Trinity quotes

Trinity Quotes by SDA Pioneers 

Trinity quotes

Elder Bates                 James White                Ellen White                 J.N. Loughborough                  J.N. Andrews                   Uriah Smith      

S.N. Haskell                G.I. Butler                     W.H. Littlejohn           J.G. Matteson                            M.E. Cornell                    J.H. Waggoner

J.B. Frisbie                 R.F. Cottrell

Position of SDA Pioneers on the Trinity

Is Christ God              Is Christ a Created Being              Sister White’s view of the 1888 message               W.C. Gage              W.W. Prescott 

J.M. Stephenson         W.C. White             Letter from Willie C. White              Items of Interest                 G. W. Amadon          E.J. Waggoner

Dr. Waggoner                     Prescott                         Marian Davis                       J.H. Kellog                   1919 Bible conference at Takoma Park

Comments on the statement by M.L. Andreason from the 1919 conference:

Who is the Father?                        Who is the Son?                         Who is the Holy Spirit?                        The emergence of the trinity doctrine

Comments on statement from Evangelism Benjamin G. Wilkinson PhD

Some interesting facts regarding Benjamin G. Wilkinson Testimony by Ralph Moss

Statement on the Trinity by B.G. Wilkinson

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Elder Bates  Trinity quotes

Elder Bates

Trinity quotes“Respecting the trinity, I concluded that it was an impossibility for me to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, was also the Almighty God, the Father, one and the same being. I said to my father, ‘If you can convince me that we are one in this sense, that you are my father, and I your son; and also that I am your father and you are my son, then I can believe in the trinity.”

{Joseph Bates, 1868, The Autobiography of Elder Joseph Bates, p 204}

“This, without a doubt in my mind, is owing to their previous teaching and belief in a doctrine called the trinity. How can you find fault with their faith while you are teaching the very essence of that never – no never to be understood, doctrine? … We believe that Peter and his master settled this question beyond controversy, Mat 16:13-19; and I cannot see why Daniel and John has not fully confirmed that Christ is the Son, and, not God the Father.” {Letter from J. Bates to William Miller, 1848, as recorded in Past and Present Experience, p 187}  Trinity quotes

“My parents were members of long standing in the Congregational church, with all of their converted children thus far, and anxiously hoped that we would also unite with them. But they embraced some points in their faith which I could not understand. I will name two only: their mode of baptism, and doctrine of the trinity. My father, who had been a deacon of long standing with them, labored to convince me that they were right in points of doctrine. I informed him that my mind was troubled in relation to baptism. Said he, “I had you baptized when an infant.” I answered, that that might all be according to his faith; but the Bible taught that we must first believe and then be baptized (Mark xvi,16;1Pet.iii,21), but I was not capable of believing when I was an infant. Respecting the trinity, I concluded that it was an impossibility for me to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, was also the Almighty God, the Father, one and the same being. I said to my father, “If you can convince me that we are one in this sense, that you are my father, and I your son; and also that I am your father, and you my son, then I can believe in the trinity.”” {J. Bates, The Autobiography of Elder Joseph Bates, pp. 204, 205.1868}  Trinity quotes

“One thing more: Much derision is made about those of our company that have joined the Shakers. I say it is a shame to them first, to have preached so clearly and distinctly the speedy coming of our Lord Jesus Christ personally to gather his saints – and then to go and join the Shakers in their faith, that he (Jesus) came spiritually in their Mother, Ann Lee, more than seventy years ago. This, without doubt in my mind, is owing to their previous teaching and belief in a doctrine called the trinity. How can you find fault with their faith while you are teaching the very essence of that never – no never to be understood, doctrine? … We believe that Peter and his master settled this question beyond controversy, Matt.16:13-19; and I cannot see why Daniel and John has not fully confirmed that Christ is the Son, and, not God the Father. How could Daniel explain his vision of the 7th chapter, if “Christ was God.” Here he sees one “like the Son (and it cannot be proved that it was any other person) of man, and there was given him Dominion, and Glory, and a kingdom;” by the ancient of days. Then John describes one seated on a throne with a book in his right hand, and he distinctly saw Jesus come up to the throne and take the book out of the hand of him that sat thereon. Now if it is possible to make these two entirely different transactions appear in one person, then I could believe that God died and was buried instead of Jesus, and that Paul was mistaken when he said, “Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead ou[r] Lord Jesus that great shepherd of the sheep” &c., and that Jesus also did not mean what he said when he asserted that he came from God, and was going to God, &c.&c,; and much more, if necessary, to prove the utter absurdity of such a faith .” {Joseph Bates in a letter to William Miller, Past and Present Experience, pp. 187, 188. 1848}

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James White  Trinity quotes

James White

Trinity quotes“Jesus prayed that his disciples might be one as he was one with his Father. This prayer did not contemplate one disciple with twelve heads, but twelve disciples, made one in object and effort in the cause of their master. Neither are the Father and the Son parts of the “three-one God.” They are two distinct beings, yet one in the design and accomplishment of redemption.”
{James White, 1868, Life Incidents, p 343}  Trinity quotes

“The way spiritualists have disposed of or denied the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ is first using the old unscriptural Trinitarian creed viz., that Jesus Christ is the eternal God, though they have not one passage to support it, while we have plain scripture testimony in abundance that he is the Son of the eternal God.”

{James White, Jan 24 1846, The Day Star}

“The inexplicable Trinity that makes the Godhead three in one and one in three, is bad enough; but that ultra Unitarianism that makes Christ inferior to the Father is worse. Did God say to an inferior, ‘Let us make man in our image?” {James White, Nov 29, 1877, Review and Herald}

“To assert that the sayings of the Son and his apostles are the commandments of the Father, is as wide from the truth as the old trinitarian absurdity that Jesus Christ is the very and eternal God.” {James White, Aug 5, 1852, Review and Herald – Vol. 3 No. 7 P 52 Par 42}

“As fundamental errors, we might class with this counterfeit Sabbath other errors which Protestants have brought away from the Catholic church, such as sprinkling for baptism, the trinity, the consciousness of the dead, and eternal life in misery. … can it be supposed that the church of Christ will carry along with her these errors till the judgement scenes burst upon the world? We think not.” {James White, Sep 12 1854, Review and Herald, Vol. 6, No. 5, P 36, Par 8}  Trinity quotes

“Here we might mention the Trinity, which does away the personality of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, and of sprinkling or pouring instead of being “buried with Christ in baptism,” “planted in the likeness of his death:” but we pass from these fables to notice one that is held sacred by nearly all professed Christians, both Catholic and Protestant. It is, the change of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment…” {James White, Dec 11 1855, Review and Herald, Vol. 7, no. 11, P 85 Par 16}  Trinity quotes

“The gospel of the Son of God is the good news of salvation through Christ. When man fell, angels wept. Heaven was bathed in tears. The Father and the Son took counsel, and Jesus offered to undertake the cause of fallen man. He offered to die that man might have life. The Father consented to give his only beloved, and the good news resounded through heaven, and on earth, that a way was opened for man’s redemption.” {J. S. White, The Law and the Gospel, pp. 2, 3. 1870}  Trinity quotes

“The Father is the greatest in that he is first. The Son is next in authority because He has been given all things.” {J. S. White, Review & Herald, January 4, 1881} “Bro. Cottrell is nearly eighty years of age, remembers the dark day of 1780, and has been a Sabbath-keeper more than thirty years. He was formerly united with the Seventh-Day Baptists, but on some points of doctrine has differed from that body. He rejected the doctrine of the trinity, also the doctrine of man’s consciousness between death and the resurrection, and the punishment of the wicked in eternal consciousness.

He believed that the wicked would be destroyed. Bro. Cottrell buried his wife not long since, who, it is said, was one of the excellent of the earth. Not long since, this aged pilgrim received a letter from friends in Wisconsin, purporting to be from M. Cottrell, his wife, who sleeps in Jesus. But he, believing that the dead know not anything, was prepared to reject at once the heresy that the spirits of the dead, knowing everything, come back and converse with the living. Thus truth is a staff in his old age. He has three sons in Mill Grove, who, with their families are Sabbath keepers.” {J. S. White,Review & Herald, June 9, 1853}

“The “mystery of iniquity” began to work in the church in Paul’s day. It finally crowded out the simplicity of the gospel, and corrupted the doctrine of Christ, and the church went into the wilderness. Martin Luther, and other reformers, arose in the strength of God, and with the Word and Spirit, made mighty strides in the Reformation. The greatest fault we can find in the Reformation is, the Reformers stopped reforming. Had they gone on, and onward, till they had left the last vestige of Papacy behind, such as natural immortality, sprinkling, the trinity, and Sunday-keeping, the church would now be free from her unscriptural errors.” {J. S. White, Review & Herald, February 7, 1856}

“The work of emancipating, instructing and leading the Hebrews was given to One who is called an angel. Ex.13:21; 14:19, 24; 23:20-23; 32:34; Num.20:16; Isa.63:9. And this angel Paul calls “that spiritual Rock that followed them,” and he affirms, “That Rock was Christ.” 1Cor.10:4. The eternal Father is never called an angel in the Scriptures, while what angels have done is frequently ascribed to the Lord, as they are his messengers and agents to accomplish his work. It is said of Him who went before the Hebrews to deliver them, “My name is in him.” In all the stupendous events of that deliverance the mind of Jehovah was represented in Jesus.” {J. S. White, Christ and the Sabbath, p.11}

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Ellen White

ELLEN WHITE

Who Is The Father?

“Let the missionaries of the cross proclaim that there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, who is Jesus Christ the Son of the Infinite God. This needs to be proclaimed throughout every church in our land. Christians need to know this, and not put man where God should be, that they may no longer be worshippers of idols, but of
the living God. Idolatry exists in our churches.” {1888 Materials, p. 886}.

“All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father’s life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all.” {Desire of Ages p. 21}.

“Jehovah, the eternal, self-existent, uncreated One, Himself the Source and Sustainer of all, is alone entitled to supreme reverence and worship. Man is forbidden to give to any other object the first place in his affections or his service.” {Patriarchs and Prophets P-305}.  Trinity quotes

Who Is Jesus The Son of God?

“And the Son of God declares concerning Himself: “The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting… When He appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.” Proverbs 8:22-30.” {Patriarchs and Prophets p-34}

“The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by Him as His right. This was no robbery of God. “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way,” He declares, “before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth” (Pro. 8:22-27)” {Selected Messages Book 1 p247, 248}.

“In His humanity He was a partaker of the divine nature. In His incarnation He gained in a new sense the title of the Son of God…While the Son of a human being, He became the Son of God in a new sense. Thus He stood in our world-the Son of God, yet allied by birth to the human race…” {5 Bible Commentary-p1114, 1115}.

“The dedication of the first-born had its origin in the earliest times. God had promised to give the First-born of heaven to save the sinner. {Desire of Ages p-51}.

“The Eternal Father, the unchangeable one, gave his only begotten Son, tore from his bosom Him who was made in the express image of his person, and sent him down to earth to reveal how greatly he loved mankind.” {Review & Herald July 9, 1895}

“Who could bring in the principles ordained by God in His rule and government to counterwork the plans of Satan, and bring the world back to its loyalty? God said: I will send My Son. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ John 3:16.” {6 Testimonies p 236, 237}.

“The man Christ Jesus was not the Lord God Almighty…”
{5 Bible Commentary p1129}

“Life, Original, Unborrowed Underived”
Probably the most frequently misinterpreted and misquoted statement cited in order to “prove” that Jesus is not really the Son of God, is this one from Desire of Ages: “…Jesus declared. “I am the resurrection, and the life.” In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. “He that hath the Son hath life.” John 5:12. The divinity of Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life.”
{Desire of Ages p 530}.  Trinity quotes

People misinterpret this quotation to mean, the life of the Son is, and has always ‘originated’ from Himself, and was never at anytime ‘borrowed’ or ‘derived’ from His Father. In context, this quotation is simply emphasizing His ability to resurrect and give life, in a way which no created being can. Many Adventist Pioneers did not interpret the above quotation the way modern Adventists interpret it today. C.S. Longacre expresses the most logical interpretation of this E.G. White quotation as follows: “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will…That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father….For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;” {John 5:21-27}.

What kind of life did the Father have in Himself? In God ‘is life original, unborrowed, underived,’ ‘immortal,’ ‘independent.’ ‘He is the source of life.’ Christ says, ‘As the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given’—the same life, original, unborrowed, underived life to the Son. It was ‘given’ to Him by His Father. Christ was made the source of life just as the Father was the source of life.

Christ had the same life the Father had in Himself in His own right. He did not have to derived or borrow it, it was independent of the Father, hence not dependent, derived, or borrowed. He could bestow and give life and create just as the Father could, but the Father gave this life to His Son.

“When this same life the Father had in Himself was given by the Father to His Son so He too had it ‘in Himself,’ we are not told nor does it make any difference how long it was before anything was created, the fact remains that the Son of God proceeded from the Father, that He was in the bosom of the Father, that His life, ‘underived, unborrowed’ was ‘given’ to Him by the Father, that the Father ‘ordained’ His Son ‘should be equal with Himself;’ that the Father ‘invested’ His Son ‘with authority,’ and that the Son does ‘nothing of Himself alone.’”
{The Deity of Christ, p 4, 5}.

Who is the Holy Spirit?
“In giving us His Spirit, God gives us Himself, making Himself a fountain of divine influences, to give health and life to the world.”
{7 Testimonies p 273}.

“It is His purpose that the highest influence in the universe, emanating from the source of all power, shall be theirs.”
{Desire of Ages p 679}.

“The divine Spirit that the world’s Redeemer promised to send, is the presence and power of God.”
{2 Special Testimonies p-451}.

“The Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the only begotten Son of God binds the human agent, body, soul, and spirit, to the perfect, divine-human nature of Christ. This union is represented by the union of the vine and the branches.”
{5 Review & Herald p 228}.

“The reason why the churches are weak and sickly and ready to die, is that the enemy has brought influences of a discouraging nature to bear upon trembling souls. He has sought to shut Jesus from their view as the Comforter, as one who reproves, who warns, who admonishes them saying ‘this is the way, walk ye in it.’”
{2 Review & Herald p 422}.  Trinity quotes

“The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage
because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Savior would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high.”
{Desire of Ages p 699}.

“Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally; therefore it was altogether for their advantage that He should leave them, go to His father, and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. The Holy Spirit is Himself [Christ] divested of the personality of humanity and independent thereof. He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit, as the omnipresent.” {Manuscript Release #- 1084- 7}. {Ms. 5a, 1895. Lt.W-119-1895}.(Bracket & emphasis mine)

‘He shall not speak of Himself.’ “The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. Men cannot explain it, because the Lord has not revealed it to them. Men having fanciful views may bring together passages of Scripture and put a human construction on them; but the acceptance of these views will not strengthen the church. Regarding such mysteries,
which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden.”
{Acts of Apostles p 51,52}

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J.N. Loughborough

J.N. LOUGHBOROUGH

Trinity quotesQUESTIONS FOR BRO. LOUGHBOROUGH

“BRO. WHITE: The following questions I would like to have you give, or send, to Bro.Loughborough for explanation. W. W. GILES. Toledo, Ohio.

QUESTION 1. What serious objection is there to the doctrine of the Trinity?

ANSWER. There are many objections which we might urge, but on account of our Limited space we shall reduce them to the three following:

  1. It is contrary to common sense.
  2. It is contrary to scripture.
  3. Its origin is Pagan and fabulous.

These positions we will remark upon briefly in their order.

1. It is not very consonant with common sense to talk of three being one, and one being three. Or as some express it, calling God “the Triune God,” or “the three-one-God.” If Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are each God, it would be three Gods; for three times one is not one, but three. There is a sense in which they are one, but not one person, as claimed by Trinitarians.

2. It is contrary to Scripture. Almost any portion of the New Testament we may open which has occasion to speak of the Father and Son, represents them as two distinct persons. The seventeenth chapter of John is alone sufficient to refute the doctrine of the Trinity.

Over forty times in that one chapter Christ speaks of his Father as a person distinct from himself. His Father was in heaven and he upon earth. The Father had sent him. Given to him those that believed. He was then to go to the Father. And in this very testimony he shows us in what consists the oneness of the Father and Son. It is the same as the oneness of the members of Christ’s church. “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” Of one heart and one mind. Of one purpose in all the plan devised for man’s salvation. Read the seventeenth chapter of John, and see if it does not completely upset the doctrine of the Trinity.  Trinity quotes

Trinity quotesTo believe that doctrine, when reading the scripture we must believe that God sent himself into the world, died to reconcile the world to himself, raised himself from the dead, ascended to himself in heaven, pleads before himself in heaven to reconcile the world to himself, and is the only mediator between man and himself. It will not do to substitute the human nature of Christ (according to Trinitarians) as the Mediator; for Clarke says, “Human blood can no more appease God than swine’s blood.” Com. On 2Sam.xxi,10.

We must believe also that in the garden God prayed to himself, if it were possible, to let the cup pass from himself, and a thousand other such absurdities.

Read carefully the following texts, comparing them with the idea that Christ is the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Supreme, and only self-existent God: John xiv,28; xvii,3; iii,16; v,19,26; xi,15; xx,19; viii,50; vi,38; Mark xiii,32; Luke vi,12; xxii,69; xxiv,29; Matt.iii,17; xxvii,46; Gal.iii,20; 1Jno.ii,1; Rev.v,7; Acts xvii,31. Also see Matt.xi,25,27; Luke i,32; xxii,42; John iii,35,36; v,19,21,22,23,25,26; vi,40; viii,35,36; xiv,13; 1Cor.xv,28, &c.?

The word Trinity nowhere occurs in the Scriptures. The principal text supposed to teach it is 1John [5]:7, which is an interpolation. Clarke says, “Out of one hundred and thirteen manuscripts, the text is wanting in one hundred and twelve. It occurs in no MS. Before the tenth century. And the first place the text occurs in Greek, is in the Greek translation of the acts of the Council of Lateran, held A. D. 1215.” – Com. on John 1.

Trinity quotes3. Its origin is pagan and fabulous. Instead of pointing us to scripture for proof of the trinity, we are pointed to the trident of the Persians, with the assertion that “by this they designed to teach the idea of a trinity, and if they had the doctrine of the trinity, they must have received it by tradition from the people of God. But this is all assumed, for it is certain that the Jewish church held to no such doctrine. Says Mr. Summerbell, “A friend of mine who was present in a New York synagogue, asked the Rabbi for an explanation of the word `elohim’. A Trinitarian clergyman who stood by, replied, `Why, that has reference to the three persons in the Trinity,’ when a Jew stepped forward and said he must not mention that word again, or they would have to compel him to leave the house; for it was not permitted to mention the name of any strange god in the synagogue.” (Discussion between Summerbell and Flood on Trinity, p. 38} {J. N. Loughborough, Nov 5 1861, Review and Herald, Vol 18, p 184, par 1-11}

Milman says the idea of the Trident is fabulous. (Hist. Christianity, p.34) This doctrine of the trinity was brought into the church about the same time with image worship, and keeping the day of the sun, and is but Persian doctrine remodelled. It occupied about three hundred years from its introduction to bring the doctrine to what it is now. It was commenced about 325 A. D., and was not completed till 681. See Milman’s Gibbon’s Rome, vol. iv, p.422. It was adopted in Spain in 589, in England in 596, in Africa in 534. – Gib. vol. iv, pp.114, 345; Milner, vol. i, p.519.” {J. N. Loughborough, Review & Herald, November 5, 1861}

“The Spirit of God is spoken of in the Scriptures as God’s representative- the power by which he works, the agency by which all things are upheld. This is clearly expressed by the Psalmist.Psa. 139:7-10. We learn from this language that when we speak of the Spirit of God we are really speaking of his presence and power.” {J.N. Loughborough, Review & Herald, September 13, 1898}

“Moreover, he [Christ] is the beginning of the creation of God. … The language does not necessarily imply that he was created; for the words… may simply signify that the work of creation, strictly speaking, was begun by him. Without him was not anything made. Others, however, and more properly we think, take the word (for beginning in Greek) to mean the agent or efficient cause, understanding that Christ is the agent through whom God has created all things, but that he himself came into existence in a different manner, as he is called the only begotten of the Father.” {J. N. Loughborough, Insert A-1, Lest We Forget, Volume 4, Number 2, Second Quarter, 1994}

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J.N. Andrews

J.N. Andrews

“The doctrine of the Trinity which was established in the church by the council of Nice, A. D. 325… This doctrine destroys the personality of God, and his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The infamous measures by which it was forced upon the church which appear upon the pages of ecclesiastical history might well cause every believer in that doctrine to blush. {J. N. Andrews, March 6, 1855, Review and Herald, Vol. 6, No. 24, P. 185}  Trinity quotes

“…and as the son of God, he would be excluded also, for he had God for his Father, and did, at some point in the eternity of the past, have beginning of days. So that if we use Paul’s language in an absolute sense, it would be impossible to find but one being in the universe, and that is God the Father, who is without father, or mother, or descent, or beginning of days, or end of life.” {Review and Herald Sept. 7, 1869}.

J.N.Andrews – showing clearly that the trinity teaching is not biblical “J.N. Andrews reiterated the common Adventist understanding that God the Father is the supreme source of all life in the universe. In 1874 he writes: “That God is the fountain and source of immortality is plain from the statement of Paul. He speaks thus of God the Father: ‘Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen nor can see; to whom be honor and power everlasting; Amen.’ 1 Tim. 6:16. This text is evidently designed to teach that the self existent God is the only being who, of himself, possesses this wonderful nature. Others may possess it as derived from him, but he alone is the fountain of immortality Our Lord Jesus Christ is the source of this life to us. ‘For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.’ John 5:26. ‘As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.’ John 6:57. The Father gives us this life in His Son. ‘And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.’ 1Jn 5:11, 12.

These Scriptures do clearly indicate that Christ is the source of endless life, and that those only have this who have Christ.”

{Review and Herald, Jan. 27, 1874 p.52}.

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Uriah Smith

Uriah Smith

“The terms ‘Holy Ghost,’ are a harsh and repulsive translation. It should be ‘Holy Spirit’ (hagion pneuma) in every instance. This Spirit is the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ; the Spirit being the same whether it is spoken of as pertaining to God or Christ. But respecting this Spirit, the Bible uses expressions which cannot be harmonized with the idea that it is a person like the Father and the Son. Rather it is shown to be a divine influence from them both, the medium which represents their presence and by which they have knowledge and power through all the universe, when not personally present.”{Uriah Smith, Oct 28, 1890, Review and Herald}

“The Scriptures nowhere speak of Christ as a created being, but on the contrary plainly state that he was begotten of the Father. (See remarks of Rev.3:14, where it is shown that Christ is not a created being.) But while as the Son he does not possess a coeternity of past existence with the Father, the beginning of his existence, as the begotten of the Father, antedates the entire work of creation, in relation to which he stands as joint creator with God John 1:3; Heb 1:2. Could not the Father ordain that to such a being worship should be rendered equally with himself, without its being idolatry on the part of the worshiper? He has raised him to positions which make it proper that he should be worshipped, and has even commanded that worship should be rendered him, which would not have been necessary had he been equal with the Father in eternity of existence. Christ himself declares that ‘as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.’ John 5:26. The Father has ‘highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.’ Phil. 2:9. And the Father himself says, ‘Let all the angels of God worship him.’ Heb. 1:6. These testimonies show that Christ is now an object of worship equally with the Father; but they do not prove that with him he holds an eternity of past existence . ” {U. Smith, Thoughts on the Book of Daniel and the Revelation, p. 430. 1882}

“God alone is without beginning. At the earliest epoch when a beginning could be, – a period so remote that to finite minds it is essentially eternity, – appeared the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1. This uncreated Word was the Being, who, in the fullness of time, was made flesh, and dwelt among us. His beginning was not like that of any other being in the universe. It is set forth in the mysterious expressions, “his [God’s] only begotten Son” (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9), “the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14), and, “I proceeded forth and came from God.” John 8:42. Thus it appears that by some divine impulse or process, not creation, known only to Omniscience, and possible only to Omnipotence, the Son of God appeared. And then the Holy Spirit (by an infirmity of translation called “the Holy Ghost”), the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the divine afflatus and medium of their power, representative of them both (Ps. 139:7), was in existence also.” Smith, Looking Unto Jesus, p. 10. 1898}

“1. We are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Matt. 28:19. By this we express our belief in the existence of the one true God, the mediation of his Son, and the influence of the Holy Spirit.” {U. Smith, The Bible Students Assistant, pp. 21, 22. 1858}

“J. W. W. Asks: “Are we to understand that the Holy Ghost is a person, the same as the Father and the Son? Some claim that it is, others that it is not.” Ans. – The terms “Holy Ghost”, are a harsh and repulsive translation. It should be “Holy Spirit” (hagion pneuma) in every instance. This Spirit is the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ; the Spirit being the same whether it is spoken of as pertaining to God or Christ. But respecting this Spirit, the Bible uses expressions which cannot be harmonized with the idea that it is a person like the Father and the Son. Rather it is shown to be a divine influence from them both, the medium which represents their presence and by which they have

knowledge and power through all the universe, when not personally present. Christ is a person, now officiating as priest in the sanctuary in heaven; and yet he says that wherever two or three are gathered in his name, he is there in the midst. Mt. 18:20. How? Not personally, but by his Spirit. In one of Christ’s discourses (John 14-16) this Spirit is personified as “the Comforter,” and as such has the personal and relative pronouns, “he,” “him,” and “whom,” applied to it. But usually it is spoken of in a way to show that it cannot be a person, like the Father and the Son. For instance, it is often said to be “poured out” and “shed abroad.” But we never read about God or Christ being poured out or shed abroad. If it was a person, it would be nothing strange for it to appear in bodily shape; and yet when it has so appeared, that fact has been noted as peculiar. Thus Luke 3:22 says: “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him.” But the shape is not always the same; for on the day of Pentecost it assumed the form of “cloven tongues like as of fire.” Acts 2:3, 4. Again we read of “the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” Rev. 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6. This is unquestionably simply a designation of the Holy Spirit, put in this form to signify its perfection and completeness. But it could hardly be so described if it was a person. We never read of the seven Gods or the seven Christs.” {U. Smith, Review & Herald, October 28, 1890}

“It may not then be out of place for us to consider for a moment what this Spirit is, what its office is, what its relation to the world and to the church, and what the Lord through this proposes to do for his people. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God; it is also the Spirit of Christ. It is that divine, mysterious emanation through which they carry forward their great and infinite work. … You will notice in these few verses the apostle brings to view the three great agencies which are concerned in this work: God, the Father; Christ, his Son; and the Holy Spirit.” {U. Smith, General Conference Daily Bulletin Volume 4, March 14, 1891, pp. 146, 147}

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S.N. Haskell

S.N. Haskell

“When the time passed in 1844, there were none who believed the truth as we now hold it. All believed the prophecies that brought us to that time. Then began a greater searching of the Bible than had ever been, probably, at any time since the days of the apostles. They went over and over the old arguments concerning the prophecies that pointed to 1844, and after most thorough examination they could see no other conclusion than that the prophetic periods terminated at that time. As they studied, they began to see one link of truth after another; and as these truths unfolded to the pioneers, — I have reference to such men as Elders James White, J. N. Andrews, Uriah Smith, and J. H. Wagoner, — they did not dare present that truth to the people until they had made it a special subject of prayer and the Spirit of prophecy had set its seal to it.” {S. N. Haskell, Review and Herald, October 27, 1904}

“The rainbow in the clouds is but a symbol of the rainbow which has encircled the throne from eternity. Back in the ages, which finite mind cannot fathom, the Father and Son were alone in the universe. Christ was the first begotten of the Father, and to Him Jehovah made known the divine plan of Creation. The plan of the creation of worlds was unfolded, together with the order of beings which should people them. Angels, as representatives of one order, would be ministers of the God of the universe. The creation of our own little world was included in the deep-laid plans. The fall of Lucifer was foreseen; likewise the possibility of the introduction of sin, which would mar the perfection of the divine handiwork. It was then, in those early councils, that Christ’s heart of love was touched; and the only begotten Son pledged His life to redeem man, should he yield and fall. Father and Son, surrounded by impenetrable glory, clasped hands. … and the everlasting covenant was made; and henceforth Father and Son, with one mind, worked together to complete the work of creation. Sacrifice of self for the good of others was the foundation of it all.” {S. N. Haskell, The Story of the Seer of Patmos, pp. 93, 94. 1905}

“Before the creation of our world, “there was war in heaven.” Christ and the Father covenanted together; and Lucifer, the covering cherub, grew jealous because he was not admitted into the eternal councils of the Two who sat upon the throne.” {S. N. Haskell, The Story of the Seer of Patmos, p. 217. 1905}

“Christ was the firstborn in heaven; He was likewise the firstborn of God upon earth, and heir to the Father’s throne. Christ, the firstborn, though the Son of God, was clothed in humanity, and was made perfect through suffering. He took the form of man, and through eternity, He will remain a man.” {S. N. Haskell, The Story of the Seer of Patmos, pp. 98, 99. 1905}

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W.H. Littlejohn  Trinity quotes

W.H. Littlejohn

Comments on the trinity by W. L. Littlejohn (filler comments) “Going back five years prior to the Minneapolis Conference, we can see from our publications that this begotten concept of Christ was then our denominational faith.

Under the heading “Christ not a created being”, a reader asked a question. That question was; “Will you please favor me with those scriptures which plainly say that Christ is a created being? (Question No. 96, Review and Herald, April 17th 1883, The commentary, Scripture questions, ‘Answers by W. H. Littlejohn’) The person who asked the question was only identified by the initials J. C. so we do not know who he was but what we can say is that it is more than likely that he (or she) was not a Seventh-day Adventist. I say this because it was commonly taught within Seventh-day Adventism that Christ was equal with God (begotten of Him) not that He was a created being. W. H. Littlejohn who answered this question said; “You are mistaken in supposing that S. D. Adventists teach that Christ was ever created. They believe, on the contrary, that he was “begotten” of the Father, and that he can properly be called God and worshiped as such.” (Ibid) This was indeed the preponderant belief of Seventh-day Adventists in 1883. This was 5 years prior to the Minneapolis Conference.

We can see why Waggoner’s reasoning at the conference went without objection from anyone, including Ellen White. Littlejohn continued; “They [Seventh-day Adventists] believe, also, that the worlds, and everything which is, was created by Christ in conjunction with the Father. They believe, however, that somewhere in the eternal ages of the past there was a point at which Christ came into existence.  Trinity quotes

They think that it is necessary that God should have antedated Christ in his being, in order that Christ could have been begotten of him, and sustain to him the relation of son.” (Ibid) Again this was ‘bottom-line’ Seventh-day Adventism, not only in 1883 but also all during the time of Ellen White’s ministry. Littlejohn continued; “They hold to the distinct personality of the Father and Son, rejecting as absurd that feature of Trinitarianism which insists that God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit are three persons, and yet but one person.” (Ibid) Some trinitarians will say that this is not what they really believe but if this is said then it is also being said that their trinity God is not a person. Littlejohn then said in confirmation of what was believed by Seventh-day Adventists as far as the oneness between God and Christ is concerned; “S. D – Adventists hold that God and Christ are one in the sense that Christ prayed that his disciples might be one; i.e. e., one in spirit, purpose, and labor.” (Ibid) We shall see in a later section that this was much the same as was said by Ellen White but to quote her here would make this section too lengthy. Very interestingly, Littlejohn ended his answer by saying; “See “Fundamental Principles” published at this Office. Price, 4 cts.” (Ibid) {Trinity – T.Hill}

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G.I. Butler

G.I. Butler

G. I. Butler questions J. H. Kellogg on his idea that the Holy Spirit is a person “As far as I can fathom, the difficulty which is found in The Living Temple, the whole thing may be simmered down to this question: Is the Holy Ghost a person? You say no.” {J. H. Kellogg to G. I. Butler, Feb 21, 1904}

Butler’s reply, “God dwells in us by His Holy Spirit, as a Comforter, as a Reprover, specially the former. When we come to Him we partake of Him in that sense, because the Spirit comes forth from him; it comes forth from the Father and the Son. It is not a person walking around on foot, or flying as a literal being, in any such sense as Christ and the Father are – at least , if it is, it is utterly beyond my comprehension of the meaning of language or words.” {G.I. Butler to J.H. Kellogg, April 5, 1904}

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J.G. Matteson

J.G. Matteson

“Christ is the only literal son of God. “The only begotten of the Father.” John1:14. He is God because he is the Son of God; not by virtue of His resurrection. If Christ is the only begotten of the Father, then we cannot be begotten of the Father in a literal sense. It can only be in a secondary sense of the word.” {J. G. Matteson, Review & Herald, October 12, 1869 p. 123)

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M.E. Cornell  Trinity quotes

M.E. Cornell

“Protestants and Catholics are so nearly united in sentiment, that it is not difficult to conceive how Protestants may make an image to the Beast. The mass of Protestants believe with Catholics in the Trinity, immortality of the soul, consciousness of the dead, rewards and punishments at death, the endless torture of the wicked, inheritance of the saints beyond the skies, sprinkling for baptism, and the PAGAN SUNDAY for the Sabbath; all of which is contrary to the spirit and letter of the New Testament. Surely there is between the mother and daughters, a striking family resemblance”. {M. E. Cornell, 1858, Facts For The Times, page 76}

“While at West Union, I noticed that the doctrine of man’s mortality produced a great stir among the people. In a discussion with Eld. R. Swearagen (Methodist) on the nature of man, the truth shone brighter for the scouring it received. Proposition. Do the Scriptures teach that man possesses an immortal, conscious principle? This question was discussed before Judge McClintock as moderator, for seven evenings. The investigation made sale for books and tracts, and I think the result is as good as the generality of discussions. The brethren thought we could not well avoid it, as the cause might suffer if we appeared to be afraid to meet their positions. As a full report would be tedious, I give but a brief selection from the many positions and arguments.… Swearagen. Christ gave up his soul, not merely his breath. He says, “I have power to lay down my life, and have power to take it again.” Something was conscious to take the life again. Reply. His soul was the offering. “Hath poured out his soul unto death.” Isa. 53:10-12. The offering must die. The Son could take his life again when his Father gave it to him. “We have testified of God that he raised up Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:15. “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death.” Acts 2:24.

“Thou (God) wilt not leave my soul in hell (hades or grave) neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.” Verse 27. S. He is not satisfied when he says the soul of man dies with the body, but he rises higher in his blasphemy, and says, The soul of Christ died—that divinity died! He even kills a part of God! What awful blasphemy!! R. If it be blasphemy to say that the divine Son of God died, how much greater blasphemy is found in the Methodist Discipline—“Very God and very man, who truly suffered, was crucified, dead and buried,” &c. Watson, speaking of Christ’s death, says, “The death of One who partook of flesh and blood,” “in that lower nature he dies.” {“Sufferings and death of the incarnate Deity.”—Institutes, pp.219, 259}

Dr. Clarke says, “A body was prepared for the eternal Logos, and in that body he came to do the will of God, that is, to suffer and die.” Com. on Heb. 10:6. This charge of blasphemy is not only against his own Discipline, and principal theologian, and commentator, but his hymn book is full of such blasphemy. “The incarnate God hath died for me.”—Hymn 133, revised ed. “Christ, the mighty Maker, died.”—146. “The rising God forsakes the tomb.”—148. “Down from the shining seats above, With joyful haste he fled; Entered the grave in mortal flesh, And dwelt among the dead.”—131. But worst of all, this awful charge is against the Bible. In John 1:2, 14, we learn that the “Word” which “was in the beginning with God,” “was made flesh.” And in Heb. 1:2, 3, the Son of God, who was the “express image of his person,” did “by himself purge our sins.” That which was “the express image” of God, was the sacrifice, and of course had to die. In Phil. 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” There is nothing more clearly taught in the Scriptures than that he that came down from heaven died; that he “was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death,” and was “put to death in the flesh.” Heb. 2:9; 1 Pet. 3:18. “He hath poured out his soul unto death.” Isa. 53:12. If Christ died, soul and body, and was raised, soul and body, then man will be raised from the dead, soul and body, for Christ in his resurrection was the first-fruits (or sample) of them that slept.” 1Cor. 15:20. If, as Clarke says, the “Eternal Logos” did “suffer and die,” it is folly to talk about an essential part of man not being subject to death. Such talk sounds much like the echo to that lie of the old serpent, “Thou shalt not surely die.” {M. E. Cornell, December 23, 1862, I vol. 21, no. 4, pages 25, 26}

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J.H. Waggoner

J.H. Waggoner

“Many theologians really think that the Atonement, in respect to its dignity and efficacy, rests upon the doctrine of the trinity. But we fail to see any connection between the two. To the contrary, the advocates of that doctrine really fall into the difficulty which they seem anxious to avoid. Their difficulty consists in this: They take the denial of a trinity to be equivalent to a denial of the divinity of Christ. Were that the case, we should cling to the doctrine as tenaciously as any can; but it is not the case. They who have read our remarks on the death of the Son of God know that we firmly believe in the divinity of Christ; but we cannot accept the idea of a trinity, as it is held by Trinitarians, without giving up our claim on the dignity of the sacrifice made for our redemption.” {J. H. Waggoner,  1884, The Atonement In The Light Of Nature And Revelation, pp 164, 165}  Trinity quotes

“The distinction between Christ and the true God is most clearly shown by the Savior’s own words in John 17:3: “That they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. “Much stress is laid on Isa. 9:6, as proving a trinity, which we have before quoted, as referring to our High Priest who shed his blood for us. The advocates of that theory will say that it refers to a trinity because Christ is called the everlasting Father. But for this reason, with others, we affirm that it can have no reference to a trinity. Is Christ the Father in the trinity? If so, how is he the Son? Or if he is both Father and Son, how can there be a trinity? For a trinity is three persons. To recognize a trinity, the distinction between the Father and Son must be preserved. Christ is called “the second person in the trinity;” but if this text proves a trinity, or refers to it at all, it proves that he is not the second, but the first. And if he is the first, who is the second? It is very plain that this text has no reference to such a doctrine.” {J. H. Waggoner, ibid, pp. 168, 169}

“The ‘Athanasian creed’…was formulated and the faith defined by Athanasius. Previous to that time there was no settled method of expression, if, indeed, there was anywhere any uniformity of belief. Most of the early writers had been pagan philosophers, who to reach the minds of that class, often made strong efforts to prove that there was a blending of the two systems, Christianity and philosophy. There is abundance of material in their writings to sustain this view. Bingham speaks of the vague views held by some in the following significant terms: “‘There were some very early that turned the doctrine of the Trinity into Tritheism, and, instead of three divine persons under the economy of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, brought in three collateral, coordinate, and self-originated beings, making them three absolute and independent principles, without any relation of Father or Son, which is the most proper notion of three gods. And having made this change in the doctrine of the Trinity, they made another change answerable to it in the form of baptism.’-Antiquities, book 11, chap. 3, &4. “Who can distinguish between this form of expression and that put forth by the council of Constantinople in A.D. 381, wherein the true faith is declared to be that of ‘an uncreated and consubstantial and coeternal Trinity?” The truth is that we find the same idea which is here described by Bingham running through much of the orthodox literature of the second and third centuries. There is no proper ‘relation of Father and Son’ to be found in the words of the council, above quoted…Bingham says this error in regard to a Trinity of three coordinate and self-originated and independent beings arose in the church very early; and so we find it in the earliest authors after the days of the apostles … We leave it with the good judgment of every unprejudiced reader that three baptisms are more consistent with the idea of “three collateral, co-ordinate, and self-originated beings”, than with the idea of baptism into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and in the likeness of the Savior’s death and resurrection . ” {J. H. Waggoner, Thoughts on Baptism, 1878}

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J.B. Frisbie

J.B. Frisbie

“The Sunday God.”

We will make a few extracts, that the reader may see the broad contrast between the God of the Bible brought to light through Sabbath-Keeping, and the god in the dark through Sunday-keeping. Catholic Catechism Abridged by the Rt Rev. John Dubois, Bishop of New York Page 5, ‘Q Where is God? Ans. God is everywhere. Q Does God see and know all things? A Yes, he does know and see all things Q. Are there more Gods than one? A. No, there is but one God. Q. Are there more persons than one in God? A. Yes, in God there are three persons. Q. Which are they? A. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. Q. Are there not three Gods? A No, The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, are all but one and the same God’ These ideas well accord with those heathen philosophers… We should rather mistrust that the Sunday God came from the same source that Sunday-keeping did.” {J. B. Frisbie, Review & Herald, March 7, 1854, The Sunday God, p. 50}  Trinity quotes

“In accordance with the doctrine that three very and eternal Gods are but one God, how may we reconcile…Acts 10:38. “How God anointed Jesus with the Holy Ghost,” &c. First person takes the third person and anoints the second person with a person being at the same time one with himself.

“That three are one, and one are three,

Is an idea that puzzles me;

By many a learned sage ’tis said

That three are one in the Godhead.

“The Father then may be the Son,

For both together make but one;

The Son may likewise be the Father,

Without the smallest change of either.

“Yea, and the blessed Spirit be

The Father, Son and trinity;

This is the creed of Christian folks,

Who style themselves true orthodox,

All which against plain common sense,

We must believe or give offense.”

{J. B. Frisbie, Review & Herald, March 12, 1857}

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R.F. Cottrell  Trinity quotes

R.F. Cottrell

“Men have gone to opposite extremes in the discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity. Some have made Christ a mere man, commencing his existence at his birth in Bethlehem; others have not been satisfied with holding him to be what the Scriptures so clearly reveal him, the pre-existing Son of God, but have made him the ‘God and Father’ of himself…I would simply advise all that love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to believe all that the bible says of Him, and no more….We Understand that the term trinity means the union of three persons, not offices, in one God; so that the Father, Son and holy Ghost, are three at least, and one at most. That one person is three persons, and that three persons are only one person, is the doctrine which we claim is contrary to reason and common sense. The being and attributes of God are above, beyond, out of reach of my sense and reason, yet I believe them: But the doctrine I object to is contrary, yes, that is the word, to the very sense and reason that God has himself implanted in us. Such a doctrine he does not ask us to believe. … But our Creator has made it an absurdity to us that one person should be three persons, and three persons but one person; and in his revealed word he has never asked us to believe it.

This our friend thinks objectionable. … But to hold the doctrine of the Trinity is not so much an evidence of evil intention as of intoxication from that wine of which all the nations have drunk. The fact that this was one of the leading doctrines, if not the very chief, upon which the bishop of Rome was exalted to popedom, does not say much in its favor.

This should cause men to investigate it for themselves; as when the spirits of devils working miracles undertake the advocacy of the immortality of the soul. Had I never doubted it before, I would now probe it to the bottom, by that word which modern Spiritualism sets at nought. Revelation goes beyond us; but in no instance does it go contrary to right reason and common sense. God has not claimed, as the popes have, that he could “make justice of injustice,” nor has he, after teaching us to count, told us that there is no difference between the singular and plural numbers. Let us believe all he has revealed, and add nothing to it.” {R. F. Cottrell, Review & Herald, July 6, 1869}

“He proceeded to affirm that “man is a triune being,” consisting of body, soul and spirit. I never heard a Disciple confess faith in the doctrine of the trinity; but why not, if man consists of three persons in one person? especially, since man was made in the image of God? But the image he said, was a moral likeness. So man may be a triune being without proving that God is. But does he mean that one man is three men? I might say that a tree consists of body, bark and leaves, and no one perhaps would dispute it. But if I should affirm that each tree consists of three trees, the assertion would possibly be doubted by some. But if all admitted that one tree is three trees, I might then affirm that there were ninety trees in my orchard, when no one could count but thirty. I might then proceed and say, I have ninety trees in my orchard, and as each tree consists of three trees, I have two hundred and seventy. So if one man is three men, you may multiply him by three as often as you please.” {R. F. Cottrell, Review & Herald, Nov. 19, 1857}

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Position of SDA Pioneers on the Trinity

Position of SDA Pioneers on the Trinity

This has been a popular doctrine and regarded as orthodox ever since the bishop of Rome was elevated to the popedom on the strength of it. It is accounted dangerous heresy to reject it; but each person is permitted to explain the doctrine in his own way. All seem to think they must hold it, but each has perfect liberty to take his own way to reconcile its contradictory propositions; and hence a multitude of views are held concerning it by its friends, all of them orthodox, I suppose, as long as they nominally assent to the doctrine. For myself, I have never felt called upon to explain it, nor to adopt and defend it, neither have I ever preached against it. But I probably put as high an estimation on the Lord Jesus Christ as those who call themselves Trinitarians. This is the first time I have ever taken the pen to say anything concerning the doctrine.  Trinity quotes

My reasons for not adopting and defending it, are 1  Its name is unscriptural. The Trinity, or the triune God, is unknown to the Bible; and I have entertained the idea that doctrines which require words coined in the human mind to express them, are coined doctrines. I have never felt called upon to adopt and explain that which is contrary to all the sense and reason that God has given me. All my attempts at an explanation of such a subject would make it no clearer to my friends. But if I am asked what I think of Jesus Christ, my reply is, I believe all that the Scriptures say of him. If the testimony represents him as being in glory with the Father before the world was, I believe it. If it is said that he was in the beginning with God, that he was God, that all things were made by him and for him, and that without him was not anything made that was made, I believe it. If the Scriptures say he is the Son of God, I believe it. If it is declared that the Father sent his Son into the world, I believe he had a Son to send. If the testimony says he is the beginning of the creation of God, I believe it. If he is said to be the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express image of his person, I believe it. And when Jesus says, ‘I and my Father are one,’ I believe it; and when he says, ‘My Father is greater than I,’ I believe that too; it is the word of the Son of God, and besides this it is perfectly reasonable and seemingly self-evident. If I be asked how I believe the Father and Son are one, I reply, They are one in a sense not contrary to sense. If the and in the sentence means anything, the Father and the Son are two beings. They are one in the same sense in which Jesus prayed that his disciples might be one.

He asked his Father that his disciples might be one. His language is, that they may be one, “even as we are one . ”It may be objected, If the Father and the Son are two distinct beings, do you not, in worshipping the Son and calling him God, break the first commandment of the Decalogue? No; it is the Father’s will that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. We cannot break the commandment and dishonor God by obeying him.  Trinity quotes

The Father says of the Son, Let all the angels of God worship him. Should angels refuse to worship the Son, they would rebel against the Father. Children inherit the name of their father. The Son of God hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than the angels. That name is the name of his Father. The Father says to the Son, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever. Heb. 1:8. The Son is called The mighty God. Isa. 9:6. And when he comes again to earth his waiting people will exclaim, This is our God. Isa. 25:9. It is the will of the Father that we should thus honor the Son. In doing so we render supreme honor to the Father. If we dishonor the Son we dishonor the Father; for he requires us to honor his Son. But though the Son is called God yet there is a God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. 1:3.

Though the Father says to the Son, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, yet, that throne is given him of his Father; and because he loved righteousness and hated iniquity, he further says, Therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee. Heb. 1:9. God hath made that same Jesus both Lord and Christ. Acts 2:36. The Son is the everlasting Father, not of himself, nor of his Father, but of his children. His language is. I and the children which God hath given me. Heb. 2:13.” {R. F. Cottrell, Review & Herald, June 1,1869}

A.T. Jones

“Another, and the most notable of all the victims of Calvin’s theocracy, was Servetus, who had opposed the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, and also infant baptism; and had published a book entitled “Christianity Restored,” in which he declared his sentiments.” {A. T. Jones, 1891, The Two Republics, p 801}

A. T. Jones wrote this book The Two Republics largely about the history of the Trinitarian doctrine, including its origin, and how it was forced upon believers by the Roman church, even many of its own bishops, using the threat of excommunication and exile.

“He who was born in the form of God took the form of man. “In the flesh he was all the while as God, but he did not appear as God.” “He divested himself of the form of God, and in its stead took the form and fashion of man.” “The glories of the form of God, He for a while relinquished.” {A. T. Jones, General Conference Bulletin 1895, page 448}  Trinity quotes

“He was born of the Holy Ghost. In other words, Jesus Christ was born again. He came from heaven, God’s first-born, to the earth, and was born again. But all in Christ’s work goes by opposites for us: He, the sinless one, was made to be sin in order that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. He, the living One, the Prince and Author of life, died that we might live. He whose goings forth have been from the days of eternity, the first-born of God, was born again in order that we might be born again”. {Christian Perfection, paragraphs 53, 54 A Sermon by A. T. Jones} {Review & Herald, July 18-August 1, 1899}

E.J. Waggoner

“Christ is the express image of the Father’s person. As the Son of the self-existent God, He has by nature all the attributes of the Deity… The angels are sons of God, as was Adam (Job 38:7, Luke 3:38) by creation; Christians are sons of God by adoption (Rom 8:14, 15), but Christ is the Son of God by birth.” {E. J. Waggoner, 1890, Christ as His Righteousness, pp 11-13}

“The Word was “in the beginning.” The mind of man cannot grasp the ages that are spanned in this phrase. It is not given to men to know when or how the Son was begotten; but we know that he was the Divine Word, not simply before He came to this earth to die, but even before the world was created. Just before His crucifixion He prayed, “And now, O Father, glorify thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” John 17:5. And more than seven hundred years before His first advent, His coming was thus foretold by the word of inspiration: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2, margin. We know that Christ “proceeded forth and came from God” (John 8:42), but it was so far back in the ages of eternity as to be far beyond the grasp of the mind of man.” {E. J. Waggoner, Christ And His Righteousness, p. 9.1890}

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Is Christ God  Trinity quotes

Is Christ God?

“…This name was not given to Christ in consequence of some great achievement, but it is His by right of inheritance. Speaking of the power and greatness of Christ, the writer to the Hebrews says that He is made so much better than the angels, because “He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Heb. 1:4. A son always rightfully takes the name of the father; and Christ, as “the only begotten Son of God,” has rightfully the same name. A son, also, is, to a greater or less degree, a reproduction of the father; he has to some extent the features and personal characteristics of his father; not perfectly, because there is no perfect reproduction among mankind. But there is no imperfection in God, or in any of His works, and so Christ is the “express image” of the Father’s person. Heb. 1:3. As the Son of the self- existent God, He has by nature all the attributes of Deity. It is true that there are many sons of God, but Christ is the “only begotten Son of God,” and therefore the Son of God in a sense in which no other being ever was or ever can be. The angels are sons of God, as was Adam (Job 38:7; Luke 3:38), by creation; Christians are the sons of God by adoption (Rom. 8:14, 15), but Christ is the Son of God by birth. The writer to the Hebrews further shows that the position of the Son of God is not one to which Christ has been elevated, but that it is one which He has by right.” {E. J. Waggoner, Christ And His Righteousness, pp. 11-13. 1890}

“A word of caution may be necessary here. Let no one imagine that we would exalt Christ at the expense of the Father or would ignore the Father. That cannot be, for their interests are one. We honor the Father in honoring the Son. We are mindful of Paul’s words, that “to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1 Cor 8:6), just as we have already quoted, that it was by Him that God made the worlds. All things proceed ultimately from God, the Father, even Christ Himself proceeded and came forth from the Father, but it has pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell, and that He should be the direct, immediate Agent in every act of creation. Our object in this investigation is to set forth Christ’s rightful position of equality with the Father, in order that His power to redeem may be the better appreciated.” {E. J. Waggoner, Christ And His Righteousness, p. 19. 1890}

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Is Christ a Created Being

Is Christ a Created Being?

Before passing to some of the practical lessons that are to be learned from these truths, we must dwell for a few moments upon an opinion that is honestly held by many who would not for any consideration willingly dishonor Christ, but who, through that opinion, do actually deny His Divinity. It is the idea that Christ is a created being, who, through the good pleasure of God, was elevated to His present lofty position. No one who holds this view can possibly have any just conception of the exalted position which Christ really occupies. …The Scriptures declare that Christ is “the only begotten Son of God.” He is begotten, not created. As to when He was begotten, it is not for us to inquire, nor could our minds grasp it if we were told. The prophet Micah tells us all that we can know about it in these words, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2, margin. There was a time when Christ proceeded forth and came from God, from the bosom of the Father (John 8:42; 1:18), but that time was so far back in the days of eternity that to finite comprehension it is practically without beginning. But the point is that Christ is a begotten Son and not a created subject. He has by inheritance a more excellent name than the angels; He is “a Son over His own house.” Heb. 1:4; 3:6. And since He is the only-begotten son of God, He is of the very substance and nature of God and possesses by birth all the attributes of God, for the Father was pleased that His Son should be the express image of His Person, the brightness of His glory, and filled with all the fullness of the Godhead….Finally, we know the Divine unity of the Father and the Son from the fact that both have the same Spirit. Paul, after saying that they that are in the flesh cannot please God, continues: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Rom. 8:9. Here we find that the Holy Spirit is both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. Christ “is in the bosom of the Father” being by nature of the very substance of God and having life in Himself. He is properly called Jehovah, the selfexistent One and is thus styled in Jer. 23:5, 6, where it is said that the righteous Branch, who shall execute judgment and justice in the earth, shall be known by the name of Jehovah-tsidekenu–THE LORD, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Let no one, therefore, who honors Christ at all, give Him less honor than He gives the Father, for this would be to dishonor the Father by just so much, but let all, with the angels in heaven, worship the Son, having no fear that they are worshiping and serving the creature instead of the Creator.” {E. J. Waggoner, Christ And His Righteousness, pp. 19-24. 1890}

“In arguing the perfect equality of the Father and the Son, and the fact that Christ is in very nature God, we do not design to be understood as teaching that the Father was not before the Son. It should not be necessary to guard this point, lest some should think that the Son existed as soon as the Father; yet some go to that extreme, which adds nothing to the dignity of Christ, but rather detracts from the honor due him, since many throw the whole thing away rather than accept a theory so obviously out of harmony with the language of Scripture, that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. He was begotten, not created. He is of the substance of the Father, so that in his very nature he is God; and since this is so ‘It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.’ Col. 1:19…While both are of the same nature, the Father is first in point of time. He is also greater in that he had no beginning, while Christ’s personality had a beginning.” {E. J. Waggoner, Signs of the Times, April 8, 1889}

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1888 Message

How did Sister White view the 1888 message of Jones & Waggoner?

“I know it would be dangerous to denounce Dr. Waggoner’s position as wholly erroneous.… That which has been presented harmonizes perfectly with the light which God has been pleased to give me during all the years of my experience…. I have had the question asked, “What do you think of this light that these men are presenting?

Why, I have been presenting it to you for the last 45 years…”

{E. G. W. 1888, pp. 164, 348}  Trinity quotes

“The angels are sons of God, as was Adam…by creation; Christians are the sons of God by adoption (Rom. 8:14, 15), but Christ is the Son of God by birth. … and so Christ is the “express image” of the Father’s person.” {E. J. Waggoner, Christ And His Righteousness, p. 12. 1890}

“”God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,”– not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father’s person…” {E. G. White, Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895}

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W.C. Gage

W.C. GAGE

“Having noticed some of the evil effects of the doctrine of immortal soulism, and the errors growing out of it, we propose to refer briefly to another erroneous belief, equally popular and quite as unscriptural, if not fully as mischievous in its tendency, namely Trinitarianism.” {W. C. Gage, Review and Herald, August 29th 1865, ‘Popular errors and their fruits No.5’}

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W.W. Prescott

W.W. Prescott

“As Christ was twice born, once in eternity, the only begotten of the Father, and again here in the flesh, thus uniting the divine with the human in that second birth, so we, who have been born once already in the flesh, are to have the second birth, being born again of the Spirit, in order that our experience may be the same, the human and the divine being joined in a life union.” {W. W. Prescott, Review & Herald, April 14, 1896, p. 232}

“The world rejected Jesus of Nazareth in the flesh, even though they could see him with the natural eye. Much more will the world reject him coming in the Spirit, invisible to the natural eye and only recognized by the eye of faith. … When Jesus was talking with his disciples it was the time of transition from Jesus with his disciples to Jesus in his disciples, a change from a temporary residence among them to a permanent residence in them. This is the meaning of his words. ‘Ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you.’ In both cases it was Jesus, first with them in the flesh, and then in them as the Spirit of truth. … Plainly the coming of the Comforter is the coming of Jesus in the Spirit… We have a Comforter or Advocate in Heaven, Jesus Christ the righteous, there present in a bodily form, just as he ascended from this earth, and we have in our hearts the same Jesus in the Spirit, the other Comforter who is just Jesus’ other self. In one sentence Jesus promises that the comforter ‘shall be in you,’ and in the very next sentence he promises, ‘I will come to you.’ We must not doubt it. Our faith must accept it. The Holy Spirit in the heart is ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’ … And so we read: ‘He that hath the Son hath the life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life.’ He himself is our life.” {Radio Talk, February 5, 1928 by W. W. Prescott. Station KFAB, Lincoln, Nebr. (Wave length 319 meters) At 10:15 p.m., C. S. T.}

“When he sought to comfort his disciples with the promise, ‘I will not leave you desolate; I come unto you,’ it is evidence that they understood that he himself would return to them, and not merely send an impersonal influence… He Himself is ‘The Lord our righteousness,’ and when he comes to us in the person of the Holy Spirit to abide in our hearts, he becomes our righteousness.” {Radio Talk, February 12, 1928 by W. W. Prescott}

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Comments on the quote by W.W. Prescott

Comments on the quote by W.W. Prescott:

Although Elder W.W. Prescott was one of the key proponents of the trinity doctrine within the Seventh-Day Adventist church, in the above statement it is clear that his position as late as 1928 on the Holy Spirit was “Jesus, “other self” certainly not a full Trinitarian position we see in our 28 fundamentals of 2008

C.W. Stone

“The Word then is Christ. The text speaks of His origin. He is the only begotten of the Father. Just how he came into existence the Bible does not inform us anymore definitely, but by this expression and several of a similar kind in the Scriptures we may believe that Christ came into existence in a manner different from that in which other beings first appeared, That He sprang from the Father’s being in a way not necessary for us to understand.” {C. W. Stone, The Captain of our Salvation, p. 17. 1886}

A.J. Dennis

“What a contradiction of terms is found in the language of [the] Trinitarian creed. “In unity of this head are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” There are many things that are mysterious, written in the word of God, but we may safely presume the Lord never calls upon us to believe impossibilities. But creeds often do.” {A. J. Dennis, Signs of the Times, May 22, 1879}

A.J. Morton

“The Holy Spirit is divine because it proceeds from divinity. You can no more separate divinity from the Spirit of God and Christ than you can separate divinity from God and Christ. It is, therefore, the presence of the Spirit in the words of God’s promises which enable us to receive the divine nature from those promises.” {A. J. Morton} {Signs of the Times, October 26, 1891, p. 342}

D.W. Hull

“The inconsistent positions held by many in regard to the Trinity, as it is termed, has, no doubt, been the prime cause of many other errors. Erroneous views of the divinity of Christ are apt to lead us into error in regard to the nature of the atonement.… The doctrine which we propose to examine, was established by the Council of Nice, A. D., 325, and ever since that period, persons not believing this peculiar tenet, have been denounced by popes and priests, as dangerous heretics. It was for a disbelief in this doctrine, that the Arians were anathematized in A. D., 513.

As we can trace this doctrine no farther back than the origin of the “Man of Sin,” and as we find this dogma at that time established rather by force than otherwise, we claim the right to investigate the matter, and ascertain the bearing of Scripture on this subject. Just here I will meet a question which is very frequently asked, namely, Do you believe in the divinity of Christ? Most unquestionably we do; but we don’t believe, as the M. E. church Discipline teaches, that Christ is the very and eternal God; and, at the same time, very man; that the human part was the Son, and the divine part was the Father.” {D. W. Hull, Review & Herald, November 10, 1859}

H.C. Blanchard

H. C. Blanchard “We are well aware that there has been much disputation on the subject of the sonship of Christ in the religious world, some claiming that he is nothing but a man as to origin, being only about eighteen hundred years old; others that he is the very and eternal God, the second person in the trinity. This last view is by far the most widely entertained among religious denominations. We are disposed to think that the truth lies between these views.” (H. C. Blanchard, Review and Herald, September 10th 1867, ‘The Son’)

L.J. Caldwell

“But since in Roman Catholic theology, Christ is at once God and Holy Spirit, the three being absolutely one and the same (and yet three!), are there not as many of the Trinity as of Christ? (Pardon, kind reader, the seeming irreverence of these questions, but Rome forces these doctrines to the front, and teaches them to children and adults alike.  Trinity quotes

Let those answer who are responsible for such monstrous, senseless, and utterly impossible doctrines)” {Loyd Caldwell, Review and Herald, December 11th 1888, ‘Man’s perversions of God’s memorials}

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J.M. Stephenson

J.M. Stephenson

“In reference to his dignity, he is denominated the Son of God, before his incarnation. Hear his own language: [John 7:18; 10:36; 1 John 4:9, 10 quoted] The idea of being sent implies that he was the Son of God antecedent to his being sent. To suppose otherwise is to suppose that a father can send his son on an errand before that son has an existence, which would be manifestly absurd. “To say that God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,” is equivalent to saying that the Son of God assumed our nature; he must therefore have been the Son of God before his incarnation.” {J. M. Stephenson, Review & Herald, November 7, 1854}  Trinity quotes

“To be the only begotten Son of God must be understood in a different sense than to be a Son by creation; for in that sense all the creatures he has made are sons. Nor can it refer to his miraculous conception, with the virgin Mary, by the Holy Ghost; because he is represented by this endearing title more than four thousand years before his advent in the village of Bethlehem. Moreover, he is represented as being exalted far above the highest orders of men and angels in his primeval nature. He must therefore be understood as being the Son of God in a much higher sense than any other being. His being the only begotten of the Father supposes that none except him were thus begotten; hence he is, in truth and verity the only begotten Son of God; and as such he must be Divine; that is, be a partaker of the Divine nature. … The idea of the Father and Son supposes priority of the existence of the one, and the subsequent existence of the other. To say that the Son is as old as his Father, is a palpable contradiction of terms. It is a natural impossibility for the Father to be as young as the Son, or the Son to be as old as the Father. If it be said that this term is only used in an accommodated sense, it still remains to be accounted for, why the Father should use as the uniform title of the highest, and most endearing relation between himself and our Lord, a term which, in its uniform signification, would contradict the very idea he wished to convey. If the inspired writers had wished to convey the idea of the coetaneous existence, and eternity of the Father and Son, they could not possibly have used more incompatible terms. And of this, Trinitarians have been sensible. Mr. Fuller, although a Trinitarian, had the honesty to acknowledge, in the conclusion of his work on the Son-ship of Christ, that, “in the order of nature, the Father must have existed before the Son.” … This gives “the only begotten of the Father” (see [John 1] verse 14) intelligent existence before the first act of creative power was put forth, and proves that it is his Divine nature here spoken of; and that too, in connection with the creation of all things. In verse 14, this Word, who was “in the beginning” “with God,” who “was God,” and by whom “all things were made, that were made,” is declared to be the “only begotten of the Father,” thereby teaching that in his highest nature he was begotten; and consequently as such, he must have had a beginning.” {J. M. Stephenson, Review & Herald, November 14, 1854}

 

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W.C. White

W.C. White

LETTER FROM H.W. CARR TO W.C. WHITE Jan. 24, 1935.

Dear Elder White:

“…In the first pages of Great Controversy it is stated that the ‘Father had an associate – A co-worker…The only being that could enter into all the councils and purposes of God.’ ‘The Father wrought by His son in the creation of all heavenly beings…He holds supremacy over them all.’ ‘Sin originated with Satan, who next to Christ had been most honored of God, and was highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of heaven. Next to Christ he was first among the hosts of God.’ ‘The Son of God had wrought the Fathers will in the creation of all the hosts of heaven.’ The Son of God was exalted above Satan as one in power and authority with the Father.’ Christ created Satan. Ez.28:15. “It is urged by some of our leaders now that The Holy Spirit is a third person of the same nature of the Father and Son, a member of the heavenly trio, cooperative in creation and personally active with the Father and Son.

For many years I have used these statements of Sr. White in combating false teachings relative to defining the Holy Spirit. “Will you kindly tell me what you understand was your mother’s position in reference to the personality of the Holy Spirit? [questions asked on other topics]. “I know Brother White you would not depart from your mother’s teachings, and that you have as perfect an understanding of them as any one. I shall appreciate your opinion very much. Assuring you of the high esteem and respect I have had from my childhood in your father, mother and family, I am very truly yours in this blessed faith.”

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Letter from Willie C. White

 

Letter from Willie C. White (E.G. White’s son) to H.W. Carr April 30, 1935.

Dear brother Carr,  Trinity quotes

“I hold in my hand your letter of January 24. For some months I have been so heavily pressed with work connected with manuscripts which we were preparing for the printer that my correspondence has had to wait. “In your letter you request me to tell you what I understand to be my mother’s position in reference to the personality of the Holy Spirit.

“This I cannot do because I never clearly understood her teachings on the matter. There always was in my mind some perplexity regarding the meaning of her utterances which to my superficial manner of thinking seemed to be somewhat confusing. I have often regretted that I did not possess that keenness of mind that could solve this and similar perplexities, and then remembering what Sister White wrote in ‘Acts of the Apostles,’ pages 51 and 52, ‘regarding 59 such mysteries which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden,’ I have thought best to refrain from discussion and have endeavored to direct my mind to matters easy to be understood. “As I read the Bible, I find that the risen Savior breathed on the disciples (John 20:22) ‘and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.’ The conception received from this Scripture, seems to be in harmony with the statement in ‘Desire of Ages’, page 669, also Gen. 1:2; with Luke 1:4; with Acts 2:4 and also 8:15 and 10:44. Many other texts might be referred to which seem to be in harmony with this statement in ‘Desire of Ages.’ “The statements and the arguments of some of our ministers in their effort to prove that the Holy Spirit was an individual as are God the Father and Christ, the eternal Son, have perplexed me and sometimes they have made me sad. One popular teacher said ‘We may regard Him, (the Holy Spirit) as the fellow who is down here running things.’ “My perplexities were lessened a little when I learned from the dictionary that one of the meanings of personality, was Characteristics. It is stated in such a way that I concluded that there might be personality without bodily form which is possessed by the Father and the Son.

There are many Scriptures which speak of the Father and the Son and the absence of Scripture making similar reference to the united work of the Father and the Holy Spirit or of Christ and the Holy Spirit, has led me to believe that the spirit without individuality was the representative of the Father and the Son throughout the universe, and it was through the Holy Spirit that they dwell in our hearts and make us one with the Father and with the Son….[answers to other subjects] With kind regards, I remain sincerely your brother, W.C. White”

 

J.E. White

“The angels, therefore, are created beings, necessarily of a lower order than their Creator. Christ is the only being begotten of the Father.” {J. E. White, Past, Present and Future, p. 52. 1909}

“Only one being in the universe besides the Father bears the name of God, and that is His Son, Jesus Christ.” {J. E. White, The Coming King, p.33}

S.M.I. Henry

“”Q Do you think the Spirit of God is a person, or is it simply the power by which God works, and which he has given to man for his use? “A. The pronouns used in connection with the Spirit must lead us to conclude that he is a person, the personality of God which is the source of all power and life.””

{S. M. Henry, The Abiding Spirit, 1899.}

H.W. Cotrell

“The conclusion drawn at that time [the time of the pioneers] was that the Holy Spirit was not a person in the sense that God and Christ are persons, if so, the same difficulty would be encountered with the Holy Spirit being everywhere present as is held by the Trinitarians concerning God and Christ as persons being everywhere present, and if it should be so conceded Christ would be the son of the Holy Spirit, rather tha[n] of God as the Bible declares him to be.” {Matt 1:18}{Letter of H. W. Cottrell to LeRoy Froom, September 16, 1931}

 

 

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Items of Interest

 

Mrs Ellen G. White stated that her angel had referred to Elder H.W.Cottrell “as one who was respected in heaven” (as related by Elder E. Toral Seat on the accompanying CD “Believe His Prophets” (a collection of unpublished testimonies of Ellen G. White)

Elder Milton C. Wilcox

“Question 187: What is the difference between the Holy Spirit and the ministering spirits (angels), or are they the same?

Answer: The Holy Spirit is the mighty energy of the Godhead, the life and power of God flowing out from Him to all parts of the universe, and thus making living connection between His throne and all creation. As is expressed by another: “The Holy Spirit is the breath of spiritual life in the soul. The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ.” It thus makes Christ everywhere present. To use a crude illustration, just as a telephone carries the voice of a man, and so makes that voice present miles away, so the Holy Spirit carries with it all the potency of Christ in making Him everywhere present with all His power, and revealing Him to those in harmony with His law. Thus the Spirit is personified in Christ and God, but never revealed as a separate person. Never are we told to pray to the Spirit; but to God for the Spirit. Never do we find in the Scriptures prayers to the Spirit, but for the Spirit.”

{M. C. Wilcox, 1911, Questions and Answers gathered from the Question Corner Department of the Signs of the Times, pages 181, 182}

THE PERSONALITY OF THE SPIRIT  Trinity quotes

“Ques.1. Some say the Holy Spirit is a person; others say He is a personality; and others, a power only. Till how long should this be a matter of discussion?  Trinity quotes

Ans.1. The personality of the Holy Spirit will probably be a matter of discussion always. Sometimes the Spirit is mentioned as being ‘poured out,’ as in Acts 2. All through the Scriptures, the Spirit is represented as being the operating power of God…The reason why the Scriptures speak of the Holy Spirit as a person, it seems to us, is that it brings to us, and to every soul that believes, the personal presence of our Lord Jesus Christ…“Because of the lack of faith, it was ‘expedient,’ necessary, that He should go away; for He declared, ‘If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send Him unto you.’ John 16:7.

His disciples could not realize the presence of the Spirit of God as long as Christ was with them personally. In that sense, He could be with those only who were in His immediate presence. But when He went away, and the Spirit came, it could make Christ present with everyone, wherever that one was with Paul in Athens, Peter in Jerusalem, Thomas in India, John in Patmos. “These are simply illustrations.

Wherever God’s children are, there is the Spirit – not an individual person, as we look upon persons, but having the power to make present the Father and the Son. That Spirit is placed upon God’s messengers, the angels; but the angels are not the Spirit. That Spirit is placed upon God’s servants, His human messengers; but the human messengers are not the Spirit. They are possessed by the Spirit, and used by the Spirit, and have within them the power of the Spirit; but they are not the Spirit. The Spirit is independent of all these human or material agencies. Why not leave it there? Why not know that the Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Deity, goes out into all the earth, bringing the presence of God to every heart that will receive it?”

{M. C. Wilcox, Questions And Answers Vol.11, 1919, 1938 editions, p.37-39. In the 1945 edition p.33-35}

 

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G.W. Amadon

G. W. Amadon

How Shall We Explain it?

“In Rev. 1:8, occurs a passage which has presented some difficulty to those who reject the doctrine of the trinity. The text, with its foregoing connection, reads as follows: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Verses 7 and 8. The question has often arisen here, In what sense is Jesus Christ “the Almighty?” To us this inquiry is very easily answered. We do not believe that Christ is at all meant by the phrase, the Almighty, and for this belief we will give a few short reasons.  Trinity quotes

We think there are two persons brought to view in these texts – the Savior, in the seventh verse; and the Father, in the eighth.

There is another most august title in verse 8 which never refers to the Son. It is the phrase – “Which is, and which was, and which is to come.” This title points out the eternity of the being to whom it refers. We will notice the use of this title, as the passages in which it occurs very plainly show that it belongs to “the High and lofty One which inhabits eternity.” Beginning with verse 4 of this chapter it reads – “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before his throne; AND FROM Jesus Christ, who is the faithful Witness, and the first-begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.” Here are two personages pointed out – the everlasting God under the fitting title, “Which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty,” and Jesus Christ by the no less appropriate titles of “the faithful Witness,” “the first-begotten of the dead,” and “the Prince of the kings of the earth.” We will now present three other texts where this phrase is found, and which all readily admit speak of the immortal Father. Rev. 4:8. “And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” Chap. 11:16, 17. “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.” Chap. 16:5, 7. “And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be; because thou hast judged thus.” “And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord, God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.” With these passages we dismiss the point, as it can serve no purpose to the trinitarian, and to us seems so plain that the wayfaring man need not err therein.” {G. W. Amadon, September 24, 1861, Review & Herald, vol. 18, pages 136, par. 1-10}

 

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E.J. Waggoner

E.J. Waggoner

“The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Jones and Waggoner. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Savior, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world……… God gave His messengers just what the people needed” {1895, Testimonies to Ministers p 91, 95}

“The message given us by A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner is the message of God to the Laodicean church” {Letter S24, 1892}.

“The loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth” {Review & Herald November 22, 1892}

Now let’s take a closer look at the teachings presented by these two young ministers in regards to the Godhead, which were no different than their fellow brethren and was the churches official position until the mid 20th century. The interesting insight here is that Mrs. White clearly states that the message that Elder’s A.T. Jones and E.J. Waggoner were preaching was to attract the out pouring of the Holy Spirit upon Gods Remnant Church. Let me pose the supposition that this would never be the case if we (SDA’s in 1888) had the wrong understanding or teaching on who God is and His nature and His Character. The Holy Spirit would no more be poured out in latter rain power upon a church with the wrong concept of God than on a church that holds to the wrong day of worship! This has tremendously serious implications, for if this be so, that God would not pour His latter rain upon a church with the wrong concept of God, then likewise it stands to reason that He would not pour out his Latter rain on today’s Seventh-Day Adventist Church if we have the wrong concept of God.  Trinity quotes

Key Personnel of the 1888 Minneapolis General Conference

E.G. White

A.T. Jones

E.J. Waggoner

J.H. Morrison

G.I. Butler

Uriah Smith

Statements of Elders Jones and Waggoner around the time of 1888

 

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Dr. Waggoner

Dr. Waggoner – 1889

“In arguing the perfect equality of the Father and the Son, and the fact that Christ is in very nature God, we do not design to be understood as teaching that the Father was not before the Son. It should not be necessary to guard this point, lest some should think that the Son existed as soon as the Father; yet some go to that extreme, which adds nothing to the dignity of Christ, but rather detracts from the honor due him, since many throw the whole thing away rather than accept a theory so obviously out of harmony with the language of Scripture, that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. He was begotten, not created. He is of the substance of the Father, so that in his very nature he is God; and since this is so ‘It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.’ Col. 1:19…While both are of the same nature, the Father is first in point of time. He is also greater in that he had no beginning, while Christ’s personality had a beginning.”

{E. J. Waggoner, Signs of the Times, April 8, 1889}

A.T. Jones – 1891

“Another, and the most notable of all the victims of Calvin’s theocracy, was Servetus, who had opposed the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, and also infant baptism; and had published a book entitled “Christianity Restored,” in which he declared his sentiments.”

{A. T. Jones, 1891, The Two Republics, p 801}  Trinity quotes

“He who was born in the form of God took the form of man. “In the flesh he was all the while as God, but he did not appear as God.” “He divested himself of the form of God, and in its stead took the form and fashion of man.” “The glories of the form of God, He for a while relinquished.” {A. T. Jones, General Conference Bulletin 1895, page 448}

“He was born of the Holy Ghost. In other words, Jesus Christ was born again. He came from heaven, God’s first-born, to the earth, and was born again. But all in Christ’s work goes by opposites for us: He, the sinless one, was made to be sin in order that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. He, the living One, the Prince and Author of life, died that we might live. He whose goings forth have been from the days of eternity, the first-born of God, was born again in order that we might be born again”.

{Christian Perfection, paragraphs 53, 54 A Sermon By A. T. Jones}

How did Sister White view the 1888 message of Jones & Waggoner? “…That which has been presented harmonizes perfectly with the light which God has been pleased to give me during all the years of my experience…. I have had the question asked, “What do you think of this light that these men are presenting? Why, I have been presenting it to you for the last 45 years”

{E. G. W. 1888, pp. 164, 348}

 

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Prescott

Prescott

Mrs E G White Speaking at the Battle Creek Tabernacle at the General Conference 1901 In the years following 1888 there were rumblings of interest among a few of the brethren regarding aspects of certain Trinitarian concepts. However these interests were not from the mainstream of leadership or from the rank & file of members as we will see in subsequent Sections. The major push at this period of time was coming from a young W.W. Prescott who had taken a special interest in the eternity of Christ and was gleaning all he could on the subject Elder H. C. Lacey was a confessed Trinitarian at the time of 1888 and beyond and Elder Lacey was one of the Workers who went with Mrs E.G. White to Australia to help set up the work here. Elder Lacey’s expertise was as a College teacher at the Australasian Missionary College. He tells of a series of meeting’s which he held at Avondale in 1895- 6 in which Mrs E G Whites secretary (Marion Davis) took great interest in(topic was the personality of the Holy Spirit) (Letter from L.C. Lacey to L.E. Froom

 

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W.W. Prescott, H.C. Lacey, Marian Davis

While W.W. Prescott was doing his investigation into these Trinitarian concepts which were foreign to SDA “norm” up until now, around the same time there was another mischief going on in Battle Creek Sanitarium. Dr John Harvey Kellogg was at work on a book called “The Living Temple”. As you can see from the dialogue below between J.H. Kellogg and G.I. Butler (former president of the General Conference) Kellogg was moving rapidly toward a trinitarian understanding. G. I. Butler questions J. H. Kellogg on his idea that the Holy Spirit is a person “As far as I can fathom, the difficulty which is found in The Living Temple, the whole thing may be simmered down to this question: Is the Holy Ghost a person? You say no.” {J. H. Kellogg to G. I. Butler, Feb 21, 1904}

Butler’s reply, “God dwells in us by His Holy Spirit, as a Comforter, as a Reprover, especially the former. When we come to Him we partake of Him in that sense, because the Spirit comes forth from him; it comes forth from the Father and the Son. It is not a person walking around on foot, or flying as a literal being, in any such sense as Christ and the Father are – at least , if it is, it is utterly beyond my comprehension of the meaning of language or words.” {G.I. Butler to J.H. Kellogg, April 5, 1904} who was one of our denomination’s leaders.

 

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J.H. Kellog

J.H. Kellog

Ellen White – 2 Manuscript Release 243.2

“There is in it [Kellogg’s teachings] the beginning of theories which, carried to their logical conclusion, would destroy faith in the sanctuary question and in the atonement. I do not think that Dr. Kellogg saw this clearly. I do not think that he realized that in laying his new foundation of faith, he was directing his The Alpha of Deadly Heresy, Our Religion Changed 15 of 22 steps toward infidelity.” Letter 33, 1904, p. 2. {To Brethren Faulkhead and Salisbury, Jan. 17, 1904.} Released February, 1963. [word in brackets by the White Estate]  Trinity quotes

“In the book ‘Living Temple’ there is presented the alpha of deadly heresies. The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to heed the warning God has given.” {Selected Messages Book 1 p200} {Series B No.2 p.50}  Trinity quotes

Those who refused to heed the warnings of the prophet accepted “the omega of deadly heresies”, and our religion began to be changed, not in an obvious way, but subtlety, slowly and imperceptively. Sister White said, “I knew that the omega would follow in a little while; and I trembled for our people.” {1 Selected Messages p203}  Trinity quotes

“No longer content to listen without protest to the perversion of truth. Unmask the pretentious sophistries which, if received, will lead ministers and physicians and medical missionary workers to ignore the truth…I have been instructed to warn our people; for many are in danger of receiving theories and sophistries that undermine the foundation pillars of the faith.…. I call upon those who have been connected with these binding influences to break the yoke to which they have long submitted, and stand as free men in Christ. Nothing but a determined effort will break the spell that is upon them. Be not deceived; many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. We have now before us the alpha of this danger. The omega will be of a most startling nature.” {Selected Messages Book 1 p196, 197}

“I tell you now, that when I am laid to rest, great changes will take place. I do not know when I shall be taken; and I desire to warn all against the devices of the devil.”

{E. G. White, Ms. 1, 1915} Emphasis mine.  Trinity quotes

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1919 Bible Conference at Takoma

1919 Bible conference at Takoma Park

“In the summer of 1919, the church called its leading ministers and college teachers together for a Bible conference, to be followed by a Bible and History Teachers Council. “1 “In the Review and Herald of August 14, 1919, W.E. Howell lists 22 delegates from SDA Colleges attending the Bible and History Teachers Council, and other sources tell us that there could have been over 50 attending the Bible Conference.” 2 A.G. Daniells, then president of the General Conference, reported in the Review and Herald of Aug. 21, 1919, that the meetings were attended “by editors, Bible and history teachers from our colleges and seminaries, and members of the General Conference Committee. “He went on to state that “the one great object of this conference is to unite in a definite, practical, spiritual study of the Word of God.” “We believe that the blessings and benefits which result from Bible conferences such as we have enjoyed, should be perpetuated in the future. … We therefore earnestly request the General Conference Committee to arrange for another conference of this character in 1920…” Such a conference in 1920, however, never eventuated. In fact, the next Bible conference was not held until 1952. The records of the 1919 Bible Conference were lost until late 1974, when Dr. F.D. Yost found two packages wrapped in paper at the General Conference Offices at Takoma Park, Washington. The packages contained some 2,400 pages of typewritten material, transcribed from stenographic notes taken at the Bible Conference. From this we find that a wide variety of topics came under discussion at this Conference, the one which has been most publicized has been that of Inspiration and the Spirit of Prophecy. Some in the church had claimed “verbal inspiration” for the writings of Ellen White, while others claimed she was infallible. In the discussions that occurred in 1919 A.G. Daniells and others tried to show a balanced view of Ellen White’s role in the Church, and brought out some principles that all could learn from in regard to how we use the writings of Ellen White.

Among those present at the Bible Conference were well known names such as; F.M. Wilcox, editor of the Review and Herald; A.O.Tait, editor of the Signs of the Times; W.E. Howell, editor of the Christian Educator; M.E. Kern, formerly president of the Foreign Mission Seminary; C.S. Longacre, secretary of the Religious Liberty Association; M.C. Wilcox, book editor at Pacific Press; W.W. Prescott, a field secretary of the General Conference; and formerly editor of the Review and Herald; G.B. Thompson, also a field secretary of the General Conference; L.L. Caviness, associate editor of the Review and Herald; C.M. Sorensen and W.H. Wakeham, both teachers at Emmanuel Missionary College; H.C. Lacey, teacher at the Foreign Mission Seminary; T.M. French, head of the theology department at Emmanuel Missionary College; and many more.

During this Conference there were lively discussions between prominent church leaders who felt that some were trying to bring the doctrine of the trinity into the Adventist church. A.G. Daniells as President had to cool the discussions down by emphatically asserting that: “We are not going to take a vote on trinitarianism or arianism, but we can think.”

{Taken from the minutes of the 1919 Bible Conference}

This fact sheds light on the theory that Ellen White, through “The Desire of Ages”, corrected the prevailing anti-trinitarian position of the Adventist Pioneers. If that was her intention, certainly most did not understand or accept that message while she was still alive. We are told today that “It was Ellen White whose writings led the way in the theological shift. … Whereas before the Minneapolis meetings she had not been explicit in setting forth her views on the Trinity, the personhood of the Holy Spirit and the divine nature of Christ, during the next two decades she would speak with great clarity on those topics.” 3 “Strangely enough, the statements of “great clarity” seem never to have been found. If her intent had been to clarify, somehow she neglected to do so, never even using the word “trinity” in any of her writings. In 1931, the first formal inclusion of the word trinity (this statement was still clearly non trinitarian) was found in the statement of beliefs in the SDA Yearbook. This declaration was item number two in the statement of twenty-two fundamental beliefs drafted by F.M. Wilcox. The statement regarding the trinity, as well as the other twenty-one beliefs, was submitted to three other men; but never went before the General Conference in session, nor any other committee for that matter. This statement appeared in the Yearbook of 1931 and in the subsequent revisions. It also appeared in the first Church Manual in 1932 and subsequent revisions. This leads us to the question, “why was it sixteen years after Ellen White died before even the word ‘trinity’ appeared in any Adventist statement of belief?” In 1941 a uniform baptismal covenant or vow was recommended for adoption which would also include an affirmative statement of the candidate’s belief in the trinity. Anyone who candidly reads the discussions about the trinity, during the 1919 Bible Conference, clearly recognizes that by 1919 (four years after the death of Ellen White), any type of denominational unity and acceptance of the trinitarian doctrine was still a long way off.

Out of the people present at the 1919 Bible Conference, it is known that H.C. Lacey was a believer in the Trinity doctrine, G.B. Thompson had accepted certain Trinitarian concepts, and F.M. Wilcox accepted it later, 7th July, 1919.

Notice here the following discussions concerning the Son-ship of Christ and the trinity taken from the minutes of the 1919 Bible Conference. “T.E. Bowen: Going back, for instance, to the place where Christ had a beginning, if we can comprehend such a fact which is brought out in the Scriptures, it would cease to be eternity…W.W. Prescott: – Perhaps it would help me to explain if Brother Bowen would tell us where in the Scriptures it is taught that Christ has a beginning.  Trinity quotes

T.E. Bowen: That will bring up another question I could not understand, brought out by Brother Lacey. I cannot understand any expression saying Christ the Son has come forth and is no part of the Father…but it was revealed to the angels in heaven that the Son was to be worshipped, and when He was brought into the world it calls Him the only begotten Son, and that is the point. He is spoken of in the Bible as the only begotten Son.

W.W. Prescott: But where does it touch the time of his beginning? I understood you to say the Scriptures teach that He had a beginning.

T.E. Bowen: Don’t they speak of His being the only begotten Son?

W.W.Prescott: – Certainly. Is that all you mean by that? That does not fix any beginning.

H.C. Lacey: I wish we might have had that question answered. It was this, as to whether there was ever a time when Jesus was not, or when Michael, as he was called, was not. I think the Bible teaches that we are to answer that question with an emphatic negative. There never was a time when the Son was not. If the word Son puzzles us, let us remember that is God’s own sacred word to present His love for that second person of the deity. We are to know God as his father and our father. Jesus is the revelation. He is the Son of God, not meaning that he proceeded forth and developed from him, nor is there another mother…When we raise the question of the origin of the Son, we say there is no origin to Him. He is the second person of the Godhead.

L.L. Caviness: I missed a good deal of this discussion, and I do not know whether the idea is that we are to accept the so-called Trinitarian doctrine or not. Personally, I have not been able to accept the so-called Trinitarian doctrine, that is, as generally presented, that there are three persons in the Godhead, and that there always were three. If that is the doctrine, I can not quite agree with it, because I was reading in the Bible yesterday, in the book of John, which is the book which reveals to us the deity of Christ, and I read as far as I could everything that Christ said concerning himself. Without contradicting what he said about himself, I cannot agree with the doctrine. As I understand it, his statement of the deity rests upon his Sonship, and I do not think there is any one thing through the book of John that is more constantly referred than the Sonship. I cannot believe that the two persons of the Godhead are equal, the Father and the Son, – that one is the Father and the other the Son, and that they might be just as well the other way around. There is another statement he makes. He says that the Father, who has life in himself, gave the Son to have life in himself; When that took place, I do not know, But I believe it took place somewhere away back in eternity. I have to take Christ’s word for it, that at some time that was true, that the Father had life in himself, and gave the Son to have life in himself… He is divine, but he is the divine Son. I cannot explain further than that, but I cannot believe the so-called Trinitarian doctrine of the three persons always existing.  Trinity quotes

M.C. Wilcox: We all believe the deity of Christ. It is not a question as to his deity or nondeity. In all this discussion there is no question regarding this.

Wakeham: Would you consider the denial of the co-eternity of the Father and Son was a denial of that deity?

Prescott: That is the point I was going to raise: Can we believe in the deity of Christ without believing in the eternity of Christ?

Bollman: I have done it for years…

Knox: Now I can not but believe as Brother Prescott has said, the Deity must be eternal. But the difficulty with me is that I can not believe that the deity of the Son as a separate existence is eternal… Now the Word also speaks of Levi paying tithes while he was in the loins of Abraham. Now it would have been equally true if the Lord’s Spirit had carried the acts of Levi back to the time when he was in the loins of Adam. From God’s viewpoint Levi had existed in the loins of his forefathers from the very beginning of time, but he did not have a separate existence until he was born. And so Christ, was with the Father, and of the Father – from eternity; and there came a time – in a way we cannot comprehend nor the time that we cannot comprehend, when by God’s mysterious operation the Son sprung from the bosom of his Father and had a separate existence.  Trinity quotes

Prescott: I would like to call Brother Knox’s attention to this, and ask how on that basis he would deal with John 8:58 ‘Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was born I am. ‘What does ‘I am’ as to our conception of time, mean?

Knox: His personal existence. I believe in the eternity of Jesus Christ. I can not grasp the eternity of his separate and distinct existence.

A.G. Daniells: …Perhaps we have discussed this as long as we need to. We are not going to take a vote on trinitarianism or arianism, but we can think. Let us go on with the study…  Trinity quotes

John Isaac: What are we Bible teachers going to do? We have heard ministers talk one way. Our students have had Bible teachers in one school spend days and days upon this question, then they come to another school, and the other teacher does not agree with that. We ought to have something definite so that we might give the answer. I think it can be done. We ought to have it clearly stated. Was Christ ever begotten, or not, or this thing, or that thing?

A.G. Daniells: Perhaps in another study we might have a study on the word begotten… But we shall have to drop it here this time. Now let’s not get a bit nervous nor scared. Don’t let the conservatives think that something is going to happen, and the progressives get alarmed for fear it won’t happen. Let’s keep up this good spirit…

E.R. Palmer: Are not these studies on the sonship to be continued, and the discussions to be continued?

G.B. Thompson: This question has been raised. Is it proper to pray to Christ or the Holy Spirit, or should we make our requests only to the Father in the name of the Son? Of course we have the Doxology which gives praise to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, but the Lord’s Prayer is to our Father. …

Palmer: Is there any example of prayer being addressed to Christ or the Spirit, in the Bible?

M L Andreason was one of our prominent theologians that felt that Mrs White did this through statements such as: “…Jesus declared. “I am the resurrection, and the life.” In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. “He that hath the Son hath life.” John 5:12. The divinity of Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life.” {Desire of Ages p 530}.

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Comments made by M.L. Andreason

Comments on the 1919 Bible Conference at Takoma Park:

M.L. Andreason misunderstood this statement to mean, the life of the Son is, and has always ‘originated’ from Himself, and was never at anytime ‘borrowed’ or ‘derived’ from His Father. In context, this quotation is simply emphasizing that Christ had the same ability to give life as did His Father, in a way which no created being can. Many Adventist Pioneers did not interpret the above quotation the way modern Adventists interpret it today.

Elder C.S. Longacre expresses the most logical interpretation of this quotation from Desire of Ages: “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will…That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father….For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;” {John 5:21-27}.

What kind of life did the Father have in Himself? God’s life ‘is life original, unborrowed, underived,’ ‘immortal,’ ‘independent.’ ‘He is the source of life.’ Christ says, ‘As the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given’—the same life, original, unborrowed, underived life to the Son. It was ‘given’ to Him by His Father. Christ was made the source of life just as the Father was the source of life.

Christ had the same life the Father had in Himself in His own right. He did not have to derived or borrow it, it was independent of the Father, hence not dependent, derived, or borrowed. He could bestow and give life and create just as the Father could, but the Father gave this life to His Son.

We are not told when Christ received “life in himself”, how far back in dateless ages this occurred is not for us to know. The important thing is Christ has it and it was given to him by His Father. This point is pivotal to the atonement, for if Christ was the same as his Father with no Origin then we have a real problem. If Christ the Son of God was without origin or beginning of days and did not receive “life in himself” from the Father, then Christ would be as the Father and could not die. If we believe Jesus’ testimony in John 5:26 that he was given “life in himself” then indeed he could give up what was originally given Him and in reality die the equivalent of the first and second death and atone for mankind. This is in harmony with the Spirit of Prophecy were she states that the Son of God alone could atone for mankind “The angels prostrated themselves before Him. They offered their lives. Jesus said to them that He would by His death save many, that the life of an angel could not pay the debt. His life alone could be accepted of His Father as a ransom for man.” {The Story of Redemption p43, 44} Praise the Lord for the great truth that Christ, the Son, has “life in himself” and that in Christ was life and this life was “Life Original, Unborrowed, and Underived” as it was the life of the Father which now existed in the Son and from the Son is given to mankind  Trinity quotes

“After the passing of the time in 1844 we searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with the brethren, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the Word. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, “We can do nothing more,” the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me. I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the Scriptures in regard to Christ, his mission, and his priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me.” {RH, May 25, 1905 par. 24} Emphasis supplied.

“”God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,”– not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father’s person, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and Divine perfection. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” ST, May 30, 1895 par. 3 Emphasis supplied

“Our early experience has the same force that it had then. The truth is the same as it ever has been, and not a pin or a pillar can be moved from the structure of truth. That which was sought for out of the Word in 1844, 1845, and 1846 remains the truth in every particular.” Letter 38, 1906, pp. 1, 2.  Trinity quotes

(To the Wahroonga Sanitarium Family, January 23, 1906.) 1MR 52.2

“Those who seek to remove the old landmarks are not holding fast; they are not remembering how they have received and heard. Those who try to bring in theories that would remove the pillars of our faith concerning the sanctuary or concerning the personality of God or of Christ, are working as blind men. They are seeking to bring in uncertainties and to set the people of God adrift without an anchor.” MR760 9.5

“Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to subscribe to the denomination’s Fundamental Beliefs. More specifically, most would not be able to agree to belief number 2, which deals with the doctrine of the Trinity.” {Ministry Magazine October 1993}

“While no single scriptural passage states formally the doctrine of the Trinity, it is assumed as a fact by Bible writers and mentioned several times. Only by faith can we accept the existence of the Trinity.”

{Adventist Review Vol. 158 No. 31, 1981, P. 4} (Emphasis Supplied)

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Who is the Father

Who is the Father?

“Let the missionaries of the cross proclaim that there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, who is Jesus Christ the Son of the Infinite God. This needs to be proclaimed throughout every church in our land. Christians need to know this, and not put man where God should be, that they may no longer be worshipers of idols, but of the living God. Idolatry exists in our churches.” {1888 Materials, p. 886}.

“All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father’s life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all.” {Desire of Ages p. 21}.

“Jehovah, the eternal, self-existent, uncreated One, Himself the Source and Sustainer of all, is alone entitled to supreme reverence and worship. Man is forbidden to give to any other object the first place in his affections or his service.” {Patriarchs and Prophets P-305}.

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Who is the Son

Who is the Son?

“And the Son of God declares concerning Himself: “The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting… When He appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.” Proverbs 8:22-30.” {Patriarchs and Prophets p-34}  Trinity quotes

“The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by Him as His right. This was no robbery of God. “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way,” He declares, “before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth” (Pro. 8:22-27)” {Selected Messages Book 1 p247, 248}.

“In His humanity He was a partaker of the divine nature. In His incarnation He gained in a new sense the title of the Son of God…While the Son of a human being, He became the Son of God in a new sense. Thus He stood in our world-the Son of God, yet allied by birth to the human race…” {5 Bible Commentary-p1114, 1115}.

“The dedication of the first-born had its origin in the earliest times. God had promised to give the First-born of heaven to save the sinner.” {Desire of Ages p-51}.

“The Eternal Father, the unchangeable one, gave his only begotten Son, tore from his bosom Him who was made in the express image of his person, and sent him down to earth to reveal how greatly he loved mankind.” {Review & Herald July 9, 1895}

“Who could bring in the principles ordained by God in His rule and government to counterwork the plans of Satan, and bring the world back to its loyalty? God said: I will send My Son. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ John 3:16.” {6 Testimonies p 236, 237}.

“The man Christ Jesus was not the Lord God Almighty…” {5 Bible Commentary p 1129}

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Who is the Holy Spirit

Who is the Holy Spirit?

“In giving us His Spirit, God gives us Himself, making Himself a fountain of divine influences, to give health and life to the world.” {7 Testimonies p 273}.  Trinity quotes

“It is His purpose that the highest influence in the universe, emanating from the source of all power, shall be theirs.” {Desire of Ages p 679}.

“The divine Spirit that the world’s Redeemer promised to send, is the presence and power of God.” {2 Special Testimonies p-451}.

“The Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the only begotten Son of God binds the human agent, body, soul, and spirit, to the perfect, divine-human nature of Christ. This union is represented by the union of the vine and the branches.” {5 Review & Herald p 228}.

“The reason why the churches are weak and sickly and ready to die, is that the enemy has brought influences of a discouraging nature to bear upon trembling souls. He has sought to shut Jesus from their view as the Comforter, as one who reproves, who warns, who admonishes them saying ‘this is the way, walk ye in it.’” {2 Review & Herald p 422}.

“The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Savior would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high.” {Desire of Ages p 699}.

“Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally; therefore it was altogether for their advantage that He should leave them, go to His father, and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. The Holy Spirit is Himself [Christ] divested of the personality of humanity and independent thereof. He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit, as the omnipresent.” {Manuscript Release #-1084- 7}. {Ms. 5a, 1895. Lt.W-119-1895}

..Thus light was given that helped us to understand the Scriptures in regard to Christ, his mission, and his priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me….” {RH, May 25, 1905 par. 24}

…Those who try to bring in theories that would remove the pillars of our faith concerning the sanctuary or concerning the personality of God or of Christ, are working as blind men…. {MR760 9.5}

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The Emergence of the Trinity Doctrine  Trinity quotes

The Emergence of the Trinity Doctrine

Dr. Le Roy Edwin Froom 1890–1974 (84)

Former Field Secretary, General Conference

Elder Froom was a Seventh-day Adventist minister and historian.

Froom was the first associate secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association from 1926 to 1950. He was also the founding editor of Ministry Magazine. From 1950 until his retirement in 1958 he was a field secretary of the General Conference assigned to research and writing. He was considered to be the leading historian and apologist of the church at the time. Froom is best known for his apologetic writings and his attempts to help non-Adventists understand his own denomination. The most famous resulted in the publication of “Questions on Doctrine” {For a full Obituary Citation see – Advent Review and Sabbath Herald Apr. 4, 1974}

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In 1971, Dr Leroy Froom wrote, “The removal of the last standing vestige of Arianism (anti-Trinitarianism) in our standard literature was accomplished through the deletions from the classic D&R (Daniel and Revelation by Uriah Smith) in 1944…” {Movement of Destiny. Leroy Froom p465} This “removal” or editing of the Classic “Daniel and Revelation” by Elder Uriah Smith was intended to bring our standard works in line with the new thinking, very few knew about this unauthorised editing of one of our leading pioneer’s books. In fact much of the SDA ministry did not know that this took place. Below you will see the reaction of some of our church leaders in the mid 1940’s, when what was happening came to light In the following excerpt from a letter by Elder Leroy E Froom to Elder Rueben R Figuhr you will notice that W.A Spicer (General Conference President) was “pretty warm” about the whole process of the strategic editing that was being made to the late Elder Uriah Smith’s Book Daniel & Revelation and as he, Dr Froom, states “Elder Detwiler was fearfully upset over this.” This editing took place in the mid 1940’s and senior administrators of the day were not in agreeance to this action.  Trinity quotes

L.E. Froom to R.R. Figuhr “When the revision of Daniel and Revelation was contemplated, I was named as chairman of the revision committee, but I immediately disqualified myself because I knew it would never do. There was too much prejudice against me because of other relationships, and so Professor Howell was named the chairman. The revision involved the elimination of all the allusions to the Arian view concerning Christ. Elder Detwiler was fearfully upset over this. His blood vessels stood out like whipcords on his neck and his face was red as a beet, and some people feared that he might have an attack of apoplexy. Elder Spicer was pretty warm also because of the changes made and the defenses in behalf of the book.”

The Book Evangelism

The Book Evangelism

In 1966 Leroy Froom wrote a letter to R.A. Anderson bragging how they both had a part in compiling the E.G. White quotations in “Evangelism” in order to combat the Columbian Union Conference leaders who were still non-trinitarian at the time (1946). Dr Froom stated, “You know what it did with men in the Columbia Union… They either had to lay down their arms, and accept those statements, or else they had to reject the Spirit of Prophecy.” {Letter from Leroy Froom to Roy Allen Anderson. Jan 18 1966}.

As can be seen from this letter Elder Froom seemed to have an objective to convince the church membership that Sister White was an ally to his work. It is clear from the book “Evangelism” that the statements chosen to support Dr Froom’s trinity theories are openly man’s devising. Dr Froom has gone to the lengths of using the word “trinity”

(Evangelism page 616) in a heading when Mrs White never uses the term. It is clear that the church until after the death of Sister White, did not adhere to a trinity doctrine.

Note this statement from “Evangelism”  Trinity quotes

Let People Know Our Position – “Our policy is, Do not make prominent the objectionable features of our faith, which strike most decidedly against the practices and customs of the people, until the Lord shall give the people a fair chance to know that we are believers in Christ, that we do believe in the divinity of Christ, and in His pre-existence. {Evangelism p 613 – 1895}

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Comments on Statement from Evangelism

Comments on the above statement

Remember that these statements were intended to convince our church leaders in 1946 that Sister White supports the doctrine of the trinity

Letter from Dr Leroy Froom to R.A. Anderson 1966

Let People Know Our Position – (comments in brackets) “Our policy is, Do not make prominent the objectionable features of our faith (Mrs White makes it plain that she is speaking about our position on the “divinity of Christ” for she explains this in the latter part of the statement), which strike most decidedly against the practices and customs of the people (why does this strike against the customs and practices of the people? – Because the people of the Christian world almost unanimously believe in the doctrine of the trinity. This would upset them as they believe that Christ was as the Father a being of the Godhead that had eternity of past existence) until the Lord shall give the people a fair chance to know that we are believers in Christ, that we do believe in the divinity of Christ (why would the people not believe that the Seventh-Day Adventist Church believed in the divinity of Christ? – because we did not believe or accept the “customs of the people” who believe the trinity, and therefore this, to them, equals not believing in the divinity of Christ) and in His pre-existence.” {Evangelism p 613 – 1895}  Trinity quotes

“May I here make a frank personal confession? When, back between 1926 and 1928, I was asked by our leaders to give a series of studies on the Holy Spirit, covering the North American union ministerial institutes of 1928, I found that, aside from priceless leads found in the Spirit of Prophecy there was practically nothing in our literature setting forth a sound Biblical exposition in this tremendous field of study. There were no previous path finding books on the question in our literature. I was compelled to search out a score of valuable books written by men outside of our faith–those previously noted—for initial clues and suggestions, and to open up beckoning vistas to intensive personal study. Having these, I went on from there. But they were decided early helps. And scores, if not hundreds, could confirm the same sobering conviction that some of these other men [from Babylon] frequently had a deeper insight into the spiritual things of God than many of our own men then had on the Holy Spirit and the triumphant life. It was still a largely obscure theme.” {Movement of Destiny, 1971, p. 322, LeRoy Froom}  Trinity quotes

(Emphasis supplied).

Dr Roy Allan Anderson

1895 – 1985(90)

Former Secretary Ministerial Association, General Conference

A worthy note from Roy Allan Anderson (Elder Anderson was one of the key five men who met with Donald Barnhouse and Waler Martin in the infamous 1950’s so called evangelical conferences)

In 1983 Roy Allan Anderson admitted that the doctrine of the trinity was the main and crucial doctrinal question in the Evangelical Conferences. Notice the following statement by R. A. Anderson in the Review: “‘What do you folk believe about the Trinity?’ Was a question put to me some years ago [1955] by two gracious Christian gentlemen [Walter Martin and George Cannon] who came unannounced to the General Conference headquarters in Washington, D.C. “Both men were Christian college professors who had read much about Adventists, but all from detractors, and one of them was commissioned to write a new book about Adventist beliefs. However, they felt they should contact the headquarters to discover what we actually believe on points of vital interest rather than just quoting from others.”  Trinity quotes

“The answers to their earnest questions lengthened into days of prayerful discussions. Our answer concerning the Godhead and the Trinity was crucial, for in some of the books they had read that Adventists were classed as Arians;…We reassured the visitors when we turned first to the Scriptures, then to the “Fundamental Beliefs” of Adventism. They discovered that we were in harmony with sound Biblical scholarship, not only on the Trinity but on every other cardinal doctrine of Christianity.” (Emphasis supplied). {“Adventists and the Trinity,” by Roy Allan Anderson, Adventist Review, Sep. 8, 1983}  Trinity quotes

It is becoming clearer after the tableling of the evidence thus far, that the transitory period from a clear non trintarian stance of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church was very much a turbulent one. Elder Froom states, when he was 81 years of age, in a presentation at the Sligo Church in 1971, just before his book “Movement of Destiny” was published, that in 1854 when the Advent people formulated their beliefs that there was a difference of opinion on the

Deity of Christ. He infers that after this time we grew as a people in our understanding of the Deity of Christ and we came to believe that He was fully God with no beginning. Elder Froom goes on to say that the 1888 General Conference session was to bring in unity, first of all concerning the Deity of Christ.

It is clear when you read the Fundamental Principles published in 1872 that the church was indeed in unity on the Deity of Christ. Fundamental Principal No 1 reads “That there is one God, a personal, spiritual being, the creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal, infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by his representative, the Holy Spirit. Ps. 139:7. Fundamental Principle No 2 reads :That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the one by whom God created all things, and by whom they do consist; that he took on him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race;…”

 

Benjamin G. Wilkinson PhD

The following is a “Rap” of Truth Triumphant by SDA Church of the day in the Columbia Union Visitor June 29 – 1944 showing how quickly and how decidedly the church changed its position on the trinity, Truth triumphant leaves you without doubt that the Doctrine of the trinity is of pagan origin Remember Dr B.G. Wilkinson was President of Washington Missionary College in 1944.

“1944 “Truth Triumphant” by B.G. Wilkinson is published, Truth triumphant leaves the reader without doubt that the Doctrine of the Trinity is of pagan origin. This was a book that would strengthen the faith and beliefs of every Seventh-day Adventist. But the Washington “Curia” was not pleased. According to the Clute interview, L. E. Froom instructed the Pacific Press to destroy the plates of Truth Triumphant. This could explain why this much-sought-after book has not been republished by the denomination.” {With Cloak and Dagger History of the ‘Washington Curia’ Ch 24 H. H. Meyers}  Trinity quotes

 

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Some Interesting Facts

Some interesting facts regarding Benjamin G. Wilkinson.

“Dr. B.G. Wilkinson, an eminent Seventh-day Adventist scholar, who was fluent in seven languages, (besides English), produced an exceptional history of the Church in the Wilderness (A.D. 538-1798), entitled Truth Triumphant, The Church in the Wilderness. His splendid bibliography and footnotes demonstrate rigorous scholarship. Dr. Benjamin G. Wilkinson was a studious man with an inquiring mind. During investigations which he had made into the history of the New Testament, he had come to realize that God’s guardians of His truth through the Dark Ages were also the custodians of true Scripture. This, of course is logical, and had been acknowledged by

Mrs. E. G. White:” {Cloak and Dagger History of the ‘Washington Curia’ Ch 24 H. H. Meyers}

“The Waldenses were among the first of the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures….They had the truth unadulterated, and this rendered them the special objects of hatred and persecution….but in a most wonderful manner it was preserved uncorrupted through all the ages of darkness.” {The Great Controversy, pp 65, 69}

“According to a friend of the Wilkinson family, Wilkinson’s ability as a scholar and researcher had come to the notice of Cordell Hull, then U. S. Secretary of State. He issued to Wilkinson, credentials which virtually unlocked to him the vaults of the world, thus enabling him to examine rare historical documents and manuscripts.” {Cloak and Dagger History of the ‘Washington Curia’ Ch 24 H. H. Meyers}  Trinity quotes

In 1944, the Pacific Press Publishing Association published Wilkinson’s findings in the book, Truth Triumphant. Like his previous work, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, it was greatly appreciated by the rank and file of Adventists. Here was a book which demonstrated that the great truths of God had been safely handed down from apostolic times and guarded by His true church until present times. But it was the church in the wilderness and not the church in Rome that was the custodian of Truth!

Testimony by Ralph Moss

The following account is true and factual as told to me by Dr. B.G. Wilkinson, Ph.D., on April 21, 1956, in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Dr. Wilkinson told me in 1936 he uncovered a Jesuit Bible instructor teaching Bible classes in WMC. His account goes as below: Quote. “I had been carrying a heavy load of work for the past few years, as pastor of Old Capitol Memorial Church, President of the College, and teaching Bible Classes to young ministerial students at the College, so when it was proposed to relieve me of some of the class work as Bible teacher and hire a bright young man with an advanced degree in theology to take over my Bible doctrines class, I consented. This young instructor had a very pleasing personality and a magnetic attraction about him. I had nothing to do with his being hired. He began teaching and for about a year all seemed to go well. Then some of my former students came to me (Wilkinson had an “open door” policy with all students) and seemed confused with questions about our doctrines, and they seemed uncertain concerning exactly what we taught and believed. They confided in me that this new Bible instructor did not teach the same way I had taught them, he would leave matters up-in-the-air, express doubts about portions of the Bible and not answer all questions that were put to him in class. All this aroused my suspicions for I knew all was not well and our students were not getting a firm foundation In Truth. I felt badly about the matter, since I had consented to give up my classes, and now this was happening. I determined to look into the matter. I watched the young instructor’s mail. Every two weeks or so a long letter came for him in his mail “slot”. All the teachers and faculty had their mail placed in open “pigeon” holes and all one had to do was look in and see the letter. I noticed the return address on this one letter was a Jesuit institution in Washington D.C. I knew all these places and their locations. I took this letter and steamed it open. I felt that if the Bible instructor was a Jesuit in disguise what I was doing was justified. In the letter were his orders for the coming month on what he was to present to his class and a report sheet on his activities to date. The next day I called him in to my office, gave him his letter, and said to him, ‘I know who you really are, and why you are here.’ He picked up his mail, left the campus of WMC the same hour, never bothering to pick up his back pay, and I never saw him again.” Ralph Moss  Trinity quotes

 

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Statement on the Trinity by B.G. Wilkinson   Trinity quotes

Letter from B.G. Wilkinson, (President of Washington Missionary College) to Dr. D.S.Teters, Nov. 3, 1936.

“Replying to your letter of October 13 regarding the doctrine of the Trinity, I will say that Seventh-day Adventists do not and never have accepted the dark, mysterious Catholic doctrine of the Trinity.” Letter from B.G. Wilkinson, 1936.

It is interesting to note that this statement by Dr Wilkinson was made while in the position of President of Washington Missionary College (Today called Columbia Union College) – where he served as president until 1946)

For further information on the trinity by Dr. B. G. Wilkinson see his book “Truth Triumphant” available through Amazon Books.