SDA Pioneers on the Trinity - (Page 10)
Most Seventh day Adventists are unaware that God raised the remnant Church as non-Trinitarian and so the early pioneers were in fact anti-Trinitarian. Today it is taught that the pioneers were in error and that that they received progressive truth. But how do you go from believing in a real Father and Son to believing that God is three gods that are really only one God? The pioneers were in fact very clever people that had the advantage of the Spirit of Prophecy to help them understand Scripture.
The real truth is the highlighted text from this book on the trinity. “That most of the leading SDA pioneers were non-Trinitarian in their theology has become accepted Adventist history, ... “More recently, a further question has arisen with increasing urgency: was the pioneers' belief about the Godhead right or wrong? “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.” — (Jerry Moon, The Trinity, Chapter, Trinity and antitrinitarianism in Seventh-day Adventist history, page 190)
James White on the Trinity
Adventists believe Ellen White was a prophet of God, or to use her terminology, a messenger of God. She was the lady to whom James White was married for 35 years. He ate with her, slept with her, preached with her, prayed with her, had children by her, travelled thousands and thousands of miles with her, building up Churches together, and yet she never once said to him “James, you are wrong in what you are saying about the trinity doctrine.” Not once in 35 years is there any record that she said anything about his anti-Trinitarian views, and neither is there any record of her saying anything to anyone else. And those who know of Ellen White know she was not silent when error was being taught. Now what does it tell us that in 70 years of her husband and all the other leaders and pioneers of the Church, all publishing anti-Trinitarian materials, and never once said they were wrong?
James White was firmly resolved in his anti-Trinitarian belief when he became acquainted with her as Ellen Harmon in 1845. A short while before this in December 1844, she had been given her first vision which had marked her call to the prophetic office. So God had no problem with His prophet marrying a devout anti-Trinitarian either.
Russell Holt did a survey on the introduction of the trinity teaching into the Adventist Church in June 1969, as part of the requirements of his studies in Adventist history for Dr Mervyn Maxwell. Russell Holt produced a term paper that had the title, “The Doctrine Of The Trinity In The Seventh Day Adventist Denomination: Its Rejection And Acceptance.”
The title of this paper speaks volumes in itself considering that Russell Holt was in favour of the change to the trinity doctrine. Holt rightly says in his term paper that James White was an anti-Trinitarian to the day that he died. Note also that Holt said that James White was far from being on his own in taking this anti-Trinitarian stand, and neither was he on his own in writing and publishing anti-Trinitarian statements in the literature that came off the presses of the Adventist Church. In his term paper, Holt makes this observation about the views of other Adventist writers at the time of James White.
“A survey of other Adventist writers during these years reveals, that to a man, they rejected the trinity, yet, with equal unanimity they upheld the divinity of Christ. To reject the trinity is not necessarily to strip the Saviour of His divinity.” — (Russell Holt, “The doctrine of the Trinity in the Seventh day Adventist denomination: Its rejection and acceptance.” A term paper for Dr. Mervyn Maxwell, 1969)
So it is an undisputed fact that right through to his death in 1881, James White made numerous anti-Trinitarian statements and never changed his anti-Trinitarian stance even in the year of his death when he said, “The Father was greater than the Son in that he was first.” — (James White, Review and Herald, January 4, 1881, found in EGW Review and Herald Articles, vol. 1, p. 244)
“Jesus prayed that his disciples might be one as he was one with his Father. This prayer did not contemplate one disciple with twelve heads, but twelve disciples, made one in object and effort in the cause of their master. Neither are the Father and the Son parts of the “three-one God.” They are two distinct beings, yet one in the design and accomplishment of redemption. The redeemed, from the first who shares in the great redemption, to the last, all ascribe the honor, and glory, and praise, of their salvation, to both God and the Lamb.” — (James White, Life Incidents, 1868, p. 343)
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for THE faith which was once delivered unto the saints...” (Jude 3, 4) ...The exhortation to contend for the faith delivered to the saints, is to us alone. And it is very important for us to know what for and how to contend. In the 4th verse he gives us the reason why we should contend for THE faith, a particular faith; “for there are certain men,” or a certain class who deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ... The way spiritualizers have disposed of or denied the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ is first using the old unscriptural Trinitarian creed, viz., that Jesus Christ is the eternal God, though they have not one passage to support it, while we have plain scripture testimony in abundance that he is the Son of the eternal God.” — (James White, The Day Star, January 24, 1846)
“The inexplicable Trinity that makes the Godhead three in one and one in three, is bad enough; but that ultra Unitarianism that makes Christ inferior to the Father is worse. Did God say to an inferior, “Let us make man in our image?” — (James White, Review and Herald, November 29, 1877)
“We are told by those who teach the abolition of the Father's law, that the commandments of God mentioned in the New Testament, are not the ten, but the requirements of the gospel, such as repentance, faith, baptism and the Lord's supper. But as these, and every other requirement peculiar to the gospel, are all embraced in the faith of Jesus, it is evident that the commandments of God are not the sayings of Christ and his apostles. To assert that the sayings of the Son and his apostles are the commandments of the Father, is as wide from the truth as the old trinitarian absurdity that Jesus Christ is the very and Eternal God. And as the faith of Jesus embraces every requirement peculiar to the gospel, it necessarily follows that the commandments of God, mentioned by the third angel, embrace only the ten precepts of the Father's immutable law which are not peculiar to any one dispensation, but common to all.” — (James White, Review and Herald, August 5, 1852, p. 52)
“Here we might mention the Trinity, which does away the personality of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, and of sprinkling or pouring instead of being “buried with Christ in baptism,” “planted in the likeness of his death:” but we pass from these fables to notice one that is held sacred by nearly all professed Christians, both Catholic and Protestant. It is, The change of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment from the seventh to the first day of the week.” — (James White, Review and Herald, December 11, 1855, p. 85)
“We have not as much sympathy with Unitarians that deny the divinity of Christ, as with Trinitarians who hold that the Son is the eternal Father, and talk so mistily about the three-one God. Give the Master all that divinity with which the Holy Scriptures clothe him. ...” — (James and Ellen White's – Western Tour, Review and Herald, June 6, 1871)
“The “mystery of iniquity” began to work in the church in Paul's day. It finally crowded out the simplicity of the gospel, and corrupted the doctrine of Christ, and the church went into the wilderness. Martin Luther, and other reformers, arose in the strength of God, and with the Word and Spirit, made mighty strides in the Reformation. The greatest fault we can find in the Reformation is, the Reformers stopped reforming. Had they gone on, and onward, till they had left the last vestige of Papacy behind, such as natural immortality, sprinkling, the trinity, and Sunday-keeping, the church would now be free from her unscriptural errors.” — (James White, Review and Herald, February 7, 1856, p. 148)
“We invite all to compare the testimonies of the Holy Spirit through Mrs. W., with the word of God. And in this we do not invite you to compare them with your creed. That is quite another thing. The trinitarian may compare them with his creed, and because they do not agree with it, condemn them. The observer of Sunday, or the man who holds eternal torment an important truth, and the minister that sprinkles infants, may each condemn the testimonies' of Mrs. W. because they do not agree with their peculiar views. And a hundred more, each holding different views, may come to the same conclusion. But their genuineness can never be tested in this way.” — (James White, Review and Herald, June 13, 1871)
John N. Andrews on the Trinity
“The doctrine of the Trinity which was established in the church by the council of Nice A. D. 325. This doctrine destroys the personality of God and his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The infamous, measures by which it was forced upon the church which appear upon the pages of ecclesiastical history might well cause every believer in that doctrine to blush.” — (J.N. Andrews, Review and Herald, March 6, 1855)
Joseph Bates on the Trinity
“My parents were members of long standing in the Congregational church, with all of their converted children thus far, and anxiously hoped that we would also unite with them. But they embraced some points in their faith which I could not understand. I will name two only: their mode of baptism, and doctrine of the trinity. My father, who had been a deacon of long standing with them, labored to convince me that they were right in points of doctrine... Respecting the trinity, I concluded that it was an impossibility for me to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, was also the Almighty God, the Father, one and the same being. I said to my father, “If you can convince me that we are one in this sense, that you are my father, and I your son; and also that I am your father, and you my son, then I can believe in the trinity.” — (Joseph Bates, The Autobiography Of Elder Joseph Bates, 1868, p. 204)
“One thing more: Much derision is made about those of our company that have joined the Shakers. I say it is a shame to them first, to have preached so clearly and distinctly the speedy coming of our Lord Jesus Christ personally to gather his saints—and then to go and join the Shakers in their faith, that he (Jesus) came spiritually in their Mother, Ann Lee, more than seventy years ago. This, without doubt in my mind, is owing to their previous teaching and belief in a doctrine called the trinity. How can you find fault with their faith while you are teaching the very essence of that never—no never to be understood, doctrine? For their comfort and faith, and of course your own, you say “Christ is God, and God is love.” As you have given no explanation, we take it to come from you as a literal exposition of the word;...
We believe that Peter and his master settled this question beyond controversy, Matt. 16:13-19; and I cannot see why Daniel and John has not fully confirmed that Christ is the Son, and, not God the Father. How could Daniel explain his vision of the 7th chapter, if “Christ was God.” Here he sees one “like the Son (and it cannot be proved that it was any other person) of man, and there was given him Dominion, and Glory, and a kingdom;” by the ancient of days. Then John describes one seated on a throne with a book in his right hand, and he distinctly saw Jesus come up to the throne and take the book out of the hand of him that sat thereon. Now if it is possible to make these two entirely different transactions appear in one person, then I could believe that God died and was buried instead of Jesus, and that Paul was mistaken when he said, “Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead out Lord Jesus that great shepherd of the sheep” &c., and that Jesus also did not mean what he said when he asserted that he came from God, and was going to God, &c.&c,; and much more, if necessary, to prove the utter absurdity of such a faith.” — (A letter written by Joseph Bates to William Miller, 1848, Past And Present Experience, page 187)
John N. Loughborough on the Trinity
BRO. WHITE: The following questions I would like to have you give, or send, to Bro. Loughborough for explanation. W. W. Giles. Toledo, Ohio.
QUESTION 1. What serious objection is there to the doctrine of the Trinity?
ANSWER. There are many objections which we might urge, but on account of our limited space we shall reduce them to the three following: 1. It is contrary to common sense. 2. It is contrary to scripture. 3. Its origin is Pagan and fabulous.
These positions we will remark upon briefly in their order. 1. It is 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. There is a sense in which they are one, but not one person, as claimed by Trinitarians.
2. It is contrary to Scripture. Almost any portion of the New Testament we may open which has occasion to speak of the Father and Son, represents them as two distinct persons. The seventeenth chapter of John is alone sufficient to refute the doctrine of the Trinity. Over forty times in that one chapter Christ speaks of his Father as a person distinct from himself. His Father was in heaven and he upon earth. The Father had sent him. Given to him those that believed. He was then to go to the Father. And in this very testimony he shows us in what consists the oneness of the Father and Son. It is the same as the oneness of the members of Christ's church. “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” Of one heart and one mind. Of one purpose in all the plan devised for man's salvation. Read the seventeenth chapter of John, and see if it does not completely upset the doctrine of the Trinity.
To believe that doctrine, when reading the scripture we must believe that God sent himself into the world, died to reconcile the world to himself, raised himself from the dead, ascended to himself in heaven, pleads before himself in heaven to reconcile the world to himself, and is the only mediator between man and himself. It will not do to substitute the human nature of Christ (according to Trinitarians) as the Mediator; for Clarke says, “Human blood can no more appease God than swine's blood.” Com. on 2 Sam. 21:10. We must believe also that in the garden God prayed to himself, if it were possible, to let the cup pass from himself, and a thousand other such absurdities.
Read carefully the following texts, comparing them with the idea that Christ is the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Supreme, and only self-existent God: John 14:28; 17:3; 3:16; 5:19, 26; 11:15; 20:19; 8:50; 6:38; Mark 8:32; Luke 6:12; 22:69; 24:29; Matt. 3:17; 27:46; Gal. 3:20; 1 John 2:1; Rev. 5:7; Acts 17:31. Also see Matt. 11:25, 27; Luke 1:32; 22:42; John 3:35, 36; 5:19, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26; 6:40; 8:35, 36; 14:13; 1 Cor. 15:28, &c.
The word Trinity nowhere occurs in the Scriptures. The principal text supposed to teach it is 1 John 5:7, which is an interpolation. Clarke says, “Out of one hundred and thirteen manuscripts, the text is wanting in one hundred and twelve. It occurs in no MS. before the tenth century. And the first place the text occurs in Greek, is in the Greek translation of the acts of the Council of Lateran, held A. D. 1215.”—Com. on 1 John 5, and remarks at close of chap.
3. Its origin is pagan and fabulous. Instead of pointing us to scripture for proof of the trinity, we are pointed to the trident of the Persians, with the assertion that “by this they designed to teach the idea of a trinity, and if they had the doctrine of the trinity, they must have received it by tradition from the people of God. But this is all assumed, for it is certain that the Jewish church held to no such doctrine. Says Mr. Summerbell, “A friend of mine who was present in a New York synagogue, asked the Rabbi for an explanation of the word 'Elohim'. A Trinitarian clergyman who stood by, replied, 'Why, that has reference to the three persons in the Trinity,' when a Jew stepped forward and said he must not mention that word again, or they would have to compel him to leave the house; for it was not permitted to mention the name of any strange god in the synagogue.”(Discussion between Summerbell and Flood on Trinity, p. 38) Milman says the idea of the Trident is fabulous. (Hist. Christianity, p. 34)
This doctrine of the trinity was brought into the church about the same time with image worship, and keeping the day of the sun, and is but Persian doctrine remodeled. It occupied about three hundred years from its introduction to bring the doctrine to what it is now. It was commenced about 325 A. D., and was not completed till 681. See Milman's Gibbon's Rome, vol. 4, p. 422. It was adopted in Spain in 589, in England in 596, in Africa in 534.—Gib. vol. 4, pp. 114, 345; Milner, vol. 1, p. 519.” — (J.N. Loughborough, Review and Herald, November 5, 1861)
John G. Matteson on the Trinity
“Christ is the only literal Son of God. “The only begotten of the Father.” John 1:14. He is God because he is the Son of God; not by virtue of his resurrection. If Christ is the only begotten of the Father, then we cannot be begotten of the Father in a literal sense. It can only be in a secondary sense of the word.” — (J.G. Matteson, Review and Herald, October 12, 1869)
Joseph H. Waggoner on the Trinity
“It will no doubt appear to many to be irreverent to speak thus of the doctrine of a trinity. But we think they must view the subject in a different light if they will calmly and candidly examine the arguments which we shall present. We know that we write with the deepest feelings of reverence for the Scriptures, and with the highest regard for every Scripture doctrine and Scripture fact. But reverence for the Scriptures does not necessarily embrace reverence for men’s opinions of the Scriptures.
It is not our purpose to present any argument on the doctrine of the trinity, further than it has a bearing on the subject under consideration, namely, on the Atonement. And we are willing, confidently willing to leave the decision of the question with all who will carefully read our remarks, with an effort to divest themselves of prejudice, if they unfortunately possess it. The inconsistencies of Trinitarians, which must be pointed out to free the Scripture doctrine of the Atonement from reproaches under which it has too long lain, are the necessary outgrowth of their system of theology. No matter how able are the writers to whom we shall refer, they could never free themselves from inconsistencies without correcting their theology.
Many theologians really think that the Atonement, in respect to its dignity and efficacy, rests upon the doctrine of a trinity. But we fail to see any connection between the two. To the contrary, the advocates of that doctrine really fall into the difficulty which they seem anxious to avoid. Their difficulty consists in this: They take the denial of a trinity to be equivalent to a denial of the divinity of Christ. Were that the case, we should cling to the doctrine of a trinity as tenaciously as any can; but it is not the case. They who have read our remarks on the death of the Son of God know that we firmly believe in the divinity of Christ; but we cannot accept the idea of a trinity, as it is held by Trinitarians, without giving up our claim on the dignity of the sacrifice made for our redemption.
And here is shown how remarkably the widest extremes meet in theology. The highest Trinitarians and lowest Unitarians meet and are perfectly united on the death of Christ—the faith of both amounts to Socinianism. Unitarians believe that Christ was a prophet, an inspired teacher, but merely human; that his death was that of a human body only. Trinitarians hold that the term “Christ” comprehends two distinct and separate natures: one that was merely human; the other, the second person in the trinity, who dwelt in the flesh for a brief period, but could not possibly suffer, or die; that the Christ that died was only the human nature in which the divinity had dwelt. Both classes have a human offering, and nothing more. No matter how exalted the pre-existent Son was; no matter how glorious, how powerful, or even eternal; if the manhood only died, the sacrifice was only human. And so far as the vicarious death of Christ is concerned, this is Socinianism. Thus the remark is just, that the doctrine of a trinity degrades the Atonement, resting it solely on a human offering as a basis. A few quotations will show the correctness of this assertion.” — (J.H. Waggoner, The Atonement In The Light Of Nature And Revelation, 1884, pp. 164-165)
“We trust that we have shown to the full conviction of every one who “trembles at the word” of the Lord, that the Son of God, who was in the beginning, by whom the worlds were made, suffered death for us; the oft-repeated declarations of theological writers that a mere human body died are, by the Scriptures, proved untrue. These writers take the doctrine of a trinity for their basis, and assume that Christ is the second person in the trinity, and could not die. Again, they assume that death is not a cessation of life; and between the two unscriptural assumptions they involve themselves in numerous difficulties, and load the doctrine of the Atonement with unreasonable contradictions. We would not needlessly place ourselves in opposition to the religious feelings of any class, but in order to clear the doctrine of the Atonement from the consequences of these assumptions, we are compelled to notice some of the prominent arguments presented in favor of the doctrine of a trinity.
In the “Manual of Atonement,” 1 John 5:20 is quoted as containing most conclusive evidence of a trinity and of the Supreme Deity of Christ. It is there claimed that he is called “the true God and eternal life.” The whole verse reads thus: “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” A person must be strongly wedded to a theory who can read this verse and not see the distinction therein contained between the true God and the Son of God. “We are in him that is true.” How? “In his Son Jesus Christ.” The distinction between Christ and the true God is most clearly shown by the Saviour’s own words in John 17:3: “That they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Much stress is laid on Isa. 9:6, as proving a trinity, which we have before quoted, as referring to our High Priest who shed his blood for us. The advocates of that theory will say that it refers to a trinity because Christ is called the everlasting Father. But for this reason, with others, we affirm that it can have no reference to a trinity. Is Christ the Father in the trinity? If so, how is he the Son? or if he is both Father and Son, how can there be a trinity? for a trinity is three persons. To recognize a trinity, the distinction between the Father and Son must be preserved. Christ is called “the second person in the trinity;” but if this text proves a trinity, or refers to it at all, it proves that he is not the second, but the first. And if he is the first, who is the second? It is very plain that this text has no reference to such a doctrine.” — (J.H. Waggoner, The Atonement In The Light Of Nature And Revelation, 1884, pp. 167-169)
Note that the answer to Isaiah 9:6 lies in the correct Hebrew translation. Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible explains, “The Chaldee renders this expression, 'The man abiding forever.' The Vulgate, 'The Father of the future age.' Lowth, 'The Father of the everlasting age.' Literally, it is the Father of eternity.” Thus in the Hebrew text, the phrase is literally “the Father of Eternity,” and so Isaiah 9:6 is not saying Christ is the Father but He is the Father of all time to come. Young's Literal Translation and the Darby Bible are two of very few that translated it correctly. The Greek Septuagint that Jesus and the apostles quoted from does not even contain this phrase so one wonders which is correct.
“The divinity and pre-existence of our Saviour are most clearly proved by those scriptures which refer to him as “the Word.” “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:1-3. This expresses plainly a pre-existent divinity. The same writer again says: “That which was from the beginning,… the Word of life.” 1 John 1:1. What John calls the Word, in these passages, Paul calls the “Son,” in Heb. 1:1-3. “God… hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power.” In other places in this letter this same exalted one is called Jesus Christ. In these passages we find the divinity or “higher nature” of our Lord expressed. Indeed, language could not more plainly express it; therefore it is unnecessary to call other testimony to prove it, it being already sufficiently proved.
The first of the above quotations says the Word was God, and also the Word was with God. Now it needs no proof—indeed it is self-evident—that the Word as God, was not the God whom he was with. And as there is but “one God,” the term must be used in reference to the Word in a subordinate sense, which is explained by Paul’s calling the same pre-existent person the Son of God. This is also confirmed by John’s saying that the Word “was with the Father.” 1 John 1:2; also calling the Word “his Son Jesus Christ.” Verse 3. Now it is reasonable that the Son should bear the name and title of his Father, especially when the Father makes him his exclusive representative to man, and clothes him with such power—“by whom he made the worlds.” That the term God is used in such a sense is also proved by Paul, quoting Ps. 45:6, 7, and applying it to Jesus. “But unto the son, he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever,… therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Heb. 1:8, 9. Here the title of God is applied to the Son, and his God anointed him. This is the highest title he can bear, and it is evidently used here in a sense subordinate to its application to his Father.
It is often asserted that this exalted one came to earth and inhabited a human body, which he left in the hour of its death. But the Scriptures teach that this exalted one was the identical person that died on the cross; and in this consists the immense sacrifice made for man—the wondrous love of God and condescension of his only Son. John says, “The Word of life,” “that which was from the beginning,” “which was with the Father,” that exalted, pre-existent One “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled.” 1 John 1:1, 2.” — (J.H. Waggoner, The Atonement In The Light Of Nature And Revelation, 1884, pp. 152-154)
“As before remarked, the great mistake of Trinitarians, in arguing this subject, is this: they make no distinction between a denial of a trinity and a denial of the divinity of Christ. They see only the two extremes, between which the truth lies; and take every expression referring to the pre-existence of Christ as evidence of a trinity. The Scriptures abundantly teach the pre-existence of Christ and his divinity; but they are entirely silent in regard to a trinity. The declaration, that the divine Son of God could not die, is as far from the teachings of the Bible as darkness is from light. And we would ask the Trinitarian, to which of the two natures are we indebted for redemption? The answer must, of course, be, To that one which died or shed his blood for us; for “we have redemption through his blood.” Then it is evident that if only the human nature died, our Redeemer is only human, and that the divine Son of God took no part in the work of redemption, for he could neither suffer nor die. Surely, we say right, that the doctrine of a trinity degrades the Atonement, by bringing the sacrifice, the blood of our purchase, down to the standard of Socinianism.” — (lbid, p. 173 and Review and Herald, November 10, 1863, vol. 22, p. 189)
Ellet J. Waggoner on the Trinity
“As to when He was begotten, it is not for us to inquire, nor could our minds grasp it if we were told. The prophet Micah tells us all that we can know about it in these words, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2, margin. There was a time when Christ proceeded forth and came from God, from the bosom of the Father (John 8:42; 1:18), but that time was so far back in the days of eternity that to finite comprehension it is practically without beginning.” — (E.J. Waggoner, Christ Our Righteousness, Is Christ a Created Being?)
Roswell F. Cottrell on the Trinity
“He proceeded to affirm that “man is a triune being,” consisting of body, soul and spirit. I never heard a Disciple confess faith in the doctrine of the trinity; but why not, if man consists of three persons in one person? especially, since man was made in the image of God? But the image he said, was a moral likeness. So man may be a triune being without proving that God is. But does he mean that one man is three men? I might say that a tree consists of body, bark and leaves, and no one perhaps would dispute it. But if I should affirm that each tree consists of three trees, the assertion would possibly be doubted by some. But if all admitted that one tree is three trees, I might then affirm that there were ninety trees in my orchard, when no one could count but thirty. I might then proceed and say, I have ninety trees in my orchard, and as each tree consists of three trees, I have two hundred and seventy. So if one man is three men, you may multiply him by three as often as you please. But if it takes body, soul and spirit to make one perfect, living man; then separate these, and the man is unmade.” — (R.F. Cottrell, Review and Herald, November 19, 1857)
“The Trinity, or the triune God, is unknown to the Bible; and I have entertained the idea that doctrines which require words coined in the human mind to express them, are coined doctrines.” — (R.F. Cottrell, Review and Herald, June 1, 1869)
“That one person is three persons, and that three persons are only one person, is the doctrine which we claim is contrary to reason and common sense. The being and attributes of God are above, beyond, out of reach of my sense and reason, yet I believe them: But the doctrine I object to is contrary, yes, that is the word, to the very sense and reason that God has himself implanted in us. Such a doctrine he does not ask us to believe. A miracle is beyond our comprehension, but we all believe in miracles who believe our own senses. What we see and hear convinces us that there is a power that effected the most wonderful miracle of creation. But our Creator has made it an absurdity to us that one person should be three persons, and three persons but one person; and in his revealed word he has never asked us to believe it. This our friend thinks objectionable...
But to hold the doctrine of the Trinity is not so much an evidence of evil intention as of intoxication from that wine of which all the nations have drunk. The fact that this was one of the leading doctrines, if not the very chief, upon which the bishop of Rome was exalted to popedom, does not say much in its favor. This should cause men to investigate it for themselves; as when the spirits of devils working miracles undertake the advocacy of the immortality of the soul. Had I never doubted it before, I would now probe it to the bottom, by that word which modern Spiritualism sets at nought.…
Revelation goes beyond us; but in no instance does it go contrary to right reason and common sense. God has not claimed, as the popes have, that he could “make justice of injustice,” nor has he, after teaching us to count, told us that there is no difference between the singular and plural numbers. Let us believe all he has revealed, and add nothing to it.” — (R.F. Cottrell, Review and Herald, July 6, 1869)
Stephen N. Haskell on the Trinity
“The rainbow in the clouds is but a symbol of the rainbow which has encircled the throne from eternity. Back in the ages, which finite mind cannot fathom, the Father and Son were alone in the universe. Christ was the first begotten of the Father, and to Him Jehovah made known the divine plan of Creation. The plan of the creation of worlds was unfolded, together with the order of beings which should people them. Angels, as representatives of one order, would be ministers of the God of the universe. The creation of our own little world, was included in the deep-laid plans. The fall of Lucifer was foreseen; likewise the possibility of the introduction of sin, which would mar the perfection of the divine handiwork. It was then, in those early councils, that Christ’s heart of love was touched; and the only begotten Son pledged His life to redeem man, should he yield and fall. Father and Son, surrounded by impenetrable glory, clasped hands. It was in appreciation of this offer, that upon Christ was bestowed creative power, and the everlasting covenant was made; and henceforth Father and Son, with one mind, worked together to complete the work of creation. Sacrifice of self for the good of others was the foundation of it all.” — (S.N. Haskell, The Story of the Seer of Patmos, pp. 93, 94, 1905)
“Before the creation of our world, “there was war in heaven.” Christ and the Father covenanted together; and Lucifer, the covering cherub, grew jealous because he was not admitted into the eternal councils of the Two who sat upon the throne.” — (S.N. Haskell, The Story of the Seer of Patmos, pages 217, 1905)
“Christ was the firstborn in heaven; He was likewise the firstborn of God upon earth, and heir to the Father’s throne. Christ, the firstborn, though the Son of God, was clothed in humanity, and was made perfect through suffering. He took the form of man, and through eternity, He will remain a man.” — (S.N. Haskell, The Story of the Seer of Patmos, pp. 98, 99, 1905)
Uriah Smith on the Trinity
“In 1 Cor. 15, I find that it is not the natural man that hath immortality; yet Paul assures the Romans that by patient continuance in well doing all could obtain immortality and eternal life. The doctrine called the trinity, claiming that God is without form or parts; that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the three are one person, is another. Could God be without form or parts when he “spoke unto Moses face to face as a man speaketh unto a friend?” [Ex. 33:11] or when the Lord said unto him, Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live? And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by; and I will take away my hand and thou shalt see my back parts; but my face shall not be seen. Ex. 33:20, 22, 23. Christ is the express image of his Father’s person. Heb. 1:3.” — (Uriah Smith, Review and Herald, July 10, p. 87, 1856)
“To the Lamb, equally with the Father who sits upon the throne, praise is ascribed in this song of adoration. Commentators, with great unanimity, have seized upon this as proof that Christ must be coeval with the Father; for otherwise, say they, here would be worship paid to the creature which belongs only to the Creator. But this does not seem to be a necessary conclusion. The Scriptures nowhere speak of Christ as a created being, but on the contrary plainly state that he was begotten of the Father. (See remarks on Rev. 3:14, where it is shown that Christ is not a created being.) But while as the Son he does not possess a co-eternity of past existence with the Father, the beginning of his existence, as the begotten of the Father, antedates the entire work of creation, in relation to which he stands as joint creator with God. John 1:3; Heb. 1:2. Could not the Father ordain that to such a being worship should be rendered equally with himself, without its being idolatry on the part of the worshiper? He has raised him to positions which make it proper that he should be worshipped, and has even commanded that worship should be rendered him, which would not have been necessary had he been equal with the Father in eternity of existence. Christ himself declares that “as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” John 5:26. The Father has “highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” Phil. 2:9. And the Father himself says, “Let all the angels of God worship him.” Heb. 1:6. These testimonies show that Christ is now an object of worship equally with the Father; but they do not prove that with him he holds an eternity of past existence.” — (Uriah Smith, Daniel And The Revelation, p. 430, 1882)
“God alone is without beginning. At the earliest epoch when a beginning could be,—a period so remote that to finite minds it is essentially eternity,—appeared the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1. This uncreated Word was the Being, who, in the fulness of time, was made flesh, and dwelt among us. His beginning was not like that of any other being in the universe. It is set forth in the mysterious expressions, “his [God’s] only begotten Son” (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9), “the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14), and, “I proceeded forth and came from God.” John 8:42. Thus it appears that by some divine impulse or process, not creation, known only to Omniscience, and possible only to Omnipotence, the Son of God appeared. And then the Holy Spirit (by an infirmity of translation called “the Holy Ghost”), the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the divine afflatus and medium of their power, representative of them both (Ps. 139:7), was in existence also.” — (Uriah Smith, Looking Unto Jesus, p. 10, 1898)
“When Christ left heaven to die for a lost world, he left behind, for the time being, his immortality also. but how could that be laid aside? That it was laid aside is sure, or he could not have died; but he did die, as a whole, as a divine being, as the Son of God, not in body only, while the spirit, the divinity, lived right on; for then the world would have only a human Saviour, a human sacrifice for its sins; but the prophet says that “his soul” was made “an offering for sin.” Isa. 53:10.” — (Uriah Smith, Looking Unto Jesus, pp. 23, 24, 1898)
“God The Father, And His Son Jesus Christ
Titles of the Father
The following titles of supremacy belong alone to Him who is from everlasting to everlasting, the only wise God:
•“The Eternal God.” Deut. 33:27.
•“Whose Name alone is Jehovah.” Ps. 83:18.
•“Most High God.” Mark 5:7.
•“The Ancient of Days.” Dan. 7:13.
•“God Alone.” Ps. 86:10.
•“Lord Alone.” Neh. 9:6.
•“God of Heaven.” Dan. 2:44.
•“The Only True God.” John 17:8.
•“Who Only hath Immortality.” 1 Tim. 6:16.
•“The King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible.” 1 Tim. 1:17.
•“The Only Wise God.” 1 Tim. 1:17.
•“Lord God Omnipotent.” Rev. 19:6.
•“The Blessed and only Potentate.” 1 Tim. 6:15.
•“Besides Me there is no God.” Isa. 44:6.
•“God the Father.” 1 Cor. 8:6.
•“The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory.” Eph. 1:17.
•“God and Father of all, who is above all.” Eph. 4:6.
•“The Almighty God.” Gen. 17:1.
•“I Am that I Am.” Ex. 3:14.
•“Lord God Almighty.” Rev. 4:8.
Declarations Concerning the Son
•He is the beginning of the creation of God. Rev. 3:14.
•The first born of every creature. Col. 1:15.
•The only begotten of the Father. John 1:18; 3:18.
•The Son of the Living God. Matt. 16:16.
•Existed before he came into the world. John 8:58; Micah 5:2; John 17:5, 24.
•Was made higher than the angels. Heb. 1:14.
•He made the world and all things. John 1:1-3; Eph. 3:3, 9.
•Was sent into the world by God. John 3:34.
•In Him dwells all the fullness of the God-head bodily. Col. 2:9.
•He is the resurrection and the life. John 11:25.
•All power is given to him in heaven and earth. Matt. 28:18.
•He is the appointed heir of all things. Heb. 1:2.
•Anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. Heb. 1:9.
•God has ordained him to be judge of quick and dead. Acts 17:31.
•Reveals his purposes through him. Rev. 1:1.
•The head of Christ is God. 1 Cor. 11:3.
•Jesus had power to lay down his life and take it again. John 10:18.
•He received this commandment from the Father. John 10:19. God raised him from the dead. Acts 2:24, 34; 3:15; 4:10; 10:40; 13:30, 34; 17:31; Rom. 4:24: 8:11; 1 Cor. 8:14; 15:15; 2 Cor. 4:14; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12; 1 Thess. 1:10; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 1:21;
•Jesus says he could do nothing of himself. John 5:19.
•That the Father which dwelt in him did the works. John 14:10.
•That the Father which sent him, gave him a commandment what he should say and what he should speak. John 12:49.
•That he came not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him. John 6:38.
•And that his doctrine was not his, but the Father’s which sent him. John 7:16; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10, 24.
With such inspired declarations before us, ought we to say that Jesus Christ is the Self-existent, Independent, Omniscient and Only True God; or the Son of God, begotten, upheld, exalted and glorified BY THE FATHER?” — (Uriah Smith, The Bible Students Assistant, pp. 42-45, 1858. Also found in Review and Herald, June 12, p. 27, 1860)
“J. W. W. Asks: “Are we to understand that the Holy Ghost is a person, the same as the Father and the Son? Some claim that it is, others that it is not.”
Ans.—The terms “Holy Ghost”, are a harsh and repulsive translation. It should be “Holy Spirit” (hagion pneuma) in every instance. This Spirit is the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ; the Spirit being the same whether it is spoken of as pertaining to God or Christ. But respecting this 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 from them both, the medium which represents their presence and by which they have knowledge and power through all the universe, when not personally present. Christ is a person, now officiating as priest in the sanctuary in heaven; and yet he says that wherever two or three are gathered in his name, he is there in the midst. Mt. 18:20. How? Not personally, but by his Spirit. In one of Christ’s discoursed (John 14-16) this Spirit is personified as “the Comforter,” and as such has the personal and relative pronouns, “he,” “him,” and “whom,” applied to it. But usually it is spoken of in a way to show that it cannot be a person, like the Father and the Son. For instance, it is often said to be “poured out” and “shed abroad.” But we never read about God or Christ being poured out or shed abroad. If it was a person, it would be nothing strange for it to appear in bodily shape; 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 upon him.” But the shape is not always the same; for on the day of Pentecost it assumed the form of “cloven tongues like as of fire.” Acts 2:3, 4. Again we read of “the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” Rev. 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6. This is unquestionably simply a designation of the Holy Spirit, put in this form to signify its perfection and completeness. But it could hardly be so described if it was a person. We never read of the seven Gods or the seven Christs.” — (Uriah Smith, Review and Herald, October 28, 1890)
“It may not then be out of place for us to consider for a moment what this Spirit is, what its office is, what its relation to the world and to the church, and what the Lord through this proposes to do for his people. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God; it is also the Spirit of Christ. It is that divine, mysterious emanation through which they carry forward their great and infinite work. It is called the Eternal Spirit; it is a spirit that is omniscient and omnipresent; it is the spirit that moved, or brooded, upon the face of the waters in the early days when chaos reigned, and out of chaos was brought the beauty and the glory of this world. It is the agency through which life is imparted; it is the medium through which all God’s blessings and graces come to his people. It is the Comforter; it is the Spirit of Truth; it is the Spirit of Hope; it is the Spirit of Glory; it is the vital connection between us and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; for the apostle tells us that if we “have not the Spirit of Christ,” we are “none of his.” It is a spirit which is tender; which can be insulted, can be grieved, can be quenched. It is the agency through which we are to be introduced, if ever we are introduced, to immortality; for Paul says that if the spirit of Him that raised up Christ from the dead dwell in you, he shall quicken also your mortal bodies by that Spirit which dwelleth in you; that is, the Spirit of Christ. Rom. 8:11. ...
You will notice in these few verses the apostle brings to view the three great agencies which are concerned in this work: God, the Father; Christ, his Son; and the Holy Spirit.” — (Uriah Smith, General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 14, 1891, pp. 146, 147)
A.J. Dennis on the Trinity
“What a contradiction of terms is found in the language of Trinitarian creed: “In unity of this head are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” There are many things that are mysterious, written in the word of God, but we may safely presume the Lord never calls upon us to believe impossibilities. But creeds often do.” — (A.J. Dennis, Signs of the Times, May 22, 1879)
John M. Stephenson on the Trinity
“In reference to his dignity, he is denominated the Son of God, before his incarnation. Hear his own language: “He that speaketh of himself, seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true.” John 7:18. “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God.” Chap. 10:36. “In this was manifest the love of God toward us, because God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9, 10. The idea of being sent implies that he was the Son of God antecedent to his being sent. To suppose otherwise is to suppose that a father can send his son on an errand before that son has an existence, which would be manifestly absurd. “To say that God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,” is equivalent to saying that the Son of God assumed our nature; he must therefore have been the Son of God before his incarnation.” — (J.M. Stephenson, Review and Herald, November 7, 1854, p. 99)
“But in the last place, on this point, What was the origin of this nature; or in other words, the origin of the Son of God. It is admitted by Trinitarians that the pre-existence, simply considered, does not prove his eternal God-head, nor his eternal Son-ship. Says Watson, a standard writer of the Trinitarian School, “His pre-existence, indeed, simply considered, does not evince his God-head, and is not therefore, a proof against the Arian hypothesis; but it destroys the Socinian notion, that he was a man only. For since no one contends for the pre-existence of human souls, and if they did, the doctrine would be confuted by their own consciousness, it is clear, that if Christ existed before his incarnation, he is not a mere man, whatever his nature, by other arguments may be proved to be.” This is an honest acknowledgment plainly expressed. And in reference to his nature, it has been shown to be Divine; and being such, it must have been immortal. Indeed this proposition is self-evident; for he who is Divine, must be immortal.
We cannot suppose that Christ was mortal, and, as such, would have been subject to death, had not the plan of redemption been devised; he must, therefore, in his original nature, have been deathless.
The question now to be considered, then, is not whether the only begotten Son of God was Divine, immortal, or the most dignified and exalted being, the Father only excepted, in the entire Universe; all this has been proved, and but few will call it in question; but whether this August Personage is self- existent and eternal, in its absolute, or unlimited sense; or whether in his highest nature, and character, he had an origin, and consequently beginning of days. The idea of Father and Son supposes priority of the existence of the one, and the subsequent existence of the other. To say that the Son is as old as his Father, is a palpable contradiction of terms. It is a natural impossibility for the Father to be as young as the Son, or the Son to be as old as the Father. If it be said that this term is only used in an accommodated sense, it still remains to be accounted for, why the Father should use as the uniform title of the highest, and most endearing relation between himself and our Lord, a term which, in its uniform signification, would contradict the very idea he wished to convey. If the inspired writers had wished to convey the idea of the co-etaneous existence, and eternity of the Father and Son, they could not possibly have used more incompatible terms.
And of this, Trinitarians have been sensible. Mr. Fuller, although a Trinitarian, had the honesty to acknowledge, in the conclusion of his work on the Son-ship of Christ, that, “in the order of nature, the Father must have existed before the Son.” But with this admission, he attempts to reconcile the idea of the Son’s being “properly eternal,” as well as the Father; two ideas utterly irreconcilable. The idea of an eternal Son is a self-contradiction. He must, therefore have an origin. But what saith the Scriptures? They speak right to the point. The apostle Paul says, speaking of Christ, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature.” Col. 1:15. Notice, 1st. This cannot refer to his birth of the Virgin Mary, in Bethlehem of Judea, because millions of creatures, in connection with this world, had been born previous to that time. Cain and Abel had been born more than four thousand years previously.
2nd. The following verse makes his birth antecedent to the creation of all things in heaven and on earth, including all worlds, all ranks and orders of intelligences, visible and invisible. “For by him.” By whom? Ans. By the first born of every creature. The pronoun him refers to this being for its antecedent. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” Verse 16. All things in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible, thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, evidently include all the orders of created intelligences.
Now, he must have been born, i.e., had a real intelligent existence, before he could exercise creative power. But all the works of creation are ascribed to him as the “first born of every creature;” hence the birth here spoken of, must have been previous to the existence of the first creature in heaven or in earth. To be such, it must refer to his Divine nature, unless he had two distinctive natures before his incarnation; for which no one contends. But the 17th verse fixes the priority of the birth here spoken of. “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Here the pronoun he refers to the same person for its antecedent, that the pronoun him does; and both refer to “the first born of every creature.” And the “all things, he is” before, in this verse, are evidently the “all things” named in the previous verse. Hence the point is fully established, that it is the Divine nature of our blessed Redeemer which is here spoken of; and that this nature was born: and in reference to his order, he was “the first born.”
Again, in John 1:1-3, 14, we have the same class of evidence. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” “In the beginning,” evidently refers to the commencement of the series of events brought to view in these verses, which was the creation of all things. This gives “the only begotten of the Father” (see verse 14) intelligent existence before the first act of creative power was put forth, and proves that it is his Divine nature here spoken of; and that too, in connection with the creation of all things. In verse 14, this Word, who was “in the beginning” “with God,” who “was God,” and by whom “all things were made, that were made,” is declared to be the “only begotten of the Father,” thereby teaching that in his highest nature he was begotten; and consequently as such, he must have had a beginning.
Associate the many occurrences of the term, “only begotten Son of God,” with the person, nature, and time, brought to view in the foregoing verses; and if any doubts still remain, in reference to the Divine nature of the only begotten Son of God having had an origin, you may compare them with those texts which exclude the possibility of his being eternal, in the sense of his never having had a beginning of days; such as “The blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords,: who only hath immortality.” 1 Tim. 6:16. This cannot be understood in the sense of none having deathless natures, or being exempt from death, except the Father; for Christ at that time was immortal in this sense: so were all the angels who had kept their “first estate;” it must, therefore be understood in the same sense, that we all understand, his being the only Potentate; not that there are no other potentates; but that he is the only Supreme Ruler. There cannot be two Supreme Rulers at the same time.
Again, where it is declared, that there are none good except the Father, it cannot be understood that none others are good in a relative sense; for Christ and angels, are good, yea perfect, in their respective sphere; but that the Father alone is supremely, or absolutely, good; and that he alone is immortal in an absolute sense; that he alone is self-existent; and, that, consequently, every other being, however high or low, is absolutely dependent upon him for life; for being. This idea is most emphatically expressed by our Saviour himself; “For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” John 5:26. This would be singular language for one to use who had life in his essential nature, just as much as the Father. To meet such a view, it should read thus: For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath the Son life in himself.
If as Trinitarians argue, the Divine nature of the Son hath life in himself (.e., is self existent) just the same, and in as absolute a sense, as the Father, why should he represent himself as actually dependent upon the Father for life? What propriety in representing the Father as conferring upon him a gift which he had possessed from all eternity? If it be said that his human nature derived its life from the Father, I would answer, It does not thus read; or even if it did, I would still urge the impropriety of the human nature of the Son of God representing itself as being absolutely dependent upon the Father for the gift of life. Would it not be much more reasonable, in such case, for the human nature of Christ to derive its life, and vitality, from its union with the Divine nature, instead of from its union with the Father? I understand this passage according to the natural import of the language: “For as the Father hath life (i.e., existence) in himself, (i.e., self-existent,) so hath he given to the Son to have life (i.e., existence) in himself.”
I know I will be referred to the declaration of our Saviour, I have power to lay down my life, and to take it up again. John 10:18. Read the last clause of this verse: “This commandment (commission—Campbell) have I received of my Father.”
I will conclude the evidence upon this point by quoting one more passage. Paul says, “And again, when he bringeth the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” Heb. 1:6. He must have been his Son before he could send him into the world. In verse 2, the Father declares that he made the worlds by the same Son he is here represented as sending into the world. His Son must have existed before he created the worlds; and he must have been begotten before he existed; hence the begetting here spoken of, must refer to his Divine nature, and in reference to his order, he is the first-begotten; hence as a matter of necessity he must have been “the first born of every creature.” Col. 1:15. “The first born of every creature.”…
Having investigated the original nature, glory and dignity of our Lord and Master; having gazed a few moments upon the face of him who is the fairest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely; having had a glance at the celestial glory he had with the Father, before the world was, and beheld that matchless form which is the image of the invisible God; and having looked with wonder and admiration upon this August personage, exalted far above angels and thrones and dominions, principalities and powers; we are prepared, as far as our feeble perceptions can comprehend, to appreciate that amazing love and condescension which induced our adorable Redeemer to forego all the glories and honors of heaven, and all the endearments of his Father’s presence.
Although all his Father’s treasures were his, yet he became so poor, that, he had not where to lay his head; oft-times the cold, damp earth being his only bed, and the blue heavens his only covering; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, scoffed at by the Jews, and mocked by the Gentiles; a houseless stranger, he wore out his life under the ignoble garb of a servant, and last of all “died, the just for the unjust,” and took his exit from the world under the infamous character of a malefactor. O! was ever love like this! Did ever mercy stoop so low?...” — (J.M. Stephenson, Review and Herald, November 14, 1854, pp. 105, 106)
“I will select a few passages, in which, in the highest character ascribed to him [Christ] in the Bible, he is represented as humbling himself and becoming obedient unto death: where the same identical being who had glory with the “Father before the world was,” is represented as dying.
Paul, speaking of Christ’s highest nature, says, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” Phil. 2:6. That this verse refers to his Divine nature, all admit, who believe he had a Divine nature; yet it is emphatically declared in the two verses following, that he “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death.” Here it is expressly declared that this exalted being who was “in the form of God,” humbled himself, 1st, by becoming man; 2nd, by becoming “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” — (J.M. Stephenson, Review and Herald, November 21, 1854, p. 113)
“We are prepared at this point of the investigation, to understand the relation the sacrifice of Christ, or the atonement, sustains to the law of God. In presenting this part of the subject, I shall compare what I understand to be the Bible view, with the two theories upon this point, believed by most of Christendom. They are the Unitarian and Trinitarian views. These views occupy the two extreme points. Many of the most eminent writers, in the Unitarian school, deny the pre-existence of the Son of God, as a real personality; but take the position that he was a good, yea, a perfect man.
I would look with the highest degree of admiration upon the magnanimity and self-sacrifice of a king of spotless purity, just and good, and loved by all his subjects, who, for the forfeited lives of a few rebellious subjects in a remote province of his kingdom, would voluntarily descend from his throne, and exile himself in the garb of the meanest peasant, wear out his life in acts of kindness toward them, and last of all, die the most infamous and ignominious death, to save their lives, and bring them back in allegiance to his throne. Such an act of disinterestedness and love would fill the world with the loudest songs of praise and admiration; but, however great and praise-worthy such an act might justly appear, it falls almost infinitely below the claims of Jehovah’s abused and violated law.
I cannot conceive how the life of one man, however good or perfect, or benevolent, could render an equivalent for the forfeited lives of all the millions of the human race, whose characters, in case of perfect obedience, would be equally exceptionless. I cannot conceive how the death of one good man could render an adequate atonement for the lives of so many millions. But, according to the views of these writers, we have only the death of a good man’s body, while all that is noble, dignified, responsible, and intelligent, survives death, nay, by this very act, is exalted to higher degrees of bliss and glory.
The Trinitarian view, I think is equally exceptionable. They claim that the Son of God had three distinct natures at the same time; viz., a human body, a human soul, united with his Divine nature: the body being mortal, the soul immortal, the Divinity co-equal, co-existent, and co-eternal with the everlasting Father. Now, none of the advocates of this theory, claim that either his soul or Divinity died, that the body was the only part of this triple being which actually died “the death of the cross;” hence, according to this view (which makes the death of Christ the grand atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world) we only have the sacrifice of the most inferior part—the human body—of the Son of God.
But it is claimed that his soul suffered the greater part of the penalty—yet it did not suffer “the death of the cross:” it deserted the body in its greatest extremity, and left it to bear alone the death penalty; hence, the death of the cross is still only the death of a human body. But even admitting that in his highest nature as a human being, he suffered, all of which his nature, as such, was susceptible, during his whole life, and then died the ignominious death of the cross—even then, such a sacrifice would come almost infinitely short of the demands of God’s just and holy law, which has been violated by all of Adam’s race, (infants excepted,) and trodden under foot with impunity, for so many thousands of years.
Of this Trinitarians themselves are sensible; hence, they represent his Divinity as the altar upon which his humanity was sacrificed; and then estimate the intrinsic value of the sacrifice by that of the altar upon which it was offered. But if I understand the theory under consideration, the Divine nature of Jesus Christ had no part nor lot in this matter; for this nature suffered no loss, indeed, made no sacrifice whatever.
Suppose a king to unite the dignity of his only son with one of his poorest peasants, so far as to call him his son; and then should subject this peasant under the character of his own son, to a life of poverty, privation and suffering, and then crucify him under the character of a malefactor, while his real son enjoyed all the blessings of life, health, ease, honor and glory of his father’s court—would any one contend in such case, that because he was called after the name, and clothed with honorary titles of the king’s son, and died in this character, that therefore his suffering and death would be entitled to all the dignity and honor of his real son? In this case, all the sacrifice is made by the peasant. The son has no part nor lot in the matter. It is emphatically the offering of a peasant, and worth just as much as he is worth, had just as much dignity, and no more. The same is true in reference to the sacrifice of Christ, according to the above view. His humanity suffered all that was suffered, made all the sacrifice that was made; his privation, suffering and death are, therefore, entitled to all the value, dignity and honor, this nature could confer upon it, and no more. Hence, according to this theory, we have only a human sacrifice; and the question still remains to be answered, How can the life of one human being make an adequate atonement for the lives of thousands of millions of others?
So, after all that has been said and written by these two schools, it appears that there is no real difference in their respective theories, in reference to the atonement; both have, in fact, only a human sacrifice: but with reference to their views of the highest nature of the Son of God, they are as far asunder as finitude, and infinitude, time and eternity. The former makes the “only Begotten of the Father,” a mere mortal, finite man; the latter makes him the Infinite, Omnipotent, All-wise, and Eternal God, absolutely equal with the Everlasting Father. Now, I understand the truth to be in the medium between these two extremes.
I have proved, as I think conclusively, 1st, that the Son of God in his highest nature existed before the creation of the first world, or the first intelligent being in the vast Universe; 2nd, that he had an origin; that “he was the first born of every creature;” “the beginning of the creation of God;” [Rev. 3:14;] 3rd, that, in his highest nature, all things in heaven and in earth were created, and are upheld, by him; 4th, in his dignity, he was exalted far above all the angels of heaven, and all the kings and potentates of earth; 5th, in his nature he was immortal, (not in an absolute sense,) and Divine; 6th, in his titles and privileges, he was “the only begotten of his Father,” whose glory he shared “before the world was;” the “image of the invisible God;” “in the form of God;” and “thought it not robbery to be equal with God;” “the likeness of his Father’s glory and express image of his person;” “the Word” who “was in the beginning with God” and who “was God.” This was the exalted, and dignified, personage, who was sacrificed for the sins of the world—these are the privileges he voluntarily surrendered; and although “rich, for our sake he became poor:” “he made himself of no reputation,” and became man; and “being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,” to declare the righteousness of God, “that he might be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.”
Here was real humility; not a mere pretense or show; here, we behold the amazing spectacle of the well-beloved and “only begotten Son of God,” “the first born of every creature,” voluntarily divesting himself of “the glory he had with the Father before the world,” coming down from heaven, his high and holy habitation, and though “rich” becoming so poor that he had “not where to lay his head,” the blessed Word who “was in the beginning with God,” and who was God, actually becoming flesh, in the ignoble garb of a servant—subjecting himself to all the privations, temptations, sorrows, and afflictions, to which poor fallen humanity is subjected; and then to complete this unprecedented sacrifice, we see this once honored, but now humbled—this once exalted, but now abased personage, expiring, as a malefactor, upon the accursed cross; and last of all descending into the depths of the dark and silent tomb—a symbol of the lowest degree of humiliation.
This, this, is the sacrifice, the “only begotten of the Father” offered as an atonement for the sins of the world; this is the being who was actually sacrificed, and this the price the Son of God actually paid for our redemption. Hence, in reference to its dignity, it is the sacrifice of the most exalted and dignified being in the vast empire of God; nay, the sacrifice of the King’s only begotten Son. In reference to its intrinsic value, who can estimate the worth of God’s darling Son? It is, to say the least of it, an equivalent for the dignity, the lives, and eternal interests of the whole world; nay further, it is equal in value to all the moral interest of the whole intelligent creation, and equal in dignity and honor to the moral government of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. In reference to its nature, it is Divine; hence we have a Divine sacrifice, in contradistinction to the Trinitarian and Unitarian views, which make it only a human sacrifice. In reference to its fullness, it is infinite, boundless. Yes, thank God, there is enough for each, enough for all, enough for ever more; enough to save an intelligent Universe, were they all sinners; and lastly, in reference to its adaptation to man’s conditions and necessities, it is absolutely perfect.” — (J.M. Stephenson, Review and Herald, November 21, 1854, p. 114)
“The position I have taken in reference to the nature, origin, and incarnation of the Son of God, will be objected to by many. I am willing to suspend all the Bible objections, which may be urged against these views, upon the evidence therein adduced, except one; that is the supposed evidence of his being absolutely equal with the Father, the Supreme and only true God. This view is urged,
1st. From the fact that the highest titles the Father ever claimed are applied to the Son. If this were true, it would be unanswerable; but that it is not, is evident from the following titles of supremacy which are never applied to the Son. I will quote the following from Henry Grew’s work on the Sonship, p. 48.
“Although the Son of God… is honored with appropriate titles of dignity and glory, he is distinguished from ‘the only true God,’ by the following titles of supremacy which belong to the ‘invisible God’ alone.
Jehovah, Whose name alone is Jehovah. (Ps. 83:18)
The eternal God. (Deut. 33:27)
Most High God. (Mark 5:7; Dan. 5:18)
God alone. (Ps. 86:10; Isa. 37:16)
Lord alone. (Neh. 9:6)
God of heaven. (Dan. 2:44)
Besides me there is no God. (Isa. 44:6)
Who only hath immortality. (1 Tim. 6:16)
The only true God. (John 17:3)
The King eternal, immortal, invisible. (1 Tim. 1:17)
The only wise God. (1 Tim. 1:17)
Lord, God Omnipotent. (Rev. 19:6)
Blessed and only Potentate. (1 Tim. 6:15)
One God and Father of all. (Eph. 4:6)
The only Lord God. (Jude 4)
There is but one God, the Father. (1 Cor. 8:6)
2nd. He exercised power and prerogatives which belong to the supreme God alone. I cannot answer this objection more forcibly than by presenting the Trinitarian view, and Bible view, in contrast. In doing this, I will avail myself of a list of quotations presented by the same author. pp. 66, 67.
CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES
To us there is but one God the Father. (1 Cor. 8:6)
My Father is greater than I. (John 14:28)
Who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature. (Col. 1:15)
The Son can do nothing of himself. (John 5:19)
But of that day, &c., knoweth no man, no not the angels, &c., neither the Son, but the Father. (Mark 13:32)
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth, (Matt. 28:18) As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. (John 17:2)
God who created all things by Jesus Christ.—(Eph. 3:9)
The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him. (Rev. 1:1)
For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Tim. 2:5)
Denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 4)
Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles, and signs, and wonders which God did by him. (Acts 2:22)
For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. (John 5:26)
I live by the Father. (John 6:57)
This is my Son. (Matt. 3:17)
That they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,… and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:10, 11)
To us there is but one God, the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost.
The Son is as great as the Father.
Who is the invisible God, the uncreated Jehovah.
The Son is omnipotent [all powerful]. (Brackets Supplied)
The Son is omniscient [all knowing], and knew of that day as well as the Father. (Brackets Supplied)
No given power can qualify the Son of God to give eternal life to his people.
Jesus Christ created all things by his own independent power.
The revelation of Jesus Christ from his own omniscience [all knowing]. (Brackets Supplied)
There is one Mediator between God and man; who is also the supreme God and man in our person.
Denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who is also the only Lord God, and a distinct person
Jesus performed his miracles by his own omnipotence [all powerful]. (Brackets Supplied)
He is self-existent.
The Son lives by himself.
This is the only true God, the same numerical essence as the Father.
That they might know thee, who art not the only true God in distinction from the Word whom thou hast sent.
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow; and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to his own glory.
4th. I will consider a few of those passages of scripture which are so frequently, and confidently quoted to prove that Jesus Christ in his essential nature, is the very and eternal God. In Col. 2:9, we are told, that in Jesus Christ “dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” But a few verses before this, the same Apostle tells us, “it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.” Chap. 1:19. This same Apostle represents even the saints as being “filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:19)” — (J.M. Stephenson, Review and Herald, December 5, 1854, pp. 123, 124)
Judson S. Washburn Letter on the Trinity Doctrine
Judson S. Washburn wrote an objection letter to the Conference stating that, “The doctrine of the Trinity is regarded as the supreme test of orthodoxy by the Roman Catholic Church,” he proceeded to state why it should be rejected. “Satan has taken some heathen conception of a three-headed monstrosity, and with deliberate intention to cast contempt upon divinity, has woven it into Romanism as our glorious God, an impossible, absurd invention. This monstrous doctrine transplanted from heathenism into the Roman Papal Church is seeking to intrude its evil presence into the teachings of the Third Angel's Message...
Here is the full content of that letter:
By J. S .Washburn, 1939. (This letter was liked by a conference president so much that he distributed it to 32 of his ministers. You can see a photocopy of the original J.S. Washburn letter in PDF format here)
“The doctrine of the Trinity is regarded as the supreme test of orthodoxy by the Roman Catholic Church. Many of the councils of that church during its development were almost entirely given over to the discussion of the Trinity, the Arian and the Trinitarian controversy.
“Was Christ of the same substance of the Father, or of like substance?” Very naturally the nature of the personality of God was the center, the core, the key of the teachings of Roman theology, Satan's crowning masterpiece of Apostate Counterfeit Christianity.
The leading doctrines of the Roman papacy were taken directly from heathenism, -the sign of the cross, Holy water, monks, nuns, the celibacy of the priesthood, the Sunday Sabbath, etc., etc. So this Catholic doctrine of the Trinity comes from heathenism. In India we have Brahma, Shive, Vishnu, vengeful, unforgiving trinity.
Where in Heathenism or in Romanism is the Divine mediator between God and man? “There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” I Tim. 2:5. There is none in heathenism; and in the Roman church, as Christ is a very physical part of God, the deity, it becomes necessary to invent a multitude of human mediators, the Virgin Mary, Peter, Andrew, etc. and a multitude of manufactured saints, a band of immortal souls of dead men and women. Jesus has become so fully and literally a component part of the great severe judge who delights in eternal torment, according to the Roman teaching of the Trinity, that they must find or manufacture a multitude of human spiritualistic mediators. THIS REMOVING OF JESUS FROM HIS TRUE RELATIONSHIP TO GOD AND MAN, TAKES HIM SO FAR FROM US THAT HE BECOMES AN INFLICTOR OF EVERLASTING TORMENT AND NO LONGER OUR LOVING SAVIOUR.
The doctrine of the Trinity is a cruel heathen monstrosity, removing Jesus from his true position of Divine Saviour and Mediator. It is true we cannot measure or define divinity. It is beyond our finite understanding, yet on this subject of the personality of God the Bible is very simple and plain. The Father, the Ancient of Days, is from eternity. Jesus was begotten of the Father. Jesus speaking through the Psalmist says:
The Lord (Jehovah) hath said unto me, Thou are [art] my son, this day have I begotten thee. Psalm 2:7.
Again in Proverbs eight (where Jesus is spoken of under the title of Wisdom, See I Corinthians 1:24), we read: The Lord (Jehovah) possessed me in the beginning of his way. Verse 22. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth. Verse 24.
The Son says he was brought forth, begotten, born of his Father (Jehovah). He calls his father “Jehovah.” In Psalm 110:1, The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, etc. Literal Hebrew, “Jehovah said unto Adoni,” Jehovah (the Father) said to Adoni (the son). Psalm 110:4, The Lord (Jehovah) hath sworn and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. Who is this priest of the order of Melchisedec? It is Jesus. See Hebrews 7:21, 22; Mark 19:35, 36.
In these scriptures Jesus himself says the Father's name is Jehovah, his own name Adoni. Put in Exodus 23:31, the Lord said he would send his Angel before his people, literally his Messenger, and said, “My name is in Him,” so God placed His name in His son. So on earth the name of every father is in his son. It is therefore permissible to say that the son may be spoken of as Jehovah, but primarily, fundamentally, the Son said his Father's name is Jehovah.
On the 14th of October 1939, Elder W. W. Prescott preached a sermon in the Takoma Park Church on the subject, The Coming One. From a copy printed by the speaker, I quote the following from pages 1 and 2.
“In the Old Testament we find the name Jehovah or Lord about 7,000 times, and in the New Testament, we find the name Jesus about 1,000 times and the name Lord more than 700 times. Now the Jehovah or Lord of the Old Testament has been manifested as Jesus the Lord in the New Testament therefore this ONE PERSON, Jehovah-Jesus, is mentioned by name about 8,750 times.”
This is one of the most astounding perversions of the original language of the Bible ever written, and coming from a man of education it seems almost inexcusable. The coining of the double name “Jehovah-Jesus” is certainly original with Elder Prescott, for I fail to find it in the Bible or in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. As shown from the Hebrew of Psalm 2:7, Psalms 110:1, 4 and Prov. 8:22, we have shown that Jesus says his Father's name is Jehovah, and in the Hebrew of Psalms 110:1, the name of the Son is Adoni.
It is true that the Father says in Exodus 23:21, that his name is in the Son. This is true of every son on earth. His father's name is in the son, but the son and father are TWO PERSONS NOT “ONE PERSON,” as Elder Prescott incorrectly states in his sermon.
For many years my father was a leading minister in the Iowa Conference. In 1884 I began my work as a minister in that conference. My father was Elder Washburn. Then upon my ordination I became Elder Washburn also. But we were TWO PERSONS NOT “ONE PERSON.” Now would it be fair or true to say that in writing up a history of the Iowa Conference every mention of Elder Washburn applied to myself? Emphatically NO!!! It would be utterly false, as is the statement that every time in the Bible where the word “Jehovah” or “Lord” appeared it meant Jesus and that Jesus and the father were “ONE PERSON.” Several thousand times it applies to the Father and not to the Son.
The statement of the sermon is a tremendous misrepresentation of the truth of the Divine separate personality of the Father and the Son. THE FATHER AND THE SON ARE NOT “ONE PERSON” BUT TWO PERSONS AS DISTINCT AS THE TWO PERSONS OF MY FATHER AND MYSELF.
Jesus, who illustrated and explained heavenly things by earthly things, in his parables, had made it plain that the Father and the Son are NOT “ONE PERSON” as Elder Prescott teaches, thus following the Roman doctrine of the Trinity.
In John 17:21, 22, That they (his disciples) all may be one as thou father art in me and I in Thee that they also may be one in us . . . that they may be one even as we are one. Jesus knew, and we know, the disciples were NOT ONE PERSON; and that represented the unity of the Father and the son. They could not from Christ's own word be “one person.”
Read this glorious statement from the Spirit of Prophecy, explaining John 17:21, 22, the text just quoted, Testimonies, volume 8, page 269: “Wonderful statement. The unity that exists between Christ and His disciples does not destroy the personality of either. They are one in purpose, in mind, in character, but NOT IN PERSON. IT IS THUS THAT GOD AND CHRIST ARE ONE.”
Elder Prescott squarely contradicts the words of Jesus in the Bible and words of the Holy Spirit of Prophecy when he states that they are “one person.” Satan has taken some heathen conception of a three-headed monstrosity, and with deliberate intention to cast contempt upon divinity, has woven it into Romanism as our glorious God, an impossible, absurd invention. This monstrous doctrine transplanted from heathenism into the Roman Papal Church is seeking to intrude its evil presence into the teachings of the Third Angel's Message.
On page 8 of the printed sermon by Elder Prescott is this statement:
“We cannot regard the three persons of the Godhead as separable beings, each one dwelling in and confined to a visible body the same as three human beings. “There are three persons in the Godhead but they are so mysteriously and indissolubly related to each other that the presence of each one is equivalent to the presence of the others.” This is the doctrine of the Trinity as expressed in the statement already quoted from the sermon, page 1, that the three, Father, Son and Holy Ghost are “ONE PERSON.” He states that they are NOT distinct separate persons but “One Person” and “that the presence of each one is equivalent to the presence of the others.”
Christ himself teaches in John 17:21, 22 that the three persons of the Godhead are three “separable beings.” For the disciples were “separable beings,” and Christ compares the unity of the Father and the Son with the unity of the disciples united in perfect unity of heart. Thus this statement of Elder Prescott's is absolutely contrary to John 17:21, 22, and I Corinthians 1:10.
If the teaching of this sermon of Elder Prescott be true, then of course as the three, in the doctrine of the Trinity, are one person, when Christ was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary, the Father was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary; when Christ hung on the cross dying, the Father hung on the cross dying; when Christ lay in Joseph's new tomb the Father lay in Joseph's new tomb; if the person of Christ died the person of the Father which is counted one person, also died; either the Father and the Holy Ghost died when Jesus died, or Jesus did not die.
If Jesus was actually dead from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning the Father and the Holy Ghost were also dead from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning, if Prescott's sermon is correct. But Professor Prescott is very logical. Which horn of this dilemma does he take?
I quote from a letter written to me by Elder J. F. Anderson, former pastor of Takoma Park Church, dated January 16, 1940, 112 St. Louis Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas:
“In answer to your question as to my conversation with Elder Prescott, it was after I had spoken on the vicarious sacrifice of Christ, that he called me and wanted to talk with me about it. He tried to convince me that Christ DID NOT DIE AS THE SON OF GOD, as I had preached. And when he could not convince me, he said, 'I do not appreciate your leaving me without a Christ for three days and nights.' “And remember, Elder Washburn, this statement was made after he had taken the position that the Son of God did not die but only the Son of Man.”
Other teachers of the Trinity say that the death of Christ was not vicarious but only his sufferings. But the wages of sin is DEATH not suffering. Christ's sufferings alone could not pay the penalty. The Son of God must DIE to pay the penalty of the broken law. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and (by a sacrifice for sin) (margin) condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us. Romans 8:3, 4. The Son of God died that the law of God might live in us.
If Christ did not die, we never could keep the law. Either Christ must die or the law dies in us. That the law might live in us the Son of God died. But the Trinity makes the death of Christ impossible, as Professor Prescott seems to teach, therefore the Roman Trinity destroys the law. No wonder that the Papacy changes and destroys the law of God, and substitutes tradition and human works.
As stated in the letter from Elder Anderson, we have the logical bold denial of the death of Christ, the very foundation of the Gospel—“the son of God did not die,” only the son of man, only a human atonement. This is the only logical position any man can take who believes the heathen Roman doctrine of the Trinity, which is a twin sister of eternal torment and as true and logical as purgatory and the Sunday Sabbath. No wonder that the Roman papacy is the original teacher of both doctrines of the Trinity and eternal torment. Very logically the Roman Church must have many human mediators but also many human works to earn salvation or by purgatory, or the mass, or by the torments of self-inflicted punishment to gain Heaven.
Because Christ being a part of the one person of the “Trinity” could not die unless the Father and Holy Ghost all died with Him, according to this false doctrine of the Trinity, if we accept the Catholic Trinity, we must accept that which goes with it, human mediators and human works, for according to Elder Prescott, the Son of God did not die; he resented the idea that the Son of God was dead “three days and nights.” The Christ of Professor Prescott was not dead but alive from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning. IF THIS IS SO, THEN OUR DEBT HAS NOT BEEN PAID, AND WE ARE ALL LOST. This is the logic of Elder Prescott's adoption of the Roman doctrine of the Trinity.
The Bible teaches that the Son of God died, as the Son of God. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son: much more being reconciled we shall be saved by his life. Romans 5:10. See also Colossians 1:13–22, 1 Thessalonians 1:10. The words “Son of God” and “Christ” are synonyms Matthew 16:16. And again and again the scriptures state that Christ died for our sins, the foundation principle of the Gospel.
Nothing is clearer in the scripture than the truth that the Son of God died for us and we have a Divine and not simply a human atonement. Those who believe that the Son of God did not die quote an unpublished statement of Sister White. “Deity did not sink and die, that would have been impossible.” This is all very clear if we believe the Bible statement of death as found in Job 34:12, 14, 15: Yea surely God will not do wickedly . . . If he (God) set his heart upon man, if he (God) gathers unto himself His Spirit and His breath (God's spirit and God's breath) all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again to dust.
WITH GOD IS THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE. Psalm 36:9.
All life, angelic, human, animal, vegetable, comes from God and is simply loaned for a time to God's creatures. It was God's life before the creature received it. It is God's life while they have it and if God takes back to Himself His own life, the creature goes back where he was before he received the life of God. But that life is not a separate person. It is the life of God, taken back by the Lord to himself where it was, before being given to the creature. It is true that we are partakers of the Divine nature, if we are Christians. But that does not mean that we are conscious personalities in death. God takes back his life and we are dead. And SO WAS CHRIST.
When Christ was begotten of the Father, He received the life of God, His father. When Jesus died on the cross, he said, “Father into thy hands I commend my spirit,” (or life) and the life of God was given back to the Father, and for a time, three days and nights, that life was with the Father from whence it had come. In the resurrection that life of God is restored to the one who died. Ps. 104:30. But between his death on Friday afternoon, till Sunday morning, the Son of God was dead.
HE POURED OUT HIS SOUL UNTO DEATH. Isaiah 53:12.
Read this clear statement from the Spirit of Prophecy, volume 3, page 203: “When he closed his eyes in death upon the cross, the soul of Jesus did not go at once to Heaven . . . ALL THAT COMPRISED THE LIFE AND INTELLIGENCE OF JESUS REMAINED WITH HIS BODY IN THE SEPULCHRE. AND WHEN HE CAME FORTH IT WAS AS A WHOLE BEING. HE DID NOT HAVE TO SUMMON HIS SPIRIT FROM HEAVEN.”
This squarely contradicts the teaching of Elder Prescott. Truly as the scripture says, “We have been reconciled to God by the death of His Son.” The Son of God died for fallen man. We have a Divine atonement, all sufficient. That papal doctrine of the Trinity destroys the Gospel and leaves us without hope, for it compelled its defender, Elder Prescott, to deny that great scripture truth, that the Son of God died for the sins of the world. Any doctrine that leads a man to deny that the Son of God died must be an evil doctrine, an anti-Christian doctrine, not from God but from Satan.
The distinct separate personality of the Father and the Son are absolutely essential to the plan of salvation. It was essential, an absolute necessity that while Christ was dead, the Father should live upholding all things and bringing Jesus from the tomb. Christ is the one, only, mediator between God, the Father and man. If the Father and the Son are “one person,” then Christ is a mediator between Himself and man. Christ was made in the express image of His Father's person. The Father has a person. The Son has another, a distinct, a separate person.
I beheld till the thrones were cast down and the Ancient of Days did sit whose garment was white as snow and the hair of his head like the pure wool. His throne was like the fiery flame and his wheels as burning fire. Daniel7:9.
I saw in the night visions, and beheld one like the Son of man came with the clouds of Heaven and came to the Ancient of Days and they brought him near before him. Verse 13.
Here are two persons, distinct and separate in their personality. The scriptures are as clear on this point as on any subject of Bible truth.
Because the heathen believed in some gods who had one body with more than one head and because the Roman Church adopted that heathen idea, eternal torment, the worship of dead men, the sign of the cross, and also the Trinity, direct from heathenism, is the doctrine of the Trinity any more sacred than eternal torment, the Sunday Sabbath, purgatory, or any other Pagan papal doctrine? CERTAINLY NOT! And the fact that Christ is not the mediator in the Roman church demonstrates that the Trinity destroys the truth that Christ is the one, the only mediator.
The so-called Christian church, the Papacy, that originated the doctrine of the Trinity, does not recognize him as the only mediator but substitutes a multitude of ghosts of dead men and women as mediators. If you hold the Trinity doctrine, in reality, Christ is no longer your mediator.
The Trinity doctrine like its author, Satan, is a destroyer; a bungling absurd irreverent caricature, a blasphemous burlesque on the glorious free unity of heart and purpose and perfect almighty love and creative life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Many times in the New Testament we read of Christ praying to God. If the three persons of the so-called Trinity were always together, always inseparable, 3 persons in 1 person, a very personal part one of another and as Elder Prescott teaches that Christ was always Jehovah the father, WHY SHOULD CHRIST PRAY? AND WAS HE NOT REALLY PRAYING TO HIMSELF?
When Jesus said, “I can of myself do nothing,” John 5:30, was he a personal part of the “one person” of the Trinity? He recognized a person above himself, a separate personality when he said, “MY FATHER IS GREATER THAN I,” John 14:28, he surely looked up to a person greater than Himself. While he was NOT “one person” with the Father, as the scripture and Spirit of Prophecy have stated, yet he was in absolute harmony with His Father, and rendered to Him perfect obedience, an example to every angel and every creature in the universe. And when sin is over forever and “when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also be subject unto Him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:28. These and many other scriptures make the doctrine of the Trinity impossible.
When Jesus came to this world as a human being, he took the same risk that every man faces, the “risk of failure and eternal loss.” It was possible for Jesus to fail, to fall into sin and to be lost. I quote one of the most beautiful, pathetic statements found in the Spirit of Prophecy. Desire of Ages, page 49: “Into the world where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe subject to humanity. He permitted Him to meet life's peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as very child must fight it at the risk of failure and eternal loss.”
“The heart of the human father yearns over his son. He looks into the face of his little child, and trembles at the thought of life's peril. He longs to shield his dear one from Satan's power, to hold him back from temptation and conflict. To meet a bitterer conflict and a more fearful risk, God gave His only begotten son, that the path of life might be made sure for our little ones.”
“Herein is love. Wonder O heavens! And be astonished O earth.”
If Christ, as was possible, had suffered “failure and eternal loss,” if the Trinity doctrine that Christ was “one person” with the Father is true, then the Father would also have been lost, and the universe annihilated. This whole beautiful passage indicates as separate a personality for the Heavenly Father and His Son, as of any earthly father and son.
The whole Trinity doctrine is utterly foreign to all the Bible and the teachings of the Spirit of Prophecy. Revelation gives not the slightest hint of it. This monstrous heathen conception finds no place in all the free universe of our Blessed Heavenly Father and His Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The three distinct, separate persons of the Godhead were present at the baptism of Jesus, who, when coming out of the water, heard the Father's voice proclaiming, “This is my beloved son,” and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove, in divine benediction. The Father, the first person of the three, spoke from Heaven of his son, the second person, and the Holy Spirit, the third person of the three, confirmed the word of the Father that Jesus was the beloved Son of God. Here are the three distinct persons that the Spirit of Prophecy calls the “Heavenly trio.” Series B, No. 7, page 62.
On page 8 of Professor Prescott's sermon, he says that the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ and Christ are “equivalent Expressions,” that is, that Christ is the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is Christ. So the logic of Professor Prescott's teaching is that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are “one person,” the Holy Spirit is Christ and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are “one person.” When therefore he emphasizes the expression, “the Person of Christ,” he must mean that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one person, “the person of Christ.”
The Catholic teaching of the Trinity (3 persons in 1 person) is a monumental falsehood, and a fountain of deadly evil.
God has given a distinct, a separate personality to every being in the universe, angelic and human, an independent, a distinct individuality and personality and desires that we should preserve that individuality and personality distinct and separate from that of every other being. Thus there is given to everyone the right of choice, freedom, liberty; and how glorious are the privileges of liberty, to choose the will of God and thus be in perfect oneness, unity with all who love and obey God, the fountain of life and liberty.
SO GOD CREATED MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD CREATED HE THEM. Genesis 1:27.
If God was a trinity, (3 in 1 person), man created in his image was a trinity. But he is not. God has given to every person in the universe a separate distinct person and a will, a personality of his own. Into that separate sacred personality even God does not intrude. He gives every person the liberty to make his own choice.
In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. Matthew 26:39. Here the will of Jesus was that the cup of agony and death should pass from him. But he surrendered freely his own will to His Father's will.
THIS WAS THE UNITY OF FREEDOM, OF LIBERTY.
The Father has one person with his own Divine will. The Son was a distinct separate person with an individual will of His own. The Son was free to make his personal choice and freely he chose the will of His Father rather than his own will.
HERE BETWEEN THE GLORIOUS FATHER AND HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON AND ALSO THE HOLY SPIRIT IS PERFECT DIVINE LIBERTY AN EXAMPLE TO ALL HIS CREATURES, TO HIS CHURCH.
The liberty God desired His people to enjoy is enjoyed in glorious heavenly perfection by the “three living persons of the Heavenly trio, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” Series B, No. 7, page 62.
WHERE THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS THERE IS LIBERTY. 2 Corinthians 3:17.
There is liberty in Heaven where the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are. God made us free and leaves us free to all eternity on earth and in Heaven, and the glory of righteousness is that without a shade of compulsion we freely choose to do the will of our glorious God. But in the Catholic Church, Roman or Greek, where the Trinity had been borrowed from Satan's pagan religion, there is no liberty, only bondage and tyranny, cruelty, darkness, death.
Where the Trinity is the central doctrine, one man supreme, the Pope, tyrannizes over the bishops; the bishops over the priests; and the priests over the people. This is the natural, the logical fruit of their central, key doctrine, the Trinity. No one can deny this fact that where the Trinity is made the supreme test, there is tyranny, cruelty, torture, death. And when finally in desperation men rise up and destroy the Catholic Church, whether Roman or Greek, the pendulum swings and there is tyranny, destruction, infidelity, despotism, ruin. This was seen in the French revolution where the streets of Paris ran with blood, and in the terrible revolution in Spain and in the fearful upheaval in Russia where infidelity, force, murder, darkness, are reigning supreme worse than in the darkest heathen lands. Men trained under the Catholic trinity principle, when they revolt, set up another government on the same principle, despotism, tyranny.
The heathen doctrines of the Trinity, supreme in the Catholic Church, Roman and Greek, blots out the light of God given liberty, fills the world with darkness and blood, either when it is logically enforced as the only religion, or, when men filled with the same spirit, revolt and take revenge in the same way that they have suffered, and set up another government on the same principle, despotism, dictatorship.
No one living can deny that where the Trinity was the supreme doctrine there has come horrible bondage, destruction, ruin; liberty utterly lost. Look at Italy, Spain, Russia; Hitler an Austrian Catholic, Stalin studied for the priesthood, Franco in Spain, Mussolini in Italy. The world is in torment from action and reaction of the blasphemous doctrine of the Trinity. The fruit of the Trinity is only evil, only cruel, despotic, the opposite of the glorious personal liberty in Heaven of the Father and the Holy Spirit, of the Son of God and of His children, on earth, the sons of God.
The Catholic heathen doctrine of the Sunday Sabbath is just as sacred as the Catholic pagan doctrine of the Trinity and no more so. Elder Prescott has as much authority to advocate the Sunday as the Sabbath as to teach that the Father and Son are “one person,” “Jehovah-Jesus.” If he believes the words of Christ that the disciples are to be ONE as Christ and the Father are ONE, he can never again say they are “one person.” And if he will believe the following on page 422 of Ministry of Healing: “They are one in purpose, in mind, in character, but not in PERSON. IT IS THUS THAT GOD AND CHRIST ARE ONE,” he will never again borrow the central doctrine of Romanism to teach to Seventh-day Adventists.
Seventh-day Adventists claim to take the word of God as supreme authority and to have “come out of Babylon,” to have renounced forever the vain traditions of Rome. If we should go back to the immortality of the soul, purgatory, eternal torment and the Sunday Sabbath, would that be anything less than apostasy? If, however, we leap over all these minor, secondary doctrines and accept and teach the very central root, doctrine of Romanism, the Trinity, and teach that the son of God did not die, even though our words seem to be spiritual, is this anything else or anything less than apostasy? and the very Omega of apostasy?
Thank God for the Spirit of Prophecy! In the printed copy of Elder Prescott's sermon, I note that he quotes profusely from the teachings of Sunday-keeping ministers of other churches; from the I ams of Christ, Samuel H. Giesy, from Peter Payne, Thomas Dehany Barnard, James M. Campbell and H. Grattan Guiness, in his sermon he quotes 1205 words, while he only quotes from the Spirit of Prophecy 75 words; 16 words from outside popular preachers to 1 word from the blessed light God has given to this people by His Holy Spirit. If he would read the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy more and the teachings of popular Sunday-keeping ministers less, if he would in simple faith take the teachings of the Testimony of Jesus, he would not make the mistake of teaching the heathen doctrine of the Trinity or bringing in any other arguments to overthrow the established settled faith of the people who believe the great closing message.
A little more than 40 years ago I was working with Elder Prescott in England. Beginning there and almost constantly since then he has been teaching “new light,”(?) constantly criticizing the original message of which Sister White says in Early Writings, “Woe unto him that shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages.” page 258.
Even before he came to England he made a great campaign for the so- called Testimonies of Anna Rice, who claimed the gift of Prophecy. In a tremendous testimony from Australia, Sister White unmasked the dangerous teaching of these false prophecies and reproved those who had pushed these teachings on our people.
Elder Prescott has often told me how greatly he appreciated being associated with Dr. Waggoner and learning his wonderful “new light.” For some time they lived in the same house. When Dr. Waggoner began teaching Pantheism (God in everything), Elder Prescott followed as a pupil follows his teacher. Then at conferences, etc., they both visited Dr. Kellogg in Battle Creek and worked in harmony with him. After a few years, when Elder Prescott had become the editor of the Review, Elder W. C. White said to me, “Professor Prescott has as truly taught Pantheism as Dr. Kellogg has taught it, and yet made no acknowledgment of his wrong teaching.” With the hope that Elder Prescott would make this matter right, I requested that he make an acknowledgment in the Review of his mistake, as wide as his wrong teachings had been made. But my kindly suggestion was indignantly and emphatically refused. If he had been willing to acknowledge this wrong, he might have been kept from many strange teachings later on, contrary to our great message.
When Elder Prescott and Dr. Waggoner were in England, Elder Conradi was at the head of all the work in Europe and they were often together and Elder Prescott learned some of the Conradi theology. In the summer of 1931 L. R. Conradi wrote a letter to the editor of the Review finding fault with The Great Controversy. He asserted that Sister White had made quotations from history that were false. He further says in the same letter, “I well remember when the LIGHT OF THE NEW DAILY came to my mind some forty years ago. I was again and again met with Sister White's statement to the contrary. . . . But this settlement of the Daily was but the first step to the second one.” Thus L. R. Conradi with the Daily as his first step in the Light (?), he took the second, and third steps, etc., etc., into the “light”(?) of final and complete apostasy. HE, CONRADI, THE ORIGINATOR OF THE new view of the DAILY, IN OUR TIME, LEFT HIS EXAMPLE AS A WARNING. At the head of the way, THE DAILY (NEW VIEW), AND AT THE END OF THE WAY A COMPLETE AND UTTER DENIAL OF THE LAST MESSAGE. This is the logic of the NEW VIEW OF THE DAILY, because it denies the Spirit of Prophecy as Conradi himself states.
I have a letter in the handwriting of Dr. E. J. Waggoner, dated November 22, 1909, in which he discusses the DAILY at length. He says: “I knew the view that Prescott held in London, and which Conradi teaches in his German book on Daniel and do NOT see how anybody who has regard to the scriptures can hold any other view, I mean anyone who regards the scriptures as above all other books and sufficient in themselves. Early Writings most clearly and decidedly declares for the OLD VIEW.” Thus Dr. Waggoner sets the Bible squarely against the Spirit of Prophecy and with a covert sneer at the Testimonies declares for the NEW view of the Daily and identifies the teachings of Conradi and his own (Dr. Waggoner's view with Prescott's view).
CONRADI ORIGINATED THIS MODERN IDEA AND LED PROFESSOR PRESCOTT INTO THE LIGHT(?). CONRADI AND WAGGONER BOTH APOSTASIZED AND DIED OUTSIDE THE MESSAGE. BUT PROFESSOR PRESCOTT STILL PERPETUATES THE CONRADI-WAGGONER APOSTATE DOCTRINE.
When we were working together in England, I noticed that Professor Prescott used the American Revised translation of the Bible. I asked why he did not use the Authorized Version. He said, “I will show you why I use the A. R. V.” Then he turned to Daniel 8th chapter and showed me that the Revised Version was much more favorable to his new view of the 'Daily,' than the Authorized Version, and he has used the Revised ever since; and that is WHY he uses it. It suits the Conradi-Waggoner view of the Daily. In England, Professor Prescott said to me, “If I can only get these new views taught in America, I will change the whole face of our work.” And this he has evidently been trying to do for the last 40 years.
Shortly before the close of the last century he returned to the U. S. and a few years later he became editor of the Review and Herald. After a time he started a series of articles on Daniel to bring out this NEW VIEW OF THE DAILY. Sister White told him he was making a mountain out of a molehill. And she requested him NOT TO PUSH THIS VIEW in the Review. So he was cut down there and soon after started the Protestant Magazine, a regular anti-Catholic paper, in which he taught the NEW VIEW and moved nearly all the prophetic dates of the prophecies.
An edition of the book, Bible Readings for the Home Circle, REVISED BY W. A. COLCORD, WHO HAD ACCEPTED THE CONRADI-WAGGONER-PRESCOTT IDEA, and, (as he told me proudly that he was ASSISTED IN THIS REVISION BY D. M. CANRIGHT, who as nearly all our people know APOSTASIZED years before helping Colcord revise Bible Readings for the Home Circle) had in it several pages of the NEW VIEW OF THE DAILY with a 5-year sliding scale, moving nearly all the dates of our prophetic frame work. We thank God that the Review and Herald cut out this absurd sliding scale a few years ago and that Bible Readings now teaches the original message.
The Protestant Magazine was published a few years and as Professor Prescott even held meetings with the Orangemen, who are politically anti-Catholic, and there was danger that this anti-Catholic organ might bring premature persecution (see Testimonies, volume 9, page 243) the Protestant was brought to a sudden inglorious end.
At the General Conference in 1909, I had my last talk with Sister White, in the house for years owned by Dr. Kress. Just before the conversation closed, Sister White shook her head very sadly and said, “They are all tied up here in Washington and there MUST BE A GREAT CHANGE.” One of the first changes Sister White requested was that Professor Prescott should no longer be editor of the Review and Herald and President of its association, but should do work in the cities. Her son, J. E. White, told me it was NOT that Professor Prescott was such a good city worker but that it was necessary to get him where his influence would not destroy the faith and confidence of the readers of the Review and Herald.
In a letter written to Elder Daniels by Elder George B. Starr, June 21, 1930, he states that Sister White said to him, “I have my commission from the Lord to see that he (Professor W. W. Prescott) DISCONNECTS from the Review and Herald.” “Why,” she said, “Brother Starr, if that man remains on the Review he will LEAD THIS WHOLE DENOMINATION ASTRAY.”
In a personal talk with Professor Prescott at Knoxville, Tennessee; he said to me, “I have had to revise my belief of the Spirit of Prophecy. I have found that The Great Controversy is full of mistakes.” In a personal letter to me, he said that The Great Controversy “had to be revised to be in harmony with the FACTS.” His profound researches among the writings of UNINSPIRED MEN gave him the AUTHORITY and ABILITY to prove that the INSPIRED PROPHET OF GOD was mistaken. Evidently he does not belong to those who believe the Testimony of Jesus, the Spirit of Prophecy. See Revelation 12:17. No wonder that Sister White said if he remained as editor of the Review he would lead the whole denomination ASTRAY. The years that have gone by have confirmed that statement.
Professor Prescott in his sermons and articles uses the American Revised Version without any indication, as other writers use the Authorized Version. Is this fair or honorable? All English-speaking writers use the Authorized without any marks of identification, a universal understanding, and if the Revised or any other version is used they indicate what version by initial letters, R. V. for Revised Version, A. R. V. for American Revised Version, etc. One who was not acquainted with the versions, in reading the articles of Professor Prescott, might think Adventists had a different Bible of their own. I protest that this is not fair or honorable. If a writer uses the A. R. V. or any other version he must indicate the version. We have seen that the reason why Professor Prescott uses the A. R. V. IS BECAUSE IT TEACHES THE APOSTATE CONRADI'S DOCTRINE OF THE DAILY.
This message was settled, sealed by the Spirit of Prophecy before the Revised Version was translated from two Catholic Manuscripts, the Vaticanus and the Sinaitacus. The Revised has many Catholic errors in it.
The Authorized version is translated from manuscripts kept by the Waldenses. “In a most wonderful manner it was preserved UNCORRUPTED through all the ages of darkness,” The Great Controversy, page 69. “The Church in the wilderness and not the proud hierarchy enthroned in the world's great capital, was the true church of Christ, the guardian of the treasury of truth, which God has committed to the people to be given to the world.” The Great Controversy, page 64.
So the manuscripts kept by the Waldenses and translated into the Bible of Luther, in German, and into the Authorized Version in 1611, in English, is the “truth, uncorrupted, unadulterated.”
Sister White quotes, as anyone is at liberty to quote, the Revised and other versions where it is clearer and more modern English. However, she uses almost entirely the Authorized edition, but always indicates when the Revised or any other version is quoted.
But there are many falsehoods and blunders in the Revised Version, translated from Catholic Manuscripts: “without my flesh shall I see God.” Job 19:26 teaches the Catholic Immortality of the soul. The Catholic Purgatory is directly taught in the Revised Version, of 2 Peter 2:9. The Revised Version translates Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are they that wash their robes,” instead of “do His commandments,” which must please those who oppose the Sabbath truth. The R. V. in Matthew 14:30 omits the word “boisterous” and gives us this crude absurdity, “When Peter saw the wind, he was afraid.” No wonder! In the margin of the R. V., Revelation 13:18, instead of the number of the beast being 666, the margin of the R. V. gives 616. Does Elder Prescott believe the number of the beast is 666 or 616? The glorious close of the Lord's prayer in the R. V., Matt. 6:13, is omitted. “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Yet those words are quoted by Sister White in the Mount of Blessing. She thus seals the Authorized Version as the true word of God. In Revelation 8:7, the R. V. says “a third part of the earth (instead of “trees” in Authorized) was burned up.” Who believes this Revised Version, impossible untruth! The whole text Acts 8:37 is omitted in the R. V., yet that text is quoted in full in Volume 8 of the Testimonies and thus sealed as the word of God by the Holy Spirit.
THE REVISED VERSION IS NOT THE TRUE COMPLETE WORD OF GOD, FIRST, BECAUSE IT IS NOT ALL THERE AND SECOND, BECAUSE IT IS NOT ALL THERE STRAIGHT.
Does Professor Prescott, who uses the A. R. V. as the only authoritative word of God, believe in the immortal soul? Job 19:26 R. V., in purgatory, 2 Peter 2:9 R. V.? Does he believe that “do his commandments” in the Authorized Version is a wrong translation? Does he believe that Peter “saw the wind” Matthew 14:30 A. R. V.? Does he believe that 616 is the number of the beast? Margin, A. R. V., Revelation 13:18. Does he believe that “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen,” should be cut out of the Lord's prayer? A. R. V. Matthew 6:13. Does he believe that a third part of the earth was burned up? , (a physical and historical falsehood)! Revelation 8:7, A. R. V. Does he believe that Acts 8:37 should be cut out of the Bible and that Sister White was wrong in quoting it? If he believes ALL THESE THINGS, he should continue using the A. R. V. as the complete authoritative Word of God. If not, he should use the grand old Protestant Authorized Version, that was accepted as the supreme foundation of this message long before the Revised Version was translated.
Professor Prescott believes that the R. V. teaches his NEW VIEW OF THE DAILY. It also teaches that Peter saw the wind. One is as true as the other.
The Spirit of Prophecy tells us that the word of God was preserved “uncorrupted” by the Waldenses. The Great Controversy, 69. “The church in the wilderness and not the proud hierarchy enthroned in the world's capital, (Rome) was the true church of Christ, the guardian of the treasures of truth which God had committed to his people to be given to the world.” The Great Controversy, 64. These were the manuscripts of the Received text translated into the Bible of Luther in German and translated into English in 1611 as the Authorized Version, while the Revised Version was translated mainly from the “Vaticanus” manuscript preserved in the Vatican in Rome, and the “Sinaitacus” kept in a Catholic convent, Which is the true Word of God???
When the Holy Spirit through God's appointed prophet endorses the Manuscripts of the Waldenses as “uncorrupted and unadulterated” then they ARE THE “BEST ATTESTED MANUSCRIPTS” and NOT the “Sinaitacus” and the “Vaticanus” kept by the Roman Church, from which the R. V. was translated. On this authority, the Testimony of the Holy Spirit, we may rest as final and decisive. To a Seventh-day Adventist, there is no appeal from this authority. On this rock, brethren, we may all build for eternity, and the “gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”
In the Ministry of March 1939, appeared an article by Professor Prescott, based on quotations from Catholic writers which states that the position of Adventist on the number of the beast is not correct, that is, that the Latin words “Vicarius Filii Dei” in which the number 666 is found is not the true title of the Pope. There is abundance of evidence on this point which Professor Prescott had not seen, and yet he takes the position that his own researches are final, that he had seen all that was to be seen, and that the pioneers of this movement were all wrong and his judgment against them was correct and final. There is a logical result of his setting up his authority for many years to overthrow the established faith of the body on one point after another, or as, Sister White said, to “lead this whole denomination astray.”
In the Revised Version of Revelation 13:18, the margin gives 616 as the number of the beast instead of 666. Does Professor Prescott believe that 616 is the number of the beast? He takes away the established faith of the Body and gives us nothing solid or certain in its place. Is Professor Prescott a builder or a destroyer? Does he confirm the faith of the people of God? or has he been for more than 40 years a bank of clouds and darkness? He followed the false prophecies of Anna Rice. He accepted the Pantheistic doctrine of Dr. Waggoner and Dr. Kellogg and held them for years. He accepted the Conradi-Waggoner doctrine of the NEW VIEW OF THE DAILY and both the founder and teacher of that doctrine apostatized completely and died outside the fold. He perpetuated their theology that moved nearly all the dates of our prophetic framework.
Following the Conradi theology, he discarded the Authorized Version and took the American Revised Version as authority, based on Catholic Manuscripts because it was more nearly in harmony with the Conradi version of the Daily. When the Lord Himself through His prophet, removed Professor Prescott from the editorship of the Review and Herald, because he was “leading the whole denomination astray” and his anti-Catholic magazine came to a sudden inglorious end, he did not obey the request of the prophet that he work in the cities but remained in Washington to do “literary work.” Then, with Conradi, he taught that the principal book given us by the Lord, The Great Controversy was full of mistakes (that the prophet of God was mistaken) and that his wisdom is superior to that of the prophet.
He teaches that we are wrong on the number of the beast and now embraces the pagan papal doctrine of the Trinity that the Father and the Son are “one person,” “Jehovah-Jesus,” when Jesus in John 17:21, 22 and the Spirit of Prophecy directly state that they are “NOT one person,” and then he follows this Catholic doctrine of the Trinity to its logical end, affirming that the Son of God did not die, thus absolutely contradicting the Word of God and forever destroying our hope, a fitting climax to his developing program of “changing the whole face of our work” and the faith of this people, a program followed by him as many years as Israel wandered in the wilderness.
Professor Prescott is a courteous, cultured, educated gentleman. Personally I regard him very highly. But his teachings are thus the more dangerous and destructive. He has not strengthened the confidence of our people but has paralyzed the faith of many. I do not say that he has followed ALL the teachings of Conradi and Waggoner, but a number of them he has perpetuated, and when they with A. T. Jones, Fletcher and many others have given up the faith, he has continued to teach their destructive theories. We thank God that a number of our leading brethren have seen the terrible danger of his ruinous teaching. However kindly or beautiful or apparently profound his sermons or articles may be, when a man has arrived at the place where he teaches the heathen Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, and denies that the Son of God died for us, is he a true Seventh-day Adventist? Is he even a true preacher of the Gospel? And when many regard him as a great teacher and accept his unscriptural theories, absolutely contrary to the Spirit of Prophecy, it is time that the watchmen should sound a note of warning.
The Lord is calling on all his army of faithful workers to stand firm, unshaken, as the great enemy of God has marshaled the myriads of fallen angels and wicked men for the last terrific battle of the great controversy. He has told us to encourage one another, to strengthen the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees. And here is as educated, cultured man, with great ability, who might have been a safe wise leader, a rock of strength to God's people, and yet for 40 years he has taught one new discovery (?) after another of the mistakes and false (?) teachings of our pioneers and even dared to criticize the Messenger of God. Has God called him or any other man in such a time as this to weaken the hands of our valiant army of workers and to publish our “false (?)” teaching before our enemies? Is this the work of God or is it the work of the destroyer?
The Spirit of Prophecy in Series B, No. 7, p. 57, says: “One thing is soon to be realized, the great apostasy, which is developing and increasing and waxing stronger and will continue to do so until the Lord will descend from Heaven with a shout. We are to hold fast the first principles of our denominated faith, and go forward from strength to increased faith. Ever we are to keep the faith that has been substantiated by the Holy Spirit of God from the earlier events of our experience until the present time . . . If we needed the manifest proof of the Holy Spirit's power to confirm truth in the beginning; after the passing of the time, we need today all the evidence in the confirmation of the truth when souls are departing from the faith and giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils?”
The false teaching of the personality of God making him simply an essence and not a personality was the “Alpha of Apostasy.” Another phase of false doctrine on the personality of God, might become the “Omega of deadly apostasy,” Series B., No. 2, page 16. “Few see the meaning of the present apostasy, but the Lord has lifted the curtain and has shown me its meaning and the result that it will have if allowed to continue. We must now lift our voices in warning .” Series B, number 7, page 37.
The apostasy in the days of Dr. Kellogg was in regard to the personality of God. Then He was regarded as an ESSENCE pervading all nature. Being checked by the powerful Testimony of the Prophet of God, it is bound to come back later in a modified form. The Spirit of Prophecy has plainly indicated this. “THE RESULTS OF THIS INSIDIOUS DEVISING WILL BREAK OUT AGAIN AND AGAIN,” and it HAS BROKEN OUT AGAIN, and is still on the personality of God. Now Professor Prescott, once associated with Dr. Kellogg, takes up the subject of the personality of God again, but this time, asserts the Father and the Son are “one person,” and that the Son of God could not die, Satan's teaching through heathenism and the Papacy, of the doctrine of the Trinity, leading us back to Papal theology and darkness, and absolute destruction of all our hope that springs from the death of the Son of God. TO KNOW GOD ARIGHT IS LIFE EVERLASTING. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17:3. A false conception or false knowledge of God is eternal death.
Books that contain God's special message are counted full of mistakes, or thrown entirely out of publication. The Lord, through His prophet, has named the three books most needed today. Largely through the teachings of Professor Prescott, one of these is criticized as being full of mistakes, and one has been thrown out of publication. If God has ever spoken to this people the following words are the eternal truth of God.
“Patriarchs and Prophets, Daniel and the Revelation and The Great Controversy are needed now as never before . . . the very books most needed.” Mrs. E. G. White in Review and Herald, February 16, 1905. “Daniel and the Revelation, The Great Controversy and Patriarchs and Prophets would make their way. They contain the very message the people must have, the special light God has given his people. The angels of God prepare the way for these books in the hearts of the people. . . . Of all the books that have come [forth] from the press those mentioned have been of the greatest consequence in the past and are at the present time.” Special Testimonies in regard to Royalties. [Now known as Special Instruction Regarding Royalties.]
One word of God is worth infinitely more than ten thousand words of men. “Heaven and earth shall pass away but my word shall not pass away.”
“The past fifty years have not dimmed one jot or principle of our faith as we received the great and wonderful evidences that were made certain to us, in 1844 after the passing of the time ... NOT A WORD IS CHANGED OR DENIED. That which the Holy Spirit testified to as Truth after the passing of the time in our great disappointment is the SOLID FOUNDATION OF TRUTH.” Series B, number 7, pages 57 and 58.
Teachers of the doctrine of the Trinity often use figures of speech to explain its mysteries that cannot be understood. The Spirit of Prophecy has clearly stated the falsehood and danger of some of these illustrations. We quote from Series B, No. 7, P. 62: “Such representations as the following are made, 'the Father is the light invisible; the son is the light embodied. The spirit is the light shed abroad: . . . another representation: The Father is like the invisible vapor, the son is like the leaden cloud; the spirit is rain fallen and working in refreshing power.'
“All these spiritualistic representations are simply nothingness. They are imperfect, untrue. The Father cannot be described by the things of earth. The Father is all the fullness of the Godhead bodily and is invisible to mortal sight. The Son is all the fullness of the Godhead manifested . . . The Comforter that Christ promised to send after he ascended to Heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead making manifest the power of Divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. There are 3 living persons of the Heavenly Trio, in the name of these three great powers—the Father, the Son and the Holy spirit—those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized.”
One of the mightiest proofs of the Divine inspiration of Sister White is that she saw clearly through the dangerous false teachings on the personality of God and warned the people of God in this power statement. “THERE ARE THREE LIVING PERSONS” NOT “ONE PERSON.” “The more simple the education of our workers, the less connection they have with the men whom God is NOT leading, the more will be accomplished. Work will be done in the simplicity of true Godliness, and the old, old times will be back when under the Holy Spirit's guidance, thousands were converted in a day.” Series B, number 7, page 63.
“For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the DEATH OF HIS SON, much more being reconciled we shall be saved by His life.” See Ministry of Healing, page 422.
“The Unity that exists between Christ and His disciples does not destroy the personality of either. They are one in purpose, in mind, in character, BUT NOT IN PERSON. IT IS THUS THAT GOD AND CHRIST ARE ONE.”
In 1933 there was published by Fleming H. Revell Co. a volume by W. W. Prescott, entitled The Spade and the Bible. In the chapter, “Light on New Testament Words,” an effort was made to prove that “Vicarius Filii Dei” was not the title of the Pope and that the Mark of the Beast contains “his name or the number of his name,” in other words that “the mark” is the name of the beast. That is to say that the number 666 is the Mark of the Beast. On page 448 of The Great Controversy are found the words, “What then is the change of the Sabbath but the sign or mark of the authority of the church . . . the mark of the beast.”
At least three times the Spirit of the Lord has spoken emphasizing the fact that the mark of the beast is Sunday. Why then this confusing statement by Professor Prescott that the mark of the beast is the name, the number of the beast? “To the law and the testimony, if they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them.”
In the same chapter, Professor Prescott throws doubt on “Vicarius Filii Dei.” It is argued in the Ministry [Magazine of the SDA Church] that the title of the pope is “Vicar of Christ” not Vicar of the Son of God. But is not this simply a play upon words? For is not Christ the Son of God? Matthew 16:16. But the very words, “Vicarius Filii Dei” are given as the title of the pope in the Donation of Constantine, a document reputedly found on the tomb of St. Peter in the 8th century, now admitted by Roman Catholics to be spurious but nevertheless made use of by the popes when they were climbing into power. But while they repudiate the document they still cling tenaciously to the title, “Vicar of the Son of God,” or “Vicar of Christ.”
We quote from the Donation of Constantine by Coleman as given in Gratian's Decretum, “Blessed Petrus in Terris, Vicarius Filii Dei.” From the Treatise of Lorenzo Valla on the Donation of Constantine P. 12. See also Ferraris Ecclesiastical Dictionary issued by Extypographia Polyglotta, S. C. de Propaganda Fide, Rome, in 1890, under the Title Papa on page 43.
The Donation of Constantine using the Exact title “Vicarius Filii Dei” was referred to by many popes as authority for the assumption that, as a Roman Catholic priest in conversation with me asserted, the Pope is Christ on earth; “Vicarius Filii Dei.” These popes used this forged edict of Constantine to prove their divine authority; Leo IX, Urban II, Euginius III, Innocent III, Gregory IX, Innocent IV, Nicolas III, Boniface VIII and John XXII. There is much more, yea an overflowing abundance of authority to prove that Uriah Smith was right when he taught that “Vicarius Filii Dei,” the real and comprehensive title of the Pope contained the number of the beast 666, and when the Holy Spirit through His prophet endorsed the book, Daniel and the Revelation and classes it with The Great Controversy, how can Professor Prescott or any Adventist minister or any real student of history presume to throw doubt and confusion and darkness on the Mark of the beast or the number of his name? When God speaks, true history must, and always does, respond with a unanimous “Amen”.