What Have We Done?

We have become an idolatrous nation. We, as Seventh-day Adventists, have allowed an antichrist, spiritualistic doctrine to become a pillar of our faith.  This doctrine was once openly, and fiercely rejected by our church, but now it is held up as the doctrine of doctrines. Our church now embraces this once rejected belief, and considers it to be “truly distinctive of the Christian faith,” not only “necessary,” but “crucial” in order to understand God, and to be true to the Scriptural account of what God has revealed about Himself.

This article compares what we once believed about the Trinity with what is now believed. The quotes expressing the current Seventh-day Adventist view are taken from the official Seventh-day Adventist website (www.adventist.org/en/beliefs/god/trinity/article/go/-/god-in-three-persons/). The quotes expressing what we once believed are from various articles that were published in Seventh-day Adventist periodicals, and they express the official view that our church held until 1931. That means they express the official belief of the Seventh-day Adventist Church during Ellen White’s entire lifetime, and even up to 16 years after her death.

Some will notice the dates of the periodicals that I quote. Some will discount them because they are from the early days of our church. They might reason that our church’s views regarding the Trinity, as expressed in these early publications, were wrong. To this class of people I give the following counsel:

“The truth is the same as it ever has been, and not a pin or a pillar can be moved from the structure of truth. That which was sought for out of the Word in 1844, 1845, and 1846 remains the truth in every particular.” {Ellen White, Letter 36, 1906, pp. 1, 2. “To the Wahroonga Sanitarium Family”, January 23, 1906.} (See also 1MR 52.2)

“Where shall we find safety unless it be in the truths that the Lord has been giving for the last fifty years?” {Ellen White, RH, May 25, 1905 par. 28}


It was a Shock

It was a shock when I found out that there was a time when the Seventh-day Adventist Church did not believe in the Trinity. Not only did they not believe in this doctrine, but they openly and publicly rejected it. As soon as I learned that they once rejected this view of God, I wanted to know why. And I found out why. They believed that the three-one Trinity does two things:

  1. It denies that Christ is the Son of God;
  2. It denies Christ in a way that destroys the personalities of both God and of Christ.

Because it does these two things, the Trinity is spiritualistic and antichrist.


Definitions of Spiritualistic and Antichrist

According to the Bible anyone who denies Christ, by default, denies both the Father and the Son. And He is named a liar, and antichrist:

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?  He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” {1John 2:22}

Ellen White links what is antichrist to spiritualism. In the quote below, she explains that spiritualistic views of God and Christ deny Christ by refusing to acknowledge Him as the Son of God. This denial of the Sonship of Christ is the same thing as denying that Jesus is the Christ:

“And Peter, describing the dangers to which the church was to be exposed in the last days, says that as there were false prophets who led Israel into sin, so there will be false teachers, “who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them. . . . And many shall follow their pernicious ways.” 2 Peter 2:1, 2. Here the apostle has pointed out one of the marked characteristics of spiritualist teachers. They refuse to acknowledge Christ as the Son of God. Concerning such teachers the beloved John declares: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.” 1 John 2:22, 23. Spiritualism, by denying Christ, denies both the Father and the Son, and the Bible pronounces it the manifestation of antichrist.” — {E.G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 686.1}

Antichrist = denying that Jesus is the Christ = denying the Father and the Son

Spiritualism = manifestation of antichrist = denying Christ = denying the Father and the Son

Denying the Personality of God and of Christ = Spiritualism = Antichrist

Spiritualistic views, by denying that Christ is the Son of God, end up destroying the personality of both God and Christ:

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father; [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father… He who denies the personality of God and of his Son Jesus Christ, is denying God and Christ.” {E.G. White, RH, March 8, 1906 par. 17, 19}

Christ’s identity as the Son of God = the personality of Christ.

God’s identity as the Father = the personality of God.

Denying that Jesus is the Christ = denying that Christ is the Son = denying the personality of Christ

Denying the personality of Christ (that He is the Son) = denying the personality of God (that He is the Father of the Son)


Spiritualistic, antichrist views of God and of Christ do two things:

  1. They deny that Christ is the Son of God;
  2. By denying that Christ is the Son of God, they deny the personality of Christ, which automatically denies the personality of God.


“He who denies the personality of God and of his Son Jesus Christ, is denying God and Christ.” {E.G. White, RH, March 8, 1906 par. 17, 19}

Spiritualism, by denying Christ, denies both the Father and the Son, and the Bible pronounces it the manifestation of antichrist.” — {E.G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 686.1}

The Trinity Denies the Personality of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ = Spiritualism, Antichrist

This is why the Seventh-day Adventist Church so openly rejected the Trinity:

“Here we might mention the Trinity, which does away [with] the personality of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ…” {James White, Review and Herald, December 11, 1855, p. 85}

How does the three-one Trinity deny the personality of God and of Christ?

“The way spiritualizers have disposed of or denied the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ is first using the old unscriptural Trinitarian creed, viz., that Jesus Christ is the eternal God, though they have not one passage to support it, while we have plain scripture testimony in abundance that he is the Son of the eternal God.” {James White, The Day Star, January 24, 1846}

Jesus Christ is not the eternal God. He is the SON of the eternal God. There is a difference between God and His Son. They are two different divine Beings: God is one Being, and the Son of God is another. Maintaining and upholding the truth that Christ is the eternal God’s Son, and NOT the eternal God Himself, does not diminish Christ in any way. As Scripture teaches, it is by inheritance that Christ is divine, “he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name” (Hebrews 1:4). It is BECAUSE Christ is THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON of God that He is “the express image of the Father’s person [God’s person], and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory [God’s majesty and glory], one equal with God [the Father] in authority, dignity, and divine perfection” (E.G. White, Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895 par. 3). The fact that Christ is the only-begotten Son of God, then, is the very thing that makes Him equal with God and divine. Upholding Christ’s begotten Sonship exalts Him.

The problem with the Trinity is that by believing that God is one God in three persons, each of the three persons becomes as fully the one eternal God as the other two persons. The Son is as much the eternal God as the Father is, which means they are both the eternal God. This is why we have adopted an unscriptural title for Christ. He is no longer the ‘Son of God”, which is biblical, but “God the Son”, which is not biblical.

This is a denial that Christ truly is the begotten Son of God. And “whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father” (1John 2:23). Whoever denies that Christ is the Son of God by ascribing to Him the personality of the eternal God, hath not God. Upholding the Trinity denies Christ.


It is the Three-One Aspect of the Trinity That Was So Objectionable to Our Church

“The inexplicable Trinity that makes the Godhead three in one and one in three, is bad enough; but that ultra Unitarianism that makes Christ inferior to the Father is worse.” {J. S. White, Review & Herald, November 29, 1877}

“Neither are the Father and the Son parts of the “three-one God.” {J. S. White, Life incidents, p. 343. 1868}

“What a contradiction of terms is found in the language of [the] Trinitarian creed: “In unity of this head [God] are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” There are many things that are mysterious, written in the word of God, but we may safely presume the Lord never calls upon us to believe impossibilities.” {A. J. Dennis, Signs of the Times, May 22, 1879}

“We will make a few extracts, that the reader may see the broad contrast between the God of the Bible brought to light through Sabbath-keeping, and the god in the dark through Sunday-keeping. Catholic Catechism Abridged by the Rt. Rev. John Dubois, Bishop of New York. Page 5. ‘Q. Where is God? Ans. God is everywhere. Q. Does God see and know all things? A. Yes, he does know and see all things…Q. Are there more Gods than one? A. No; there is but one God. Q. Are there more persons than one in God? A. Yes; in God there are three persons. Q. Which are they? A. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. Q. Are there not three Gods? A. No; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, are all but one and the same God’…These ideas well accord with those heathen philosophers…We should rather mistrust that the Sunday God came from the same source that Sunday-keeping did.” {J. B. Frisbie, Review & Herald, March 7, 1854, The Sunday God, p. 50}

“As fundamental errors, we might class with this counterfeit sabbath other errors which Protestants have brought away from the Catholic church, such as sprinkling for baptism, the trinity, the consciousness of the dead and eternal life in misery. The mass who have held these fundamental errors, have doubtless done it ignorantly; but can it be supposed that the church of Christ will carry along with her these errors till the judgment scenes burst upon the world? We think not. “Here are they [in the period of a message given just before the Son of man takes his place upon the white cloud, Rev.xiv,14] that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” This class, who live just prior to the second advent, will not be keeping the traditions of men, neither will they be holding fundamental errors relative to the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. And as the true light shines out upon these subjects, and is rejected by the mass, then condemnation will come upon them. … Solemn dreadful, swiftly-approaching hour!” {J. S. White, Review & Herald, September 12, 1854}

Some might say that we have a different Trinity than the Trinity that our church once rejected. They might say that “our” Trinity is not the same as the Catholic Trinity, or as the Trinity of any other denomination. But it is the concept of a three-one God that we rejected. No matter how it is modified, the concept of a three-one God makes all three persons of the Trinity the same one God. This is the problem. This is what perverts the personalities of God and of His Son. They become the same one God, even though there is “not one passage to support it.”

What the Seventh-day Adventist Church Thinks of the Trinity Today

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has accepted the very error we once rejected as spiritualism and antichrist. We have accepted the manifestation of antichrist in the place of the truth about God and His only-begotten Son:

“Belief in a God of three persons is one of the most demanding biblical teachings… The doctrine of the Trinity is truly distinctive of the Christian faith, crucial… necessary…  There is one God… and… three persons who are God.” {www.adventist.org/en/beliefs/god/trinity/article/go/-/god-in-three-persons/}

Our church has adopted the belief that there are “three persons who are God.” We call them God (the Father), God (the Son), and God (the Holy Spirit). Thus, we have given three personalities to the one God.


Repentance and Reformation Are Our Only Recourse

We must confess our sin. We must repent and return to the only true and living God, the “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:6).

We must heed the message we have been privileged to bear, leaving behind errors and ignorance to worship God in truth:

“Fear God, and give glory to him… and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”(Revelation 14:7)

In order to worship God in truth, we must know who He truly is: our Creator is the only true God, the living God. He “made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” God is the “Father of whom are all things,” “even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” “who created all things by Jesus Christ (1Corinthians 8:6; Romans 15:6; Ephesians 3:9). “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:23).  The hour “cometh, and now is.”

 “I am the LORD thy God… Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Exodus 20:2, 3


By Donna Hernberg
Donna is a Seventh-day Adventist who the Lord has brought out of the darkness to rejoice in the light of Truth.