Chapter 1

Agitate, Agitate, Agitate

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All the evidence in this book has one beneficent purpose, which is to help the reader discover how cruel the deception is that we have been taught to believe. Once the truth is realized, there will be a deep, abiding joy in the brilliant gems of biblical truth that have been hidden from our view for too long.

God’s prophet has given this counsel: “For years the voice of God has been saying to us, ‘Agitate, agitate, agitate.’ Study every point of truth, that you may know for yourselves what is truth in distinction from error.” (SSW, April 1, 1892)

So what is the cruel deception that our church has embraced and now teaches? It is contained in our current published Fundamental Beliefs. It is a doctrinal belief that has rejected and entirely replaced Adventism’s former published Fundamental Principles concerning the Godhead—biblical principles or beliefs held almost unanimously by our pioneers. It rejects a literal reading of the Bible, which the Holy Spirit through Ellen White commended to us, which is how the pioneers read and understood God’s Word. Instead, it espouses a doctrinal position that is not plainly stated in the Bible and is not “new light,” which builds upon earlier understanding, but a completely “new view.” That “new view” is the trinitarian concept of three self-existent, coeternal, coequal Gods being the “one God” of the Bible. A doctrine of three Gods is obviously tritheism, so, to avoid that charge, it is claimed that they are inseparably all one God. To sustain that view, it has been necessary to develop a new biblical understanding (hermeneutic) of who God is and how our salvation is accomplished. That new interpretation of God’s Word is this: The “oneness” of Father and Son, according to the new view, is not only in character and purpose, but also numeric. Also, on our behalf, the three nameless, equally sovereign Gods are acting out temporary metaphorical roles of “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit” in the plan of redemption for humanity. No one knows for sure how atonement for God’s broken law could have been accomplished in reality by a metaphorical Son who was really a sovereign God who couldn’t die. Nor is it plain how one of the three Gods supposedly died on the cross when all three are claimed to be inseparable—hence their “oneness.” This supposed role-playing will allegedly persist until the end of the great controversy. Nobody knows what will happen when it’s all over, so far as the “real” Gods behind those roles are concerned. Any answer would continue the speculation. And, of course, being coeternal, there cannot be a true heavenly Father existing before His Son. The tender and true Father-Son oneness spoken of so often in Scripture is claimed to be only metaphorical and only temporary. And what of the promise that we may become sons and daughters of God? Is that also mere metaphor and also limited to the duration of the great controversy, since there supposedly is no true heavenly “Father”?   

What did our pioneers believe in this regard?

Our pioneers were almost unanimously non-trinitarian. What does that mean? It means that they believed the literal biblical revelation of one eternal, Almighty God the Father and His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, and that the Holy Spirit is the omnipresence of the Father and the omnipresence of the Son. These topics will be discussed in detail in other chapters.

Is there proof that they held a non-trinitarian position?

Most Trinitarians acknowledge that our pioneers were non-trinitarian. Evidence can easily be found in the book titled The Trinity (2002), written by three Andrews University professors: Woodrow Whidden, Jerry Moon, and John W. Reeve. Jerry Moon, a respected Adventist historian, wrote on page 190, “That most of the leading SDA pioneers were non-trinitarian in their theology has become accepted Adventist history….” 

On page 191, he stated, “From about 1846 to 1888 the majority of Adventists rejected the concept of the Trinity—at least as they understood it. All the leading writers were anti-Trinitarian.…”

Moon addressed the dilemma the church has found itself in since its adoption of the Trinitarian doctrine in 1980. A deepening doctrinal divide hinges on two possible, startling realizations: “… Either the pioneers were wrong and the present church is right, or the pioneers were right and the present Seventh-day Adventist Church has apostatized from biblical truth.” (Ibid., 190)

The three Andrews University professors believe the pioneers were in error, but let’s reason this out. In those forty-two years from 1846 to 1888, Sister White had numerous visions from God. If their position on the Godhead was incorrect—in other words, if they didn’t understand who our God is—don’t you think the Holy Spirit would have directed her to correct their view?

So what does the conference church say today about our denomination’s original understandings?

From the Adventist Review of January 6, 1994, we can read, “Adventist beliefs have changed over the years under the impact of ‘present truth.’ Most startling is the teaching regarding Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord…. The Trinitarian understanding of God, now part of our fundamental beliefs, was not generally held by the early Adventists.”

And in Ministry magazine, October 1993, page 10, we read, “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.”

What does the Spirit of Prophecy say about “new views”?

“Personality,” according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, is “that which constitutes an individual a distinct person.” It is what makes each of us who we are—our character, our personal identity. Mrs. White wrote that those who would promote new views “concerning the personality of God or of Christ” do not see clearly; they are as “blind men.” “Those who seek to remove the old landmarks are not holding fast; they are not remembering how they have received and heard. Those who try to bring in theories that would remove the pillars of our faith concerning the sanctuary or concerning the personality of God or of Christ, are working as blind men. They are seeking to bring in uncertainties and to set the people of God adrift without an anchor.” (MR 760 [1905])

God’s prophet also wrote this: “…The truth of God is not in harmony with the traditions of men, nor does it conform to their opinions. Like its divine Author, it is unchangeable, the same yesterday, today, and forever. Those who separate from God will call darkness light, and error truth. But darkness will never prove itself to be light, nor will error become truth.” (5T 62)

Today it is said that the pioneers were in error. If that is true, then it is saying that God misled Ellen White and the pioneers. It is saying that the Spirit of truth guiding our pioneers failed to uphold truth. Sister White warned prophetically of the very deception that has happened in our midst: “The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists.… The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced….”  (1SM 204, emphasis added throughout)

I will be commenting more on that full quotation in later chapters. As I see it, “intellectual philosophy”— “men’s theories and speculations, falsely called science and philosophy” (CH 164)—is a primary part of the problem creating the dilemma.

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