doctrine of the Trinity

Trinity

An alternate view of the godhead

Author of the Trinity post
Dr Martin Bredenkamp

Editor’s introduction: In a previous blog, “Storms in the Adventist Church“, we made reference to a number of contested theological topics in the Seventh-day Adventist church that sometimes impact on congregations or individual members. The issues often result in confusion and discord. From time to time members choose to leave the church as a result.  We would like to explore this situation further. Our purpose is not to promote a particular cause or to engage in traditional apologetics for the Church. We believe the act of careful listening and trying to understand positions that we don’t necessarily agree with can open dialogue that is enriching for those who are on a journey of discovery. If the process of listening and conversation is conducted sensitively and honestly, it will almost always be an enriching exercise for all who engage in it, even if agreement is not reached. It is in this spirit that we publish Dr. Martin Bredenkamp’s  article, even though we do not endorse or agree with his conclusions.  Martin Bredenkamp grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist church and worked in its education system, but he has resigned his membership because he feels he can no longer believe in some of the key doctrines of the Church, one of these being the doctrine of the Trinity. We asked him to explain his thinking around this issue. Our questions to our readers are: What do you think of Martin’s general argument? Does he raise issues that require further investigation? Is there room for development in one’s thinking about the Trinity. Please share your insights.


Disclaimer: “The Adventist Soapbox” does not necessarily agree with or subscribe to all the views of our various contributors.


The Trinity

I have heard a sermon where the pastor used the following analogy to try and explain the concept of the Trinity and and their respective roles in the plan of salvation. He stated: “The Trinity is like three people planning a picnic. One said he would bring the food and vegetables, Another volunteered to bring the drinks, and the Last quite willingly agreed to bring the dessert. Likewise the three Gods (that are one) volunteered for their respective roles in the plan of salvation. Christ offered to become human and be the sacrifice to pay for the guilt of man. The Holy Spirit volunteered to be the omnipresent influence among humans to woo their hearts to salvation. The third, the Father, would stay in heaven and take charge of the plan, and orchestrate the activities of the the Trinity,.” This is obviously an extreme oversimplification of the concept, but it does contain the basic ideas that most Trinitarians believe in. I, however, could never agree with, this understanding of God. For me the New Testament is very clear that Christ is subordinate to the Father. Since childhood, I have accepted that God is in charge, Christ is subordinate to Him, and that the Holy Spirit is subordinate to both of them. Then, some years back, my wife was concerned about the Trinity doctrine, and I explained my understanding of it. She was not satisfied with my view, and the two of us embarked on a deep study of the Trinity. We came to the conclusion that the Trinity-concept is not Biblical. In fact the word does not even occur in the Bible. We shared our conclusions with staff and faculty at the Asia-Pacific International University (AIU) where we were employed, and the inevitable happened: We were asked by the church elders to step down from our positions in the church. One of the theologians on campus then provided us with a book written by three Adventist scholars on “The Trinity.” We soon realized that the doctrine is built on a mere 28 texts in the Bible that could be misconstrued to support a godhead of three equal beings, compared to over three hundred texts that indicate that Christ is separate from, and inferior to the Father. A closer look at these 28 texts revealed that these scholars had “cherry picked” translations to suit their dogma for these texts. The original Greek often meant something else. Sometimes it was a missing comma that conveyed the wrong ideas. Two texts had been inserted into the Bible by people promoting the false doctrine of the Trinity:

  1. Matt 28:19 by Athanasius in the fourth century that states we should baptise in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and
  2. the ‘Johannine Comma’, 1 John 5:7,8, in the 9th century, that states there are three witnesses in heaven.

The fact that these texts were inserted into the Bible is all the more reason to suspect the doctrine on the Trinity.

Christ the Son

As we were studying through the New Testament, we found that calling Christ the Son, is not just an analogy to have us relate to the connection between the Father and Son, but should be interpreted in a more literal manner. The King James Version says that Christ comes from the bosom of the Father (John 1:18). A study of the meaning of this takes us to the practice of women in the time of Christ who wore a sheet across their shoulders, tying a belt around their wastes. The sheet would make a fold above the waist, and in this fold lactating women often carried their babies, allowing them to suckle unhindered. These babies were in their mother’s bosom. Likewise Christ came from the bosom of the Father. This strongly implies that Christ is the literal son of God. Hebrews chapter 1, quoting Psalms 2, indicates that Christ was an angel that pleased the Father so much, that on a “day,” he made Him His Son. He chose Him from among His companions, the angels. The Father calls Him God at this point. This is one of the few places in the Bible where Christ is called God. Christ was not eager to accept obeisance as God, and discouraged it sometimes such as when the rich young ruler called Him “Good Master.” His reply to that was that there is no one good but the Father. The concept of being chosen from among the angels finds support at an unexpected place: Lev 16. This chapter defines the rituals on the Day of Atonement. Two goats were brought on that day, and lots were cast on them. One became the sacrificial goat, the other the scapegoat, representing Christ and Satan respectively.

The Holy Spirit

Through the years many scholars have found it difficult to determine whether the Holy Spirit is a being or the heart of God among us in His absence. Isaac Newton, for instance, studied this concept throughout his life, and never came to a final conclusion. The Holy Spirit is argued to be a third member of the Godhead. Arguments such as Him having a personality since we must not grieve Him (Ephesians 4:30) have been put on the table. Yet it is indicated that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father, and the Spirit of Christ. For example, in John 14:18, Christ says, He will not leave them comfortless, but will come to them. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is therefore Christ coming to them. The Holy Spirit is actually the Spirit of the Father through Christ.

History of the doctrine of the Trinity

What does history teach us? Eusebius (AD 260 – 340), the theological historian was not a Trinitarian but a Binitarian (Father and Son only). It is clear from his writings that the Trinity was not an accepted church doctrine before his time. Athanasius, mentioned earlier, strongly promoted the concept of three gods in heaven and largely through his influence the Trinity was accepted as doctrine at the Council of Constantinople in AD 381 (http://www.quodlibet.net/articles/perry-athanasius.shtml). The doctrine of the Trinity was one of the changes brought about to unify pagans and Christians in Rome, together with Sunday worship, Easter and Christmas. The pagans believed in three gods: Baal (father), Ashtoreth (mother) and Tammuz (child) (https://biblespace.org/2013/09/30/baal-astarte-tammuz/). In the places of these three heathen gods came the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Son. Thus three gods in heathenism became three in one gods in Christianity – the Trinity. When Adventism came into being, many of our pioneers recognised the heathen origins, and the lack of support for the Doctrine of the Trinity in the Bible, and did not believe in it. However, in the 1930’s, long after the pioneers had passed away, LeRoy Edwin Froom, a well known Adventist scholar, developed an interest in the Trinity doctrine in the SDA church. He did much research and wrote the four volume set, “Prophetic Faith of our Fathers,” and also “Movement of Destiny.”  He researched the works of E.G. White, and collected every statement that he thought could support the doctrine of the Trinity. From this he compiled the book “Evangelism”. Some have concluded that this book reflects his bias in support of the Trinity doctrine. Many think that E.G. White wrote the book “Evangelism,” but it is a compilation. The publication of this book, together with the volumes mentioned earlier contributed to the formal acceptance of the Trinity doctrine as a doctrine of the Church in 1980.

The Adventist Church an Apostate church

The Adventist church has essentially apostatized. We are characterized as a church defending the fourth commandment. However, while we heroically protected our front door against apostasy in the Sabbath command, an enemy slipped in through the kitchen window and brought in a greater apostasy – the doctrine of the Trinity. We believe we are free from the mark of the beast by not keeping Sunday holy, but in the meanwhile we have received its mark by accepting its greater apostate doctrine of the Trinity. I believe the issue of the Trinity will be the test of loyalty to God at the coming crisis rather than the Sabbath doctrine. In summary, the doctrine of the Trinity is not Biblical. God is one God, and has given us His only begotten Son who lived for us on earth, died for us, and was resurrected and ascended for us. God’s Spirit works through His Son to influence and woo us to Him. The Spirit is not a personal being but the unseen presence of God through His Son.  Adventism started in the belief of the One true God, but the forces of Babylon infiltrated the doctrine of the Trinity into our church, making us unwittingly a part of Babylon. The final showdown at the end of time will address this false doctrine and God’s people will return to worshiping Him, the one and only true God.

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  • Christine Andrews

    Hi all, I thought I’d join in once more seeing that I’m not a learned scholar, AND a woman. The last point is important, because for me womanhood is a privilege that reflects part of the nature of our God. He said in Genesis that He made us, both man and woman, in His image. Thus I understand He is both mother and father to us; husband to us His bride… Mind-bogling, no wonder Paul called it the deep mystery of the gospel. The concept of family, to me, is central to our understanding of God, because He IS family: Father Son and Spirit. You can’t seperate them, because they define and reflect one another. It’s that Oneness that’s so powerful, and that effects our salvation.

    The other concept mentioned that disturbs me is the nature of sin. I never understood Satan to be the originator of sin, just the agent so to speak. Sin is seperation from God – again, the concept of Oneness is so important. So I doubt the scapegoat sent into the dessert with atonement represents Satan; rather in a way Christ is both the scapegoat and the sacrificial Lamb? You clever guys will have to help me out here, but that’s how I undestand it.

    It’s wonderful, and brings me to my knees, because incredibly God has made me part of his family, too!

  • Posting again on behalf of Martin Bredenkamp:

    Walk with me through 4 chapters of John (14-17). I am going to capitalise all the parts that clearly show Christ is inferior to God, and that the Spirit, if a being, is inferior to them both. There is no equality between the Father and the Son.

    The Way, the Truth, and the Life
    14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions;[a] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
    5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
    6 Jesus said to him, “I AM THE Way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.
    The Father Revealed
    7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
    8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
    9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK TO YOU I DO NOT SPEAK ON MY OWN AUTHORITY; BUT THE FATHER WHO DWELLS IN ME DOES THE WORKS. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
    The Answered Prayer
    12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, THAT THE FATHER MAY BE GLORIFIED IN THE SON. 14 If you ask[c] anything in My name, I will do it.
    Jesus Promises Another Helper
    15 “If you love Me, keep[d] My commandments. 16 AND I WILL PRAY THE FATHER, AND HE WILL GIVE YOU ANOTHER HELPER, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
    Indwelling of the Father and the Son
    19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
    22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”
    23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; AND THE WORD WHICH YOU HEAR IS NOT MINE BUT THE FATHER’S WHO SENT ME.
    The Gift of His Peace
    25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.26 BUT THE HELPER, THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said,[e] ‘I am going to the Father,’ FOR MY FATHER IS GREATER THAN I.
    29 “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father, AND AS THE FATHER GAVE ME COMMANDMENT, SO I DO. Arise, let us go from here.

    The True Vine
    15 “I AM THE TRUE VINE, AND MY FATHER IS THE VINEDRESSER. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;[a] and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
    5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
    Love and Joy Perfected
    9 “AS THE FATHER LOVED ME, I ALSO HAVE LOVED YOU; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, JUST AS I HAVE KEPT MY FATHER’S COMMANDMENTS and abide in His love.
    11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, FOR ALL THINGS THAT I HEARD FROM MY FATHER I HAVE MADE KNOWN TO YOU. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, THAT WHATEVER YOU ASK THE FATHER IN MY NAME HE MAY GIVE YOU. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.
    The World’s Hatred
    18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, BECAUSE THEY DO NOT KNOW HIM WHO SENT ME. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’[c]
    The Coming Rejection
    26 “BUT WHEN THE HELPER COMES, WHOM I SHALL SEND TO YOU FROM THE FATHER, THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH WHO PROCEEDS FROM THE FATHER, HE WILL TESTIFY OF ME. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

    16 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you[a] because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4 But these things I have told you, that when the[b] time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.
    And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.
    The Work of the Holy Spirit
    5 “BUT NOW I GO AWAY TO HIM WHO SENT ME, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I WILL SEND HIM TO YOU. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
    12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; FOR HE WILL NOT SPEAK ON HIS OWN AUTHORITY, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.[c]
    Sorrow Will Turn to Joy
    16 “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.”
    17 Then some of His disciples said among themselves, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?” 18 They said therefore, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying.”
    19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them,“Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’?20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 21 A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.
    23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, WHATEVER YOU ASK THE FATHER IN MY NAME HE WILL GIVE YOU. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
    Jesus Christ Has Overcome the World
    25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I SHALL PRAY THE FATHER FOR YOU;27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I CAME FORTH FROM GOD. 28 I CAME FORTH FROM THE FATHER and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
    29 His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! 30 Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that YOU CAME FORTH FROM GOD.”
    31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[d] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

    Jesus Prays for Himself
    17 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said:“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 AS YOU HAVE GIVEN HIM AUTHORITY OVER ALL FLESH THAT HE SHOULD GIVE ETERNAL LIFE TO AS MANY AS YOU HAVE GIVEN HIM. 3 And this is eternal life, THAT THEY MAY KNOW YOU, THE ONLY TRUE GOD, AND JESUS CHRIST WHOM YOU HAVE SENT. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I HAVE FINISHED THE WORK WHICH YOU HAVE GIVEN ME TO DO. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
    Jesus Prays for His Disciples
    6 “I have manifested Your name to THE MEN WHOM YOU HAVE GIVEN ME OUT OF THE WORLD. THEY WERE YOURS, YOU GAVE THEM TO ME, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that ALL THINGS WHICH YOU HAVE GIVEN ME ARE FROM YOU. 8 For I have given to them THE WORDS WHICH YOU HAVE GIVEN ME; and they have received them, and have known surely that I CAME FORTH FROM YOU; and they have believed that YOU SENT ME.
    9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for THOSE WHOM YOU HAVE GIVEN ME, FOR THEY ARE YOURS. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name THOSE WHOM YOU HAVE GIVEN ME, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world,[c] I kept them in Your name. THOSE WHOM YOU GAVE ME I HAVE KEPT;[d] and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 AS YOU SENT ME INTO THE WORLD, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
    Jesus Prays for All Believers
    20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will[e] believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may BELIEVE THAT YOU SENT ME. 22 AND THE GLORY WHICH YOU GAVE ME I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that YOU HAVE SENT ME, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
    24 “Father, I desire that THEY ALSO WHOM YOU GAVE ME may be with Me where I am, that they may behold MY GLORY WHICH YOU HAVE GIVEN ME; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and THESE HAVE KNOW THAT YOU SENT ME. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

    These four chapters unambiguously show that the Father is superior to Christ and that the Spirit proceeds from them both. Do what I have done here to the four gospels, and to the whole New Testament, and you will see the overwhelming evidence against the doctrine of the Trinity and the equality of Father, Son and Spirit.

    • Pieter J Gey van Pittius

      Hello Martin, I agree 100% that the Son is subject to the Father and the Spirit is subject to both the Father and the Son. That is biblical. What is not biblical is to derive from this that the Son and the Spirit are not God. Difference in status does NOT infer difference in nature. A good example is the fact that the Bible tells us that the woman is subject to the man, but no one would try to infer from that statement (I hope not), that a woman is somewhat less human than a man. She is still 100% human. Please have a look at my next response (to be posted soon) to your original post for a fuller treatment of this aspect.

  • Martin W Bredenkamp

    Walk with me through 4 chapters of John (14-17). I am going to capitalise all the parts that clearly show Christ is inferior to God, and that the Spirit, if a being, is inferior to them both. There is no equality between the Father and the Son.

    The Way, the Truth, and the Life
    14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions;[a] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
    5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
    6 Jesus said to him, “I AM THE Way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.
    The Father Revealed
    7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
    8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
    9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK TO YOU I DO NOT SPEAK ON MY OWN AUTHORITY; BUT THE FATHER WHO DWELLS IN ME DOES THE WORKS. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
    The Answered Prayer
    12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, THAT THE FATHER MAY BE GLORIFIED IN THE SON. 14 If you ask[c] anything in My name, I will do it.
    Jesus Promises Another Helper
    15 “If you love Me, keep[d] My commandments. 16 AND I WILL PRAY THE FATHER, AND HE WILL GIVE YOU ANOTHER HELPER, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
    Indwelling of the Father and the Son
    19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
    22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”
    23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; AND THE WORD WHICH YOU HEAR IS NOT MINE BUT THE FATHER’S WHO SENT ME.
    The Gift of His Peace
    25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.26 BUT THE HELPER, THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said,[e] ‘I am going to the Father,’ FOR MY FATHER IS GREATER THAN I.
    29 “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father, AND AS THE FATHER GAVE ME COMMANDMENT, SO I DO. Arise, let us go from here.

    The True Vine
    15 “I AM THE TRUE VINE, AND MY FATHER IS THE VINEDRESSER. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;[a] and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
    5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
    Love and Joy Perfected
    9 “AS THE FATHER LOVED ME, I ALSO HAVE LOVED YOU; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, JUST AS I HAVE KEPT MY FATHER’S COMMANDMENTS and abide in His love.
    11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, FOR ALL THINGS THAT I HEARD FROM MY FATHER I HAVE MADE KNOWN TO YOU. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, THAT WHATEVER YOU ASK THE FATHER IN MY NAME HE MAY GIVE YOU. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.
    The World’s Hatred
    18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, BECAUSE THEY DO NOT KNOW HIM WHO SENT ME. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’[c]
    The Coming Rejection
    26 “BUT WHEN THE HELPER COMES, WHOM I SHALL SEND TO YOU FROM THE FATHER, THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH WHO PROCEEDS FROM THE FATHER, HE WILL TESTIFY OF ME. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

    16 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you[a] because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4 But these things I have told you, that when the[b] time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.
    And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.
    The Work of the Holy Spirit
    5 “BUT NOW I GO AWAY TO HIM WHO SENT ME, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I WILL SEND HIM TO YOU. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
    12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; FOR HE WILL NOT SPEAK ON HIS OWN AUTHORITY, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.[c]
    Sorrow Will Turn to Joy
    16 “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.”
    17 Then some of His disciples said among themselves, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?” 18 They said therefore, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying.”
    19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them,“Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’?20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 21 A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.
    23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, WHATEVER YOU ASK THE FATHER IN MY NAME HE WILL GIVE YOU. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
    Jesus Christ Has Overcome the World
    25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I SHALL PRAY THE FATHER FOR YOU;27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I CAME FORTH FROM GOD. 28 I CAME FORTH FROM THE FATHER and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
    29 His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! 30 Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that YOU CAME FORTH FROM GOD.”
    31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[d] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

    Jesus Prays for Himself
    17 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said:“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 AS YOU HAVE GIVEN HIM AUTHORITY OVER ALL FLESH THAT HE SHOULD GIVE ETERNAL LIFE TO AS MANY AS YOU HAVE GIVEN HIM. 3 And this is eternal life, THAT THEY MAY KNOW YOU, THE ONLY TRUE GOD, AND JESUS CHRIST WHOM YOU HAVE SENT. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I HAVE FINISHED THE WORK WHICH YOU HAVE GIVEN ME TO DO. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
    Jesus Prays for His Disciples
    6 “I have manifested Your name to THE MEN WHOM YOU HAVE GIVEN ME OUT OF THE WORLD. THEY WERE YOURS, YOU GAVE THEM TO ME, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that ALL THINGS WHICH YOU HAVE GIVEN ME ARE FROM YOU. 8 For I have given to them THE WORDS WHICH YOU HAVE GIVEN ME; and they have received them, and have known surely that I CAME FORTH FROM YOU; and they have believed that YOU SENT ME.
    9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for THOSE WHOM YOU HAVE GIVEN ME, FOR THEY ARE YOURS. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name THOSE WHOM YOU HAVE GIVEN ME, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world,[c] I kept them in Your name. THOSE WHOM YOU GAVE ME I HAVE KEPT;[d] and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 AS YOU SENT ME INTO THE WORLD, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
    Jesus Prays for All Believers
    20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will[e] believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may BELIEVE THAT YOU SENT ME. 22 AND THE GLORY WHICH YOU GAVE ME I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that YOU HAVE SENT ME, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
    24 “Father, I desire that THEY ALSO WHOM YOU GAVE ME may be with Me where I am, that they may behold MY GLORY WHICH YOU HAVE GIVEN ME; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and THESE HAVE KNOW THAT YOU SENT ME. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

    These four chapters unambiguously show that the Father is superior to Christ and that the Spirit proceeds from them both. Do what I have done here to the four gospels, and to the whole New Testament, and you will see the overwhelming evidence against the doctrine of the Trinity and the equality of Father, Son and Spirit.

  • Pieter J Gey van Pittius

    Martin, you said

    “Hiding behind “wonder” and “we cannot explain 3 in one” is a cop out to entrench the false doctrine of the Trinity.”

    I say it is not a cop out to stand in awe of our God, for truly “… my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9). We as mere created beings can NEVER explain God fully. I agree, that certain people try to get away with “we cannot explain…” and that is shear laziness, but I don’t believe that is what Weiers tried to do. He was just humble, as we all should be.

    What we must diligently do, is to make sure what God has revealed about Himself. We should know that and accept that. But there are things that God did not reveal about Himself, and it is when we start to pry into the unrevealed things of God that we run the danger of being arrogant, wrong and irreverent. (Deut 29:29) Notice that I said that the revealed things of God is for us to ‘know and accept’ not necessarily understand and accept, for not even the revealed things can always be understood. Belief in God really is a matter of faith in the first place, not reason.

    • Martin W Bredenkamp

      But you do not need faith to believe differently to what is already and plainly revealed – The Lord our God is one God (not three).

      • Pieter J Gey van Pittius

        Again Martin, I absolutely agree. God is one. To believe in three gods is tritiësm. That is not biblical. What the Bible teach is that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit is one. I am going to discuss this at length in my replies to your original post on the Trinity.

  • eugenevisser

    It always with trepidation and a fair amount of sadness when I read these kind of articles. This way of thinking is certainly not new – some evidence suggest Uriah Smith believed that Jesus was a created being! Scholars have debated the Nature of Christ and the Trinity for many years. The problem we have in these debates is that neither party wishes to be convinced otherwise – Martin is clear in his writing that he has “found new light” and that the rest of us are “in apostacy”. Hence a long biblical discourse to convince Martin otherwise would be fruitless.

    Personally I am more concerned with those of us who don’t have doctorates and end up reading this, for which it might seem vaguely logical… Quotes like EGW, Review and Herald, Jan 7 1890 that says “The world’s redeemer was equal to God” would not be noted by the average reader and hence a missive such as this would be accepted as truth. To coin a phrase from “A man in Christ, James S. Stewart, p 307” talking about Paul’s Trinitarian benediction – “Only a virtuoso in exegetic evasion … could explain away the obvious implication of sayings so striking in their individual purport, so convincing in their cumulative effect.”

    So without doing a long study to prove that the Holy Spirit is a member of the Godhead, textual evidence for which there is aplenty and readily available, allow me to ask a few pertinent questions:

    1) Do you believe the SDA is God’s remnant last day church, raised up for a distinct purpose of preaching the end-time gospel? If so, aren’t you questioning the leading and guiding of the same Spirit, which you contest, in the formulation of doctrines?
    2) Do you believe that EGW was a true prophet, sent by God and inspired by divine intervention, for the purpose of leading and guiding the Remnant church in the formation of said doctrines? If so, by going directly against what she wrote, are you going against her or God?
    3) By minimising the importance of the Sabbath doctrine in favour of an Anti-Trinitarian doctrine, as you expressly stated, are you minimising the seal of God teaching as a means of identification of God’s true people? If so, why would you do that?
    4) If the trinity doctrine was conceived by the three pagan gods introduced from paganism, where did the pagans get three gods from? (Satan’s alternative?)
    5) If Jesus was inferior to God, then His sacrifice can never be sufficient. God the Father then simply sent a lacky to perform a formality to try to appease Satan. God himself then did not die on the cross – who did?
    6) The word “trinity” indeed does not appear in the Bible. Does the word “Bible” appear in the Bible?

    I suggest further reading:
    A man in Christ – James S. Stewart
    Questions on doctrine – Review and Herald
    Systemantic theology – Louis Berkhof, p82 – 90

    “The past experiences of God’s people are not to be counted as dead facts. The record is to be kept in mind; for history will repeat itself” EGW, letter 238, 1903

    • Paul Coetser

      Thank you, Eugene, your comments are spot on!

    • Weiers Coetser

      Hi Eugene, that is quite a list of questions. I’m also struck by how entrenched the sides of the debate seems to be.

      One of the points that I often ponder is how futile it is to try to comprehend a full picture of God from a human perspective. Trying to think what an eternal God is like from the perspective of 70 or 80 or 90 years of life. Trying to think what omnipresence is like from the perspective of somebody who is always bounded in time and space.

      Many of the greatest theologians insist that their talk about God can only happen in the context of prayer and confession, because anything we will ever say will fall short of the ultimate reality.

      The trinitarian debate in its present form in the Seventh-day Adventist church sometimes seems to lack this humility and sense of wonder. It is as though we really know and really understand, and the fact that the different sides are so strident in their views worry me. How big is the danger that both sides may end up worshipping a god that is more their creation (in itself a form of idolatry) than to serve a God who created them?

      God did reveal Godself through scripture and history, but as soon as we begin to probe what form this revelation took we almost always end up with a feeling of mystery and wonder and even “smallness” in the awesome transcendent reality of who God is. I think passages like Romans 8 and Ephesians 1 are good examples where the apostle Paul is really battling to find the words to describe exactly what happened in Jesus Christ. The Spirit and the Father feature deeply in those descriptions. I agree that I find it hard to work out that anybody who digs into such passages can’t see that the impulse to describe God as Trinity does not lie entrenched in Scripture.

      But then when you begin to probe exactly how the Trinity works and functions, you also begin to realise that it too always draws you deeper into the working of God, and that in the end, even the language of the Trinity does not capture the fullness of who God is. Think of the fact that God created even the language and the thought patterns, the consciousness that we use to think of God. How much more would there, therefore not be to understand of God. Paul probably was not referring to this when he said, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels…” but Imagine being to able to think God’s thoughts about Godself!

      • Martin W Bredenkamp

        Hiding behind “wonder” and “we cannot explain 3 in one” is a cop out to entrench the false doctrine of the Trinity.

    • Martin W Bredenkamp

      My response to Eugene very briefly: I have not found new light. I have simply, as many before me, rediscovered truths believed in by the primitive church – the church that Christ left behind when He ascended. It makes an interesting exercise in reading the gospels to focus on how Christ places Himself against the Father. Do the exercise and read John 14-17 and notice how many times Christ mentions His subservience to the Father. Also notice that Christ comes from the Father, and that the Father sent Him.

      To prove equality with God, Trinitarians often quote Christ’s prayer in John 17 where He states that He is one with God, but in the same verse Christ pleads for unity between us and Them: John 17:21 (KJV) That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. If this verse implies equality between Christ and the Father, then we are also equal with Christ and the Father.

      Answering your questions briefly:

      1) Do you believe the SDA is God’s remnant last day church, raised up for a distinct purpose of preaching the end-time gospel? If so, aren’t you questioning the leading and guiding of the same Spirit, which you contest, in the formulation of doctrines?

      I do not believe that the SDA church is the remnant. The church has used the Revelation 14:12 text that talks about the “commandments of God and the Testimony of Jesus” – the latter explained to be the Spirit of prophecy in Rev 19:10 – to prove that they are the remnant. Both these qualifying characteristics of the remnant have been misapplied to put the SDA church in the position of being the remnant. 1) A careful study of the writings of John indicates that the commandments of God refer to “entole” the command for us to love one another. The Decalogue is the “nomos.” 2) The testimony of Jesus and the Spirit of prophecy has a much wider application than EG White. The context of Revelation would rather imply living prophets at the Second Advent – those prophesied about by Joel chapter 3.

      2) Do you believe that EGW was a true prophet, sent by God and inspired by divine intervention, for the purpose of leading and guiding the Remnant church in the formation of said doctrines? If so, by going directly against what she wrote, are you going against her or God?

      Without going into great details, EG White is not the prophet that Adventists would like to believe that she is. She made mistakes. She, for example, propagated the “shut door principle” just after 1844, which she and the church gradually abandoned. This concept was from her first vision. Was her vision from God? You answer that. The EG White estate have collected every bit of material she has penned, which they could lay their hands on. Some controversial parts they have buried deep. Was every single word she wrote inspired? Adventists treat it this way, and in the church she is quoted 10 times more than the Bible, against her own instructions. The Adventist church claims to be protestant, but do not adhere to the motto of Protestantism: “Sola Scriptura.” I recognise inspiration in some of her writings, but find it much easier to follow her instructions to not dwell on the lesser light but to go to the Bible, the greater light. In short – I do not regard her as a prophet.

      3) By minimising the importance of the Sabbath doctrine in favour of an Anti-Trinitarian doctrine, as you expressly stated, are you minimising the seal of God teaching as a means of identification of God’s true people? If so, why would you do that?

      The concept of the Sabbath as being the seal of God in the end of time contest is not directly stated in the Bible. The Trinitarian conflict is rather implied by the contest at Armageddon (a thought that the editors of the blog removed from my article). Trinitarianism has Baal as its origin. At Armageddon, as at Carmel, God will reveal Himself, and the Baalish doctrine of the Trinity will be exposed and humiliated.

      4) If the trinity doctrine was conceived by the three pagan gods introduced from paganism, where did the pagans get three gods from? (Satan’s alternative?)

      The pagans can have as many gods as they please, and many do. Our God is one God, Who sent Jesus Christ (John 17:3).

      5) If Jesus was inferior to God, then His sacrifice can never be sufficient. God the Father then simply sent a lacky to perform a formality to try to appease Satan. God himself then did not die on the cross – who did?

      According to whom will Christ’s sacrifice be insufficient if He is not equal to God. That is a doctrine that has been conjured up by Trinitarians. God cannot die. If Christ was God eternal from eternity, He would not have been able to die. The Father took Him from among the angels (Heb 1) and made Him His Son, and called Him God. Christ got all His godly powers from the Father, yet being created, was able to die. Thus He bridged the gap between God and man. He is the ladder from earth to heaven (Jacob’s dream at Bethel). He is the Way, the door etc. showing that He is the way for us to reach God. He did for God what God could not do – die.

      6) The word “trinity” indeed does not appear in the Bible. Does the word “Bible” appear in the Bible?

      It would have been a problem for us who don’t believe in trinity if the name was in the Bible, but it isn’t.

      As far as other books are concerned such as “Questions on doctrine.” This book was written by Froom et al to promote the Trinity. I therefore consider it and other such books as extrabiblical and not significant.

    • Martin W Bredenkamp

      My response to Eugene very briefly: I have not found new light. I have simply, as many before me, rediscovered truths believed in by the primitive church – the church that Christ left behind when He ascended. It makes an interesting exercise in reading the gospels to focus on how Christ places Himself against the Father. Do the exercise and read John 14-17 and notice how many times Christ mentions His subservience to the Father. Also notice that Christ comes from the Father, and that the Father sent Him.

      To prove equality with God, Trinitarians often quote Christ’s prayer in John 17 where He states that He is one with God, but in the same verse Christ pleads for unity between us and Them: John 17:21 (KJV) That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. If this verse implies equality between Christ and the Father, then we are also equal with Christ and the Father.

      Answering your questions briefly:

      1) Do you believe the SDA is God’s remnant last day church, raised up for a distinct purpose of preaching the end-time gospel? If so, aren’t you questioning the leading and guiding of the same Spirit, which you contest, in the formulation of doctrines?

      I do not believe that the SDA church is the remnant. The church has used the Revelation 14:12 text that talks about the “commandments of God and the Testimony of Jesus” – the latter explained to be the Spirit of prophecy in Rev 19:10 – to prove that they are the remnant. Both these qualifying characteristics of the remnant have been misapplied to put the SDA church in the position of being the remnant. 1) A careful study of the writings of John indicates that the commandments of God refer to “entole” the command for us to love one another. The Decalogue is the “nomos.” 2) The testimony of Jesus and the Spirit of prophecy has a much wider application than EG White. The context of Revelation would rather imply living prophets at the Second Advent – those prophesied about by Joel chapter 3.

      2) Do you believe that EGW was a true prophet, sent by God and inspired by divine intervention, for the purpose of leading and guiding the Remnant church in the formation of said doctrines? If so, by going directly against what she wrote, are you going against her or God?

      Without going into great details, EG White is not the prophet that Adventists would like to believe that she is. She made mistakes. She, for example, propagated the “shut door principle” just after 1844, which she and the church gradually abandoned. This concept was from her first vision. Was her vision from God? You answer that. The EG White estate have collected every bit of material she has penned, which they could lay their hands on. Some controversial parts they have buried deep. Was every single word she wrote inspired? Adventists treat it this way, and in the church she is quoted 10 times more than the Bible, against her own instructions. The Adventist church claims to be protestant, but do not adhere to the motto of Protestantism: “Sola Scriptura.” I recognise inspiration in some of her writings, but find it much easier to follow her instructions to not dwell on the lesser light but to go to the Bible, the greater light. In short – I do not regard her as a prophet.

      3) By minimising the importance of the Sabbath doctrine in favour of an Anti-Trinitarian doctrine, as you expressly stated, are you minimising the seal of God teaching as a means of identification of God’s true people? If so, why would you do that?

      The concept of the Sabbath as being the seal of God in the end of time contest is not directly stated in the Bible. The Trinitarian conflict is rather implied by the contest at Armageddon (a thought that the editors of the blog removed from my article). Trinitarianism has Baal as its origin. At Armageddon, as at Carmel, God will reveal Himself, and the Baalish doctrine of the Trinity will be exposed and humiliated.

      4) If the trinity doctrine was conceived by the three pagan gods introduced from paganism, where did the pagans get three gods from? (Satan’s alternative?)

      The pagans can have as many gods as they please, and many do. Our God is one God, Who sent Jesus Christ (John 17:3).

      5) If Jesus was inferior to God, then His sacrifice can never be sufficient. God the Father then simply sent a lacky to perform a formality to try to appease Satan. God himself then did not die on the cross – who did?

      According to whom will Christ’s sacrifice be insufficient if He is not equal to God. That is a doctrine that has been conjured up by Trinitarians. God cannot die. If Christ was God eternal from eternity, He would not have been able to die. The Father took Him from among the angels (Heb 1) and made Him His Son, and called Him God. Christ got all His godly powers from the Father, yet being created, was able to die. Thus He bridged the gap between God and man. He is the ladder from earth to heaven (Jacob’s dream at Bethel). He is the Way, the door etc. showing that He is the way for us to reach God. He did for God what God could not do – die.

      6) The word “trinity” indeed does not appear in the Bible. Does the word “Bible” appear in the Bible?

      It would have been a problem for us who don’t believe in trinity if the name was in the Bible, but it isn’t.

      As far as other books are concerned such as “Questions on doctrine.” This book was written by Froom et al to promote the Trinity. I therefore consider it and other such books as extrabiblical and not significant.

    • Martin W Bredenkamp

      My response to Eugene very briefly: I have not found new light. I have simply, as many before me, rediscovered truths believed in by the primitive church – the church that Christ left behind when He ascended. It makes an interesting exercise in reading the gospels to focus on how Christ places Himself against the Father. Do the exercise and read John 14-17 and notice how many times Christ mentions His subservience to the Father. Also notice that Christ comes from the Father, and that the Father sent Him.

      To prove equality with God, Trinitarians often quote Christ’s prayer in John 17 where He states that He is one with God, but in the same verse Christ pleads for unity between us and Them: John 17:21 (KJV) That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. If this verse implies equality between Christ and the Father, then we are also equal with Christ and the Father.

      Answering your questions briefly:

      1) Do you believe the SDA is God’s remnant last day church, raised up for a distinct purpose of preaching the end-time gospel? If so, aren’t you questioning the leading and guiding of the same Spirit, which you contest, in the formulation of doctrines?

      I do not believe that the SDA church is the remnant. The church has used the Revelation 14:12 text that talks about the “commandments of God and the Testimony of Jesus” – the latter explained to be the Spirit of prophecy in Rev 19:10 – to prove that they are the remnant. Both these qualifying characteristics of the remnant have been misapplied to put the SDA church in the position of being the remnant. 1) A careful study of the writings of John indicates that the commandments of God refer to “entole” the command for us to love one another. The Decalogue is the “nomos.” 2) The testimony of Jesus and the Spirit of prophecy has a much wider application than EG White. The context of Revelation would rather imply living prophets at the Second Advent – those prophesied about by Joel chapter 3.

      2) Do you believe that EGW was a true prophet, sent by God and inspired by divine intervention, for the purpose of leading and guiding the Remnant church in the formation of said doctrines? If so, by going directly against what she wrote, are you going against her or God?

      Without going into great details, EG White is not the prophet that Adventists would like to believe that she is. She made mistakes. She, for example, propagated the “shut door principle” just after 1844, which she and the church gradually abandoned. This concept was from her first vision. Was her vision from God? You answer that. The EG White estate have collected every bit of material she has penned, which they could lay their hands on. Some controversial parts they have buried deep. Was every single word she wrote inspired? Adventists treat it this way, and in the church she is quoted 10 times more than the Bible, against her own instructions. The Adventist church claims to be protestant, but do not adhere to the motto of Protestantism: “Sola Scriptura.” I recognise inspiration in some of her writings, but find it much easier to follow her instructions to not dwell on the lesser light but to go to the Bible, the greater light. In short – I do not regard her as a prophet.

      3) By minimising the importance of the Sabbath doctrine in favour of an Anti-Trinitarian doctrine, as you expressly stated, are you minimising the seal of God teaching as a means of identification of God’s true people? If so, why would you do that?

      The concept of the Sabbath as being the seal of God in the end of time contest is not directly stated in the Bible. The Trinitarian conflict is rather implied by the contest at Armageddon (a thought that the editors of the blog removed from my article). Trinitarianism has Baal as its origin. At Armageddon, as at Carmel, God will reveal Himself, and the Baalish doctrine of the Trinity will be exposed and humiliated.

      4) If the trinity doctrine was conceived by the three pagan gods introduced from paganism, where did the pagans get three gods from? (Satan’s alternative?)

      The pagans can have as many gods as they please, and many do. Our God is one God, Who sent Jesus Christ (John 17:3).

      5) If Jesus was inferior to God, then His sacrifice can never be sufficient. God the Father then simply sent a lacky to perform a formality to try to appease Satan. God himself then did not die on the cross – who did?

      According to whom will Christ’s sacrifice be insufficient if He is not equal to God. That is a doctrine that has been conjured up by Trinitarians. God cannot die. If Christ was God eternal from eternity, He would not have been able to die. The Father took Him from among the angels (Heb 1) and made Him His Son, and called Him God. Christ got all His godly powers from the Father, yet being created, was able to die. Thus He bridged the gap between God and man. He is the ladder from earth to heaven (Jacob’s dream at Bethel). He is the Way, the door etc. showing that He is the way for us to reach God. He did for God what God could not do – die.

      6) The word “trinity” indeed does not appear in the Bible. Does the word “Bible” appear in the Bible?

      It would have been a problem for us who don’t believe in trinity if the name was in the Bible, but it isn’t.

      As far as other books are concerned such as “Questions on doctrine.” This book was written by Froom et al to promote the Trinity. I therefore consider it and other such books as extrabiblical and not significant.

    • I am posting this reply on behalf of Martin Bredenkamp. We are experiencing some technical problems with our replies. Martin posted this reply on repeatedly but it keeps on disappearing. We apologize for this unforeseen hitch.(Editor). Here follows Martin’s answer to Eugene: In reply to Eugene Visser.:
      My response to Eugene very briefly: I have not found new light. I have simply, as many before me, rediscovered truths believed in by the primitive church – the church that Christ left behind when He ascended. It makes an interesting exercise in reading the gospels to focus on how Christ places Himself against the Father. Do the exercise and read John 14-17 and notice how many times Christ mentions His subservience to the Father. Also notice that Christ comes from the Father, and that the Father sent Him.

      To prove equality with God, Trinitarians often quote Christ’s prayer in John 17 where He states that He is one with God, but in the same verse Christ pleads for unity between us and Them: John 17:21 (KJV) That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. If this verse implies equality between Christ and the Father, then we are also equal with Christ and the Father.

      Answering your questions briefly:

      1) Do you believe the SDA is God’s remnant last day church, raised up for a distinct purpose of preaching the end-time gospel? If so, aren’t you questioning the leading and guiding of the same Spirit, which you contest, in the formulation of doctrines?

      I do not believe that the SDA church is the remnant. The church has used the Revelation 14:12 text that talks about the “commandments of God and the Testimony of Jesus” – the latter explained to be the Spirit of prophecy in Rev 19:10 – to prove that they are the remnant. Both these qualifying characteristics of the remnant have been misapplied to put the SDA church in the position of being the remnant. 1) A careful study of the writings of John indicates that the commandments of God refer to “entole” the command for us to love one another. The Decalogue is the “nomos.” 2) The testimony of Jesus and the Spirit of prophecy has a much wider application than EG White. The context of Revelation would rather imply living prophets at the Second Advent – those prophesied about by Joel chapter 3.

      2) Do you believe that EGW was a true prophet, sent by God and inspired by divine intervention, for the purpose of leading and guiding the Remnant church in the formation of said doctrines? If so, by going directly against what she wrote, are you going against her or God?

      Without going into great details, EG White is not the prophet that Adventists would like to believe that she is. She made mistakes. She, for example, propagated the “shut door principle” just after 1844, which she and the church gradually abandoned. This concept was from her first vision. Was her vision from God? You answer that. The EG White estate have collected every bit of material she has penned, which they could lay their hands on. Some controversial parts they have buried deep. Was every single word she wrote inspired? Adventists treat it this way, and in the church she is quoted 10 times more than the Bible, against her own instructions. The Adventist church claims to be protestant, but do not adhere to the motto of Protestantism: “Sola Scriptura.” I recognise inspiration in some of her writings, but find it much easier to follow her instructions to not dwell on the lesser light but to go to the Bible, the greater light. In short – I do not regard her as a prophet.

      3) By minimising the importance of the Sabbath doctrine in favour of an Anti-Trinitarian doctrine, as you expressly stated, are you minimising the seal of God teaching as a means of identification of God’s true people? If so, why would you do that?

      The concept of the Sabbath as being the seal of God in the end of time contest is not directly stated in the Bible. The Trinitarian conflict is rather implied by the contest at Armageddon (a thought that the editors of the blog removed from my article). Trinitarianism has Baal as its origin. At Armageddon, as at Carmel, God will reveal Himself, and the Baalish doctrine of the Trinity will be exposed and humiliated.

      4) If the trinity doctrine was conceived by the three pagan gods introduced from paganism, where did the pagans get three gods from? (Satan’s alternative?)

      The pagans can have as many gods as they please, and many do. Our God is one God, Who sent Jesus Christ (John 17:3).

      5) If Jesus was inferior to God, then His sacrifice can never be sufficient. God the Father then simply sent a lacky to perform a formality to try to appease Satan. God himself then did not die on the cross – who did?

      According to whom will Christ’s sacrifice be insufficient if He is not equal to God. That is a doctrine that has been conjured up by Trinitarians. God cannot die. If Christ was God eternal from eternity, He would not have been able to die. The Father took Him from among the angels (Heb 1) and made Him His Son, and called Him God. Christ got all His godly powers from the Father, yet being created, was able to die. Thus He bridged the gap between God and man. He is the ladder from earth to heaven (Jacob’s dream at Bethel). He is the Way, the door etc. showing that He is the way for us to reach God. He did for God what God could not do – die.

      6) The word “trinity” indeed does not appear in the Bible. Does the word “Bible” appear in the Bible?

      It would have been a problem for us who don’t believe in trinity if the name was in the Bible, but it isn’t.

      As far as other books are concerned such as “Questions on doctrine.” This book was written by Froom et al to promote the Trinity. I therefore consider it and other such books as extrabiblical and not significant.

    • Martin W Bredenkamp

      My response to Eugene very briefly: I have not found new light. I have simply, as many before me, rediscovered truths believed in by the primitive church – the church that Christ left behind when He ascended. It makes an interesting exercise in reading the gospels to focus on how Christ places Himself against the Father. Do the exercise and read John 14-17 and notice how many times Christ mentions His subservience to the Father. Also notice that Christ comes from the Father, and that the Father sent Him.
      To prove equality with God, Trinitarians often quote Christ’s prayer in John 17 where He states that He is one with God, but in the same verse Christ pleads for unity between us and Them: John 17:21 (KJV) That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. If this verse implies equality between Christ and the Father, then we are also equal with Christ and the Father.
      Answering your questions briefly:
      1) Do you believe the SDA is God’s remnant last day church, raised up for a distinct purpose of preaching the end-time gospel? If so, aren’t you questioning the leading and guiding of the same Spirit, which you contest, in the formulation of doctrines?
      I do not believe that the SDA church is the remnant. The church has used the Revelation 14:12 text that talks about the “commandments of God and the Testimony of Jesus” – the latter explained to be the Spirit of prophecy in Rev 19:10 – to prove that they are the remnant. Both these qualifying characteristics of the remnant have been misapplied to put the SDA church in the position of being the remnant. 1) A careful study of the writings of John indicates that the commandments of God refer to “entole” the command for us to love one another. The Decalogue is the “nomos.” 2) The testimony of Jesus and the Spirit of prophecy has a much wider application than EG White. The context of Revelation would rather imply living prophets at the Second Advent – those prophesied about by Joel chapter 3.
      2) Do you believe that EGW was a true prophet, sent by God and inspired by divine intervention, for the purpose of leading and guiding the Remnant church in the formation of said doctrines? If so, by going directly against what she wrote, are you going against her or God?
      Without going into great details, EG White is not the prophet that Adventists would like to believe that she is. She made mistakes. She, for example, propagated the “shut door principle” just after 1844, which she and the church gradually abandoned. This concept was from her first vision. Was her vision from God? You answer that. The EG White estate have collected every bit of material she has penned, which they could lay their hands on. Some controversial parts they have buried deep. Was every single word she wrote inspired? Adventists treat it this way, and in the church she is quoted 10 times more than the Bible, against her own instructions. The Adventist church claims to be protestant, but do not adhere to the motto of Protestantism: “Sola Scriptura.” I recognise inspiration in some of her writings, but find it much easier to follow her instructions to not dwell on the lesser light but to go to the Bible, the greater light. In short – I do not regard her as a prophet.
      3) By minimising the importance of the Sabbath doctrine in favour of an Anti-Trinitarian doctrine, as you expressly stated, are you minimising the seal of God teaching as a means of identification of God’s true people? If so, why would you do that?
      The concept of the Sabbath as being the seal of God in the end of time contest is not directly stated in the Bible. The Trinitarian conflict rather is implied by the contest at Armageddon. Armageddon is the mountain at the valley of Megiddo (Har Megiddo). That mountain happens to be Mt Carmel where God revealed Himself through the prophet Elijah in the time of king Ahab. Trinitarianism has Baal as its origin. At Armageddon, as at Carmel, God will reveal Himself, and the Baalish doctrine of the Trinity will be exposed and humiliated just as Baal was humiliated by God before Ahab.
      4) If the trinity doctrine was conceived by the three pagan gods introduced from paganism, where did the pagans get three gods from? (Satan’s alternative?)
      The pagans can have as many gods as they please, and many do. Our God is one God, Who sent Jesus Christ (John 17:3).
      5) If Jesus was inferior to God, then His sacrifice can never be sufficient. God the Father then simply sent a lacky to perform a formality to try to appease Satan. God himself then did not die on the cross – who did?
      According to whom will Christ’s sacrifice be insufficient if He is not equal to God. That is a doctrine that has been conjured up by Trinitarians. God cannot die. If Christ was God eternal from eternity, He would not have been able to die. The Father took Him from among the angels (Heb 1) and made Him His Son, and called Him God. Christ got all His godly powers from the Father, yet being created, was able to die. Thus He bridged the gap between God and man. He is the ladder from earth to heaven (Jacob’s dream at Bethel). He is the Way, the door etc. showing that He is the way for us to reach God. He did for God what God cannot do – die.
      6) The word “trinity” indeed does not appear in the Bible. Does the word “Bible” appear in the Bible?
      It would have been a problem for us who don’t believe in trinity if the name was in the Bible, but it isn’t.
      As far as other books are concerned such as “Questions on doctrine.” This book was written by Froom et al to promote the Trinity. I therefore consider it and other such books as extrabiblical and not significant.

  • This comment from Ian Hartley: I share the consternation of Martin with regard to the NT witness. Paul in his letters greets and salutes in the name of the Father and Son but hardly ever mentions the Spirit. There is also the influence of the medieval church in translation especially with regard to the trinity and fasting and “begotten” to name a few areas. However Isaiah seems to have understood the concept if one reads 48:12-16 and 63:7-11. The most compelling evidence for me is found in Revelation where it is repeatedly shown how the false trinity, the dragon, the beast and the false prophet is destroyed. I suppose one could argue that the writer was influenced by paganism but then the question of the concept of the trinity in paganism came from somewhere. Perhaps paganism’s trinity ideology is a counterfeit of the original truth

    • Martin W Bredenkamp

      Why does Revelation not have three thrones, but only two? Even elders have thrones, but not the Spirit. If the Spirit is a God-being, why is He not treated equally with the
      Father and the Son? Why does Revelation have 7 spirits?

      • Good question!

      • Weiers Coetser

        Hi Martin. Perhaps you can explain to me again how you view the Spirit?

        About the 7 Spirits in Revelation. A while ago I discovered Ranko Stefanovic’s commentary on Revelation 1:4, and his comment on the 7 Spirits opened a new perspective to me. Let me quote his notes on this text at some length for what it is worth: “The seven Spirits. The plurality of the Holy Spirit occurs also in Revelation 22:6. “The seven Spirits before the throne of God” are identical to “the seven Spirits of God” in 3:1. Elsewhere in the book, “the seven Spirits of God” are portrayed as “seven torches of fire” burning before the throne (4:5) and “seven eyes…sent out into all the earth” (5:6). The Old Testament background of this imagery is found first in the Greek translation (Septuagint) of Isaiah 11:2 where seven designations of the Spirit of the Lord are mentioned: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and godliness, and the spirit of the fear of God. Another reference is in Zechariah 4 where the prophet saw the seven lamps (4:2) which were to denote “the eyes of the Lord which range throughout the earth” (4:10). These refer to the activity of the Holy Spirit in his sevenfold fullness. The fact that “the seven Spirits” are here (Rev.1:4-6) associated with the Father and Christ as the equal source of grace and peace strongly suggests that in 1:4 we have a reference to the sevenfold activity of the Holy Spirit on behalf of the churches. The number “seven” must, of course, be taken symbolically as divine fullness and perfection (see Notes on Rev. 5:1.)”

        I doubt that the author was in a polemical mode when he wrote this. I think the unpacking of the symbolism is helpful. It brings me back to my point that any language about the “essence” of God will only ever be an approximation and almost certainly an anthropomorphised view of who God “really” is.

        I wonder to what extent the unitarianism that is gaining popularity in our world allows for this? Or does it bind itself to a literalist interpretation of the words of the Bible?

        • Martin W Bredenkamp

          It is interesting that the last characteristic of the Spirit in Isa 11:2 is “the spirit of the fear of God.” Does the Holy Spirit have the spirit of the fear of God if He is God himself? Reading the context of this text, it is clear that it is Messianic. It is Christ that has the spirit of understanding and wisdom etc, ending in the spirit of the fear of the Lord. Now it is God’s Spirit that rests in Christ and Christ has all these good and up-building traits. Christ also has the fear of the Lord. That means Christ is in awe and respect of God the Father. Where does that put equality with God?

          I like to think of the seven spirits of Revelation to allude to the seven candlesticks in the tabernacle – seven lights. As mentioned this is given in Zech 4:2 and Rev 4:5. The lamps represent the Spirit of God, the altar of incense represents mediation – Christ, and the table of shewbread represents the Father – God, the provider in all our needs. He provided His Son, the bread of life. The Father provides the Son, and thus salvation.

          There are many other sevens in Revelation that probably represents the spirit of God, but that is material for another very interesting study.

        • Martin W Bredenkamp

          Just be careful. Unitarianism is not the opposite of trinitarianism Unitarianists have their own hangups.

          • Weiers Coetser

            Can you explain what distinguishes your view from unitarianism? I may be conflating different ideas. Is the core idea in unitarianism not that there is only one God (God the Father) and that Jesus is subordinate to God? If that is the case, why do you distance yourself from that terminology?

    • Martin W Bredenkamp

      Even in Paul’s greetings in his epistles, he does not make Christ equal with the Father. Look at 1Tim 1 as one example: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ BY THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;” (emphasis provided)

    • Martin W Bredenkamp

      And notice the differentiation between the Father and Christ: One example 2 Thess 1:1 “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:” Notice that the Father is God, and Christ is Lord. There are many such examples.