Credit should go to someone for the capitalized pioneers quotations, but the credits have long ago been lost.
Our Leaders Speak
Many thanks to Terry Hill at http://theprophetstillspeaks.co.uk/DetHis%5CdDHS4.htm.
Also http://mycog.com/trinity6.htm , and others for the quotations.
As far as we are concerned, the only real authorities are God's Word and the Spirit of Prophecy writings, however, many think of church leaders and pastors, so we have given them that title.
Unfortunately many church members look to church leaders as the authority on truth. However, history proves that the majority have always been wrong. Jewish congregations looked to their rabbi for truth, and as a people, they rejected Christ.
It is not safe to rely on another human being. No, not someone you respect highly, those you love, or someone on a website. You must study for yourself. Individuals can give guidance as to what to study and how to study, but even then, you must check to see that both are valid.
On the subject of the Trinity, it is a sad fact, that church leaders are leading the people astray. This is not just because they may believe in the Trinity themselves and want church members to 'known the truth', but because deliberate lies are being told about the beliefs of those who do not believe in the Trinity.
In some instances, the lies are not deliberate, but simply because the pastor or leader has not studied for himself or herself, and they rely on the words of another.
It is certainly understandable there is a fear regarding the subject when a person is told 'they don't believe in the Holy Spirit'. This untruth brings a fear of committing the unpardonable sin to even look at the subject. But even this is a lack of personal Bible study in not understanding the unpardonable sin. In fact, to not study a subject that may well be the truth, IS TO COMMIT THE UNPARDONABLE SIN, if the Spirit of God is prompting the person to study and they refuse.
However, much wise counsel is given by pastors and church leaders, and we do well to take note.
Fernando L. Canale, professor of theology and philosophy at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, gave very wise counsel regarding what we believe.
He said in his theology, “Because human philosophy is called to be subject to the Bible, and since divine philosophy is already available in the Scriptures, our understanding of God must stand free from human speculations.” Fernando L. Canale, the Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology, Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopaedia Volume 12. page 105. ‘Doctrine of God.
This is excellent, as you will agree.
He also says, “What we can know about God must be revealed from the Scriptures.” Ibid.
On the following page he writes in summary his introduction, saying, “In short, true knowledge about God can be attained only on the basis of Biblical revelation.” Ibid. p106.
Two pages later, he states correctly, “Care must be taken to avoid crossing the limit between the revealed and hidden (Deuteronomy 29:29) facets of the mystery, particularly in discussing issues like the Trinity, foreknowledge, and eternity." Ibid p108.
Unfortunately, this brother does not realise he already has the Trinity in his belief system, and his attempts to prove it being Biblical will all fail. He has fallen for the trap of eisegesis and does not know it.
This is shown when he uses the baptism of Jesus to prove the Trinity simply because the Father, Son, and Spirit are mentioned together. Verses cited are - Matthew 3:16-17, Mark 1:10-11, Luke 3:21-22 as examples.
In relation to this aspect of the subject he says, “The concept of the Trinity, namely the idea that the three are one, is not explicitly stated,but only assumed.” p138.
This is sad reasoning after stating clearly that our beliefs must be"free from human speculations”. Taken from site - http://theprophetstillspeaks.co.uk/DetHis%5CdDHS4.htm
In 1855, J.N. Andrews wrote, “This doctrine [the trinity] 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 6th 1855, ‘The Fall of Babylon’.
In 1869, P.S. Cottrell wrote: " To hold to the doctrine of the Trinity is not so much an evidence of evil intention as of intoxication from that wine of which all nations have drunk. The fact that it was one of the leading doctrines, if not the very chief, upon which the bishop of Rome was exalted to the 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.” Review & Herald. Jul 6. 1869.
This brother was certainly forthright in his warning, but it was no different to that given by John Calvin many years earlier.
He called the Trinity “a popish God, or idol, a mere human invention, a barbarous, insipid, and profane word.” Admon. 1st. ad Polonos--Cardale's true Doct.
Are these men right?
Alonzo T Jones' words reveal similar thoughts about the formation of the Trinity. “It was an attempt of the finite to measure, to analyse, and even to dissect, the Infinite. It was an attempt to make the human superior to the Divine.” A.T. Jones. Bible Echo. September 13th 1897. Series ‘How the Catholic Creed was made’. Article ‘The Great Trinitarian Controversy’.
JAMES WHITE – 1853: “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.” The Review and Herald, Aug. 5, 1852.
Speaking of Brother Cottrell, James wrote: “He rejected the doctrine of the trinity, also the doctrine of man’s consciousness between death and the resurrection, and the punishment of the wicked in eternal consciousness.” The Review and Herald, June 9, 1853.
R.F.COTTRELL – 1869: “This (the trinity) has been a popular doctrine and regarded as orthodox ever since the bishop of Rome was elevated to popedom on the strength of it; but each person is permitted to explain the doctrine in his own way…My reasons for not adopting and defending it are:
1. Its name is unscriptural – the Trinity, or the triune God, is unknown to the Bible…
2. I have never felt called upon to adopt and explain that which is contrary to all the sense and reason that God has given me…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 Review and Herald, July 6, 1869.
JOSHUA V HIMES – 1835: Speaking of the early Adventists who came from the various denominations he says, “At first they were generally Trinitarians; subsequently they have almost unanimously, rejected the Trinitarian doctrine as unscriptural.” ‘Christian Connection’ from Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, T Newton Brown, ed., 1835, p. 382.
J.N. LOUGHBOROUGH – 1861: Brother White was asked to send the following questions to Brother Loughborough for explanation:
“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-in-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 the Son, represents them as two distinct persons.
The seventeenth chapter of John is alone sufficient to refute the doctrine of the Trinity….
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…This doctrine of the trinity was brought into the church 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.” The Review and Herald, Nov. 5, 1861.
A.J. DENNIS – 1879: “What a contradiction of terms is found in the language of a trinitarian creed: ‘In unity of this Godhead 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.” Signs of the Times, May 22, 1879.
D.W. HULL – 1859: “The inconsistent position held by many in regard to the Trinity, as it is termed, has, no doubt, been the prime cause of many other errors. Erroneous views of the divinity of Christ mare apt to lead us into error in regard to the nature of the atonement…As we can trace this doctrine no farther back than the origin of the ‘Man of Sin’, and as we find this dogma 20 at that time established rather by force than otherwise, we claim the right to investigate the matter, and ascertain the bearing of Scripture on this subject.” The Review and Herald, Nov. 10, 1859.
MERRITT E. CORNELL – 1858: “Protestants and Catholics are so nearly united in sentiment, that it is not difficult to conceive how Protestants may make an image to the Beast. The mass of Protestants believe with Catholics in the Trinity, immortality of the soul… and the Papal Sunday for the Sabbath; all of which is contrary to the spirit and letter of the new testament.” Facts for the Times, p. 76, 1858.
JOSEPH BATES – 1868: “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 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…” Autobiography of Joseph Bates, 1868.
D.M. CANRIGHT – 1878: "At the time when the Bible was written, nearly the whole world had adopted either Polytheism or Pantheism. Polytheism taught that there were many gods. Rome had its gods. Greece had its gods. Egypt had its gods…Moses and the21 prophets set forth the grand fact that this doctrine of many gods was a lie, and that there was but one God, Jehovah the living God… Says the great apostle, “There is none other God but one”, and “there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things… How the doctrine of the trinity, of three Gods, can be reconciled with these positive statements, I do not know…The Bible never uses the phrases ‘trinity’, ‘triune God’, ‘three in one’, ‘the holy three’, ‘God the Holy Ghost’, but it does emphatically say there is only one God, the Father…” The Review and Herald. Aug. 29. 1878. This was while D.M. Canright was still a member.
J.N. ANDREWS – 1855: “The doctrine of the Trinity was established in the church by the council of Nice AD 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.” The Review and Herald. March 6. 1850.
URIAH SMITH – 1856: “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…Christ is the express image of His Father’s person.” The Review and Herald. July 10. 1856.
“As Christ was twice born, once in eternity, the only begotten of the Father, and again here in the flesh, thus uniting the divine with the human in that second birth…” The Review and Herald. April 14. 1896.
In 1959, Harry W. Lowe, wrote, relating to the Sabbath School lesson for July 11 of that year, under the sub-heading of ‘The trinity in unity’, the following: " 'Trinity' is not a Bible word, nor is any theological definition of it given in Scripture.” Harry W. Lowe. Australasian Record. June 15th 1959. Sabbath School lesson help, ‘God's transcendent and mysterious nature’.
In 1981, a special issue of the 'Adventist Review' was published specifically to explain the fundamental beliefs held by Seventh-day Adventists. This was the year after the Trinity doctrine was added to our fundamental beliefs. It contained the following: “While no single scriptural passage states formally the doctrine of the Trinity, it is assumed as a fact by Bible writers and mentioned several times”. Review and Herald, Special issue, Volume 158, No. 31 July 1981, ‘The Trinity. It also said, “Only by faith can we accept the existence of the Trinity.” Ibid.
In 1983, Roy Allan Anderson wrote an article for the Review and Herald called 'Adventists and the Trinity'. He said, “Explicit in the New Testament, implied in the Old, the doctrine of the Trinity is fundamental to Adventist faith.” R. Allan Anderson, Review and Herald, September 8th 1983, ‘Adventists and the Trinity’.
But he also said, “The doctrine of the Trinity is found in many places in the Old Testament and is prominent in the New Testament.” Ibid. This is not the same as ‘implied in the Old’.
In 1985 Pastor Frank Holbrook wrote the following in answer to a reader’s question in the Signs of the Times. “The Scriptures were designed by God for practical living and not for speculative theorizing. Hence, they contain no systematic exposition on the nature of the Godhead. The Christian statement regarding the Trinity is an attempt to state the biblical paradox (which Scripture never attempts to resolve) that there is one God (see Deuteronomy 6:4: James 2:19), yet existing in three Persons (see Matthew 28:19: 2 Corinthians 13:14).” Frank Holbrook, Signs of the Times, July 1985, ‘Frank answers’. Brackets in quote.
Are they all wrong?
If one listens to many Adventists on our media who believe in the Trinity, you would wonder how they could have found so many 'Trinitarian' texts. In fact, it is interesting to keep watching because it seems the list of 'proof texts' continues to grow. We are not being critical of our brothers and sisters, but there appears to be an incredible need to keep proving that the Trinity is clearly shown in the Bible by finding more 'evidence'.
It was heard personally by the writer in a seminar on the Trinity at the Michigan camp meeting (2015) regarding one of these texts, 'Isn't that powerful?' Sadly that it was speaking of the Trinity was merely supposition.
However, in spite all that has been said above by many different writers, they could all be wrong. If they spoke against the Sabbath instead, we would well say, 'They are wrong'.
It still stands that you must study the Bible for yourself. Take a mental note of what the 'authorities' have said, and then see if your proof texts are suppositions, hints or assumptions.
Have you gained your text by eisegesis?
Did you add to the text the thoughts of your head?
Or are you listening to God?