The No-Longer Neglected Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity


(Richard Ruhling) #25

“ this Trinity of Persons…is the foundation of her whole dogmatic system.” Catholic Encyclopedia, see attached jpg.
Ellen White saw church leaders becoming Catholic, 1T 577 and 8T 250 (“become an harlot”)
There are many texts that the religionists of Andrews are overlooking, ignoring or uninformed of, that could show a bigger picture for the Godhead that Paul said may be known from the things that are made (Rom 1:20)
FIVE times Genesis 1,5 says we are made in Their image and likeness and TWICE it says male and female. Please take a look at more than half a dozen other texts that would support this, since “all Scripture is given by Inspiration of God and is profitable…” http://Godhead7ThSeal.wordpress.com Replies or questions welcome, Ruhling7@juno.com or 928 583 7543 Richard Ruhling


(George Davidovich) #26

Phillip
Without the benefit of having watched AU’s Trinity Project I am going to start by thanking you for such an interesting summary, we need more of these types of discussions in this forum. I have to unfortunately add myself to the opinions of @Pierrepaul and @ajshep in saying that the potential implications the study of the Trinity may have on EFS is a political distraction that should have not been inserted here.
I disagree with @ezbord about Scriptures being “gobledy gook”, I am that “average Joe” without any formal theological or divinity education, and feel that God has provided enough depth in Scriptures to allow us to choose truth instead of falling for Satan’s lies.

From what I read in this essay so far, I find a couple of key concepts about the Trinity missing:

  1. The SDA belief in three distinct co-eternal persons as affirmed by Jiri Moskala is missing something. Why is there no mention of the Holy Spirit in John 1:1? or what was the role of the Holy Spirit at Creation? (John 1:2 or Col. 1:16. Or where is the Third Person of the Godhead mentioned in Proverbs 8? Parts of this chapter deal with characteristics we associate with the Holy Spirit (i.e. wisdom) and others with Jesus (Prov. 8: 22-30). But it seems evident to me that there are only two people being described (Jesus and the Father).

  2. Aside from the indirect references by Moskala and Woodrow Whidden, and Fortin about the redemptive implications of who God is, there seems to be no direct association of the Trinity with the Plan of Salvation. I think this is a huge miss if in fact it is not mentioned elsewhere in the series!

  3. The third point that for me has enormous implications into our understanding of the Trinity is a mention by EGW “The great gift of salvation has been placed within our reach at an infinite cost to the Father and the Son…” What is this “Infinite Cost”? Does the suffering of Jesus at the cross rise to the level of infinite for God? What if His death really means something much, much bigger than we imagine?, such as an eternal change to the essence of the Godhead, would this not then be infinite?

  4. Some final questions I will share here ( there are many others) include: Why is there no mention in this summary about the Holy Spirit not only being the “Spirit of God” but also “The Spirit of Jesus”? Or why did Jesus tell His disciples the Holy Spirit would not come to them until He first ascended to Heaven?
    EGW tells us that to really understand the mystery of the incarnation we must first understand “the dual character of Christ”

@TonyR, @niteguy2
Thank you all for your interesting insights an comments, a couple of years ago I read a study br Bruce Bivens who unfortnately is no longer with us to ask him questions. I found his biblical obeservations on the subject on the Godhead very enlightening and worth reading, and I am still going back to it and learning some more; I hope you take the time to read it yourselvess. http://www.enjoying-the-spirit-filled-life.com/1-introduction-godhead.html


(Phillip Brantley) #27

I want to express appreciation to commenters by posting some short responses.

I may write an essay that offers a hermeneutical treatment of the Trinity that could supplement the Seminary’s theological, historical, and practical treatments offered in the video lectures. Because the Seminary’s engagement with hermeneutics tends to be limited to hermeneutica sacra, I think an essay written from the perspective of a universal hermeneutics (which the study of hermeneutics has become since Schleiermacher) might be interesting.

It is highly problematic for us (even if true) if God is to some degree inscrutable, if He is to some degree impossible to understand or interpret. The hermeneutical task in discerning the meaning of an utterance is determining the thoughts that inform the utterance. If we cannot know the thoughts of God, then we will have trouble discerning the meaning of what He says. This is all per Schleiermacher as quoted by Dilthey, that the hermeneutical goal in interpreting a text is to know the author better than he knows himself. I do not suggest that any of this is dispositive, but to thank you Stephen for impressing upon me that this future essay I am interested in writing will be very difficult for me to put together.


(Phillip Brantley) #28

I suggest that the tenor of my review is not that everything is about women’s ordination but that everything is about the Trinity, as it were. That our understanding of God informs how we are to relate to each other should not be controversial or confusing.

In an earlier draft of my review, I did mention other ecclesiastical practices that bother me. Why do we differentiate among men by electing those we esteem to be elders and those we do not esteem to be deacons? In our Adventist vernacular, deacon means loser. Many men who are never asked to serve as elders, who are forever subordinated to other men in the church, are in fact biblically qualified to be elders. I wonder if a better understanding of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity might bring helpful change to how we govern ourselves.


(Phillip Brantley) #29

I do not know the facts about the disciplinary case you describe, but I am not in favor of throwing anyone out of the church who has honest and sincere questions about the Trinity.

One of our highly esteemed evangelists recently advocated Eternal Functional Subordinationism (hereinafter EFS) to thousands of impressionable youngsters at GYC. That he was allowed to do so suggests that this anti-Trinitarian heresy has found support at the highest levels of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. There are a couple of SDA biblical scholars who have determined that their opposition to women’s ordination necessitates their endorsement of EFS. Again, many Seventh-day Adventists do not possess a clear understanding of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. I think study and prayer rather than draconian disciplinary measures are what we need right now. I do not anticipate that you will find these video lectures to be over your head.


(Michael Wortman) #30

I fully agree. And Jesus referred to himself as a door, the bread of life, a light, a vine, etc. Stories and metaphors often shed light on an aspect of a complex whole that cannot be understood clearly. The trinity either as a metaphor for family, or the trinity as a description of the physicality of God are means that followers use to try to grapple with the mystery of what and who God is. Other followers may find another metaphor or a combination of other descriptions of God more meaningful.


(Brendan) #31

I am one of the simple Joe’s referred to elsewhere. Understanding the Godhead, if we simply take the Bible as it reads without any attempt to go beyond what is revealed, would, for the Jew and the Christian, shine light on the identity of the “Stone of stumbling” that the trinity doctrine obscures.
KJV Proverbs 30
4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?

Herein lies the bottom line in solving the whole issue. Does God have a Son?
If no, as Whidden, Moon, Rodriguez and others maintain, (as they claim the Father/Son paradigm metaphorical) then the trinity as taught by Adventists and most other Christian faiths stands intact.
However, if God truly did send His only begotten Son into the world then the trinity comes unglued as Whidden and the BRI admits.
We are created in the image of God. We beget children. Our offspring are not as old as ourselves. Yet they are every bit as human. Jesus is begotten of the Father. Not co-eternal as the trinity declares, yet every bit God…the Son has inherited all the attributes of the Godhead. Thus rejection of the trinity does not automatically infer a lessening of the divinity of Christ, but rather positively and scripturally establishes it.
According to Proverbs 30:4 above, God does have a Son. Our task as far as the Jew is to reveal his name without recourse to any trinity that merely reduces Proverbs 30:4 (and John 3;16 and countless others) to a metaphor.

And it is great we are discussing this, although I am not convinced the church is prepared for it. The release of a defensive manoeuvre without discussion or debate is hardly baring itself as the article suggests. And on another note, I would mention that in contrast to what one of the learned professors wrote, that some of the pioneers were anti-trinitarian, I would opine that nearly ALL of them were anti-trinitarian, including JNAndrews after whom their institution is named, and James White whose wife never corrected or rebuked him for his stance right up to his death. Was the prophet failing in her responsibility, or did she agree with her husband and our understanding of her references to the Godhead are coloured by our trinitarian glasses?
The apostle John declared that to deny the Father and the Son is antichrist. According to modern Adventist theologians therefore to deny a metaphor is antichrist, and worthy of disfellowshiping in many churches.


(William Abbott) #32

Brakelite nails it in his comment. Abraham and Issac are not a metaphor. They are a father and a son. Not random, but chosen. The subordination of their wills, their repudiation of autonomous being apart from the God Most High, their obedience & their sacrifice is not a metaphor.

This story of Abraham and Isaac is the pattern of Jesus Christ’s story. He is, quite simply and in all reality, God’s only begotten son. The mystery of the trinity is the man Jesus is 100% man and He is 100% God. Trinitarian doctrine does not reveal the mystery in a metaphorical dialectic; it deepens the mystery in proclaiming Christ is the one, true, Son - the Son of God and the Son of Man. These are the facts.

Phillip Brantley has written a legal brief. He’s trying to persuade a judge opposing counsel’s arguments about the law regarding subordination within the Godhead are without legal precedent. That is what lawyers do: they argue the law when the facts are against them. Too bad for Brantley, his arguments are not persuasive. But what else can he do? He must do something to represent his WO client’s interests.


#33

George Vandeman founded IIW. Richards founded VOP.

If the HS is Jesus, why did He go back to heaven to send ANOTHER Comforter? When SOP is read as a whole, one will soon realize that this statement does not mean it the way you read it. Just like Scripture, context is everything.


(Randall) #34

The Jehovah’s Witnesses know who their God is. They believe Jesus was created by God and is ‘a god’. They believe the Holy Spirit is an ‘it’. But we will see how their New World Translation, in spite of their efforts to deny it, shows Jesus IS Jehovah God. The Roman Catholic Church knows who their God is. They believe there is a three person co-eternal Trinity. But we will see how their New American Bible diverts our attention away from the significance of who JESUS is. In other words they as usual, seem to be a tricky hair off the actual truth which leads to an immense distortion!
We Seventh Day Adventists DON’T KNOW WHO OUR GOD IS?! Since the beginning of the Advent movement until this day there is no clarity on this subject! Those that want to quote the pioneers like James White and Uriah Smith concerning the divinity of Jesus would perhaps be more comfortable in the camp of the JW’s. If you believe there is a three person Godhead then maybe you should join the RCC? That is how ridiculous this situation is. The SDA Tim Jennings, believes the KJV reflects some RCC doctrine and has written The Remedy which actually supports RCC doctrine…and I will show you how.
I am going to present to you in two parts why there is a Trinity, Godhead whatever label you want to use in the KJV…and why it differs greatly from the RCC Trinity. We are going to look at a few scriptures in the New American Bible(Catholic), The Remedy, The New World Translation and the KJV. That is the first part. For the second part I am going to cut and paste an article concerning the nature of the Holy Spirit, that makes the case for the Holy Spirit as being an actual person and God, much better than I, and I believe if James White was alive to read this…he would recant.

Let’s start with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Jesus is a God created by Jehovah God. That is what they claim.
I discovered that if they are trying to make their point that Jesus is a created being, they missed something huge in the New World Translation. They actually make the strongest statement I’ve seen, the best argument for Jesus being God that I have seen in any translation!
Let’s compare Rev 1:1 with Rev. 22:6 and Rev 22:16 in the New World Translation (revised 2013).

Rev1:1 A revelation* by Jesus Christ, which God gave him,+ to show his slaves+ the things that must shortly take place. And he sent his angel and presented it in signs through him to his slave John…

O.K. So far so good for the JW doctrine. Jehovah God as they like to refer to the Father, gave to Jesus (a created being that created the earth etc.) some truth and sent his angel to John.

Now I would ask you to read Rev 21:9 where you see a plague angel comes to John. You can read through to Rev 22:6 to see the ‘he’ referenced Rev:22:6 IS the plague angel.

Rev.22:6 He said to me: “These words are faithful* and true;+ yes, Jehovah,* the God who inspired the prophets,+ has sent his angel to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place."
So, John records in Rev 1:1 that an angel was sent by God and here in Rev 22:6 a plague angel clarifies that it was Jehovah God that sent the angel.

Rev 22:16 “‘I, Jesus, sent my angel to bear witness to you about these things for the congregations. I am the root and the offspring of David+ and the bright morning star.

Oh HO! Jehovah God sent the angel in Rev.22:6…and Jesus sent the angel in Rev. 22:16…that would make Jesus Jehovah God!
Now you could go back to the seven Church’s in ch 2 and 3 and see that the angel was sent …and the message is from Jesus…and to every Church is written 'Let the one who has an ear hear what the spirit says to the congregations:" as it reads in the New World Translation.(we’ll look at Holy Spirit in part 2).
So here we have confirmation in the New World Translation from the Apostle and Prophet John, the Father, Jesus, a plague angel, and the Holy Spirit…that Jesus is Jehovah God! I hear someone clamoring for another revision of the New World Translation!!!
And the point of this? In the most convincingly written presentation of Jesus as a created being, The New World Translation, there is evidence that he was not created.

Same translation…look at Rev 2:8 8 “And to the angel of the congregation in Smyrʹna write: These are the things that he says, ‘the First and the Last,’+ who became dead and came to life again:
The word ‘first’ in the Greek, Protos’ means ‘first in time or place’ and ‘last’ in Greek, Eschatos’ means last in time or place. Hold on to that, we’ll come back to it later. For now, we know the message is from Jesus delivered by His angel and He is describing himself. The JW’s kept this because they believe the Father created Jesus…but that’s not what is being said here. We’ll look at that more closely later on.
Tim Jenning’s takes out EVERY instance of this phrase ‘First and Last’ occurring in the New World Translation and the KJV in ‘The Remedy’: Rev 1:11, 1:17, 2:8, 2:19 and 22:13. There is evidence to some that this phrase does not occur in SOME of the Revelation, Rev 1:11 for example. But if you look at where it does occur you can see where it makes sense in the other places. Jennings takes things a step further, removing ALL instances of this phrase…replacing it with ‘beginning and ending’ Arche and Telos in the Greek pointing to the eternal nature of God. So if his intent was to say the RCC tampered with previous manuscripts by inserting ‘First and Last’ and then replaced that phrase with ‘beginning and ending’, then all he has done is to reinforce the RCC view of a co-eternal Trinity.
The JW’s take away from the meaning of ‘First and Last’ by believing Jesus was a created being. Tim Jennings simply obliterates ‘First and Last’ which leaves us no insight as to what that means…at all!
Let’s take a look at what the New American Bible(Catholic) has to say. First Rev 1:1 Rev 22:6 and Rev. 22:16.
Rev.1:1
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show his servants what must happen soon. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
Rev. 22:6
And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true, and the Lord, the God of prophetic spirits, sent his angel to show his servants what must happen soon."
Please note the phrase ‘prophetic spirits’ this appears to be a reference to 1 Corinthians 14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. (referring to the gifts of the spirit.) In The NWT AND the KJV the phrase is 'God of the Holy Prophets
Rev.22:16
“I, Jesus, sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the root and offspring of David,* the bright morning star."
So, these verses read the same as in the NWT and we will see the KJV, except in Rev 22:6 where God of the Holy Prophets is replaced with God of prophetic Spirits. And here we begin to see how the RCC twisted things…just a wee bit…to mask something very important about our Savior. The RCC focuses on the God that bestows prophetic gifts instead of the God of the Prophets…you know the Prophets…that spoke of our Savior and His life…and His Sacrifice for us. On to the KJV and a little EG White in conclusion…and if the folks here allow, I’ll post an insightful look at who or what the Holy Spirit is.

KJV Rev 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

Rev 22:6
And he said unto me, these sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the Holy Prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

Rev 22:16
I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
Whew! O.K… So this reads essentially the same as the New World Translation, except the NWT inserts JEHOVAH GOD in Rev22:6, which ironically, makes a stronger case for Jesus being God than the KJV!
The phrase First and Last occurs in places in the KJV where it does not in other translations, but you can look at it for yourself and see if it adds or takes away from what is being said. It doesn’t appear to be an issue at all.
So what is the point of this monster post?

  1. NWT shows powerfully that Jesus is Jehovah God while at the same time claims he was created AND uses the phrase “First and Last” almost everywhere the KJV does. The JW’s believe First and Last refers to Jehovah God creating Jesus to create earth…and onward.
    If you look at first and last in the KJV it can be seen it is talking about Jesus’ sacrifice, the first in time or place where the eternal God became fully God and fully man and died. (Some insight concerning that death a little later from EG White.) So besides the NWT contradicting it’s stand on Jesus being created it also takes away from the sacrifice our Savior made for us.
    Tim Jennings’ The Remedy. Removes EVERY instance of First and Last…again minimizing who our God was(is) by focusing exclusively on the eternal nature of our God and ignoring the immense sacrifice our God made for us.
    The RCC does the same thing by changing" God of the Holy Prophets" to “God of Prophetic spirits”…focusing on gifts of the Spirit instead of leading us to the Prophets who wrote of Jesus life and death and the immense sacrifice He made for us. It may be that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are Co-eternal, but what of the sacrifice Jesus made for us? Does the RCC speak of the immense sacrifice of our Savior in a light that can truly help us to see the beauty, the strength and self sacrificing love of Jesus? And just what kind of death was it Jesus died for us? I had a rather spirited debate with a friend over this issue, and I finally agreed, he had it straight.

The following comment from EG White Desire of Ages the Chapter Calvary
Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.

Christ could not “see through the portals of the tomb”…“He died of a broken heart”. Because the righteous have the hope of life offered them by the Savior and God the Father, they CAN see through the portals of the tomb. Here in this life, many of the wicked see through the portals of the tomb. They believe they will continue to live. It is only the wicked that cannot see through the portals of the tomb. Those people would be those resurrected after the thousand years, the millennium,and that is called the second death. No hope for life…only death. Although our Savior didn’t die forever, He had no hope offered that He would live. He obeyed the Father, with no assurance from the Father…until He died. That would be the experience of the second death…even though He would live again.That is what our Savior experienced while under intense physical, emotional and spiritual distress! No assurance that He would live. I ask you to dwell on this and consider who your God is! This is what makes Him the ‘First and the Last’. The first in time and place to suffer the second death experience…and the last in time and place to live through that experience! Is there greater love than this? It cannot be fully comprehended! The RCC claims the Trinity is a mystery. I would say the God of ALL, the eternal God, the creator, dying for His creation…is a mystery.
We SDA’s have a wonderful prophetic gift in the writings of EG White. I don’t believe she was infallible, but I believe God gave her beautiful insights. And this surely is a premier insight!

On to stage 2…The Holy Spirit (The following from an article on the Holy Spirit posted on Bible Hub)
On the one hand, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are quite right: Greek grammar does not support the translation of “he” for the Holy Spirit. The passages you mentioned in John do not actually use the masculine pronoun to refer directly to the Holy Spirit. I published an article on this in 2003 in the Bulletin of Biblical Review. It’s called “Greek Grammar and the Personality of the Holy Spirit.” Now, that’s on a grammatical level.

But the JWs take this beyond the evidence by saying that since the grammar doesn’t support the personality of the Holy Spirit, there is nothing else that does. In this case, I believe they are quite wrong. Gender in Greek is primarily an arbitrary thing; that is, it does not necessarily have to do with “natural gender” or whether someone/something is masculine, feminine, or neuter. For example, the word “word” in Greek is masculine, though there is also a word for “word” which is neuter. The word “child” in Greek is neuter. And this word is used of Jesus as a baby. Does this mean that he was an “it” until he grew up? Hardly. This is actually similar to some modern languages. Thus, for example, in German the word for girl is neuter. This certainly does not mean that Germans think of girls as “things”! What’s interesting is that the Hebrew word for “Spirit” is feminine. Since that is the case, why don’t JWs say that the Holy Spirit is a person, a female person? They are highly selective in the data, and they simply refuse to listen to genuine arguments when it doesn’t support their case.

Now, how would I argue that the Holy Spirit is a person? I believe that the very passage that many use to describe the Spirit as a person (John 14-16) contains the key. Although the Greek does not do so via grammatical gender, there are other ways to see the personality of the Spirit here. For example, Jesus says that the Father will send “another advocate/comforter” (John 14.16; cf. also 14.26; 15.26; 16.7-8). If he is “another” advocate then he is distinct from Jesus. Yet, clearly, he is sent to replace Jesus as the one who ministers to the disciples. How can a thing do this? In the Upper Room Discourse (John 14-17) the Holy Spirit is seen as (a) distinct from the Father and the Son, and (b) personal. He will teach, guide, etc. These are attributes of persons, not things. Also, in the Great Commission, Jesus tells his disciples to “baptize in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Now, what’s curious here is the subtle equation of the Son with the Father, and the Spirit with the Father. No one would think of saying, “Baptize in the name of the Father and the Bible,” or even “the Father and Paul.” The first expression is something that we have a reaction to because the Bible is inanimate. These second expression is something that we have a reaction to because it places Paul on the same plane with God. What’s remarkable about the wording of the Great Commission is that (a) the Greek does not make the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the same person, but (b) it does make them equal.

Randall Smith


(Randall) #35

Well sir,
I understand what you are saying.
I would say God makes it possible for us to understand what we are capable of understanding. However, I believe that for all eternity we will be having fresh revelations of who He is. I believe we all tend to make God to small…to make him fit what we know in this four dimensional World created by a being that has always been…the infinite.


(Brendan) #40

If the theologians simply cleave to the scriptures they need not bother with psychiatric developmental issues. And in reality, nor is it a complex theological issue either.
All they need to choose is either one of two options.

  1. Is Jesus truly God’s Son?
  2. Did a metaphor die for us?

As for the holy Spirit, again, simple is best. Take EGWs counsel and refuse to define the nature of the Spirit altogether. Which leaves us with the Spirit OF God. Or the Spirit OF Christ. Shunning all attempts to define the nature of the Godhead we accept what God has revealed…Father, Son, and shared Spirit…and leave all trinitarian concepts to the popularists.


(Brendan) #41

Allow me please to give a perspective that removes that ‘obvious flaw’.
KJV John 5
26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
KJV John 17
2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

The life that was given Christ is self generating…which is divine life. How do we know this? Because as John 5:26 says, the Son has been given the very same quality and nature of life that the Father has.
I think the picture given us in Daniel 2 is an excellent God given analogy. The Rock that is cut out of the mountain is Christ. The material…the character…the nature of that rock is precisely that of the mountain from which it was hewn…even the age of the material it is made from. However there is an aspect of life to the rock which makes it younger than the parent body. Ellen White put it this way…The Lord Jesus Christ is truly God in infinity,but NOT IN PERSONALITY.
EGW man.116 19.12.05 And then there is this…our pioneers understood this…
There was a time when Christ proceeded forth and came from God,from the bosom of His Father, but that time was so far back in the days of eternity that to finite comprehension it is practically without beginning.
E J Waggoner Christ and His Righteousness.
And this…
In arguing the perfect equality of the Father and Son, and the fact that the Son is in very nature God, we do not design to be understood as teaching that the Father was not before the Son. It should not be necessary to guard this point, lest some should think that the Son existed as soon as the Father; yet some go to that extreme, which adds nothing to the dignity of Christ, but rather detracts from the honor due Him, since many throw the whole truth away rather than accept a theory so obviously out of harmony with the language of scripture, that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. He was begotten,not created. He is of the essence of the Father.
Bible Echo and SoT 1.10.89
The Father was greater in that He was first. The Son is equal with the Father in that He had received all things from the Father.
James White R&H 4.1.81

If our pioneers were wrong, then for over 100 years our church was teaching heresy. If they were right, then today we are teaching heresy. Yet E G White had this to say regarding the teachings of the pioneers…
God has given me light regarding our periodicals. What is it?—He has said that the dead are to speak. How?—Their works shall follow them. We are to repeat the words of the pioneers in our work, who knew what it cost to search for the truth as for hidden treasure, and who labored to lay the foundation of our work. They moved forward step by step under the influence of the Spirit of God. One by one these pioneers are passing away. The word given me is, Let that which these men have written in the past be reproduced. CW28.1
And I would remind everyone that it wasn’t just one or two renegades who opposed the trinity as taught by the mainstream churches of the day…most all of the pioneers were in unity as far as I know and the non-trinitarian view of the Godhead was the official church belief for decades after Ellen White died.


(jeremy) #42

what e.j.waggoner and james white have to say is irrelevant…even in the case of egw, her overall learning curve has to be acknowledged…for instance she once counselled not to advocate abstaining from pork eating, and it is clear that she wasn’t always a sunset sabbatarian…if she’s saying that jesus isn’t god in personality, it simply means he is now forever human, like we are, and that his incarnation is a permanent gift…but the fact that she’s saying he is god in infinity can only mean an infinite past, among other things…

i think you are confusing texts that describe jesus’ humanity with texts that describe his divinity…in terms of christ’s humanity, it is true that he had a beginning, and that he received all things from his father…that is, he didn’t rely on or draw from his own intrinsic and everlasting divinity, which he could have…what you seem to be missing is that christ’s humanity is an addition to his divinity…it doesn’t indicate a derived or diminished divinity, which i have to tell you is tantamount to blasphemy…Isaiah 9:7 really does say that jesus’ name is everlasting father…


(Linda B) #43

In my humble opinion I think our time would be more valuable spent sharing and living the Word of God as it is written and leaving man’s interpretations and opinions out of it which just tends to confusion. Just let God do His work in us and others as we hear and receive His Word in us and let its light shine through. Keep it simple
Many words = babble = confusion
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God Rom 10:17 not by mans word.


(Brendan) #44

You are forgetting, or perhaps avoiding the main issue. The basic fundamental bottom-line issue with the trinity and the question which MUST be asked, and answered (which question I suspect is neither asked nor answered in the series being promoted) is this…
Was Jesus Christ in reality the offspring…the only begotten Son of God in His pre-existence? If so, the trinity concept turns to custard. In particular our own SDA version of the trinity. (I think the ancient creeds allowed for and accepted the begotteness of the Son, certainly the very early church fathers did such as Ignatius Martyr…that the core debate between the various protagonists at Nicea was finally settled and then enforced by a pagan pretender to the faith doesn’t elicit much confidence in the outcome as a fair reflection of spiritual truth).
Add to that the unarguable historic fact that all during Ellen Whites life and ministry the church’s official doctrinal position with regards the Godhead was decidedly anti-trinitarian. Which begs the second question…
Why was this change in the official church doctrine changed AFTER Ellen White died, and was the change a valid one?
I suggest that just as John 3:16,17 affirms, and many others besides, as well as several OT analogies that powerfully illustrate this such as the story of Abraham and Isaac, that if God says He gave His only begotten Son, then He had a Son to give. If such a Son was eternally existent in the past, then it makes a mockery of language and every accepted reality of Father/Son relationships. If it wasn’t intended that we view the Father/Son relationship within the Godhead as being of similar nature to our own, that it was different or merely mehtaphorical as our current theologians are declaring, then “our image and likeness” is also weakened and rendered far less powerful and significant.


#45

Yes the church had many who were anti-trinitarian, no ones denying that, but also don’t see it as a valid argument for holding onto something. The church its earliest stages also kept Sunday. Ellen White, however, is a different story. For many it has more to do with the interpretation of a word, or words that cause people to stumble. This is why Ellen White didn’t use the word “Trinity,” but rather “Godhead.”

Ellen White and the Personhood of the Holy Spirit
(Ministry Magazine)

In 1877, J. H. Waggoner wrote of the Holy Spirit as an It rather than a He. After writing of the “one question which has been much controverted,” that is, “the personality of the Spirit,” he described the “Spirit of God” as “that awful and mysterious power which proceeds from the throne of the universe.” In 1878, Uriah Smith answered the question “What is the Holy Spirit?” by writing, “In a word it may, perhaps, best be described as a mysterious influence emanating from the Father and the Son, their representative and the medium of their power.” Both men remained respectful of the mysterious nature of the Holy Spirit. In 1878, D. M. Canright, in a more argumenta­tive and apologetic two-part article, explicitly rejected the personhood of the Holy Spirit, “The Holy Spirit is not a person, not an individual, but is an influence or power proceeding from the Godhead.”

Later we read:

A few other Seventh-day Adventists took a very different view and speculated that perhaps the Holy Spirit was an angel or in the same class as the angels.

Then:

The shift in thinking on the per­sonhood of the Holy Spirit was well underway when, in 1907, A. T. Jones wrote, “The Holy Spirit is not an influ­ence; nor an impression, nor peace, nor joy, nor any thing. . . . The Holy Spirit is a Person, eternally a divine Person.” (emphasis supplied)

Ellen White:

Two years later, in 1893, she wrote, “There is altogether too little made of the work of the Holy Spirit’s influence upon the church. . . . The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, in Christ’s name. He personifies Christ, yet is a distinct personality.

In 1896, she quoted the words of Jesus in John 16:7, 8, and then wrote her earliest clear statement on the Holy Spirit as a Person in the Godhead. “Evil had been accumulat­ing for centuries, and could only be restrained and resisted by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power.” (emphasis supplied)

I’ve only given you small sections from the article, you can read it in full here: https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/2012/04/ellen-white-and-the-personhood-of-the-holy-spirit


(Randall) #46

To Brakelite AND Vandieman,

Step 1.
I posted something earlier with one addition, that might be useful for both of you.
In Revelation 1 verse 1 we read …

"The Revelation of JESUS CHRIST which GOD gave him to show to his SERVANTS what must SHORTLY COME TO PASS. And he SENT and signified it BY HIS ANGEL to his SERVANT JOHN.

There is no clear indication here that Jesus Christ is God. But we all believe that the Father is GOD…right?

In Revelation 22 verse 6 we read…

“And he said unto me, these sayings are faithful and true: And the LORD GOD (Jehovah in the New World Translation) of the Holy PROPHETS SENT HIS ANGEL TO SHEW UNTO HIS SERVANTS the things which must SHORTLY BE DONE.”

So we still must assume that the LORD GOD is the Father right? (Also, the ‘he’ who is speaking here is one of the seven plague angels. Go back to Revelation 21 verse 9 and read forward and you will see that it is so.) I mention this, so we know on whose authority this comment is made. Revelation 1 verse 1 was the Apostle John of course.

And now Revelation 22 verse 16… (Revelation in Greek, Apokalupsis, meaning a revealing of truth… or laying bear…making naked… the naked truth if you will.)

I JESUS HAVE SENT MY ANGEL to testify to you these things IN THE CHURCHES. I am the root and the offspring of David and the bright and morning star.

(And by the way one thing the Seven Churches have in common is (He that hath an ear let him hear what the SPIRIT SAYS TO THE CHURCHES.) Jesus through His angel testifies to the Churches AND THE SPIRIT SPEAKS TO THE CHURCHES).

So in Revelation 1 verse 1 and Revelation 22 verse 6 both say GOD SENT HIS ANGEL.
Revelation 22 verse 16, JESUS SAYS HE SENT HIS ANGEL! JESUS IS GOD!

And just a little aside…
(I mentioned that in Revelation 22 verse 6 reads the same as the Jehovah’s Witness translation of the Bible.) Actually, the NWT reads JEHOVAH GOD OF THE HOLY PROPHETS SENT HIS ANGEL. So they claim they do not alter their translation to fit their beliefs…we’ll see after they discover THIS!

Step 2.

Revelation 22 verse 13

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

The Greek word for BEGINNING is Arche, and has a variety of meanings… origin, beginning, first in a series, first place magistracy…you get the idea

The Greek word for END is Telos which means can mean eternal, the limit at which a thing ceases to be ( always the end of an act or a state, but never the end of a period of time)…or it can mean the end to which all things relate, or that by which a thing is finished.

The Greek word for FIRST is Protos which means first in time or place in any succession of things or persons.

The Greek word for LAST is Eschatos which means last in time or place, or it can mean last in grade of worth…to rank the lowest.

Revelation 22 verse 13, has been a very troublesome verse for me and I suspect many.

When I see that ALL the members of the GODHEAD are participating, working together harmoniously, Revelation 22 verse 13 and this discussion ya’all are having can be easily resolved.

Think…everything that God does, involves the participation of all three members of the Godhead. The Creation, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the second coming, the destruction of the wicked…EVERYTHING. All three are separate but connected in purpose and love. Jesus says “I and the Father are one.” John 10 verse 30. Jesus speaks through His angel to address the Churches in chapter 2 and 3 of the Revelation and "He that has an ear let him hear what the SPIRIT says to the Churches. And don’t think for a moment that word hear means just hearing…it means UNDERSTANDING!

So…when you read Rev 22 verse 13 …I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last…don’t think… Is that Jesus, the Father, or the Holy Spirit…THINK GODHEAD!
I hope this has been helpful to you both.

1 Timothy 3:16
And without CONTROVERSY great is the MYSTERY of GODLINESS: GOD was manifest in the FLESH, justified in the SPIRIT, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

God bless you,
Randall


(Randall) #48

I would ask you to read my most recent post concerning the Trinity. I believe you may see some insight that may at least partially answer some of your questions. I compare some scripture in The Remedy, The New American Bible(Catholic), The KJV and the New World Translation(Jehovah’s Witness) to make the points. I am not happy with a dearth of info in my own presentation on the Holy Spirit. I had relied on an article I had read that fairly convincingly made the case for the person hood of the Holy Spirit…but I seem to have misplaced it. All I had is that I remember the author made the point that the JW’s could not base their belief that the Holy Spirit was an ‘it’ using Greek grammar. If they did so, then Jesus would have to be considered ‘feminine’. That was only one point of his presentation. If I can ever relocate that article I would be pleased to post it.
Randall Smith


#49

I’m sorry. But perhaps the finest bit of commentary I’ve seen on the subject is a comment on a Facebook forum, and I just have to share it here as I’m in complete agreement:

<I don’t know what trinity means to anyone who supports it. When pressed to explain the concept, every Christian supporter retreats to the idea that in the final analysis there is no analysis: it’s a MYSTERY! It certainly bears no logical foundation open to man—and many Christians agree, but do so with a kind of smugness that says, “Take that, you logic-loving son of a devil!”>