“… and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” Isaiah 58:12
God has given us solutions to our problems. I would seriously suggest avoiding those who find problems with the solutions.
We need to get right into where we left off in the previous chapter. What we are discussing is the alpha of deadly heresy. We need to understand it clearly, so that the omega will stand out like a sore thumb.
In Kellogg’s 10-28-1903 letter to Elder Butler, a former General Conference president, Kellogg wrote, “As far as I can fathom, the difficulty which is found in The Living Temple, the whole thing may be simmered down to the question: Is the Holy Ghost a person? You say no. I had supposed the Bible said this for the reason that the personal pronoun ‘he’ is used in speaking of the Holy Ghost. Sister White uses the pronoun ‘he’ and has said in so many words that the Holy Ghost is the third person of the Godhead. How the Holy Ghost can be the third person and not be a person at all is difficult for me to see.” Letter, Kellogg to Butler, 10-28-1903.
So what was the Alpha all about? Is the Holy Ghost a person? Kellogg went to the Spirit of Prophecy and specifically what statement was he using? That Sister White says the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead. This is exactly where confusion comes in for most today. Many people will make a statement about what Ellen White wrote, and then add their own assumption. For example, people will say, “Sister White says the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead; that means that the Holy Spirit is a person or Divine Being just like the Father and the Son.” Well that was exactly Kellogg’s position. She called it deadly heresy.
There is no problem with the fact that Sister White has clearly stated that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead, as that is very true, but she never stated that the Holy Spirit is a person just like the Father and the Son, in other words a third Divine Being.
So the whole problem in the book Living Temple was about the personality of the Holy Spirit. Was the Holy Spirit as a third person a separate and distinct Divine Being like the Father and the Son, or not? And Kellogg had come to believe that the Holy Spirit was God the Holy Spirit, an individual God-Being like the Father and the Son. Making: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, his understanding of the trinity. This, according to him, is the whole crux of the matter in The Living Temple. Sister White said that’s the Alpha of deadly heresies. And people today think that this is not an important issue. That this is a side issue. Now it is important to understand, because the Bible says, “the thing that hath been it is that which shall be.” If we do not get this right, we will be stuck in the Omega of deadly heresy and not even God can extricate us from our choice of error if we stubbornly stick to it. It’s deadly because it breaks the first and ninth commandments. No one will be saved with unconfessed and un-repented sin on their records. God wants is sleeping church to wake up to their dangerous position.
What was Ellen White’s response to Kellogg’s assertion? “I am compelled to speak in denial of the claim that the teachings of Living Temple can be sustained by statements from my writings.” 1 Selected Messages, 203.3.
What statements did Kellogg specifically use in his book? “The third person of the Godhead.” And Ellen White said that she denied the claim that this statement supports what Kellogg is teaching – God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
She continues, “There may be in this book expressions and sentiments that are in harmony with my writings. And there may be in my writings many statements which, taken from their connection, and interpreted according to the mind of the writer of Living Temple, would seem to be in harmony with the teachings of this book. This may give apparent support to the assertion that the sentiments in Living Temple are in harmony with my writings. But God forbid that this sentiment should prevail.” 1 Selected Messages, 203.3.
Often people will take a portion of Sister White’s writings out of context, to make it fit some far out teaching that she never would have agreed to. That’s what Kellogg did. Kellogg should have stuck with his medical profession and have left theology with the learned men in that field. So Kellogg professes that he is a Trinitarian.
I frankly do not like using word descriptions that are not found in the Bible or the SOP. There are two extremes, it’s either Christ and truth or Satan and error and everyone will be aligned under one camp or the other. The position I think we need to consider ourselves to be is; will we be a Restorer or are we choosing to be a non-Restorer.
But since Kellogg stated he believes in the trinity and he has used Sister White’s writings to support his belief, the question begging to be answered is, “Was Ellen White a Trinitarian as some have suggested?” In other words, did she believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit? If so, then how dare she rebuke Kellogg for bringing it to light; because that’s what Kellogg believed. He believed in the trinity – in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, exactly as it is stated in the current Fundamental Beliefs. But Ellen White said, “That’s deadly heresy.”
And was it God who told her to rebuke Kellogg? It certainly was, because she is writing under inspiration. She says, “The Lord has shown me,” or “I’m compelled to speak.” Now if that’s the case, then how could God inspire her to oppose the Trinity, if it is really truth?
So on one side we have Ellen White condemning Kellogg for believing the Trinity, and on the other side we have people today saying “But Ellen White believed in the Trinity and they say she believed in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, didn’t she?” If the people today are correct than that would mean Ellen G. White was a false prophet, and any student of prophecy knows that is not the case. What was Ellen White trying to say? In Letter 52, 1903, addressed to Kellogg, she wrote, “Your ideas are so mystical that they are destructive to the real substance, and the minds of some are becoming confused in regard to the foundation of our faith. If you allow your mind to become thus diverted, you will give a wrong mold to the work that has made us what we are — Seventh-day Adventists.” Letter 52, 1903
What we need to do is understand if what Kellogg was teaching was endangering the foundation of our faith, the foundation that makes us Seventh-day Adventists. Then we need to ask ourselves a question since we see what Kellogg believed. What is it that was considered to be the foundation at that time? In other words, what was the church teaching about this topic that Kellogg was departing from, and Ellen White said, “you’re endangering the foundation of the faith; you’re departing from the faith?”
Let’s see what was believed in the church at the time. 1891 - this is from Uriah Smith - he says, “The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God; it is also the Spirit of Christ.” U. Smith, General Conference Daily Bulletin, Volume 4, March 14, 1891, pp. 146, 147. So Uriah Smith is saying that there is no third God Being, he is saying that the third person of the Godhead is the Omnipresent Spirit of the Father and Christ.
Here is another one, from E. J. Waggoner, he stated: “Here we find that the Holy Spirit is both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ.” E. J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness, p. 23. 1890. He is in total agreement with Uriah Smith. No condemnation from Ellen White on either statement.
And from John Loughborough: “We learn from this language that when we speak of the Spirit of God we are really speaking of His presence and power.” John Loughborough, Review & Herald, September 13, 1898.
Does that sound to you like these brethren believed that the Holy Spirit was another Being called God the Holy Spirit? No, they believed that both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ are the “presence and power” of God in the third person. This is a very clear definition that Loughborough is saying. He says: “when we speak of the Spirit, it’s really the presence and power of God.” It is their Omnipresence.
“The divine Spirit that the world’s Redeemer promised to send, is the presence and power of God.” ST, November 23, 1891.
When God gives us His Spirit, does God give us another individual, or Himself? According to Kellogg it would be another God. But the Spirit of Prophecy answers the question this way, “In giving us His Spirit, God gives us Himself, making Himself a fountain of divine influences, to give health and life to the world.” 7T, 273.1.
Let’s see what else the servant of the Lord says about the Spirit. If she was to rebuke Kellogg, then she must clearly define in the writings what she believed, and she does. You know, that statement that says “third person of the Godhead” that people still use today… does she ex-plain to us what this third person of the Godhead is? Does she explain more about the Holy Spirit? Yes she does.
Here is her quote found in Review & Herald, April 5, 1906. She says: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." [She is quoting John 6:63 here.] Christ is not here referring to his doctrine, but to his person, the divinity of his character.” Review & Herald, 4-5-1906.
The Holy Spirit is a person. Sister White said: “It’s the third person of the Godhead.” It is the person of whom? It’s the person of Christ. This is what it is. Kellogg was teaching the Holy Spirit is a third person different to the Father and the Son. It is very subtle. Because you almost use the same words to describe two different beliefs. And this is why Sister White said: “This is a deadly heresy.”
Let us read John 14:16-18, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
Following is a quote where God’s prophet is commenting about John 14, where Jesus is speaking about the Comforter that would come. This was a mystery to the disciples, they didn’t understand it clearly, “That Christ should manifest Himself to them, and yet be invisible to the world, was a mystery to the disciples. They could not understand the words of Christ in their spiritual sense. They were thinking of the outward, visible manifestation. They could not take in the fact that they could have the presence of Christ with them, and yet He be unseen by the world. They did not understand the meaning of a spiritual manifestation.” The Southern Work, September 13, 1898.
So this is what Christ meant when He told His disciples He would send them another Comforter. His immediate promise is that I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. He is talking about His own Spirit, His Omnipresence without the physical limitations of the body, but still it is His own person that would come to them, invisible. And this is what Sister White calls the third person of the Godhead, it’s the divinity of His character.
Here is another powerful statement, “While Jesus ministers in the sanctuary above, He is still by His Spirit the minister of the church on earth. He is withdrawn from the eye of sense, but His parting promise is fulfilled, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of world’” (Matthew 28:20). Desire of Ages, 166. Now this is a very interesting statement because it says while Jesus is the minister in the sanctuary above, that being where His physical body is, He is still, by His Spirit, the minister of the church on earth. This is His Omnipresence.
The Bible tells us clearly how many mediators there are between the Father and man. 1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” It is Christ physically in the Sanctuary above and it is Christ by His Omnipresent Spirit down here. To say that another Spirit is mediating here on earth between God and man is saying there are two mediators and that would be saying the Bible is in error. Sister White says this is how Christ fulfills His promise: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Jesus says: “I am with you always,” not some other being.
We have more to examine – R&H 5/19/1893, “Christ declared that after His ascension, He would send to His church, as His crowning gift, the Comforter, who was to take His place. This Comforter is the Holy Spirit, - the soul of His life, the efficacy of His church, the light and life of the world. With His Spirit, Christ sends a reconciling influence and a power that takes away sin.” Review and Herald, May 19, 1904.
Now this is a very clear definition and you do not want to miss it. She says this Comforter that Jesus promised to send is the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit is the soul of His life. Question: is the soul of Jesus’ life a different person to Him? No, it’s His very own person, His very own personality. Now this is the problem that people have today, because how can the soul of the life of Christ be a different individual? How can the Holy Spirit be “God the Holy Spirit”? This is such a bizarre understanding of which Ellen White said, “this is a very dangerous heresy.”
Continuing: The Home Missionary, November 1, 1893: “… the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, as the personal presence of Christ to the soul.”
This is what the third person of the Godhead really is: “the personal presence of Christ.” When Christ comes to us to comfort us by His Spirit it’s very personal. He sends His very own person. It’s not a different person to Him, it’s Him, Himself, as we read in that statement in Testimonies, Vol.7, “In giving us His Spirit, God gives us Himself.”
And here is another example of that. Desire of Ages, p. 669.3: “The Lord knows all about His faithful servants who for His sake are lying in prison or who are banished to lonely islands. He comforts them with His own presence.”
Let me ask you this, -- "Who is your Comforter?" -- Here is a question that we need to answer because your Comforter is the one that assists you and helps you overcome sin. Now if you believe in that doctrine that Kellogg believed in, that’s called “The Trinity,” or sometimes it’s actually a belief in “Tritheism” – in three separate and distinct, co-eternal Gods, you would believe that there was God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Son went to heaven and now a third God; God the Holy Spirit is your comforter. So very far from the truth.
What does the Servant of the Lord say? “There is no Comforter like Christ, so tender and so true.” Review & Herald, Oct. 26, 1897.
And this, “The Savior is our Comforter. This I have proved Him to be.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, p. 49.
Now what comfort would you receive from someone who was not made flesh, who was not tempted in all points like as we are, who is not able to succor us as we are tempted? That’s not very comforting, is it? So here is Jesus. He came to earth, lived for 33-1/2 years, experienced everything that we have to experience, and then left us and sent someone else to help us. I don’t think so.
It is so important that we know that it is the Spirit of Christ in His omnipresence that is in us and not some other spirit, because as we read in 1 John 5:12 “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” Any other spirit would be that of an anti-christ.
Listen carefully to my next question. What is the reason that the church is really so weak today? Could it be that the church embraces a third God that they have made their comforter? God’s prophet provides the answer. R&H 8/26/1890, “The reason why the churches are weak and sickly and ready to die, is that the enemy has brought influences of a discouraging nature to bear upon trembling souls. He has sought to shut Jesus from their view as the Comforter, as the one who reproves, who warns, who admonishes them, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’” Review and Herald, August 26, 1890 par. 10.
So what has the devil tried to do to weaken the churches? Shut Jesus from our view as the Comforter. In other words, he gives us another Comforter. This Comforter today goes by the name of “God the Holy Spirit,” a different individual to Christ.
We have quoted Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:3, 4 where he wrote, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
We have talked about how Satan, working through individuals, has changed our religion. They have given us another Jesus and another spirit which means we have another gospel. We NEED to be restorers of paths to dwell in.
We still have much more to cover and we will pick up where we left off in chapter 35 Part 6.