Ellen G. White ENDORSEMENT OF THE PIONEERS

“The leading points of our faith as we hold them  today were firmly established… The whole company of believers were united in the truth.”  3MR  p. 413, 1903

 

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. (Life Sketches, p. 196)

The record of the experience through which the people of God passed in the early history of our work must be republished. (Letter 105, 1903)

The experience of William Miller and his associates, of Captain Joseph Bates, and of other pioneers in the advent message, should be kept before our people. (Letter 105, 1903)

Let the aged men who were pioneers in our work speak plainly. (Manuscript 62, 1905)

Let those who are dead speak … by reprinting their articles. (Manuscript 62, 1905)

Make prominent the testimony of some of the old workers who are now dead. (Letter 99, 1905)

These articles should now be reprinted, that there may be a living voice from the Lord’s witnesses. (Letter 99, 1905)

The history of the early experiences in the message will be a power to withstand the masterly ingenuity of Satan’s deceptions. (Letter 99, 1905)

 

Gather up the rays of divine light that God has given as He led His people on step by step in the way of truth. (Manuscript 62, 1905)

Rehearse the experience of the men who acted a part in the establishment of our work in the beginning. (Manuscript 129, 1905)

Repeat the words of the pioneers in our work, who knew what it cost to search for the truth as for hidden treasure, and who labored to lay the foundation of our work. (Review and Herald, March 25, 1905)

The standard-bearers who have fallen in death, are to speak through the reprinting of their writings … to bear their testimony as to what constitutes truth for this time. (Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 32, 1905)

 

“The principles of truth that God has revealed to us are our only true foundation. They have made us what we are. The lapse of time had not lessened their value.” Counsels to Writers and Editors  p. 52, 1904

 

“The record of the experience through which the   people of God passed in the early history of our   work must be republished. Many of those who   have since come into the truth are ignorant of the   way in which the Lord wrought.”  17MR  p. 344 1903

 

“We are to repeat the words of the pioneers in   our work, who knew what it cost to search for the   truth as for hidden treasure… The word given me   is, Let that which these men have written in the   past be reproduced.”  Review & Herald  May 25, 1905

 

“Not one pin is to be removed from that which   the Lord has established… Where shall we find   safety unless it be in the truths that the Lord   has been giving for the last fifty years?”  Review & Herald  May 25, 1905

 

“Such men as Elders James White, J. N. Andrews, Uriah   Smith, and J. H. Wagoner, — they did not dare present   that truth to the people until they had made it a special   subject of prayer and the Spirit of prophecy had set its   seal to it” Review & Herald  Oct 27, 1904

 

A CASE HAS BEEN MADE BY Bro. Ivor that the dominant position of the pioneers pre-1888 was that Christ was created and he has given us 4 pioneers, hereby I submit the DOMINANT position of the pioneers pre-1888 and I invite Bro. Ivor to tell me if this sounds like these men are saying Christ was created:

 

PRELUDE

“Such men as Elders James White, J. N. Andrews, Uriah   Smith, and J. H. Wagoner, — they did not dare present   that truth to the people until they had made it a special   subject of prayer and the Spirit of prophecy had set its   seal to it”                    Review & Herald  Oct 27, 1904

“Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder 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…. 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. . . What influence is it that would lead men at this stage of our history to work in an underhand, powerful way to tear down the foundation of our faith–the foundation that was laid at the beginning of our work by prayerful study of the Word and revelation? Upon this foundation we have been building for the past fifty years.” (Selected Messages bk.1, p. 206-7 1904 Ellen White) Review and Herald – June 6, 1871

 

“He (James White) received a commendation that few others have attained. God has permitted the precious light of truth to shine upon His word and illuminate the mind of my husband. He may reflect the rays of light from the presence of Jesus upon others by his preaching and writing.”{E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church Volume 3, p. 502}

  1. James White

“The Father is the greatest in that he is first. The Son is next in authority because He has been given all things.” (Ibid, 4-1-1881)

 

“We invite all to compare the testimonies of the Holy Spirit through Mrs. W., with the word of God. And in this we do not invite you to compare them with your creed. That is quite another thing. The trinitarian may compare them with his creed, and because they do not agree with it, condemn them. The observer of Sunday, or the man who holds eternal torment an important truth, and the minister that sprinkles infants, may each condemn the testimonies of Mrs. W. because they do not agree with their peculiar views. And a hundred more, each holding different views. may come to the same conclusion. But their genuineness can never be tested in this way.” (Advent Review and Herald of the Sabbath, 13-6-1871, p. 204, 3rd column).

 

In the June 6, 1871 issue of the “Advent Review and Herald of the Sabbath”: “We had hoped to leave Battle Creek a week sooner; but a pressure of business at the publishing house, relating to our periodicals and publications, the new building, the Health Institute, and matters relative to the prosperity of our people in the city, detained us till May 30, when we left in company with Mrs. W. and Bro. and sister Abbey. We had been laboring so intensely, that the freedom and rest of a good seat with friends in the elegant coach of the fast train upon the Michigan Central Railroad, was a luxury that words cannot express… The heat of the afternoon is intense. Happy for us, there is no dust upon the track; hence, doors and windows are all open. And now, as we look up from our imperfect pencilings (which enlists our deepest sympathy for the printer), we look as far as the sight of the eye can extend, over the ever-varying scenery that rapidly passes to the rear, or over which we pass, of meadow, and pasture covered with herds of cattle and horses, of corn and grain, and of groves, natural and planted. Way yonder, on the distant prairie, are a dozen teams cultivating corn, which to a real Yankee, might somewhat resemble so many small boats off the New England coast. There is no labor in travel here. The eye is ever feasting upon nature’s grandest, ever-shifting, and most beautiful scenery. The mind goes out, with the sight of the eye, in more expanded views of the glory of God in nature, and the heart warms, and beats more freely and firmly as it partakes in sympathy of the general good cheer. This to the man of care, and mental toil, is recreation… Here, upon the train, we met a man of marked physical and mental powers, just returning from his missionary field in China. Early he had the advantages of the highest schools of New England, and has spent twenty-four years of the best of his life in China. He has now returned with his family to find homes for his four children, the eldest of which is but nine years of age, and then will return to spend the balance of his energies in that distant land. As we conversed with this gentleman, feelings of profound respect were aroused for the sacrifice he has made, and is still making. Would God that a similar spirit of self-sacrifice would get hold of our people in behalf of benighted men and women in our own land. This missionary seemed very liberal in his feelings toward all Christians. But after catechizing us upon the trinity, and finding that we were not sound upon the subject of his triune God, he became earnest in denouncing unitarianism, which takes from Christ his divinity, and leaves him but a man. Here, as far as our views were concerned, he was combating a man of straw. We do not deny the divinity of Christ. We delight in giving full credit to all those strong expressions of Scripture which exalt the Son of God. We believe him to be the divine person addressed by Jehovah in the words, ” Let us make man.” He was with the Father before the world was. He came from God, and he says, “I go to him that sent me.” The apostle speaks of Christ as he now is, our mediator, having laid aside our nature. “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” The simple language of the Scriptures represent the Father and Son as two distinct persons. With this view of the subject there are meaning and force to language which speaks of the Father and the Son. But to say that Jesus Christ “is the very and eternal God,” makes him his own son, and his own father, and that he came from himself, and went to himself. And when the Father sends Jesus Christ, whom the Heavens must receive till the times of restitution, it will simply be Jesus Christ, or the eternal Father sending himself. We have not as much sympathy with Unitarians that deny the divinity of Christ, as with Trinitarians who hold that the Son is the eternal Father, and talk so mistily about the three-one God. Give the Master all that divinity with which the Holy Scriptures clothe him. Our adorable Redeemer thought it not robbery to be equal with God, and let all the people say, Amen! Thank Heaven! Here we may sing, Worthy, worthy, is the Lamb; and on the other shore, by the grace of God, we will join all the redeemed in the highest ascriptions of praise for their salvation to both Him that sitteth upon the throne, and the Lamb, forever and ever.”

 

“The Father was greater in that He was first.     The Son was equal with the Father in that     he had received all things from the Father.”  Review & Herald Jan 4, 1881

 

“Bro. Cottrell is nearly eighty years of age, remembers the dark day of 1780, and has been a Sabbath-keeper morethan thirty years. He was formerly united with the Seventh-Day Baptists, but on some points of doctrine has differed from that body. He rejected the doctrine of the trinity, also the doctrine of man’s consciousness between death and the resurrection, and the punishment of the wicked in eternal consciousness. He believed that the wicked would be destroyed. Bro. Cottrell buried his wife not long since, who, it is said, was one of the excellent of the earth. Not long since, this aged pilgrim received a letter from friends in Wisconsin, purporting to be from M. Cottrell, his wife, who sleeps in Jesus. But he, believing that the dead know not anything, was prepared to reject at once the heresy that the spirits of the dead, knowing everything, come back and converse with the living. Thus truth is a staff in his old age. He has three sons in Mill Grove, who, with their families are Sabbath keepers.” {J. S. White, Review & Herald, June 9, 1853}

 

  1. John Loughborough

“Almost any portion of the New Testament we may open which has occasion to speak of the Father and Son, represents them as two distinct persons. The seventeenth chapter of John is alone sufficient to refute the doctrine of the Trinity.” Review & Herald Nov 5, 1861

 

  1. J.N. Andrews

“And as to the Son of God, he would be excluded   also [as Melchisedec], for he had God for his Father,   and did, at some point in the eternity of the past,   have beginning of days.” Review & Herald Sep 7, 1869

 

  1. Joseph Frisbie

“In accordance with the doctrine that three very and eternal Gods are but one God, how may we reconcile…Acts [10:]38. “How God anointed Jesus with the Holy Ghost,” &c. First person takes the third person and anoints the second person with a person being at the same time one with himself.”      Review & Herald  Mar 7, 1854

 

  1. M.E. Cornell

“The mass of Protestants believe with Catholics in the Trinity, immortality of the soul, consciousness of the dead, rewards and punishments at death, the endless torture of the wicked, inheritance of the saints beyond the skies, sprinkling for baptism, and the PAGAN SUNDAY for the Sabbath; all of which is contrary to the spirit and letter of the new testament.”     Facts for the Times  1858

 

  1. John Matteson

“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;”   Review & Herald  Oct 12, 1869

 

  1. R.F. Cottrell

“God ‘only hath immortality.’ He is the one fountain from which all life is derived. But he has given this prerogative to his Son, that he may give life to them that believe…John v.26”  Review & Herald  Mar 15, 1864

 

“The Trinity, or the triune God, is unknown to the Bible;   and I have entertained the idea that doctrines which require    words coined in the human mind to express them, are    coined doctrines.” Review & Herald  June 1, 1869

 

“If the Scriptures say he is the Son of God, I believe it.    If it is declared that the Father sent his Son into the world,    I believe he had a Son to send.”   Ibid

 

“It is said in Prov. xvii, 14: “The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water ; therefore leave  off contention before it be meddled with.” Had I thought of this text., perhaps I should not have written my first  article on the subject of the trinity.  I never believed the doctrine, nor even professed to believe it.  But I do not think it the most dangerous heresy in the world. This is the reason I have never before said anything publicly about it.  I think that false views of man’s nature are more dangerous in these days of spiritualistic infidelity; and false views of God’s commandments, which lead men to break them and teach men so, more dangerous still.  This imperils the soul, according to the most solemn warning of our Saviour.  But to hold the doctrine of the trinity is not so much an evidence of evil intention as of intoxication from that wine of which all the nations have drunk.  The fact that this was one of the leading doctrines, if not the  ‘to the popedom, does not say much in its favor.  This should cause men to investigate it for themselves; as when the spirits of devils working miracles undertake the advocacy of the immortality of the soul.  Had I never doubted it before, I would now probe it to the bottom, by that word which modern Spiritualism sets at nought. “The Trinity” in the RH July, 6th, 1869 edition

 

Men have gone to opposite extremes in the discussion of the doctrine of the trinity. Some have made Christ a mere man, commencing his existence at his birth in Bethlehem; others have not been satisfied with holding him to be what the Scriptures so clearly reveal him, the pre-existing Son of God, but have made him the ” God and Father ” of himself.  I do not purpose to add much to the barrels of ink that have been wasted on both sides of this question. I would simply advise all that love our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to believe all that the Bible says of him, and no more.  Then you will have the truth, and not occupy either of these extremes. (RH July 6th,1869)

 

  1. Joshua V. Himes

“There is one living and true God, the Father Almighty, who is unoriginated, independent, and eternal, the Creator and Supporter of all worlds; and that this God is one spiritual intelligence, one infinite mind, ever the same, never varying.” Quoted in Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge 1835

 

“And that Christ is the Son of God, the promised Messiah    and Saviour of the world.”      ibid

 

“There is one God, the Father, of whom are all things…     And one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things…   1Cor 8:6

 

  1. J.H. Waggoner

“Much stress is laid on Isa. 9:6, as proving a trinity… The   advocates of that theory will say that it refers to a trinity   because Christ is called the everlasting Father… If so, how is   he the Son? Or if he is both Father and Son, how can there   be a trinity? For a trinity is three persons.”  ibid

 

“’There were some very early that turned the doctrine of the   Trinity into Tritheism, and, instead of three divine persons…   brought in three collateral, coordinate, and self-originated   beings, making them three absolute and independent principles,.. which is the most proper notion of three gods.‘”  ibid

 

“The great mistake of Trinitarians, in arguing this subject, is   this: they make no distinction between a denial of a trinity   and a denial of the divinity of Christ. They see only the two   extremes, between which the truth lies;”  ibid

 

  1. E.J. Waggoner

“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.”    ibid

 

  1. W.H. Littlejohn

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.”  RH 4-17-83

 

“They hold to the distinct personality of the Father and Son,    rejecting as absurd that feature of Trinitarianism which      insists that God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit are three    persons, and yet but one person.”  Ibid

 

You asked where “from 1850-1890” is there evidence that “the majority view was that Christ being begotten did not equate with him being created.” The answer is in the periodicals and publications. Here are some quotes, from this time range, illustrative of this as the normative view. We will begin with a quote from Canright.

“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, that 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. This will appear more plain as we proceed” (D.M. Canright, RH June 18, 1867)

Canright continued on in this article to say that “no created being can ever be worthy of worship” and that it would not “be right nor just for God to bid one order of his creatures to worship another” and that “Divinity alone is worthy of worship.” He says that “Paul places Christ far above the angels, and makes a striking contrast between them” stating that God has called Christ “O God” and that “the Son is so plainly placed far above all created beings.” (Ibid). It should be very apparent that Canright’s view (this was back when he was a loyal SDA) was that the Son begotten is not a son by creation.

Continuing on here is a quote from J. Matteson.

“2. The resurrection cannot make any one a literal child of God, any more than the creation could make Adam a literal child of God. A literal birth is a living creature’s bringing forth another living creature after its own kind. The creation, as well as the resurrection, resembles a birth in some respects, and is, therefore represented by the same word. But this is using the word in a figurative, and not in a strictly literal sense….

“3. Christ is the only literal Son of God. “The only begotten of the Father. 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…

“4. We are now the adopted sons of God… ” (J. G. Matteson, Review and Herald, October 12th 1869, ‘Children of God’)

You will notice here the assertion that “He is God because he is the Son of God.” It was (and still is) a very common criticism that those who believe in a begotten Son are denying His Godhood. This was not so with the SDA pioneers and neither is it true with modern day SDA anti/non-trinitarians.

Moving on here is a 1882 quote from U. Smith

“”Moreover, he is “the beginning of the creation of God.” Some understand by this language that Christ was the first created being, dating his existence far back before any other created being or thing, next to the self-existent and eternal God. But the language does not necessarily imply this; for the words, “the beginning of the creation,” may simply signify that the work of creation, strictly speaking, was begun by him. And it is expressly declared that “without him was not anything made that was made.” Others, however, take the word ἀρχή to mean the agent or efficient cause, which is one of the definitions of the word, understanding that Christ, is the agent through whom God has created all things, but that the Son came into existence in a different manner, as he is called “the only begotten” of the Father. It would seem utterly inappropriate to apply this expression to any being created in the ordinary sense of that term.” (Uriah Smith Daniel and Revelation p. 487, 488, 1882 edition)

Here we see Smith backing away from his previous assertion that Christ was the first created being. He now finds it seemingly “utterly inappropriate” to use the expression “only begotten” to any created being “in the ordinary sense of that term.”As more evidence here is a 1883 quote from W.H. Littlejohn.

“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)

Even more evidence we see a statement from E.J. Waggoner in 1889

“He was begotten, not created. He is of the substance of the Father, so that in his very nature he is God; and since this is so “it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.” (E. J. Waggoner, The Signs of the Times, April 8, 1889)

I will not evidence this next point but the view of a begotten Son, who was therefore NOT a created being continued even under the “trinity” moniker that was adopted in the 1890s. It was standard SDA theology during EGW’s lifetime.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *