The Trinity in Evangelism
This paper contains all the quotations of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit that appear in the book Evangelism. Comments and the context of the quotations are given below each quotation. Many Trinitarians take these references in Evangelism to be the last word, however, when they are analysed carefully and prayerfully, they prove nothing. Please read the following with a prayer that God will show you the truth. The headings are as they appear in Evangelism. Each question is in order of the book and designated by an asterisk * . The chapter heading in Evangelism is as shown below the break.
MISREPRESENTATIONS OF THE GODHEAD
* Let People Know Our Position "Our policy is, Do not make prominent the objectionable features of our faith, which strike most decidedly against the practices and customs of the people, until the Lord shall give the people a fair chance to know that we are believers in Christ, that we do believe in the divinity of Christ, and in His pre-existence." Testimonies to Ministers p253 (1895) Evangelism p613.
The above quotation is clear enough as it stands – do not present the objectionable features of our faith, such as the Sabbath, the State of the Dead, the Investigative Judgment etc. before people can clearly see we believe in Christ, in His divinity, and in His pre-existence. There is nothing within this quote to prove anything other than what it says.
However, the non-Trinitarian must also teach the truth about the divinity of Christ and His pre-existence. Trinitarians do not need to prove these, as they are accepted as fact by almost every denomination. Those who believe Christ was begotten of the Father are often called upon to answer these, and usually from a negative standpoint.
The charge is always – ‘You believe Christ was created’. But the statement is not true. Christ was ‘begotten’ like the Bible says, and being begotten of the God of the universe, He has every divine attribute of God. Christ is the “express image of His (the Father’s) person”, making Him fully divine. Hebrews 1:3. He is “the fullness of the Godhead bodily”. Colossians 2:9.
“And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world”. 1 John 4:14. Did God have a pre-existent Son to send? Trinitarians must answer NO. But non-Trinitarians believe He did, because “…. God so loved the world that he gave His only-begotten Son….” John 3:16.
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that 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…. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world…” 1 John 4:9.10.14.
All these spiritualistic representations are simply nothingness. They are imperfect, untrue. They weaken and diminish the Majesty which no earthly likeness can be compared to. God cannot be compared with the things His hands have made. These are mere earthly things, suffering under the curse of God because of the sins of man. 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 Word of God declares Him to be ‘the express image of His person’. ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Here is shown the personality of the Father.
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 three 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, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ." Special Testimonies. Series B. No.7 p62.63. (1905)
In analysing this long quotation, the same comparison is shown between the supposedly advanced ‘scientific sentiments’ and the clear statements of the Father and the Son. Instead of the Father being (a) “like the dew invisible”, He is (b) "all the fullness of the Godhead bodily", a divine Person. Instead of the Son being (a) “like the dew gathered”, He is (b) "all the fullness of the Godhead manifested." Instead of the Spirit being (a) “the dew fallen to the seat of life”, he/it is (b) "all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace…" (Spirit ‘he’) John 14:16.17. (Spirit ‘it’) Romans 8:16.26.
Most people immediately grasp the description of the Father, the Son and the Spirit, in an attempt to prove the Trinitarian doctrine of God, but this loses the whole of the prophet’s message. The comparison shows that the Father, Son and Spirit are intelligent personalities, not vague philosophical sentiments. That is the point.
To try and prove the Trinity from this information is totally wrong. What we do know from the above is: (a) The Father, Son and Spirit have personalities. (b) They are three living persons. (c) They cannot be compared with things of the earth. (d) The Father, Son, and Spirit are the powers of heaven in whom we are baptised. (e) They are the three powers of heaven with whom we must cooperate for salvation.
As to the nature of the Spirit, this passage does not say.
A case cannot be built for Trinitarianism from these words, neither can it be built for the other view. It may seem to prove the Trinitarian understanding, however, there is another way of seeing the whole subject, but that can only be seen by studying other passages.
Another important point to notice is the date of all the quotations. Except for one, they are at the time Ellen White wrote ‘The Desire of Ages’, and when Dr Kellogg was putting forth his pantheistic, philosophical beliefs about God.
Clearly the two previous quotations refer to his sentiments, for the prophet mentions him in both articles. Therefore we must remember that her concern was the Kellogg heresy, and those who present views of a similar nature. If the reader will study books and articles by most of those who are not Trinitarians, they will notice a decided lack of anything that hints of such things.
The Persons of the heavenly trio are certainly not vague entities as shown in the quoted passage – they are as the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy say – a loving Father, a devoted Son, and an intelligent Spirit of God actively engaged in every part of His universe. “The greatness of God is to us incomprehensible. ‘The Lord’s throne is in heaven’ (Ps 11:4); yet by His Spirit He is everywhere present. He has an intimate knowledge of, and a personal interest in, all the works of His hand.” Education p132.
* The Pre-existent, Self-existent Son of God. "Christ is the pre-existent, self-existent Son of God… In speaking of his pre-existence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God. He to whose voice the Jews were then listening had been with God as one brought up with Him." Signs of the Times. Aug 29. 1900. Evangelism 615. (The heading is also in the Signs, whether by Ellen White or the Editor, we do not know)
This quotation concentrates on Christ’s pre-existence, saying “there never was a time when….”, but it does not say He had no beginning. Christ was in close fellowship with His Father from the moment He was begotten. For the angels who remained loyal to God there never was a time when they were not in harmony with their Creator. Does that mean the angels had no beginning? There is no question Christ was pre-existent – He created this earth. He is the self-existent Son of God, begotten with the immortal life of His Father.
Men are to discharge their duty to God. They are to have reverence for, and a knowledge of, a personal God…. He loves us, that He gave us a tangible proof of His love, by sending His only begotten Son to bear the sin of the world, that whosever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life…. If we come into close relation with Christ, we shall have a part to act in carrying forward the work of present truth for this time. We are to cooperate with the three highest power in heaven – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost – and these powers will work through us, making us workers together with God….” Special Testimonies Series B No.7 p49.50.51.