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Chapter 10


We have surveyed Bible texts and Spirit of Prophecy statements that clearly show the relationship of God the Father to His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. That there are two separate Deities can hardly be denied. It remains now to establish the beliefs of the original Seventh-day Adventist Church on this point. In order to obtain an accurate view of the first fifty years this section will begin by quoting the founders of the movement.

The pioneers found themselves facing a hostile ‘Christian’ world that opposed almost everything they were teaching. In this environment they soon learned to meet arguments with arguments. Their skills at debate and reasoning developed rapidly. The writings that are quoted will show this trend. They were fighting back. They were meeting a great apostasy led out by Rome and were not afraid to speak pointedly.

While Ellen White did not approve of heated discussions, there is no record that she criticized their understanding of the pillars of the faith. There was unanimity through the ranks as evidenced by a careful reading of the material they left. It is the purpose of this section to show that Ellen White as one of the pioneers was part of the unanimity. They were called not only to proclaim truth, but to expose grave errors. It must be remembered that the prophetic movement which took the name Seventh-day Adventist was raised up by Jesus Christ Himself.

A group of young people was given the task of beginning the final warning to the world. The 2300 days had been fulfilled and the judgment hour had been reached. These young people included Ellen Harmon (age 17), James White (age 23), Stephen Haskell (age 20), John Andrews (age 20), Uriah Smith, (age 20), and others. The Lord Jesus spoke directly to this group through the agency of Ellen who had been given the prophetic gift. Before quoting the pioneers, we take note of their credentials.

CW 28.  “God has given me light regarding our periodicals. What is it?—He has said that the dead are to speak. How?—Their works shall follow them. We are to repeat the words of the pioneers in our work, who knew what it cost to search for the truth as for hidden treasure, and who labored to lay the foundation of our work. They moved forward step by step under the influence of the Spirit of God. One by one these pioneers are passing away. The word given me is, Let that which these men have written in the past be reproduced.”

CW 32.  “A few are still alive who passed through the experience gained in the establishment of this truth. God has graciously spared their lives to repeat and repeat till the close of their lives, the experience through which they passed even as did John the apostle till the very close of his life. And the standard-bearers who have fallen in death, are to speak through the reprinting of their writings. I am instructed that thus their voices are to be heard. They are to bear their testimony as to what constitutes the truth for this time.”

What about Mrs. White? Did she change her views about the truths she and the pioneers received from God?

1SM 35.  “I understood that some were anxious to know if Mrs. White still held the same views that she did years ago when they had heard her speak in the sanitarium grove, in the Tabernacle, and at the camp meetings held in the suburbs of Battle Creek. I assured them that the message she bears today is the same that she has borne during the sixty years of her public ministry. She has the same service to do for the Master that was laid upon her in her girlhood.”

MR7.60. 9.    “Let not any man enter upon the work of tearing down the foundations of the truth that have made us what we are. God has led His people forward step by step though there were pitfalls of error on every side. Under the wonderful guidance of a plain, "Thus saith the Lord," a truth has been established that has stood the test of trial. When men arise and attempt to draw away disciples after them, meet them with the truths that have been tried as by fire. [Revelation 3:1-3 quoted.]

Those who seek to remove the old landmarks are not holding fast; they are not remembering how they have received and heard. Those who try to bring in theories that would remove the pillars of our faith concerning the sanctuary or concerning the personality of God or of Christ, are working as blind men. They are seeking to bring in uncertainties and to set the people of God adrift without an anchor.”

Ellen here identifies two pillars that were being attacked as she wrote. They are the Sanctuary (Ballenger challenging), and the personality of God and Christ (J.H. Kellogg challenging). For the purposes of our study we notice the pillar of the personality of God and of Christ.

8T 268.    “The Scriptures clearly indicate the relation between God and Christ, and they bring to view as clearly the personality and individuality of each. [Hebrews 1:1-5 quoted.] God is the Father of Christ;  Christ is the Son of God. To Christ has been given an exalted position. He has been made equal with the Father. All the counsels of God are opened to His Son.”

[Note: In order to eliminate extensive comments from this point forward the author will supply bold print in the quoted text to call attention to pertinent thoughts in the text.]

The Bible truth is affirmed clearly as: God is the Father of  Christ; Christ is the Son of God. This is what all the pioneers believed and taught. This truth was not challenged by the denomination until after Ellen White died. All the pioneers opposed the Orthodox view of the Sunday churches which said God was a Trinity.

We thus far have not used the word Trinity because it is not in the vocabulary of God. The word is not found in the Holy Scriptures. Neither is it found in the 25 million words written by Ellen White. The reason, of course, is because the original Seventh-day Adventist Church was a non-trinitarian Church. They all believed God was One Being called the Father. They all believed God (singular – He) was the Source of all things.

With this brief introduction we turn to the writings of the pioneers. The first will be James White, the husband of Ellen White. Certainly she knew his views and not once did she hint that he might be in error about the Trinity.

"The best man that ever trod shoe-leather." –Ellen White.  5MR 208

3T 502. “He (James White) received a commendation that few others have attained. God has permitted the precious light of truth to shine upon His word and illuminate the mind of my husband. He may reflect the rays of light from the presence of Jesus upon others by his preaching and writing.”

“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.” (J. S. White, Review & Herald, February 7, 1856)

“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.” (J. S. White, Review & Herald, December 11, 1855)              

“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.” (J.White, The Day Star, January 24, 1846)

“Paul affirms of the Son of God that he was in the form of God, and that he was equal with God. 'Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God.' Phil. 2:6. The reason why it is not robbery for the Son to be equal with the Father is the fact that he is equal... 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’?” (J. S. White, Review & Herald, November 29, 1877)

“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.” (J. S. White, Life incidents, p. 343. 1868)

“As fundamental errors, we might class with this counterfeit sabbath other errors which Protestants have brought away from the Catholic church, such as sprinkling for baptism, the trinity, the consciousness of the dead and eternal life in misery. The mass who have held these fundamental errors, have doubtless done it ignorantly; but can it be supposed that the church of Christ will carry along with her these errors till the judgment scenes burst upon the world? We think not. "Here are they [in the period of a message given just before the Son of man takes his place upon the white cloud, Rev.xiv,14] that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." This class, who live just prior to the second advent, will not be keeping the traditions of men, neither will they be holding fundamental errors relative to the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. And as the true light shines out upon these subjects, and is rejected by the mass, then condemnation will come upon them. ... Solemn dreadful, swiftly-approaching hour!” (J. S. White, Review & Herald, September 12, 1854)

“The Father was greater than the Son in that he was First. The Son was equal with the Father in that he had received all things from the Father.” (J. S. White, Review & Herald, January 4, 1881)

Catholic Reasons for Keeping Sunday

  • Because “it is also called Sunday from the old Roman denomination of Dies Solis, the day of the sun, to which it was sacred.” “Sunday was a name given by the heathens to the first day of the week, because it was the day on which they worshipped the sun.”

  • Because it is “in honor of the blessed Virgin Mary.”

  • Because “it is a day dedicated by the apostles to the honor of the most Holy Trinity.” (James White, April 4, 1854, Review & Herald, vol. 5, no. 11, page 86, par. 16-18)

An  Ellen   White   quote   is   inserted   here   to   show   that   her writings are in accord with James.

PP 686.   “Modern spiritualism, resting upon the same foundation, is but a revival in a new form of the witchcraft and demon worship that God condemned and prohibited of old.... Peter, describing the dangers to which the church was to be exposed in the last days, says that as there were false prophets who led Israel into sin, so there will be false teachers, “who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them.... And many shall follow their pernicious ways.” 2 Peter 2:1, 2. Here the apostle has pointed out one of the marked characteristics of spiritualist teachers. They refuse to acknowledge Christ as the Son of God. Concerning such teachers the beloved John declares: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.” 1 John 2:22,23. Spiritualism, by denying Christ, denies both the Father and the Son, and the Bible pronounces it the manifestation of antichrist.”

It is clear that James White considered the Trinity a mere tradition of man that came into the church through Rome. What of the other pioneers?

“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. ... 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, p. 217. 1905}

And then there was John Andrews, president of the General Conference. J. N. Andrews: 1829 - 1883.

“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, March 6, 1855, Review & Herald, vol. 6, no. 24, page 185)

“The Sunday God.  We will make a few extracts, that the reader may see the broad contrast between the God of the Bible brought to light through Sabbath-keeping, and the god in the dark through Sunday-keeping. Catholic Catechism Abridged by the Rt. Rev. John Dubois, Bishop of New York. Page 5. 'Q. Where is God? Ans. God is everywhere. Q. Does God see and know all things? A. Yes, he does know and see all things...Q. Are there more Gods than one? A. No; there is but one God.

Are there more persons than one in God? A. Yes; in God there are three persons. Q. Which are they? A. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. Q. Are there not three Gods? A. No; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, are all but one and the same God'...These ideas well accord with those heathen philosophers...We  should  rather  mistrust  that  the Sunday God came from the same source that Sunday keeping did.” {J. B. Frisbie, Review & Herald, March 7, 1854, The Sunday God, p. 50}

“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, consciousness of the dead, rewards and punishments at death, the endless torture of the wicked, inheritance of the saints beyond the skies, sprinkling for baptism, and the PAGAN SUNDAY for the Sabbath; all of which is contrary to the spirit and letter of the new testament. Surely there is between the mother and daughters, a striking family resemblance.” {M. E. Cornell, Facts for the Times, p. 76. 1858}

“Is Christ God?...

...This name was not given to Christ in consequence of some great achievement, but it is His by right of inheritance. Speaking of the power and greatness of Christ, the writer to the Hebrews says that He is made so much better than the angels, because "He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." Heb. 1:4. A son always rightfully takes the name of the father; and Christ, as "the only begotten Son of God," has rightfully the same name. A son, also, is, to a greater or less degree, a reproduction of the father; he has to some extent the features  and personal characteristics of his father; not perfectly, because there is no perfect reproduction among mankind. But there is no imperfection in God, or in any of His works, and so Christ is the "express image" of the Father's person. Heb. 1:3. As the Son of the self- existent God, He has by nature all the attributes of Deity.

It is true that there are many sons of God, but Christ is the "only begotten Son of God," and therefore the Son of God in a sense in which no other being ever was or ever can be. The angels are sons of God, as was Adam (Job 38:7; Luke 3:38), by creation; Christians are the sons of God by adoption (Rom. 8:14, 15), but Christ is the Son of God by birth. The writer to the Hebrews further shows that the position of the Son of God is not one to which Christ has been elevated, but that it is one which He has by right.” (E. J. Waggoner, Christ And His Righteousness, pp. 11- 13. 1890)

“...The Scriptures declare that Christ is "the only begotten Son of God." He is begotten, not created. 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.

But the point is that Christ is a begotten Son and not a created subject. He has by inheritance a more excellent name than the angels; He is "a Son over His own house." Heb. 1:4; 3:6. And since He is the only-begotten son of God, He is of the very substance and nature of God and possesses by birth all the attributes of God, for the Father was pleased that His Son should be the express image of His Person, the brightness of His glory, and filled with all the fullness of the Godhead....Finally, we know the Divine unity of the Father and the Son from the fact that both have the same Spirit. . . . Rom. 8:9. Here we find that the Holy Spirit is both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. . . . While both are of the same nature, the Father is first in point of time. He is also greater in that he had no beginning, while Christ's personality had a beginning.” {E. J. Waggoner, Signs of the Times, April 8, 1889}

Another Ellen White quote to show the similarity in wording:

“"God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,"— not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father's person...” {E. G. White, Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895}

In this very brief sampling of the pioneers there is the same Biblical expression found concerning the personality of God. He is One Being, and He has a Son which was begotten in ages past which are beyond computation. The Bible, Spirit of Prophecy, and the pioneers agree that there are only two Deities who have the same attributes. While Ellen White was alive the denomination did not waver from this belief. But she knew a startling change would come when she was laid to rest.

“I tell you now, that when I am laid to rest, great changes will take place. I do not know when I shall be taken; and I desire to warn all against the devices of the devil.” {E. G. White, Ms. 1, 1915}

The Source

'The Source is a book written by Alex Ortega;  this is chapter 10.   It is excellent, especially for the quotations by James White.   We have known small portions of some of them, but reading the whole reference gives a greater understanding of his meaning.