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The Keystone of Biblical Theology?

Compiled by Frank Klin with kudos to Jeremy J. Graham

Have you ever wondered why the doctrine of the Trinity is so important to Christian faith and Adventism in particular?
The editors of Adventist World wanted their readers to focus on the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and in February 2010 Norman R. Gulley addressed Fundamental Belief No. 2, the doctrine of the trinity. He distinctly summed up his statements with the title of this study. We have added an emphatic question mark to the statement. My name is Frank. In 2011 I turned 48. Growing up in the Seventh-Day Adventist church and attending our schools I seem to have lived a sheltered life within this faith because the only thing I remember being taught about the trinity doctrine was that it was Catholic and of pagan origin. Now the trinity is flooding from pulpits and publications as the true identity of the Adventist God. To help people understand this dogma there are eggs, triangles and shamrocks. Elder Derek Morris is telling us that the trinity is like triplets who were separated at birth. Pastor Doug Bachelor states that Jesus was crying out in agony on the cross to the other two members of this trinity when He exclaimed, "My God, My God why hast Thou forasaken Me?" Evangelist Ty Gibson has this Love Matrix, where along with Pastor Stephen Bohr and others he gushes about trinitarian "love" where God so loved Himself that He had to be a trinity of co-equal, co-eternal persons. They go on to say that He couldnt be love if there was a point in time that there was only a single Being. "Don't worry if you dont understand it all", people are saying, "God is a mystery and we really won't know the answers until we get to Heaven. Just believe." More and more pastors and their church members are praying directly to a spirit being they call Holy all in the name of getting him any way they can.

What I was hearing confused me. I wanted to know what Scripture taught and with prayer began to study the Word. At the same time I started research on the pillars of the Adventist faith. Was there a pillar regarding the trinity? I discovered when the pillars were being established our Adventist pioneers spoke out against the trinity. They were against the Catholic trinity, I was told. The Adventist faith supports the true Biblical trinity. Turning to Ellen White I found beautiful harmony on the truth about God in her writings from the beginning of her ministry to the end without a single mention of the trinity. Yes, a few of her statements seemed puzzling and could lead one to think she had trinitarian leanings. I was then informed she had always secretly been a trinitarian and when her husband passed away she "subtly" let the church know what she had believed all along when she wrote The Desire of Ages. I began to wonder if I could trust what Ellen White had to say on any subject if she was not writing what she truly believed on the trinity. What did the church believe and teach about God? In 1874 the very first issue of the periodical Signs of the Times was edited and published by Elder James White, where 25 Fundamental Principles held with great unanimity by the Adventist people were introduced. Here are the principles relating to God. They were modeled on Deuteronomy 6:4 and 1 Corinthians 8:6. 1- That there is one God, a personal, spiritual being, the creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal, infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by his representative, the Holy Spirit. Ps. 139:7. 2- That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the one by whom God created all things, and by whom they do consist; that he took on him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race; . . . These two statements remained unchanged until 1931, and then in 1980 at the Dallas General Conference Session the trinity was officially voted in as a Fundamental Belief of the Adventist church.

Trinity: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, allpowerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. Now because of that vote Bailey Gillespie can state in a book published by the church, Seventh-day Adventists are Christians. The topic of the Trinitybelief in a three-Person God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)places Adventists at the center of the Christian world." Why did God take so long to let Adventists know who He really is? Before 1980 were we missing a blessing by not officially knowing the trinitarian's god? For me the whole trinity concept remained confusing and brought many tears when I would read how it was being taught. I prayed and prayed and continued to delve into Scripture, which is where we all should be looking for our answers and final authority. We will find beautiful Truth in those precious pages. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To say otherwise you would have to throw out the Scriptures. When we use the word trinity as a name, number or description does that change the identity of God? Can God literally be a Father to an only begotten Son if He is a unity of three co-eternals? To help me in my quest for truth a decision was made to let leading brethren and sisters supporting the trinity speak to us in their own words. The following is a compilation of quotes from mostly Adventist sources that Ive deemed An Adventist Trinity Primer. My personal comments will be in this blue text. This is prepared with love, and is not meant as an attack on any individual or organization. The intent is to help Adventists (the faith I was raised in and still part of) and others better understand the doctrine and how it is being taught and addressed. My prayer is that each of us will be Bereans and search the Scriptures preserved and handed down by the church in the wilderness to see if these things are so.

******* A Seat At The Table *******

Statements from the Catholic Church, World Council Of Churches, & World Evangelical Alliance
Unless (people) keep this Faith whole and undefiled, without doubt (they) shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic faith is this: we worship one God in Trinity. The mystery of the trinity is the central doctrine of Catholic faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the church. Handbook for Todays Catholic, p.16. The Church studied this mystery with great care and, after four centuries of clarification, decided to state the doctrine in this way: in the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - truly distinct one from another. Thus in the words of the Athanasian Creed" The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three gods but one God. 1991 Handbook for Today's Catholic, page 11-12. Q. Do you observe other necessary truths as taught by the Church, not clearly laid down in Scripture? A. The doctrine of the Trinity, a doctrine the knowledge of which is certainly necessary to salvation, is not explicitly and evidently laid down in Scripture, in the Protestant sense of private interpretation. Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, August 22, 1854 -Quoted from Doctrinal Catechism of the Catholic Church. Our opponents sometimes claim that no belief should be held dogmatically which is not explicitly stated in Scripture . . . But the Protestant churches have themselves accepted such dogmas as the Trinity, for which there is no such precise authority in the Gospels. Assumption of Mary, Graham Greene, Life magazine, October 30, 1950. The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the "hierarchy of the truths of faith". The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals

himself to men "and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin. The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the "mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God". To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in his work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel's faith before the Incarnation of God's Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit. In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to develop her own terminology with the help of certain notions of philosophical origin: "substance", "person" or "hypostasis", "relation" and so on. In doing this, she did not submit the faith to human wisdom, but gave a new and unprecedented meaning to these terms, which from then on would be used to signify an ineffable mystery, "infinitely beyond all that we can humanly understand. Paragraphs 234, 237 & 251 of the Latin Typical Edition Of The Catechism Of The Catholic Church, by an Interdicasterial Commission presided over by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) (1997). By virtue of their valid baptism, and their belief in Christs divinity and in the doctrine of the Trinity, Seventh-Day Adventists are both ontologically and theologically Christians. But Christians, once separated from the Church our Lord founded, are susceptible to being "tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4:14). Catholic Answers on Seventh-Day Adventists, (current as of 2012). The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures, and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a community of churches on the way to visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and in common life in Christ. It seeks to advance towards this unity, as Jesus prayed for his followers, "so that the world may believe." (John 17:21) World Council Of Churches website Oikoumene.

Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as the inspired word of God. In essence, the Bible is their only creed, though they do have a statement of 28 Fundamental Beliefs, which is subject to revision at any General Conference World Session, as new light is received or better language is found, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. These beliefs include the Trinity, believers' baptism, spiritual gifts, death as an unconscious state until the resurrection, and the New Earth as the home of the redeemed after the millennium. Seventh-day Adventist Church, World Council Of Churches website Oikoumene, (2012). The member churches of the World Council of Churches and Seventh-Day Adventists are in agreement on the fundamental articles of the Christian faith as set forth in the three ancient symbols (Apostolicum, NicaenoConstantinopolitum, Athanasium). This agreement finds expression in unqualified acceptance of the doctrine of the Trinity and the Two-Natures. So Much In Common, p. 107 (1973) Co-authored by B.B. Beach (past SDA General Conference President) and Dr. Lukas Vischer Faith and Order Secretariat of the WCC. Adventists can subscribe to the WEA Statement of Faith. They fully accept the authority and supremacy of the Word of God, the Trinity . . . 2007 Joint Statement of the World Evangelical Alliance and the Seventhday Adventist Church.

******* First Course *******

We are witnessing a rebirth of bad theology among some Seventh-day Adventists. Ideas that seemed to be behind us, dead and buried, have made a reappearancethe view that Jesus is not eternally preexistent God, and the related teaching that denies the Trinity. William G. Johnsson, Adventist Review, February 15, 1996. If Christ is fully God and the Holy Spirit is fully God, then the Godhead must be a trinity. Through the centuries untold numbers of minds have clashed over this point. Even today there are pockets of so-called Christians who will not accept the triune-God concept. Still this truth furnishes the key to all the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. J.R. Spangler, I Believe In The Triune God, Review & Herald, October 21, 1971.

To begin with, let us clear the record by stating that we do not believe in the dogma of "the Trinity." We do not even use the term (nor does the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy). The "Trinity" concept contains the error that there are three members of the Trinity and the three are one, not only in purposebut also in person. That is an error. We do not worship a "three in one" God. Vance Ferrell, An Insidious Attack. The recovery of the doctrine of the Trinity will foster the recovery of Trinitarian faith; this in turn will mean a return to the catholicity of the gospel. And such a return will spell recovery of mission and service on behalf of the all the "far off" who have been "brought near in the blood of Christ". (Ephesians 2:13) For "through him we both [i.e., Jew and Gentile, which is to say all human beings equally despite apparently insurmountable barriers] have access in one Spirit to the Father." (Ephesians 3:18) Victor A. Shepherd. Seventh-day Adventists are Christians. The topic of the Trinitybelief in a three-Person God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)places Adventists at the center of the Christian world. The majority of Christian denominations accept this personal, three-in-one God. The Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of God, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Disciples of Christ, and Baptist churches all agree with the Seventh-day Adventist Church that God is a unity of purpose called the Godhead. The real questions come when we try to explain this concept. How can one God be three? Does it work like a committee? Does God have three personalities? Are there really three Gods? All of Christianity accepts that God is onewhatever that truly means. For Judaism and Islam, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity violates monotheism (belief in one God and one aloneboth basing their beliefs on Deuteronomy 6:4, 'The Lord our God ... is one'). Hinduism has various expressions or 'paths' to deity. Hindus find release from life by devotion to one or more of the Indian gods. The Trimurti are their three major gods, each carrying a characteristic of GodBrahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer.

The concept of God in three persons is found in many religions. A Reason to Believe: What being an Adventist is all about, Bailey Gillespie, edited by Chris Blake.

******* Spiritual Math *******

Rationalist objections and human speculations all stumble and fail because they insist on interpreting the Creator in terms of the creature, attempting to explain the unity of God in terms of mathematical unity. Raoul Dederen, Mystery of the Trinity, Adventist Review, August 26, 1993. Theologically, one plus one plus one equals one. Pastor Stephen Bohr, A Few Reflections On The Trinity, Secrets Unsealed Report, MayAugust 2009. Mathematically, this seems confusing because three do not equal one, but there is a oneness beyond mathematics. Allan Robertson, Adventist Review, January 25, 2007. [T]he "mathematics of the Trinity" is not 1+1+1=1, but rather 1x1x1=1. Dr. Henry Morris, Founder & President Emeris of ICR. A preacher was standing up in front of some students and he said "When we come to the Trinity, spiritual math says 1 plus 1 plus 1 equals 1." And one student turned to another student and he said "I wonder what 14 times 532 times ..." and he gave this big long mathematical equation "wonder what that equals in spiritual math?" The guy said "Why?" He said "Because I got it wrong on my exam but maybe I got it right in spiritual math." Rick Weinert, The Book of Revelation. Why do you complain that the proposition God is three in one is obscure and mystical and yet acquiesce meekly in the physicists fundamental formula, two P minus PQ equals IH over two Pi where I equals the square root of minus one when you know quite well that the square root of minus one is paradoxical and Pi is incalculable? Dorothy L. Sayers, Current Religious Thought (1957)

******* Role-playing *******

The heavenly Trinity met and developed a plan for our salvation. We describe it using the word atonement. Atonement and the Cross of Christ, Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide 4th Quarter 2008, Principal Contributor: Angel Manuel Rodriguez. A plan of salvation was encompassed in the covenant made by the Three Persons of the Godhead, who possessed the attributes of Deity equally. In order to eradicate sin and rebellion from the universe and to restore harmony and peace, one of the divine Beings accepted, and entered into, the role of the Father, another the role of the Son. The remaining divine Being, the Holy Spirit, was also to participate in effecting the plan of salvation. All of this took place before sin and rebellion transpired in heaven. By accepting the roles that the plan entailed, the divine Beings lost none of the powers of Deity. With regard to their eternal existence and other attributes, They were one and equal. But with regard to the plan of salvation, there was, in a sense, a submission on the part of the Son to the Father. This is a mystery. As sin progressively developed in heaven and later, on earth, so the plan to deal with it was progressively revealedthe divine Beings entered into the roles they had agreed upon before the foundations of the world were laid (see 1 Peter 1:20). Gordon Jenson, Adventist Review, October 31, 1996. Gordon Jenson writes under the subject "Jesus, the Heavenly Intercessor" (Week of Prayer Readings, Oct. 31) that the three persons of the Godhead "accepted roles" in designing the plan of salvation for humankind. That's like writing a dramatic theater play, for which some persons take on specific roles and then, after the performance, change clothes and look as they did before entering the dressing rooms. Of course, the Holy Scriptures are a precipitation of God's involvement with this planet and its inhabitants; many things are said in a human way. But do we honestly believe that it was like this when our salvation was thoroughly planned and set into motion? Distributing roles?

Please, let us be careful in wording the Trinity's initiative in regard to the redemption of humankind. I would still like to cling to the old Nicene Creedcertainly with my Orthodox fellow Christians in mind. Letter written by Herman J. Smit, President Greek Mission, published in the December 26, 1996 issue of Adventist Review. Entirely through Their own initiative, the Godhead arranged for One among Them to become a human being. They did so in order to (1) provide us with our Substitute and Surety, (2) make God's ways plain, (3) restore us to our pre-sin perfection, and (4) settle the debate about God's Justice. At precisely the right time and in the right way, the three Members of the Godhead put into operation a plan They had devised before the world was created. They surrendered a portion of Themselvesthe Divine Sonto become the Saviour of the world. Our Wonderful God, Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide, 4th Quarter 1998, Principal Contributor: Edwin R. Thiele. We are left with no alternative than to accept that Jesus could not have become a literal son of God in eternity He could not be His own son. He clearly accepted that role for the purposes of the Plan of Redemption. Some anti-Trinitarian objectors have claimed that we accuse God of only pretending to be the Father and that Jesus was only pretending to be the Son. Those who make such accusations have obviously blinded themselves from the evidence. Pretending implies deception and God should not be accused of such a practice. Why retreat from the concept that the Members of the Trinity participate in role-playing? Role-playing is not deception. Jesus for example performs many roles in the plan of redemption. Was He really the Angel of the Lord, Michael the Archangel, the Lamb, a Lion, a High Priest, the Rock, and so on? Yes, but not literally so, He fulfilled these roles and it would be absolute foolishness to accuse Him of pretence or deception in doing so. His Sonship can only be figurative. Correspondingly, the Father has not always been the Father. These must have been adopted titles suitable for the parts the Two played in the Plan of Redemption. Max Hatton, The Trinity Doctrine for Seventh-Day Adventists. God is a Trinity and as the Three are the same it did not matter which One came to die for us. What One of them does has the quality of them all doing it. What One feels the Others feel also. This is because They are all part of


the Triune God. You will be interested to know that Ellen White understood this and was able to say: God Himself was crucified with Christ; for Christ was one with the Father. Ellen G. White, The Faith I Live By, page 50. correspondence from Max Hatton. Jesus and the Father are of one substance, one nature, yet not one and the same Person. If you have trouble plumbing the depths of all this, you have lots of company. The deeper you probe the subject, the more keenly you understand the depths of your ignorance. But imagine a situation in which the Being we have come to know as God the Father came to die for us, and the One we have come to know as Jesus stayed back in heaven (we are speaking in human terms to make a point). Nothing would have changed, except that we would have been calling Each by the name we now use for the Other. That is what equality in the Deity means. The Wonder of Jesus, Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide 2nd Quarter 2008, Principal Contributor: Roy Adams.

****** What Angels Knew and Didnt Know ******

Satan was also once in heaven and he knows that the Godhead is a Trinity. Pastor Stephen Bohr, A Few Reflections On The Trinity, Secrets Unsealed Report, May-August 2009, The Father even had to explain to angels the difference between Christ and Lucifer, since both had similar functions. If this could be misunderstood in heaven, it is easy to see why we have problems understanding the Godhead. Dennis Priebe, Amazing Facts.

******* Let Us Make Man In Our Image Trinitarian Love Triangle *******
According to GenesisGod lived in a kind of united community we cannot begin to understand, so we argue about it all the time. God lived within something we call a Trinity, or Godhead, and even then, began to create other beings to love. This Word of Love eventually created this world, handsculpted beings to live on it, personally breathed Life or Spirit into them,


and put itself into some sort of form that could walk and talk with them in the cool of the evening. Love,, Discipleship Resource for Seventh-Day Adventists, 2010. Gods Image In Plurality. And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. The word Our in Genesis 1:26 reveals that the Deity possesses plurality, while the word His in verse 27 reveals that the plurality of God does not cancel out the Godhead's unity. God is triune, three Persons, yet so united they are One. The Nature of Man, Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide, 2nd Quarter 1999, Principal Contributor: Jack J. Blanco. So God created man in His image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. In vs.27 of Genesis, when He is actually creating man, the word bara (created) is used three times. Now God adds something to the life of man that the animals do not possess: His image. And He uses the word bara three times to indicate that man is given the image of each of the three persons of the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. "The Bible and Astronomy," by "Dr. Mart de Groot, Pastor, Irish Mission, Astronomer, former Director of Armagh Observatory, Northern Ireland. In any case, we can infer that both human life and animal life are actually trinities (three components in the logical trinitarian order with each also pervading the whole). However, the human tri-unity will be restored to live forever whereas animals (body, life, breath) will not. Only men and women are in the image of the eternal God. Dr. Henry Morris, Founder & President Emeris of ICR. The Hebrew for man is adam. The passage, rich in meaning, indicates that God split adam into two complementary beings who together would reflect His likeness. God Himself is not a loner, but a loving family. God (Hebrew Elohim, plural) says, ''Let us make man in our image, in our likeness'' (Genesis 1:26). Here's conversation within the Godhead--three Persons, consulting, creating, and working together in harmony. God in relationship created the human in relationship. One part of the image of God is this

relationship of the male and the female. "Another Look at the Battle of the Sexes," by Beatrice S. Neall. Metaphor is what creation is all aboutall artistic and verbal creation, including the first creation, the one in Genesis. God wanted to communicate, to extend the meaning of Himself by creating metaphors of His person . . . He carved out the clearest metaphor of Himselfor more accurately, a metaphor of Themselvesnamely, the human couple. It took two of them to reveal the variety of traits resident in the Trinity. Lourdes E. Morales-Gudmundsson, Adventist Review, October 9, 1997. Before anything else was, God was. According to 1 John 4:8, God is love. Gods love is self-giving love, and so if we think of God in Gods own life, then we may already think in Trinitarian terms, because in order for God to be love, God must love in a self-giving way. I recognize that this is circular reasoning; however, it is because of the revelation of Gods Trinitarian nature through Jesus that John was able to see (and say) that God is love, and (conversely) it was because of Gods love that John was able to see that God was God in Trinity. Thus: when we see the Son through the power of the Spirit, we see also the Father, and see that God truly is love, and is love from all eternity. We must interpret everything around this fact, that God is by nature selfgiving love lived in Trinity from all eternitythe Father loves the Son and the Spirit, the Son loves the Father and the Spirit, and the Spirit loves the Father and the Son. Yet this love, as Moltmann points out, is love of likefor-like, and this love desires to love and be loved by the Othernot because of a deficiency in the love of the Trinity, but rather because of superabundance, because love loves the other. Therefore God creates the Other; but in order for God to create this Other God first creates a space for his Other, and so the God who is the fullness of all in all withdraws into Godself to create space for the Other: from Universal Salvation by Matt Burdette posted in February 2010 on the website Constructing Adventist Theology. Plurality in the Godhead is necessary because God is love. In order for love to exist, there must be someone to love and someone to be loved. Male and female in their partnership reflect this plurality. Like God, it is natural for man and woman to be united in love. Love marks a basic human relationship. Humans live to love and are not complete unless they do so,


whether or not that love is expressed in a marriage relationship. Single people can express love in other ways. After all, Jesus was single For Better Or For Worse, Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide 3rd Quarter 2007, Principal Contributors -Gordon Christo, Ph.D .and Rosenita Christo, M.A. John Ruusbroec, a fourteenth-century pastor, gives a beautiful description of Trinitarian love: The Trinity is the movement of Persons toward a union so profound and so deep that there are no distinctions between the Persons. At the same time there is a continual flowing out into fruitfulnesslove going both ways. It is this ebbing and flowing into union that is the mystery of the Trinity: One yet Three. Ella M. Rydzewski, Adventist Review, February 19, 1998. Had never heard of John Ruusbroec before so did some research. Ruusbroecs mystical theology, while incorporating aspects of the rich theological and spiritual tradition that preceded him, wrote at the beginning of a modern age in which mystical theology changed radically in nature. For Ruusbroec, the divine Persons are subject to an eternal dynamic of procession or out-going from the Father, on one hand, and returning to the shared divine essence, on the other. The human person is called to participate in this continuous ebbing and flowing by leading a life that combines contemplation and charitable activity. Ruusbroec argued that mysticism should be interpreted in terms of a transformation of the human person rather than in terms of an immediate experience of God. from the description of the book, Jan Van Ruusbroec, Mystical Theologian of the Trinity by Rik Van Nieuwenhove.

******* The Son of God & The Cross *******

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with GOD, and the Word was GOD. The same was in the beginning with GOD. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:1-3 Jesus was The Word But notice that there is a Trinity of God mentioned here! A Trinity ! GOD, GOD, and GOD! (Emphasis in original) 2007 Amazing Facts cartoon book What About The Trinity? by Jim Pinkoski with Doug Batchelor and Pastor Anderson, page 25.

While God the Father didnt have a baby boy named God the Son, we use those terms to help understand that the parts of the Godhead are separate yet closely linked, the way a father and son bond together. When sin entered the world, the Trinity already had a plan in place to save humans. They didnt flip a coin to see who would have to go to earth to clean up the mess I dont know how the Trinity decided that it would be Jesus who would come to earth, but I do know that all Three Members of the Godhead have been involved in our salvation from the beginning! The full Trinity made Itself known at the baptism of Jesus: (Matt. 3:16,17 quoted). Steve Case, why was it Jesus?", Signs of the Times, March 2011 In giving the account of Jesus baptism from the gospel of Luke, trinitarian Walter R. L. Scragg wrote in the April 28, 1983 issue of the Adventist Review, The Trinitarian allusions are obvious to minds conditioned to think that way. Jesus had to lower himself into human flesh to be able to die for our sins but Eternal Beings cannot die, especially a GOD who pre-existed the creation of the universe ! So how did GOD arrange it so that GOD could die for us? One of Him decided to lower Himself into human flesh, into a body that could die. 2007 Amazing Facts cartoon book What About The Trinity? by Jim Pinkoski with Doug Batchelor and Pastor Anderson, page 46. Each member of the Trinity suffered at the cross. And it wrenched the heart of Deity to hear the Man of sorrows cry out My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Norman R. Gulley, Cry Of Anguish, Adventist Review, April 9, 2009 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46) were among Christ's last words. Did Jesus suffer the ultimate pain of abandonment by His heavenly family, known by us as the Trinity? Was God angry too? Ella M. Rydzewski, Adventist Review, February 19, 1998. When Jesus hung on the cross, suffering for our sins, every fiber of His being was torn as the eternal relationship with His Father and Spirit was ripped apart. In agony He cried out, My God [for the Father], my God [for the Spirit], why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46). If there had been

only one person in the Godhead, there would not have been this excruciating pain of separation to wring the life out of the heart of Jesus. Doug Batchelor, The Trinity, 2003. Pastor Doug, I wonder if anyone has considered what would happen if GOD was really only ONE BEING, and it had to be GOD THE FATHER who would have come to earth and DIE for lost humanity? What are your thoughts on this? Hmmmmm First of all, God the Father couldnt do it in His present form, His glory would KILL US ALL . . . So lets imagine GOD THE FATHER somehow managed to work that out, so He comes to earth and Lets people PUT HIM ON A CROSS and KILL HIM Ah, then we would have a really BIG problem on our hands ! THIS ONE GOD SUSTAINS THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE ! IF HE WERE TO DIE FOR EVEN ONE MOMENT, THE ENTIRE CONSTRUCTION OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE WOULD COME APART AND CEASE TO EXIST !... YOURE RIGHT ! And that is undoubtably (spelling in original) Why God decided that He would need to be 3 SEPARATE BEINGS! God has always known the END from the BEGINNING And because of His unlimited LOVE, He decided to do it by being a TRINITY ! (Emphasis in original) 2007 Amazing Facts cartoon book What About The Trinity? by Jim Pinkoski with Doug Batchelor and Pastor Anderson, page 47.

******* The Holy Spirit *******

Who is the Holy Spirit? What is that dove? Christians understand it to represent the Holy Spirit, the Third Member of the Trinity. But who is that? God the Holy Spirit is mentioned far less in the Bible than God the Father or God the Son. Yet even though the Spirit often works behind the scenes, His power is awesome and since Jesus ascended to heaven nearly 2,000 years ago, the Spirit has been our connection with heaven. Thats the reason why we need to understand more clearly who He is and what He can do for us. Maylan Schurch, Signs of the Times, December 2009.


OK, heres where it gets really COSMIC and a bit Spacey BECAUSE NOBODY CAN SEE THE HOLY SPIRIT! The Holy Spirit is a Self-Aware member of the ONE TRUE GODHEAD ! The Holy Spirit is able to see things within us on a level that no scientist can measure. There are LOTS of things all around us that we CANNOT SEE So whats the problem with accepting an Invisible God? The Invisible things in the Universe are probably Not Invisible to the Invisible Person of the Godhead ! (Emphasis in original) 2007 Amazing Facts cartoon book What About The Trinity? by Jim Pinkoski with Doug Batchelor and Pastor Anderson, pages 29, 32, 33. Unfortunately, the subject of the Holy Spirit just cannot be grabbed on the run. Although the concept of the Trinity is tough enough for our small minds, the third person of that Trinity is hardest of all to grasp. William Richardson, Adventist Review, December 1995. The Holy Spirit is the generating, moving power of the Godhead by which all creation is formulated, attracted, held in position, and propelled in orbit and circle. The Father's plans, directed by the Son, are materialized by the operation of the Holy Spirit. Thus the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one in effectually carrying out every plan for animate and inanimate creation. In this we see the harmony of the seemingly contradictory statements relative to the Father being the Creator, and the Son being the Creator, and the Holy Spirit. To illustrate; A king builds a palace. He lets a contract to a master builder who executes his plans. The contractor employs an expert mechanic to do the work for him while he directs in its accomplishment. He says to the builder, "This is the way such and such detail should be, " etc. The building is finally completed. Which one of the three actually built the place? The report goes forth throughout the world that the king has built a new palace. The master builder proudly reports to his friends that he had the privilege of building the king's new palace. While the mechanic who placed the material in position and fastened it there to stay, while driving past with a friend, exclaims, "This is the kings new palace. It was my privilege to construct the entire building. I sawed every board, matched every joint, and drove every nail.


So in the construction of the universe, the Father planned, the Son executed, but the Holy Spirit sawed every board, matched every joint, and drove every nail. Adventist evangelist E.H. Huntley. "Why I Am What I Am, Practical, Doctrinal, Historical and Prophetical", pages 85-86 (1905). We know by faith -- the Church tells us, the Bible tells us and we profess in our Creed -- that there is a third Person in the Trinity whom we call the Holy Spirit. Many people now pray regularly to the Holy Spirit. Forty years ago that was not so common. At that time he was often referred to as "the forgotten Person" in the Trinity. International Catholic University website. Question- Why are we never admonished to pray to the Holy Spirit? Answer- We Are! Christs admonition to His disciples was in the form of a prayer: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. - (Matthew 28:19-20) We notice that this prayer concludes with the customary conclusion to our prayers-Amen. We observed that when Christ taught His disciples to pray He taught them to conclude their prayers with Amen. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. - (Matthew 6:13) The sacred words uttered at baptism are also a prayer. This is the reason why it is customary for the officiating pastor to close his eyes as he pronounces this prayer, which is one of the most sacred This is significant evidence that it is appropriate to pray to the Holy Spirit for His intercession on behalf of the members of the fallen human race. Russell & Colin Standish, The Godhead and the Spirit of Prophecy, 2010. Since the biblical doctrine of God is unique, Christian prayer is also unique in a very special way. It operates within a Trinitarian understanding of God. When we pray, we address the Godhead with the faith-conviction that each of Them is actively involved with us as we lift our souls to Him. The Holy Spirit listens to our feeble expressions and articulates them in order to express the real intent of our being (Rom. 8:26). Then the Son mediates them to the Father, who is the object of our prayer (Ps. 5:2), and the Father releases the power we need in response to our request. This specific view

of God provides a theological frame of reference to prayer. Angel Manuel Rodriguez, Ministry Magazine, December 2006. The first Adam came from the hands of the Creator perfect, which included sinlessness and full human capacities. The second Adam, Jesus, came from the hands of the Creator Holy Spirit"that Holy thing"just as much the result of the creative work of God as was the first Adam. Norman R. Gulley, Adventist Review, June 30, 1983. While all this talk about Adam's creation may seem far removed from the temptation of Christ, it becomes relevant when we recall that Christ is, in the typology of salvation, the Second Adam. When setting in motion Christ's public ministry, we again find the Trinity drawing near. Once more, God the Holy Spirit is present--this time flying above the waters of the Jordan; verbal evidence of God the Father's presence comes in an announcement of that which is 'good' ('My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased'); and God the Son, Christ Himself the agent of Creation, draws near once again, this time for the re-creation of humanity. Joel Thomas Ingram, Adventist Review, March 10, 2005. In Genesis 1 v.2 we read that the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. The original meaning conveys more the idea of sweeping or moving rather than being stationary. The Holy Spirit was and is active, executing Gods spoken commands. The Holy Spirit and Me, Fathers House website. The Holy Spirit is the "executive arm" of the Trinity, who remains active while God pronounces each one of his words (referring to Genesis 1:2). My Redeemer website. God the Holy Spirit: This is the Father's Chief Executive Arm-the omnipresent aspect, reaching out like a current flowing from the highest spiritual region (with the Father) through all the planes of creation-the heavens down to the earth and back to the Father, executing God's will everywhere. He is also called the 'water of life' in the Bible or 'nectar of immortality' by Sant Mat mystics. Ekanem Peter Nsikak, The Trinity. The Spirit is the executive arm of the whole company of heaven. This company includes all the generations of the people of Israel, and the gentiles Christ is now adding to them in the Church. The Holy Spirit is the

whole history of the whole people of God, united and at once all present. This totality cannot be broken or divided. Resources For Christian Theology. [T]he Bible makes it clear that change takes place in us through the Creator Holy Spirit, who puts character qualities within us that are spoken of as our partaking of the divine nature. Norman R. Gulley, Adventist Review, October 15, 1981. However, as a Friend, the Holy Spirit still cannot really be predicted. You never quite know how the Spirit will manifest Himself. He has appeared as a dove, in the wind, in silence, and as a sense of deep peaceit could be all of these. The Holy Spirit will surprise you. The Holy Spirit is God, and His purpose is always to lead you to a closer understanding and connection with God and Jesus, the other Two great Powers of the universe. Whenever the Holy Spirit shows up in your life, its a gift of grace from God. He is a Companion who wants only the very best for you. Glenn Townsend, Signs of the Times. March 2010. Jesus likened the Spirit to the wind. He cannot be seen, yet, the effects He brings about in changed human lives are plainly evident. But the Spirit Himself is a mystery. Of the three Persons in the Godhead, He is the most unfamiliar to humanity. Jesus came to reveal, or make known, the Father (see John 1:18), and humanity saw Jesus in human form. But no one has ever seen the Spirit, nor has anyone revealed Him to us. The Holy Spirit, Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide 2nd Quarter 2006, Principal Contributor: Arnold V. Wallenkampf. Jesus set aside His divine powers completely to take on humanity. Not one miracle that He performed or one temptation that He overcame was done with His own power. All that Jesus did, said, and taught came directly from the Holy Spirit. Jesus' divinity never ceased, but He chose to be exactly like usin our need to rely completely on the Holy Spiritto fulfill His mission. He became the perfect human tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit. We, too, can be used by the Holy Spirit as efficiently as Jesus if we learn to fully submit to His leading and to His voice.


Christ's mission was sustained and guided by the Holy Spirit throughout every phase of His earthly life. The Spirit's infinite intelligence, capabilities, and full sympathy with the Divine purpose qualified Him to labor as an equal Partner with the Father and the Son for our redemption. Jesus performed His miracles strictly through the power of the Holy Spirit. Presumably, we have access to the same power, but we rarely, if ever, perform such miracles, or see them performed by others. Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit (1 Pet. 3:18; see also Rom. 1:4, 8:11). God is one, but triune. The three Persons of the Trinity work together. They are intimately united in Their work. Thus, although this text says Jesus was raised from the dead by that Spirit, the other two Persons of the Deity united in resurrecting Jesus. The book of Acts and the writings of Paul have one message that they repeat: We now live in the age of the Holy Spirit, with all that implies. The Day of Pentecost was the equivalent for the Holy Spirit that Bethlehem was for Jesus. Graeme Loftus, The God Who Came To Stay, Signs of the Times, February 2008. The life in the Spirit is controlled by the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit. He is in this chapter (Romans 8) called the Spirit of Christ . . . Redemption In Romans, Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide 3rd Quarter 2010, Principal Contributor: Don F Neufeld. The Holy Spirit is sometimes referred to as the Spirit of Christ. Hatton, The Trinity Vs Semi-Arianism. Max

While the above statement is true, if the Holy Spirit is the third being in a trinity, why doesnt He have his own spirit? The Holy Spirit is never portrayed in Revelation as sitting on a throne, ruling, judging, receiving worship and adoration, or even sacrificing Himself to save fallen humanity. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit has a very important role to play in the plan of salvation. Edwin Reynolds, The Trinity in the Book of Revelation 2006.


"The above brief survey should be helpful to those who are bothered by the fact that as the Plan of Redemption unfolds we see such things as Jesus seated on the throne with the Father but the Holy Spirit is not mentioned. In other words, this is the reason why Jesus, the Redeeming Mediator, is seen in triumph and no mention is made of the supporting Holy Spirit. He is simply not in the view of the Revelator and other Bible writers who are revealing further matters related to the Plan of Redemption. Max Hatton, Ellen G. White and the Holy Spirit. "Christ was himself but one, and lived and died but once; but the Holy Ghost makes of every Christian another Christ, an after-Christ; lives a million lives in every age . . ." Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins quoted by *Philip Yancey* on page 156 of his book Reaching for the Invisible God. *(His books are sold at Adventist Book Centers)*

******* Trinitarian Formula *******

Later when Jesus was preparing to depart planet Earth, he gave his disciples a Trinitarian formula, urging them to, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. It took the brightest minds of the early church almost five centuries to come up with lasting formulations to express the concept of the Trinity. The very word person comes out of that long debate. Theologians borrowed a word---persona in Latin, prosopon in Greek---used for the mask which actors wore on stage in order to express how one Being could be expressed in three persons. Reaching for the Invisible God by *Philip Yancey*, page 126. *(His books are sold at Adventist Book Centers)* The gospel commission commands surrendered souls to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The apostolic benediction (2nd Corinthians 13:14) lists the Three and names Christ first. Paul usually places God the Father first, but here it is reversed. To me this signifies the interchangeableness of the members of the Godhead since they are one in action and purpose. J.R. Spangler, I Believe In The Triune God, Review & Herald, October 21, 1971.


Youll notice that we are to baptize people in the name (singular) of The Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The singular word name represents three divinely equal persons-known to us by the name God and Trinity. We have to remember that we are not omniscient. There are mysteries about God of which we have no knowledge. Thurman Petty Jr., Retired Adventist pastor, (2010). Like light, our One God is revealed in the three distinct persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one (1 John 5:7 NKJV). Doug Batchelor, The Trinity, 2003. In some verses of the Bible the words "in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth" appear in 1 John 5:7, 8 (NKJV). The only problem is they are a later addition, not found in the original manuscripts. Among biblical scholars there is agreement that this statement is not genuine and has been added, probably to support the doctrine of the Trinity. Of course, biblical texts should never be tampered with, for many reasons (Rev. 22:18) one of the most important being that people may start having doubts about the reliability of Scripture as a whole and start to mistrust God's Word. The fact is, even without these words the doctrine of the Trinity is firmly established in Johannine literature. Although the authors of the New Testament believe that God is one, they portray Jesus and the Holy Spirit as God. To reconcile the oneness of God with the divinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the concept of the Trinity is crucial. Johns Epistles, Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide 3rd Quarter 2009, Principal Contributor: Ekkehardt Mueller.

******* Adventist Pioneers *******

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. More specifically, most would not be able to agree to belief number 2, which deals with the doctrine of the Trinity. George R. Knight, Ministry Magazine, October 1993.


Some Adventists have discovered that practically all of our pioneers were anti-Trinitarian and have concluded that the church today should reject the doctrine of the Trinity. The truth is that the Lord guided this movement to a more biblical understanding of God. Today, based on the Bible, we affirm the truth of one God in a plurality of Persons. ngel Manuel Rodrguez, Biblical Research Institute. These criticsms seem to be indicative of a restorationist pulse within Adventism. In other words, it seems that a higher priority is placed upon doctrines previously believed instead of upon progressive truth. While it is true that many of our early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers (especially those with strong Christian Connexion roots like Joseph Bates) saw the Trinity doctrine as unscriptural, it is significant that our church believes in progressive truth. Thus, after 1888 when Ellen G. White along with A. T. Jones, E. J. Waggoner, W. W. Prescott, and others began to focus on a more Christ-centered theology of Adventism, our denomination's theology shifted in such a way that allowed for the acceptance of the Trinity doctrine. Michael Campbell, Adventist History Blog. Our church has made mistakessome pretty big ones. For example, in their quest to distinguish themselves from other religious movements, early Adventists such as James White and Uriah Smith openly challenged the idea of the TrinityJames White going so far as to call it an "absurdity" (see James White, "The Faith of Jesus," Review and Herald, Aug. 5, 1852). But God wasn't through giving answers yet, and each disappointing misconception found sincere people diving back into the Bible for answers, each time coming up with a little more wisdom, a little more understanding, a little more spiritual maturity. It was decades later before the doctrine of the Trinity was universally accepted as truth; today it's considered an indispensable part of our belief system. Melanie Scherencel Hess, Adventist Review, April 17, 1997. Some Adventist pioneers believed Christ was a created being, and did not accept the Trinity. But, guided by study of the Bible and reinforced by the writings of Ellen White, the church long ago corrected these ideas. If we accept Jesus as truly God, the simple monotheism of Judaism has to give way to a broader understanding of deity. God is onebut in three coeternal Persons. This teaching, which stretches our intellectual powers

but which resonates in our life of faith, also is grounded in Scripture and finds strong support in Ellen White's writings. Let's not try to reinvent the theological wheel. Any attempt along those lines leads to a dead endeither in ancient heresy or modern liberalism. William G. Johnsson, Adventist Review, February 15, 1996. "During the Kellogg crisis at the turn of the century, Ellen G. White's advice saved the church from pantheism. At the same time, almost by herself, she led the church from a semi-Arian (a belief that Jesus was not God) to a Trinitarian belief. The Prophetic Gift, Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide 1st Quarter 2009, Principal Contributor: Gerhard Pfandl.

******* Changing the Context *******

"Christians have often been, and sometimes still are, accused of being polytheistsworshipers of more than one God. This is an understandable, but false, accusation. As Christians we admit there are three Persons in the Godhead, but 'they are one in purpose, in mind, in character, but not in person.'Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 422. The Christian religion is not a belief in three separate gods; rather, it is a belief in one God who is manifested in three Persons working in perfect harmony with one another." The Holy Spirit, Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide 2nd Quarter 2006, Principal Contributor: Arnold V. Wallenkampf. The Ministry of Healing, page 422 was quoted above as stating the three Persons in the Godhead are one in purpose, in mind, in character, but not in person. Heres the original quote in context: The personality of the Father and the Son, also the unity that exists between Them, are presented in the seventeenth chapter of John, in the prayer of Christ for His disciples: "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me." John 17:20, 21. The unity that exists between Christ and His disciples does not destroy the personality of either. They are one in purpose, in mind, in character, but not

in person. It is thus that God and Christ are one. Ministry Of Healing, page 422. "One in nature, in character, in purpose," but "not in person," is the way Ellen White describes the three persons of the Godhead. John M. Fowler, Adventist Review, February 13, 1997. Above we have another quote from Ellen White. The reference by Mr. Fowler is listed as Testimonies for the Church, volume 8, page 269. It says the same thing as Ministry of Healing, page 422. Heres another way Mrs. White says the Father and Son are one: The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in his work of beneficence. He had an associatea co-worker who could appreciate his purposes, and could share his joy in giving happiness to created beings. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. John 1:1, 2. Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Fatherone in nature, in character, in purposethe only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God. Patriarchs and Prophets, page 34, par.1

*** The Sabbath School lessons for the 1st Quarter of 2012 focused on the trinity ***
[T]he Adult Bible Study Guide, entitled Glimpses of Our God, by Jo Ann Davidson, will look at God, at various aspects of Him as they have been revealed to us, and at what these things mean for us on a practical level. The lesson study will begin by examining the Trinity: the amazing teaching that God is One God and yet composed of three Persons. Sabbath Gem: Scripture contains references and hints to the deity and unity of the divine Godhead. The distinctions among God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit found in the Bible, must be understood as being the way God is in Himself, however difficult this is for our fallen minds to grasp. Text comes from the back of the 4th Quarter 2011 lesson quarterly The Law In Galatians.


The picture on the Sabbath School Quarterly is difficult to look at. Is this the true God of Heaven? It portrays him as one third a being without body, only visible hands, one third divine being who only has body and parts because he was born a man, and one third bird. Does this image break the 2nd Commandment? See also Romans 1:18-25. Though the word Trinity itself doesnt appear in the Bible, the teaching definitely does. The doctrine of the Trinity, that God is One and composed of three Persons, is crucial because it is dealing with who God is, what He is like, how He works, and how He relates to the world. Most important, the deity of Christ is essential to the plan of salvation. . . The distinctions among God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit found in the Bible must be understood as being the way God is in Himself, however difficult for our fallen minds to grasp. The eternal heavenly dignitaries-God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit, as Ellen G. White calls them (Evangelism, p. 616), are equal but not identical or interchangeable. (Sabbath Afternoon, Dec. 31) God, Christ, and the Holy Spiritare equal but not interchangeable. That statement contradicts the Sabbath School Lesson of 2008:


[I]magine a situation in which the Being we have come to know as God the Father came to die for us, and the One we have come to know as Jesus stayed back in heaven (we are speaking in human terms to make a point). Nothing would have changed, except that we would have been calling Each by the name we now use for the Other. That is what equality in the Deity means. The Wonder of Jesus, Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide 2nd Quarter 2008, Principal Contributor: Roy Adams. The 2012 lesson gives us a "new" definition of tritheism or polytheism. In the doctrine of the Trinity, we do not find three different divine roles displayed by one Person (that is modalism). Nor are there three gods in a cluster (that is tritheism or polytheism). The one God (He) is also, and equally, They, and They are always together, always closely cooperating. The Holy Spirit executes the will of both Father and Son, which is also His will. This is the truth that God reveals about Himself all through the Bible. (Further Study: Friday, January 6) The above quote is found almost word for word in J.I. Packers Concise Theology. In 2005 Time magazine listed Packer as one of the most influential evangelicals in North America. In 2008 Packer wrote an endorsement for a book called Creation or Evolution: Do We have to Choose? by Denis Alexander. The book advocates theistic evolution and is critical of Intelligent Design. The most recent information on Packer's position on evolution comes from his foreword to Reclaiming Genesis by Melvin Tinker. Reclaiming Genesis is a proevolution book with the subtitle The Theatre of God's Glory Or a Scientific Story? In recent years, he has supported the ecumenical movement but believes that unity should not come at the expense of abandoning orthodox Protestant doctrine. Nonetheless, his advocacy of ecumenicism has brought sharp criticism from some conservatives, particularly after the 1995 publication of the book Evangelicals and Catholics Together: Toward a


Common Mission (ed. Charles Colson, Richard J. Neuhaus) in which Packer was one of the contributors. J.I. Packer, wikipedia. Jo Ann Davidson, the principle contributor of the Sabbath School Lessons on the trinity, wrote an article for the March 11, 2011 issue of Adventist World entitled God in Three PersonsBlessed Trinity. This was to address Fundamental Belief #2. As in the Sabbath School Lesson, she again quotes J.I. Packer. The historic formulation of the Trinity . . . seeks to circumscribe and safeguard this mystery (not explain it; that is beyond us), and it confronts us with perhaps the most difficult thought that the human mind has ever been asked to handle. It is not easy; but it is true. Here is another quote from Packer's Concise Theology: All non-Trinitarian formulations of the Christian message are, by biblical standards, inadequate and fundamentally false and will naturally tend to pull Christian lives out of shape. Jo Ann Davidson is assistant professor of theology, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, in Berrien Springs, Michigan. The Adventist Book Center website introduces her book that accompanies the lessons with the following quote: If you have been able to fully comprehend God, you have comprehended something else instead of God. If we have been able to comprehend Him in our thinking, we have deceived ourselves. Augustine Wikipedia has this to share about Augustine: In the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, Augustine is a saint and pre-eminent Doctor of the Church. He is the patron saint of theologians, printers, and brewers. He is also invoked for the alleviation of sore eyes. Augustine took the view that the Biblical text should not be interpreted as properly literal, but rather as metaphorical, if it

contradicts what we know from science and our God-given reason. While each passage of Scripture has a literal sense, this "literal sense" does not always mean that the Scriptures are mere history; at times they are rather an extended metaphor. Continuing with the 2012 lesson: Some early Adventists struggled with the doctrine Trinity. Today, the church has taken a firm stand doctrine. How does this change over time reveal to unfolding nature of truth? (Discussion Questions: January 6) of the on the us the Friday,

Gary Hullquist of had this to say about the unfolding nature of truth question. This is a very interesting and significant expression. Notice what Ellen White said in this regard: In every age there is a new development of truth, a message of God to the people of that generation. The old truths are all essential; new truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it. It is only as the old truths are understood that we can comprehend the new." COL p. 127.4 change over time" that results in a repudiation of the "old truths" is incompatible with the principle stated above. And unfolding of truth must not invalidate the old truth making the new truth independent. Rather, new truth that is an unfolding of the old established truth must build on it, expand it, clarify it.

******* An Egg, Banana and Shampoo *******

Is God a Shy Person? Why didn't God inspire a sculptor to carve from a 10-foot block of pure Italian marble the kindness in His eyes, the fatherly smile on His lips? Why not inspire a fifteenth-century artist to paint an oil portrait of His living features? Why instead did He command that no one even attempt to make images of Him?


This shyness on His part is actually pretty risky. We often fear what we can't seeand that's why, when our family seems to be exploding around us, and when we hear about dying African kids, and when serious illness like cancer brushes close to us, we're afraid and sometimes angry with God. If we could just look into His eyes, or see whether His mouth has a kindly shape Why this shyness? The answer is simple: a portrait or carving of Him wouldn't be accurate. It would make Him too small. It would limit Him to one set of features (if He looked like us, we'd be happy. (If He didn't, we might fear Him or hate Him). A portrait would also hide the fact that He's actually Three Beings In One He's God. Three-in-One? You'll blow a mental microcircuit if you try to figure out how God can be three beings in one. Some have described God as an egg, with its yolk, white, and shell. All these are egg, but the forms and functions are different. Others compare God to water, with its three states: solid (Father), liquid (Son), and gas (Spirit). In one way God is life to us as an electrical outlet is life to a vacuum cleaner. God always honors our choice, whether we want to plug in or not. If we aren't plugged in, there's no life. (But that's not the fault of the electrical outlet!) And if we try to tap into the power in any way except through the outlet, the current will kill us; we can't handle it. A Reason to Believe: What being an Adventist is all about, Maylan Schurch, edited by Chris Blake. In an attempt to make it easier for us to understand, the Trinity has been compared to many things: a braided rope, a three leafed clover, even a banana! Some people suggest that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are like three individuals in a family. Others say it's more like the three roles a single person can play in his life: The same man may be a husband, a father, and a teacher, yet still be the one individual. Trudy Morgan-Cole, April 2007, Signs of the Times. If you're trying to explain the doctrine of the Trinity, show them an egg and ask them to break it open to look at its composition. Ask them, 'How many

parts make up this egg?' Talk about the shell, the yolk, and the white and how they form one unit. Or you may give children three colored strands of yarnred, yellow, and blue. Ask them to braid them together. The three colors blend together to form a complete braid. Explain that the red piece of yarn is like God the Father, who loves us and forgives our sins; the yellow color is like God the Son, who created the world and died on the cross to save each one of us; and the blue is like God the Holy Spirit, who comforts us when we are discouraged and helps us enjoy a happy life by teaching us right from wrong. Three different strands, but they work together as one whole. Linda Mei Lin Koh, Adventist Review, November 22, 2007. [M]y boom box is a radio. I can turn it on, push this button, and I can listen to the radio. My boom box is also a CD player. I can put in a CD, push this button and I can listen to the CD. Finally, my boom box is a tape player. I can put a tape in in this slot, push the play button, and listen to the tape. I only have one boom box, but it is three boom boxes in one! How many Gods are there? That's right! There is only one God, but God is like my boom box, He is one God in three persons! Sermons For Kids. The doctrine of the Trinity is like an egg: three parts, one thing. The doctrine of the Trinity is like a three leaf clover: three leaves, one clover. The doctrine of the Trinity is like water: three forms (ice, steam, liquid) one substance. The Trinity is like 3-in-1 shampoo: three activities, one substance. The Trinity is like a man who is simultaneously a father, son, and husband. The Trinity is like a person who is one, yet has a spirit, soul, and a body. C. Michael Patton, The Trinity is Like 3-in-1 Shampoo and Other Stupid Statements. What analogiessuch as a triangle or a three-pronged forkcan help someone understand the idea of how one God can be composed of three equal Persons? The Holy Spirit, Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide 2nd Quarter 2006, Principal Contributor: Arnold V. Wallenkampf. 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. The Father is like the invisible vapor; the Son


is like the leaden cloud; the Spirit is rain fallen and working in refreshing power. These likenings are all imperfect. They rather hide than illustrate the tripersonality of the one God, for they are not persons but things, poor and earthly at best, to represent the living personalities of the living God. So much they may do, however, as to illustrate the official relations of each to the others and of each and all to us. And more. They may also illustrate the truth that all the fulness of Him who filleth all in all, dwells in each person of the Triune God. [The] Father's own conception of himself is the Son....And in the same way God the Father's own conception of himself, working in the actual process of creating, sustaining, is, himself, his other self so to speak, a real being, truly personal as either himself or his Son, with every attribute, natural and moral, all complete, entire, wanting nothing. And this being, the God 'working all things is the Holy Spirit; and he like the Son, is both coequal and coeternal with the Father.* The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, because from the Father proceed both the Son and the Holy Ghost. And we can see how the three are, each equal to each and to all, for the Son is the Father in all his fulness imaged forth. And the Spirit is the Father working or making manifest the Deity as imaged forth in the Son....For from eternity, God's conception of himself both as embodied and imaged forth in the word, and as working out his own counsels in the created universe, was perfect, and these conceptions were perfectly realized, and were the Son and the Spirit.* William Boardman, 1858, The Higher Christian Life, part 2, chapter 1, *Olshausen in his commentary, vol. ii. p. 310, Am. edition, on John 1:3. All these spiritualistic representations are simply nothingness. They are imperfect, untrue. They weaken and diminish the Majesty which no earthly likeness can be compared to. God can not 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 can not be described by the things of earth. The Father is all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and is invisible to mortal sight. The Son is all the fulness 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 fulness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. Ellen G. White, Special Testimonies Series B No.7, page 62, 1906 (Originally written to address William Boardmans writings, which she quoted.)

******* Trinity Sabbath *******

This Sabbath is referred to as Trinity Sabbath following the one after Pentecost. I found again many interesting things about the history and meaning of the Trinity. I did that homily some time ago. However, as I meditated on the Scriptures for today, I kept going back to the passage we read in Isaiah . . . In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting on the high and lofty judgment seat, in a robe whose train filled the temple. Seraphs were stationed above; each one had six wings. With two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They cried out one to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is JHWH Omnipotent. All the earth is full of Gods glory. La Sierra University Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Liturgical Service, Homilist: Halcyon Wilson. [T]he weekend of May 17 is a time to think anew about the doctrine of the Trinity, recognizing God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Please join the cantor in singing these words to the familiar tune of hymn 12 (Hymn to Joy): Womb of life and source of being, home of every restless heart, In your arms the worlds awakened; you have loved us from the start. We your children gather round you at the table you prepare, Sharing stories, tears, and laughter, we are nurtured by your care. Word in flesh, our brother Jesus, born to bring us second birth, You have come to stand beside us,

knowing weakness, knowing earth. Priest who shares our human struggles, Life of Life and Death of Death, Risen Christ, come stand among us, send the Spirit by your breath. Brooding Spirit, move among us; be our partner, be our friend. When our memory fails, remind us whose we are, what we intend. Labor with us, aid the birthing of the new life yet to be, Free of servant, lord, and master, free for love and unity. Please remain standing and join the cantor in singing a final stanza to the tune of hymn 103: Mother, Brother, holy Partner; Father, Spirit, Only Son; We would praise your name forever, one as three, and three in one. La Sierra University S.D.A. Church, Liturgical Service This past Sabbath was Trinity Sabbath. Trinity Sabbath/Sunday is universally described as one of the most difficult preaching tasks of the year. I concur . . . Adventism is not known for its strong Trinitarian roots. I have learned Trinitarian spirituality from my Christian sisters and brothers of other faiths, not least Orthodox Christians. Pastor Ryan Bell: Hollywood, California Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

******* Random Quotes *******

God has revealed that He is three persons or centers of consciousness within one Godhead. Because the concept cannot be fully comprehended does not mean the doctrine cannot be accurately described or defined; however, precision here requires some technicality. It is important to note here that the Bible teaches both monotheism and trinitarianism. It teaches a monotheistic viewthat there is only one true Godand a trinitarian


viewthat this one true God exists eternally as three persons. What Does the Bible Reveal About the Trinity? by Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr John Weldon. "It is from this perspectives that we, as Christians, can help our Muslim friends to understand the uniqueness of the triune God of the Bible. Rather than wasting time to prove the Trinity - a sublime mystery that transcends any human explanation - we can affirm that the biblical God does not live in solitary aloofness, but in a holy communion of three beings, because He is love. But we need to explain to our Muslims friends that the three Beings of the Godhead are indeed ONE GOD, because they share the same center of consciousness - a mystery beyond human comprehension." Samuele Bacchiocchi, "Islam and The Papacy in Prophecy" Endtime Issues No. 86, 6 July 2002. The great truths given to Adam and his wife, taught to them by angels the truths of creation, Trinity, Sabbath, law, marriage, stewardship, temperance, righteousness by faith in the promise of Godnot only were now believed by some of their children, but now, through Seth's descendants, were taught in worship. Henry M. Wright, Adventist Review, July 5, 1985. The seventeenth chapter of John is alone sufficient to refute the doctrine of the Trinity. J.N. Loughborough, Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, November 5, 1861. "In His prayer for the church Christ asks the Father to keep believers united to Him and to each other as He and the Father are united in the mystery of the trinity (That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. John 17:21). "Ecclesiology and Reorganization: The Oneness of the Church", Angel Manuel Rodriguez. Jesus said, I and the Father are one (John 10:30). Obviously when He was on this earth, Jesus and His Father were two separate Beings, so the oneness He spoke about is spiritual, not physical. There is no text in the Bible that says Jesus and the Holy Spirit are One. However, Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are equally divine, so Jesus and the Holy Spirit are One in the same sense that Jesus and the Father are One. Signs of the Times, September 2008, Your Bible Questions.


You know, I was thinking, when we read in the Scripture earlier, where it says, 'I was as one brought up with him.' [Proverbs 8:30] You know, it's almost like the Father and the Son grew up as twin brothers. There's nothing one has experienced, they've both been since eternity. There's not anything that the one has experienced that the other hasn't experienced. You know, I have an older brother, and he's always experienced things that I haven't, 'cause he was around before I came along. But with twin brothers, that come up together, you know... And that's kinda the way it is with the Father and the Son. Love and The Godhead 2006 audio sermon, Steve Pickett and Jeff Miller, Spencer Seventh-day Adventist Church in Spencer, Indiana.
Even the gospel story illustrates the interdependency of threes. The

sanctuary had three places: the Courtyard, the Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place. There are three stages of salvation: justification, sanctification, and glorification. In Isaiah 6:3, the angels around Gods throne cry Holy, Holy, Holy three timesonce for the Father, once for the Son, and once for the Holy Spirit. Doug Batchelor, The Trinity, 2003. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Gal. 5:22, 23, ESV) the fruit of the Spirit is described in nine elegant virtues. Scholars believe these nine virtues are organized into three clusters of three, but there is little agreement on the significance of their order. Some see an implicit reference to the Trinity in the number three; others believe the three triads reflect the ways in which we should relate to God, to our neighbor, and, finally, to ourselves; and others see the list as essentially a description of Jesus. Although each of these views has some merit, the most significant point not to be overlooked is the supreme importance Paul places on love in the Christian life. The Law In Galatians, Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide 4th Quarter 2011, Principal Contributor: Carl P. Cosaert.


*** The Church has always refused to recognize as Christians those who rejected the doctrine of Trinity ***
Christianity did not become the legal religion of the Roman Empire until the reign of Theodosius I (379-395). At that point not only was Christianity made the official religion of the Empire, but other religions were declared illegal. According to the apostolic teaching and the doctrine of the Gospel, let us believe in the one diety of the father, Son and Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since in out judgment they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give their conventicles the name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of divine condemnation, and expect to suffer the severe penalties which our authority, guided by heavenly wisdom, shall think proper to inflict upon them. Theodosius I quoted by J.N. Loughborough in Image of the Beast January 15, 1861 Advent Review & Sabbath Herald & Theodosian Code XVI.1.2. Cited in Bettenson H, ed., Documents of the Christian Church, London: Oxford University Press, 1943, p. 31. Blasphemy. Polytheism. Indifference. That just about sums up the reaction of history to the doctrine of Trinity. Yet the belief that "there is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three coeternal Persons" is fundamental to our understanding and experience of salvation. John M. Fowler, Adventist Review, February 13, 1997. Every individual must test every teaching by the Bible and personally arrive at an answer. For the church, however, the process is different: the church builds on the foundation of truth already established. While remaining open to new light, we do not need to again leave the fundamentals in doubtthe deity of Christ, the Trinity, the Second Coming, the Sabbath, and so on. William G. Johnsson, Adventist Review, April 18, 1996, page 3.


In the nature of the case, anti-trinitarianism inevitably leads to a radically different system of religion. Historically the Church has always refused to recognize as Christians those who rejected the doctrine of Trinity. Also, historically, every great revival of Christianity down through the ages has been a revival of adhesion to fullest Trinitarianism. It is not too much to say, therefore, that the Trinity is the point on which all Christian ideas and interests focus, at once the beginning and the end of all true insight into Christianity. Loraine Boettner, Studies in Theology (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1980), p. 139.

***** The Bottom of the Glass Down to the Dregs *****

I hesitated to include it, but wanted to show how far we can degenerate spiritually when we dont know the God we worship. As abominable as this quote is, parts that were even more detestable were edited out.

And so, Naomi said to Ruth, When he lies down for sexual intimacy, find out exactly where hes lying down . . Find out where God is lying down. The God of heaven, holy Trinity; they are lying down on earth, in the hope that were going to come and find out where they are, so we can get into some intimate relation with them . . God wants to impregnate you, so it can be said, This holy thing, this thing, this seed that is coming in your stomach is a holy one . . He wants to romance with you. He wants to marry you. He wants to make babies with you . . . So Christ in you can be the hope of glory. He wants you to be intimate with Him. He wants you to uncover His secret places, and say, Im ready! Lets get it on! God wants that with us. And only us women can understand that, because we cherish this; we yearn for this undiluted intimacy!. . . This is what God wants us to be . . . Dr. Hyveth Williams, from a sermon delivered at a women's retreat at the Sligo SDA Church in Takoma Park, Maryland on February 2, 2002. Where did the wicked ideas of Miss Williams originate? When we reflect on our faith it is extremely important to realize that there is only one God, but that in God there are three distinct Persons. There is a question, then, obviously of both unity and multiplicity in God. We must retain both of them.

In order to stress the divine unity the Fathers of the Church emphasized the mutual or reciprocal penetration and indwelling of the three divine Persons in one another. We note among human lovers the drive toward union. Kisses and embraces are manifestations of this drive. The impulse of love towards mutual penetration which we witness among human beings is a faint reflection of the mutual indwelling of the three divine Persons. The doctrine of mutual penetration or indwelling of the three divine Persons was officially taught by the Council of Florence in the fifteenth century. The Council Fathers declared: Because of this unity the Father is entirely in the Son and entirely in the Holy Spirit; the Son is entirely in the Father and entirely in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is entirely in the Father and entirely in the Son (Denzinger 704). In theology this mutual indwelling has been called, since the eighth century, circumincession which comes from the Latin circum-incedere and means to move around in. I have already mentioned the impulse of love towards union. In the Trinity each divine Person is irresistibly drawn, by the very constitution of his being, to the other two. Branded in the very depths of each one of them is a necessary outward impulse urging him to give himself fully to the other two, to pour himself out into the divine receptacle of the other two. Here we find an unceasing circulation of life and love. Thus, since each Person is necessarily in the other two, unity is achieved because of this irresistible impulse in each Person, which mightily draws them to one another. International Catholic University.

******* The Only Way to Salvation? *******

Summary: If we want to deepen our love for the great infinite God we serve and be drawn to worship Him, we first must try to grasp what He tells us about Himself. The Trinity is a mystery, but in Scripture mysteries are deep truths that an infinite God reveals to us on a finite level. Thus, we can safely speak of God only from our knees. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! (Deu_6:4, NKJV). Glimpses of Our God, Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide 1st Quarter 2012, Principal Contributor: Jo Ann Davidson.


When we read THE WHOLE STORY of the Father, the SON, and the HOLY SPIRIT, it is Very Clear they are all ONE GOD ! THE TRINITY ! The Only way for us to be SAVED is to accept JESUS CHRIST as your Lord and Savior, And Accept the HOLY TRINITY ! (Emphasis in original) 2007 Amazing Facts cartoon book What About The Trinity? by Jim Pinkoski with Doug Batchelor and Pastor Anderson, pages 54 & 56.

******* Plain and Simple Truth *******

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: - (Deuteronomy 6:4 KJV) Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell? - (Proverbs 30:4) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. And every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. - (1st Corinthians 8:6; Philippians 2:11; 1st John 4:15) Jesus lifted up His eyes to Heaven and said, Father, this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou has sent. (John 17:1 & 3, paraphrase) Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: - (Matthew 10:32; Luke 12:8) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angelsTo him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. - (Revelation 3:5, 21)


For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6) That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked on, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show to you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we to you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we to you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare to you, that God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleans us from all sin. (1st John 1:1-7)

******* Further Study Resources *******

The July 2011 issue of the SDA publication Signs of the Times wanted to help you tell the world about the God you worship. When you turn to the article on the trinity by Seth Pierce you are greeted with the above


caricature. Why? Whats the big deal if our main focus of who we worship is the mysteriousness of three co-equal, co-eternal Beings? Find out more in the study that asks the question, Do We Worship That Which We Know Not? Related Studies: The Godhead - Studies on the Father, Son & Holy Spirit Living Voice of the Lord's Witnesses The Godhead in Black & White - Direct Quotes from the Pen of Ellen White Links to several other Scripture studies can be found HERE. What else does Sister White have to say about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Another dimension of the trinity mystery in the Seventh-Day Adventist church relates to the contemplative prayer, meditation and spiritual formation movement. Find out more HERE. Maranatha Media is a wonderful ministry that has helped me in my personal journey and research. Another helpful resource for study is the Adventist Archives. To search the writings of Ellen White click HERE. More studies can be found at The Prophet Still Speaks.