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The Futile Position of Modern SDA Anti-Trinitarians
By Derrick Gillespie Recently I wrote a paper entitled, "Kicking Against the Pricks", an overview of the general methods employed by some (i.e. used by dissidents, "offshoots" and or apostates from SD Adventism) to oppose or divert attention from the real truth about the Holy Spirit, as developed by SDA pioneers overtime, and as confirmed in the writings of E.G. White. It can be viewed here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/110877227/Modern-SDA-Anti-Trinitarians-KickingAgainst-the-Pricks-an-Oct-2012-research-paper
Having been privileged over time to speak with more SDA dissidents, “offshoots” and or defectors on the very same issues since writing the above mentioned paper, they seem to display not just the same features of other dissidents, and defectors, but have their own unique set of methods to achieve the same goal; that of "kicking against the pricks". Here are a few other methods I have discovered, and how to combat and refute them:
1. Some claim that Mrs. White has (for over 25 years; from 1888-1915) written things about a "threefold" Godhead that contradicts or conflicts with her earlier messages that they deem she "was shown" directly in vision, as opposed to her own misguided viewpoints written not under inspiration, and so they should be rejected in favor of the earlier messages she "was shown". They earlier argued that her writings were tampered with, but irrefutable evidence presented (see here : http://www.scribd.com/doc/111551524/Proofs-of-Authenticity-of-E-G-White-sThree-Persons-Statements) has made that argumentation now untenable, and so they now begin to lamely argue that she may have been misguided (for over 25 years) on the issue, like an old obscure prophet who blundered ONCE (as seen in1 Kings 13:11-32) but was still used of God. Some lamely attempt to make a distinction in her writings (using Gal. 1: 8, 12 as their base to argue such a case), when no such distinction exists in her writings on the issue, but is just a manufactured means of 'escape' from truths they find uncomfortable! She herself predicted her writings would be so handled; with portions "cherry picked" and labeled as 'just her own misguided views', in order to suit a certain agenda. And so this new type of argumentation has fulfilled this prophecy in remarkable fashion; try as they might to escape that reality!!
Secondly, what they deem as "contradiction" is all imaginary; since the problem is not with what she earlier wrote, but the goggles they put on to interpret them. The contradiction is all in their minds; not in reality. They claim Mrs. White earlier presented a certain hierarchy in heaven, which is contradicted if the Holy Spirit is later added to the mix, i.e. as another personality or a being having "the fullness of the Godhead", who is being made to be equal with God and Christ. That "destroys" the truth of the gospel (or so they contend). Truth be told? They are the ones who are misguided, since no such “contradiction” exists, but rather an expansion of thought and a perfect harmony, as evident all over the Scriptures, about the unity which exists among the Father, the Son and their "Representative" Holy Spirit.
If God the Father is described as "sovereign" by E.G. White, and "first", then Jesus being described as "next" is NOT an indication of inferiority of his rank, since the SDA "1888 Message" (as confirmed by E.G. White to be part of the "three angels message" in truth) affirms that Jesus is "EQUAL with the Father in *ALL RESPECTS", and rightly so, as one of the "constituent persons" of "the Eternal Godhead" in "the HIGHEST and FULLEST sense". Thus they are "ONE (or equal and united) in power" or equal as "sovereign", since Jesus too is "acknowledged" as "the *SOVEREIGN of heaven", as she made plain in "The Great Controversy" in the same year, 1888. Now if Jesus is Biblically described as "the first and last" (Rev. 2:8) just like the Father, and as having the "fulness of the Godhead" (Col. 2:9), then in his divinity he has no inferiority or subordinate rank, as these dissidents assume and are seeking to establish this view by harping on the words that Jesus was described as "next", or by harping on the reality of he being "subject" to the Father in his ROLE as the Messiah or the Christ (i.e. the human "Son" who has retained his humanity), as seen in 1 Cor. 15:24-28. Jesus was all along in the SAME category of divine equality with the Father, i.e. having the same "dignity" (i.e. rank, title, office) or being equally the "acknowledged SOVEREIGN of heaven" (with "sovereign" meaning "supreme being"); a matter usually misunderstood by some when considered against the backdrop of his subjective ROLE as the Messiah decided on from eternity past! This is a matter these dissidents and defectors PLAINLY have problems with, i.e. in distinguishing the differences!
They often claim to accept the equality of Jesus with the Father, but when one reads their insistence on this "hierarchy" of heaven that is often postulated, with Jesus being presented as "next" in line, one realizes they SUBTLY have issues with his FULL equality (or co-equality) with Father, and are plainly dabbling in the "omega heresy"---a heresy that directly or indirectly denies truths already established about the Godhead personalities, as confirmed by the SOP
writings in Adventism. Their dabbling in denial (or the "omega heresy") is no plainer seen than in their DENIALS of E.G. White's messages on the Holy Spirit. They reject her messages (for over 25 years) that the Spirit is ALSO invested with "the fullness of the Godhead" (thus is equal with the Father and the Son), they DENY her messages that the Spirit is the "third person" of "the three holiest BEINGS in heaven" and is the "Representative" of BOTH the Father and Christ ,"SENT" here so to do (denying the logic that if the Spirit “represents” two persons who are already EQUALS then the Spirit could NOT be inferior in essence to them). They also DENY that the Spirit is depicted as directly in front of God's throne (as even recognized by SDA pioneer Uriah Smith, when writing about the SYMBOLIC references in Rev. 1:4, 5), that (according to E.G. White) is depicted as one of the "heavenly BEINGS" surrounding God's throne, and that, more importantly, he is depicted as one of the "three living persons of the heavenly trio" (a point made plain when one considers the definition of "living person").
But they can "kick against the pricks" all they want, but it will NOT change the reality of what Mrs. White was commissioned to pass on as messages to the SDA Church for over 25 years, and which is confirmed in the Bible time and time again to be true!!
2. Another tactic being employed by some is in seeking to downplay the import of the E.J. Waggoner and A.T. Jones' recognition and acceptance in their 1888 message, about the "constituent persons" of "the Eternal Godhead", by denying that the word "Godhead" can be so employed or defined, and by pointing to the fact that they later apostatized from the SDA Church. Two things totally obliterate this lame approach. The first of which is the FULL support of and confirmation from E.G. White regarding the content of their 1888 message, coupled with the fact that she herself used the word "Godhead" in precisely this fashion at times (since the word etymologically has a variety of meanings, but was specifically invented in the 13th century, by European Trinitarians, to express Trinitarian viewpoints), and she even expanded on its usage these two men earlier employed by adding the Holy Spirit to that "Eternal Godhead" (a plain Trinitarian-type employment of the word)!
Secondly, the appeal they make to the later demise of these men (i.e. E.J. Waggoner and A.T. Jones) is all a straw man argument. If apostasy or backsliding of a messenger means I should reject the validity of a message earlier delivered, then I guess maybe I should reject Solomon's contributions to the Bible? Or maybe I should reject SDA pioneer O.R.L. Crosier's message on
the sanctuary after 1844, simply because he later apostatized from Adventism? Or maybe I should reject the Sabbath truth because T.M. Preble who introduced it to Joseph Bates eventually gave up the Sabbath itself and wrote against its observation? Or maybe I should reject the truth about Jesus being equal with the Father in all respects, or he being the sole source of righteousness, because E.J. Waggoner later apostatized from Adventism after giving this message? Or maybe I should have nothing to do with health food (like cornflakes and “veggies”) because Kellogg who invented them later apostatized from Adventism? Oh please!! This is a non sequitur argumentation from them, and is kinda laughable.
3. In addition, they also seek to give the impression that Mrs. White's condemnation of Kellogg's pantheistic heresy was INADEQUATE, and that she failed to make the issues clear, thus resulting in further confusion (or so they contend), simply because she didn't NAME and condemn the Trinitarian-type elements in his teachings. This again demonstrates the lengths to which some will go to DISCREDIT certain aspects of the SOP writings, even while claiming they are doing otherwise. The problem is not with the E.G. White's addressing of the matter of Kellogg's heresy, but it is with the goggles they put on to interpret what happened. They are bothered by the fact that she singled out and NAMED the pantheism in his teachings as erroneous or heretical, but did NOT do the same with the recognition that Kellogg made regarding the Holy Spirit being a person among "the three holiest beings in heaven". But why should E.G. White do that when it is plain she ENDORSED this aspect of his teaching, in light of the SDA pioneers LATER (since 1888 and 1892) CLEARLY ADOPTING a newly 'tailored' or non-traditional form of a Trinity (Mrs. White included)? All these dissidents, “offshoots” and defectors from SD Adventism, like others I described in Part 1 of this presentation, never stop long enough to realize that Mrs. White did recognize that Kellogg had some TRUTH mixed with error, and so it is the error she singled out and denounced. She had PLAINLY said: "Separate from the influence exerted by the book Living Temple [Kellogg's heretical book]; for it contains specious sentiments. There are in it sentiments that are *entirely true, but these are mingled with error. Scriptures are taken out of their connection, and are used to uphold erroneous theories" -E.G. White, August 7, 1904, Selected Messages, Vol. 1, pg. 199
But she went further and PLAINLY identified what aspects were false and what aspects were "entirely true" in Kellogg’s writings, by putting it this way:
"I am instructed to say, The sentiments of those who are searching for advanced scientific ideas are not to be trusted [a direct reference to the Kellogg heresy]. Such representations as the following are made: "The Father is as the light invisible: the Son is as the light embodied; the Spirit is the light shed abroad." "The Father is like the dew, invisible vapor; the Son is like the dew gathered in beauteous form; the Spirit is like the dew fallen to the seat of life." 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. They weaken and diminish the Majesty which no earthy 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, pp. 62, 63. (1905)
SEEMS PLAIN WHY SHE NEVER SINGLED OUT AND ATTACKED KELLOGG'S RECOGNITION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BEING A "LIVING PERSON" OF "THREE HOLIEST BEINGS IN HEAVEN"!!
Some SDA dissidents, “offshoots” and defectors are disappointed because she did NOT single out as “error” what they would have liked. So they cast doubt on the effectiveness and validity of her addressing the Kellogg heresy. Again, it is simply their way of "kicking against the pricks" regarding certain powerful circumstantial evidences; all converging on the truth that the SDA pioneers, after 1888, eventually experienced the Proverbs 4:18 reality as it concerns the
GRADUAL discovery of truth about the things of divinity; truth that sometimes even corrects earlier viewpoints. Never forget Job 11:7-9.
4. They continue to argue that the later Trinitarian-type teachings evident in the writings of E.G. White would have prevented the earlier pioneers (who admittedly believed and expressed antiTrinitarianism) from joining the post-1915 SDA Church, if they had to subscribe to this later teaching (with them constantly and selectively using a portion of a famous George Knight's quote, without regard for the CONTEXT in which it was used by the same author). I find that their use of George Knight's quote about the earlier Adventist pioneers is kinda unfortunate, and I wonder if they did take the time to read through the entire article by George Knight, entitled "Adventists and *Change" (CLICK link), since his CONTEXT is clear (at least to me it is). Most modern non-Trinitarians in Adventism simply quote one sentence from George Knight and use it speciously, i.e. OUT OF CONTEXT, ever forgetting that a text/quote taken out of context is a woeful pretext. I have read the full article from George Knight (CLICK link above to read in full), so that his full message and context about the earlier SDA pioneers could be grasped and appreciated. I find that what he said could be applied in principle to Paul in his earlier walk as a devout Pharisee, who, out of misunderstanding, initially persecuted the Church for (not just doing away with circumcision, et al, but for) presenting another person beside YAHWEH as being fully God in nature, and even called “the Lord” or YAHWEH too. He certainly would not have been able to earlier join the Christian movement if he had to subscribe to the view that it is not the Father alone who is "God" by nature, neither does he "reign alone" (as the old Jewish tenet of Judaism still teaches even today). Thank God he allowed the Spirit to lead him to see greater depths of knowledge about the Godhead (or divine nature), and so he actually respected the truth that “the path of the just” is a march (Proverbs 4:18), and is progressive in attaining knowledge about God and the things of God; it is not a destination. See why I say so in Eph. 3:9. The same truth could be applied to Mrs. E.G White and the earlier pioneers of "historic Adventism" (the ones who remained alive after 1888, that is) who were able to see greater depths of knowledge about the "Eternal Godhead" of "three living persons/personalities" after the revival of 1888; a matter they were not earlier able to see, since "present truth" unfolds in its own time.
5. Finally, they claim that to ever say that (as this writer has been doing for years) that their present anti-Trinitarian position fulfills the "omega heresy" is to likewise charge the earlier antiTrinitarian position of the earlier pioneers with the "omega heresy" too. This again is non
sequitur argumentation lacking insight. Only when a truth is established within a body, and is confirmed by the Spirit (in our case via the Bible and SOP writings) can one be said to be in "heresy" or DENIAL of a previously established truth. The earlier pioneers who died before 1888 and 1892 never had this experience, so they were not denying anything earlier established in Adventism itself about the Spirit being “the third person of the Godhead” or one of “three living persons”, for instance. If the disciples, after learning the truth revealed about the Messiah (see Eph. 3:9),for instance, had gone back to the earlier restricted viewpoints, that God has no associate or he "reigns alone" (according to the old Jewish hymn) then ONLY then would they be deemed heretical; not before the truth is fully revealed and confirmed. It is when someone in SD Adventism, after seeing the truth established LATER in the Proverbs 4:18 experiences of the pioneering SDA Church, goes back to earlier restricted and erroneous viewpoints of the earlier pioneers (who were wrong on some things; not all) that the "omega heresy" is evidenced. Thus this argument against my identifying the “omega heresy” among modern SDA anti-Trinitarians remains refuted and unfounded! In the end, these dissidents, “offshoots” and defectors, like others before them and others after him (no doubt), will continue to invent ways to "kick against the pricks", evidencing in their own ministry aspects of the "omega heresy", a heresy that is being seen both on the side of modern anti-Trinitarians and even on the side of SOME among Trinitarians in Adventism. Why would the "omega heresy" be evident on both sides of the divide among SOME in Adventism? See my full take on the "omega heresy" at the following link, and it will become plain: http://www.scribd.com/doc/43968810/The-Omega-Heresy-in-Adventism
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