- The advertisments for Light On the Dark Side of God are now serving on YouTube and Facebook for a 30-day test. I will have a report for you at the end of the 30 days. In light of prophecy I believe this situation calls for earnest prayer by God's people. Won't you join me in praying that these ads will result in God's will for this moment in history? Following is a note I received from Google: "Also, Marilyn, I would like to inform you that the ad (Video Ad #1) serving live on the Google Network is performing well and has received over 2300 impressions and 879 views in the current week i.e between October 13-October 17, 2019."
- My efforts not to use the word "Trinity" have failed in light of the fact that the word is in the title of the Nontrinitarians, and it defies all my creativity to figure out how to work around it.
# # # # # #
"Old controversies which have apparently been hushed for a long time
will be revived" [(SpTAO 38.1. See also 2SM 109.2; 341.2; 1MR 47.3, 11.1;
Ms 32-1896 (December 6, 1896) par. 15; 3SM 419.3; GCDG, 3/2/1888.1;
Ms 27-1892 (February 18, 1892) par. 3; TM 116.2; RH 8/31/1897.7;
Lt132-1898 (December 29, 1998) par. 10; Ms3-1899 (January 25, 1899) par. 1;
Ms142-1901, par. 15; Ms143-1901, par. 71; Ms130-1906 (January 3, 1906) par. 1]
I do not hate or even dislike Nontrinitarians. In fact, they have done us a service in calling attention to our confusing view of the Godhead. I have recently been watching some videos that are arguably the best statement of the Nontrinitarian position and, while they haven't moved me from my belief in Godhead, they have made me realize some facts, which, when known, may make a way for reconciliation, where healing of this rift may be possible. That is the goal of this writing.
Contrasting Godhead Views
Nontrinitarians treat the Catholic view of the Trinity and the Adventist view as if they were one and the same. They are not. In contesting this issue they are taking aim at the Catholic/Strawman view-- not the Adventist/Biblical view. In altering his position re: the Godhead, in 1876, James White said, "S. D. Adventists hold the divinity of Christ so nearly with the Trinitarians that we apprehend no trial here"1 (emphasis supplied). Does this indicate a difference between the Catholic view and what we believe as Protestants? According to James White, the positions are "nearly" alike, yet different. Adventism needs to make its views regarding the Godhead better known throughout the church to prevent uprisings such as the present one from occurring.
What is that difference? Catholics see in their Trinity a bizarre creature with one body and three heads. In that way I suppose Catholics feel that they have satisfied both the "one God" criteria and the "three Persons" criteria that they see in the Word. This seems to be what the Nontrinitarians are opposing. They are right to oppose this; I oppose it too.
However, we must be careful not to exchange one false view for another. This is not, nor has it ever been, the Adventist/Biblical view, which sees in this Biblical "one" the plural one, which means that the Heavenly Trio is composed of three (or more than one) Persons, totally unified in one Godhead. The plural one is definitely taught in Scripture, and embracing it clears up virtually all relevant misunderstandings.
"One" is a beautiful choir working together to bring forth a lovely song. It is a husband and wife working together to build a good life in this world. It is God's people working together to bless the world in His name. And it is the three magnificent Persons of the Godhead working together to bring His children home. They have different roles, but they are united in purpose as one.
We were made in God's image. Therefore, God reflects our image. We look like Him. We have a similar frame.2 Can we see ourselves as one body with three heads? We don't need the false one-God hierarchy theory to answer for us the riddle of how three Persons become numerically one. If the Nontrinity view is correct and God the Father is the numeric-one God, then what do we do with Jesus? Where does He fit in? Nontrinitarians would say, because He is of the Father, He is included in the Godhead. We can worship Him as God. Let me announce an "uncomfortable" truth to some. That makes two Persons in the Godhead. And we are back where we started with an extra Person in the Godhead. To correct that "error" and to maintain singular oneness in the Godhead, we will soon be asking Jesus to step down from His lofty throne to the place where He is no longer Deity at all. That's where we are headed if we continue on this path. Ergo, if there is one God and He is the Father, it follows that Jesus is pushed out of the Deity and lowered to the place where He is not God, because there is only room for one.
Didn't the Father say, "Let all God's angels worship him,"3 indicating that among the Heavenly Trio no jealousy rises as to which is first. Notice that it is the Father saying this. Does He seem like Someone who would contend for His rights? seek the pinnacle? eldow His way to the "top spot"? No. He urged the angels to worship the Son. Worship, as you know, is reserved only for Deity.4 The Father knows nothing of hierarchy; He thinks in terms of equal Deity.
Don't laugh--but I compare the Heavenly Trio to a pie. If I hold up the pie before you, you see one pie. But if I cut the pie in three equal pieces, it is now one pie in three pieces. This humble metaphor does not prove anything. But perhaps it can help us to better understand our three-in-one God.
Jesus is Jehovah/Yahweh
Comments in Nontrinitarian literature regarding John 8:58, "[B]efore Abraham was, I AM," are scarce [I don't remember seeing it in the videos I reviewed]; however, one person on my email list pointed me to a place in their online literature which explains this text away. Now, why would Jesus say this (and why would John feel it important enough to record), if it could be so easily explained away? Regrettably, at present limitations of time and space preclude a thorough exegesis of this document. Perhaps that is a blog for another time. But that online document does not explain away the comparisons between the Old and New Testaments which support what Jesus said in John 8:58, describing Himself as Yahweh, the self-existent One. (See my previous blog.) John 8:58 expands our understanding of Jesus' "origins." Was He "begotten," as the Bible says and that explains His origins? In other words, did He have a beginning? Nontrinitarians would answer Yes; He was begotten. However this text, John 8:58, plus the many other places pointed out in my last blog answer No. He was eternally pre-existent and did not have a beginning. This question is critical and cannot be ignored. For if He were "produced" in some way by the Father, life would not be native in Him; like us, He would depend for life upon someone else--the Father. He could not have declared when resurrecting Lazarus that He is "the resurrection and the life."5 He could not have said, "I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again."6 In short, He would not have life in Himself to give to the redeemed, if He were dependent on the Father for it. But if He is Jehovah/Yahweh, the self-existent one, He would possess native life in Himself to share with the blood bought citizens of His eternal kingdom.
"He who has the Son has life."7 It is His life, which He shares with those He saves. That's what makes the gospel work. It all depends on each member of the Godhead, each Person engaged in the work of redeeming, having life to which none is indebted to the other. It is intrinsic to each.
If My Neighbor Believes It . . .
Nontrinitarians probably don't realize how much they lean on other's opinions in promoting their views. I sat through hours of explanations in which one after another great men of the past were paraded before me, giving their support for Nontrinitarianism. The unacknowledged philosophy behind this approach is to say, If my neighbor believes it, that makes it right, and I believe it too. But can I stake my salvation on what others believe? If we claim to believe only what the Bible teaches, our knowledge must arise from Scripture alone.
The same can be said for the many statements in Scripture that Jesus is the Son of God. I believe these statements by faith. I do not understand why or how, but I believe it now as I have always believed it and am content to wait until we gather around the throne in heaven to hear from my Savior just how He is the Son of God. The multiplicity of quotations that Jesus is God's Son does not oblige me to believe that Jesus had a beginning simply because He is the Son of God, especially if other texts contradict it. In other words, Nontrinitarians are ignoring an entire set of quotations because they don't understand how He became the Son, unless He were "begotten" (a term they don't seem able to define as it relates to this issue), hurling us into a quagmire of muddled theology and confusion. I will wait until eternity to understand.
But if we are going to lean on the opinions of men to support our beliefs, let me tell you a little anecdote about "M. L. Andreasen, who had become an Adventist just four years earlier at the age of eighteen, and who would eventually teach at the church 's North American seminary. [He] claimed that the new concept was so different from the previous understanding that some prominent leaders doubted whether Ellen White had really written it. After Andreasen entered the ministry in 1902, he made a special trip to Ellen White's California home to investigate the issue for himself. Ellen White welcomed him and gave him 'access to the manuscripts.' He had brought with him 'a number of quotations,' to 'see if they were in the original in her own handwriting.' He recalled: I was sure Sister White had never written, 'In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived.' But now I found it in her own handwriting just as it had been published. It was so with other statements. As I checked up, I found that they were Sister White's own expressions.
"Desire of Ages contained equally uncompromising statements regarding the deity of the Holy Spirit. Repeatedly it employed the personal pronoun "he" in referring to the Holy Spirit, climaxing with the impressive statement, 'The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this, the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail. . . . Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power (emphasis supplied).'"8
If we want to jettison our belief in the Godhead in favor of the antitrinity view, we must also jettison Ellen White's work along with it. And where would we be without Ellen White's work that we call the Spirit of Prophecy?
Where War Broke Out
War broke out in heaven, when Lucifer and his supporters went about fomenting discord among the angels. Among other accusations they said that Jesus was no better than Lucifer, so why should He get to sit with the Father on His throne and not Lucifer? There is a connection between what Lucifer's supporters held and what the Nontrinitarians hold today. This is a subtle effort to diminish Jesus in human eyes, and it is the reason the Father called the citizens of heaven together in a great convocation to tell them that Jesus was equal with Him and therefore qualified to sit with Him on His throne.
In reviewing those videos I noticed that occasionally a word would slip in: Jesus was subordinate to the Father9 and like phrases. Let me give a word of warning to the dearly beloved Nontrinitarians. You are standing on dangerous ground. You are now standing where angels once stood in the courts of heaven--standing in the Valley of Decision as Earth's probation gradually fades away. Which way will you go? Fully half of the angels followed Lucifer in believing Jesus had no right to sit with the Father on His throne. In heaven the angels who changed their minds now heave a great sigh of relief that they came back, stayed with the Father who had never harmed them, because the next logical step down is that Jesus isn't God, and if He isn't God, you need not--must not--worship Him. Is that any way to treat your Savior, who ransomed you with His own life's blood?
When that convocation was over, Lucifer's supporters were reduced from 50 percent to 33 percent. Don't you suppose those angels that, by faith, came back to God with the flames of rebellion no longer burning in their hearts, thank God every day of their lives that they came back?
1 RH 11/29/1877.
2 With the exception of the Holy Spirit, who seems not to have a form but can appear in any form; i.e., a dove at the baptism of Jesus.
3 Hebrews 1:6.
4 Revelation 19:10
5 John 11:25.
6 John 10:18.
7 1 John 5:12.
9 (Of course He is subordinate! And the Father is subordinate to Him. Likewise the Holy Spirit is subordinate to the Father and Son. Subordination is the principle of heaven! But I don't think the Nontrinitarians had that in mind.)