Chapter 10

The Alpha of Deadly Heresies

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In this chapter, we will study the alpha of deadly heresies in depth. Why is this important? Because Sister White saw the omega of apostasy that would come in our day, and it made her tremble for our people. We would be wise, then, to learn how to recognize the omega and avoid it, lest it threaten our salvation. But just as a person cannot know what the mark of the beast is without knowing who the beast is, so one cannot know what the omega of apostasy is unless one is clear on what the alpha of apostasy was which preceded it, because they are closely linked.

That’s not the only reason a study of the alpha in our church history is imperative. Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge….” Without a knowledge of our denominational history and a consequent learning from it, there inevitably will be speculation and/or uninformed decision-making, both personally and corporately. Both can have serious consequences. Therefore, this chapter will briefly review some neglected but critically important information, because if you understand the deadly alpha, the subsequent deadly omega will be obvious.

Ellen White wrote, in reference to the alpha and omega, “Be not deceived….” Isn’t that interesting! In Matthew 24, Jesus warned us against end-time deception four times. Well, brethren, in her continued quote, we read the testimony of Jesus: “Be not deceived; many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. We have now before us the alpha of this danger. The omega will be of a most startling nature.” (SpTB02, 16)

Did you catch that? God’s prophet said that many would ignore this warning since “many will depart from the faith.” She did not mean a departure from our current beliefs in 2017, for our religion has been considerably changed. She meant departing from the faith or the beliefs held by Seventh-day Adventists when she made that statement back in 1904. The wording makes it impossible to mean any other faith. Note also that she said, “The omega will be of a most startling nature.”

In Ellen White’s mind, the danger facing God’s people was obviously not a small matter, as some today think of it. To her inspired perception, this apostasy was a major concern. Ellen White’s warning words appeared in other publications in 1904: “The omega would follow in a little while. I tremble for our people.” (1SAT 341; Ms 46, 1904)  This fearful condition which shook Ellen White compels us to study the alpha in our past denominational history, so that we may discern and shun the omega that followed it, which is now in our beloved church.

That our movement has a solid foundation cannot be doubted. Consider these words of confidence in the Lord’s leading at that time:

“Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce, … Elder (Hiram) Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with them, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the Word. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, ‘We can do nothing more,’ the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me.” (1SM 206)

Referring to Adventism’s “past history” in the years from 1844 until 1893—meaning until just five years after the 1888 conference, Sister White published both an encouragement and a warning for Seventh-day Adventists: “In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what God has wrought, I am filled with astonishment and with confidence in Christ as Leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” (GCB [1893], 24)

Her inspired statement will be a key to this chapter’s study: “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.

In His wisdom, God has given His remnant people a treasure chest of wisdom and understanding of biblical doctrine. He has given us a courageous prophet who performed her role with great faithfulness. We have our pillar doctrines: the seventh-day Sabbath, the sanctuary message, the state of the dead, the second coming of Christ, the 2300-year prophecy, the three angels’ messages, the ten commandments and a health reform message. We who are historic Seventh-day Adventists embrace all of these, while in mainstream Adventism, some of these doctrines are downplayed, ignored, or under attack, along with God’s prophet. What is it that we now may be believing and teaching that is evidence that our church did indeed “forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history”? This is something about which we will get a detailed understanding.

Isaiah 58:12 states the following: “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” Our goal is to become restorers of paths to dwell in. In order to do so, though, we must be sure we know what those correct paths were, in which our pioneers dwelt. It is in discovering those paths that we will learn if we are traveling in correct paths today. We will also learn what we need to avoid, which is whatever would cause us to deviate from the correct paths. Since we are dealing with “deadly heresies,” we need to pay careful attention and proceed with revealed information only, keeping Deuteronomy 29:29 in mind: “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.” There is no room for, and no safety in, speculation.

It is time for a historical examination. We will go back to the period of time in our denomination when that which Sister White identified as the “alpha of deadly heresies” emerged.

The Origin of the “Alpha of Deadly Heresies” in our Church 

The alpha of deadly heresies occurred in our church in the early 1900s, when a very prominent physician by the name of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg wrote a book entitled The Living Temple. As background, Dr. Kellogg completed his medical training in 1876. God gave him the knowledge and skill he had in teaching, in developing the medical work in its early days, and in the operations he performed. Ellen White not only told Kellogg that God was the source of his success, but told others as well, lest Kellogg become proud and they become jealous of Kellogg’s wide influence. At first, Kellogg was an unselfish, dedicated, greatly respected and loved man, but in him Satan recognized an opportunity to do great harm to the Advent movement, if he could be won to serve another master. As it turned out, even before James White’s death in 1881, Kellogg had discussed with Ellen White the “great light” he had discovered, which she warned him was wrong. “Those theories are wrong…. Never teach such theories…, do not present them to the people.” (MS 70, 1905) He ignored that inspired counsel, though, and presented his concept of God publicly in 1897 during the ministerial institute preceding the General Conference session that year. Some men accepted his “great light.”

Battle Creek Sanitarium burned to the ground on Feb. 18, 1902, and General Conference President A. G. Daniells suggested Dr. Kellogg write a book on health care to raise funds for the rebuilding of the sanitarium. Daniells insisted that Kellogg’s spiritualistic views be kept out of the book, and Kellogg agreed—but he didn’t keep his word to Daniells. A General Conference committee refused to recommend Kellogg’s book for publishing because it contained pantheistic teachings about the personality of God. Rather than God as our Sovereign Creator and personal Being, pantheism depicts Him as a depersonalized influence or essence in all nature. Kellogg had departed from the Adventist understanding of the personality of God—who He is—and replaced it with his own diminished, impersonal concept of God as a power in all nature—including sinners.

About a month after the General Conference refusal to endorse and print his book, Kellogg personally submitted his book to the Review and Herald publishing office; he would pay for the printing himself. However, the Review and Herald building burned to the ground shortly thereafter (Dec. 30, 1902), and the plates prepared for the printing of his book were destroyed. Determined to get his book to print, Kellogg then turned to a commercial printer, and in 1903, 3,000 copies of his book came off the press and began to be distributed.

Gods prophet affirmed Deuteronomy 29:29: “The revelation of Himself that God has given in His word is for our study. This we may seek to understand. But beyond this we are not to penetrate.” (MH 429) This statement was and is most important, because Kellogg had presumed to reject the biblical understandings God had established through the early pioneers, and to penetrate beyond that which was revealed. And as we will see, that is exactly what respected theologians and a misguided majority at the 1980 General Conference session did, which speculation has brought into our church the omega of apostasy. It’s also noteworthy that in that same statement of Ellen White’s, she said that the things that God has given us in His Word are for our study, and this we are to seek to understand.

So Kellogg ventured beyond what revelation has given us. In opposing his theological suppositions, Sister White, in Loma Linda Messages, was a bit more specific: “The teaching regarding God that is presented in ‘Living Temple’ is not such as our students need.… Those who express such sentiments regarding Him show that they are departing from the faith.” (LLM 253)

This quotation’s strong wording is an important piece of the puzzle as to what the alpha of deadly heresies was. Kellogg had written something in his book that caused God’s prophet to say that those who express such sentiments show that they are departing from the faith. What faith-related, or theological, teaching had Kellogg presented that Sister White identified as the alpha of deadly heresies? She wrote, “The teaching regarding God.” Kellogg was teaching or promoting something about God that Sister White recognized as a departure from the faith. She also wrote, “In the book Living Temple there is presented the alpha of deadly heresies….” (1SM 200)

Mrs. White wrote even stronger words when she wrote to Kellogg on March 16, 1903, regarding other statements he was making concerning Adventists and their beliefs. “Your heart is not right with God. The Spirit of God is not working you. You need … to be converted. You are not sound in the faith. The work which is essential to be done for our people, our youth, is to educate them to believe the truth that has made our people what they are in numbers and in strength. This is the work for this time and is to be acknowledged and not denied as you have and are denying the faith.    

        “While you have told the things that you have and made the statements you have before unbelievers, my heart has been sad indeed. You have evidenced that you have departed from the faith….

“You are not sound in the faith. I have stated this in my diary months ago. You have certainly placed the people of God, whom the Lord has led step by step in the ways of truth and placed upon a solid foundation, in a false showing before unbelievers. Some have departed from the faith and will continue to misrepresent the work God has given me.” (Letter 300, 1903)

Kellogg had had a conversation with Elder Spicer, portions of which the latter detailed: “…But I was urged [by Kellogg] to understand that heaven is where God is, and God is everywhere—in the grass, in the trees, in all creation. There was no place in this scheme of things for angels going between heaven and earth, for heaven was here and everywhere. The cleansing of the sanctuary that we taught about was not something in a faraway heaven. ‘The sin is here … [Dr. Kellogg said, pointing to his heart], and here is the sanctuary to be cleansed.’”

Spicer added, “I knew well enough that there was nothing of the Advent message that could fit into such a philosophy. As I had listened, one light after another of the gospel message seemed to be put out. Religious teaching that to me was fundamental was set aside.” (DF 15c, W. A. Spicer, “How the Spirit of Prophecy Met a Crisis,” copy A, 19-21, brackets original; taken from Arthur L. White, Ellen White, Woman of Vision, 438.)

In the continuation of Ellen White's letter to Kellogg quoted above, Ellen White addressed Kellogg’s spiritualistic theories: “The sanctuary question is a clear and definite doctrine as we have held it as a people. You are not definitely clear on the personality of God, which is everything to us as a people, You have virtually destroyed the Lord God Himself.

        “Why should you take the liberty to make the statements which you have made, as though you had authority for thus stating, when they are falsehoods? You have made the facts of our faith of none effect before unbelievers, and the truth which should ever be kept prominent and exalted with this people you have virtually denied and ignored in your many statements. How dared you to do this?…” (Ltr 300, 1903)

There were two very serious charges in her words: #1. “Not clear on the personality of God;” and #2. “Virtually destroyed the Lord God Himself.” Can there be any charge more serious than the latter?

In October of that same year (1903), there was a crisis about Kellogg’s teachings at the Autumn Council. Sides were being taken until A. G. Daniells, president of the General Conference, received two letters from Ellen White that spoke against the teachings in The Living Temple. The letters were read to all attending, which effectively served to unify the gathering in accord with the counsel given. They read, in specific part, “I have something to say to our teachers in reference to the new book The Living Temple. Be careful how you sustain the sentiments of this book regarding the personality of God. As the Lord presents matters to me, these sentiments do not bear the endorsement of God. They are a snare that the enemy has prepared for these last days….

“We need not the mysticism that is in this book…. The writer of this book is on a false track. He has lost sight of the distinguishing truths for this time. He knows not where his steps are tending….” (Letter 211, 1903)

Dr. Kellogg responded to this public reading of inspired counsel graciously, saying he would modify the wording in his book concerning theological topics. “But his statements were rather erratic and changeable. His attitude alternated, and it finally turned out that the doctor never really changed.” (Arthur L. White, Ellen White, Woman of Vision, 443) At a later date, after one of Ellen White’s talks to workers, Kellogg made “a brief attempt at confession,” but “Dr. Kellogg had become a very vacillating man, and the repentant attitude was shallow and short-lived.” (Ibid., 456)

Ellen White explicitly denied Kellogg’s claim that her writings supported his views. In fact, she saw the dangers clearly. “,,,I told him [Kellogg] that the Lord was greatly dishonored by being thus represented, and that such ideas would lead the people into spiritualism.” (Letter 271a, 1903) “…Had God desired to be represented as dwelling personally in the things of nature—in the flower, the tree, the spear of grass—would not Christ have spoken of this to His disciples?” (Letter 230, 1903) She referred specifically to the “spiritualistic views Satan has instituted in your theories.” (Letter 301, 1903) “Your ideas are so mystical that they are destructive to the real substance, and the minds of some are becoming confused in regard to the foundation of our faith….” (Letter 52, 1903)

As stated earlier, Kellogg had agreed to revise his book—to remove all theological topics—but could he be trusted? A letter written by Arthur G. Daniells, pioneer and General Conference president from 1901-1922, can give us some insight. He had had a conversation with Dr. Kellogg about Kellogg’s new development in theological thought that was so alarming to Brother Daniells that Daniells decided to write a letter to Willie C. White, Ellen White’s son, to share his concerns about what Kellogg had told him. Here are a few of the most relevant parts of that letter.

Elder Daniells wrote to W. C. White, “Ever since the council closed I have felt that I should write you confidentially regarding Dr. Kellogg’s plans for revising and republishing The Living Temple.…”

The letter continued, ...He [Kellogg] said that some days before coming to the council, he had been thinking the matter over, and began to see that he had made a slight mistake in expressing his views…. He then stated that his former views regarding the trinity had stood in his way of making a clear and absolutely correct statement; but that within a short time he had come to believe in the trinity and could now see pretty clearly where all the difficulty was, and believed that he could clear the matter up satisfactorily. He told me that he now believed in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; and his view was that it was God the Holy Ghost, and not God the Father, that fills all space, and every living thing. He said if he had believed this before writing the book, he could have expressed his views without giving the wrong impression the book now gives.”

Reader, please take another look at what you just read concerning Kelloggs statement to Daniells. Satan had already led Dr. Kellogg into a mystical, spiritualistic representation of God—a pantheistic view. Satan then led the influential doctor to adopt a different, more deceptive spiritualistic belief that Kellogg presented as the solution to the objections the leaders had had to his book. Kellogg spoke to Daniells of his former views regarding the Trinity.He had held those views before he had come to believe in the trinity.That means his former viewswere non-trinitarian—the common understanding of the pioneers. He claimed those “former” non-trinitarian views had obstructed his ability to make a clear and absolutely correct statementregarding God. Obviously, Kellogg had believed in one God, though he came to conceive of that one God wrongly. But then, according to Kellogg, he saw his mistake in believing in one God. According to him, it was Trinitarianism—an expanded choice of three gods—that helped him make an absolutely correct statementthat it was God the Holy Spirit that was in every living thing (including unrepentant sinners), and not God the Father. The first error led to the second error, and the second error was enabled by his new Trinitarian belief. It was to counter Kellogg’s teaching of the Holy Spirit as a divine essence pervading all things—animate and inanimate, saints and sinners alike—that led Mrs. White to write of the Spirit as a “person.”

Daniells continued, “I placed before him the objections I found in the teaching, and tried to show him that teaching was so utterly contrary to the gospel that I did not see how it could be revised by changing a few expressions….” (Letter, A. G. Daniells to W. C. White, October 29, 1903)

Now it’s interesting that Kellogg said that he had come to believe … what doctrine? The doctrine of the Trinity. And he specifically said he believed in “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.” Does that sound familiar to anyone?

The General Conference president at that time (1903), in his statement above, said he did something. He said, “I placed before him the objections I found in the teaching.” He added, “…That teaching was so utterly contrary to the gospel.…” Trinitarianism was not accepted in Adventism in 1903.

Now what do you suppose Mrs. White thought about Kellogg’s plans for revision? We’ll let her words speak for themselves. She wrote, “The writer has not changed.” “It will be said that Living Temple has been revised, but the Lord has shown me that the writer has not changed, and that there can be no unity between him and the ministers of the gospel while he continues to cherish his present sentiments. I am bidden to lift my voice in warning to our people, saying, ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked’ (Gal. 6 :7). (1SM 199)

The next point must not be missed: What were his “present sentiments,” according to the written testimony of the General Conference president at that time? That he [Kellogg] believed in the Trinity—that he believed in God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Sister White said ministers of the gospel could have no unity with Kellogg so long as he harbored those beliefs. She said his beliefs were actually a mockery of whom? Of God. She quoted Scripture in warning away from those beliefs: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked.”

What we are doing here is simply reading documents from our past history and examining the facts, because Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 tells us that we can look to the past to understand what’s happening today. “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there anything whereof it may be said: ‘See, this is new’? It hath been already of old time which was before us.” In other words, the Bible tells us that things have a habit of repeating themselves. And thus, in order to understand some of the things that are happening today, an examination into the history of our church has been a necessity.

Sister White mourned the falsehoods associated with Kellogg’s book: “In the controversy that arose among our brethren regarding the teachings of this book (Living Temple), those in favor of giving it a wide circulation declared: ‘It contains the very sentiments that Sister White has been teaching.’ This assertion struck right to my heart. I felt heartbroken; for I knew that this representation of the matter was not true.” (1SM 203)

She also wrote, “I am compelled to speak in denial of the claim that the teachings of Living Temple can be sustained by statements from my writings.” (Ibid.) She stated emphatically for the record, “There may be in this book expressions and sentiments that are in harmony with my writings. And there may be in my writings many statements which, taken from their connection, and interpreted according to the mind of the writer of Living Temple, would seem to be in harmony with the teachings of this book. This may give apparent support to the assertion that the sentiments in Living Temple are in harmony with my writings. But God forbid that this sentiment should prevail.” (1SM 203 [1904])

The truth is that Mrs. White knew exactly who was behind Kelloggs new belief in the Trinity. It was Satan himself. She very clearly rebuked Kellogg for the deadly heresy he had written in his book. She said it was written under the inspiration of the arch-deceiver.(Battle Creek Letters, Jan. 29, 1904, 103) She wrote, In the past, it has been that Dr. Kellogg would make any kind of a shift or statement rather than make a full, thorough confession. The evil adviser still has power over Dr. Kellogg, who is a man that God would save and work through, if He could; but Dr. Kellogg has become self-centered, exalted by worldly policy. In order to save, as he thinks, his reputation, he will do as he has done in the past—influence men in responsible positions and then leave them to work out the difficult problems….” (13MR 377 [Jan. 20, 1904])  “…His mind is being worked by the very one who seduced the angels of God in the heavenly courts.” (Ibid., 378)The efforts that Dr. Kellogg makes to call the youth to Battle Creek, notwithstanding the plain testimonies that have been given, show that he is working under the advice of the one who talked with Eve.(Ibid.)

Ellen White was unable to persuade Kellogg to desist. She wrote, “…Satan’s power over him has not been broken.” (Letter 116, April 22, 1905)

In this brief history of the origin and development of the alpha of deadly heresies, Mrs. White wrote under inspiration that Kellogg was being worked by Satan; he was “inspired by the arch-deceiver.”

What is the point of giving you this historical background concerning Kellogg and his alpha of deadly heresies? It is this: While we don’t hear much about pantheistic beliefs in current Adventism, Kellogg’s spiritualistic concept of three sovereign gods was officially adopted as an Adventist doctrine at the General Conference session in 1980. It has been included in the published Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists since 1981. Brethren and sisters, shall we not fear to adopt any of the positions Kellogg took once he entered upon his downward path? Shall we not be on guard against any form of mystical teaching that he advocated and to which our prophet strongly objected to as “inspired by the arch deceiver”? Shall we not be diligent to know what Scripture and the Spirit of prophecy have revealed regarding the true identities of Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

“Is the Holy Ghost a Person?”     

Was there some specific theological point that Kellogg said would answer objections to his book? What was at least one of the reasons Ellen White warned that “the ministers of the gospel should not be united with him when he has his present sentiments?

Let’s read what Kellogg himself said. He wrote a letter to G. I. Butler, in which he stated, “As far as I can fathom, the difficulty which is found in The Living Temple, the whole thing may be simmered down to the question: Is the Holy Ghost a person?” (Letter of J. H. Kellogg to G. I. Butler, October 28, 1903)

Kellogg defended his new Trinitarian understanding as he continued in his letter to Butler, “You say no. I had supposed the Bible said this for the reason that the personal pronoun ‘he’ is used in speaking of the Holy Ghost. Sister White uses the pronoun ‘he’ and has said in so many words that the Holy Ghost is the third person of the Godhead. How the Holy Ghost can be the third person and not be a person at all is difficult for me to see.” Ibid.

So what was the alpha “difficulty” all about? According to Kellogg, it centered on this: “Is the Holy Ghost a person?” That question sounds ironically familiar today. Kellogg believed that the Holy Ghost was a third divine Person, a third God whom he called “God the Holy Spirit.” And what argument did Kellogg use to try to support this doctrine? He referred to the Spirit of Prophecy—to a specific statement of Ellen White’s, in which she wrote that the Holy Spirit is the “third person of the Godhead.” (DA 671)

Sister White’s statement is true. However, problems arise when people add to her words or assume meanings she never intended or stated, such as the following assumption. They say, “Sister White says the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead. That means that the Holy Spirit is a person just like the Father and the Son are persons.” But Sister White did not say that the Holy Spirit is a person “just like” the Father and the Son.

The Holy Spirit cannot be logically thought to be “just like” Father and Son for several reasons: (1) God has the “Spirit of God;” Christ has the “Spirit of Christ.” Does the Holy Spirit have a Spirit? No. (2) The Holy Spirit is said to be “poured out,” “shed abroad.” Such things are never said about Father or Son. (3) The Holy Spirit is sometimes referred to as “it.” Never is that pronoun used in reference to Father or Son. (4) The Father and Son have physical bodies in whose image we are made. The Holy Spirit assumes different forms: dove-like, tongues of fire, etc., but never the image in which we are made. (5) “Father” and “Son” or “God” and “Jesus” are names of real Gods; when we talk or pray to them, we address them by those names. “Spirit” is not a personal or relational name; it is an aspect of man, as well as of God. That is the testimony of Scripture: “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor 2:11) One “has” a spirit “which is in him,” and the spirit “knows” things. In other words, the spirit is the mind or personality of the person, not an independent entity. (6) “The” Holy Spirit is also referred to as “His” Spirit, meaning belonging to God or Christ. That possessive pronoun leaves no room for the concept of a third independent being.

The wrongs that have settled in on God’s church as a result of the influential Dr. Kellogg’s initial departure from the faith have undoubtedly grieved the Father’s Spirit. We need to heed God’s prophet, who gave us this counsel: “In His dealings with His people in the past the Lord shows the necessity of purifying the church from wrongs. One sinner may diffuse darkness that will exclude the light of God from the entire congregation. When the people realize that darkness is settling upon them, and they do not know the cause, they should seek God earnestly, in great humility and self-abasement, until the wrongs which grieve His Spirit are searched out and put away.” (3T 265) Exposing the wrongs so they may be put away is the primary purpose of this book. We do not want to grieve our Father in heaven any longer.  

It is critical—even salvational—for us to understand the issues in this doctrinal controversy, because the Bible says, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be….” If we do not get this right, we will be stuck in the omega of deadly heresy. Not even God can extricate us from our choice of error if we stubbornly stick to it.

Kellogg professed that he was a Trinitarian. I frankly do not like using word descriptions that are not found in the Bible or the Spirit of prophecy. There are two extremes: Christ and Satan, truth and error. Everyone will be aligned with one camp or the other. If we are to use any terms at all, perhaps the better choice would be this: Will we each be a Restorer, or will we choose to be non-Restorers? Remember what we read in Isaiah 58:12: “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” Yes, we are commanded to be repairers of the breach made in God’s law regarding the fourth commandment, on behalf of our Christian brethren who ignorantly transgress that commandment of God. Unfortunately, though, because of the failures of our watchmen on the walls of Zion, we must restore and recover other paths travelled by our pioneers. Confusion must be replaced with confidence in our beliefs.

Did Ellen White Become a Trinitarian?

We know, and an earlier chapter proved, that the pioneers, including Ellen White, were non-trinitarians. However, since Kellogg stated he believed in the Trinity and cited Sister White’s writings to support his belief, the question needing to be answered is, “Did Ellen White eventually become a Trinitarian by the late 1890s?” In other words, was she inspired to change her written understanding about who God is? Did she also come to believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit? The answer is an unqualified No. If she did, then how could she dare rebuke Kellogg in 1903 and onward for bringing that same belief to light? Then she’d be a false prophet. The Holy Spirit would be called into question, too, if He changed what He inspired her to write.

As the documented evidence shows, Kellogg believed in the three gods of the Trinity—the same three that are numbered 3, 4 and 5 in our current Fundamental Beliefs. But Ellen White basically wrote of such concepts, “That’s deadly heresy.” That means she never believed in the Trinity doctrine.

And was it God who told Ellen White to rebuke Kellogg? It certainly was, because she was writing under divine inspiration. Now if that’s the case, then how could God inspire her to oppose the Trinity doctrine, if it is really truth?

The Foundations of Our Faith

In a letter addressed to Kellogg in 1903, Ellen White defended the truth very plainly: “Your ideas are so mystical that they are destructive to the real substance, and the minds of some are becoming confused in regard to the foundation of our faith. If you allow your mind to become thus diverted, you will give a wrong mold to the work that has made us what we are — Seventh-day Adventists.” (Letter 52, 1903)

Now that we know what Kellogg believed, we need to understand why what Kellogg was teaching was endangering “the foundation of our faith” that makes us Seventh-day Adventists. What is it that was considered to be the foundation at that time? In other words, what was the church teaching about this topic that Kellogg was departing from, causing Ellen White to write, “…You’re endangering the foundation of the faith;” “you’re departing from the faith”?

Let’s see what was believed by the church members at that time concerning the Holy Spirit. This first quotation is from Uriah Smith in 1891: “The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God; it is also the Spirit of Christ.” (4GCDB March 14, 1891) Uriah Smith was saying that there is no third independently existent god-being; he was saying that the third person of the Godhead is the omnipresent Spirit of the Father and Christ.

Here is another quotation, this time from E. J. Waggoner in 1890: “Here we find that the Holy Spirit is both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ.” (Christ and His Righteousness [1890] 23) Waggoner is in total agreement with Uriah Smith, and neither man received condemnation from Ellen White regarding either statement.

John Loughborough wrote in 1898: “We learn from this language that when we speak of the Spirit of God, we are really speaking of His presence and power.” (RH September 13, 1898)

Does that sound to you like these brethren believed that the Holy Spirit was a person called “God the eternal Spirit?” No, they believed that the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ (“one spirit—Eph 2:18; 4:4) is the “presence and power” of God. Loughborough made a very clear definition when he wrote, “…When we speak of the Spirit, it’s really the presence and power of God.” It is Their omnipresence.

When God gives us His Spirit, does God give us another individual, or does He give us Himself? According to Kellogg, we are given one of the three Gods making up God. (Yes, that is confusing.) But the Spirit of prophecy answers the question this way: “In giving us His Spirit, God gives us Himself…. (7T 273) Sister White also wrote, “The divine Spirit that the world’s Redeemer promised to send is the presence and power of God.” (ST Nov. 23, 1891)

Let’s see what else the servant of the Lord had to say about the Spirit. If she was to rebuke Kellogg, then she must have clearly defined in her writings what she believed, and she did. Do you know that statement of hers that says, “third person of the Godhead,” a phrase that people still use today? Does she explain to us who the third person of the Godhead is? Does she explain more about the Holy Spirit? Yes, she does.

Here is one of her statements, found in the Review and Herald in 1906: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." [She is quoting John 6:63 here.] “Christ is not here referring to his doctrine, but to his person, the divinity of his character.” (RH, Apr. 5, 1906)

The Holy Spirit is a person. Sister White said, “It’s the third person of the Godhead.” But it is the person of whom? It’s the person of Christ; it is Christ omnipresent. This is who the Holy Spirit is. Kellogg was teaching the Holy Spirit is a third person different from the Father and the Son.

Finally, and without any confusion, Sister White essentially said regarding Kellogg’s theological views, “This is deadly heresy.” And as stated before, Kellogg gave plentiful evidence that he had indeed departed from the faith with his pantheistic view of God, even before he embraced his tritheistic view. Ellen White’s writings were consistently and emphatically opposed to his teachings. Why, then, would any true believer give any credence to any of his theological positions? Why would our denomination accept as truth what Sister White identified as “deadly heresy”? Is it because we have “forgotten the way the Lord has led us, and his teaching in our past history”?

The Identity of the Comforter         

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

Gods prophet commented about John 14, when Jesus was speaking about the Comforter that would come. “That Christ should manifest Himself to them, and yet be invisible to the world, was a mystery to the disciples. They could not understand the words of Christ in their spiritual sense. They were thinking of the outward, visible manifestation. They could not take in the fact that they could have the presence of Christ with them, and yet He be unseen by the world. They did not understand the meaning of a spiritual manifestation.” (SW Sept. 3, 1898)

So that is what Christ meant when He told His disciples He would send them another Comforter that would be “in” them; He also told them they already knew who that would be, because the expected Comforter was at that moment dwelling “with” them. Who else but Jesus? He even said, “I will come….” So when He talked of “another Comforter,” He was talking about His own Spirit—His omnipresence without the physical limitations of the body. It still would be Himself that would come to them, but in a different form: invisibly, non-physically. And this is who Sister White called the third person of the Godhead.

Here is another powerful statement: “…While Jesus ministers in the sanctuary above, He is still by His Spirit the minister of the church on earth. He is withdrawn from the eye of sense, but His parting promise is fulfilled, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of world’ (Matthew 28:20)….” (DA 166) In other words, even while Jesus is the minister in the sanctuary above, there being where His physical body is, He is still, by His Spirit, the minister of the church on earth. This is made possible by His divine omnipresence.

On a similar note, the Bible tells us clearly how many mediators there are between the Father and man.  First Timothy 2:5 states, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Our mediator is Christ physically in the sanctuary above, and Christ by His omnipresent Spirit down here. To say that another spiritsomeone other than Christis mediating here on earth between God and man is saying there are two mediators. That would be saying the Bible is in error. Jesus Himself made the matter plain for us when He promised, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Did you note He said: I…”—  not some other being. How can it be any plainer than that?

We have more to examine, and although we have read a few of these quotations from Ellen White’s writings in earlier chapters, repetition in different contexts deepens the impression. These repeated quotations should make even more sense now.

“Christ declared that after His ascension, He would send to His church, as His crowning gift, the Comforter, who was to take His place. This Comforter is the Holy Spirit, - the soul of His life, the efficacy of His church, the light and life of the world. With His Spirit, Christ sends a reconciling influence and a power that takes away sin.” (RH May 19, 1904)

Now that was very clear definition and you do not want to miss it. The Comforter that Jesus promised to send is the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit is the soul of His life. Question: Is the soul of Jesus’ life a different person from Himself? No, it’s His very own person, His very own personality. How can the soul of the life of Christ be a different individual from Christ? How can the Holy SpiritChrist’s own Spirit— “His” Spirit—be a different third God called “God the eternal Spirit”? (www.adventist.org/en/beliefs/god/holy-spirit/) As you can see for yourself, the Trinity doctrine presents a confused, illogical, and unbiblical understanding of the Holy Spirit.

Continuing: “…The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, as the personal presence of Christ to the soul.” (HM Nov. 1, 1893)

This is what the third person of the Godhead really is: “…the personal presence of Christ.” When Christ comes to us to comfort us by His Spirit, it’s very personal. It’s not a different person from Him; it’s He Himself. That fact is confirmed in this statement: In giving us His Spirit, God gives us Himself.” (7T 273)

And here is another example of that fact. “The Lord knows all about His faithful servants who for His sake are lying in prison or who are banished to lonely islands. He comforts them with His own presence.” (DA 669)

Who Is Your Comforter?

Let me ask you this personal question: “Who is your Comforter?” That is a question that each one of us needs to answer. After all, your Comforter is the one that helps you overcome sin by faith in Christ. If you believe the doctrine that Kellogg believed—the one called the Trinity, which is actually tritheism, or a belief in three Gods—you would believe the teaching that God the Son ascended to heaven to minister there as our high priest, and now a third God—God the Holy Spirit—takes over here on earth and is your Comforter. That false Comforter, replacing the true Comforter which is the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is the role that Satan wants to fill. He wants your prayers, your worship, as that false third God. He wants to draw your worship away from the one true God to himself. So … who is your Comforter? The true one, or the counterfeit one?

What does the servant of the Lord say? “There is no Comforter like Christ, so tender and so true.” (RH Oct. 26, 1897) And this: “The Savior is our Comforter. This I have proved Him to be.” (8MR 49)

What comfort would you receive from someone who was not “made flesh and dwelt among us,” who was not “tempted in all points like as we are,” who is therefore not “able to succor us” as we are tempted? That’s not very comforting, is it? Shall we believe that Jesus came to earth, lived here for thirty-three-and-a-half years, experienced everything that we have to experience, and then left us and sent someone else without any of those qualifying experiences to help us? I don’t think so.

It is so important that we know that it is the Spirit of Christ in His omnipresence that is in us, and not some other spirit. We are taught specifically, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Gal 4:6).

First John 5:12 tells us how very important that biblical truth is: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” Eternal life is involved in this issue; it is a salvational matter. Any other spirit in us would be that of an antichrist.

Listen carefully to my next question. What is the real reason that the church is so weak today? Could it be that the church has embraced a counterfeit third God that they have made their comforter? God’s prophet provides the answer to my question: “The reason why the churches are weak and sickly and ready to die, is that the enemy has brought influences of a discouraging nature to bear upon trembling souls. He has sought to shut Jesus from their view as the Comforter, as the one who reproves, who warns, who admonishes them, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’” (RH Aug. 26, 1890)

What has the devil tried to do to weaken the churches? He has tried to keep us from the knowledge that Jesus Himself, our precious Redeemer, dwells in believers through faith in Him. With His presence we have His life, His strength to overcome, His love reflected through us to others, all the “fruit of the Spirit.” What magnificent knowledge is that! But Satan has deceived us into accepting another comforter—a counterfeit one that can neither sanctify nor save us. We have played right into his evil hand. This comforter today goes by the name of “God the Holy Spirit,” a personality altogether different from Christ.

Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 bear repeating: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

Sad to say, that is our denominational state, at present. The watchmen have let into our denomination “another Jesus” and “another spirit,” which means we are being taught “another gospel” which cannot save us. We who know “what saith the Lord” must be restorers of paths to dwell in. Let us not follow in Kellogg’s tragic footsteps.

 



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