God’s Prophet has encouraged us to study the writings of our pioneers. These were not ignorant men. John N. Andrews memorized the whole New Testament and a good portion of the Old Testament. These men were not distracted with electronic devices. Often when they met for study, they spent long hours, well into the night. God was giving them our pillar doctrines and when they got bogged down on a particular point, God would take Sister White into vision and the correct view would be confirmed. One of the earliest points of doctrine is the truth about the Godhead. Remember, these early pioneers came into the Millerite/Advent movement from Trinitarian churches. They believed in the Trinity until God showed them otherwise.
Remember this also, if these following statements were wrong, God would have had Sister White correct them with haste, just as she did with John Harvey Kellogg as we will learn shortly in the chapter, The Alpha of Deadly Heresy. Trinitarians in leadership roles are attempting to gag and muzzle the writings of our pioneers. The subject is to important to dismiss without investigation on what the pioneers believed in regards to Jesus, His origin and position, the Holy Spirit and the Trinity.
That said, we will now list statements from our pioneers regarding this most important doctrine.
From James White in Review & Herald, Jan. 4, 1881. He says:
“The Father was greater than the Son in that He was first. The Son was equal with the Father in that He had received all things from the Father.” James White, Review and Herald, January 4, 1881.
That’s a plain statement and doesn’t even need any comment. This was their belief about the Son of God. They believed that Jesus was really, as the Bible says, really the Son of God. Today people say, “That’s a heresy. If you really believe Jesus was the Son of God. Oh, that’s dangerous, brother.” Wouldn’t Sr. White have corrected her husband if he were wrong? Well, let’s just see what else is said in the foundation of our faith.
This is John N. Andrews, and he says in Review & Herald, September 7, 1869:
“And as to the Son of God, He would be excluded also, for He had God for His Father, and did, at some point in the eternity of the past, have beginning of days.” Review and Herald, September 7, 1869
So their belief about the Son of God was very plain. They believed Jesus was really the Son of God, He was begotten of His Father and that the Father is really, as the Bible says, the Father of Jesus Christ, and that Christ received all things from His Father. This belief today is being attacked by what is called “God the Son.” We dealt with the phrase “God the Holy Spirit” and now we have a very common phrase that is used; an unbiblical phrase, and this term that the Spirit of Prophecy never uses, called “God the Son.” You just can’t find the three word phrase, “God the Son” in the Bible or the S.O.P. And we’ll see the implications of that very shortly, but first here is
J. H. Waggoner, the father of E.J. Waggoner, who in 1888 with A.T. Jones was presenting the message of righteousness by faith. Here is a comment that he makes regarding Tritheism
“There were some very early that turned the doctrine of the Trinity into “Tritheism” [this is regarding the early centuries] “and, instead of three divine persons under the economy of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, brought in three collateral, coordinate, and self-originated beings, making them three absolute and independent principles, without any relation of Father or Son, which is the most proper notion of three gods.” J. H. Waggoner, 1878.
A very plain statement. When we bring in three collateral, or what’s today termed as “coequal,” beings who are all self-originated, and when you destroy the relation of Father and Son you really end up with three separate and distinct Gods, as the church teaches today.
So our pioneers were opposed to the doctrine of the Trinity, but many people today think and teach that the pioneers were opposed only to the Catholic trinity. The trinity that the denomination believes today, the pioneers did not oppose. But that is not true for the pioneers were opposed to all kinds of Trinity, including Tritheism, including the belief in three divine beings who are not related by Father and Son, which makes three gods. In other words, when you destroy the Father-Son relationship; when you say it’s a metaphor, as they do; when you say it’s symbolical; when you say it’s only prophetical; when you say it’s only a role play, you really destroy the Father-Son relationship. You end up with three gods.
As we will soon see, Kellogg believed in God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. So it’s important to understand that the pioneers not only rejected the Catholic trinity, but they rejected other forms which are common today. Many in our denomination say “Oh, we don’t believe in the Trinity, we believe in the godhead.” And when they say “the Godhead,” they believe in God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, which is what Waggoner is alluding to here.
Let’s continue. This is an article by J. N. Loughborough, “Objections to the Trinity,” and he explains why he is objecting to the trinity. These are the reasons that he gives. He says:
“1. It is contrary to common sense. 2. It is contrary to scripture. 3. Its origin is pagan and fabulous. It’s not very consonant with common sense to talk of three being one, and one being three. Or, as some express it, calling God ‘the Triune God’ or ‘the three-one-God.’ If Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are each God, it would be three Gods; for three times one is not one, but three.” J. N. Loughborough, Review and Herald, November 5, 1861.
From the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary: Fabulous: Feigned, as a story; devised; fictitious; as a fabulous story; a fabulous description, celebrated in fables; invented; not real; as the fabulous exploits of Hercules. The word consonant means agreeing with.
That’s very logical. If God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit are all Gods, we have three Gods. And you have a serious problem with the first commandment, which says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”
Here is another one. This is E. J. Waggoner, the son of J. H. Waggoner. Let’s see what he says regarding the Son of God. But, notice, we find a very common thread in all the writings. They all believed the same thing. There was a common foundation that they all believed and subscribed to and Sister White was never directed to correct them because that is what she believed. Kellogg was the one who deviated from the foundation. This is what E. J. Waggoner says in Signs of the Times, Apr. 8, 1889:
“While both are of the same nature, the Father is first in point of time. He is also greater in that He had no beginning, while Christ’s personality had a beginning.” E. J. Waggoner, Signs of the Times, April 8, 1889.
Why is that? Because Christ was begotten of His Father. He came out of His Father. Jesus said as much as it reads in: John 16:27, 28 “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, …”
Now Waggoner here says that both are of the same nature, in other words, did He believe in the divinity of Christ? Of course he did. People today make the accusation that those who really believe what the Bible says, that Jesus is the Son of God, they don’t really believe in the divinity of Christ. Not very good reasoning powers. The very evidence and proof for the divinity of Christ is the fact that He is the begotten Son of God. He inherited everything from His Father, and so He has the very same nature as His Father.
Here is what Waggoner continues to say. This is in his book Christ and His Righteousness, pages 19-24. He says:
“There was a time when Christ proceeded forth and came from God, from the bosom of the 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, pp. 19-24.
Considering these two statements, one would almost think Waggoner is contradicting himself. Because in the earlier one he said “Christ’s personality had a beginning,” but now he says, that was so far back in eternity that to finite comprehension it is practically without beginning.
These statements don’t contradict themselves, they actually harmonize. They show that this belief, this event was so far back that to us, to finite comprehension, It is beyond our human computation and calculation. But it does not deny the fact that it actually occurred because there was a point when Christ was actually begotten of His Father. We are only reading the belief that the pioneers had.
Psalm 146:3 says, “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” This scripture is telling us that we better not be trusting the highly educated teachers, professors, philosophers, evangelists, and leaders at any level with our salvation. There is far too much philosophy being treated as truth. We need to be like the noble Bereans who didn’t even trust Paul until they studied the word to see if those things were so.
The resources are available to study for our own soul’s salvation. But too many take the easy road believing that if a certain well respected person said it, it must be true. Danger. The Bible and the Testimony of Jesus are the true and reliable resources.
Here is another E. J. Waggoner quote from his book “Christ and His Righteousness,” page 12, 1890. Notice carefully what it says:
“The angels are sons of God, as was Adam… by creation; Christians are the sons of God by adoption (Romans 8:14, 15), but Christ is the Son of God by birth, and so Christ is the ‘express image’ of the Father’s person.” E. J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness, 1890, p. 12.
Very plain. He tells us what he believed. What year was this? 1890. And let’s understand what he meant when he wrote, “Christ is the Son of God by birth, and so Christ is the ‘express image’ of the Father’s person.” The birth Waggoner is talking about is not Bethlehem. When He was begotten in eternity, He was the express image of the Father, something the Bethlehem baby could not be.
Now, let’s look at a statement from the Spirit of Prophecy five years later: “‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son,’ – not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father’s person….” EGW, Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895.
So Waggoner says “angels are sons by creation” and she says “Jesus is not a son by creation, as were the angels.” Waggoner says “Christians are the sons of God by adoption.” She says “He is not a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner.” Waggoner says “Christ is the Son of God by birth.” Sister White under inspiration said about Jesus, “but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father’s person….”
There are some people who believe that Jesus was created. To those we can see that Mrs. White, under inspiration, makes a divine distinction between the words “begotten” and “created.” She wrote, “He is not a son by creation, but He is a Son begotten.” To those that may say we are saying Jesus was created, the Bible says He’s begotten and the prophet says it’s different to creation. Jesus is a Son by birth and He was not created. Very clear distinction.
Was Ellen White a Trinitarian, or did she teach Tri-theism? In spite of all this evidence today and the previous chapters, there will be some who still believe that Ellen White taught one or the other. They will say we have very clear writings from the Spirit of Prophecy that Ellen White was actually a believer in God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, a trio of individual divine Beings.” We must ask this question: Would a person that believed in such a doctrine – a doctrine of three individual Beings, or three Gods, or God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit – would such a person make statements such as the following?
“From eternity there was a complete unity between the Father and the Son. They were two, yet little short of being identical; two in individuality, yet one in spirit, and heart, and character.” Youth’s Instructor, December 16, 1897.
Here we have a statement that mentions Father, Son, and spirit. It says the Father and the Son were how many? Two, “a little short of being identical.” What does that mean? They’re not exactly identical, just a little short of being identical. And then it says: “they were two in individuality, yet one in spirit.”
Remember reading what Ellen White and the pioneers said? The Holy Spirit is really the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. In other words, the Father and the Son, They share the same Spirit.
“Christ the Word, the Only Begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father, - one in nature, in character, and in purpose - the only being in all the universe that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God.” Great Controversy, p. 493. Because the Holy Spirit is the Omnipresent shared Spirit of the Father and the Son, which is the third person of the Godhead, their personal presence and power, there is no other Divine Being. These TWO Divine Beings constitute the Godhead.
In chapter 2 we read a quotation from the well-respected Adventist historian Jerry Moon, Ph.D. who is chairman of the church history department at the Seventh-day Adventist theological seminary at Andrews University. He co-authored a book titled “The Trinity” with his fellow professors Woodrow Whidden and John W. Reeve. This is taken from chapter 13 “Trinity and Anti-Trinitarianism in Seventh-day Adventist History, Page 190, paragraph 2,
“That most of the leading pioneers were non-Trinitarian in their theology has become accepted Adventist history.” But it is the next statement in that same paragraph that I want to focus in on:
“As one line of reasoning goes, either the pioneers were wrong and the present church is right, or the pioneers were right and the present Seventh-day Adventist Church has apostatized from biblical truth.”
In the following chapters, we will deal with the apostasy that has literally happened in our denomination, which we will cover in two phases. Phase 1 is what God’s prophet called the Alpha of deadly heresy and will be revealed in our next chapter 7 Part 1 and Chapter 8 Part 2. The Omega of Apostasy, which she called deadly heresy, will be dealt with in subsequent chapters.
CHAPTER 7 - The Alpha of Deadly Heresy - Part 1
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