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ANSWERING THE BEST ANTI-TRINTARIAN

ARGUMENTS IN ADVENTISM!!
(A 2010 presentation) By Derrick Gillespie
INTRODUCTION:
An ongoing debate is raging in certain quarters within Seventh-day Adventism at the
moment. On one side are those committed to a certain type of Trinitarianism, and on
the other are those opposed to Trinitarianism in all its forms. Both sides appeal to the
SDA pioneers and their gradually developed understanding of the Godhead as revealed
in the Bible. Obviously, both sides cannot be fully correct at the same time, even
though they share some things in common which are correct. Who really is correct?
In 1909, an insightful SDA pioneer, Robert Hare, wrote the following words, which
capsules the true essence of what the Trinitarian debate in Adventism has been all about
from the very beginning of Seventh-day Adventist movement:

―Where Satan cannot lead into absolute unbelief, he will endeavor to mystify so that
the belief remaining may prove ineffectual. From the confusing idea of ‗one God in
three Gods‘ [i.e. the traditional Catholic Trinity explanation, of a singular threefold
organism/Being or singular tri-personal substance]…the enemy gladly leads to what
appears to be a more rational, though not less erroneous idea – that there is no
trinity, and that Christ is merely a created being. But God‘s great plan is clear and
logical. There is a trinity, and in it there are three personalities…We have the Father
described in Dan. 7:9, 10…a personality surely…In Rev. 1:13-18 we have the Son
described. He is also a personality… The Holy Spirit is spoken of throughout
Scripture as a personality. These divine persons are associated in the work of
God…But this union is not one in which individuality is lost…There is indeed a
divine trio, but the Christ of that Trinity is not a created being as the angels- He was
the ―only begotten‖ of the Father…‖
- Robert Hare, Australasian Union Conference Record, July 19, 1909

Robert Hare (who became an Adventist in 1885 and who was ordained in 1888) was a
pioneering SDA minister, administrator, theological editor, and College teacher (at
Avondale 1908-11;1916-19) who was positioned at a very advantageous period in
Adventism‘s doctrinal history, in which he was able to see much of the early
development of Adventist theology on the matter of the Godhead, as well observe the
―Godhead‖ controversies of the 1890s through to the 1930s and thereafter (he died in
1953), and so was able to recognize what Adventism had come to believe officially
before the death of Adventism‘s chief pioneer, Mrs. E.G. White, in 1915. He, like
another but even more noted SDA pioneer, in the person of F.M. Wilcox, was able to
recognize what very many anti-Trinitarians in Adventism today are either unable, or
unwilling to recognize, that ―there is a trinity, and in it there are three personalities…
These divine persons are associated in the work of God…But this union is not one in
which individuality is lost…There is indeed a divine trio, but the Christ of that
Trinity is not a created being as the angels- He was the ―only begotten‖ of the
Father…‖ This is a rather painful admission for very many of the anti-Trinitarians that
exist in Adventism today to ever make in full, and yet it is the REAL truth of the matter
as this presentation will prove as we shall proceed.
In 1913, Adventism‘s chief writer and editor, F.M. Wilcox, another SDA pioneer living
at the time of Robert Hare, and one of those persons personally chosen by Mrs. White
to guard her estate upon her death (thus he was a trusted SDA pioneer, and one who
was no heretic) very much made the very same admission of Robert Hare when he said
while Mrs. White was alive (and is on record later explaining what he meant):
―Seventh-day Adventists [not just myself] believe [now] in ... the Divine *TRINITY.
This Trinity consists of the Eternal Father… the Lord Jesus Christ… [and] the Holy
Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead‖
- F. M. Wilcox (chief editor), *Review and Herald, October 9, 1913

“…the Godhead, or Trinity, consists of the Eternal Father, a personal, spiritual


Being, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, infinite in wisdom and love; the Lord
Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, through whom all things were created
and through whom the salvation of the redeemed hosts will be accomplished; the Holy
Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, the great regenerating power in the work of
redemption…We [Adventists] recognize the divine Trinity, the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Spirit, each possessing a distinct and separate personality, but one in nature
and in purpose, so welded together in this infinite union that the apostle James
speaks of them as "one God." James 2:19. This divine unity is similar to the unity
existing between Christ and the believer, and between the different believers in their
fellowship in Christ Jesus…”
- F.M. Wilcox, Christ is Very God, Review and Herald

This demonstrates quite effectively that leading SDA pioneers had gradually come to
recognize (before even 1915, when Mrs. White died) that indeed there are three
individuals or beings involved in the Godhead, who are united just as Christ and His
Church is united (as separate beings), and these pioneers never had any difficulty
seeing this union as a trinity!! In fact, this was a belief eventually adopted by even the
renowned SDA pioneer, A.T. Jones, who had brought the “Righteousness by faith”
message at the monumental but controversial 1888 General Conference of SDAs, in
which the absolute Godhead of Christ was uplifted and solidified more than ever
before. He himself admitted in 1899:

“God is one [person]. Jesus Christ is one [i.e. another person]. The Holy Spirit is one
[the third person of three]. And these three are one: there is no dissent nor division
among them.‖
-A. T. Jones, Review and Herald, January 10, 1899, 24

Keeping in mind that the expression ‗among them‘ always indicates three or more
beings involved (not just two), then it is plain evidence that A.T. Jones had already
come to believe that there is not just a Godhead ‗duo‘ of beings, as anti-Trinitarians in
Adventism today desperately struggle to uphold, but rather that there is a Godhead
oneness of three (not two) beings, otherwise A.T. Jones could never have spoken about
―there is no dissent or division among them‖; he would have instead said no division
―between‖ them.

With these opening statements made, it now brings me to the issue of what are the chief
arguments relied upon by anti-Trinitarians in Adventism seeking to decry Adventism‘s
acceptance of a trinity? Well here they are:

MAIN MODERN ANTI-TRINITARIAN ARGUMENTS IN ADVENTISM:

1.The SDA pioneers always rejected the Trinity, and never used the word ―trinity‖ to
describe the Godhead since it is an unscriptural word
2.The SDA pioneers always maintained that there are only two beings of the Godhead
3.The SDA pioneers always saw the Holy Spirit as just the being/presence of the Father or
Christ, but not a third or separate being or member of the Godhead
4.The SDA pioneers never directed worship or prayer to the Holy Spirit
5.The SDA pioneers never accepted that Christ is fully eternal just like the Father since he
was begotten by him
6.The SDA pioneers never saw ―our God‖ as Father, Son and Holy Spirit together
7.The ―omega heresy‖ predicted by E.G. White is fulfilled by an acceptance of a trinity of
the Godhead after 1931 in Adventism, and amounts to tri-theism or the worship of
―three Gods‖
8.A Godhead trinity cannot be proven from the Bible itself, and is a Roman Catholic
invention of the 4th century and after (a doctrine which borrowed largely from ancient
pagan ideas of trinities)
9.It cannot be shown in the Scriptures that the Spirit is more than just the mind and
presence/being of the Father and Son themselves
10. Worship in song or praise, and prayer is never directed to the Spirit in the Scriptures,
hence he/it should not be so revered separately from Father and Son

Of course there are other arguments used by various anti-Trinitarians in Adventism, but
these are related to some of the above mentioned and so will be dealt with and
answered together as we proceed through the presentation. It will be shown, both from
documented writings of SDA pioneers before 1915 (including from that of Mrs. E.G.
White), but especially from Scripture itself, that indeed the modern anti-Trinitarians in
Adventism, while admittedly pointing out some errors being held by mainstream
Trinitarian Adventists, yet they themselves (as anti-Trinitarians) are also short-sighted
in certain regard, and are indeed holding on to certain gross errors that are just as faulty
and dangerous!! In the end, their main arguments will be shown to be groundless and
needing reform in very many areas.

ARGUMENT # 1: The SDA pioneers always


rejected the Trinity, and never used the word
“trinity” to describe the Godhead since it is an
unscriptural word
Without much ado let me launch into addressing the very first argument commonly
used by non-Trinitarians in the SDA Church today. Truth be told? Only the first part of
the above argument is actually correct. Yes, it is CORRECT to say that the SDA
pioneers always rejected ―the Trinity‖. Even when SDA pioneers like F.M. Wilcox
admitted in 1913 that ―Seventh-day Adventists [came to] believe [eventually] in the
divine Trinity‖, and even when Richard Hare in 1909 proclaimed unreservedly that
―there is a trinity, and in it are three personalities‖, yet paradoxically they were not
adhering to ―the Trinity‖ as held to by Christendom (i.e. as taught by Roman
Catholicism and most Protestant Churches). This may come as a surprise to many
readers to hear me, a Trinitarian (an unorthodox one, surely), saying that from the very
outset, but CONTEXT is always critical to observe in any debate, polemical
undertaking or controversial exercise.

CONTEXT IS KEY

To illustrate the point, let me use another case in point. Adventists have never endorsed
Christendom‘s adherence to ―the Lord‘s Day‖ as the expression is popularly
understood, simply because the expression is commonly understood to mean Sunday
as the traditional day of weekly rest and worship; the main day set aside weekly, but
only by human tradition (not by divine command) for such activity. Some in
Christendom have even ventured to call Sunday ―the Christian Sabbath‖ (with even
Roman and ―blue laws‖ enforcing its civil observance historically), and yet Adventists
can find no such description or divine endorsement in the Scriptures themselves,
whether directly or indirectly, and so we have never attached any holy, sacred or
conscience-driven significance to ―the Lord‘s Day‖. And yet, SD Adventists, in a
certain context, still believes that the weekly Saturday Sabbath, as given to the Jews, as
observed by the Lord Jesus and all his apostles, as faithfully kept by many faithful
Christians for the first three centuries, and indeed by true Christians scattered
throughout the many centuries even after Sunday was (by tradition, not divine
command) made to overshadow the divinely commanded Saturday Sabbath, we believe
that if there is any TRUE weekly ―Lord‘s day‖, or any TRUE weekly ―Christian
Sabbath‖, from the Bible alone it can only be proved to be the weekly Sabbath on
Saturday!! Period! Yet, because of the popular use and understanding of the expression
―the Lord‘s day‖, and since Adventists do not adhere to this tradition of the observance
of ―the Lord‘s day‖- Sunday, we therefore don‘t subscribe to or accept ―the Lord‘s
Day‖ as held by Christendom!! Now let me apply the object lesson.

Going back to what the introduction to this presentation started out by saying, let me
quote much more of what SDA pioneer Robert Hare actually said in 1909, and the point
being made here will become clear. He said on ―the Trinity‖:

―In the fourth and fifth centuries many absurd views were set forth respecting the
Trinity- views that stood at variance with reason, logic, and Scripture. As these views
were formulated into creeds, humanity had to shut its eyes and receive them as the
dictates of God, though they were verily human, and some even satanic. Mystery was
heaped upon mystery, and the mind of man at least gave up the effort to reason out
the dogmas of what claimed to be religion. Satan was behind the work of
mystification, just as he has been behind every other false idea of God. Where Satan
cannot lead into absolute unbelief, he will endeavor to mystify so that the belief
remaining may prove ineffectual. From the confusing idea of ‗one God in three
Gods‘ and ‗three Gods in one God‘ – the unexplainable dictum of theology- [i.e. the
traditional Catholic Trinity explanation, of a singular threefold organism/Being or a
singular tri-personal substance] - the enemy gladly leads to what appears to be a more
rational, though not less erroneous idea – that there is no trinity, and that Christ is
merely a created being. But God‘s great plan is clear and logical. There is a trinity,
and in it there are three personalities…We have the Father described in Dan. 7:9,
10…a personality surely…In Rev. 1:13-18 we have the Son described. He is also a
personality… The Holy Spirit is spoken of throughout Scripture as a personality.
These divine persons are associated in the work of God…But this union is not one in
which individuality is lost…There is indeed a divine trio, but the Christ of that
Trinity is not a created being as the angels- He was the ―only begotten‖ of the
Father…let not the lips of man speak of Christ as a created being. He is one of the
divine trio- the ‗only begotten Son‘ of the Father…‖

- Robert Hare, Australasian Union Conference Record, July 19, 1909

Now, to put this monumental pioneering SDA statement into perspective certain critical
observations must be made, and made against the historical background of SDA
Godhead theology as it gradually developed to this point just before the death of Mrs.
White (SDA‘s leading pioneer) in 1915.
CRUCIAL OBSERVATIONS:

1. SDA pioneer Robert Hare clearly showed that Adventism has always been opposed to
the popular Trinitarian creeds that expressed the Godhead or the Trinity in a rather
illogical way from the 4th century onwards- i.e. as one substance indivisible, or as one
being having three persons sharing one undivided substance, all ―without body
parts‖, or all united in that one numeric being, but who are not individual beings in
themselves!! Another SDA pioneer, R.F. Cottrell expressed the consistent Adventist
opposition this way:

―That one person [being] is three persons, and that three persons are only one person
[being], is the doctrine [of „the Godhead‟ as explained by general Christendom at the
time] which we [Adventists] claim is contrary to reason and common sense. The
being and attributes [nature of] of God are above, beyond, out of reach of my sense
and reason, yet… our Creator has made it an absurdity to us that one person [being]
should be three persons and three persons but one person [being] …‖
-R.F. Cottrell, Review and Herald, July 6, 1869

Now, here‘s officially what SDA pioneers consistently opposed in terms of the creedal
explanation of the Godhead (first from Protestant and then Catholic creeds):

“There is but one living and true God; everlasting, without body parts, or passions;
of infinite power, wisdom and goodness; the Maker and preserver of all things both
visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead [being] there be three Persons, of
one substance, power and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost”
-Book of Common Prayer. Thirty Nine Articles of Religion. No.1. p376. (Anglican)

“Now this is the Catholic faith; We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in
unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance.”
-Athanasian Creed. New [Catholic] Catechism p. 67, 68.

Now it is absolutely true to say that Adventism has never ever officially endorsed this
explanation (no matter if some Trinitarians in Adventism today unfortunately think
so), even when pioneering Adventism gradually came to later admit to three persons
involved in the one Godhead, and even described this Godhead as ―a trinity‖ before
even 1915. This is simply because Adventists believe that Jesus could never expect us
to accept John 17: 21,22 as it reads, and properly see the Godhead unity like how he
and his disciples (the Church members) are united, if the Godhead was literally one
being with three faces on one neck (as Catholic painting illustrate the Godhead). This
therefore explains the reason for the consistent SD Adventist rejection of this
explanation of the Godhead over the many years of our Church‘s existence.
What is true also is that because of the popular explanation of ―the Trinity‖, to mean
three personalities united in one undivided substance who are not individuals, but who
are simply one being, therefore Adventism has always been opposed to ―the Trinity‖ in
this context, and initially avoided the use of the term ―trinity‖ even when long before
the 1915 death of Mrs. White it came to admit to ―three persons‖ or ―trio‖ of the one
―Eternal Godhead‖ (a trinity or triad of sorts, as the dictionary clearly indicates).

2. You will notice that in the foregoing I said ―pioneering Adventism gradually came to
later admit to three persons in the one Godhead‖. That statement needs further
clarification. It is a fact that no anti-Trinitarian existing in Adventism today can
find even one shred of evidence that early SD Adventists, before the late 1880s or
more so the 1890s, ever spoke freely of and admitted to three persons of the
Godhead. In fact what can be found in earlier years are very strong sentiments
opposing the idea that the Holy Spirit could even be considered a personality, much
more deemed a ―third‘ and ―distinct‖ personality. Early pioneering Adventism never
gave assent to the view that the Holy Spirit was a person or personality in any way
whatsoever. It was not until pioneering Adventism first endorsed basic Trinitarianism
in 1892 --- by publishing Dr Samuel Spear‘s Trinitarian article, originally titled “the
Subordination of Christ”, but subsequently RENAMED ―the Bible Doctrine of the
Trinity‖ by SDA pioneers themselves, and published as a missionary tool expressing
what Adventists had come to believe/endorse--- that we then see an increase of E.G.
White expressions about ―three persons‖ comprising one ―Eternal Godhead‖. None of
the SDA pioneers before Mrs. White ever went so far to admit to these “three
persons” of the one Godhead in their own writings. I wait for the day when any anti-
Trinitarian in Adventism today can prove otherwise with solid documented evidence.
Now here is some of what SDA pioneers published/endorsed as ―the Bible doctrine of
the Trinity‖ way back in 1892, long before even the Robert Hare or F.M. Wilcox‘
―trinity‖ admission before 1915 (note the distinct Trinitarian undertones and
expressions, despite the article‘s rejection of the traditional explanation of ―the mode‖
of the Trinity):

―…The Godhead makes its appearance in the great plan for human salvation. God in
this plan is brought before our thoughts under the personal titles of Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost, with diversity in offices, relations, and actions toward men. These titles
and their special significance, as used in the Bible, are not interchangeable. The term
―Father‖ is never applied to the Son, and the term ―Son‖ is never applied to the
Father. Each title has its own permanent application, and its own use and sense. The
distinction thus revealed in the Bible is the basis of the doctrine of the tri-personal
God… The exact mode in which the revealed Trinity is … must be to us a perfect
mystery, in the sense of our total ignorance on the point. We do not, in order to
believe the revealed fact, need to understand this mode. The Christian doctrine of the
Trinity—whether, as to its elements, taken collectively or separately — so far from
being a dry, unpractical, and useless dogma adjusts itself to the condition and wants
of men as sinners…. The truth is that God the Father in the primacy attached to Him
in the Bible, and God the Son in the redeeming and saving work assigned to Him in
the same Bible, and God the Holy Ghost in his office of regeneration and
sanctification – whether considered collectively as one God, or separately in the
relation of each to human salvation—are really omnipresent in, and belong to, the
whole texture of the revealed plan for saving sinners."
- The Bible doctrine of the Trinity- Pacific Press, 1892

Rather telling isn‘t it? In fact, in 1892 and 1894 respectively here is what SDA
pioneers said glowingly about the same Spear article quoted above:

―… We believe that it sets forth the Bible doctrine of the trinity of Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit with a devout adherence to the words of the Scripture, in the best brief
way we ever saw it presented."
-Signs of the Times , Vol.18, No.22, 1892.

―…It presents the Bible view of the doctrine of the Trinity in the terms used in the
Bible, and therefore avoids all philosophical discussion and foolish speculation. It is a
tract worthy of reading."
-Signs of the Times, Vol. 20, No. 29, 1894.

And so what we see is a GRADUAL development of Adventist thought regarding the


acceptance of a ―threefold‖ Godhead, and yet this development became a radical
departure from traditional Trinitarian thought because the Adventist explanation
of the Godhead has always maintained that in the Godhead individuality of the
persons is not lost (!!). This would explain Mrs. White‘s later monumental admission
(quoted below) to there being ―three holiest beings in heaven‖, while speaking of them
collectively as ―God‖, and as being our ―Father‖ collectively, who all ―pledged‖ to and
henceforth subsequently ―receive‖ us as ―sons and daughters‖ upon our baptism (a
matter some, especially the modern anti-Trinitarians in Adventism, find hard to come to
grips with even today):

"God says, [notice after this whom she means says this] "Come out from among them,
and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and
will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord
Almighty." [Now notice carefully] This is the pledge of [not just one person, but] the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit [i.e. the *pledge to receive and be a Father to
you]; made to you if you will keep your baptismal vow, and touch not the unclean
thing…‖
-E.G. White, Signs of the Times, June 19, 1901

―You are baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. You
are raised up out of the water to live henceforth in newness of life--to live a new life.
You are born unto God, and you stand under the sanction and the power of THE
THREE HOLIEST *BEINGS IN HEAVEN, who are able to keep you from falling. .
.‖
-E.G. White, Manuscript Release, Vol.7, pgs. 267, 268

How very telling, in terms of how well this compares with what the Presbyterian
Trinitarian minister Samuel Spear said in his Trinitarian article way back in 1889; an
article which was directly affirmed by Adventist pioneers in 1892, and said to be ―a
devout adherence to the words of the Scripture‖ about ―the trinity of Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit”. There is no escaping this reality, no matter how much some anti-
Trinitarians today in Adventism would like to cover up or ‗escape‘ this fact!!

Now, most modern anti-Trinitarians in Adventism (and certain ones of the past) engage
in semantic gymnastics and talk about Mrs. White always speaking of the Spirit as a
personality without individuality, and never speaking of the Holy Spirit as a ―being‖,
but only as a ―personality‖ of the Father and Son, as if he is a non-entity, yet the record
plainly testifies that she used all three descriptive words, namely ―personality‖,
―person‖ and ―being‖ to describe all three of the Godhead, as the foregoing and the
following shows, and, more importantly, she treated all three the same way in terms of
infinite divinity being ascribed to them, as well as prayer and religious service directed
to all three by her word and example. She distinctly said:

The Holy Spirit is *ONE OF-

―The Three Holiest *Beings in heaven‖


-Manuscript Release, Vol. 7, pgs. 267-268

―The Three Persons‖ [of the Godhead]


- S.D.A. Bible Comm., Vol. 6, pg.1074

―The Heavenly *Trio [‗group of three persons‘] of Three *Living


Personalities/Persons‖
-Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7(1905), pgs. 62,63
―The Eternal [„existing always‟] Heavenly Dignitaries‖ [„high ranking persons‟]
– Evangelism, pg. 616
―The Three Dignitaries and Powers of Heaven‖
-S.D.A. Bible Comm., Vol. 6, pg. 1075
―The Three Great Agencies‖ [of the Godhead]
- S.D.A Bible Comm., Vol. 6, pg. 1102
―The [three] Highest Powers in Heaven‖
Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7(1905), PG. 51
―[three] Powers infinite and omniscient‖
- S.D.A. Bible Commentary, Vol. 6, pg. 1075

It should be noted here that her special effort to call the Holy Spirit ONE OF the
“LIVING Personalities” of the ―Heavenly Trio‖ is strong evidence that she wanted us
to see the Holy Spirit as a ―living‖, conscious, individual Person (the ―Third Person of
the Godhead‖) in the ―Heavenly Courts‖, having His own ―will‖ (1 Cor. 12:11), and
who (according to her) though he “personifies Christ, yet is a distinct personality”.
How else do you logically or intelligently explain her praying to the Holy Spirit along
with Father and Son, her repeatedly numbering ―three persons‖ or ―three holiest
beings‖ (not two), her indicating that we must ―serve‖ all three‖ that she listed
separately when she said they should be ―served‖, and, more importantly, her
indicating that all three ―pledges‖ to be ―a Father‖ to all those who carry out their
baptismal vows? Some try to sidestep and foolishly explain away these matters but I
will not. All these matters I will delve into and give the documentary evidence when we
deal with the question of the Spirit‘s identity; the ―third‖ of ―the three holiest beings in
heaven‖ (according to Adventism‘s chief pioneer, Mrs. E.G. White). But this now leads
me to determine whether this ―trio‖ is really a ―trinity‖, as F.M. Wilcox and Robert
Hare testified to before 1915.

3. Trinitarianism is predicated upon the principle of a belief in ―three Persons‖ within


the ―one Godhead‖. It is Biblical to affirm ―three living [literal] personalities‖ in the
Godhead, and this is what ―a trinity‖ is (as EVENTUALLY attested to honestly before
1915 by SDA pioneers; seen in introductory quotes). Even the false trinities, triads and
trios in pagan religious (even consisting of individuals with differing genders) –
proclaim the true definition of a ―trinity‖. Once, by a Christian, ―three persons‖ are
affirmed in the Godhead, whether as three separate persons or beings (which some
mistakenly call tri-theism), whether as three distinct personalities, but all are related
and in union, or whether as three personal and distinct ―manifestations‖ of the one
―existence‖ or reality (being), but all related in ―substance‖, then that Christian is a
Trinitarian (but can either be an "orthodox" or "unorthodox" one). Some, unwittingly,
are Trinitarians (unorthodox ones of course), and believe in a ―Trio‖ in the Godhead,
but resist and deny the label.

J.H. Waggoner (a pioneer), a few years before the SDA church started to
increasingly affirm three persons in the Godhead, stated that trinitarianism is simply
based upon the true definition of the word ―trinity‖, which means ―three [distinct]
persons‖ who exist together by close relationship; just like ―trio‖, ―triplet‖, ―triad‖ and
―triumvirate‖ – all coming from the prefix ―tri‖ [three]. Here are his words:

―A Trinity is three persons. To recognize [admit to] a trinity [the true type], the
distinction between the Father and Son must be preserved.‖

-J.H. Waggoner, 1884, The Atonement, pgs. 167-169


Thus a TRUE trinity in not supposed to be, by Waggoner‘s logical reckoning, a single
person, personality, or individual, or even a three-faced singular being, as critics
rightfully charge the Roman Catholics to be teaching!! But, if in Adventism, since
1892, and long before 1931, the three Persons in the Godhead, and in fact
basic/economic trinitariansim through Dr. Spear‘s article were directly affirmed by
SDA pioneers, then as sure as trilogy, tricycle, triennial, triplicate, trident, tripod, and
tripartite all relate to ―three‖ distinct, but related entities, pioneering Adventism
became supportive of a ―trinity‖ in the Godhead (if even not by orthodoxy).

Many anti-trinitarians can‘t appreciate this reality, as if only Catholicism (since the
fourth century) has a ‗divine copyright‘ on the word ―trinity‖, and only they can explain
what a basic trinity is, and contrary too to what the etymology of the prefix ―tri and the
suffix ―nity‖ means. But in just the same way even Sunday worshippers were, at
one time, historically referred to as “sabbatarians”- because they insisted (without
concrete biblical proof) that Sunday is the “Christian Sabbath”- what‟s to hinder
SD Adventists also (but even more so) properly referring to themselves as
“sabbatarians”, and yet the meaning is different from the expression as it applies
to Sunday “sabbatarians”? I see nothing to discount that reality. The same
principle applies to trinitarianism. And so, all I am left to do here is to finally discuss
whether the charge that the term ―trinity‖- it being admittedly an extra-biblical term- is
so sinful to use when talking about the threefold Godhead.

„UNCSCRIPTURAL‟ WORDS FOR THE GODHEAD?

As it concerns the issue of condemning extra-biblical words and phrases like ―trinity‖
or ―God the Son‖ as employed/endorsed by even bona fide SDA pioneers before the
death of Mrs. White (and without rebuke from her, mark you), I must hasten to point
out the following reality to the anti-Trinitarians in the SDA Church today who usually
insist on being ―accusers of the brethren‖ in this regard, without stopping to think their
stance through carefully.

*As seen hereafter, in several instances even Mrs. White herself was working from
a framework of what is IMPLICIT in the Bible about the Godhead “trio” of
“beings”. True too is that she even presented certain teachings about the Godhead
that cannot be even substantiated by the Bible itself (whether by deduction or
assumption based on implications there), but by SDA faith only that she got that
‗special revelation‘ in vision!! That therefore means that pioneering Adventism is
not free from both deducted theology, or assumed theology (based on implications
in Scripture), and even more importantly, we are not free from extra-biblical
expressions regarding the Godhead, as some make out, even as they lash out at all
forms of Trinitarian thought. That too must be confronted honestly and squarely
and addressed if one is going to be consistent!!

FOR EXAMPLE:

NOWHERE IN THE ENTIRE BIBLE IS IT EXPLICITLY STATED THAT:

1. It was because of being jealous of Jesus' position (not the Father's) that Lucifer
sinned against God when the Bible said he sought to "be like the Most High". Yet this
is what the extra-biblical revelations of Mrs. White declare. Speculations? Deductions?
Or extra-biblical revelations?
NOWHERE IN THE ENTIRE BIBLE IS IT EXPLICITLY STATED THAT:

2. The Godhead, the "Eternal Godhead", is a ―Great threefold Power‖, consisting of a


"heavenly trio" of "three living personalities" or "three holiest beings of heaven". Yet
this is what Mrs. White's teachings indicate. Speculations? Deductions? Or extra-
biblical revelations?

NOWHERE IN THE BIBLE IS IT EXPLICITLY STATED THAT:

3. All three are to be "served" as "a Father", after we have accepted Christ, as seen in
the following clearly expressed E.G. White statements. Speculations? Deductions? Or
extra-biblical revelations?

6BC 1075— "When we have accepted Christ, and in the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Spirit have pledged ourselves to serve God, the Father,
Christ and the Holy Spirit—the three dignitaries and powers of heaven—pledge
themselves that every facility shall be given to us if we carry out our baptismal vows
to come out from among them, and be...separate."

"God says, [notice after this whom she means says this] "Come out from among them,
and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and
will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord
Almighty." [Now notice carefully] This is the pledge of [not one person, but] the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit [i.e. the *pledge to receive and be a Father to
you]; made to you if you will keep your baptismal vow, and touch not the unclean
thing… In order to deal righteously with the world, as members of the royal family,
children of the heavenly King, Christians must feel their need of a power, which
comes only from the [three] heavenly agencies that have pledged themselves to work
in man's behalf. After we have formed a union with the great THREEFOLD
POWER [singular; collective], we shall regard our duty toward the members of God's
family with a sacred awe.‖

-E.G. White, Signs of the Times, June 19, 1901

The expression, ―sweep around your own front door‖, seems rather apt at this time in
response to all those in Adventism so hung-up on condemning extra-biblical
expressions that may not be explicitly stated in the Bible, but are implicit there when
one looks at the big picture. But suffice it to say, when modern SD Adventist anti-
Trinitarians (opponents to any form of Trinitarianism) attempt to prove that the Trinity
is not a Bible doctrine, they always seem to focus (most times unwittingly) on either the
Roman Catholic Trinity, or on the recent (admittedly faulty) mainstream SD Adventist
Trinity explanation of three self-originate, role-playing Godhead beings, rather than
on the truly Biblical trinity or trio of "the three holiest beings of heaven" (as
Adventism's E.G. White so succinctly puts it), and usually they do so while forgetting
the simple noun definition of a trinity in the dictionary (it being defined as a trio as
well). Truth be told though? These SDA anti-Trinitarians are right in a certain regard!
The explained Roman Catholic Trinity after the fourth century is not found in the
Bible, neither is Adventism‘s more recent insistence on three role-playing self-
originate beings there. But, most assuredly, the ‗Headship‘ and distinct/separate being
of God the Father, the distinct/separate being and the Deity of Christ (the truly
begotten Son of the Father), and the distinct/separate personality/being and the Deity
of the Holy Spirit (a distinct ―representative‖ personality originating from the Father
and the Son), along with the harmonious working of a symbolic ―one-body-but-three-
members‖ filial type relationship of the ―Three Persons‖ in the ―Godhead‖ (as
Biblically indicated in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 11, 12) are clearly taught! No wonder the
Father is the "Head" of Christ, with Jesus being depicted as the "arm of the Lord" (other
times His wisdom, word, power, mind, eternal life, et al), and with the Holy Spirit
being deemed to be the "hand" or the "finger of God" (other times his presence, mind,
power, et al); a clear symbolic union of oneness (like one human body in principle and
not one literal, consubstantial, or ―indivisible substance‖ in actuality)... which still
shows why the three (despite being called ―three holiest beings in heaven‖) are not
'three Gods', but the one Godhead!! It is just like Christ having many members but this
does not produce many true ‗Christs‘ or true Churches, but one mystical ―body‖ of
Christ, with one head (i.e. one true Church).... all symbols showing the spiritual and
relational oneness that is quite similar to the Godhead in family terms.

WHAT I AGREE WITH THE SDA ANTI-TRINITARIANS ON

In closing on this response to the first main argument of Adventist anti-Trinitarians, let
me hasten to say that mainstream Adventism, while clearly correct in admitting to a
trinity, as SD pioneers themselves gradually accepted before 1915, yet we are indeed
guilty of some of the charges of the anti-Trinitarians in our Church. It is true that many
of us on the Trinitarian side in Adventism, have not only denied that Jesus was indeed
begotten by the Father from all eternity (a truth Mrs. White and all the SDA pioneers
upheld, just like all Trinitarians historically), but, in our poor handling of the truth that
a trinity or literal trio of separate beings are indeed in the Godhead, have gone to the
extreme of teaching that they are all eternally self-originate beings who are simply 'role
playing' as Father and Son, and Holy Spirit. That I have unreservedly rejected several
years now, and continue to agitate for its rejection as a recent teaching. Others of us
(not all) have even been reverting to the traditional Trinity explanation (i.e. the three
sharing one indivisible substance) because it is thought that this is what Mrs. White's
teaching meant when using the expression "of one substance" about Father and Son.
These are clearly all dangerous denials of what the pioneers came to believe and accept
about the Godhead. Closeness to what Catholics believe about the three persons of the
Godhead does not mean we should not note the critical differences. As Adventists we
have been entrusted with truths that differ from what Roman Catholics teach, no matter
the closeness of certain common truths that we share.

ARGUMENT # 2: The SDA pioneers always


maintained that there are only two literal
persons/beings of the Godhead, and always saw
the Holy Spirit as just the actual being/presence
of the Father and/or Christ, but not literally a
third or separate person/being or member of the
Godhead.
Anti-trinitarians know deep down in their psyche that since the existence (or non-
existence) of a Godhead trinity (or trio, or triad) is closely tied to whether the Holy
Spirit is a real person or individual (or not), and since it is on this subject of the identity
of the Holy that their case is either proven or disproven, therefore it is here they strive
to make their strongest arguments. It is only natural. The same can be said of the
Trinitarian.
ADMISSIONS:

The challenge one faces as a researcher when dealing with this subject of the Holy
Spirit is to ever recognize the limitations one confronts, since, firstly, the Biblical data
on the Holy Spirit is not as voluminous, clear-cut, definitive, and unambiguous as is the
case with the identity of Jesus, the real and truly begotten Son of God who is distinct as
a being from God the Father from all eternity, and secondly, it must be recognized that
where not much is revealed in the Bible one must tread softly. However, what must be
done is to look at the big picture and recognize certain common threads of truth, as well
as eliminate grossly erroneous viewpoints in order to arrive at truth based on weight of
evidence. In addition, it must be recognized that it is on the subject of the Holy Spirit
that SDA pioneers demonstrated much more ambivalence and divided opinion over a
longer period of time, more so than on the subject of Jesus‘ identity, and fully divine
nature. This is simply because it is plain that less has been biblically revealed about the
Holy Spirit. But what is certain is that when the big picture is looked at then the
arguments of the modern anti-Trinitarians in Adventism can be proven to be groundless
and or inconclusive as it concerns the gradually developed viewpoints of SDA pioneers.

Here are the key facts that I will prove here:

a] It will be proven that in the earlier years of Adventism (i.e. between the 1840s and
before the 1890s) the dominant Adventist viewpoint was that the Spirit was simply a
force, power, influence, ―afflatus‖, mysterious impersonal energy emanating from
Father and Son; never a personality, much more a ―third‖ or ―distinct‖ personality or
―also a divine person‖.

b] It will be proven that after the publishing and affirmation of the Spear‘s Trinity
article in 1892 a marked transition in SDA viewpoint developed in which three distinct
personalities of the Godhead was subsequently affirmed by increasing numbers of SDA
pioneers, yet discussion and debates within Adventism still indicated an unwillingness
to see the Spirit as nothing more than just the literal or actual being/presence of the
Father and Son themselves, and finally

WHAT MUST BE PROVEN IF A TRINITY IS TO BE AFFIRMED IN


PIONEERING ADVENTISM

c] It will be proven that pre-1915 written expressions from both Mrs. White
(Adventism‘s leading pioneer) and from other contemporary, bona fide and more so
leading SDA pioneers started to lean heavily (despite resistance by some) in favor of
three SEPARATE Godhead ―beings‖; a viewpoint in which individuality is not
considered as lost in the Godhead, and one in which the Holy Spirit‘s nature ( i.e.
―what‖ he is, just like the nature of the Father Himself) is still accepted as mysterious,
yet his identity (i.e. ―who‖ he is), and his distinct/separate personhood as ―the third
person‖ of ―three holiest beings IN Heaven‖ is affirmed…a clear irrefutable case for
affirming a trinity, though not (and I repeat, ―not‖) the traditional Trinity of Roman
Catholicism or general Christendom.

PROOFS OF EARLY SDA THOUGHT ON AN IMPERSONAL SPIRIT

―The Holy Spirit is not a person. In all our prayers we naturally conceive God as a
person, and of the Son as a person; but who ever conceive of the Holy Spirit as being
a person, standing there beside the Father and equal with Him? Such a conception
never enters any one‘s mind… The simple truth is that God is a real person, in bodily
form; and the Holy Spirit is truly the spirit of God, A DIVINE INLUENCE
proceeding from the Father and also from the Son as their POWER, ENERGY, etc.
The Bible never in any case calls the Holy Spirit a person, though it frequently does
both the Father and the Son‖.

-Signs of the Times, Vol. 4, July 25, 1878

―Respecting this Spirit [the Holy 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 [a thing] from them both… Usually it is spoken of in a way
to show that it cannot be a person, like the Father and the Son… If it were a person, it would
be nothing strange for it to appear in bodily shape [like a man‘s]; 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‖.
Uriah Smith, Review and Herald, Oct. 28, 1890

This viewpoint on the Holy Spirit dominated Adventist thought for very many years (as
the two quotes above, written several years apart, shows). Very many similar
sentiments from early SDA pioneers could be furnished. It was the commonly held
viewpoint of basically the vast majority of the earliest SDA pioneers. Here it is plain
that it was never admitted that the Holy Spirit is a person, but simply a power, energy
or influence from the Father and Son. In fact it would be unthinkable for Adventist
pioneers then to ever conceive of the Holy Spirit as a being worthy of being prayed to
as the Father and Son, since that would be an acceptance of his personhood like them,
as well an acceptance of his equality with them. Only a Trinitarian, or one with
Trinitarian leanings would ever ―conceive‖ of such a thing!! That was how early
Adventists thought.

A MONUMENTAL CHANGE IN SDA VIEWPOINT ON THE HOLY SPIRIT

The following words are some of the most difficult ones that modern anti-Trinitarians
confront in the pre-1915 expressions of pioneering Adventism, and are usually avoided
like the plague. These quotes hardly, if ever, appear in their presentations, and they
hardly, if ever, are honestly analyzed, critiqued, and worse, are hardly, if ever, admitted
to or accepted. The one or two who ever face up to them usually either dismiss them,
gloss over them, try to lamely explain them away, or worse yet, try to discredit their
authenticity. Reading the words below, and allowing their true import to sink in will
explain why the modern anti-Trinitarians relate to them that way. These words
demonstrate very clearly such a monumental change in Adventist theology that only
plain dishonesty would not see them for what they really mean.

―You are baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. You are
raised up out of the water to live henceforth in newness of life--to live a new life. You are
born unto God, and you stand under the sanction and the power of THE THREE HOLIEST
*BEINGS IN HEAVEN, who are able to keep you from falling. You are to reveal that you
are dead to sin; your life is hid with Christ in God. Hidden "with Christ in God,"--wonderful
transformation. This is a most precious promise. When I feel oppressed, and hardly know
how to relate myself toward the work that God has given me to do, I just *CALL UPON THE
THREE GREAT WORTHIES, and say; You know I cannot do this work in my own
strength. You must work in me, and by me and through me, sanctifying my tongue,
sanctifying my spirit, sanctifying my words, and bringing me into a position where my spirit
shall be susceptible to the movings of the Holy Spirit of God upon my mind and character.
And this is the prayer that every one of us may offer. . .‖
-E.G. White, Manuscript Release, Vol.7, pgs. 267, 268 (Ms 95, 1906, pp. 8-12, 14-
17; "Lesson from Romans 15," October 20, 1906.)

―When we have accepted Christ, and in the name [singular] of the Father, and the Son, and
of the Holy Spirit have pledged ourselves to *SERVE [see Joshua 24:14,15] God, the Father,
Christ AND [notice, thirdly and separately listed] the Holy Spirit – the Three Dignitaries and
Powers of Heaven – pledge themselves that even facility will be given us if we carry out our...
vows‖.
-E.G. White, Manuscript 85, 1901

"God says, [notice after this whom she means says this] "Come out from among them,
and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and
will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord
Almighty." [Now notice carefully] This is the pledge of [not just one person, but] the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit [i.e. the *pledge to receive and be a Father to
you]; made to you if you will keep your baptismal vow, and touch not the unclean
thing…‖
-E.G. White, Signs of the Times, June 19, 1901

―The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, in Christ's name. He personifies Christ, yet is a
distinct personality.‖

-E.G. White, Manuscript Release, Vol. 20, pg. 324

Now, remember that the earliest SDA expressions, for nearly fifty years (from
1844-1888), never ever gave consent to there being three persons of the Godhead.
Remember they never ever consented to the Holy Spirit being a personality, “a
distinct personality”, much more being called the “third” of “the three holiest
BEINGS in heaven”. Seeing that one doesn‟t call upon a non-existent individual in
prayer, they never ever “conceived” of calling upon the Holy Spirit in prayer just
like the Father and Son (i.e. all together being seen as “the three Great Worthies”
deserving of that token of worship). They never ever considered that the Holy
Spirit should be “served” like Father and Son (and worse by humans “pledging”
to do so at their baptism). They never in the least ever considered the Holy Spirit
PERSONAL enough to have equally pledged to “receive” and be “a Father” to us
after we are baptized. And worse, they never ever considered representing him as
speaking in unison with Father and Son as “the Almighty” and as “God” (or the
Godhead) who together says "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, . . .
and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto
you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters‖. Yet, by the early 1900s this is what
Mrs. White, Adventism‟s leading pioneer, was now PLAINLY saying!!

Obviously any one of the Godhead persons whom we are “born unto” is “a father”
to us, and we have must have their name to show their ownership of us. Mrs.
White confessed that we are born unto “God”, and then explains elsewhere that it
is all three divine persons who are that “Father” to us (not just one Godhead
person), and it is in their “name” (singular) we are baptized. Conclusion? That‟s
plain Trinitarianism in basic terms (except for the traditional “indivisible
substance” idea), and indicates a clear change or gradual development of thought
when one compares what earlier SDA pioneers were objecting to. That‟s the truth
of the matter. It is simply futile to run from it, somersault over it, or cover it up. This
writer/researcher thinks it is time the propaganda tactics of the modern anti-Trinitarians
in Adventism be shown up for what they really are. Futile!! But the key question is,
how did the SDA Church get to this place of teaching so much of what represents an
almost complete reversal of what was earlier believed about the Holy Spirit? The
following will give a brief peek into the transition that took place before 1915.

A TRANSITION PERIOD IN SDA VIEWS ON THE HOLY SPIRIT

In 1890, Uriah Smith (a leading SDA pioneer), in the earlier quoted article, was actually
directly responding to an Adventist question (probably from pioneer W.W. Westphal), which
asked: ―Are we [Adventists] to understand that the Holy Spirit is a person?‖ The questioner
further went on to comment that, ―some [in Adventism] claim that it is‖, and ―others claim
that it is not‖, thus reflecting the searching and explorative nature of Adventism on this
question at the time. This reflected the early infant state of the Church at the time, where the
evidently differing viewpoints, as well as the gradual changes in viewpoints can be shown, as
the Church developed a more mature approach to controversial issues, such as the identity of
the Holy Spirit. Notice the differing, and yet open viewpoints, of two other pioneers, writing on
the same issue, before Mrs. White‘s viewpoints came later:

―Just what the Holy Spirit is, is a mooted question among theologians, and we may not hope
to give a positive answer, but we may learn something of it‘s nature and the part it acts in
human salvation.‖

-J.E. Swift- ―Our Companion‖, Review and Herald, July 3, 1883, pg.421

―He [the Holy Spirit] is included in the apostolic benediction [2 Cor. 13:14], and is spoken
by our Lord [Jesus] as acting in an independent and personal capacity as Teacher, Guide
and Comforter. He is an object of veneration, and is a heavenly intelligence, everywhere
present, and is always present. But as limited beings, we cannot understand the problems,
which the contemplation of the Deity presents, to our minds.‖

-G.C. Tenny- ―To Correspondents‖, Review and Herald, June 9, 1896, pg. 362

Notice that one writer emphasized the Spirit as an ―it‖, while the other emphasized the
Spirit as a ―He‖, as well as His ―independent‖ and ―personal capacity‖, and that He is an
―object of veneration‖ (i.e. WORSHIPFUL RESPECT) as ―a heavenly intelligence‖. And yet
both writers were pioneers living at the same time with Uriah Smith, and *writing in the
same magazine, the “Review and Herald” (now “The Adventist Review”).

It is therefore evident that up to this point (the late 1800s) there was still no real
consensus on this issue. But there was clearly a period of searching and exploration and
a greater leaning towards what the Spear‘s Trinitarian article of 1889 (renamed and
published as “the Bible doctrine of the Trinity” by SDA pioneers themselves) had
affirmed from 1892; that the Holy Spirit is indeed ―a person as God is a person‖, and
though ―he personifies Christ, yet is a distinct personality (in the words later expressed
by E.G. White herself)!! How much plainer can one get?

No wonder SDA pioneer R.A. Underwood, in 1898, while running a series of bible
studies on the topic “The Holy Spirit is a Person”, he HONESTLY and distinctly
admitted in Adventism‘s leading doctrinal paper that (note the title of the article):

―It seems strange to me now [in 1898], that I ever believed that the Holy Spirit was only an
influence, in view of the work He does…we want the truth because it is truth, and we
reject error because it is error, regardless of any views we may formerly have held, or
any difficulty we may have had, or may now have, when we view the Holy Spirit as a
person. Light is sown for the righteous. Satan's scheme is to destroy all faith in the
personality of the Godhead, — the Father, Son, *AND Holy Ghost,—also in his own
personality… Let us beware lest Satan shall lead us to take the first step in destroying
our faith in the personality of this person of the Godhead,—the Holy Ghost… It was
once hard for me to see how a spirit could be a person… [but] Christ has put into the
field, as his personal representative, the Holy Ghost, who is in charge of all the forces
of God's kingdom to overthrow Satan and his angels; and the Holy Ghost is the only
one to whom is delegated this authority from God. "The prince of the power of evil can
be held in check only by the power of God in the third person of the Godhead, the Holy
Spirit."—"Special Testimony," No. 10, page 37. God and Christ have placed all the
angels and the power of the throne of omnipotence under him [the Holy Spirit], to
overthrow the rebellion against God's government.‖
-R.A. Underwood – ―The Holy Spirit a Person‖, Review and Herald, Vol. 75, May 17,
*1898, pg. 310

The above is more than a mouthful, coming long before 1915, and speaks volumes of
the transitional viewpoints entering pioneering Adventism on this awesome subject
long before the death of Mrs. White in 1915. The transition took on momentum by the
first decade of the 1900s, as another striking 1900 quote below shows:

To receive the message of the Spirit is to receive the message of the Father and the Son. There
is something charmingly beautiful about their union. With exquisite delicacy of utterance does
Jesus declare the divine authority of his message, "The word which ye hear is not mine, but the
Father's which sent me;" and again, "The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself."
He is ever in union with the Father, and came, really, that men might see the Father, and
know his love. So the Holy Spirit cherishes the same delicacy of spirit and expression. He is the
administrator, revealer, and guide of this age. And as such he must make himself known and
understood; but withal he does not speak from himself alone. He does not manifest himself as
apart from the Father and the Son; but as one with and sent by the Father and the Son.

He is here that he may make us know the things of Christ, and any nominal honor given to the
Spirit that does not really make known the character and things of Christ is a great grief to his
unassuming, dovelike nature. He would make us know his personality, but ever in living
connection with Christ. He abides in our hearts down here, while Christ Jesus is our Advocate
with the Father above; but he abides in us as Christ, making the very life that speaks and
works in Christ to also speak and work in us. Christ in you."

Let us not grow overbold concerning the Spirit alone; but remember that he is ever
with the Father and the Son, and that whatever he speaks to us he speaks as from
them; for it is written, "Whatsoever he hall hear, that shall he speak." Let him make
you know, beloved, how surpassingly beautiful are the blended personalities of *our
triune God, manifested by the personal presence of the Holy Ghost. To know him is to
know the Father and the Son, and these cannot be truly known and really honored
until we receive and know the Spirit; for no man can call Jesus Lord but by the Holy
Ghost.

-The Kings Messenger, *“Blended Personalities”, Review and Herald, Vol. 77, No. 14,
April 3, *1900, pg. 210

What a remarkable transition in pioneering SDA thought (!!), as connected to the


growing acceptance of the Spirit as a distinct person, a ―third‖ personality who helps to
comprise a ―threefold‖ ―Eternal Godhead‖, so that by 1900 (as the above quote
irrefutably shows) SDA pioneers were publishing the pioneering use of the distinct
Trinitarian expression ―our triune God‖; no doubt in the untraditional sense of the
three persons NOT making up one Being!! What a pre-1915 change!! So much so
that by 1913, Adventism‘s leading writer and chief editor of Adventism‘s doctrinal
literature (a much respected man chosen by E.G. White herself to guard her estate after
she died; so he was no heretic) was able to say:

―Seventh-day Adventists [not just myself] believe [now] in ... the Divine *TRINITY.
This Trinity consists of the Eternal Father… the Lord Jesus Christ… [and] the Holy
Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead‖
- F. M. Wilcox (chief editor), *Review and Herald, October 9, 1913

We [Adventists] recognize the divine Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
each possessing a distinct and separate personality, but one in nature and in purpose,
so welded together in this infinite union that the apostle James speaks of them as
"one God." James 2:19. This divine unity is similar to the unity existing between
Christ and the believer, and between the different believers in their fellowship in
Christ Jesus…”
- F.M. Wilcox, Christ is Very God, Review and Herald

Now, despite these pre-1915 realities, with even bona fide SDA pioneers publishing
and endorsing a known Trinitarian document by a known Presbyterian Trinitarian
minister (Samuel Spear) and they themselves renaming his article “the Bible doctrine
of the Trinity” way back in 1892, thus indicating that SDA pioneers themselves felt that
there is a true version of “the Trinity” in the Bible, yet here are those in Adventism
today who use propaganda to mislead those who are either unlearnt or who wont
research and think for themselves.

„SMOKESCREEN‟ TACTICS OF MODERN ANTI-TRINITRIANS AGAINST


THE SPIRIT‟S PERSONHOOD

In order to cloud the issue, and mislead the unlearnt, many modern anti-Trinitarians in
Adventism today use several tactics (unwittingly though) to ‗escape‘ from, cover up, or
divert people from seeing the real truth about the Holy Spirit as later understood by
SDA pioneers themselves before 1915 (when Mrs. White died). Here are some of their
chief tactics:

a] they quote profusely the earlier thoughts of SDA pioneers before the post-1892 and
pre-1915 transitional viewpoints on the Holy Spirit entered Adventism in order to
overwhelm the reader with the idea that seeing the Holy Spirit as a person, and
individual, is a falsehood. Coupled with this they appeal to the ―it‖ references related to
the Spirit, usually forgetting themselves that human infants (living beings) are
acceptably called ―it‖, that the human soul (the whole human being) is called ―it‖ in
Ezekiel 18:4, that demons (personal spirit beings) are called ―it‖ e.g. in Lk. 9:39-42,
and that even Jesus, depicted as ―the Lamb‖ in Rev. 5:6, is called ―it‖ in that context.
Clearly they don‘t see that this is a ‗straw man‘ argument about the Spirit being called
―it‖ even when considered a personality.

b] they explain away the later changed (pre-1915) views of the pioneers, and usually do
so by denying or twisting what the dictionary defines certain key words to mean ,
i.e. words such as ―trio‖ (a synonym for ―trinity‖ as a simple noun), ―person‖,
―personality‖, ―beings‖, and ―three‖. They are usually seen engaging in much cultic-
type redefinition of terms, semantic hop scotching and doctrinal somersaulting, with the
result more confusing that they themselves realize

c] they appeal to the E.G. White statements about Lucifer being next to Christ in
authority, about Jesus being the only being who could enter into counsel with God the
Father, and about the Spirit being described as Jesus Himself ―our Comforter‖. Yet they
never stop long enough to see the various possible and other logical ways (not just their
way) these statements could be understood/resolved without doing injustice to Mrs.
White LATER presenting the Holy Spirit as being one of the three ―highest authorities
of heaven‖ (i.e. being among the three comprising the ―Eternal Godhead‖), or better
yet, as being one of the ―three holiest beings in Heaven‖ whom she called upon in
prayer (you don‘t call upon a non-existent individual in prayer , I remind you), and
about whom she also confessed that though he ―personifies Christ yet is a distinct
personality‖, and hence she stated categorically that there are ―three holiest beings in
heaven‖; not just two. Obviously for many of the modern SDA anti-Trinitarians their
definition of the words ―beings‖ and ―three‖ is different from what the dictionary
really says. And obviously too they would want us to think that Lucifer (before sinning)
was the third of the ―three holiest beings in heaven‖ or was the third of the three
―highest authorities of heaven‖; not the Holy Spirit who alone could be the ―third‖ of
the three ―eternal heavenly dignitaries‖ (see Heb. 9:14). How blasphemous a notion!!
Who knows whether or not this notion by modern SDA anti-Trinitarians -- of Lucifer
being considered the third highest being in heaven-- is not integrally part of what the
―omega‖ heresies were predicted by Mrs. White to be about? More on the ―omega‖
heresies later. But suffice it to say here (in response to that notion), that if (according
to the SDA pioneers themselves) Jesus was “equal in all respects” and “one in
authority” with the Father (an authority obviously shared by their
“Representative” Holy Spirit), then it was Lucifer who was really second to or
next in authority to “the Eternal Godhead”, or “the Great threefold Power” (as
Mrs. White so succinctly phrased it); not Jesus being next in authority to the
Father at all at all!!

d] they appeal to the views of a few SDA pioneers, like Willie White (son of E.G.
White), who, after 1915, chose to hold on to the old SDA viewpoint about the Holy
Spirit (i.e. him being a ―personality‖ without individuality) without recognizing that
differing viewpoints in themselves prove nothing really, if the facts are always
collectively and objectively looked at by the careful reader and deep thinker. Willie
White himself, as an ‗old timer‘ in some viewpoints, admitted (in a famous but much
misused letter) about being ―perplexed‖ over much of his mother‘s ―utterances‖ on the
Holy Spirit (undoubtedly as it concerns her utterances in the later years leading up to
her death), and he also admitted that he was not able himself to clearly say what were
his mother‘s views on the personality of the Spirit. So how can people quote Willie
White as if he is an ‗expert‘ or ‗authority‘ on his mother‘s utterances on the subject
when he himself admitted his ―perplexities‖ and lack of understanding regarding her
teachings in the area? How ironic. One can easily see what would have ―perplexed‖
Willie White in him trying to hold on to the older pioneering views about the
impersonal Spirit, and then confronting ―perplexing‖ statements from his mother, like
her calling upon the Spirit in prayer (alongside the Father and Son), etc. And I repeat:
―you don‘t call upon a non-existent individual in prayer‖. Period!!

e] they appeal to the ―omega heresy‖ prediction of Mrs. White, and interpret it to mean
that to accept the Holy Spirit as part of a trinity is fulfillment of that prophecy, and they
usually point to Dr Kellogg‘s intermingling of pantheism and a belief in the distinct
personhood of the Godhead as a model of heresy on the issue. They however never stop
to realize that Trinitarian sentiments (especially since the Spear‘s article) were already
being published in Adventism (since 1892) several years before Kellogg‘s heresies of
1903 (and without any condemnation from Mrs. White), hence to admit to a trinity
could not be the ―omega‖ coming before the ―alpha‖ heresies of Kellogg (a rather
illogical notion, if you ask me). In addition, they failed to recognize that, firstly, Mrs.
White admitted that Kellogg‘s viewpoints had some truths mixed with falsehood, and,
secondly, that Mrs. White herself named ―pantheism‖ as what was wrong with
Kellogg‘s theories. She never named trinitarianism as the problem (!!), nor did she
denounce his view on the separate personhood of the Spirit as the problem; contrary to
what some want us to think. In addition they appeal to the fact that several mainstream
Adventist writers/theologians have recently been actually teaching a faulty version of a
―Godhead‖ trinity – that of three independently self-originate, role-playing Godhead
beings (only acting as Father and Son)- and then they give the impression that to
correctly reject this falsehood (as even this writer has done himself) means that all
concepts of a trinity must be faulty; not realizing that one can in fact correctly accept a
relationship-based trinity of ―three holiest beings in heaven‖ with the Father as the
Source and Head of both the Son and Spirit themselves from all eternity, and yet all
three must be ―served‖ in the one Godhead union as Mrs. White instructs true
Adventists to do.

f] they usually try to say that because Mrs. White says ―what‖ the Spirit is must be
considered a mystery then ―who‖ he is, i.e. his identity as the ―third‖ of ―three holiest
beings in heaven‖, is also unknown and unknowable, without realizing how faulty this
approach is (especially in light of her also saying ―what‖ God the Father is must also
be considered a mystery as well; not ―who‖ he is). Many of these dissidents fail to see
the faulty logic in their argument that, according to them, we cannot prove that the
Spirit is ―a person‖ (i.e. an individual) like Father and Son, based on the notion that not
much is revealed. Yet, upon the same body of evidence, it could be said they
themselves cannot irrefutably prove that the Spirit is not a person like the Father and
Son, since so much (both from the Bible, as well as from E.G. White writings) strongly
suggest otherwise!!

―We [Adventists] need to realize that the Holy Spirit, who is as much a Person *AS [i.e. in
same way that] God is a person (!!) is walking through these grounds…He hears every word
we utter, and knows every thought of every mind‖
-E.G. White- Manuscript Release, Vol. 7, pg. 299 (from an 1899 speech at Avondale
College)

Mrs. White stated categorically, upon her belief in what the Bible itself teaches, that the
Spirit is ―a person as God is a person‖, and so concluded logically that he is the
“third” of ―three holiest beings in heaven‖ itself. That is plain English! What more do
you need?

g] they appeal to the Bible being silent on the Holy Spirit in some things, as if it is
evidence against his personhood, and yet fail to see that there could be other
possibilities for this silence; and not any indication of a denial of his distinct
personhood. They forget that the Old Testament, for instance, was largely (not
completely) silent on the later revealed Son of God who was there with the Father all
along, with no real Old Testament emphasis on a duo (only on the Father) until after
Jesus‘ incarnation (accounting for why so many Jews today never see the Godhead as
being more than one person), and yet this was no denial of Jesus being a distinct
personality from the Father from all eternity. The same could be said about the Holy
Spirit today as it concerns the New Testament not placing as much emphasis on Him as
on the Father and Son, and yet this means no denial of his distinct personhood as
(according to Mrs. White) one of the ―eternal heavenly dignitaries‖ (note the words
“eternal” and “dignitaries”, and allow their significance to sink in).

h] Finally, they also appeal to the fact that the Holy Spirit (in relation to God the
Father) is presented metaphorically in the Bible as the mind of God, as His presence, as
―the hand of the Lord‖, as ―the finger of God‖, and is also compared to the inseparable
union between a human person and his spirit, and argues that this means that likewise
God‘s Spirit cannot be separate as a person from God the Father, while forgetting that
even Jesus is presented metaphorically as the ―logos‖ (reason), wisdom, and power of
God, also as the ―arm of the Lord‖ (things not usually separate from a person), and yet
Jesus is a distinct personality from the Father; distinct enough to be sent to represent
Him, and later sit at his right hand, just as the Spirit is also distinct enough to be also
sent to represent them both, and is also depicted as the ―seven fold Spirit‖ ―BEFORE
His throne‖ who sends greetings to the Church separately and equally along with the
Father and Son (see Rev. 1:4,5). Obviously they forget that a “Sent” (or distinct
“representative”) and the “Sender” could never ever be the same being or person.
Period!! In addition, some argue, rather lamely, I might add, that the Spirit could not be
another person representing Father and Son; otherwise, (as they argue) they would have
lied when they said ―we [Father and Son] will come to you, and make our abode with
you‖. This is so short-sighted, since they forget that in many things the Father is said
to have done “Himself”, and will do “Himself” he has distinctly done (and will do)
it through Jesus as His representative. Prime examples include the Bible saying
that God by “Himself” created the universe (Is. 44; 24), and that God will be
Judge “Himself” (Ps. 50:3-6), and yet the Father accomplished and will
accomplish these through Jesus His VISIBLE” representative in the Godhead.
Was he lying then? Certainly not!! Just as he is not lying when He represents
Himself INVISIBLY everywhere by “another” Godhead person in the form of the
Holy Spirit, the “third” of “the three holiest beings in Heaven”, and yet God the
Father (as well as the Son) is effectively said to be “present” everywhere just the
same. That‟s because that is precisely how the Godhead operates in a sort of
“oneness” of operation. The presence of one “sent” person is effectively
representative of the other two in the group of three as if the “Sender” Himself is
in action, and the action of one person of the Godhead is, in many instances,
deemed to be the action of all three acting as one. No wonder, despite the human
Jesus did not literally raise Himself from the dead (his Father in Heaven through the
Spirit here on earth literally did do), and yet Jesus represents it as akin to He raising
Himself , as if he did it by Himself (―I will raise it up‖ he distinctly said about His
body). Amazing!! That‘s the truth of the Godhead so many stumble and fall over!!

REFUTING MODERN ANTI-TRINITARIAN ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE


SPIRIT

Let me point out here that no one presentation could ever address (at once) all of the
arguments against the Holy Spirit‘s identity, and so to avoid too much volume and
bulk-arguments here I am recommending the following separate articles and
manuscripts by this researcher, which can be had upon request by e-mailing me at
ddgillespie@live.com or by calling (876) 539-4734 or 385-5982. Also, I am
recommending the following web-link where one could access online some of the
articles indicated below Click here.

a] ―Who Only is One with and Enters into Counsel With God?‖

b] ―Who Only is to be Exalted?‖

c] ―The Holy Spirit‘s Identity Ain‘t No Mystery‖

d] ―The Truth About the Heavenly Greetings in Rev. 1:4,5‖

e] ―The Omega Heresy in Adventism‖


f] ―Binitarian and semi-Arian Flaws‖

g] ―Did the Papacy Invent the Trinity?‖

h] ―Critiquing Willie White‘s Letter on the Holy Spirit‖

i] ―Did Kellogg‘s Aplha Heresy Reject the Spirit‘s Identity?‖

j] ―The Truth about the Holy Spirit‖

k] ―The Holy Spirit is Separate from Christ‖

Some today say that the Adventist Church was never divided on this issue before or after 1888.
Only dishonesty, or a morbid desire to paint the “perfect picture” of a “perfect” pioneering
Church, would fail to see that full unity in 1888 was not yet achieved on all Godhead issues.
Even up to that point, in 1888, the issue of the ‗personhood‘ of the Holy Spirit was not yet a
settled issue in Adventism, contrary to what some today claim. But note evidence below of
changing views of SDA pioneers themselves by the late 1890s.

―It seems strange to me now [in 1898], that I ever believed that the Holy Spirit was only an
influence, in view of the work He does‖

-R.A. Underwood – ―The Holy Spirit a Person‖, Review and Herald, Vol. 75,
May 17, *1898, pg. 310

―We [Adventists] need to realize that the Holy Spirit, who is as much a Person *AS [i.e. in
same way that] God is a Person (!!) is walking through these grounds…He hears every word
we utter, and knows every thought of every mind‖
-E.G. White- Manuscript Release, Vol. 7, pg. 299 (from an 1899 speech at Avondale
College)

“God is one [person]. Jesus Christ is one [i.e. another person]. The Holy Spirit is one [the
third person of three]. And these three are one: there is no dissent nor division among them.‖
-A. T. Jones, Review and Herald, January 10, 1899, 24

Mrs. White and the certain key pioneers (e.g. G.C. Tenny, R.A. Underwood, and A.T. Jones,
just to name a few) were among those breaking with past thinking; and declaring the Holy
Spirit‘s „personhood‟ and personal independence, even though He was still seen as
inseparably linked to the Father and the Son. But the transition went even further. Why else
would Mrs. White state categorically (after 1890) the following?

―The Holy Spirit HAS [note ‗has‘] a PERSONALITY… He MUST ALSO BE A DIVINE
PERSON” [seems clear enough].
Evangelism, pg. 615, excerpted from a *1905 manuscript

There is a clear difference between saying „something [the Spirit] is the


personality‟ (or expression) of another, and in saying that*someone [the Holy Spirit] ―has
a personality‖ [of His own], simply because He is ―a divine person‖. The latter expression
is clearly what Mrs. White emphasized, by even saying though the Spirit ―personifies
Christ, yet is a distinct personality‖, so much so that ―there are three living [literal]
personalities‖ in the Godhead, or ―three holiest beings‖ existing ―IN HEAVEN‖ itself,
who can ALL be called upon in prayer. Oh how sad it is when someone will twist and
deny these clear meanings, and lead others astray!!

Notice carefully:
“The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to Heaven is the Spirit in all
the fullness of the Godhead [compare Col. 2:9]. There are three LIVING [i.e. literal]
personalities [persons] of the Heavenly Trio” [group of three persons].
- E.G. White, Evangelism, pg. 615, excerpted from a *1905 manuscript

Clearly Mrs. White could not be teaching that Christ can ―SEND‖ himself (that would be
absurd), and so notice how far Mrs. White was prepared to lead the SDA Church regarding the
‗personhood‘ of the Holy Spirit, after her 1898 affirmation that the Holy Spirit was ―SENT‖ as
―the third Person of the Godhead”; a Godhead consisting of ―THREE holiest BEINGS‖.
Despite writing metaphorically (and understandably so) at times as if the Spirit is literally
Christ Himself, she was so pointed in saying in one place that ―the Spirit personifies Christ,
yet is a distinct personality‖ that it became clear that the Spirit is not just a “personality” of
the Father and Son, but his own person!! Period!! No wonder pioneer Robert Hare made it
clear by 1909 that:

There is a trinity, and in it there are three personalities…We have the Father described in
Dan. 7:9, 10…a personality surely…In Rev. 1:13-18 we have the Son described. He is also a
personality… The Holy Spirit is spoken of throughout Scripture as a personality. These
divine persons are associated in the work of God…But this union is not one in which
individuality is lost…There is indeed a divine trio, but the Christ of that Trinity is not a
created being as the angels- He was the ―only begotten‖ of the Father…‖

- Robert Hare, Australasian Union Conference Record, July 19, 1909

Notice VERY carefully that pioneer Robert Hare never sought to say (like some pioneers were
saying at the time) that the ―individuality‖ of the Holy Spirit ―is lost‖ when one considers the
Godhead union (a union which he legitimately calls BOTH a trinity and a trio, as all unbiased
English dictionaries do also), but he spoke of all three in the context of their being united just
as the Church is (i.e. separate members are involved). This means that it proves nothing really
if the differing views of other pioneers be appealed to who say the Spirit has no individuality in
the Godhead (a contradiction in terms if you ask me). It is the weight of evidence looked at
objectively which matters; not necessarily what some thought/think in contradiction to the
clear evidence.
In must be said that while some today, unwittingly, play games and semantic
„hopscotch‟ with the words ―person‖ (being) and ―personality‖, the same *cannot be done
with some words and expressions used by Mrs. White as it relates to the Holy Spirit: i.e.
he being one of the ―three holiest beings in heaven‖, and one of the three ―eternal heavenly
dignitaries‖, and her explaining that ―the Spirit personifies Christ, yet is a distinct
personality‖ as His ―representative‖ (ever remembering that a representative CANNOT be
literally the same person as the one who sends that representative!!). In addition it is a
difficult thing to explain away the fact that Mrs. White prayed to the Holy Spirit, and she
saw Him as equally pledging to receive and be ―a Father‖ to us as both the Father and Son
did, and then that we in turn must pledge to ―serve‖ all three (a matter modern SDA anti-
Trinitarians have not yet ―pledged‖ themselves‖ to do, it seems). That is how Mrs. White
truly saw the Holy Spirit after 1888, i.e. one SENT to act or ―One given to act in Christ‘s
place‖, that is, after Pacific Press proclaimed the ―constituent persons of Eternal
Godhead‖, by endorsing Dr. Samuel Spear‟s Trinitarian tract in 1892. And remember it is
the most ridiculous thing to be intimating that either Christ or the Father send
themselves as the one being of the Spirit. The Adventist Church therefore had a firm
foundation on which to gradually fully formulate its new doctrine on the Holy Spirit, that is,
after 1892 when it was made clear to those agreeing.
Thus in 1915, A.G. Daniels, the then General Conference President (who served for 21
years), could then officially declare, at Mrs. White funeral service, that in her teachings:

“The Holy Spirit, the third *PERSON of the Godhead, and Christ‟s Representative on earth,
is set forth [by her] and *exalted [venerated] as the Heavenly Teacher and Guide sent to this
world by our Lord…” [Notice the repeated use of the words ―the Third Person of the
Godhead‖]
-A.G. Daniels – Review & Herald, August 5, 1915
(as reported by F.M. Wilcox, another pioneer, in “Testimony of Jesus”, 1934, pg.43)

Why could this long-standing pioneer and G.C. President of S.D.A.s be now so bold and reject,
for instance, Uriah Smith‘s view of Him not being a person? All he was doing was echoing
Mrs. White‘s confessions; what many in Adventism had been resisting even just before and
even after her death (even today).
Some today in Adventism, make much ado about their description of the Holy
Spirit‘s nature, nailing it down to either “the extension of the Father”, or the “split
personality” of the Father and the Son – all the while usurping and denying the counsels of
Mrs. White on this matter. Clearly we are not left to speculate about ―who‖ the Holy Sprit
is – He is the ―third person of the Godhead‖; He is ―One given‖ as ―Christ‘s Representative
on earth‖; He is ―the Comforter‖; He is one of the ―three living [literal] personalities of the
Heavenly Trio‖; He is one of the ―Eternal Heavenly Dignitaries‖; and He is one of the
―three holiest beings‖ or the three ―Highest Authorities‖ in Heaven itself. That was Mrs.
White‟s testimony about who the Holy Sprit is. So the Spirit‟s identity as a distinct
personality in heaven itself is no “mystery” at all, as some make out; only “what” he is
(just like God Himself)!! Remember that “identity” mean “the individual characteristics
by which a thing or person is recognized or known” or “the distinct personality of an
individual regarded as a persisting entity”. This is “WHO” the Spirit is in identity!!
That‟s why he can be numbered as “third”.
However, concerning ―what‖ He is – whether an “extension”, or “split personality”, or
“projection of the Father”, or “transported energy” [of the Father and Son], like a telephone
connection – all are speculations failing to accept Mrs. White‘s plain counsels stating that:

“It is not essential for us to be able to define just *WHAT [not ‗who‘, but ‗what‘] the Holy
Spirit is. Christ tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, „the Spirit of truth, which
proceedeth from the Father‟. It is plainly declared regarding the Holy Spirit that, in His work
guiding men into all truth, „ He shall not speak of Himself‟ (John 15:26; 16:13). The nature of
the Holy Spirit is a MYSTERY. Men cannot explain it [the nature]. Many 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. The office of the Holy Sprit is
distinctly specified in the words of Christ: [declaring „who‟ He is] When He is come; He will
reprove the world of sin… „He shall receive of mine and shall shew it unto you” [―He shall
speak what He hears‖, clearly from the Father and Jesus- John 16:13,14].
-E.G. White, Acts of the Apostles, pgs. 51,52

This was the same conviction, and testimony of pioneer, G.C. Tenny, in the 1896 Review
and Herald, that is, accepting the same “problems” related to the Spirit‘s nature, in
“contemplating the Deity”. He was content like Mrs. White, to accept ―whom‖ the Spirit is, but
left, unmolested, the subject of ―what‖ He is, preferring rightly to see it a ―mystery‖.
Some who found out that they may just have been wrong about the Holy Spirit, when confronted
with the force of the already established truth in Adventism about the Holy Spirit's identity as the
"third" of "three holiest beings of heaven", find it too humbling to admit to, and so they pass it off
as being a truth not as important as accepting that Jesus is the real and literal Son of the Father,
who was really begotten from all eternity. This betrays an equally potent heresy (as denying that
Jesus is really the begotten Son of the Father), because an important truth that is already
established about a Godhead person is being DENIED and downplayed in favor of another truth.
How ironic, and how sad, because servants who wish to have "no guile in their mouths", find
themselves falling prey to the same "father of lies" who deceived many into thinking that Jesus is
not a real Son of the Father in the "begotten" sense"!! Yet, if the purity of the truth about Jesus
being the literal Son of the Father, as a separate being, is to be preserved it must relate to the fact
that he and the Father CANNOT be the same being at the same time as the Holy Spirit. The truth
about Jesus and the Father being separate beings can only be truly preserved if they are
"represented" by the Holy Spirit as a "third" separate being. Why? Because if the Holy Spirit is
simply the literal being and literal presence of both the Father and Son at the same time, then the
only inescapable conclusion is that they in fact are not separate beings, but are literally "blended"
together even more than conjoined Siamese twins, in order to own the same literal presence and
being at the same time. This literal "blending" of being/identities is what both the traditional
Trinity teaches, as well as (ironically) the teaching of those SDA anti-Trinitarians who deny that the
Holy Spirit is a third “representative” being of the Godhead.

SUMMARY:
We see clearly in the Bible that:
a] If the Holy Spirit is owned by both the Father and the Son *at the same time, and Scripture is replete
with the Holy Spirit being depicted as personal, and is listed separately from Father and Son in very many
Scriptures, and

b] If both Jesus and the Father equally sends the Spirit to us, and

c] If a "sent" and a "sender" must logically be personally separate (it would be absurd
otherwise, *unless one is a "Jesus only" or "Sabellian" believer), and

d] If both Father and Son could not send themselves (that too would be absurd), and

e] If the Father is *never sent by Jesus, since the Father is *not subject to or led ("Headed")
by Jesus, but both Jesus and the Spirit are owned by the Father, and both speak/act in
response to the Father who leads them both, and sends them both, and

f] If the Holy Spirit intercedes to the Father for us in our praying (not in human priestly
function as the Jesus the Lamb, or the one Mediator does, but the Spirit influences our
prayers, and God reads the mind of the Spirit in us to know what is meant when we pray),
and

g] If the Father could not intercede to himself (that would be equally absurd), then

*THE ONLY LOGICAL CONCLUSION WHICH SATISFIES *ALL THE RULES OF LOGIC
*AT THE SAME TIME IS THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSONAL "REPRESENTATIVE"
OWNED BY BOTH FATHER AND SON, AS A THIRD AND SEPARATE PERSON! IN THAT
ROLE HE CAN BE SENT BY BOTH AS THEIR OMNI-PRESENT 'EMISSARY', AND NONE
BE SEEN AS RIDICULOUSLY SENDING THEMSELVES (AS SABELLIANS OR 'JESUS
ONLY' PRPOPONENTS BELIEVE)!! AND THUS WE CAN SEE WHY BOTH FATHER AND
SON WHO SAID, "WE WILL COME TO YOU AND MAKE OUR ABODE WITH YOU",
"COMES" *REPRESENTATIONALLY THROUGH THE AGENCY OF THE SPIRIT AS IF
THEY THEMSELVES ARE LITERALLY PRESENT! THE SPIRIT CAN ALSO INTERCEDE
TO THE FATHER FOR US, BUT *ONLY IN OUR PRAYING, AS HE RESIDES IN OUR
HEARTS/MINDS, AND IT WOULD MAKE PERFECT SENSE ALL AROUND, SINCE THE
FATHER WOULD NOT BE RIDICULOUSLY SEEN AS INTERCEDING TO HIMSELF.
THESE CRUCIAL FACTS IRREFUTABLY PROVE THE *NECESSITY OF THE DISTINCTLY
LISTED HOLY SPIRIT BEING A "THIRD" OR SEPARATE PERSONAL BEING IN THE
GODHEAD; A GODHEAD OF FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT-- ALL WORKING IN
UNISON, AS 1 COR. 12:4-6,11 CLEARLY SHOWS, AND THUS INDICATING WHY
MATTHEW 28:19 LISTS THEM SEPARATELY IN JESUS' OWN WORDS!! WHO KNOWS
THE TRUTH BETTER THAN JESUS HIMSELF SENT TO REVEAL IT TO US?

This inescapable biblical reality makes it plain why Mrs. White led the S.D.A. Church to
accept that the Holy Spirit is "the third person of the Godhead", yet he not literally sharing
one indivisible substance with the Father and Son, but rather he is the "third" of "three
holiest BEINGS in Heaven"!! It would take much twisting of plain English and denial of
fundamental doctrine (which is what "heresy" is) to teach otherwise and remain an
Adventist. Yet this is obviously what Ellen White predicted would have happened in the
"omega" heresies as it concerns the personalities of the Godhead. This presentation will
later address that ―omega‖ prophecy head-on. Just keep reading.

ARGUMENT # 3: The SDA pioneers always saw


only the Father as God in the highest/supreme or
“sovereign” sense, since only He is un-begotten,
since only he is truly from all eternity, since only
He is the Source and Head of the other
personalities in the Godhead, and since he is the
“God” of even Jesus Christ, His Son that was
begotten by Him, who came after, and was only
delegated „equal‟ authority by Him.
This is probably the easiest argument to answer, and those in Adventism who today adhere
to this argument as a means of relegating Jesus to a secondary position of honor betray
(usually unwittingly) their sympathy for the ancient spirit of Arianism and Arius (Arius
thought God the Father has no true equal in majesty or sovereignty in the Godhead), even
though they (unlike Arius) will often be seen and heard vehemently denying that they are in
fact teaching that Jesus is not true Deity. But let me start out by saying simply this. John
20:28, 29 and John 5:23 alone, in response, can destroy this prime anti-Trinitarian
argument which is steeped in the most subtle garb of sophistry, since it is an argument that
does appears true on the surface of it, and yet in the end lacks teeth as well. But in the
same way and in the same sense that Jesus, in the highest honor rightfully accorded
him (John 5:23), is ―my Lord and My God” (as Thomas testified to, and Jesus
endorsed; John 20:28, 29), so too is the Father in a united way, since they must be
accorded equal honor (in the words of Jesus himself)!! The Father is not excluded
from this title, nor is he my Lord and My God in a higher and different sense than
Jesus is (despite I admit to the natural and rightful “Headship” of the Father in the
Godhead), otherwise I am talking about two Gods (!!), a notion that has no place in
the religion of the Bible. The inseparable union or oneness of the Father and the Son, and
their Holy Spirit, treated spiritually or in imagery as if they are one Supreme Being
(though they definitely are not), is what solves the problem!! Adventism‘s leading
pioneer, Mrs. White expressed this oneness in their supremacy or “sovereignty” by
first saying that ―the existence of a personal God‖ is ―the unity of Christ with the
Father‖, secondly, by saying that Jesus ―from all eternity‖ was ―God in the highest
sense‖, and he being ―the Son of God [he] was the acknowledged *SOVEREIGN of
Heaven, one in power and authority with the Father‖ (Great Controversy, pg. 495),
thirdly, by calling all three of the Godhead the ―highest authorities of heaven‖, and
finally by saying distinctly that all three, in a united way, speaks to us as ―God‖ or as
―the Lord Almighty‖ and that all three pledged to be a ―Father‖ to u; a matter which
sheds clear light on Mal. 2: 10 asking ―haven‘t we all one Father; haven‘t one God
created us?‖.

"God says, [notice after this whom she means says this] "Come out from among them,
and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and
will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith [or pledges]
the Lord Almighty." [Now notice carefully] This is the pledge of [not just one person,
but] the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit [i.e. the *pledge of ―the Lord Almighty‖
to receive and be a Father to you]; made to you if you will keep your baptismal vow,
and touch not the unclean thing…‖

-E.G. White, Signs of the Times, June 19, 1901

The inescapable reality of an ―inseparable‖ union of all three ―holiest beings in Heaven‖
will become clear pretty quickly as I will endeavor to explain. By 1898, even Adventism‘s
Uriah Smith (a stanch anti-Trinitarian) began to see at least that ―all of Deity‖ (i.e. who
God, or divinity is) is as an inseparable union of Father and Son, ―in connection with the
Holy Spirit‖ when he admitted that:

―Inseparable from the Father in the creation of all things, inseparable from him
in the ordaining of law and the establishing of government through all his glorious realms,
he [Jesus] is not to be separated from him in the awe-inspiring scenes of Sinai. Acting for the
Father, in whatever in their united counsel they willed to do, so he spoke for the Father, in
whatever they had occasion to proclaim. Equal in the authority by which law was enacted,
they were equally concerned in its promulgation. Whatever God does, Christ does, because
God does it through him; and whatever Christ does, God does, because Christ does it by him.
And as in actions, so in words: God's words are Christ's words, because God speaks by him;
and Christ's words are God's words, because Christ receives them from him…This union
between the Father and the Son does not detract from either, but strengthens both. Through
it, in connection with the Holy Spirit, we have all of Deity.‖
-Uriah Smith, Looking Unto Jesus, 1898, pg. pgs. 17-18

―This union between the Father and the Son does not detract from either, but
strengthens both. Through it [i.e. this inseparable union], in connection with the Holy
Spirit, we have all of Deity."
- Uriah Smith, Looking Unto Jesus, 3, 10, 17, esp. 13.

But it was Mrs. White who later (between 1898 and 1913) championed the new approach
to seeing all three (i.e. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) as part of who ―God‖ or ―the Eternal
Godhead‖ is (this was the same as saying who all ―all of Deity‖ is; a matter that Uriah
Smith alluded to in 1898, but Mrs. White was even more pointed about the matter). She
was instrumental in helping Adventist pioneers come to recognize the Holy Spirit as
personal even ―as much as God is a person‖, therefore producing not two but ―three
holiest beings in heaven‖ (hence the Spirit is distinct as ―also a divine person‖ from the
Father and Son). And obviously the Spirit is one with God the Father even as Jesus is also
one with Him. This oneness, appearing in imagery as if they are one being of Deity in
operation (despite they are not), is simply because they are all the same in divinity and
authority, and are indeed all spiritually united as if they one being acting and speaking
together. In preamble to my full response and explanation, let me say that if God made
Man (―Adam‖) in his own image (Gen. 1:26, 27), and further indicated that we can
understand much about the eternal Godhead by observing the things which are made to
pattern that Godhead (Rom. 1:19, 20), then we can resolve much (not all) by looking at the
human family. Reader, let me ask these questions from the outset. Was it simply Adam‟s
leadership in the first family, or he being the first human creation and the only
biologically un-begotten human male that sets him apart as Man in the truest sense?
Was it only Adam, the male, that bore or had rights to the family name “Adam” (see
Gen. 5:1, 2), or was he the only one to be considered man/human in the highest or
truest sense of the word, simply because he (his substance) was the source of Eve, the
female, or because he was the “head” („lord‟) of his wife? Certainly not!! Yet, those
who focus on headship, leadership, and ultimate group authority as the measure of
true God-hood would certainly like to think so about the Father in the divinity sense,
and would want to create „distances‟ between the members of the Godhead in terms
of the highest honor they deserve, yet the Biblical reality of saying ―God is love‖, and
divinity being Biblically revealed from the very beginning (Gen. 1:26, 27) through divine
relationships of love---relationships cemented by a principle of God-given ―oneness‖ as if
those in involved are one being, presented with a single pronoun ―he‖ (see a key illustrative
example in Gen. 3:22-24)--- paints a perfectly different picture.

The generic and spiritual oneness that was meant to exist between Adam and Eve, where
God, despite focusing on the male (by saying ―he‖ or ―)him‖, still meant both were to be
considered in the union (Gen. 3:22-24; compare Psalm 8:4-6) exclude any consideration of
Eve‘s inferiority in essence, name, specie, et al, even if the male, as head, is usually the
center of focus of humanity, as well as of the family unit. In just the same way you do not
separate a head from a body, or the mind or spirit from the man, or the arm from the
head, or the hand from the arm, or the finger from the hand, but consider them as a
whole, or as a unit, so too with the Godhead members considered as one in imagery,
as if they are one being, despite they are separate personalities/beings. No wonder
God the Father, “the Head” of divinity, pictures His Son and His Spirit (distinct
beings/personalities from Himself) in terms like that of the members/agencies of a
single unitary human being. Thus we see that Christ is depicted as “the arm of the
Lord”, as well as “the wisdom and power of God”, other times his “logos” or reason
or mind, et al. Likewise too we see that the Spirit is depicted as “the hand of the
Lord”, or the finger of God” and at other times His own presence, His own mind, His
own power, etc.). The Father is the admittedly the Source of both the Son and the
Spirit, and yet they together must be considered as the one Godhead or one united
family of divinity, and all must equally be “SERVED” “after” we have “accepted
Christ” (as true Adventists have been instructed to do by the main Adventist pioneer,
E.G. White). Why? God the Father expects us to treat His Son and His Spirit as we
would treat Him himself, because they are truly one with Him in the same way that a
wife is one with her husband in principle.

No wonder God did not cause Eve to come into being from another clump of clay, but
directly from Adam‘s own substance, and henceforth the wife was to be seen as if she was
part of the man himself--- both being ―one flesh‖, like one unitary human body, as it were
(Eph. 5:28-31), despite they are not so literally ---- otherwise the Bible‘s object lesson
regarding the Godhead or nature of divinity that was to be forever discerned by way of the
family would have been defeated. And notice that this is true even when the Adam and Eve
relationship could not perfectly pattern the Godhead union; only impartially. See Job 11:7-
9 and realize that the Godhead of spirit beings can never be perfectly illustrated by
anything material thing in creation; only to a certain degree.

True pioneering Adventism eventually realized that even when God the Father is
spoken of as “the Almighty”, this description of him is ultimately tied to him united
with His Son and His Spirit as our “personal God”, and all three must be considered
as part of this description too. Here are prime examples of SDA pioneers recognizing and
plainly expressing this fact of who is ―the Almighty‖:

"God says, [notice after this whom she means says this] "Come out from among them,
and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and
will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith [or pledges]
the Lord Almighty." [Now notice carefully] This is the pledge of [not just one person,
but] the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit [i.e. the *pledge of ―the Lord Almighty‖
to receive and be a Father to you]; made to you if you will keep your baptismal vow,
and touch not the unclean thing…‖

-E.G. White, Signs of the Times, June 19, 1901

*[Commenting on Rev. 1:8, SDA pioneer Uriah Smith stated distinctly]


―Here another speaker than John is introduced. In declaring who he
is, he [the Speaker] uses two of the same characteristics ‗Alpha and
Omega‘… as found in Rev. 22:13, where according to verses 12 and 16 of
that chapter [Rev. 22] it is plainly Christ who is speaking. We conclude
then, that it is Christ who is speaking in [Rev.1]*VERSE 8‖
[as the 'Almighty‘].

-Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation, 1897,pgs. 350-351 (paperback)

[Mrs White herself quotes Rev. 1:8 and applies it to Christ by saying:
"In our warfare we have Christ's promise, "He that loveth Me shall be
loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him"
He [Christ] manifested Himself to John, who had been banished by his persecutors
to the lonely isle of Patmos. But there He who rules the earth and keeps
the waters in their appointed channel, manifested Himself to John."I John,
who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the
kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called
Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was
in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of
a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last"
[Rev. 1:9-11]: "the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is,
and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty" [verse 8].
Christ [also] manifested Himself to Peter, and delivered him from prison by he
hand of an angel. He manifested himself to Stephen, and he, "being full
of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory
of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God…
-EGW, Sermon and Talks, Vol. 2, pg. 113 (Manuscript 21, 195)

Thus for a modern Adventist to say only the Father of Jesus is truly “God”, and
“sovereign” or “Almighty” in the highest sense (as if Jesus and the Holy Spirit too
shouldn‟t/cannot be considered as “sovereign” or “the Almighty”) not only flies in the
face of logic, but denies outright the full teaching of the Bible, as well as what the
writings of E.G. White endorses the Bible to be teaching about Jesus and the Holy
Spirit being considered as “one” with the Father, their Head (operating as if they are
one unitary being, despite they are not so literally). It would be tantamount to saying
only the first male can be properly called “Adam”, or Man, and only the first male
was truly man/human in the highest/truest sense simply because he was the first of all
humans, and head of his wife, contrary to what the Bible says in Genesis 5:1, 2. The
utter futility of this argument goes without saying.

[WORK IN PROGRESS. MORE TO COME]