Are SDAs Advancing?
One of the most significant statements by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in recent times regarding advancement in light is that of William G. Johnsson, Editor of the Adventist Review.
Of such significance is this change that George Knight, Andrews University Seminary professor made the following statement in Ministry, the official Seventh-day Adventist journal for ministers:
A recent exposition on this new "advance in light" presented in the Week of Prayer readings, appointed to be read in all Seventh-day Adventist churches worldwide is as follows:
This statement unmistakably implies that (1) the appellations, Father and Son are merely designations based on an arrangement rather than substantive fact and (2) there are three separate Persons, each of whom is God, equally.
The above conclusions are fundamentally opposed to the earlier beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists. This is evident by comparison with a statement of faith that was published in 1874, which declares:
Pioneers Not Arian
While the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church were distinctly non-Trinitarian, it is no less distinct that they were emphatically not Arian. That is, they were just as removed from that camp which denies the divinity of Christ and makes Christ a created being as they were removed from the Trinitarian camp. A sample of statements issued by some of the more notable ones among the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers show that they were not Arian.
Ellen G. White, who is regarded by Seventh-day Adventists as a prophet, by no indication, differed from the other pioneers on this matter. While she did not use the term Ďtrinityí, many of her statements were clearly incompatible with a trinity concept, but were evidently consistent with the general view of the other pioneers. The following statement furnishes an example:
t in the presence of all the angels confer special honor upon His Son.... The Father then made known that it was ordained by Himself that Christ His Son, should be equal with Himself; so that wherever was the presence of His Son, it was as His own presence. The word of the Son was to be obeyed as readily as the word of the Father. His Son He had invested with authority to command the heavenly host." - E.G. White, the Story of Redemption, p.13.
Christ was not regarded as a created being, but rather as the literal Son of God, begotten of the Father; hence, of the same nature, being equally divine and of like mind, yet subject to His Father.
The editor of the Adventist Review, declared the doctrinal change to Trinitarianism, "Most startling", and indeed it is, but for perhaps other reasons than might have been foremost in consideration when it was so declared.
The trinity has long been a cornerstone of Roman Catholic theology, as is declared,
When one considers that the founders of Seventh-day Adventism were not only anti-Trinitarian but also anti-Catholic it raises serious questions regarding the movementís claim to be the remnant church when it has now come to accept the trinity which is the very central, root doctrine of Roman Catholicism.
A number of questions arise which demand frank and honest answers. When Ellen G. White admonished the movement to advance in the light, was there envisioned in this a departure from established pillars? If so, what then, did she mean when she declared that God had led them step by step until He had placed them upon a "solid immovable platform" of truth, from which a block should not be moved nor a pin stirred (Early Writings pp.258,259)?
Why did the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church write so extensively against the trinity doctrine and were never once rebuked or corrected by the prophet who was among them? Why did the Seventh-day Adventist Church accept and profess Trinitarianism only after the prophet had died?
Who or what do we worship? Do we worship a three-person God-committee or a Personal, Sovereign Being? Was the love of God for humanity manifested in the sacrifice of merely a colleague, an associate or a fellow God? Is Christ not truly the Son of God, but only "Son" by designation, based on an arrangement?
The faith of the pioneers was predicated on the view of God as a Personal Being, a literal Father, who has an eternal relationship with an only begotten, beloved, literal Son. In the gift to humanity of His dearly beloved Son is seen the measure of Godís love (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9). David, the man after Godís own heart (Acts 13:22), in his mourning and lamentation over the death of his son Absalom is perhaps a faint reflection of that which occurred in Godís heart of infinite love as He endured the scene of His only begotten Son expiring on the cross. David mourned, "0 my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee, 0 Absalom, my son, my son!" 2 Sam. 18:33.
So fundamental is this truth (that Christ is the Son of God) that, upon Peterís confession "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," Jesus declared, "flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.... upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". Matt. 16:16-18.
The trinity concept of God distorts the most fundamental truth of Christianity, that "God (the protagonist) so (to such extent) loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son ...." John 3:16. Yet Seventh-day Adventists have joined the majority of churches in Christendom in professing belief in the trinity, declaring this change to be an advancement in light.
Is such a change indeed advancement in light? Or is it rather a mirror image of Israelís experience when it was said of them:
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