S. Joseph Kidder, DMin, is a professor of pastoral theology and discipleship, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States.
Timothy Baze, MDiv. is the pastor of Chowchilla and Madera Seventh-day Adventist Churches in the Central California Conference.

In one of my (Timmy’s) previous churches, some members questioned the doctrine of the Trinity. The more videos they watched, the more convinced they became that Seventh-day Adventists’ understanding of the Trinity was severely flawed. They especially questioned our belief in the personhood of the Holy Spirit.

I (Joe) have received several calls from people advocating an anti-Trinitarianism position. With great zeal, they asserted that the doctrine of the Trinity came from the Catholic Church rather than from the Bible.1

We went back to Scripture, and below are some of the lessons we have learned. We share them in the hope that they will be useful to pastors and church leaders seeking to guide church members regarding the Trinity doctrine.

The dilemma of the Trinity

To properly deal with this topic in your local church, it will helpful to know how your church members may have come to question this doctrine. This is best learned by listening to them and asking questions. Most will be very happy to share their journey with you. We found that many people who doubt the Trinity fit into one of the following groups.

First are those who are genuinely searching for truth. They may have questions about things they have read in the Bible, Ellen White’s writings, or other literature. Their questions about the Trinity are not antagonistic in nature. Instead, they are simply seeking answers to their questions. People in this category are not likely to leave the church but they are in need of solid, biblical answers.

Second, and probably the majority, are those who found videos or articles about the Trinity online that left them with more questions. For this group, two factors are integral to whether they will remain in the church. First, they need someone who is nonabrasive, honest, and patient to sit down with them and study what Scripture teaches about this subject. Second, they must have solid friendships with people in the church. If neither of these things take place, they are likely to either leave the church or, in some cases, leave the Christian faith altogether.2

The third group are those who were already drawn to sensationalism before they found anti-Trinitarian information. Some of them may have come into the Adventist faith attracted by new and startling truths. While searching for truth is undoubtedly positive, many in this group have “itching ears”3 for new and sensational knowledge. Rather than experiencing the satisfaction of a new relationship with Jesus each day, they are unsatisfied with the light they have received so far and are looking for more. Sucked into the never-ending wormhole of anti-Trinitarian information online, dialogue with this group becomes most difficult. Some are antagonistic, undermine the church, and attempt to influence visitors and newly baptized members.

Among those we have worked with, we found individuals who had previously experienced conflict with people in the church. These members found in anti-Trinitarianism a way to escape from this emotional trauma. Situations like this are difficult because the presenting problem, anti-Trinitarianism, is only a symptom of a deeper root—emotional pain. Focusing on correcting their theology may be temporarily effective. However, until the wounds of the past are healed, the person will not be truly healthy. Instead, working on healing the wounds of the past may be more effective. Once conflict is resolved and healing takes place, dealing with doctrinal issues becomes easier.

The journey of each person in your church who has questions about the Trinity will be different. You will need to sit down and listen carefully to understand exactly what they believe about the Trinity. Some may believe that the Holy Spirit is a force and not a person or that Christ is less divine than the Father. Others may simply not understand a metaphor used to describe the Trinity.

If the questions and curiosities of the people in the above groups are ignored, if they think they are right and the church is wrong, or if they are fully converted to anti-Trinitarianism, they are very difficult to persuade otherwise. Instead, you will find them excitedly (and militantly) trying to convert others away from your church and into their “new light.”

How do they get their information?

The current debate in Adventism over the Trinity has intensified since the church voted its fundamental belief about the Trinity in 19804 and has increased rapidly with the rise of the internet. The internet’s virtual environments often function as echo chambers. Online content creators are skilled at making videos with what seems like new and relevant information. Internet search engine algorithms push this content such that the viewer “lives” in a world where everyone is anti-Trinitarian, and the person sees anyone with opposing beliefs as ignorant or even apostate. Among such viewers, videos and social media posts are more popular, although a few blogs and articles are also available.5

What is so attractive about anti-Trinitarian doctrine?

Anti-Trinitarianism is attractive for several reasons. For many, knowing the truth is a fundamental need. When presented with a new idea, the natural human response is to find out whether the idea is true. One thing that makes anti-Trinitarianism attractive is that it raises big questions of truth and trust. When confronted with these new ideas, people may begin to ask existential questions such as has my church/pastor been lying to me? If the doctrine of the Trinity is false, what other church doctrines are false?

Sometimes, the shock of hearing that the doctrine of the Trinity may be unbiblical6 is enough to draw some people into anti-Trinitarianism. An additional jolt comes when they hear claims that the doctrine came from the Catholic Church rather than Scripture. Extremely bothered, they watch more and more videos to determine whether this is the truth, and the more they watch, the more convinced they will become. If the person is already prone to sensationalism or conspiracy theories, they are even more likely to become hooked.

Still others are convinced that the way the Adventist pioneers believed is the only accurate understanding of Scripture. When presented with evidence that some pioneers did not believe in the Trinity or did not use the word favorably, the questioner may begin to believe that today’s mainline Adventist Church has strayed from its roots.

While it is important to maintain a strong connection with our roots, we also cannot forget that the pioneers’ concept of “present truth” was strongly tied to “progressive revelation.” This means that they believed God was gradually leading His people into a brighter and fuller understanding of truth. Anti-Trinitarianism is not one of the “old landmarks” of Adventism.7 Adventist pioneers came from various denominational backgrounds and had different concepts of what the Godhead was. But over time, they came to better understand the doctrine of the Trinity.8 As a result of their study of Scripture, this doctrine is one of the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church today.9

Preventative care: A personal testimony

After I (Timmy) realized that a few church leaders and a newly baptized couple in my church had become fully converted to anti-Trinitarianism, we began to study the concept of the Trinity, and specifically the divinity of the Holy Spirit, each Sabbath afternoon and continued that study for the next two years.

In this small church of about 30 attendees, the original 5 who questioned the Trinity decided to leave and start a home church. However, the people who were on the fence about the issue saw from Scripture that what our church teaches about the Trinity is biblical, and this prevented them from leaving the church. The rest of the church members, including myself, became more confident in the validity of Trinity doctrine and, more importantly, have a much deeper understanding of the work of the Trinity in our lives!

Conclusion

Anti-Trinitarian teachings have been popular among some groups of Adventists often because of a desire to search for the truth or sometimes because of a bent toward sensationalism. While these small groups see the doctrine of the Trinity as unbiblical, the Adventist Church has derived this doctrine by studying what Scripture says about salvation and how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are working together to save lost humanity.

It is important to ensure that our church members see this biblical picture of the Trinity in our sermons and Bible studies. It is equally important that those who are questioning this doctrine find us as pastors and leaders to be understanding and patient listeners. We should be informed and ready to respond to their objections in a loving and respectful way that affirms their quest for truth. When we see people the way God sees them, we will be able to truly love the people who disagree with us. We will be inspired to pray for them and with them. Our prayer is that they may not only understand and believe the doctrine of the Trinity but also be able to experience the love of the Father, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 13:14).

Why the Trinity is so important

Scripture does not go to great lengths to explain precisely what the nature of God is or the details of the relationships between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Instead, the Bible writers focus on one overarching theme—the plan of salvation. Scripture tells the story of how God was so committed to saving us from eternal death and restoring His image in us that He sent Jesus to die for us, and Jesus now dwells in us in the person of the Holy Spirit. As we study the story of salvation from Scripture, details begin to emerge about who God is. But these details that have become the doctrine of the Trinity are not the thrust of Scripture. Salvation and its impact on our lives is the theme of Scripture and are the reason we have the doctrine of the Trinity.

Similarly, Ellen White did not spend much time attempting to clarify the nature of the Godhead. Although she didn’t use the word Trinity10, she clearly talked about each of the members of the Trinity and described them together using titles such as “the heavenly trio,”11 “the three great Worthies,”12 “the three great powers,”13 and “the three holiest beings in heaven.”14 However, the context of these references shows that she was much more concerned with how the Godhead was working for the salvation of souls, helping people to overcome sin, and giving comfort and encouragement to the faithful. For example, she refers to “the heavenly trio” to explain that “these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ.”15

The way inspired authors treat these great questions should inform the way we lead our church members through questions about the Trinity. While understanding what is revealed about the Godhead is important, it is essential for us to trust “these three great powers of heaven [who have] pledged themselves to work in our behalf, not only to begin, but to finish our faith.”16

Practical tips for working with anti-Trinitarians17

Affirm their desire to search for the truth. Questioning what we believe is healthy if we keep our minds and hearts open to the Holy Spirit’s leadership in guiding us into all truth. Asking questions helps us to sharpen what we believe and know it both experientially and intellectually.

Try to keep the conversation focused. They may want to jump from one verse to the next. We have found that setting a rule at the beginning of the conversation is helpful. Perhaps agree that you will thoroughly study one passage before you move on to the next one.

Admit that you don’t have all the answers. God is infinitely bigger than we are, and while He has revealed much about Himself to us, we will never fully comprehend everything about Him. In fact, even in heaven and the new earth, we will continue to learn. Commit to studying the topic further and letting them know what you discover.

Don’t be combative. Remember, these are souls to win to Christ, not arguments to win. A heated discussion will not win people over to your side; it will only alienate them further. So even if they are angry, remain calm. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you. And listen to try to understand exactly where they are coming from.

Highlight texts about the Trinity in your preaching. For example, when preaching on the book of Revelation, remind your congregation that Jesus Christ is the first and the last and that this is the same title given to the Lord (Yahweh) multiple times in the book of Isaiah (Isa. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12; Rev. 1:17, 18; 2:8; 21:6). When preaching on baptism or the Great Commission, take the time to highlight the significance of being baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). Continuous education on this subject is essential to the theological health of the church members!

Be aware that the word Trinity is not in Scripture. Though the word Trinity is not used in Scripture, the concept is fully supported by Scripture. We use other words not explicitly found in Scripture to describe biblical concepts, such as the great controversy, the millennium, and the investigative judgment. These words are not in the Bible, but the concepts are supported by Scripture.

Avoid using Ellen G. White quotes from compilations. Find the original sources (often manuscripts and letters). Many anti-Trinitarians are taught that individuals like L. E. Froom fabricated quotes that are found in compilations and were not in the originals. While these claims are false, using the quotes in their original context will both deepen our understanding and avoid misunderstanding.

Texts that support the deity of Christ

  1. Isaiah 9:6:
    For unto us a Child is born,
    Unto us a Son is given;
    And the government will be upon His shoulder.
    And His name will be called
    Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (emphasis added)
  2. Isaiah 44:6:
    Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,
    And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
    I am the First and I am the Last;
    Besides Me there is no God” (emphasis added).

    This same title is claimed by Jesus in Revelation 2:8—
    “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,
    These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life’ ” (emphasis added).

    See also Isaiah 41:4; 48:12; Revelation 1:17, 18; 21:6.
  3. Matthew 28:9: “And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘Rejoice!’ So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him” (emphasis added). Jesus freely receives worship, in sharp contrast to Revelation 19:10, where an angel rejects John’s worship.
  4. John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (emphasis added).
  5. John 20:28:
    And Thomas answered and said to Him [Jesus], “My Lord and my God!
    Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed” (emphasis added)
  6. Philippians 2:10, 11: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (emphasis added). In the phrase “Jesus Christ is Lord,” the Greek word translated “Lord” is kurios, which is the word the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament used by the apostle Paul, used to translate Yahweh. This passage affirms that Christ is the Yahweh of the Old Testament.
  7. Colossians 2:9: “For in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (emphasis added).
  8. Titus 2:13: “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (emphasis added).
  9. Hebrews 1:8: “But to the Son He says:
    ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
    A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom’ ” (emphasis added).
    This is best read in the context of Hebrews 1:6–13, where Jesus is affirmed as One to be worshiped, as God, and as Yahweh
  10. 1 John 5:20: “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (emphasis added). This text affirms that the Son of God is the true God. In Greek, the antecedent to “the true God” is “the Son of God” since the nouns agree in number, case, and gender.
  11. Revelation 5:13, 14: “And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

    ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power
    Be to Him who sits on the throne,
    And to the Lamb, forever and ever!’
    Then the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever” (emphasis added).

Texts that support the deity and personhood of the Holy Spirit

  1. Isaiah 48:12–16:
    “Listen to Me, O Jacob,
    And Israel, My called:
    I am He, I am the First,
    I am also the Last. . . .

    “Come near to Me, hear this:
    I have not spoken in secret from the beginning;
    From the time that it was, I was there.
    And now the Lord God and His Spirit
    Have sent Me” (emphasis added).

    The Father and the Spirit are involved in sending the Son, all three in one Old Testament text! Or, in a textual variant, the Father sends the Son and the Spirit.
  2. Isaiah 63:10:
    But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit;
    So He turned Himself against them as an enemy,
    And He fought against them (emphasis added).
  3. Matthew 28:19: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (emphasis added). The Greek word translated “name” is singular, implying that all three, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, share the same name.
  4. Luke 3:21, 22: “When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, ‘You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased’ ” (emphasis added).
  5. Acts 5:3, 4: “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God’ ” (emphasis added).
  6. Acts 15:28: “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things” (emphasis added). In the minds of the apostles, the Holy Spirit was an individual with the ability to think.
  7. Acts 21:11: “When he had come to us, he [Agabus] took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit, “So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles” ’ ” (emphasis added). The Holy Spirit is an authoritative speaker here. See also Acts 20:23, 1 Timothy 4:1, and Hebrews 3:7.
  8. Romans 8:26, 27: “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (emphasis added). The Holy Spirit intercedes for us and has His own mind.
  9. Second Corinthians 13:14: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen” (emphasis added).
  10. Revelation 22:17: “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (emphasis added). The Holy Spirit plays a vital role in Revelation, calling people to accept the invitation of God’s salvation. See also Revelation 2:7; 14:13.

Quotes from the writings of Ellen G. White that support the doctrine of the Trinity

  1. Three living persons of the heavenly trio.

    God cannot be compared with the things His hands have made. These are mere earthly things, suffering under the curse of God because of the sins of man. The Father cannot be described by the things of earth. The Father is all the fulness of the Godhead bodily and is invisible to mortal sight.

    The Son is all the fulness of the Godhead manifested. The Word of God declares Him to be ‘the express image of His person.’ . . .

    The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fulness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ [emphasis added].

  2. The Self-Existent One.

With solemn dignity Jesus answered, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.”

Silence fell upon the vast assembly. The name of God, given to Moses to express the idea of the eternal presence, had been claimed as His own by this Galilean Rabbi. He had announced Himself to be the self-existent One, He who had been promised to Israel, “whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity” [emphasis added].

  1. The life Christ gives us is His own. “In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. ‘He that hath the Son hath life.’ 1 John 5:12. The divinity of Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life” (emphasis added).
  2. Third Person of the Godhead.

“The Holy Spirit was the highest of all gifts that He could solicit from His Father for the exaltation of His people. The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail. The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of men to this satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church [emphasis added].

  1. The Holy Spirit is a distinct personality. “The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, in Christ’s name. He personifies Christ, yet is a distinct personality. We may have the Holy Spirit if we ask for it and make it a habit to turn to and trust in God rather than in any finite human agent who may make mistakes” (emphasis added).
  2. Praying to the three great Worthies. “When I feel oppressed and hardly know how to relate myself toward the work that God has given me to do, I just call upon the three great Worthies, and say: You know I cannot do this work in my own strength. You must work in me, and by me, and through me, sanctifying my tongue, sanctifying my spirit, sanctifying my words, and bringing me into a position where my spirit shall be susceptible to the movings of the Holy Spirit of God upon my mind and character” (emphasis added).
  3. The Son is equal with the Father.

    “The exaltation of the Son of God as equal with the Father was represented as an act of injustice to Lucifer, who, it was claimed, was also entitled to reverence and honor. . . .

    There had been no change in the position or authority of Christ. Lucifer’s envy and misrepresentation and his claims to equality with Christ had made necessary a statement of the true position of the Son of God; but this had been the same from the beginning” (emphasis added).

Sidebar #4: Resources about the Trinity

Useful articles on the Trinity:

Burt, Merlin. “The Trinity in Seventh-day Adventist History.” [Silver Spring, MD:] Biblical Research Institute, 2008. https://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/Trinity-in-SDA-History.pdf.

Dederen, Raoul. “Reflections on the Doctrine of the Trinity.” Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University, 1970. https://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/Doctrine-of-the-Trinity.pdf.

Kaiser, Denis. “Understanding the Trinity.” Adventist Review, July 1, 2018. https://adventistreview.org/magazine-article/understanding-the-trinity/.

Mueller, Ekkehardt. “Did Jesus Emanate From the Father?” [Silver Spring, MD:] Biblical Research Institute, 2012. https://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/Did-Jesus-Emanate-from-the-Father.pdf.

Pfandl, Gerhard. “The Doctrine of the Trinity Among Adventists.” Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute, 1999. https://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/trinitydoc-among-sda_0.pdf.

Pfandl, Gerhard. “The Trinity in Scripture.” Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute, 1999. https://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/trinscript.pdf.

Pröbstle, Martin, Luise Schneeweiss, and Benedikt Grau. “Core Tenets of the Trinity.” Seventh-day Adventist Church, 2021. https://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/materials/trinity-posters/.

Useful Books on the Trinity:

Bediako, Daniel. God in 3 Persons—in the Old Testament. Biblical Research Institute Release—10, May 2015. https://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/Bediako290915.pdf.

Donkor, Kwabena. God in 3 Persons—in Theology. Biblical Research Institute Release—10, May 2015. https://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/Donkor290915.pdf.

Petersen, Paul. God in 3 Persons—in the New Testament. Biblical Research Institute Release—11, May 2015. https://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/Release_11_Petersen-6-16-15.pdf.

Whidden, Woodrow, Jerry Moon, and John W. Reeve. The Trinity: Understanding God’s Love, His Plan of Salvation, and Christian Relationships. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 2002.

  1. Long before the Catholic Church existed, the Trinity doctrine was described by Clement of Rome in the late first century AD. In the second century, both Ignatius of Antioch and Justin Martyr wrote about the concept of the Trinity. The word Trinity was first used by Theophilus of Antioch and was later used by Tertullian, both in the latter half of the second century. The First Council of Nicaea in 325 made the Trinity doctrine official for the early church, and it was further modified to include details about the Holy Spirit at the First Council of Constantinople in 381. For further details on the history of the development of the Trinity doctrine, see Woodrow W. Whidden, Jerry Moon, and John W. Reeve, The Trinity (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2002).
  2. This is based on the experiences of many pastors who have dealt with people leaving the church over doctrinal issues.
  3. See 2 Timothy 4:3. Unless otherwise specified, Scripture Is from the New King James Version.
  4. Jerry Moon, “The Adventist Trinity Debate Part 1: Historical Overview,” Andrews University Seminary Studies 41, no. 1 (2003): 113–139.
  5. For example, As It Reads is a blog with a more moderate understanding of the Trinity compared to many YouTube videos. While they disagree with the Adventist understanding of the Trinity, they do not identify as anti-Trinitarian. See “About Us,” As It Reads (blog), https://asitreads.com/about/; and “Trinity in Adventism,” As It Reads (blog), https://asitreads.com/sda-trinity.
  6. Although the word Trinity is not in the Bible, the concept of the Trinity certainly is there. See Gerald Pfandl, “The Trinity in Scripture” (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute, 1999), https://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/trinscript.pdf.
  7. For early lists of the fundamental principles of Adventism, see [Uriah Smith], “The Rise and Progress of Adventism,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, May 15, 1856, 34; and [Uriah Smith], “The Original Advent Faith,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, October 27, 1859, 182. For a full development of Adventist fundamental beliefs in history, see S. Joseph Kidder and Katelyn Campbell Weakley, “Creeds,” Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8FRF.
  8. For a history of the Adventist Church’s development of the Trinity doctrine, see Merlin Burt, “The Trinity in Seventh-day Adventist History.” Ministry, Feb 2009, 5-8.
  9. See “Official Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” Seventh-day Adventist Church, https://www.adventist.org/beliefs/, s.v. “2. Trinity.”
  10. Ellen White does use the word trinity once, but not in the context of the Godhead. She wrote, “Beware of that which the old writers called the world’s trinity—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.” Ellen G. White to W. C. Gage, May 19, 1898, in Letters and Manuscripts, Volume 13 (1898), Ellen G. White, Letter 43, 1898, https://egwwritings.org/read?panels=p14063.4806022(14063.4806031)&index=0.
  11. Ellen G. White, “Come Out and Be Separate,” Ms. 21, 1906, in Letters and Manuscripts, Volume 21 (1906), https://egwwritings.org/read?panels=p14071.9754002(14071.9754018)&index=0.
  12. Ellen G. White, “Sermon/Lessons From the Fifteenth of Romans,” Ms. 95, 1906, in Letters and Manuscripts, Volume 21 (1906), https://egwwritings.org/read?panels=p14071.8199008(14071.8872019)&index=0.
  13. Ellen G. White, “Lessons From the Second Chapter Philippians,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, June 15, 1905, 9; Ellen G. White, “The Need of Home Religion,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, June 22, 1905, 8.
  14. White, “Fifteenth of Romans.” This is not an exhaustive list of appellations Ellen White gave to the Godhead.
  15. White, “Come Out and Be Separate.”
  16. Ellen G. White, “Remarks by Mrs. E. G. White,” General Conference Bulletin 4, no.1, ex.10 (April 14, 1901): 214.
  17. While this article focuses on the Trinity doctrine, some of the information in this section will be helpful for dealing with other doctrinal disagreements as well.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

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S. Joseph Kidder, DMin, is a professor of pastoral theology and discipleship, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States.
Timothy Baze, MDiv. is the pastor of Chowchilla and Madera Seventh-day Adventist Churches in the Central California Conference.

December 2023

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