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Recently I came across YouCanSurvive.org latest July 2016 newsletter. In this newsletter, Jere Franklin talks about a friend who endorses the idea that the Holy Spirit is not an individual person. He warns his subscribers that this is dangerous. 

Recently we had contact with friend who wish us to endorse the idea that the Holy Spirit is not an individual person, I (Jere) watched this idea develop many years ago, in opposition to what the Spirit of Prophecy declares. It is dangerous for the following reasons:

1.) It creates an excitement that I have found something new.
2.) I find that the church does not support my new idea.
3.) I declare myself in opposition to the church’s position based on my new ideas.
4.) I choose to leave the church for reasons of apostasy, differences of opinion or confrontation.

(LampLight, You Can Survive! Newsletter, July 2016)

I would think many of the subscribers would read this and think in their minds,”The truth that the Holy Spirit is an individual person is so basic. The Bible says Jesus will send “another comforter”. I can’t believe someone would think that the Holy Spirit is not an individual person. People have such strange ideas.”

The problem with this warning is that it isn’t giving the full picture of the topic. For example, I don’t believe in the Seventh-day Adventist Trinity doctrine but I would not say the Holy Spirit is not an individual person because it’s confusing. The Holy Spirit is a person because Jesus is a person. In the 14th chapter of John, right after Jesus said the Father will give you another Comforter, Jesus said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I (Jesus) will come to you”:

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. John 14:16-18

The Holy Spirit is actually Christ divested of the personality of humanity.

The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high. {DA 669.2}

If Christ is a person, then the Holy Spirit is a person because the Holy Spirit is actually Jesus coming to us without the personality of humanity.

This harmonizes very well with Ellen White’s writings. For those that have not done any research into this topic please visit the following link about what Ellen White believed regarding the Holy Spirit.

Many of the YouCanSurvive.org newsletter subscribers are going to take that warning from Jere Franklin because they trust him. I have personally met Jere Franklin and he has been very kind and helpful to me and I imagine he has been kind and helpful to many others. I have been personally blessed by his ministry. I have a few questions though.

Is it a Biblical principle to believe doctrine based on people’s kindness?

Is it a Biblical principle to totally trust a person if they have given you correct doctrine in the past?

Is it a Biblical principle to totally trust a person because he is a member of your church in good standing?

Answer: NO.

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
Galatians 2:11-13

Even Peter needed to be withstood at one time for the way he handled a situation. We cannot trust in teachers, leaders, pastors more than the Word of God. Ever since studying the topic of the Trinity, I was, and am, still amazed to see that Seventh-day Adventists, who are supposedly strong in believing the Spirit of Prophecy, reject clear statements from the Word of God or the Spirit of Prophecy because their favorite preachers don’t believe it. People are camping around their preachers. “If Walter Veith still believes in the Trinity then I still believe in the Trinity,” they say. If Doug Batchelor believes there is one God: a unity of three coeternal persons then all the people who follow Doug believe it too. Stephen Bohr is teaching 1+1+1=1 and many happily go along with his Trinitarian mathematics.

I have come to understand that many Seventh-day Adventists do not trust themselves in coming to conclusions about the Word of God. There are more Adventists than we know that are standing on the leaders rather than standing on the promises of God. 

If we get the wisdom of man before us as the wisdom of God, we are led astray by the foolishness of man’s wisdom. Here is the great danger with many. They have not an experience for themselves. They have not been in the habit of prayerfully considering for themselves, with unprejudiced, unbiased judgment, questions and subjects that are new, which are liable to arise. They wait to see what others will think. If they dissent, that is all that is needed. The evidence in their own minds then is positive that it is all of no account whatever. This class is not small; but although their numbers are large, it does not change the fact that they are weak minded through long yielding to the enemy, inexperienced, and will always be as sickly as babes, walking by others’ light, living on others’ experience, feeling as others feel, acting as others act. They act as though they had not an individuality. Their identity is submerged in others. They are merely shadows of others whom they think about right. These will all fail of everlasting life unless they become sensible of their wavering character, and correct it. They will be unable to cope with the perils of the last days. They will possess no stamina to resist the Devil; for they do not know that it is he. Some one must be at their side to inform them whether it is a foe approaching, or a friend. They are not spiritual, therefore spiritual things are not discerned. They are not wise in those things which relate to the kingdom of God. None, young or old, are excusable in trusting to another to have an experience for them. Said the angel, “Cursed be man who trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.” A noble self-reliance is needed in the Christian experience and warfare. {RH, August 10, 1886 par. 10}

Rather than warning people against the idea that “the Holy Spirit is not an individual person,” it would be better to let the YouCanSurvive newsletter subscribers know that there are people who believe that the Holy Spirit is not a separate being apart from the Father and the Son. In other words these people believe that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of the Father. 

“When trials overshadow the soul, remember the words of CHRIST, remember that HE is an unseen presence in the PERSON of the Holy Spirit,” — (Ellen G. White, DG 185.2, 1897)

So when Ellen White calls the Holy Spirit a person, she is NOT referring to another being who is not Jesus Christ. She is referring to Christ by HIS Holy Spirit.

Jason

P.S. I would encourage you to read the excellent article at TrinityTruth.org

Your comments are always appreciated. Prove all things and hold fast to that which is good.