council. He was a brilliant scientist and his field was primarily medicine, but it was his theological views that led to his universal condemnation by both Catholics and Protestants. Servetus rejected the doctrine of the Trinity, and although he maintained belief in the virgin birth, he denied that Jesus was God. He was fluent in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, and in his primary work, De trinitatis erroribus (“On the Errors of the Trinity”), he ably argued that the Bible itself, in neither Old Testament nor New Testament, supported the subsequent Trinitarian notion of Jesus as God.
There is a bit of buzz on the Internet these days, among Christian evangelical circles, regarding a modern writer who calls himself “Servetus the Evangelical,” who has penned a new book titled The Restitution of Jesus Christ. The author, who has chosen to remain anonymous, is apparently a well-known Evangelical Christian. He plans to divulge his true identity on September 29, 2011, the 500th anniversary of Servetus’ birth. You can visit his website at servetustheevangelist.com, where you can read excerpts of the book, purchase the whole, or try your hand at guessing the author’s identity based on clues posted on the first of each month.
I obtained a copy of the book and I have to say I am much impressed. It runs 600 pages, is thoroughly researched and documented, and fully in touch with the massive amount of scholarly discussion currently available on the “Christology of the New Testament.”
Our modern “Servetus” has stirred a bit of buzz on the Web, mostly negative, by those who either question his motives for remaining anonymous or harshly dismiss him as a heretic and apostate. My guess is his critics have not bothered to examine his arguments. You can hear an interview with the author, complete with disguised voice, at Truth Matters.
Whoever the author is, he has surely done his homework, and given his staunchly conservative stance on the inspiration of the New Testament documents, his attempts might well end up having quite an impact on the growing “biblical unitarian” or “One God” movement that is making significant inroads within a variety of evangelical Christian circles. See the following links for a few examples: