1888 Clarity – Nancy Mattley

1888 MINNEAPOLIS GENERAL CONFERENCE

By Nancy Mattley on Sunday, 21 October 2012 at 17:23

1888 MINNEAPOLIS GENERAL CONFERENCE by Ramond Rivera

 

As the Advent Movement converged with the National Day of Rest Movement during the late 1880’s, a remarkable revival of Bible study over the nature of Christ took place in the years immediately preceding the 1888 General Conference. Sunday law legislation was before the House of Congress and conditions were ripe for the final fulfillment of prophecy. But the church needed preparation to exemplify “the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God AND the faith of Jesus” Rev 14:12. While protestant churches since Luther championed righteousness by faith, they sought to avoid the obligations of the seventh day Sabbath by declaring the law of God nullified, no longer binding, and nailed to the cross. Advent ministers, however, boldly preached the perpetuity of the ten commandments and the creation roots of God’s Sabbath yet with such zeal that they became strict legalists without the faith of Jesus.

 

The General Conference of 1888 became the climax of the movement for that time. The powerful theme of “Righteousness by Faith” and the eternal nature of God’s Law was spearheaded by Jones and Waggoner and endorsed by Ellen White.

 

Ninety delegates, gathered from the 26,968 world membership, met in Minneapolis. The 1888 GC session was a landmark event because it focused on the nature of Christ: His divinity, having “all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” qualified Him as the Perfect Sacrifice; His humanity qualified Him to be our Great High Priest “touched with the feelings of our infirmity”; His divinity and humanity, made Him the complete Saviour of the world.

 

Some years before, Ellet J. Waggoner discovered “the matchless charms of Christ” as he studied the biblical basis for his father’s views and came to the conclusion that Jesus was fully God (because he was the divine Son of God and Creator of the universe) and fully man (because he was the human Son of man overcoming sin in the flesh) who intends to dwell within His children and enable them with his own creative power to live a righteous life by writing His law upon their minds and hearts.

 

When Waggoner became editor of the Sign of the Times, his articles on these subjects met rebuttal from the General Conference president, George I. Butler. Butler opposed Waggoner’s position that the law in Galatians was the moral law of the ten commandments, fearing that such a stand would be a concession to the church’s opponents and thus destroy the claims of the seventh-day Sabbath.

 

Alonzo T. Jones joined the fray because of his discovery that the Alemanni and NOT the Huns were one of the ten horns of Daniel 7. Again, this was a threat to Uriah Smith’s position. Both views, the law in Galatians and interpretation of the ten horns-ten toes, were seen as heresy that were threatening the pure doctrinal foundations of the church.

 

The young troublemakers were not welcome, sides were taken, division brewed. Debate ensued and Jones and Waggoner prepared. They presented a purely biblical support, which was approved by Ellen White. She described their message as a balanced treatment of Revelation 14:12, respect for the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus:

 

“The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.” –Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 91, 92.

 

Waggoner refuted Arianism with Scripture. He showed that Jesus was Immanuel “God with us” and was “by nature the very substance of God and having life in Himself, He is properly called Jehovah, the self-existent One.” Christ as God was essential to meet the claims of the Law in securing our redemption (justification) as well as providing the power of God’s indwelling Spirit to achieve victory in our lives (sanctification). The message was a balance of grace and the law, faith and obedience, and all presented in Christ the Son of God. Ellet J. Waggoner there presented what two years later became a book entitled Christ and His Righteousness (CHR).

 

Waggoner’s Christology

LeRoy Froom, in his Movement of Destiny applaud’s Waggoner’s presentation as a decisive change in Adventist’s concept of Christ by repeatedly featuring Him in whom “dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead” Col 2:9 which Froom accepts as His “full divinity.” Froom suggests that this was a radically new concept for the Advent believers at that time. In actuality, Waggoner upheld the same belief that had ever been embraced from the beginning: a literal begotten Son of a real Father, two separate and distinct beings, both divine, both from the days of eternity. The issue which drew so much fire from “the old guard” was not Waggoner’s statements concerning the divine birth of Christ as the begotten Son of God at some point in the remote eternal past, but his application of this truth to the impartation of Christ’s perfect righteousness coming from the all powerful fully divine Creator into the life of the Christian and his claim that this was the source of victory over sin rather than the keeping of the 10 commandments. There was no dispute over the begotten Son of God at Minneapolis.

 

Waggoner began by providing a wonderful collection of Scripture from which he paints a comprehensive picture of Christ, the “only name under heaven given among men whereby we can be saved” Acts 4:12 for “no man can come unto the Father” but by Him John 14:6 so that when He is “lifted up” all men will be drawn unto Him John 12:32, the “Author and Finisher of our faith” Hebrews 12:2, “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” Col 2:3 since “all power in heaven and earth is given” to Him Matt. 28:19, thus Christ is “the power of God and the wisdom of God” 1 Cor. 1:24 “who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” 1 Cor 1:30. Waggoner considered this the “one text which briefly sums up all that Christ is to man.” CHR  [Christ Our Righteousness] pp. 6, 7.

 

Waggoner also concurred with James and Uriah that Christ is fully divine by quoting John 5: 22, 23 “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.” He then concludes “To Christ is committed the highest prerogative, that of judging. He must receive the same honor that is due to God, and for the reason that He is God.” The Bible says so. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1. This “Divine Word is none other than Jesus Christ.” “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” Verse 18.

 

Waggoner next probes the meaning of two words: “beginning” and “begotten.”

The Word was “in the beginning.” The mind of man cannot grasp the ages that are spanned in this phrase. It is not given to men to know when or how the Son was begotten; but we know that He was the Divine Word, not simply before He came to this earth to die, but EVEN BEFORE THE WORLD WAS CREATED. Just before His crucifixion He prayed, “And now, O Father, glorify thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” John 17:5. And more than seven hundred years before His first advent, His coming was thus foretold by the word of inspiration: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2, margin. We know that Christ “proceeded forth and came from God” (John 8:42), but it was so far back in the ages of eternity as to be far beyond the grasp of the mind of man.” CHR p. 9 To “finite comprehension it is practically without beginning.” CHR p. 22.

 

At the very beginning of his discourse Waggoner plunges into the eternal origins of God’s Son. He does not shy away from invoking the word “begotten.” In fact, he exploits it to establish the undeniable fact that Christ, the Word, is both God and eternal. To bolster this, he displays a host of scriptural witness.

 

“The mighty God… Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence” Ps. 50:1-6.

Tthe Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel” 1 Thess. 4:16.

The voice of the Son of God will be heard by all that are in the grave. John 5:28, 29.

“His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father” Isa. 9:6.

“Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.” Ps. 45:6.

When “we turn to the New Testament,” he concluded, “we find that God the Father is the speaker, and that He is addressing the Son, calling Him God.” Heb. 1:1-8.

 

Waggoner next examines the significance of the title “Son of God” by focusing on Heb. 1:4. “He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they,” the angels. Waggoner italicized these words to make his point:

 

“A son always rightfully takes the name of the father; and Christ, as “the only begotten Son of God,” has rightfully the same name. A son, also, is, to a greater or less degree, a reproduction of the father; he has, to some extent, the features and personal characteristics of his father; not perfectly, because there is no perfect reproduction among mankind. But there is no imperfection in God, or in any of His works; and so Christ is the “express image” of the Father’s person. Heb. 1:3. As the Son of the self-existent God, He has by nature all the attributes of Deity. “It is true that there are many sons of God; but Christ is the “only begotten Son of God,” and therefore the Son of God in a sense in which no other being ever was or ever can be. The angels are sons of God, as was Adam (Job 38:7; Luke 3:38), by creation; Christians are the sons of God by adoption (Rom. 8:14, 15); but Christ is the Son of God by BIRTH.” CHR p. 12

 

To Waggoner, Christ was God because He said, “I and My Father are one.” John 10:30. Because “when the Father brought the First-begotten into the world, He said, ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him.’ Heb. 1:6.” “Because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God.” John 10:33. Because “the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” John 1:18. “He has His abode there, and He is [sic] there as a part of the Godhead, as surely when on earth as when in heaven. The use of the present tense implies continued existence. It presents the same idea that is contained in the statement of Jesus to the Jews (John 8:58), ‘Before Abraham was, I am.'” CHR p. 13-15.

 

More than any other text, Waggoner featured the “fullness” statements of Paul in Col. 1:19; 2:9: “it pleased the Father than in Him [Christ] should all fullness dwell” for “in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” To Waggoner “This is most absolute and unequivocal testimony to the fact that Christ possesses by nature all the attributes of Divinity.” CHR p. 16. “And since He is the only-begotten Son of God, He is of the very substance and nature of God, and possesses by birth all the attributes of God.” “So He has ‘life in Himself;’ He possesses immortality in His own right, and can confer immortality upon others.” CHR p. 22.

 

But Waggoner was careful to assure his readers that a “begotten” Son is NOT a “created” Son. As if quoting the Nicene Creed his states, “He is begotten, not created.” CHR p. 21. Although Revelation 3:14 calls Christ “the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God” it does NOT mean “that God’s work of creation began with HimBut this view antagonizes the scripture which declares that Christ Himself created all things.” CHR p. 20. To secure this fact, he builds an impregnable fortress around the truth that Christ is the Creator of all things. He is “the first-born of every creature;” not because He is the first creature to be born, but because “by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth…all things were created by Him, and for Him; and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” Col. 1:15-17. “He upholds all things by the word of His power.” Heb. 1:3. Even His Father says of Him, “Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Thine hands.” Heb. 1:8-10.

 

 Christ is the “Beginning of the creation of God” in that He is “head” or “chief” (Greek arche) as in “archbishop, and the word archangel. Take this last word. Christ is the Archangel. See Jude 9; 1 Thess. 4:16; John 5:28, 29; Dan. 10:21. This does NOT mean that He is the first of the angels, for He is NOT an angel, but is above them. Heb. 1:4. It means that He is the chief or prince of the angels, just as an archbishop is the head of the bishops. Christ is the commander of the angels. See Rev. 19:14. He created the angels. Col. 1:16…He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Rev. 21:6; 22:13. He is the source whence all things have their origin.” CHR p. 21.

 

Here Waggoner pauses to restore balance. The Father must NOT be ignored. “Let no one image that we would exalt Christ at the expense of the Father.” “We honor the Father in honoring the Son. We are mindful of Paul’s words, that ‘to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him” 1 Cor. 8:6. He then concludes,

 

‎”All things proceed ultimately from God, the Father; even Christ Himself proceeded and came forth from the Father; but it has pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell, and that He should be the direct, immediate Agent in every act of creation. Our object in this investigation is to set forth Christ’s rightful position of equality with the Father, in order that His power to redeem may be the better appreciated.” CHR p. 19

 

This beautiful and logical conclusion that Christ is the self-existent Son of God because he was begotten and born from God is dismissed by Froom as a “regrettable venture into unsound speculation,” that Waggoner was “confused” by the words “proceeded forth,” so that he “ventured out onto the thin ice of speculation.” Froom prefers to attribute all “proceeded forth” “problem statements” regarding the origins of the Son to that of His incarnation. Froom then jumps to the conclusion that Waggoner is “clearly breaking away from the semi-Arian views” (Movement of Destiny p. 271) and instead “clearly used the word Godhead in the sense of Trinity” (ibid p. 273) putting words in his mouth. Because Waggoner confirms the oneness of Father and Son, Froom claims he espouses three! But this is quite different from Waggoner’s own conclusion:

 

“Finally, we know the Divine unity of the Father and the Son from the fact that both have the same Spirit. Paul, after saying that they that are in the flesh cannot please God, continues: ‘But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.’ Rom. 8:9. Here we find that the Holy Spirit is both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. Christ ‘is [sic] in the bosom of the Father;’ being by nature of the very substance of God, and having life in Himself, He is properly called Jehovah, the self-existent One, and is thus styled in Jer. 23:56, where it is said that the righteous Branch, who shall execute judgment and justice in the earth, shall be known by the name of Jehovah-tsidekenu-THE LORD, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” CHR p. 23, 24.

 

Waggoner is thus seen to continue in the same belief of the begotten Son who shares the same Spirit with His Divine Father. The two are one in this sense. Because He “came out” from God, as Eve came out from Adam, He has the “very substance of God” and thus the same self-existent life within Himself. He is the Branch from His Father, who is the Divine Root of life, power and all righteousness.

 

Underwood’s Christology

Writing in two 1889 issues of the Review and Herald (August 6 and September 17), R. A. Underwood spoke of “Christ and His Work.” He clearly was influenced by Waggoner’s presentations in Minneapolis the year before. While he promised to simply “quote a few texts and leave the reader to form his own opinions,” Underwood couldn’t resist italicizing important words and commenting on their significance. All italicized emphasis that follows is his alone.

 

“There is no being in all the universe worthy of so much study as Christ. Though we think with care of Christ, we cannot comprehend his greatness, his love, his infinite sacrifice for sinners. The Bible and the Holy Spirit reveal him to us. On three occasions the voice of the eternal God is heard calling our attention to Christ as the One in whom he is well pleased, and bids us, “Hear ye him.” Matt. 3:17; 17:5; John 12:28. “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Col. 2:9.

 

“First, we will consider Christ and his work by viewing him as the only being delegated to represent the eternal Father in name, in creating the worlds, and in giving the law; second, as the author and finisher of the plan of salvation, the one who gave the Bible, both the Old and the New Testament; the one that made the old as well as the new covenant, a Prophet, a Priest, and a King.” [italics in original]

 

Like the many times that Ellen White singled out Christ as “the only being” beside the Father, Underwood also identifies a Godhead of two: the Son and his eternal Father. Following in Waggoner’s path, he covers the same issues placing repeated emphasis on the Father and Son.

‎”The question is sometimes raised, Was Christ a created being? All we may know of this is simply what the Bible says. We quote a few texts, and leave the reader to form his own opinions. ”

 

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” Rev. 3:14. The word here rendered “beginning” is arche; and the second definition of this word, according to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, is, “The person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader.” According to this, we might read it, “The beginner of the creation of God.” “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born [Gr. prototokus, first in dignity, chief] of every creature.” Col. 1:14, 15. “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” John 5:26. Whatever construction may be placed upon the first two texts quoted the last one shows clearly that the Son of God received his life, and all his mighty creative power as a gift from the Father.”

 

“The apostle Paul contrasts Christ with the angels, as follows: “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Heb. 1:4. The inheritance of Christ from God the Father was such as no other being in the universe received. God the Father delegated to the “beginning of the creation,” “the first-born of every creature,” his own name, and his own almighty, creative, life-giving power. We are in ignorance of when this was done. We only know that it was in the eternity of the past; BEFORE the worlds and all that in them is, were created.”

 

The eternity of the past; before the worlds and all that in them is, were created.”

This is no different from what Waggoner taught just the year before at Minneapolis. Like Waggoner he equates “eternity of the past” with that epoch that existed “before the worlds…were created.”

 

“There are many names and titles given to this wonderful being called Christ. We will notice only a few. He is the “Prince of Peace,” the “everlasting Father,” the “mighty God,” etc. Isa. 9:6; Ps. 50:3; Titus 2:13,14. The eternal Father is represented as addressing him as God: “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.” Heb. 1:7, 8. Unless we recognize Christ as bearing the name of God, we shall often be misled in correctly understanding his work and mission.”

 

“He is often called an angel. Ex. 3:2; 23:20,21; 1 Thess. 4:16. Christ is the being that executed the will of the Father in creating all things that exist in the entire universe of God. Proof: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1, 2); “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3:9); “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Col. 1:14-17.

 

“The foregoing ought to be proof enough to satisfy all, but we give one more text: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-3,14.”

 

“When a small boy, I learned this chapter in the Sunday-school. I was confused because the teacher could not explain the first verse – “In the beginning was the word,” etc. “The Word is Christ,” said the teacher; that was plain. “And the Word [Christ] was with God [the Father].” I understood that; but the next statement, “and the Word was God,” was the mystery I could not understand, nor could the teacher give me any light upon it. Had he shown me that one of the names by which Christ is known is God, all would have been clear; I would not have confounded Christ with God the Father as being the same, and only one being. While they are one in that unity of work which Christ prayed that his disciples (John 17:11) might experience, they are two beings as much as a father and his son are two.” His disciples (John 17:11) might experience, they are two beings as much as a father and his son are two.”

 

Underwood confesses his belief that Christ, the Word, is God because that is his name, his nature; but Christ is NOT the same being as the Father. They are TWO beings, NOT confounded into only one being.

 

“Before we leave this text that declares that all things were made by Christ in the beginning, we inquire, What beginning? For an answer we turn to the statement, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Gen. 1:1. The Hebrew word elohim, translated “God” in Gen. 1:1,2, is plural, and the text would be properly translated, “In the beginning the Gods created,” etc. This same idea is sustained in the 26th verse, when the Gods said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion,” etc., as well as by John 1:1, and many other texts of the Bible. When the Gods (God the Father and God the Son) had wrought six days in creating, the statement is made, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Gen 2:1-3. The Gods (elohim) rested on the seventh day, and blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, or set it apart for a holy purpose.”

 

“Christ, the Man of Calvary, stands equal with the Father in instituting the Sabbath.”

“He stood equal in power in the creation of the universe, “who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” Phil. 2:6.

 

Underwood, thus is not presenting anything new. He is NOT insisting that the Son is absolutely co-eternal with the Father, requiring that their filial-paternal relationship be reduced to one of MERE TITLE ONLY.  He accepts that “the beginning” was the creation of heaven and earth. He appreciates the fact that Christ is equal with the Father because he was born of God, and the Son inherits all things from the Father.

 

1890 Unity or Disunity?

A single statement buried in an 1890 Review and Herald article (November 18) by D.T. Bourdeau has caught the eye of Neo-Trinitarians looking for some evidence of divergence within the staunchly non-trinitarian Adventists of the mid to late 19th century. The article, whose title is “We may partake of the Fullness of the Father and the Son,” does NOT discuss the Godhead, NOR the Trinity; THE HOLY SPIRIT IS NOT EVEN MENTIONED.  Bourdeau, who in 1890 had been an Adventist for 35 years, an ordained SDA minister for 32 years, wrote about how an individual’s concept of the character of God can affect one’s behavior. In this context he said,

 

“Although we claim to be believers in, and worshippers of, only one God, I have thought that there are as many gods among us as there are conceptions of the deity.” D.T. Bourdeau, Review and Herald November 18, 1890.

 

Gane and Moon are split on whether Adventists at this time were united or not on their understanding of God. Gane wanting to believe there was none; Moon only that it was crumbling.

 

“There can be no doubt but that in 1890 there was no unity of understanding in regard to the nature of God, in Adventist circles.” Erwin Gane, Masters Thesis, June 1963.

 

“…the collective confidence in the anti-Trinitarian paradigm was showing some cracks.”

Jerry Moon, The Trinity, page 195, 2002.

 

Gane says there is no unity; Moon says there is but it’s starting to weaken. So, because he thinks Bourdeau is talking about a vast multitude of concepts regarding the Godhead, rather than of God’s character, Jerry Moon calls it a “provocative statement.” Ibid, 2002.

 

But Bourdeau explains himself,

“We do not half study the character of God the Father and of God the Son, and the result is that we make God and Christ such beings as ourselves. In approving sin in ourselves, we sometimes make God a sinner. This is true when we would make it appear by an appeal to God or to the Bible, that wrong is right, and that when we are tempted to do evil, we are tempted of God to do right.” Ibid, 1890.

 

The Pioneers

Ellen White’s Son, Loughborough, Haskell, Smith, Andrews, Jones, Waggoner, Prescott, Canright, Matteson, Littlejohn, Blanchard, Johnson also weighed in on the side of the begotten Son. 

 

In chronological order:

John 1:1, John 1:18 and John 3:16

“According to this, Jesus Christ is begotten of God in a sense that no other being is; else he could not be his only begotten Son. Angels are called sons of God, and so are righteous men; but Christ is his Son in a higher sense, in a closer relation, than either of these.” “God made men and angels out of materials already created. He is the author of their existence, their Creator, hence their Father. But Jesus Christ was begotten of the Father’s own substance. He was not created out of material as the angels and other creatures were. He is truly and emphatically the “Son of God,” the same as I am the son of my father.” D.M. Canright, Review and Herald, June 18, 1867

 

“Even the angels of God have all had beginning of days, so that they would be as much excluded by this language as the members of the human family. And as to the Son of God, he would be excluded also, for he had God for his Father, and did, at some point in the eternity of the past, have beginning of days.” J.N. Andrews, Review and Herald, 7th September 1869

 

“Christ is the only literal son of God. ‘The only begotten of the Father.’ John 1:14. He is God because he is the Son of God; not by virtue of His resurrection. If Christ is the only begotten of the Father, then we cannot be begotten of the Father in a literal sense. It can only be in a secondary sense of the word.” J. G. Matteson, Review & Herald, October 12, 1869 p. 123

 

“Will you please favor me with those scriptures which plainly say that Christ is a created being? Answer: “You are mistaken in supposing that S. D. Adventists teach that Christ was ever created. They believe, on the contrary, that he was “begotten” of the Father, and that he can properly be called God and worshiped as such.” Question No. 96, Review and Herald, April 17, 1883, The commentary, Scripture questions, ‘Answers by W. H. Littlejohn

 

“The Word then is Christ. The text speaks of His origin. He is the only begotten of the Father. Just how he came into existence the Bible does not inform us any more definitely; but by this expression and several of a similar kind in the Scriptures we may believe that Christ came into existence in a manner different from that in which other beings first appeared; That He sprang from the Father’s being in a way not necessary for us to understand.” C.W. Stone, The Captain of our Salvation, page 17, written 1883, published by Uriah Smith 1886. Charles Wesley Stone was Secretary to the General Conference, teacher in Battle Creek College

 

“Back in the ages, which finite mind cannot fathom, the Father and Son were alone in the universe. Christ was the first begotten of the Father, and to Him Jehovah made known the divine plan of Creation.” S. N. Haskell, The Story of the Seer of Patmos, pp. 93, 94. 1905 “Christ was the firstborn in heaven; He was likewise the firstborn of God upon earth, and heir to the Father’s throne. Christ, the firstborn, though the Son of God, was clothed in humanity, and was made perfect through suffering.” S. N. Haskell, The Story of the Seer of Patmos, pp. 98, 99. 1905.

 

“From a reading of John 1:1-3, 10, it will be seen that the world, with all it contains, was created by Christ (the Word), for “all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” The angels, therefore, being created, are necessarily lower than Christ, their Creator. Christ is the only being begotten of the Father.” James Edson White, Past, Present, and Future, page 52, chapter, ‘Angels – their nature’, 1914 edition (1909)

 

“Even the angels of God have all had beginning of days, so that they would be as much excluded by this language as the members of the human family. And as to the Son of God, he would be excluded also, for he had God for his Father, and did, at some point in the eternity of the past, have beginning of days.” J. N. Andrews, Review and Herald, 7th September 1869″Christ is the agent through whom God has created all things, but that he himself came into

 

“Christ is the only literal son of God. ‘The only begotten of the Father.’ John 1:14. He is God because he is the Son of God; not by virtue of His resurrection. If Christ is the only begotten of the Father, then we cannot be begotten of the Father in a literal sense. It can only be in a secondary sense of the word.” J. G. Matteson, Review & Herald, October 12, 1869 p. 123J. N. Loughborough, Insert A-1, Lest We Forget, Volume 4, Number 2, Second Quarter, 1994

 

Consequently, they accepted that he naturally inherited his Father’s divine nature.

“The divinity and pre-existence of our Saviour are most clearly proved by those scriptures which refer to him as “the Word.” [quotes] John i, 1-3. This expresses plainly a pre-existent divinity.” J. H. Waggoner, Review and Herald, October 27, 1863 ‘The atonement’

 

“We are well aware that there has been much disputation on the subject of the sonship of Christ in the religious world, some claiming that he is nothing but a man as to origin, being only about eighteen hundred years old; others that he is the very and eternal God, the second person in the trinity. This last view is by far the most widely entertained among religious denominations. We are disposed to think that the truth lies between these views.” H. C. Blanchard, Review and Herald, September 10, 1867, ‘The Son’

 

“Since Christ is begotten of the Father, he must therefore be of the same substance as the Father; hence he must have the same divine attributes that God has, and therefore he is God.” O, A. Johnson, Bible Doctrines, page 34, Lesson IX, ‘God the Father’ 1917

 

In response to a book published by the Methodist Church written by M.C. Bringgs charging SD Adventists with teaching errors including the seventh day Sabbath and denying Christ’s divinity, E.J. Waggoner wrote:

 

“But when the doctor [Briggs] states that Seventh-day Adventists deny the divinity of Christ, we know that he writes recklessly.”

“We have no theory to bolster up, and so, instead of stating prepositions, we shall simply quote the word of God, and accept what it says.”

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” John 1:1. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” John 1:14.

“We believe in the divinity of Christ, because the Bible says that Christ is God”

“From these texts we have proof not only that the inspired writers call Jesus the divine Son of God, but that Jesus himself claimed to be God.” E. J. Waggoner. Signs of the Times, March 25, 1889, article ‘The Divinity of Christ’

 

“That Christ is divine is shown by the fact that he receives worship.”

“If Christ were not God, then this [worship] would be idolatry” Ellet J. Waggoner, Signs of the Times ‘The Divinity of Christ (continued)’, April 8, 1889

 

“He [Christ] who was born in the form of God took the form of man.” In the flesh he was all the while as God, but he did not appear as God.” “He divested himself of the form of God, and in its stead took the form and fashion of man” A. T. Jones, General Conference Bulletin, March 4, 1895, ‘The Third Angel’s Message – No. 23’

1888 Clarity – Nancy Mattley

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