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Sauliga

What about the TRINITY....have we lost our WAY?

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Sauliga

“Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to subscribe to the denomination’s Fundamental Beliefs.”

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TrevorL

Greetings Sauliga,

21 hours ago, Sauliga said:

“Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to subscribe to the denomination’s Fundamental Beliefs.”

I am not sure from your statement whether you have individually made up your mind on this subject. Many in the era of the formation of the SDAs partook in the spirit of the times, where they examined the traditional teachings of the RCC and others. For example SDAS do not believe in the immortality of the soul. For my part, and I am not a SDA, I believe that there is one God the Father, and that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God. One of my brethren who has had extensive contact with SDAs, especially around Coorangbong, encountered some professing SDAs that did not accept the Trinity, especially older SDAs. For my part the Trinity seems impossible, not Scriptural and developed by many that were influenced by Greek philosophy.

Kind regards Trevor

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Sauliga
18 hours ago, TrevorL said:

Greetings Sauliga,

I am not sure from your statement whether you have individually made up your mind on this subject. Many in the era of the formation of the SDAs partook in the spirit of the times, where they examined the traditional teachings of the RCC and others. For example SDAS do not believe in the immortality of the soul. For my part, and I am not a SDA, I believe that there is one God the Father, and that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God. One of my brethren who has had extensive contact with SDAs, especially around Coorangbong, encountered some professing SDAs that did not accept the Trinity, especially older SDAs. For my part the Trinity seems impossible, not Scriptural and developed by many that were influenced by Greek philosophy.

 

 

Kind regards Trevor

 

 

Trevor, I have made up my mind on this subject. I was baptised into the SDA church at the age 12 and at that time the SDA church was non trinitarian. My baptismal certificate carries the old landmarks of Adventism but I was surprised to find out a few years ago that issues such as the trinity doctrine amongst others had been an issue long before my baptism. In recent years there  has been an explosion of professed Adventists who are re - examining and professing allegiance to "historic adventism" . True Adventism is non trinitarian. 

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Gregory Matthews

The title to this thread It true to an extent and false  in once sense.

*  By Fundamental Beliefs, I assume that you meant the so-called 27/28.

*  Those statements of belief were never intended to be a formal statement that described the boundaries of what one must believe in order to become a  SDA member.

*  It may be that some have used them as in that manner.  But, that was not what was intended.

*  Our early Adventist founders came form diverse backgrounds and held to a wide spectrum of belief.

*  It can clearly be shown that some of those early leaders were not Trinitarian.  But,  some were Trinitarian.  If anyone were to say that most were not Trinitarian, that would be speculation and indicate the limits of that persons knowledge of our early founders.

*  Our early Adventist founders, when they finally decided to produce a statement of the distinctive doctrines only listed five (5) doctrines.  They did not feel a need for 28.  

*  In addition, those five were based upon a common understanding that a person had already become a Christian and therefore, believed the foundational Christian doctrines.  It was felt that those beliefs did not have to be stated.

You have stated that at the time of your baptism, at your age of 12, the SDA denomination was non-Trinitarian.  If you were to tell me  that you were schooled in SDA doctrine by a person who was not a Trinitarian, I would not challenge you.   From the beginning of the SDA denomination, to the present day, there have been some who were not Trinitarian.  But, you are at a greatly advanced age, which I doubt, that SDA Church has been Trinitarian than for a longer time than you seem to realize.  The SDA Church was Trinitarian prior to QOD.  

You mention "historic Adventism."   Those who focus on that, typically are selective and ignore much that actually existed in the foundational days of our developing denomination. 

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Gregory Matthews

Sauliga, you tell us in a previous post that you have made up your mind on the subject of the Trinity.  I thank you for your honesty.  Since you have made up your mind, why even discuss sit with us?  This forum does not exist for people who have made up their mind to come here and attempt to convert us to their belief.

If that is your purpose in coming here, you are welcome to establish our own forum, persuade SDAs to visit it, and then attempt to convert them.  But, the founders of this forum have not sunk the major amounts of money into its operation so that you can use it for you own purpose, that of convincing Adventists that they are currently wrong and should convert to your view.

We do have members of this forum who would agree with your positon.  They are welcomed here because they are good family members.  They fellowship with us as a community that is broad enough to accept that we may not agree on every point.  And, they do not have the obvious agenda to converting us.  You are  welcome to be an active part of our family and our community.  But, please dismount  from the hobby horse that you seem to want to ride and act like a family member.

 

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Gregory Matthews

For those who are interested, the requirements to become a member of the SDA denomination exist in two forums.  There is a Standard Form that consists of 13 statements.  There is an Alternative Form that may be used and consists of  three statements:

Standard Vow

1.  Do you believe there is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three coeternal Persons?

2.  Do you accept the death of Jesus Christ on Calvary as the atoning sacrifice for your sins and believe that by God’s grace through faith in His shed blood you are saved from sin and its penalty?

3.  Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Savior, believing that God, in Christ, has forgiven your sins and given you a new heart, and do you renounce the sinful ways of the world?

4.  Do you accept by faith the righteousness of Christ, your Intercessor in the heavenly sanctuary, and accept His promise of transforming grace and power to live a loving, Christ-centered life in your home and before the world?

5.  Do you believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word, the only rule of faith and practice for the Christian? Do you covenant to spend time regularly in prayer and Bible study?

6.  Do you accept the Ten Commandments as a transcript of the character of God and a revelation of His will? Is it your purpose by the power of the indwelling Christ to keep this law, including the fourth commandment, which requires the observance of the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath of the Lord and the memorial of Creation?

7. Do you look forward to the soon coming of Jesus and the blessed hope, when “this mortal shall . . . put on immortality” [1 Cor. 15:54, KJV]? As you prepare to meet the Lord, will you witness to His loving salvation by using your talents in personal soul-winning endeavor to help others to be ready for His glorious appearing?  

 8.  Do you accept the biblical teaching of spiritual gifts and believe that the gift of prophecy is one of the identifying marks of the remnant church?

9.  Do you believe in Church organization? Is it your purpose to worship God and to support the Church through your tithes and offerings and by your personal effort and influence?

10.  Do you believe that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; and will you honor God by caring for it, avoiding the use of that which is harmful, and abstaining from all unclean foods; from the use, manufacture, or sale of alcoholic beverages; from the use, manufacture, or sale of tobacco in any of its forms for human consumption; and from the misuse of or trafficking in narcotics or other drugs?

11.  Do you know and understand the fundamental Bible principles as taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church? Do you purpose, by the grace of God, to fulfill His will by ordering your life in harmony with these principles?

12.  Do you accept the New Testament teaching of baptism by immersion and desire to be so baptized as a public expression of faith in Christ and His forgiveness of your sins?

13.  Do you accept and believe that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the remnant church of Bible prophecy and that people of every nation, race, and language are invited and accepted into its fellowship? Do you desire to be a member of this local congregation of the world Church?

Alternative Vow

1.  Do you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, and do you desire to live your life in a saving relationship with Him?

2.  Do you accept the teachings of the Bible as expressed in the Statement of Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and do you pledge by God’s grace to live your life in harmony with these teachings?

3. Do you desire to be baptized as a public expression of your belief in Jesus Christ, to be accepted into the fellowship of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and to support the Church and its mission as a faithful steward by your personal influence, tithes and offerings, and a life of service?

 

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Gregory Matthews

Sauliga, it may be that the vows on your certificate were not worded exactly as the present vows are worded, which I have listed above.  I will not challenge you on that point.  Also, it may be that the present vow more clearly states our position on the Trinity than was stated in the vows in your certificate.  Again, I will not argue you on that point.

What I will say is:  There have always  been members of the SDA denomination that are not Trinitarian.  But, from a time that was prior to QOD, the SDA denomination was Trinitarian.

 

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The Wanderer
On 1/2/2018 at 10:31 PM, Sauliga said:

“Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to subscribe to the denomination’s Fundamental Beliefs.”

This has been said in one way or another by many others before you. I couldnt help but notice that you are reflecting very closely, views and statements that another forum member has been stating here recently. As Gregory stated, none of us here want to be "converted" to someone else's viewpoint with arguments like this. Drive-by posts about us all "losing our way" are just nothing to do with the realities of the situation. If I understand it all correctly, i think that what holds this forum together, inspite of all the disagreeing view points and beliefs, is the officially stated Fundamental Belief #14:

Quote

The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one Fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His children.-Fundamental Beliefs, 14

Even if a forum member does not accept the last sentence of this fundamental belief, I am pretty sure they would want to hold to the rest of it. I would say this even about the ones I have disagreed with the most. If you were to scrap things like "did we lose our way" and dialogue about your various questions and interests, you would enjoy your experience here much more.

And again, if you dont like the last sentence of this fundamental belief, just drop out the word triune and go with the rest. None of us will complain if you do that. I wish you all the best and God's blessings as you participate in our online fellowship. (Psalms 84:11)

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Kevin H

Sauliga, just how old are you. The trinity began to take center stage in the 1890s due to three events: First Mrs. White saw it as the solution to preaching "The law the law the law" until we were as dry as the hills of Golboa. Second while working in Australia with Mrs. White, Elders Daniels and Prescott studied more on Christ and the Holy Spirit (off hand I don't remember which one studied with). But they both first moved to seeing two members of the Godhead, each for the one that they were studying. As they compared their studies, they convinced each other about the ones that they were studying and thus each became Trinitarian.

But even before then, the non-Trinitarian stand was NOT a part of our church. A lot of Christians questioned a lot of things, including the trinity, in the mid 1800s. Some Churches made the anti-Trinitarian views a part of their belief. Our pioneers decided NOT to make it a part of our church. They were people who were kicked out of different churches for not confirming to all the creeds. So they wanted to form a church which had only a few landmarks, and outside of them, as long as you were not fanatical, you were allowed to follow the Bible according to the dictates of your own conscience. People were allowed to share what they were studying and each individual member was free to accept, reject or modify what they heard. (This started even before we formally became a church. In 1776 Washington New Hampshire was incorporating as a town. The settlers was getting their different parts of the community up and going, but the town was split over the type of church to have. One group wanted a church that only allowed church approved speakers and teachings and for the members to stay faithful to their beliefs. The other group wanted a church where anyone was free to speak and share ideas and for the members to decide how much merit the idea had. So since they held these two views they decided to have two instead of one church for the community. One where members were told what to believe and where they would only hear orthodoxy, the other to allow the members to believe what they wished and share all kinds of different ideas. That second church became the first official "Seventh-day Adventist Church" ). Unlike say the Jehovah's Witness, who made the anti-trinity view as part of their beliefs; the Seventh-day Adventist church was a church where  you were allowed to join whether you  were a Trinitarian or not. For example in 1922 we got for General Conference President Elder William Spicer (1865-1952). His parents were Trinitarians and he of course was a Trinitarian.

When I was at Andrews University in the early 1980s I would spend hours in the White estate vault, either for my studies, or just reading for fun. During this time I came across a pamphlets and publications (as well as letters) from our church's history, especially to or from Mrs. White. I came across a few letters and pamphlets  talking about how members felt as they were changing from non-Trinitarians into Trinitarians, as well as pamphlets and letters accusing Mrs. White of heresy for mostly three events: one was her rejection of the idea that inspired writings were infallible, for being critical of and rejecting the message of some popular ministers (those ministers by the way have become very popular with the group of Adventists who call themselves "Historic Adventists.") and third for her accepting the heresy of the trinity, as well as blaming W. W. Prescott for introducing the heresy of the trinity into the Seventh-day Adventist church and for polluting Mrs. White's mind with that heresy. In the 1800s, shortly before his death, James White wrote a letter saying "I am starting to see the arguments for the trinity to be more convincing than the arguments against the trinity".

Also during that time I read people arguing that Mrs. White really did not become a Trinitarian but that others wrote  her statements that were Trinitarian in nature. I also first read the story by Elder M. L. Andreasen who was told by people that it was others who put the Trinitarian ideas in her books and that she didn't put them in. He wrote her and asked her if she did nor did not become a Trinitarian and if it was others who wrote those statements. Mrs. White invited him to come and visit her. I believe that the visit was in something like 1908. He visited with her, she had the statements in her own handwriting and he came to visit her as a non-Trinitarian and he left a strong Trinitarian. Because of him becoming a Trinitarian, until recent years, the so called "Historic Adventists" had tended to be Trinitarian as well (although they also liked the teachings of the non-Trinitarians and kind of mixed the ideas together. ). You may find in old threads here on the trinity, but the response that I've come across about this is that Mrs. White did not understand what Elder Andreasen was asking her, and that because she did not know what he was really asking that he thus misunderstood her answer and thus he only wrongly thought that she told him that she became a Trinitarian.

As I started out by saying that in the 1890s the doctrine of the trinity moved from the peripheral part of the church to the center, and you can see this clearer in Mrs. White's writings starting in the 1890s, you can even find this in her earlier writings: A superficial reading of Mrs. White's writings appear that she does not have a structure and just writes randomly on different topics. But in a number of her letters and some publications she told what vision's did and did not do for her. What was of utmost important in her writings and what was less important. Her structure of the Great Controversy is the 3 members of the trinity; God as power, God as intimate friend, and God working with out subjective experience. She sees Lucifer as having 3 deceptions about God; each towards a member of the trinity:

The first deception of Lucifer is that God is not God but a cruel arbitrary tyrant who has no right to place a law over us. That God is of the same substance as we are and with enough collective power can be over thrown. This is an attack on God the Fire.

The second and third are that if God is God, God claims to be BOTH just and merciful and that is impossible. For God to be just means that sinners cannot be forgiven (an attack on God the Son who died to save us). and for God to be merciful he has to forgive sinners and do away with the law (an attack on the Holy Spirit who write's God's law on our hearts.)

If Satan can remove from us the trinity the first thing it does is removes the framework of Mrs. White's writings and thoughts and just makes it a hap-hazard collection of different topics. Satan does not mind us reading her writings if we miss her framework and what she says is important. Second, if we reject the trinity we end up taking only one aspect of God and make that God in total and we end up focusing on only that one aspect of God. We find in our 1888 crisis where we were preaching the law the law the law until we were as dry as the hills of Gilboa. As we look at the other churches that arouse the same time we did, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses; we find that they are still teaching the law the law the law until they are as dry as the hills of gilboa. We Seventh-day Adventists are allowed to just open the Bible and read anywhere. We are free to read the different journals and books of archaeology and linguistics and theology. If I understand correctly, the Jehovah's Witnesses leaders appear to tell their members what parts of the Bible they are allowed to read and they have to closely follow what their leaders teach. As you look at Seventh-day Adventists who want us to give up the trinity,  they tend to want to force their views on the rest of us. 
 

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Gregory Matthews

Yes, Sauliga, as to your age, I question whether or not you are well over 100 years old.  As I was looking into it, you  did not seem to recognized as the oldest living person in the world.

 

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Sauliga
On 1/5/2018 at 10:52 AM, Gregory Matthews said:

Sauliga, it may be that the vows on your certificate were not worded exactly as the present vows are worded, which I have listed above.  I will not challenge you on that point.  Also, it may be that the present vow more clearly states our position on the Trinity than was stated in the vows in your certificate.  Again, I will not argue you on that point.

What I will say is:  There have always  been members of the SDA denomination that are not Trinitarian.  But, from a time that was prior to QOD, the SDA denomination was Trinitarian.

 

"But, from a time that was prior to QOD, the SDA denomination was Trinitarian."...yep I know, I have heard this before..Lets see  “Most of the founders of Seventh-Day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to subscribe to the denominations Fundamental Beliefs.  More specifically, most would not be able to agree to belief number 2, which deals with the doctrine of the Trinity.” - George Knight, Ministry Magazine, October 1993.

I am not getting a straight answer from the "hill"... are they or are they not?

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Sauliga
On 1/5/2018 at 10:21 AM, Gregory Matthews said:

Sauliga, you tell us in a previous post that you have made up your mind on the subject of the Trinity.  I thank you for your honesty.  Since you have made up your mind, why even discuss sit with us?  This forum does not exist for people who have made up their mind to come here and attempt to convert us to their belief.

If that is your purpose in coming here, you are welcome to establish our own forum, persuade SDAs to visit it, and then attempt to convert them.  But, the founders of this forum have not sunk the major amounts of money into its operation so that you can use it for you own purpose, that of convincing Adventists that they are currently wrong and should convert to your view.

We do have members of this forum who would agree with your positon.  They are welcomed here because they are good family members.  They fellowship with us as a community that is broad enough to accept that we may not agree on every point.  And, they do not have the obvious agenda to converting us.  You are  welcome to be an active part of our family and our community.  But, please dismount  from the hobby horse that you seem to want to ride and act like a family member.

 

 

On 1/5/2018 at 10:21 AM, Gregory Matthews said:

Sauliga, you tell us in a previous post that you have made up your mind on the subject of the Trinity.  I thank you for your honesty.  Since you have made up your mind, why even discuss sit with us?  This forum does not exist for people who have made up their mind to come here and attempt to convert us to their belief.

If that is your purpose in coming here, you are welcome to establish our own forum, persuade SDAs to visit it, and then attempt to convert them.  But, the founders of this forum have not sunk the major amounts of money into its operation so that you can use it for you own purpose, that of convincing Adventists that they are currently wrong and should convert to your view.

We do have members of this forum who would agree with your positon.  They are welcomed here because they are good family members.  They fellowship with us as a community that is broad enough to accept that we may not agree on every point.  And, they do not have the obvious agenda to converting us.  You are  welcome to be an active part of our family and our community.  But, please dismount  from the hobby horse that you seem to want to ride and act like a family member.

 

Thanks Greg..I guess the way I phrased my statement does imply an intention to convert. I don't think that was my intention and I apologise if you think this was consciously intended. There is absolute truth that we need to strive to towards. People will come to their own conclusions if they are wrong, so I beg you not to muzzle any thoughts that appear to be bashing you.

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Gregory Matthews

When we use the phrase, "The founders. . .,"  we really do need to define it.  There have been some who have used that phrase to identify three (3)  people.  Others, like myself, generally use it to include a larger number of people.  The number that is included in the definition clearly reflects on whether or not one can say that "Most of the founders. . . (You insert the subject here.)."

In addition, you have mentioned the Fundamental Beliefs.  I am going to assume that you refer to the so-called 27/28, rather than some other set of beliefs.  As I have said before:  The so-called 27/28 were never intended to be a creed to which people needed to profess as belief in order to join the SDA denomination.  I will not argue anyone who says that they are sometimes so used.  I will simply say that such use is in error and not what has generally been required in order to join the SDA denomination.

.

 

 

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Gregory Matthews

Sauliga:  I attempt to stay away from  muzzling people who attack me, simply because I believe that ethics imply that I should not use my power to do so.  So, when someone does "attack me"  I am more inclined to respond.

However, I may muzzle attacks on other people.

You tell us that there is an "absolute truth" to which we should all strive to reach.

I find that a very interesting statement.  I think that it is a statement that could well be discussed.  I am going to open up another thread for  a discussion of that statement.  Fell free to  join it and to correct me if I in any way misrepresent you.

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Sauliga
3 minutes ago, Gregory Matthews said:

When we use the phrase, "The founders. . .,"  we really do need to define it.  There have been some who have used that phrase to identify three (3)  people.  Others, like myself, generally use it to include a larger number of people.  The number that is included in the definition clearly reflects on whether or not one can say that "Most of the founders. . . (You insert the subject here.)."

 

 

Thanks Greg...nice thought...but how many do you think would be a sensible number? I don't like to go into the intricacies of the term "Most". I guess we can get the gist of such a statement to mean - that majority of the pioneers were Non - Trinitarians...

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chilco

From my own studies (and others may disagree) I found that the church was led by EGW into our present understanding. of the Godhead.   She didn't call it "trinity" but she clearly presented three "individuals" comprising the one and only true Godhead.   

Just one quick quote and there are many.

"You are baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. You are raised up out of the water to live henceforth in newness of life--to live a new life. You are born unto God, and you stand under the sanction and the power of the three holiest Beings in heaven, who are able to keep you from falling."   {1SAT 367.3}

This is one topic where EGW quotes can fly with great and often confusing vigor.

The problem is that we are finite and our knowledge is very limited -- we cannot really understand the infinite nature of God, and end up spending a lot of time trying to fit God into our human constructs.   In human existence a "son" has a beginning, so it's hard for some to understand that Christ is infinite, the ETERNAL Son, without beginning and therefore will never have an end. 

Personally I have found "trinity" discussions, have a tendency to degenerate into discussions that do not glorify God, as we try to fit Jehovah God,  before Whom angels veil their faces and speak His name with reverence,  into our limited and faulty boxes. 

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Sauliga
16 minutes ago, Gregory Matthews said:

The so-called 27/28 were never intended to be a creed to which people needed to profess as belief in order to join the SDA denomination.  I will not argue anyone who says that they are sometimes so used.  I will simply say that such use is in error and not what has generally been required in order to join the SDA denomination.

.

 

 

I agree

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Gregory Matthews

Sauliga:  My point was not to suggest a specific number.   Rather, it was to say that when we talk about most/majority of our founders we typically, to include me, do not define our term and that people differ widely as to what they mean. 

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Sauliga
1 minute ago, Gregory Matthews said:

Sauliga:  My point was not to suggest a specific number.   Rather, it was to say that when we talk about most/majority of our founders we typically, to include me, do not define our term and that people differ widely as to what they mean. 

So Greg...never mind how one defines the term Most/Majority...what comes to your mind or what do you naturally picture?

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Sauliga
15 minutes ago, chilco said:

From my own studies (and others may disagree) I found that the church was led by EGW into our present understanding. of the Godhead.   She didn't call it "trinity" but she clearly presented three "individuals" comprising the one and only true Godhead.   

Just one quick quote and there are many.

"You are baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. You are raised up out of the water to live henceforth in newness of life--to live a new life. You are born unto God, and you stand under the sanction and the power of the three holiest Beings in heaven, who are able to keep you from falling."   {1SAT 367.3}

This is one topic where EGW quotes can fly with great and often confusing vigor.

The problem is that we are finite and our knowledge is very limited -- we cannot really understand the infinite nature of God, and end up spending a lot of time trying to fit God into our human constructs.   In human existence a "son" has a beginning, so it's hard for some to understand that Christ is infinite, the ETERNAL Son, without beginning and therefore will never have an end. 

Personally I have found "trinity" discussions, have a tendency to degenerate into discussions that do not glorify God, as we try to fit Jehovah God,  before Whom angels veil their faces and speak His name with reverence,  into our limited and faulty boxes. 

I think people should study this issue prayerfully. The knee jerk reaction (disfellowshipping of members) from leaders at the conference and local level, seem to have brought this issue to the forefront. I am sure God will lead his people to the truth. God does not leave his people shrouded in mystery..the truth is found in Jesus "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John 17:3

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Gregory Matthews

My position would be that we should not disfellowship solely on the basis of ones belief in the nature of God.  Personally I am aware of there being a diversity of belief, to include disagreement with what it the official teaching.  

However, in my experience, most of the time when people are disfellowshiped, it is for more than one reason.  Those other reasons are often not known by people looking in from the outside and may not be stated by the person so disfellowshiped.

 

 

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Sauliga
3 minutes ago, Gregory Matthews said:

My position would be that we should not disfellowship solely on the basis of ones belief in the nature of God.  Personally I am aware of there being a diversity of belief, to include disagreement with what it the official teaching.  

However, in my experience, most of the time when people are disfellowshiped, it is for more than one reason.  Those other reasons are often not known by people looking in from the outside and may not be stated by the person so disfellowshiped.

 

 

Greg..I beg to differ..I have heard a conference president calling for the disfellowshipping of non - trinitarians..but then again this was because a few were distributing DVDs on the subject. Do you think members are to refrain from sharing their belief that may be contrary to current mainstream Adventism?  Thoughts?

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Sauliga
On 1/5/2018 at 6:41 PM, Kevin H said:

Sauliga, just how old are you. The trinity began to take center stage in the 1890s due to three events: First Mrs. White saw it as the solution to preaching "The law the law the law" until we were as dry as the hills of Golboa. Second while working in Australia with Mrs. White, Elders Daniels and Prescott studied more on Christ and the Holy Spirit (off hand I don't remember which one studied with). But they both first moved to seeing two members of the Godhead, each for the one that they were studying. As they compared their studies, they convinced each other about the ones that they were studying and thus each became Trinitarian.

But even before then, the non-Trinitarian stand was NOT a part of our church. A lot of Christians questioned a lot of things, including the trinity, in the mid 1800s. Some Churches made the anti-Trinitarian views a part of their belief. Our pioneers decided NOT to make it a part of our church. They were people who were kicked out of different churches for not confirming to all the creeds. So they wanted to form a church which had only a few landmarks, and outside of them, as long as you were not fanatical, you were allowed to follow the Bible according to the dictates of your own conscience. People were allowed to share what they were studying and each individual member was free to accept, reject or modify what they heard. (This started even before we formally became a church. In 1776 Washington New Hampshire was incorporating as a town. The settlers was getting their different parts of the community up and going, but the town was split over the type of church to have. One group wanted a church that only allowed church approved speakers and teachings and for the members to stay faithful to their beliefs. The other group wanted a church where anyone was free to speak and share ideas and for the members to decide how much merit the idea had. So since they held these two views they decided to have two instead of one church for the community. One where members were told what to believe and where they would only hear orthodoxy, the other to allow the members to believe what they wished and share all kinds of different ideas. That second church became the first official "Seventh-day Adventist Church" ). Unlike say the Jehovah's Witness, who made the anti-trinity view as part of their beliefs; the Seventh-day Adventist church was a church where  you were allowed to join whether you  were a Trinitarian or not. For example in 1922 we got for General Conference President Elder William Spicer (1865-1952). His parents were Trinitarians and he of course was a Trinitarian.

When I was at Andrews University in the early 1980s I would spend hours in the White estate vault, either for my studies, or just reading for fun. During this time I came across a pamphlets and publications (as well as letters) from our church's history, especially to or from Mrs. White. I came across a few letters and pamphlets  talking about how members felt as they were changing from non-Trinitarians into Trinitarians, as well as pamphlets and letters accusing Mrs. White of heresy for mostly three events: one was her rejection of the idea that inspired writings were infallible, for being critical of and rejecting the message of some popular ministers (those ministers by the way have become very popular with the group of Adventists who call themselves "Historic Adventists.") and third for her accepting the heresy of the trinity, as well as blaming W. W. Prescott for introducing the heresy of the trinity into the Seventh-day Adventist church and for polluting Mrs. White's mind with that heresy. In the 1800s, shortly before his death, James White wrote a letter saying "I am starting to see the arguments for the trinity to be more convincing than the arguments against the trinity".

Also during that time I read people arguing that Mrs. White really did not become a Trinitarian but that others wrote  her statements that were Trinitarian in nature. I also first read the story by Elder M. L. Andreasen who was told by people that it was others who put the Trinitarian ideas in her books and that she didn't put them in. He wrote her and asked her if she did nor did not become a Trinitarian and if it was others who wrote those statements. Mrs. White invited him to come and visit her. I believe that the visit was in something like 1908. He visited with her, she had the statements in her own handwriting and he came to visit her as a non-Trinitarian and he left a strong Trinitarian. Because of him becoming a Trinitarian, until recent years, the so called "Historic Adventists" had tended to be Trinitarian as well (although they also liked the teachings of the non-Trinitarians and kind of mixed the ideas together. ). You may find in old threads here on the trinity, but the response that I've come across about this is that Mrs. White did not understand what Elder Andreasen was asking her, and that because she did not know what he was really asking that he thus misunderstood her answer and thus he only wrongly thought that she told him that she became a Trinitarian.

As I started out by saying that in the 1890s the doctrine of the trinity moved from the peripheral part of the church to the center, and you can see this clearer in Mrs. White's writings starting in the 1890s, you can even find this in her earlier writings: A superficial reading of Mrs. White's writings appear that she does not have a structure and just writes randomly on different topics. But in a number of her letters and some publications she told what vision's did and did not do for her. What was of utmost important in her writings and what was less important. Her structure of the Great Controversy is the 3 members of the trinity; God as power, God as intimate friend, and God working with out subjective experience. She sees Lucifer as having 3 deceptions about God; each towards a member of the trinity:

The first deception of Lucifer is that God is not God but a cruel arbitrary tyrant who has no right to place a law over us. That God is of the same substance as we are and with enough collective power can be over thrown. This is an attack on God the Fire.

The second and third are that if God is God, God claims to be BOTH just and merciful and that is impossible. For God to be just means that sinners cannot be forgiven (an attack on God the Son who died to save us). and for God to be merciful he has to forgive sinners and do away with the law (an attack on the Holy Spirit who write's God's law on our hearts.)

If Satan can remove from us the trinity the first thing it does is removes the framework of Mrs. White's writings and thoughts and just makes it a hap-hazard collection of different topics. Satan does not mind us reading her writings if we miss her framework and what she says is important. Second, if we reject the trinity we end up taking only one aspect of God and make that God in total and we end up focusing on only that one aspect of God. We find in our 1888 crisis where we were preaching the law the law the law until we were as dry as the hills of Gilboa. As we look at the other churches that arouse the same time we did, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses; we find that they are still teaching the law the law the law until they are as dry as the hills of gilboa. We Seventh-day Adventists are allowed to just open the Bible and read anywhere. We are free to read the different journals and books of archaeology and linguistics and theology. If I understand correctly, the Jehovah's Witnesses leaders appear to tell their members what parts of the Bible they are allowed to read and they have to closely follow what their leaders teach. As you look at Seventh-day Adventists who want us to give up the trinity,  they tend to want to force their views on the rest of us. 
 

Kevin.. I do understand that there will be controversies and differences in opinion in the early years of Adventism; but as shown in statements of beliefs in the mid 1800s, the Adventist church took a Non Trinitarian position. 

https://ia600304.us.archive.org/27/items/ADeclarationOfTheFundamentalPrinciplesTaughtAndPracticedByThe/ADeclarationOfTheFundamentalPrinciples_thoughtAndPracticed_bySda_1872.pdf

 

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chilco

As to your question, Sauluga, about membership --

Earlier in this thread, people seemed worried that if you came on this forum to "convert" the other posters on your view that those who accept the SDA version of the trinity have "lost their way",  and were rather hesitant to welcome you, UNLESS you dismounted that "hobby horse".

The same is true in the churches.   We have people with different views, and they are welcome to join in fellowship and worship.   However, if they start riding their "hobby horse" against a teaching that the majority hold dear, they may very well be asked to desist or leave.

I remember one member who was into the lunar calendar and a few other things, and would constantly disrupt Sabbath School classes with his remarks.  When this member walked in the door of the church, the Sabbath School teacher's hands literally shook as he attempted to lead in the lesson study.  Yes, the man was eventually asked to leave.  The pastor offered to study the Bible with him privately, but he didn't want that -- his mission was to "covert" the wayward church.

 

For many of us who have been exposed to non-Trinitarians, it is actually painful to hear them quoting John 17:3,  and hearing them explain it as "The Father is the ONLY TRUE God, Jesus came to reveal God the Father, but Jesus is not the "ONLY TRUE God, that title belongs only to the Father." 
I don't know if you would explain it as such, but it is a favorite interpretation for many non-Trinitarians.   For us, that interpretation of the text is an obvious denial that Christ is true God -- something we cannot accept.     I believe, God the Father and Son and Holy Spirit together are the one and only true God -- three Beings, eternal, equal, infinite, one in purpose, love, and holiness.

 So what are we to do?

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Sauliga
52 minutes ago, chilco said:

For many of us who have been exposed to non-Trinitarians, it is actually painful to hear them quoting John 17:3,  and hearing them explain it as "The Father is the ONLY TRUE God, Jesus came to reveal God the Father, but Jesus is not the "ONLY TRUE God, that title belongs only to the Father." 
I don't know if you would explain it as such, but it is a favorite interpretation for many non-Trinitarians.   For us, that interpretation of the text is an obvious denial that Christ is true God -- something we cannot accept.     I believe, God the Father and Son and Holy Spirit together are the one and only true God -- three Beings, eternal, equal, infinite, one in purpose, love, and holiness.

 So what are we to do?

Chilco.. John 17:3 is plain... but I think pain is a symptom of being challenged, not necessarily a symptom of being proven wrong. Many will ignore this subject because of the challenges they face and often regard proponents of non trinitarianism fanatical. From my point of view John 17:3 is often interpreted on the basis of other passages such as this - "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." 1 Corinth 11:3

Before anyone accuses me of denying his divinity, let me state what I believe 

“The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by him as his right. This was no robbery of God. “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way,” he declares, “before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth; while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth.”” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, April 5, 1906 par. 7}

 

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