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History often characterizes certain figures in particular ways shaped after the event. Such as in the Servetus-Calvin case, Servetus is often held up as a great martyr for religious toleration and Calvin is viewed as a power-hungry tyrant. However, these caricatures don't always prove accurate. It is quite clear from Servetus’s writings that he was not concerned with advocating for religious toleration in a modern sense. He was not advocating for his right to quietly believe what he wanted to believe. And faiths outside the Abrahamic tradition were completely off his radar. But he was carrying out a theological debate which he believed would widen the scope of the Christianity in which he so fervently believed. Also, Calvin, though pressured by geopolitical factors, was still a pastor advocating for the truth he found in the Bible. He feared that the dismantling of the doctrine of the Trinity at the hands of Servetus would destroy the Reformation efforts and lead to even wider Protestant-Catholic divides and conflicts.
Scholarship on Servetus varies even to the current day, but one aspect of his thought is almost systematically passed over, viz. the pastoral shape of his theology. Though not a pastoral theologian proper, his concerns are wholly pastoral. As a theologian, he is extremely concerned with the salvation of souls, which every good theologian should be. This concern is manifested in his rejection of the Nicene Trinity because of the great stumbling block it is to adherents of the other two Abrahamic faiths. Servetus dreamed of a Christianity which might graft in both Jews and Muslims, the parties he saw continually persecuted, exiled and killed as a young man in Spain over the issue of the Trinity. The answer, for Servetus, was not to wholly reject the Trinity, but to return to the scriptural, pre-Nicene Trinity void of philosophical terminology and concepts. Servetus did not acquiesce in dry, lifeless, academic debates. Instead, he understood theology as inherently holistic. For Servetus, the doctrine of the Trinity (which he believed to be a doctrine of dead orthodoxy anyway) was not just another statement of belief; it was the cause of death and oppression for thousands. Servetus went so far as to speak of the Trinity as a “monster with three heads,” making explicit reference to the Greek mythology of Cerberus, the three-headed beast which guarded the gates of the underworld.
Matthew Pereria’s characterization of Servetus in his final days seems an apt way to end our discussion of Servetus, the radically innovative thinker who took his beliefs to the stake: “While tragic, it is also seemingly heroic, that Servetus died as a true believer in the Jesus he encountered in the Scriptures. During his final days in jail, one may imagine Servetus as fervently praying to his Jesus for strength and comfort; this Jesus was his Lord and Savior and so much more, but he was certainly not a hypostasis or an imagined part of any ‘three headed monster.’” 
 Earl Morse Wilbur, Our Unitarian Heritage: An Introduction to the History of the Unitarian Movement (Boston: Beacon Press, 1925), 53.
 Matthew J. Pereira, "In the Name of the Three Headed Monster: The Contours of the Judicial Process in Servetus's Trial." Union Seminary Quarterly Review 60, no. 3-4 (2007), 34.