Let's Face Facts

by David Clayton

The agitation continues concerning the Trinity doctrine. Almost every publication which is sent out these days, whether from the official SDA Church sources, or, from the Independent Ministries has some article dealing with the subject, or refers to the agitation in one way or another.

Some of the articles put out by these various publications are a real tragedy. Maybe that is the best way to describe them. Taken together, they form a combination of confused, illogical thoughts which are outstanding by their misrepresentation and distortion of facts on the one hand, and their deliberate ignoring of facts on the other.It is, perhaps, significant that all these various ideas, often in serious conflict with each other, find harmony in their common support of the doctrine of the Trinity.The official SDA Church has immortalized its position by placing it in print in no less a publication than the "Adventist Review." In the Week of Prayer readings for October, 1996, the following statement appears:

". . . a plan of salvation was encompassed in the covenant made by the Three Persons of the Godhead, who possessed the attributes of Deity equally. In order to eradicate sin and rebellion from the universe and to restore harmony and peace, one of the divine Beings accepted, and entered into, the role of the Father, another the role of the Son. The remaining divine Being, the Holy Spirit, was also to participate in effecting the plan of salvation. All of this took place before sin and rebellion transpired in heaven.By accepting the roles that the plan entailed, the divine Beings lost none of the powers of Deity. With regard to their eternal existence and other attributes, they were one and equal. But with regard to the plan of salvation, there was, in a sense, a submission on the part of the Son to the Father . . ." - Adventist Review -Oct. 31, 1996 - p.12

Here we are left in no doubt as to what the teaching of the present SDA church is, concerning God. According to this teaching, God consists of three persons who are all exactly alike in every respect. None of these persons has a son. None of these persons has a father. However, as a matter of convenience or necessity, each of these persons has decided to ACT a role. One of them is pretending that he is the father of one of the others. That one is pretending that he is the son of the one acting as Father, while the third person is acting as though he is an intangible, unknowable being, subject to the other two, without a will of his own. What a mockery this makes of the plan of salvation and the precious sacrifice which God made in sending His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON!

The independent ministries, for the most part, are far removed from the "Historic Adventism which they so fondly insist on identifying themselves with. The truth is that the Trinitarian beliefs of the present Independent ministries would have disqualified them from membership in the early Adventist Church and would have prevented the early (historic) Adventists from having any fellowship with them.People like James White, Joseph Bates, J.N. Andrews, E.J. Waggoner and all the others would have accused these present day "reformers" of the same fault as the churches which came out of the reformation of the middle ages.

"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 the Papacy behind, such as natural immortality, sprinkling, the trinity, and Sunday-keeping, the church would now be free from her unscriptural errors." - (James White, Review & Herald, Feb. 7, 1856 )

It is not difficult to imagine what these early Adventists would have thought of ideas such as those recently expressed by a prominent independent publication (coming out of Australia), that Jesus only became the Son of God when He was born at Bethlehem; that Jesus was not the Son of God before He became a human being. More interestingly, what would Ellen White have thought of such an idea? One has only to read books such as ‘Patriarchs and Prophets' and ‘The Story of Redemption' to settle the question as to what Ellen White's teaching was on the subject.

The great Creator assembled the heavenly host, that He might in the presence of all the angels confer special honor upon His Son. The Son was seated on the throne with the Father, and the heavenly throng of holy angels was gathered around them. The Father then made known that it was ordained by Himself that Christ, His Son, should be equal with Himself; so that wherever was the presence of His Son, it was as His own presence. The word of the Son was to be obeyed as readily as the word of the Father. His Son He had invested with authority to command the heavenly host. Especially was His Son to work in union with Himself in the anticipated creation of the earth and every living thing that should exist upon the earth. His Son would carry out His will and His purposes but would do nothing of Himself alone. The Father's will would be fulfilled in Him. - ( The Story of Redemption - p.1)

Can any honest person read passages such as this and still question whether or not Jesus was the Son of God in His preexistence? Isn't it also clear that Jesus is equal to the Father only inasmuch as the Father has ordained that it should be so; that the Father is still the absolute, supreme authority? It is truly disappointing to notice How some of these independent ministries uphold the writings of Ellen White and champion her cause when it is convenient and suits their purpose, but completely ignore what she has to say when it disagrees with their ideas.

While it is true that Ellen White did make some statements which seem at first sight to support the Trinity doctrine, no earnest seeker can afford to base his conclusions on a one-sided approach to any subject. We can only arrive at a balanced understanding of Ellen White's perspective if we examine a wide cross-section of her writings on the subject and take everything she says into account. When properly understood, all her teachings on the subject must harmonize with each other. As she herself said:

"All truth, whether in nature or in revelation, is consistent with itself in all its manifestations." - ( Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 114:)

Those who support the Trinity doctrine would like us to believe that Ellen White's statements are wholly in favour of trinitarianism. That there is no suggestion of anything else in her writings. However, there are many statements in her writings which strongly contradict the idea that God is a trinity? Look at the following examples.

There are only two divine Beings

"Christ the Word, the Only Begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father,- one in nature, in character, and in purpose, - the only being in all the universe that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God." - ( GC - 493)

The Holy Spirit is the life of Christ The Indwelling of the Spirit. —The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul. We do not see Christ and speak to Him, but His Holy Spirit is just as near us in one place as in another. It works in and through every one who receives Christ. (MS 41, 1897).(6BC-1112)

All who consecrate soul, body, and spirit to God, will be constantly receiving a new endowment of physical and mental power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in heart and mind. - ( DA- 827)

The Holy Spirit is Christ Himself

"Cumbered with humanity Christ could not be in every place personally, therefore it was altogether for their advantage that He should leave them to go to His Father and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. The Holy Spirit is Himself, divested of the personality of humanity and independent thereof. He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit." - (Manuscript Release #1084)

Is this subject really difficult to understand? Or is it the fact that there are other considerations which affect our conclusions? Is it a question of who else believes this doctrine? Is it a question of how unpopular this teaching is? Is it a question of how much support I might lose if I embrace it? Is it because I have a blind loyalty to the church and this doctrine demonstrates that the church is in complete apostasy? None of these considerations ought to have the slightest influence upon the true child of God. The only issue is, "What does the word of God say?"

The Bible was written by common men, for common people. However, in every age "learned" men have sought to veil the word of God in mystery; to becloud the minds of people with philosophical jargon decipherable only to the theological elite. I find it strikingly significant that the average Adventist layman and woman has no real concept of a Trinitarian God, and is surprised when the concept is explained to him or her. For the most part, people believe what the Bible says so simply. That Jesus is the Son of God. That He has a Father, and God has a true Son. That there is only one God, and that this person is the Father.

Below, is a list of sincere questions. In my opinion, they cannot be answered by an Adventist who holds to the Trinity doctrine. They represent some of the glaring facts (not suppositions) which have been overlooked or ignored by those Adventists who have continued to embrace the Trinitarian doctrine.

Below, is a list of sincere questions. In my opinion, they cannot be answered by an Adventist who holds to the Trinity doctrine. They represent some of the glaring facts (not suppositions) which have been overlooked or ignored by those Adventists who have continued to embrace the Trinitarian doctrine.

Is this the way a sincere Christian
deals with unpopular doctrines

Question no. 1

How could it be possible that the pioneers were so wrong on this vital subject and yet Ellen White never once; never once corrected them. Never once suggested that they needed to change their thinking on the subject. Yet she was more than once sent by God to correct people who were teaching FALSE IDEAS ABOUT GOD?

"After the passing of the time in 1844, we had fanaticism of every kind to meet. Testimonies of reproof were given me to bear to some holding spiritualistic theories.There were those who were active in disseminating false ideas in regard to God. Light was given me that these men were making the truth of no effect by their false teachings. I was instructed that they were misleading souls by presenting speculative theories regarding God. . ."

"I went to the place where they were and opened before them the nature of their work. The Lord gave me strength to lay plainly before them their danger.."

"This is only one of the instances in which I was called upon to rebuke those who were presenting the doctrine of an impersonal God pervading all nature, and similar errors." - ( T8: 292-3)

Question no. 2

In 1905 Ellen White stated repeatedly that the church had been standing on a platform of firmly established truth for the past 50 years. She stated that this platform had been laid by prayerful study of the word of God and by revelation!

"Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Bates, Father pierce, Elder [Hiram] Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with them, 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 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 instructions 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. . ."

"What influence is it that would lead men at this stage of our history to work in an underhand, powerful way to tear down the foundation of our faith–the foundation that was laid at the beginning of our work by prayerful study of the Word and revelation? Upon this foundation we have been building for the past fifty years. . ." - ( SM1: 206-7)

This platform of truth included:

a) A clear understanding of the scriptures regarding Christ, His mission and His priesthood.

b) A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God.

What did the church believe on the question of God during those 50 years? It can be proven beyond a shadow of doubt that the church, during those first 50 years absolutely rejected the doctrine of the Trinity.

Question no. 3

Today, people are being warned that the prophet stated that old controversies would arise, therefore they should not become involved in the Trinitarian controversy. But . . .

Was the doctrine of the Trinity ever a matter of controversy in the SDA church while Ellen White was alive? Was it ever an "old controversy"? Isn't it true that while she was alive the church was unanimous in its rejection of the Trinity doctrine? Isn't is a fact that the first controversy over the matter arose in the 1930s when unscrupulous men, inspired by demonic spirits, insinuated the doctrine into the teachings of the SDA church and sold it to an unsuspecting and sleeping people?

Question no. 4

Isn't it true that Ellen White's prophecies concerning winds of doctrine and changes to our faith always point to the foundational truth established between 1844 - 1860 as the platform on which we are to remain?

Question no. 5

The doctrine of God is the most vital Christian doctrine. Are we to believe that the Advent movement which received its doctrines by DIVINE INSPIRATION remained in darkness on this key doctrine for the first (and best) 88 years of its existence, giving, during this period, a false message to the world?

Question no. 6

How is it that the Catholic Church, the mother of harlots, had the truth, while the SDA church, given a message for the world, was in darkness on the most primary Christian doctrine?

Question no. 7

Should we not regard with suspicion any doctrine which the church of Rome claims as "the basis of all her beliefs," and which is the primary requirement for membership in the World Council of Churches?

"The mystery of the trinity is the central doctrine of Catholic faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the church"

Handbook for Today's Catholic, p.12.

Question no. 8

If the SDA Church had accepted the message of Jones and Waggoner in 1888, the latter rain would have fallen and Christ would have come shortly thereafter: Would God have sent the latter rain and endorsed a message which taught a false idea about Himself?

The Teachings of Waggoner in 1888

"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 .... There was a time when Christ proceeded and came forth 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."

(Taken from the book, "Christ and His Righteousness" written by E.J. Waggoner in 1890)

Question no. 9

If we have changed so radically on so drastic a doctrine which the early Adventists felt so strongly about, do we belong to the same church that the pioneers belonged to?

The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result! The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced... - ( Selected Messages bk.1, pp.204, 205 (written in 1905)

The fact is, that this predicted change of our religion; this giving up of the pillars of our faith; this system of intellectual philosophy began to be introduced in 1928, thirteen years after the death of Ellen White, when Leroy Froom insinuated the Trinitarian teaching into the doctrines of the SDA Church. Let us note that the introduction of this doctrine caused widespread protest by the "old-timers", those Adventists who knew what the prophet and the pioneers had always believed.

"May I state that my book, The Coming of the Comforter was the result of a series of studies that I gave in 1927-28 to ministerial institutes throughout North America. You cannot imagine how I was pummeled by some of the old timers because I pressed on the personality of the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Godhead. Some men denied that . . . still deny it. But the book has come to be generally accepted as standard . . ." - ( Leroy Froom to Dr. Otto H. Christenson, Oct. 27, 1960)

The introduction of this Trinitarian, Catholic doctrine into the teachings of Seventh-day Adventism, is one of the dark chapters in the history of the Advent movement. The details of this change are shocking, and even frightening. It is startling to realize that God revealed exactly what would happen in this change, and the evil consequences which would follow. Today, as we examine the present state of the church, we see a dramatic fulfillment of what the Lord predicted. Sadly, most Adventists allow themselves to be diverted from studying this issue for themselves by listening to the false voices, yes, many of them even within the ranks of the independent ministries, which falsely proclaim that "Ellen White taught that God is a Trinity." In actual fact, Ellen White never once used the term ‘Trinity', and all her life she supported those who rejected Trinitarianism.

Can we trust the writings of the pioneers?

"When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth. No after suppositions contrary to the light God has given are to be entertained. Men will arise with interpretations of Scripture which are to them truth, but which are not truth. The truth for this time God has given us as a foundation for our faith. He Himself has taught us what is truth. One will arise, and still another, with new light, which contradicts the light that God has given under the demonstration of His Holy Spirit. A few are still alive who passed through the experience gained in the establishment of this truth. God has graciously spared their lives to repeat, and repeat till the close of their lives, the experience through which they passed even as did John the apostle till the very close of his life. And the standard bearers who have fallen in death are to speak through the reprinting of their writings. I am instructed that thus their voices are to be heard. They are to bear their testimony as to what constitutes the truth for this time.

We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of Scripture, and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years. And while the Scriptures are God's word, and are to be respected, the application of them, if such application moves one pillar from the foundation that God has sustained these fifty years, is a great mistake. He who makes such an application knows not the wonderful demonstration of the Holy Spirit that gave power and force to the past messages that have come to the people of God." - ( ISM - 161 (1905)

If you would like a more complete, documented study of this subject, then you may write for our free audio tape, entitled, "The Omega of Deadly Heresies."

Other tapes available, include:

The Things Which Are Revealed

A Bible study of the subject of the Godhead

God On Trial

Does it matter what we believe about God and His Son? Does the Trinitarian doctrine affect the way we view the plan of salvation? If you don't really see the issue as important, then you need to listen to this tape.

The Spirit Of Antichrist

Satan's deadly purpose in promoting the Trinitarian doctrine.

The Measure of God's Love

How can we understand and appreciate the love which God has for us? Look at this subject from angles from which you may not have viewed it before.

Please note: All tapes are free to those who request them. If you wish to make a contribution towards the cost, it will be accepted, but is not required.

Our mailing address is:

Restoration Ministries
P. O. Box 23 Knockpatrick
Manchester, Jamaica, W.I.

Restoration Ministries

Restoration Ministries is dedicated to the promotion of the truths contained in the word of God. In particular to the restoration of those truths which have been cast down to the ground and trampled underfoot by the papacy, and adopted by her daughters.

Our purpose is to motivate men and women to commit themselves wholly to the task of personal preparation for the coming of the Lord, and to the taking of the final warning message to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.



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