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TWO MAJOR GODHEAD MISCONCEPTIONS AMONG SOME IN ADVENTISM!!


PART 2
by Derrick Gillespie In Part 1 of this presentation, I began by saying (emphases supplied): There are two major historical points of contention, which concerns the history of Trinitarianism in Adventism that I would like to shed some light on in this presentation, hoping that it will open some eyes, and put to silence the charges of certain dissidents in Adventism. These two points of contention surround the propositions of certain anti-Trinitarian dissidents in the S.D.A. Church today who declare: 1. That Dr. Kelloggs Living Temple (1903) heresy was all about Trinitarianism and the false teaching that the Holy Spirit is a Person as God is a Person 2. That the views of Willie White on the Holy Spirit reflected the correct position of the majority of Adventists [including Mrs.White] after 1915 [i.e. before the 1931 Trinitarian statement], since he was closest to his mother, E.G. White, and should have been best able to say what his mothers inspired position was on the matter Part 1 dealt quite frankly, and sufficiently (in my opinion), with the first proposition cited above, and showed it to be groundless on many counts. This is the continuation of the presentation and will deal only with the second proposition cited above (in red italics).

WHAT WAS WILLIE WHITES TESTIMONY ON THE MATTER?


Let me allow Mrs. Whites own son, W.C. White himself, to answer the above question in his own words, as shown in his excerpted letter following (see the full content from the original in the Appendix at the end). His main points of contention (debated by many today) will be highlighted in red italics, and then frankly looked at against the background of the clear record of his mothers teachings, as well as tested by the greater Word of God (the Bible). Gross misconceptions about this letter will also be highlighted to show how the truth of the matter has been twisted (by some) in order to unwittingly deceive or disunite the SDA Church today.

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April 30, 1935 Elder H. W. Carr 164 Saxton Street Lookport, New York. Dear Brother Carr: I hold in my hand your letter of January 24. For some month I have so heavily pressed with work connected with manuscripts, which we were preparing for the printer that my correspondence has had to wait. In your letter you request me to tell you what I understand to be my mother's position in reference to the personality of the Holy Spirit. This I cannot do because I never clearly understood her teachings on the matter. There always was in my mind some perplexity regarding the meaning on her utterances, which to my superficial manner of thinking seemed to be somewhat confused. I have often regretted that I did not possess that keenness of mind that could solve this and similar perplexities, and then remembering what Sister White wrote in "Acts of the Apostles," pages 51 and 52, "regarding such mysteries which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden," I have thought best to refrain from discussion and have endeavored to direct my mind to matters easy to be understood. As I read the Bible, I find that the risen Savior breathed on the disciples (John 20:22) "and saith to them 'Receive ye the Holy Ghost." The conception received from this Scripture, seems to be in harmony with the statement in "Desire of Ages", page 669, also Gen, 1:2; with Luke 1:4; with Acts 2:4 and 4:12 also 8:15 and 10:44. Many other texts might be referred to which seem to be in harmony with this statement of "Desire of Ages." The statements and the arguments of some of our ministers in their effort to prove that the Holy Spirit was an individual as are God, the Father and Christ, the eternal Son, have perplexed me and sometimes they have made me sad. One popular teacher said "We may regard Him, (The Holy Spirit) as the fellow who is down here running things." My perplexities were lessened a little when I learned from the dictionary that one of meanings of personality was characteristics. It is stated in such a way that I concluded that there might be personality without bodily form, which is possessed, by the Father and the Son. There are many Scriptures which speak of the Father and the Son and the absence of Scripture making similar reference to the united work of the Father and the Holy Spirit or Christ and the Holy Spirit, has led me to believe that the spirit without individuality was the representative of the Father and the Son throughout the universe, and it was through the Holy Spirit that they dwell in our hearts and make us one with the Father and with the Son. My answer to your second question "Does Sister White's writings anywhere teach that prayer should only be addressed to the Father, or that we should

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not address Christ in prayer, only through the Father," is that I think no. I have not found such teachings in Ellen White's writings I pray that you may have help from heaven in studying that which is necessary to be known and patience to wait for the revelation of that regarding which we are now in some uncertainly. With kind regards, I remain, Sincerely your brother, W. C. White

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTS


Now it must be highlighted first of all that: 1. William C. White, by his own admission, was NOT in a position to be an authority on the question of what his mothers position was on the personality of the Holy Spirit!! He distinctly said this I CANNOT do because he was no scholar, and he never clearly understood her teachings on the matter. In 1915 (20 years before) Willie White confessed to another pioneer: I sincerely wish, Brother Prescott, that I were an educated man, a student (W. C. White to W. W. Prescott, May 7, 1915), and in 1935 (20 years later) he was still humble enough to say the same when it concerns high powered or scholastic issues. Therefore it is evident that anyone who today claims that he was otherwise, and that because he was so close to his mother that he must have understood her position is put to silence by Willie own admission. It will be hereafter shown that Willie was indeed either largely ignorant of much of what his mother had written on the subject, or because of his personal views, which reflected the old school of semi-Arian thought (which he grew up in), he was perplexed that it could not fully match up with his mothers inspired views, which the SDA Church was being gradually led to adopt (to reflect the full truth of the Bible) 2. After admitting his lack of authority on the matter, what Willie White then proceeded to do was to give his opinion on the issue, which could not be declared as authoritative, but was reflective of the views of some in Adventism at the time. His view, while respected, should never be considered the final authority (even if he was Mrs. Whites son), UNLESS IT STANDS THE TEST OF THE TWO-FOLD TEST OF TO THE LAW [THE BIBLE] AND TO THE TESTIMONY [PROPHETIC INSIGHTS OR THE SOP]. See Is. 8:20. WHAT WAS WILLIE IGNORANT OF, OR PROBABLY PERPLEXED BY? Now Willie, despite an Adventist, was clearly not (even in 1935) yet doctrinally a part of those whom F.M. Wilcox declared in 1913: Seventh-day Adventists [not just myself] believe [now] in ... the Divine *TRINITY. This Trinity consists of the Eternal Father the Lord Jesus Christ [and] the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead -F. M. Wilcox (editor of Review and Herald), *Review and Herald, October 9, 1913 3

Mrs. White not censoring F.M. Wilcox for this announcement, but then subsequently entrusting him with guarding her estate and her writings (of all things) clearly speaks to the fact that he was not a heretic!! However, it is clear that Mrs. White allowed even her own son to think for himself on the matter (and probably left him to decide in his own time whether Trinitarianism was the way to go). So in 1935 he was still grappling with this matter, and clearly did not see it the way of W.W. Prescott, F.M. Wilcox, M.L. Andreasen, A.G. Daniells, Knox, among others who became Trinitarian before 1915. However these men felt they had enough evidence from Bible study, and SOP testimony to abandon the old position that the Holy Spirit is not as Person as God is a Person. Willie, in the cited 1935 letter, tried to present the semi-Arian stance (from the old days), that the word personality can mean characteristics of a person, hence the Holy Spirit could be seen as the personality (the characteristics) of the Father and Son without being a Person (being) Himself. However the following evidence cannot be discounted, which shows his views to be less than correct on the matter of the personality of the Holy Spirit: 1. His mother had written the following which might have perplexed him because it could NEVER match up with his semi-Arian thinking: The Holy Spirit is as much a person as God is a person -Manuscript 66, 1899;Avondale College speech in Australia Why? Because the word as is very potent, as so the Spirit was compared with God the Father as a person (or personal being) by Willie Whites own mother, and thus was said to be a person or being in that same way. In addition whenever you pair or group anything or set of things and describe them the same way then it means all in the group, individually, are the same in the basic or fundamental way. Hence you cannot take out one member of the group and make it/him dissimilar in a fundamental way. The Holy Spirit is grouped with two others as one of (in Mrs. Whites own words) three living persons, three great personal Dignitaries, and since the other two are indeed (note the words chosen) living persons in the true sense, the Holy Spirit is also logically said by her to be the Third Person of the Godhead of three. This Third Person of the Godhead expression was a much-repeated statement by Mrs. White in several publications WHILE SHE WAS ALIVE. The Holy Spirit is the [specific] Third [i.e. numerically and individually distinct] *PERSON of the Godhead and not just the personality or characteristics of another, in the secondary sense. Notice now the following bombshell quote from Adventisms leading pioneer (compared with what she said elsewhere), and for a moment think about her KNOWINGLY expressing this statement. Was she confused? Even if it was recorded once, does that lessen its impact or intent? You are baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. You are raised up out of the water to live henceforth in newness of life--to live a new life. You are born unto God, and you stand under the sanction and the power of THE THREE HOLIEST *BEINGS IN HEAVEN, who are able to keep you from fallingWhen I feel oppressed, and hardly know how to relate myself toward the work that God has given me to do, I just *CALL UPON THE THREE GREAT WORTHIES, and say; You know I cannot do this work in my own strength. You 4

5 must work in me, and by me and through me, sanctifying my tongue, sanctifying my spirit, sanctifying my words, and bringing me into a position where my spirit shall be susceptible to the movings of the Holy Spirit of God upon my mind and character. And this is the prayer that every one of us may offer. . . -E.G. White, Manuscript Release, Vol.7, pgs. 267, 268 (Ms 95, 1906, pp. 8-12, 14-17; "Lesson from Romans 15," October 20, 1906.) Since the words persons, personalities, and beings are synonymous (dignitaries underscores that too), then no wonder Mrs. White qualifies what she meant by further saying elsewhere: The Holy Spirit HAS [note has, not is] a personality He must *ALSO be A DIVINE [Godhead]*PERSON [an individual being] else He could not search out the secrets, which lie hidden in the mind of God - E.G. White- Evangelism, pg. 617 Notice, the Spirit does not just know, but by an inseparably close association with God, He is able to search out the secrets of the Godhead. He then speaks what He hears, note, what He hears, not just what He knows, John 16:13,14. Notice also Mrs. White directing prayer to Him, just like Father and Son. He was therefore irrefutably said by Willie Whites mother to be ONE OF: The Three Holiest *Beings in heaven -Manuscript Release, Vol. 7, pgs. 267-268 The Three Persons [of the Godhead] - S.D.A. Bible Comm., Vol. 6, pg.1074 The Heavenly *Trio [group of three persons] of Three *Living Personalities/Persons -Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7(1905), pgs. 62, 63 The Eternal [existing always] Heavenly Dignitaries [high ranking persons] Evangelism, pg. 616 The Three Dignitaries and Powers of Heaven -S.D.A. Bible Comm., Vol. 6, pg. 1075 The Three Great Agencies - S.D.A Bible Comm., Vol. 6, pg. 1102 The Three Highest Powers in Heaven Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7(1905), PG. 51 [the three] Powers infinite and omniscient - S.D.A. Bible Commentary, Vol. 6, pg. 1075 So while Willie could have been in uncertainty about the word person, his mothers words, three holiest BEINGS (if he was aware of this manuscript at the time), should have made it clear to him what she meant by the Holy Spirit being a Person as God is a Person, that is, He is also a Divine Person [who] has a personality. She meant 5

6 the word person to carry all the meaning of the word being, as the 1828 Websters Dictionary of American English (of Mrs. Whites time) clearly shows below.
Person PERSON, n. per'sn. [L. persona; said to be compounded of per, through or by, and sonus, sound; a Latin word signifying primarily a mask used by actors on the state.] 1. A person is a thinking intelligent beingan individual 2. A man, woman or child, considered as opposed to things, or distinct from them. In person, by one's self; with bodily presence; not by a representative.

Willie totally ignored (it seemed) the Dictionary equating the expression a person with a being, because (in my humble opinion) it is natural to the human nature that we are more comfortable (experiencing less perplexity) when our preconceptions seem to find support some way, somehow. So he chose a secondary meaning of the word over its primary meaning, and (and I am guessing here) preferred to ignore the fact that parallelism in meaning cannot be ignored if his mother saw the Holy Spirit as ONE OF Three Holiest Beings in heaven. I will give allowance for the fact that he probably was not aware, at the time, of the manuscript, which had this beings quote (only probably later becoming aware, if any at all). But God, I am sure works with us based on our knowledge and understanding. Who am I to judge Willie Whites honesty, integrity, doctrinal purity, or Christian love for the truth? But I am a free agent endowed with the freedom to determine truth for myself, and will not parrot the thinking of even Willie White who was not blessed with SOP insights as his mother was. Thus his take on the issue could never, by any stretch of the imagination, be seen as the lesser light leading to the greater light of Gods Word, the Bible!! 2. The Biblical evidence that the Holy Spirit is a being, but always in association with Father or Son, will now show Willies less than scholarly response to the issue.
The Holy Spirit Is God A. Equated with God, but is separate from Him: Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 3:1718; Rev. 1:4; Is. 48:16 B. Has the attributes of God 1. Eternal: Heb. 9:14 (thus co-eternal with God) 2. 2. Omnipresent: Psa. 139:7 3. 3. Omniscient: 1 Cor. 2:10-11 C. Involved in all the works of God 1. Creation: Gen. 1:2; Psa. 104:30

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2. Sending the Messiah: Is. 48:16 (or Father and Spirit acting together, thus disproving Willies view that no text ever shows Father and Spirit acting together; just Father and Son) 3. 3. Incarnation: Matt. 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35 4. 4. Resurrection: Rom. 1:4; 8:11 5. 5. Salvation: Rom. 8:1-27 D. Is a spirit person (being) - who can assume human form, or dove form **Acts 13: 2, 3 (Ez. 8:1-5) 1. a. Is another Helper: John 14:16, cf. 1 John 2:1; note also that "Helper" (parakltos) was used in Greek always or almost always of persons, and allos, the Greek word for another usually means numeric distinction (not like heteros, which means difference of nature or form). Jesus did not use heteros. b. Was sent in Jesus' name, to teach: John 14:26 (just like Jesus was sent in His Fathers name, but was separate from Him). NOTE: JESUS PROMISED TO COME BACK ONLY A SECOND TIME, TO EXECUTE JUDGEMENT AND GIVE REWARDS, NOT A THIRD TIME (AFTER COMING BACK LITERALLY AS THE HOLY SPIRIT, AS SOME FALSELY BELIEVE) c. Will arrive, and then bear witness: John 15:26-27. d. Is sent by Christ to convict of sin, will speak not on his own but on behalf of Christ, will glorify Christ, thus exhibiting humility: John 16:7-14 just like Christ did (John 12:49, 50). 2. Can be lied to and grieved: Acts 5:3; Eph. 4:30 3. Can make decisions, judgments: Acts 15:28; 1 Cor. 12:11

THE FOREGOING BIBLICAL EVIDENCE IS FAR FROM EXHAUSTIVE, BUT IS SUFFICIENT AT THIS POINT TO SHOW WHY MANY PIONEERS (QUOTED NEXT) DID NOT FEEL THE SAME WAY AS WILLIE WHITE, NO MATTER IF HE WAS MRS. WHITES SON!! THUS THEY RECANTED THEIR EARLIER POSITION.
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It seems strange to me now [In 1898], that I ever believed that the Holy Spirit was only an influence, in view of the work he does. But we want the truth because it is truth, and we reject error because it is error, regardless of any views we may formerly have held, or any difficulty we may have had, or may now have, when we view the Holy Spirit as a person. Light is sown for the righteous. Satan's scheme is to destroy all faith in the personality of the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,also in his own personality... Let us beware lest Satan shall lead us to take the first step in destroying our faith in the personality of this person of the Godhead,the Holy Ghost. -R.A. Underwood The Holy Spirit a Person, Review and Herald, Vol. 75, May 17, *1898, pg. 310 He [the Holy Spirit] is more than an emanation from the mind of GodHe is included in the apostolic benediction [alongside the Father and Son- 2 Cor. 13:14], and is spoken by our Lord [Jesus] as acting in an independent and personal capacity [John 16:13, 14 - thus is not just the Person of the Father] as Teacher, Guide, and [ another] Comforter. He [the Holy Spirit] is an object of veneration [from Latin, venerari- to worship] and is a heavenly intelligence [singular] everywhere present and is always present. -G. C. Tenny, To Correspondents, Review and Herald, Vol. 73, June 9, 1896, pg. 362

SUMMARY What the Holy Spirit is, most assuredly, is indeed a mystery, but that should not be confused with WHO he is. God, the Father, was also described in the same way by SOPwhat He is, is a mystery- In regard to the personality and prerogatives of God, where He is, and what He is, this is a subject which we are not to dare to touch (FLB, pg. 42). We are not even to dare to touch that subject. Do we then presume to reduce God then to a thing, because we know not what He is, apart from Him being spirit? Certainly not. We know WHO He is, that is, He is the First Person of the Godhead, among a group of three Holiest Beings in Heaven. Why should we suddenly change the rules for the Holy Spirit simply because we know not what He is? Enough said. The blindest person is he who will not see. God bless! See the Appendix below, for the full letter which was analyzed in this presentation. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------APPENDIX
April 30, 1935 164 Saxton Street Lookport, New York. Dear Brother Carr: I hold in my hand your letter of January 24. For some month I have so heavily pressed with work connected with manuscripts, which we were preparing for the printer that my correspondence has had to wait. In your letter you request me to tell you what I understand to be my mother's position in reference to the personality of the Holy Spirit. Elder H. W. Carr

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This I cannot do because I never clearly understood her teachings on the matter. There always was in my mind some perplexity regarding the meaning on her utterances, which to my superficial manner of thinking seemed to be somewhat confused. I have often regretted that I did not possess that keenness of mind that could solve this and similar perplexities, and then remembering what Sister White wrote in "Acts of the Apostles," pages 51 and 52, "regarding such mysteries which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden," I have thought best to refrain from discussion and have endeavored to direct my mind to matters easy to be understood. As I read the Bible, I find that the risen Savior breathed on the disciples (John 20:22) "and saith to them 'Receive ye the Holy Ghost." The conception received from this Scripture, seems to be in harmony with the statement in "Desire of Ages", page 669, also Gen, 1:2; with Luke 1:4; with Acts 2:4 and 4:12 also 8:15 and 10:44. Many other texts might be referred to which seem to be in harmony with this statement of "Desire of Ages." The statements and the arguments of some of our ministers in their effort to prove that the Holy Spirit was an individual as are God, the Father and Christ, the eternal Son, have perplexed me and sometimes they have made me sad. One popular teacher said "We may regard Him, (The Holy Spirit) as the fellow who is down here running things." My perplexities were lessened a little when I learned from the dictionary that one of meanings of personality was characteristics. It is stated in such a way that I concluded that there might be personality without bodily form, which is possessed, by the Father and the Son. There are many Scriptures which speak of the Father and the Son and the absence of Scripture making similar reference to the united work of the Father and the Holy Spirit or Christ and the Holy Spirit, has led me to believe that the spirit without individuality was the representative of the Father and the Son throughout the universe, and it was through the Holy Spirit that they dwell in our hearts and make us one with the Father and with the Son. My answer to your second question "Does Sister White's writings anywhere teach that prayer should only be addressed to the Father, or that we should not address Christ in prayer, only through the Father," is that I think no. I have not found such teachings in Ellen White's writings. Your third question "Does she anywhere tell what the power is that "shall plant tabernacle of His palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain" I must answer in the same way. I think not. We have not found any statement regarding this in Sister Whites writings nor do we remember any statement made orally in our presence. Enclosed with this brief and unsatisfactory letter, you will find our News Letter of April 4. I pray that you may have help from heaven in studying that which is necessary to be known and patience to wait for the revelation of that regarding which we are now in some uncertainly. With kind regards, I remain, Sincerely your brother, W. C. White WCW: lfv.